Using Freelancing as a Path to Better Health with Christine Moline

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 Freelance Austin committee member in charge of project postings Christine Moline.

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Name: Christine Moline FoFa_ Christine

Business name: Dashboard Priorities
No. of years freelancing: 6
Located: Austin, TX
Accepting new work? Yes

What’s your superhero power?

I make room for clarity.

How do you describe the work you do?

I write, edit and organize for small business owners, academics and executives. I am an idea wrangler and technology untangler, with a focus on Google and Apple products. My ability to ask the right questions to the appropriate people at the right time ensures operational excellence by way of process improvement. I partner with clients to create order, fuel progress, and improve the bottom line.

Describe your path to becoming a freelancer/small business owner/solopreneur.

In my career, I’ve served as a communications strategist and project manager for educational institutions, technology corporations and nonprofits. While employed at a higher education institution, I started moonlighting as a proofreader, publicist and copywriter before making the leap to freelance full-time.

Was there an “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to strike out on your own?

The year I earned the equivalent of my salary while moonlighting validated that I could find success in freelancing. I began reaching out to my community to share my career plans. Within two weeks of leaving full-time employment, I was contacted to contract with that employer. That was almost four years ago.

How has career independence changed your professional and personal world?

Career independence has helped me form healthier habits including: exercising four to six times a week, saving money while eating a balanced diet prepared at home, sleeping seven to eight hours each night, and maintaining community by coworking with friends at neighborhood coffee shops or our homes.

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’ve worked with a SCORE Austin advisor for six years. I have also partnered with a mentor from Leadership Texas for several years.

Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?

After four years of freelancing as a copywriter and editor, I pivoted my practice to include operations management. I always wanted to add a third service to my company. After receiving many requests for productivity consulting, I introduced a new DBA under the umbrella of my LLC. Results have been positive.

Tell us what your day is like. Do you have a routine?

My routine revolves around my work commitments and fitness schedule. I start and end each day by preparing a meal with my husband. I process flagged and new email messages. I then get started on my set tasks for the day, stored in the Reminders application. I leave my home office one or two times each week to work with a friend at a coffee shop.

What, outside of your professional work, drives you? Any hobbies, passions or side projects?

Improving my quality of life by focusing on wellness drives everything I do. Health is my wealth and it allows me to produce the best work for my clients. I enjoy walking, pilates and yoga. I’m also passionate about expanding my view of the world through domestic and international travel.

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?

The biggest shock came when I began to understand the amount of funds I should withhold for taxes. Paying your own taxes is a practice in organization and also learning to charge what you are worth and what you need to sustain your lifestyle.

Austin has a thriving independent worker population, do you see any ways the creative and freelance community in Austin could be better?

The Austin creative and freelance communities will continue to thrive by prioritizing making connections and keeping others top of mind for opportunities that fit their services. There’s enough opportunity for everyone in Austin to focus on the work we do best.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?

Test as many avenues that interest you in the beginning. If you choose to specialize, do so after you’ve had a chance to work in several areas of your field.

Don’t forget to nominate someone for a future Faces of Freelance Austin interview! Who should we feature next?

Kristen Hicks

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