She Earned $60k on a $100 Laptop


Creating professional opportunities for yourself doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive. In some cases, all it takes is a computer, WiFi, and a dream.

When you’re first starting out as a freelance writer, you may not have the capital to launch a massive operation, and that’s okay. You can incrementally pick up work, acquire new clients, and build your portfolio, one piece at a time.

That’s what milspouse and freelance writer Jackie Toops did. 

Building a Portable Career On the Cheap

When I first started writing, we were stationed in Germany. I found time to write when my children napped or went to bed. I initially wrote on the topics of travel and living in Europe as an American family abroad, and then started honing my efforts toward a military lifestyle. This was a direct result of submitting work to, and getting asked to regularly contribute. 

Jackie knew that she wanted a laptop that was inexpensive, reliable, lightweight, and easily portable. For about $100, she purchased a refurbished Google Chromebook, and found that it was exactly what she needed. 

“I had access to Google Docs to write and edit, to Google sheets, to track my earnings, and had enough storage space to edit the photos to accompany my work.” 

Not bad for a startup investment!

As Jackie’s body of work increased, so did her number of clients, who sought her out to write blog posts, bios, edit, manage social media, create video content, ghostwrite books, and more. With very little overhead, Jackie successfully created a portable career with a very minimal initial investment. 

She has now parlayed her initial purchase into tens of thousands of dollars, and her earnings trend upward from year-to-year. 

9 Low-Cost Resources for New Freelance Writers

If you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, you don’t have to have a business loan, a rich uncle, or another other personal financier. These are some of Jackie’s favorite low-cost resources, for the freelancer who is ready to start writing and start earning!

    • PicMonkey — Need to edit photos for your post? Want to add some text to your images, make a collage, and work with overlays? Check out this photo website and app.
    • YouCam Perfect — Sure, some things look great straight out of the camera, but if you want to have instant touch ups and perfection to better tell your story or sell the products you’re writing about in a sponsored post, try this awesome app!
    • Grammarly — This simple extension on my computer made sure that my writing was fine-tuned and putting my best foot forward, even in emails!


  • VistaPrint — Feeling the urge to print up business cards but don’t want to spend a small fortune? VistaPrint is fast, effective, and within budget. There are often online coupons you can apply as well!
  • Buffer — Maintain a solid online presence for your business/service by managing your professional Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more with this easy-to-use post scheduling site and app.
  • Canva — Ready to make some gorgeous rate cards to advertise your business? Or maybe you need social media graphics or a media kit. Look no further then Canva for the beautiful layouts available from this site.
  • GoDaddy — When you want to move beyond just using social media to advertise your services and highlight your portfolio, check out the easy website layouts and low prices from GoDaddy. Not ready to design an entire site? Then simply create a landing page.
  • PayPal — It’s time to invoice and get paid, hooray! If you don’t yet have an invoice service, PayPal is a good way to start out. Keep in mind, they keep a small percentage of your earnings, but it is an easy to create, send, and track paid and outstanding invoices.


As you can see, creating a PCS-proof writing career doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. With these inexpensive resources, you’ll soon be on your way! Write on!


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