Student Success Story with Gina Horkey

By Gina Horkey

We’re continuing to share a different story each week of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out last week’s with Ryan Neufeld). 

If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why.


Is it weird that I’m doing a student success story on myself?

LOL, I definitely qualify after growing my freelance business from $0 to almost $25k per month in less than two years. Here’s my story!

Hi Gina! Tell us about yourself; who are you and what do you for fun?

Hi, my name is Gina Horkey and I’m a self-identified married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers from Minnesota. It’s a mouthful, right?

Although that in itself could be a full-time job, I’m also a professional writer, virtual assistant and have a products business teaching others how to break into freelance writing, VA work and write and launch their own courses.

On a personal note, I’m the breadwinner to our young family of four, my husband is a SAHD and we finally cashed in on this flexible lifestyle thing to relocate to South Padre Island, Texas for two months this winter. It was amazing and we plan to do it again next year!

What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?

I actually had a good thing going before I started freelancing.

But it didn’t make me happy.

I was still the breadwinner at this point, so I felt a bit stuck. My hours were great (I had a four-day workweek and worked only 32 hours/week), my commute was less than 15 minutes each way and I had amazing co-workers, plus the opportunity to grow and make an unlimited income.

But I wasn’t fulfilled.

“And staring that job in the face for the next 30 years (I was 30 at the time) made me want to throw up.”

So I started a freelance writing side hustle.

And then added VA services.

And launched my first course.

And it all kind of built from there. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, but I just kept taking action and let my “why” of building a fulfilling career, while being able to provide for my family fuel me.

Tell us about your hardest moment as an entrepreneur to date.

I’m not going to lie, there have been a few times that I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and give up.

“Getting publicly criticized and judged by people who really don’t know me is probably the hardest part. It doesn’t happen a lot mind you, it just hurts my soul when it does.”

I work really hard to not only build my own business, but inspire others to build their own.

I truly care about my students, so when someone tells me one of my courses isn’t “good enough,” I take it heart. What I’ve learned though, is that most of these people (and again they are few and far between) use me as their scapegoat when they really aren’t ready to do the work to be successful.

To sum it up, I hate (“Mom, we don’t say hate!”) that one insult carries more weight than 100 compliments. And that I let myself take things personally.

But I’m growing and learning all of the time! And hoping that it stings less as I keep hustling to build my business.

On the flip side, what’s been your biggest success so far?

Last month, I grossed $24,893 from my online business.

That’s crazy to me.

“It wasn’t that long ago that I was shooting for $10k per month. And I’m going onto almost triple that.”


The other cool part, is that I’m earning money by delivering quality work (the services side of my business still makes up almost half) and helping other people follow their dreams and create a new career path for themselves.

What were you struggling the most with when you ran into Brennan’s course?

Pricing myself for sure!

Did you know that women tend to price themselves lower than men on average and that we only apply for jobs that we’re 90%+ qualified for, whereas men will apply with only a 60% confidence rate?

By now means is this a women/men earning’s issue, it’s just my truth.

“Going through Double Your Freelancing Rate has really challenged me to believe in my worth and charge accordingly. It was probably the most effective part of the course for me.”

What are some specific strategies, tactics or pieces of advice that helped you grow?

In addition to going through DYFR, last year I attended the inaugural Double Your Freelance Conference here in the US (if you’re from Europe and haven’t checked out DYFConf – Europe, tickets are still on sale!), am one of the mentors for Double Your Freelancing Clients and am lucky enough to work alongside Brennan as his VA.

“So suffice it to say I’ve learned A LOT from Mr. Brennan Dunn. Dude’s a genius.”


If I had to break it down bullet-point style, it’d probably look like this:

  • Learn to charge what you’re worth.
  • Niche down and market accordingly.
  • Build an automated sales funnel ASAP.
  • Concentrate equally on ROI and providing a great experience to your clients or customers.

I’m sure I could go on and on, but those are a few top of mind. Through meeting Brennan, I can honestly say I’ve changed the way I handle my business, met some amazing friends/clients and feel more confident than ever before in what I’m doing.

What are you most excited about for your business in 2016?

Just to see what’s next and where it’ll go.

One of my major goals this year is to do more strategic planning. I’m really good at getting the work done and making money, but not so much when it comes to big picture thinking. I.e. I need to spend more time working on my business than in it!

“And the fact that I’m on track to hit my $250,000 gross income goal.” 😉

GinanewheadshotreducedsizeGina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers. Additionally, she’s a professional writer and online business marketing consultant with a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

Gina enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. If you’re interested in starting a freelance career, take Gina’s FREE writing course to kickstart yours today! Click here to get the first lesson sent to your inbox.