Jodi HelmerCharlotte, North Carolina, United States
Writing encompasses all of things a dream job should - it's creative, flexible and fun. I'm able to travel, talk to top experts in the fields of health, sustainable living, food and travel. I write articles that educate and entertain while making a great living and having the freedom to walk the dogs or take an afternoon off to play in the garden.
I work at home in my pajamas (OK, not all the time!) writing articles for magazines like National Geographic Traveler, Shape, American Way, Woman's Day, WebMD, Entrepreneur and Family Circle. I'm also the author of several books, including "The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference" and "Moon Charlotte", a travel guidebook to Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition, I teach classes like "The $50,000 Freelancer" and "Write Your Way Around the World.” I have a part-time assistant who helps keep me on track.
It is important to remember, first and foremost, freelancing is a business. The essential difference between writers who make their livings from words and those who don't is the focus on the business side of freelancing. I became a freelancer in 2002 and count it as the best business decision I've ever made.
Here’s a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• How to come up with ideas that sell.
• How to research magazines and websites to find the right markets for those ideas.
• How to write amazing queries.
• How to develop relationships with editors for long-term success.
Prior to freelancing, I worked as a career counselor. I was in the job long enough to know spending 40 hours per week wearing a suit and trapped in a cubicle was not a good fit. I wanted more control over the clients I worked with, the hours I spent in the office and the paycheck I earned for both.
I volunteered in writing roles for various non-profits and a local magazine before deciding to pursue freelancing fulltime. Switching from career counseling to freelancing also provided the opportunity to pursue projects I felt really passionate about rather than just tackling the ones handed to me. Freelance writing has also provided a huge shift in work/life balance: I spend more time living and less time working.
I am most proud of the fact I make a living doing something I LOVE! Building a successful business owner is a huge accomplishment; helping others build their own successful freelance businesses is even better. The clients I've worked with have landed book contracts and assignments with top-tier magazines. Some of the people I have mentored have left jobs in finance and public relations to freelance full-time, won grants to pursue publishing projects and amassed a collection of articles with their bylines.