SPP 024 | How Margy Thomas Horton Built a Thriving Consulting Business With Nothing But $97

Margy Thomas Horton finished a PhD in English Literature at Baylor in 2012. Even though she was named one of Baylor’s 2011 Outstanding Professor of the Year and published peer-reviewed articles in major journals, she faced a bleak academic hiring market.

Five weeks after her dissertation defense, in the middle of the academic job hunting season, her son was born.

With her hands full and no sleep she couldn’t apply for jobs. Taking care of her child was beyond a full time job. Every day the prospects for a tenure-track job drifted further away.

Then one day she had an epiphany. Why not take the part of academia she most loved – working one-on-one with writers and help them grow – and form a business out of it? She loved working as a graduate writing consultant at Baylor, where she helped the university launch its own graduate writing consultation services. Margy poured over self-help books to convert this idea into reality.

She took a step back and asked herself what really mattered to her, what she considered worth working for, and which direction she wanted to take her life. She came up with the name of the business, ScholarShape, right in the middle of changing her son’s diaper.

Scholarshape offers editorial support, coaching, and consultation to academics across disciplines. Her customized support helps clients complete high-stakes writing projects such as theses, dissertations, and grant proposals.

She managed to create a consulting business doing what she loves, and earning far more than she would doing the same thing in a university.

Resources Mentioned in this podcast


Squarespace (website creation)

Canva (free design software)

Smart Passive Income

An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice

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