It was November of 2009, and just 3 months after I’d lost my corporate job and my apartment. I had spent six years as a technical writer but, as a former English major, I didn’t feel like I was “legit.”
So, while I was cooped up in an upstairs bedroom at my parents’ house with my two cats, I created a dinky website for myself that would eventually become my business. I wasn’t sure how to make a go of it, though. The popular freelance sites offered pitiful fees that amounted to about a penny an hour (ok, I exaggerate, but not by much). So, I floundered around for a few years, halfheartedly tending to the site when I wasn’t being suffocated by my corporate life.
It was 2011 when I randomly secured my first long-term client through Craigslist. He said he liked me, and had a good feeling talking to me, so he hired me on the spot to help with some (well paid) articles and press releases. I had never written a press release but I knew I could do it so I did the whole “fake it till you make it” thing. And as it turned out, he loved my work.
I didn’t finally quit corporate America until mid-2013 but what propelled me forward was that first client. It just takes one win to get you going; one solid client relationship to help build your portfolio. If you keep working at it, one client somehow grows to two. And two to three. And so on and so forth.
Only five months later, I had become a very busy and self-sustaining freelance writer. The keys to my success have been running my business like a real business, faking confidence quite shamelessly, never working for less than professional rates, and just being a good human being. Tenacity with a dose of kindness are a writer’s best friends. Patience, however, is an aspiring writer’s most crucial asset.
Elizabeth Armenta is a Dallas-based freelance writer specializing in commercial copywriting, skillfully mixing creativity with business and technology. She has a BA in English from Kansas State University, and has been published in both business and consumer publications (print, web, magazine, publishing). Elizabeth is also an aspiring author and is hard at work on several projects. She expects to have her first manuscript ready for publication in late 2014 – a humorous book about her offbeat path through yoga. For more information, visit her no-longer-dinky website at http://www.writerliz.com.