As people who live (and create) intentionally, it’s important to have balance. Sometimes that means doing things to make rent – and that’s okay! There are lots of ways to care for yourself while holding to your ideals. Today’s interview is with the amazing Laura Pennington who makes a whopping six figures freelancing (and she shares a bit of her secret sauce!). Enjoy!Interview with LauraTell us a little about yourself.
I am a PhD candidate and former teacher turned freelance writer and freelance business coach. I now work from home and teach other people how to do what I do.
What motivates your work? How does that drive influence your work ethic or your goals?
I truly love doing what I do and I feel privileged to wake up every morning and work for clients that understand my personality and the value and the services that I provide. That drives my work ethic because I never feel that dreaded Sunday night anxiety of having to go back to my job. It also helps me plan out goals well in advance both for my own business and for my clients.
You went from a 9 to 5 job to full time freelancing. Can you tell us how you transitioned?
My biggest mistake in running my business part time was that I didn’t transition soon enough. I met and surpassed my day job income in less than three months of getting started as a freelance writer but I was terrified to make the jump. I figured I needed to know more about the busy and slow seasons of freelance writing and I ended up staying at my job for 12 months.
To be honest with you, just before I planned to quit my job one year after I got started as a freelance writer, my boss fired me. I had previously asked to go to part time hours and she declined. It was time for me to go and it really gave me the kick in the seat of the pants to build my business even bigger.
It did help me and gave me a great deal of confidence to have 12 months of freelance income under my belt because I knew what to expect. I knew, for example, that December and January would be slow months and that the summer would also be slow. This also allowed me to set monetary goals for each month.
Did you have a vision for what freelancing would be for you or did you just wing it?
I fell into freelancing accidentally, but I learned over time that I was very particular about the environment in which I worked best. It was calling the shots, determining my own hours, determining who I worked with and not having a bunch of clients emailing me and driving me crazy all the time. I’m extremely selective about who I work with because that allows me to deliver the highest possible quality for my clients.
What does your typical work day look like?
I use time blocks to determine what I’m going to focus on for each individual week and day. For example, some weeks I’m more focused on course creation or working on my dissertation for my PhD. But on a regular basis I’m also working on creating content for my clients. I usually spend one to two days a week preparing, recording and editing all of the content for my clients so that it can be delivered and they can be invoiced.
Outside of that, I also run two other businesses and have my PhD work to keep me busy so I work in blocks using the Pomodoro technique. I usually have one day per week that I focus specifically on all my fun projects for myself like running my website, creating blogs, recording course modules, corresponding with clients and students etc. That’s actually the day that I look forward to the most because I feel so involved in the creation part of it.
Do you ever struggle connecting passion to your work?
There was definitely a time when I felt like I was losing passion for my work and that was when I outsourced the majority of my writing to somebody else. My business had grown to the point where it was unsustainable for me to keep up with it and I had to outsource it.
But I discovered that I was much better at writing on my own than I ever was at managing a team of other people. I was terrible at management and quickly felt drained by having to be in that role. I am extremely glad that I transitioned back.
One of the greatest things about working for yourself is recognizing when that passion has disappeared and determining what steps you can take to make it. For example, I have definitely wanted to incorporate more course creation and coaching as well as fiction writing into my life. Restructuring my business with a sustainable amount of clients who I loved working with made that possible.
For those writing to make the world a better place, is it possible to make a solid income freelancing?
Absolutely. There are so many quality jobs out there in a whole broad range of categories. A lot of the things I have written over the last several years have been designed for people who are suffering from severe injuries and pain.Sharing information puts all my PhD skills to work, but it also allows me to help people who are looking for assistance on the internet. I read a variety of sources to create every individual piece so I love hearing from my readers or my clients that the final product has been something that is extremely useful for them. People are more interested in personal development, self-betterment, and making this world a better place than ever before, making it an ideal time to be a writer.
Do you have any other advice for those writing to make the world a better place?
Be unwavering about two things: your goals and the people you choose to work with. Have you ever heard the saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with? This applies to your writing business as well. You need to have clients who inspire you, who push you positively, and who appreciate and respect you. When you set big goals and have supportive people on your team to help make that happen, anything is possible.
How can we connect with you online?
I have two blogs. One focuses primarily on supporting freelance writers at www.sixfigurewritingsecrets.com, and another designed for virtual assistants specifically at www.yourwaytova.com.I’m on Instagram and Twitter @sixfigurewriter, as well as Facebook here.
From HereI love getting insight into the working life of writers like Laura! It’s so inspiring to know and be reminded that anything is possible. I really believe that. The more I talk with other writers and readers, the stronger my belief gets. My big takeaway is this – continue to pursue. Continue to drive. Sometimes things will go in unexpected directions, and sometimes you may be a little wary, but keep going. And amazing things will happen.Do you freelance? Have you created a balance between passion and work? Leave a comment below!
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