Small Business Success Story: No More Long Commute with a Successful Consulting Business

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After creating our freelancing / small business success stories series here on PFtoday, Ela Iliesi was one of the people who instantly gave me a lot of great feedback and encouragement. I found out she’s also freelancing and also running a small consulting business, so I asked her to tell us her story.

Let’s find out how Ela created a thriving online business just to escape the looong commute to her previous job.


ela-iliesiCan you please give us few details about yourself?

Professionally I’m an author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker. I own a digital marketing training company where I occasionally still train the SEO courses. I’m also still freelancing to keep my self into the game – up with what’s new and important in the domain.

Personally, I’m an optimist, an introvert, a fighter, impatient for things to be done and for changes to come – a great combination I think for the new type of entrepreneur. And I believe the world, through the expansion of internet, is finally giving us, an opportunity to make it, by being ourselves.

What made you start freelancing?

I think I’ve always wanted to be my own boss. After I left my last job I knew I didn’t want to get another regular job – so I started to look at what other opportunities were out there. I decided to become a consultant and a trainer, but before enough people join the courses and book consulting hours to make a business out of it, I turned to freelancing.

How was the beginning?

I was enthusiastic to finally be able to work from home. Till then I was always obligated to travel about three hours each working day to reach an office, and get back home at the end of the program – this was because I lived a bit outside Bucharest, and it was always a cause of exhaustion, that led to me being fed up with jobs.

I was also content to work for a foreign company, with an international team, and to earn a payment that was bigger then the regular one. All this while staying in my country, in my home.

Would you consider you have reached freelancing success?

In a way yes, because I now find freelancing easy. I’m able to get the jobs I am interested in, I have 5 stars profiles, with proven abilities, and most importantly, happy clients. But success is hard to define, being something so personal. If I were to think of a general image I think a successful freelancer is someone that is much more involved and fulfilled by freelancing work alone.

What are the 3 top things you love about freelancing / running your small business?

That I can choose what, when and from where I do it. If I want to make use of a certain specialization I can find clients that need it, if I don’t feel like working some days, I can rest and catch up some other time, and if I have to leave the city, as long as the place I’m going will have internet, it’s never a problem.

What are the top 3 things you don’t like about freelancing?

  1. Freelancing websites – there are a lot of things I would change at the way they work. By now I’m sure they know what are the common difficulties for freelancers and clients, but I don’t see them trying to offer preventive help, something that could be as simple as a tips section when someone is posting or applying for a job.
  2. Some employers attitude – just the other day I received an invitation from someone who wanted specific marketing plans from freelancers, before awarding a job, thinking that only execution was worth paying for. A form of theft of ideas in my opinion. I’m having problems coming up with a third thing I don’t like – I guess that’s also saying something.

Do you have any plans to develop your business further?

I see freelancing projects as temporary jobs, not really a business, as they still imply exchanging time and work for money. If I were to develop freelancing into a business I would switch to a company profile and hire freelancers to complete the jobs. For now though I find freelancing from time to time exactly what I need.

What would you say is your best advice for someone to reach freelancing success?

Be fast, adaptable and resourceful. Fast to put into action the ideas you have, adaptable in order to develop new skills the market wants, and resourceful to find ways when difficulties appear.

If you’d like to work with Ela, I am sure her 5 star ratings on Elance are a good incentive. You can also take her amazing courses.

Do you have a great freelancing / small business success story? Contact me and you’ll get featured here.

15 COMMENTS

  1. My previous job was close to 100 km. away (I literally worked in a different city, 5 days a week + the occasional Saturday), so I had to wake up at 5 a.m. to catch the 6 a.m. train to be on time and start work at 8 in the morning. What a drag! I’ve never had the courage to quit or try something different (like freelancing or starting my own business) before finding another job though.

  2. I aspire to becoming an entrepreneur. I believe in working for myself although there is nothing wrong with working for others. Having a business of my own would help me in being more self sufficient.There are so many things I would have to figure out such as taxes. Since I have a lot of family responsibility, it is important that I have a flexible work schedule.

