April 21, 2021
A little about myself
My name is Susana, I’m 50, an animal lover by nature, vet tech by trade, Generation X by luck. And now a part-time freelance writer.
I have a full-time day job that provides a steady paycheck and decent health insurance. I should be grateful for it. My whole life I have been taught by my family that nothing is more important than getting a good job and working to earn a living.
I was raised by my grandparents, who were born in the 1920s to the Greatest Generation. They survived the Great Depression and served in World War II. They believed in hard work and earning your way. If you are lucky enough to have a job, you stay until you retire with a pension and social security.
I definitely learned some work ethic from them. With their help, I was the first in my family to go to college. I earned a 4-year degree and eventually became licensed as a veterinary technician.
Craving something more
My day job can be hard work, and there is plenty that I enjoy about it. I have a 401k and benefits. What more could I ask for, right? Here are a few things I dream about…
- No bureaucracy
- No HR BS
- No commute
- No boss
- No scheduling myself around other people
My break into freelancing
I’ve been freelancing part-time for almost 4 months. It gives me a creative outlet, I get to do something new and I get paid for it. I love this opportunity to reinvent myself. I don’t always have to do one thing. I can learn new skills and do more or do something different.
I will forever be grateful for Alexandra Fasulo’s TikTok videos because that is how I first came to realize that freelancing is an option for anyone, so there is no reason I shouldn’t at least try it. I had never published anything before. I had never written an article before. I did have plenty of experience with animals and a creative urge to write. The rest I just figured out along the way. I looked at what other sellers were offering for ideas on how to market myself. I’ve improved myself by listening to other freelancers and their ideas on
- how to use templates to save time
- how to use formatting to improve my final delivery
- where to get free resources for keyword searches, editing, and more
- providing good customer service
Having a support group of people going through the same things I am has been the biggest confidence booster.
All of my freelance jobs so far have been through Fiverr, although I have signed up on other platforms like Upwork, Contra, and Freelance US. Fiverr made it easy for me to post a gig that I wanted to do and just wait for someone to say that they wanted me to do it. I have 3 writing-related gigs. The one that quickly became very popular was my animal-related content gig. I’ve written about a variety of animals and on a variety of topics including potty training dogs, keeping fancy goldfish as pets, and the size of blue whales. I love learning new information about animals and that keeps me interested.
Do I experience Imposter Syndrome? Absolutely! I named her Priscilla. She says things like
- What business do you have saying you’re a writer and asking people to pay you?
- How are you any better than all of the other sellers out there?
- What do you even know about formatting or SEO?
But I don’t let her bully me too much….
Guess what, Priscilla?
- If I write something and someone wants to pay me for it, I am a writer.
- I don’t have to be better than everyone. There is plenty of room for all of us.
- I don’t have to prove anything to you. Now go back to your closet and close the door behind you!
Ultimately I would like to make freelancing a full-time reality. I would like to provide for myself and not have to depend on an employer for a paycheck, health insurance, and a retirement fund. It’s helpful that I believe in always learning. I want to build my portfolio. Most of what I have written so far is uncredited work so I want more examples that I can use to show new clients. Over the next year, I plan to put more effort into using multiple platforms for work. I also need to practice improving my productivity if this is going to be financially viable for me. My other big hurdle is Fear of Failure. I haven’t given him a name yet, but maybe that will be my next step to putting him in his place.
Susana Johnson is a mid-west urbanite by way of the rural west coast, a natural introvert, omnivore, coffee drinker, and dog lover. She loves avocado toast, disco, and traveling. She’s been writing her whole life.