I fear running out of inspiration.
When this happens, I read. About other writers, entrepreneurs, or random articles that seem entirely irrelevant, but somehow still inspire me.
Two of my favorites:
- In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
I just started reading my latest Goodwill find, Good to Great by Jim Collins. It’s a well-researched book that discusses how companies go from mediocre to excellent, and most importantly, sustain excellence for an extended period of time.
Six months ago, on October 15, 2016, I completed my first freelance writing project for $7. I proofread a 1-page finance cover letter for a person who went by the name of “edcc edcc”. I still don’t know who they are. They left the following review, “Great job and very professional.”
To launch my freelance writing work, I used a platform called Upwork. Upwork is a “global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely”. When I discovered the platform, it seemed too big. How could I break into a saturated marketplace? I quickly realized although there are millions of companies and freelancers on Upwork, there was still room for me.
Today, I have an Upwork profile that describes what I do. It’s a living document and a hybrid sales pitch and resumé. As I adapt my work—to align what I enjoy most with what I’m most skilled at—I edit my summary. It currently states:
You’re not just a company. You’re an awesome group of people offering a valuable product or service.
As an extension of your business—and oftentimes the first impression—your online content needs to reflect your awesomeness. You must build trust, convey humanity, and demonstrate professionalism.
That’s where I come in. My top priority is to engage your audience through well-researched content that converts.
A current client said, “It’s hard to find copywriters who will truly adapt your voice and make adjustments as needed. I love working with her! Many more jobs coming her way from me!”
Whether you’re an entrepreneur growing a startup, or a well-established firm refreshing your web content, I’m excited to help you. Genuinely. I’m semi-obsessed with what I do.
Beyond the summary, my profile includes reviews from clients and examples of my work. Upwork has connected me to amazing companies and individuals. From a mom returning to work, to a startup revamping their website.
Six months in, my work is about a 3-1 split. 75% of my current projects originate through Upwork, while 25% come through word-of-mouth and local opportunities. I have been working with several clients for over 5 months.
As my Upwork summary changes, so does my LinkedIn title. It currently reads, “Freelance Writer & Content Marketer”. I was initially hesitant to use the term “freelance”. I told a plane-mate (someone sitting next to me on a plane) that I am a freelance writer. The first thing he asked was, “Do you get paid for that?”. This is a harmless question, but a costly misconception. The writing profession is only lucrative when writers respect what they do and their work is respected by others.
The past 6 months have been challenging, yet energizing. As a professional in the career development world, I am very familiar with the advice, “Don’t quit your job without another one lined up.” Or this one, “It’s way easier to get hired when you have a job.” This may be true for some people, but don’t believe every blanket statement you hear. I’ve been hired for over 65 jobs in the past 6 months.
Society often tells us what to think. It establishes norms and expectations. We’re expected to have a plan. School, college, first job (for at least 2 years), next job with more responsibility… it’s predictable. So the idea of diverging from tradition is scary. But it’s so incredibly rewarding.
As I said in December, embrace uncertainty. I’m not saying quit your job (unless you want to and have the support in place to do so), but take control. “Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.” [Chris Brogan]
P.S. I make money as a writer and quitting my job without another lined up is my second best decision, after studying abroad.