In 2007, Tracie Fobes and her husband set out on a journey –they were determined to work themselves out $37,000 of debt. In 27 months, they accomplished just that. Today, Tracie is the owner and founder of the blog PennyPinchinMom.com, whose devoted community of 600,000 Facebook fans, 18,000 Twitter followers, and 77,000 email subscribers come to her for tips on everything from getting out of debt to saving on groceries. Amid her thriving blog business and raising three children, Tracie spoke to VantageScore about her success as a freelancer and small business entrepreneur.
1. How did you know you were ready to turn your side hustle into your main hustle? What were the signs?
For me, I did not even realize you could make money blogging. I just did it for the passion. However, when I received my first $60 check after a few months of work, it dawned onto me that this may be a better opportunity than I ever realized. At that moment, I began to look at my hobby blog as a business.
2. What is something all aspiring freelancers or small business owners should ask themselves before taking the leap into the entrepreneurial world?
They must know their goals. What do they want to achieve? Is it to make a certain income, or help people, or just leave the corporate world behind. Before you know where you want to go, you need to figure out why you want to get there.
3. What was the biggest challenge you faced when developing your small business? What is the biggest reward?
Setbacks from partners caused me a lot of stress, but ended up being the best thing that happened to me. Those who do not understand business failures have no idea what to do when it happens to them. The biggest reward is the countless emails I get from the readers whom I help. You can’t place a value on that.
4. On top of your business endeavors, you’re a mother. Can you describe the challenges and rewards of doing both simultaneously?
It is like having 25 balls in the air all at the same time. Sometimes, you are going to drop one or two, but you have to decide which is the most important at this very moment. I find that more companies are sympathetic to the mom who is running a business and taking care of a family. They get why you are doing this and tend to be more flexible with some things. The best part of working as a mom is when my kids are sick and that there is no worry about who will take off work to stay home with them. I can also go to the school parties and field trips. I have the opportunity to be more present and put on my mom hat when needed.
5. What is your readers’ biggest misconception about credit scores?
That they matter more than they do. I stopped worrying about my number and just lived a life in the way that made sense. I took responsibility for my financial decisions and actions and the result ended up being a positive score…but I did not make a change just to get a better score.