PSA: Steph Auteri Has Finally Gone Rogue

My new, improved head shot with my new, improved boobs (I was a late bloomer).

Over the past four years, you’ve revealed your fears to me regarding freelancing. You’ve talked about money issues. You’ve talked about health insurance. You’ve talked about the fear of failure. You’ve talked about self-doubt.

And I totally get all of those.

I, in turn, have always held the opinion that freelancing doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can write in the evenings, after coming home from your full-time job. You can supplement a part-time retail gig with a handful of copy editing projects. You can go permalance, or you can go whole hog. The right balance is different for everyone.

For me, the right balance was always a mix of part-time permalance, supplemented by a handful of other writing and copy editing projects.

Still, at times, I had an underlying feeling that my permalance gigs were holding me back. They were taking up the majority of the time, and at less than ideal rates. They were keeping me from really giving my other business pursuits my all. Sure, there was the promise of a regular paycheck. But could I possibly make more money without the security?

A couple of months ago, I decided to find out.

In late February, I resigned from my part-time permalance position at YourTango. The job had been a good one for me. It opened doors for me. It raised my visibility and helped me build up my portfolio. It helped me grow into my own as an editor, and it gave me a close look into the inner workings of an online magazine. It also got me connected with some pretty fantastic people.

But on my last day — March 31 — I celebrated by ordering in Chinese food and opening a bottle of Brut from Alba Vineyard.

The prospect of earning my keep without a regular paycheck is terrifying, but I’m already doing better than I was before, and these small successes make me giddy, and uber-excited for the future. Which is why I’m writing this post! I wanted to share my excitement with those of you who have been following my freelance journey from the very beginning, and let you know what’s in store for the future!

My first order of business was to get some professional head shots done up. I’ve been using a black-and-white photo from my wedding day for the past three or four years, and my husband told me it was probably time to move on. One of my tweeps hooked me up with the fabulous Amber Marlow, and voila! The photo above is my absolute fave.

At around the same time, I was also informed that I had been accepted into the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). Woo-hoo! Check me out looking all professional. It’s my hope that being a part of YEC will raise my visibility even further, and also give me the chance to meet some pretty damn talented entrepreneurs. Because lord knows I love a good collaboration. (Collaboration = increased accountability = me actually getting shit done.)

Soon after that, Jason H. Parker of Brazen Careerist contacted me about organizing a word nerd event on BC’s virtual Network Roulette platform. The first one was a success, and there’s a good chance this could become a monthly thing. And now that I have all this time on my hands, I’m hoping to start planning some more in-person events as well.

Aside from all that, I’ve been trying to send out a query a week and, thus far, have garnered additional writing assignments from a number of print and online publications, including three assignments from good ‘ol YourTango! (I’m totally on a roll.) Here’s the most recent one. I’ve also been chatting with several contacts about some much bigger projects, and have even had some copy editing projects fall into my lap. Need a writer or copy editor (or know someone who does)? Definitely e-mail me. I now have more time to take on projects I can get excited about.

On the coaching side of things, I’ve been trying to further my business education. I really enjoy one-on-one coaching (my clients never fail to inspire me, and I hope that I’m doing the same for them), and I want to be doing more of it! I recently completed a workshop from Dave Navarro, and have been updating my coaching page to focus more on my one-on-one services. If you or anyone you know would benefit from some query letter workshopping, some tips on how to build your online marketing platform, some advice on how to rock the freelance thing, or a really hard kick in the ass, contact me. Career Coaching for Word Nerds is obviously for you, and I think we’d have fun together!

And of course, I’m working on some other, personal projects. Singing funeral masses. Hoop dancing. Doing naked yoga in my living room. The usual.

God it feels good.

What have you been up to? Has your career been shifting in ways that have made you hella excited? Share in the comments! Keep the cycle of inspiration going! (Is that cheesy? Yes. But who cares.)