    • Figuring out how, when, and where to pay all the taxes is indeed a pain in the rear. However, where I’m from, you can just hire someone to do these things for you, so you’d just have to concentrate on growing your business and, of course, earn as much as possible so you can also pay the person doing your taxes 😀

  3. I think everyone who manages to earn enough money to make a living, from home, is successful! Some might measure freelancing success in the big amount of money they make, but as far as I’m concerned, once you manage to pay for your essential with money you earn from your own home, you’ve reached freelancing success! It means you can now safely rely on yourself, and that’s kinda great!

    • Well, there’s more than paying the bills, but it’s indeed great to be able to support oneself with the money earned on your own. We are now making a good living with our businesses and most importantly, we can spend time with our child. The years will pass and the most important thing we can give her is some nice memories and all our attention.
      Ramona recently posted…The 11 Top Benefits of Having a Company BlogMy Profile

  4. If I were to return to my previous career it would involve a three hour commute, too. I’m not sure I’m willing to do that, no matter how good the money is!

    I’ve been working from home on an online retail business for the last (nearly) three years. I’m winding it up now in preparation for other adventures in the online world and intend to add freelance writing to that, too. I agree with Will in the comment above: If you can earn enough from freelancing to work from home and comfortably cover your expenses – you’re a success.

    Lifestyle and work satisfaction are important factors to consider when labelling something a success, or not.

    It looks like Ela has built a successful *life* and that’s priceless. Well done!
    diane @smartmoneysimplelife recently posted…Buy Nothing New Month – The perfect challenge for OctoberMy Profile

  5. I’ve been freelancing since I left grad school, and just got offered a 9-5 job in the writing/PR field . . . I’ve been spinning myself in circles because I don’t need to take the job, it’s just a great offer. On the one hand, money and benefits and money, but on the other . . . it would be so hard to go back to not being my own boss. And to being places at specific times every day.

    It’s refreshing to read a success story or two, between this article and the comments. Helps me remember the perks of it all!
    Connor Rickett recently posted…Narrated Stories: Coin Toss in a DinerMy Profile

    • Hello, Connor and welcome to PFtoday 🙂

      Well, if the job is great and there are not too many things holding you back (say a crying toddler :)), you could actually consider the offer. I actually got called 2 years ago (when I was still pregnant) and offered a web design job in my city. I asked for a pretty big salary (compared to what I earn working from home, but in the end the company hired someone who’d work for way less than I was willing to. Anyway, provided they gave me the money I asked for, I’d have taken the job, even if it was for 5-6 months. They needed someone to start their company here and we could have done some work together.
      Ramona recently posted…The 11 Top Benefits of Having a Company BlogMy Profile

  6. I work in a very well rated hotel, which is not even that far away, I only have a 25-30 minute drive to get there. My problem is of another nature: I always have to look presentable, so I have to get up like, 3 hours before work to make sure my clothes are perfect, my makeup is perfect, my hairdo is perfect, you get the idea. I like my job a lot, but the ‘preparations’ for it are kind of a bummer! 😀

    • Ouch, that’s indeed an issue. Fortunately for me, none of my jobs required me to look nice, so I’d go to work very casually. I had a colleague at one of the radio stations I worked for who would come to read the morning news in his pajamas. His house was next to the studio, so he’d just jump from his terrace on the radio’s terrace and do the morning news. Then get back home, go to the bathroom, eat, get dressed etc. 😀
      Ramona recently posted…The 11 Top Benefits of Having a Company BlogMy Profile

  7. There are many reasons why people look into freelancing, but this is the first time I hear about someone doing it because of a long commute! Congratulations to miss Ella for building a successful business out of her new-found passion!

  8. Earning more money AND doing it from the comfort of your own home is THE dream 🙂
    I’d like o congratulate miss Ella for her efforts and achievements! I know how difficult it is to earn money as a freelancer, especially when you’re just starting out.

  9. Stories like these strengthen my resolve to maintain my home business as an accountant and to venture into other fields such as content writing. I have not tapped into freelancing sites such as Upwork or Freelancer probably because I hate applying/bidding for work each time I’m done with a project. I am presently a member of this content writing site where I can literally pick the project to research and write on and it has paid really well. It has opened a whole wide world of opportunity for me which only became possible when I finally exchanged commuting long hours for something I’d like to do like reading and writing. It also gave me time to work on other skills like programming which was one of the writing projects I took on.

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