After over a decade of balancing freelance work with a full-time job, Lisa Battles fully transitioned to freelance writing in February 2023. Her path to this decision wasn't due to one particular event but stemmed from a series of complex experiences.
"I've always sought the security of a full-time job," Lisa says, indicating her initial reluctance to leave a stable position. "So, it's taken a while to let go of the fear and clinging to the security," she adds, reflecting on her gradual shift towards freelancing.
Her aspiration to freelance began during her university days, fueled by a dream of being a storyteller and writing feature stories for magazines. The pivotal moment came with the onset of the pandemic and her subsequent job loss, which she recalls as the push she needed to fully embrace freelancing.
With a background in content that began in 1998 after graduating in journalism from Auburn University, Lisa's career evolved from an editor and news coordinator to a public relations manager, eventually leading to a senior role in publishing. Despite her extensive background, she admits, "I never really had the confidence to just go for it on my own."
Today, in her freelance career, Lisa has worked with a diverse range of clients across various industries and content formats, from Blinkist, Transform Magazine, OnlyInYourState.com, and Texas Economic Development Connection.
In the conversation with ContentGrip, Lisa shares her journey to becoming a full-time freelance writer and how to build a secure freelancing career that progresses.
Should you specialize in freelancing?
Lisa addresses the niche market versus generalist debate in freelancing. "I understand that people want you to have a specialty," she acknowledges, but chooses to remain a generalist due to her diverse experiences. "I think that's been a challenge too... I love that, so I've embraced the fact that I'm a generalist," she explains.
Despite her generalist leanings, Lisa recognizes the value of niche expertise. She discusses her ability to connect different disciplines, a key strength for generalists. "It's very difficult to encapsulate that and pitch myself... as far as I'm qualified to tell the story," she notes, emphasizing the importance of versatility in freelancing.
Lisa also views a diverse portfolio and freelance career as a gateway to future full-time opportunities, suggesting long-term benefits of varied work.
Choosing the right tools for productivity
Lisa emphasizes the importance of using effective tools in her freelance work. She shares her experience with completing assignments that require extensive research. By using Blinkist, she gathers key insights from books and then uses ChatGPT to organize these insights into structured outlines.
"I use ChatGPT to help me get that outline together, even down to how many words to write. You know, it tells me where to focus," she explains. This method helps her focus on the crucial elements of her content and manage her writing tasks efficiently.
The right choice of tools helps her adapt to the evolving freelance market. She stays current with new technologies, ensuring her competitiveness and relevance. "It's just every day, it's an advance to something else," she remarks, pointing out the rapid changes in freelancing tools.
Strategies for landing clients
Lisa uses a combination of personal networking and digital platforms like ContentGrow to secure freelance work. These platforms are instrumental in her search for new opportunities and showcasing her portfolio. "I've picked up another assignment with transform magazine," she mentions, highlighting the role these platforms play in providing new job opportunities.
An updated portfolio on ContentGrow is a key part of Lisa's strategy to attract clients. This portfolio displays her wide range of skills and positions her as an attractive candidate for various content projects.
Adaptability is also central to Lisa's approach. She emphasizes the importance of being responsive and adaptable to client schedules and demands.
How to stay on track and progressive as freelance writer
Lisa maintains her growth and progress as a freelance writer by actively engaging with content on LinkedIn. "I'm frequently invited to contribute to LinkedIn articles... I usually don't add to it unless I disagree... but I'll just find a way to fill in the blanks," she shares. This practice helps her stay current with industry trends and gain diverse insights from other writers.
Another part of her strategy is curating her information sources. Lisa follows experienced freelancers and influencers on platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok and stays updated with various newsletters. "I read newsletters a lot... just keeping up with what's happening with AI, branding, and marketing," she says. This approach keeps her informed about the latest developments in her field and broadens her perspective.
Adapting to different writing styles is crucial for Lisa as well. She tailors her writing to meet the specific style guides of her diverse client base. "Adapting my writing style to fit the style guides of other clients has been really useful," she notes. This adaptability is essential for managing a wide range of writing projects and maintaining high work quality.
At the end of the conversation, Lisa expresses her aim to blend the stability of traditional employment with the freedom of freelancing. This balance is important for her, ensuring financial stability while enjoying the benefits of freelancing. "I'm not going to take another full-time job without the capability to continue this," she states, indicating her goal to integrate both elements into her professional life.
Clients interested in Lisa’s services can explore her portfolio here.
ContentGrow is a freelance writer's secret weapon for landing vetted inbound clients. The platform matches each client with niche-appropriate writers at preferred rates. Sign up to get your invite and free portfolio here.