Faces of Freelance Austin is a monthly feature to get to know one of our many members just a little bit better. For our fifth installment, we check in with the woman who keeps us in line while online: our Blog Editor, Kristen Hicks. Want to nominate a member to be interviewed for this feature? Let us know!!
Name: Kristen Hicks
Business name: Austin Copywriter
Find LuAnn: http://austin-copywriter.com
Number of years freelancing: 4
Located: Austin, TX
Accepting new work? Yes
How do you describe the work you do?
I’m a content writer, mostly in the form of blogging for businesses or creating long-form content that helps educate their target audiences.
Describe your path to becoming a freelancer/small business owner/solopreneur.
I really didn’t know much about what freelancing was or think about it as an option until I had an employer switch me to contract status. I did the research on what that meant and had an “a ha!” moment that this was a much better fit for me and my work style than commuting to sit in an office eight hours a day. I haven’t looked back since!
How has career independence changed your professional and personal world?
I take my work more seriously now. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that since it implies I didn’t before, but freelancing got me to start thinking of my work as a career rather than something I did to fund my life outside of work.
Our members cite connections with people from varied expertises and career stages as one of the biggest benefits of Freelance Austin. Have you had mentors along the way, from Freelance Austin or elsewhere?
Yes! Not one person in particular, so much as a whole community of people that have helped shape my understanding of what’s normal, when it’s worth drawing boundaries, what to price, etc. Having other people to talk to makes all the difference in figuring out what this whole freelancing business should look like and, just as importantly, what it shouldn’t look like.
Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?
I’ve made some big investments on things like courses and conferences, which made me nervous because I’m a naturally frugal person. They didn’t always pay off in a direct way, but usually provided enough benefit not to make me regret the expense.
What was the biggest surprise or shock you found in freelancing? If you could share a bit of wisdom with your newbie freelance self what would it be?
This sounds completely naive, but I learned people will take advantage of you if you let them. It’s hard to draw boundaries and say “no” or “yes, but it will cost you more,” but it’s so important. It’s important for everyone, but it’s a muscle we have to flex more in freelancing.
Tell us what your day is like. Do you have a routine?
I always aim to get my writing done the day before a deadline so I have time between writing and proofreading. So the early morning is for proofreading, then I usually take my dog for a walk. After that, I get into the research, writing, and other heavier tasks of the day.
My dog’s a pretty big deal, so she merits mentioning. I also like my stories, whether in book, TV, or movie form. I pretty much require that a certain portion of my week be set aside for story consumption. I also docent at the Harry Ransom Center, which provides good incentive to delve into a new subject and learn a lot of new things every few months.
Don’t forget to nominate someone for a future Faces of Freelance Austin interview! Who should we feature next?
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