The Road To Freelance Success Is Paved with Good Karma

[Image via]

Work has been pretty damn good lately (aside from the occasional seasonal slump). And — conceited as it may sound — I credit myself for a lot of that. After all, I’m the one who got me here. When I was unhappy at my 9-to-5, and daydreaming about freelancedom, I figured out the steps I’d need to take in order to make it work, and then took them. I self-educated myself with a shit-ton of how-to books. I took writing and pitching classes through MediaBistro and at the New School. I attended a ton of MediaBistro networking events, and formed a writing group. I secured a freelance gig before jumping ship and, during the transitional period, was working two jobs at once. And when I’d left my 9-to-5 behind, I took on another unpaid, post-college internship in order to gain more experience, contacts, and clips.

When the economy took a nosedive, and regular clients folded or downsized, I maintained the attitude that one could succeed in this sort of economic client as long as they ignored it, and continued to work their booty off. I broke into new markets, found a part-time gig and, in an attempt to diversify even further, started researching career coaching certification programs and conducting informational interviews with both career counselors and coaches. I eventually entered a program and, at this rate, I’ll be able to open up a private practice by this summer.

So, yes. I am the master of my own destiny. But I’ve also had a heckuva lot of help along the way.

When I was a part-time editorial assistant at the Feminist Press back in 2004, a former editorial intern gave me an in at Routledge, where I eventually landed my first (and last 🙂 full-time publishing job. When I decided I wanted to leave book publishing, a former member of my writing group passed along a job ad for freelance copy editing at The New York Sun. It was the gig that made it possible for me to make that leap. And fellow writers both on here and on Twitter have passed along leads that have led to numerous freelance assignments (I so love you guys).

So, yes. I couldn’t have done it without you.

And so, I’ve tried to pass along the good karma, by responding to the random e-mails I occasionally receive with as many tips and bits of advice as possible. I try to be generous with my contacts. And I hope to continue spreading the good karma in my role as a career coach.

Just the other day, a former editor of mine mentioned that she’d been laid off. In the past, she had championed me … stood up for me … encouraged me … all the things the very best of editors do. And so, since I was in a position to hire freelance writers, I vowed to do as much as I could for her. After all, she deserved it.

It made me think of a blog post Michelle Rafter wrote the other week: The Editor You Write for Today May Be the Writer You Edit Tomorrow.

I know that all of you work your booties off. I know that you’ve been single-minded and determined while traveling the path you took to get to where you are now. But who helped you along the way? And how have you paid them back … or paid it forward?

Related: My Support System, Finding Someone To Drag You to the Finish Line, Using Twitter To Achieve World Domination (In Your Field), Build Your Own: Writing Group, PSA: Brazen Careerist Kicks Ass in a Brand New Way


  1. I love the idea of helping others as we progress ourselves.

  2. I love hearing stories of people chasing after their dreams. Way to go! Thanks for taking the time to share. I love your blog 🙂

  3. Your last comment was truly inspiring. I have been freelancing for over 13 years, working mainly a big city newspaper. I’ve also done corporate marketing communications work. It’s January, and I’m alway itching to start a new project or get a new client. Can you point me in the right direction for getting work on online projects? I’m 46, computer literate, but still have not jumped into the “bloggosphere” as some (younger) associates have recommended.
    Also, as a follow up to your comments…I have never had a negative situation the entire time I’ve been doing this. I don’t know if it’s because I truly believe I’m my own boss or not. I’ve been lucky to work with and for professional people.
    Take care.

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Laurie: As far as online projects go, what are you interested in? Are you looking to remain with marketing-related copywriting? Feel free to e-mail me off-blog! You can find my contact info on my About page.


  1. […] The road to freelance success is paved with good karma […]

  2. […] Back to Your Favorite Bloggers for the Holidays. I loved it because I’ve always felt that generosity toward your fellow freelancers was key in achieving career success… and in experiencing the […]

Speak Your Mind