This interview is the second in my series about freelance writers. Show a big warm of virtual applause to Angela McKeller. She’s got spirit and energy that comes through her words and I know you’ll learn a lot about the freelance life from her.
Enjoy this interview.
You started freelancing in 2007 as a recipe developer. Tell us how you grew your freelance career from there.
My freelance career began as a “fly by the seat of my pants” career! I read an article in “Time” magazine about the YouTube phenomenon and watched a cooking channel that some entertaining folks created and I immediately thought, “I can do that!”. So, off to Home Depot I went to get some lights and uploaded my first video. It started off messy, but as I learned and changed techniques, people began to find me via word of mouth. The next thing you know, it was The Food Network, CBS, ABC and other media outlets, and once they found me? More clients did, too!
You wrote a popular cookbook (Gluten-Free Made Easy As 1,2,3: Essentials For Living A Gluten-Free Life) and have another book “Releasing Fear Now: Freedom from Belief in the Mind” coming out in a few weeks. How has writing these books helped your career as a freelancer?
Writing a book has helped my career in a number of ways, and in ways that people likely would not expect to hear. I, like many people, wanted to create something that helps others, but I learned that helping others alone doesn’t work. Instead, help yourself and then when you get your own obstacles figured out? You’ll naturally have something you know works that you can write about and offer to others. It’s always about focusing on me, and helping others second.
Interesting. I agree, you can help others best when you’ve been down the road they’ve been down, but you have some insight from making it through successfully. What did you learn from writing your book Passion on a Plate?
It helped me become clear on my own life. What I learned required me to overcome pride and ask others for help. I sometimes fell into the trap of wanting to do it all myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a success at this book writing thing. However, when my efforts would fail miserably? I had to look hard at why I needed to do it all myself. After all, no one wants to write a book and just let it set on the shelf, right?
When I was tempted to set it on the shelf and avoid it, I sat it in front of me instead. Forcing myself to confront my pride about failure made me seek out help from marketing interns and create partnerships that helped me learn marketing, public relations, and other tremendously helpful skills.
A fear of failure is a big problem for writers sometimes. How do you find confidence?
If you face your fear of failure and you try every method of PR and marketing you can, and finally get the word out about your work? People absolutely will find you. I’m absolutely not afraid to comment with my perspective on any Facebook page, twitter update, blog or anywhere else. When you face your fear of what other people think of you and have confidence about your own perspective on what you’ve learned in life? You become free to put the word out there for people to ask you for your perspective! 🙂
In your opinion, what’s the best way to get new clients as a freelancer?
The best way to get new clients is to keep everything you do timely and relevant. By this, I mean stay connected to everyone that is most tuned into that which you’re passionate about and pay attention to what you see from those specific people on LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, showing up in your feed. Always pay attention to everything that is relevant to what you do.
For example, primarily what I do now is focus on how people can face their fears of living the life they love. So, I comment with my perspective on every social media network about fear that I can, when it’s right in front of me. This doesn’t mean I do this all the time, but because I’m in the conversation? When I am spending time at the computer, I see where my perspective is valuable. In this way, every week someone new is contacting me to talk about what to do about living a life they love.
That’s what it’s about. Keep yourself tuned into the timely and relevant conversations; don’t be afraid to put your perspective out there, and when what you say speaks to someone? They will respond!
Agreed! They certainly will and what an awesome bonus that is for any writer.
Tell us what your day is like. How many hours do you work and do you have the flexibility that many freelancers crave?
I have incredible flexibility and I love it. I sleep 3-4 hours a night and get up when I’m hungry. I eat a light breakfast, respond to emails, and post a blog post and check my social network feeds. That may take 1-2 hours. Sometimes I go back to napping for a bit, then I’m up for lunch, and continue writing the book I’m writing, and to coach people as they contact me. Several times a day I take 30 minute breaks or longer, to walk among the trees and connect with what is natural. I spend no time watching television; I rarely watch movies, and only sometimes play the occasional Facebook games. For fun I love to paint, draw, and cook, of course! But the best part of freelancing? I can do it from anywhere, so I travel a lot! 🙂
What’s the biggest misconception people have about freelance writers?
They think they are going to get rich overnight. We have to question how we define rich, what we really need to feel successful, and redefine what is important to us if we are to create real freedom for ourselves. When I first began freelancing, I wanted to go to all of the networking events, wearing designer dresses and fancy stilettos. Not anymore! Sure, I spend time with friends, but my networking is among the trees and professionally, it’s all done online now!
Do you have a favorite book about writing or small business that has helped you?
Actually, I do not have one. Everything I have learned has been by facing my own failure, overcoming pride, asking others for their perspectives on life and business, and learning how to chisel away the obstacles, rather than running from them.
Anything you’d like to add?
If freelancing is something that you’ve been considering, but you’ve been too afraid to make the leap? Please don’t run from the fear and wait to freelance until tomorrow, next year, or when the kids graduate. It’s a trick of the mind to make you think that you can achieve your dreams tomorrow! Instead, ask yourself what you’re afraid of now. Question that fear and where it first came from. Once you’ve realize that it’s not your fear, and someone else was just trying to protect you from their fears? You can begin to understand the cycle of fear and let it go. If you have questions for how to begin this process, please ask them on my website at http://www.releasingfearnow.com/questions
Where can we find you online?
Angela McKeller’s Books: