Faces of Freelance Austin is a monthly feature to get to know one of our many members just a little bit better. For this month’s installment, we check in with Clarisa Ramirez. Want to nominate a member to be interviewed for this feature? Let us know!
Name: Clarisa Ramirez
Business name: Small Coffee
No. of years freelancing: 13 (off and on)
Located: Austin, TX
Accepting new work? Yes
How do you describe the work you do?
I provide a mix of content writing, grassroots marketing, public relations, social media marketing and content strategy to small businesses, but I’m starting to do mostly PR.
Describe your path to becoming a freelancer/small business owner/solopreneur.
I started freelancing as a journalist when I was in college, and then immediately after college while looking for a full-time job. I had always freelanced as a journalist part time whenever I was in between jobs, but I didn’t really see a career in it until I switched to being a social media marketing and PR consultant. In January 2015, I launched my small business, Small Coffee.
How has career independence changed your professional and personal world?
I feel like my personal and professional world are a lot more intertwined now that I work for myself. I frequently rely on my network for jobs, so I make sure that I’m getting out and meeting people more than I did when I was working full time.
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?
I have only attended one Freelance Austin meeting, but I have definitely benefitted from Women Communicators of Austin. I took on an amazing mentor, Maura Thomas of RegainYourTime.com, who helped me start up my business through the group.
Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?
Since I launched my company less than two years ago, I feel like I’m just beginning, but the biggest risk was letting go of two clients to see if I could find clients who could pay me more. The risk paid off, but it took a couple of months.
Tell us what your day is like. Do you have a routine?
I start working around 8:30 or 9 am. Each morning starts with a cup of coffee and a light breakfast at my desk while I manage every client’s social media accounts. I work from home, so I make sure I always have an afternoon meeting or workout to get out of the house for a little bit. The rest of the day involves a lot of writing and emailing. I usually end my day at 6 or 7 pm, depending on how much I have on my plate. This may sound crazy to most people but I usually have activities planned at least three weeknights a week. This spring I was teaching a night class at St. Edward’s University, so that involve a lot of late-night reading and grading!
What, outside of your professional work, drives you? Any hobbies, passions or side projects?
I am the Chair of the Girls Empowerment Network’s GENthusiast Society, which keeps me busy, and I participate in a couple of fun book clubs that do a lot of other things besides sit and read. We’ll often go see a movie or take a field trip somewhere. I’ve met a ton of entrepreneurs through these groups, and they frequently inspire me. I recently started blogging for Small Coffee, which was one of my major goals for the year, so that’s been my Sunday afternoon activity.
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?
I wish I would’ve had more confidence in the beginning to do what I do, and a lot of that comes from making an effort to look professional. I would tell the younger me to wear more suits and to look sharp when going out and about.
Austin has a thriving independent worker population, do you see any ways the creative and freelance community in Austin could be better?
I actually think Austin does a pretty good job of providing the resources freelancers need. It’s more matter of people not taking the time to take advantage of these opportunities.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
Talk to a lot of people while starting out, but just make sure to actually start and not just do informational interviews!
Don’t forget to nominate someone for a future Faces of Freelance Austin interview! Who should we feature next?
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