I currently live in the Netherlands with my Dutch husband and our son. I am British and moved abroad in 2000 after meeting my husband in an internet chat room. I therefore know all about the power of technology from a personal and business perspective!
When did you launch?
I set up my freelance writing business in January 2008. After my maternity leave, I did not want to go back to my full time role in Human Resources and I had been toying with the idea of a writing career for a couple of years. I wanted to work in a manner that allowed me to combine home life and a career, control my hours of working and have a more flexible working life. I also wanted to have a career that was based around something I love doing – Human Resources was a long way off ever fulfilling that desire.
How did you get started?
Before I took the plunge, I took a course given by an expat writer, Jo Parfitt, about writing feature articles. This put me on the path but I spent a while just writing personal journals, morning pages and the odd article until I was certain that I wanted to turn writing into a career. Once I had made the decision to set up The Writing Well there was little administration. I registered with my local Chamber of Commerce and the tax office. The rest was all about networking and building up a portfolio.
What has worked well about your business?
I write about expatriate issues and life in the Netherlands so my writing captures a fairly specialised market. Networking has also led me to many interesting people and stories, experts and unusual topics for articles. I use Ecademy, LinkedIn and Twitter to link up with other expatriates, writers and editors.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
Time is my biggest challenge. Prioritising is an important part of my daily life. I set SMART goals and only undertake projects that help me achieve them. I use an online planner to manage my tasks. Keeping it realistic is the key to good organisation and planning.
How do you fit in work with the family?
I work whilst my toddler is napping at lunchtime and in the evenings. My working week no longer consists of five days – if there is a window to work at the weekends then I use that time too. If I go to a meeting or interview then I arrange childcare for my son, but I am never away more than a few hours at a time. I choose to be a mother running a writing business rather than a business owner who is also a mother.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Before becoming a freelance writer, ensure that writing is a passion and not just a job as you need a lot of self-discipline and the motivation to get each task done has to come from within. Secondly, invest in building your networks. Writers also need to have thick skins and use criticism, instead of taking it personally. Ideas pitched to editors often meets with silence, or a resounding no. Either way, the early stages of building a career as a freelance writer can be disheartening. Perseverance is crucial.
Your website link: www.thewritingwell.eu