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Justina Perro - Six Figure Freelance Marketing Working 20 Hour Weeks

How Justina balances a young family, marathons, and a solo career

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Today is the seventh edition of Part-Time Profiles in Tech, published on Tuesdays. If you’d like to be featured and get some free publicity for your work, fill out this form.

I like Justina's story because I think it's representative of the most common demographic amongst people who want to go part-time: mom of a young family who still wants to advance their career, but spend more time with her family. She's honest in sharing that it's not easy (but is parenting and working ever easy??) but that she's able to balance the many important parts of who she is as a person.

I think you'll enjoy her story 👇

Justina Perro is a freelance content marketer who helps B2B SaaS start-ups turn content into a growth engine. She is both a creative and a creator. Justina is also a mom, a wife, a runner, and an avid traveler.

You can find her online at ContentByJustina.com.

What’s your experience with part-time work?

From a young age, I loved writing. My goal was to graduate from Boston University with a degree in journalism. When I got wait-listed and eventually started at Bentley University, I shifted my focus towards Marketing.

I graduated in 2010 and started working in restaurant marketing for Bertucci's and eventually Papa Gino's. Then, in 2013, my husband got a job at HubSpot and opened my world to the concept of 'Inbound Marketing'. Once I learned I could create content for a living that was it for me.

I applied for a job at a Content Marketing agency called Skyword. I worked my way up to a Senior Content Strategist where I created and executive on content strategies for prominent brands like Purina, Equifax, and Overstock.

While Skyword gave me great experience, I never truly had autonomy. I was always at the mercy of my clients. I really wanted a career where I could own the entire content strategy—which would mean shifting away from agency to in-house.

I applied for a Content Marketing Manager job at a (then) prominent Boston mobile app marketing start-up called Localytics. From there, I was hooked. I worked my way up to Head of Content where I was able to own Localytics' entire content strategy from the blog, video content, case studies, email nurture, hosting a podcast called Appy Hour, and more.

Localytics—despite dealing with the typical ups and downs of start-up life—was truly my dream job. So why did I leave? I was pregnant and expecting my first child. I just couldn't imagine not being with him.

My boss at Localytics asked if I was open to staying on part-time remote while they searched for someone new. I accepted, and it opened my eyes to the world of freelancing.

From there, I started networking with friends and colleagues that worked in marketing at start-ups. I let them know I was available to fill in any content gaps their lean teams may have from strategy to actual content production.

Fast-forward to today—It's been 5 years of part-time content freelancing and I've never looked back.

During this time, I've:

  • Worked with ~20+ clients (many of them long-term)

  • Worked with big brands like Chicago’s Willis Tower

  • Worked with startups you’ve never heard of

  • Had times where I struggled to find clients

  • Had times where I had too many clients

  • Had a month where I made $15,000

  • Had a month where I made $0

I also:

  • Was able to train and complete my first ever marathon (Chicago 2022!)

  • Have the afternoons free to spend with my kids

  • Manage a full-time salary working part-time

  • Get the freedom to work from anywhere

  • Have to hustle to keep things going

  • Never have job security

  • Absolutely love my job

Solopreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart.

But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be the most liberating, life-changing thing you ever do.

Why is working part-time important to you?

Being able to spend these precious early years with my kids is the biggest reason I went part-time freelance. In addition to that, it's given me more time to focus on things that matter most to me—like running, traveling, and just enjoying life.

What does your compensation look like?

I work ~16 hours a week and am on track to make ~$100k+ a year right now which is how much I made when I left my Head of Content job in 2017.

I know I could make a lot more, but I'm not willing take on more until both kids are in elementary school. But I am working on building out a few new revenue streams that can maximize my income without putting in more time.

What are the tradeoffs to working part-time vs one traditional full-time job for you?

There's 0 job security and 0 on paper benefits like health-insurance, etc. Sometimes you have a day where you might want to phone it in. That's tougher to do working part-time freelance. You really need to focus and maximize your efforts during the time you have to work if you want it to pay off.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to work part-time like you?

It's important to be ready to hustle. I could have 10 clients this month and 5 the next. It's not always smooth sailing, so you need to be a person who can ride the wave.

I tell every person looking to freelance that they have to be willing to market themselves. I'm networking on LinkedIn every day. Do I always feel up to it? Absolutely not. But I'm a content creator and it's my job to show people I know what I'm doing.

Marketing yourself is part of your job as a freelancer, whether you like it or not. If you're unwilling to do that, this might not be the career path for you.

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