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How this freelance copywriter boosted her income by 50% — by hiring a nanny

Find out how one working mom was able to build her freelance copywriting business with the help of a nanny.

Tony Tran

For some reason, luxury spending gets a bad rap. We pooh-pooh high earners for being able to get their meals prepped or pay someone to do their laundry … and why? Especially since having more money can help you build the life you want when you buy back your time.

That’s what this IWT reader found after she paid a nanny $23,982.40 a year to care for her baby when she built her six-figure freelance business. Here are her experiences building her Rich Life, in her own words.

“I knew it was going to cost more — but totally worth it.”

I’ve been a freelance copywriter for more than 20 years. Before that, I was a full-time executive marketing director making $100,000 a year with great benefits. I always knew I could write copy. After working with some great copywriters at my old publishing company, it got in my head that I could do it outside of my job.

When I had my first child in July 1997, I looked at a lot of options for child care. Home day cares, different nannies, etc. I remember there was this one day care I visited that seemed great on the surface. But for some reason, I had a feeling something wasn’t quite right. Later, I saw the day care owner’s face in the newspaper. Turned out they were drugging the children and leaving them alone to go shopping! 

I just went with my instinct to go with a nanny. I knew it was going to cost more, but totally worth it.

Eventually I found one young woman who was a perfect fit for my family and me.

“I was able to work from home and make 50% more that year.”

When I returned to my job, though, I found that I was “mommy tracked.”

It was clear my company didn’t know what to do with me after I had my son. I still made the same, but they put me in an entirely different job role. They even moved me from a window office, to an inside office, to a smaller office. It was a very confusing, frustrating time in my career.

Eventually, an acquaintance of mine offered me a role as a copywriting and marketing consultant for his business. It was only going to take half my time and it guaranteed me 90% of my salary.

Going from a lucrative, full-time job to freelancing can seem daunting, but my nanny made a huge difference.

When I worked with my company, I had a discipline of getting up early, working, and staying focused on my priorities all day. I was able to take that same routine into freelancing and didn’t have to change it because of my nanny. The best part? I was able to still spend time with my baby throughout the day.

I was also able to take on additional clients when my first one immediately referred me to somebody else. I also had my former work colleagues referring me to people. I was able to work from home and make 50% more that year.

Within a few years, I tripled my income while also cutting down my working hours from 40 to 50 hours a week, to 20 to 30 hours a week. My husband and I eventually had another baby, and were able to hire more nannies, and we were able to balance our careers and family due to services like our nannies.

“I don’t consider these things a luxury.”

For years, I also had cleaning ladies come in twice a week. Why would I want to spend time folding the laundry when I could be making $350 an hour in the same time? It ends up being a lot cheaper for me to delegate it out.

And without my nanny, I wouldn’t have been able to do the consulting gigs that required me to be on site. I would have been able to do maybe a third of the work, and I would have had to turn down potential income.

Of course, I’d occasionally run into some weird situations when I told people about things like this. I remember my sister-in-law just had to have a nanny and house cleaner herself when she found out I had one. Aside from that small bit of family jealousy, we haven’t had too much pushback from it since many of my neighbors also do the same.  

It helped me maintain my professional image while showing people I was taking my freelancing work seriously. Because of that, I don’t consider these things a luxury. They’re quality of life services.

Having children was the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. And having those services helped me with that.

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10 Comments

 
  1. Elizabeth

    Thanks for sharing this! I had a similarly scary experience with a child care center I had researched, but have been fortunate to eventually find a day care setting that is perfect for us. The downside is that I still have to pack up my daughter, drive her to day care, drop off, etc and all of that IS a hassle that I wouldn't have with a nanny. However, a nanny in my area would cost $40-45K per year and that just isn't an option right now when our child care provider costs 1/3 of that. I can see the money being worth it, though, when you look at the hassle factor! If I could go back in time to my first job I had with my first daughter – when I could have afforded a nanny – I wish I would have hired one! It would have saved me so much stress. I will also be hiring a housekeeper as soon as it is in the budget – for now, I just say "no" to non-essential cleaning, haha! I'm good with housework boundaries.

  2. Elizabeth

    Another thought – speaking to the broader principle of "buying back your time" – at ANY income level, there are ways to buy back your time. Simplest example is not wasting time going to the grocery store/not going in the grocery store yourself. Even Wal-Mart grocery now allows you to choose your groceries online and pull up and have them put in the car for you. What a time saver! And many grocery stores will now deliver to your home for a minimal fee. I rarely go to the store, as it is not a good use of my limited time.

  3. satish deshmukh

    Thanks for sharing your struggling experience. It is learnt that people should expose their inborn talents. When we collaborate and expose our talent money comes to us smoothly. But the discipline and your commitment that you have to follow. Then only you are successful.

  4. Dana

    Here's my brilliantly rich life on a not-so-rich salary:

    Ramit, all of your posts around luxury gave me an amazing idea of how to pave the way for my life to be richer: get paid to live the way I want.

    I have a three bedroom in Harlem, which is becoming surprisingly popular.

    I tricked out my rented apartment with luxury: super nice furnishings, painted everything, I get my house cleaned quite often, and automated everything I can for easy living–bulk deliveries, grocery deliveries, household items, etc. All those extra things cost money.

    I sought out subletting to two roommates who are super busy, and seeking luxury/convenience for not a lot of money–I charge them only $1,100 / month everything included – furnished, all bills, cleaning person, toiletries, etc.

    Basically, as my roommate, you could live here and never have to do anything except wash your plate and venmo me your rent.

    So guess what I end up paying in rent?
    $225.
    In Manhattan.

    This allowed me to quit my corporate job two years ago (with almost no savings but also, no debt) and go after my entrepreneurial dreams. I work mostly from home, never really see my roommates, and I have a beautiful space exactly the way I like it. And I don't have to clean it! I'm currently making $15,000 more than last year. This financial set up has really given me the time I needed to get my business off of the ground, while not having to sacrifice on living the lifestyle I want–eating out when I want, taking some trips, and continuing to spend money on self-development. I've got many irons in the fire, working step-by-step, playing the long game as an Alexander Technique teacher.

    My goal is at least $100,000/year within the next two years.

    Thanks, Ramit!

    • ana

      I love your story and mindset about living a rich life!

  5. Ana

    Every year I take our kids to a private education in a different country on summer break. The purpose are for them to learn the culture, language and learn about the world. They are 10 and 5 years old. They speak fluent 3 language. We are a simple family, we make around 80K a year. Some might consider this a luxury, but I believe it will have a impact in their life in the future. I would love to have a nanny, and I totally understand the above story which I would love to do the same when my first child was born and I figured I couldn't work and raised her in the same time.
    We decided to invest on education instead which takes us a full year of saving and planning. The best decision I made for our kids!

    • Karen M. Ricks

      Sounds like your children are getting a wonderful education, Ana!

  6. Karen M. Ricks

    When our son was just 4 months old, my husband and I opened our own international Montessori school in central Japan. We'd been considering it for years, but it was the perfect opportunity for us to create the educational environment in which we wanted to raise our child. People told us it would be impossible to run a business with an infant. We just redirected our focus, and the majority of our income ended up being from our preschool program!

    18 months ago, we sold it all to travel full-time and Worldschool. Many people consider our travel budget a luxury. For us, it is simply a means of educating our young global citizen and living our Rich Life!

    • Elizabeth

      Awesome!! Way to go for your dreams!

  7. Jasmine

    I love this. Makes so much sense. My family recently moved to Colombia and we have a very inexpensive housekeeper and childcare is also extremely affordable. I take full advantage of it while I'm here.