Related: Permalancing: The Good, the Bad, and the Mildly Horrific, Career Stalled? What You’re Doing Wrong, Wanted: The Career Equivalent og an Open Marriage, 10 Side Jobs for Freelancers, How To Juggle Multiple Careers, My 5 Favorite Things In: One Person/Multiple Careers


  1. Wow! You’ve been super busy and productive. I’m impressed. Just trying to keep my head nominally above water here. Not always succeeding.

  2. I’m so thrilled for you! So many times the unknown is so scary. And until we take that step, we’ll never find out what is out there. Kudos for you for feeling brave and daring. Your talents will not go unrecognized.

  3. Woo! So happy to read about all these great developments. I am a big believer in the idea that in order to get what you want—whether it’s career or relationships—you need to make room for it in your life. I’ve found this to be true over and over again during my past year as a full-time freelancer.

  4. I’m grabbing onto your excitement with glee! I had a permalance gig with AOL for several years which, yep, ended last year — before all the AOL/HuffPo kerfluffle in recent months. At the time, I was frustrated about the whole thing, but looking back, I now see that it was really good timing for me. It got me back into my own freelance career fulltime in a big way, and made me a lot happier in the long run.

    So yeah, you can find me blogging and marketing my syndicated family movie and TV reviews at and…

    Teaching online blogging classes at (WordPress 101 starts Monday, April 18, 2011!).

    Thanks for letting me shamelessly plug my stuff, and MORE POWER TO YOU, STEPH!

    In solidarity,

    • Hurrah! Good on you for having so much career-related excitement going on. And yes. I think your parting from AOL came at a really good time. God forbid you had to go through what all of their freelancers are going through now.

  5. Go steph!!

  6. Way to go! Take charge of your own future. FWITW: While I like the picture you show at the top–it is a bit of a tease, since we can’t really see you. I think the shot used at the Young Entrepreneurs makes a better professional identifier.

  7. Best of luck to you! That’s a hot shot, for sure.

  8. Amazing and happy news. Congrats to you. I’ve always said it takes a good 6 months to get up to full ramming speed … once you go FT freelance, but it sounds like you’re already at near-top speed. Congrats.

  9. Congrats on all the freelance awesomeness happening in your life! Doesn’t it always seem like when one or two opportunities pop up, others find their way to you like magic? That’s what I like about freelancing. The work is interesting because it’s always new and different. I was thisclose to getting myself into that full time work-from-home job that didn’t pan out (the TripAdvisor one). Thinking about it now, I’m glad it fell through. Losing it gave me the fire to go forward with freelancing and say screw it to depending on something steady. Had I gotten it, I would have been spending 40 hours a week in front of my computer doing work for THEM. When would I have written? The paycheck would have been great, but sometimes you really have to just go with you gut and do what you want to do.
    p.s. The head shot is great!

  10. Congrats, Steph! I’m so excited for you. I had a pseudo permalance gig a couple of years ago, and despite the stability it provided, it wasn’t making me happy. Sometimes the safety net does more harm than good. You need a little bit of that fear to make you achieve more than you ever thought possible. Can’t wait to see what great things happen for you next!

  11. So proud of you! It always feels better when you’re doing it for yourself.

  12. Congrats on all your recent successes! The new headshot looks fantabulous.

  13. Great to catch up with you and your life, Steph. So happy to know it’s off to a good start. Keep us informed.

  14. Many congrats and best wishes to you, Steph! I’m sure you’ll rock at everything you have coming up and beyond!

  15. You are on a roll! I can’t wait to read more about your successes.

  16. The term permalance is new to me but I like it — and it makes total sense for a freelance writer (a reliable, contract, bread-and-butter job, right?).

    But then look how many doors opened for you when you gave up that gig — and it sounds like you haven’t lost that outlet as a client either. So kudos to you for being brave and diving into the unknown.

  17. Thanks for all the kind words, you guys! Hopefully, I can keep up this positive momentum. 🙂

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