Since I’ve introduced my professional and writing lives, it’s time to tell the Freelance Writing Jobs community a bit about my personal life. I don’t usually talk much about my personal life online, but when it comes to building a career as a writer, I think I’m a good example of the expression if I can do it, anyone can in action.
So here goes…
I grew up in New Jersey and as you already know, pursued a corporate career in marketing when I received my undergraduate degree in 1993. I met my husband in 1995, and we were married in 1996. I led the corporate lifestyle until 2004 when I gave birth to triplets. Yes, I said triplets. As you can imagine, that’s when my life changed.
Originally, I planned to be a stay-at-home mom. Let’s face it, paying for daycare for three infants wasn’t practical. In 2005, my husband and I left the fast-paced New York City area for better weather. With no jobs and 14-month old triplets in tow, we headed south to find better weather and a less frenzied lifestyle. We landed in Central Florida and haven’t looked back (although I do miss being able to zip into Manhattan whenever I want).
A year or so after our move to sunny Florida, I had an idea to write a book about copywriting for small business owners and beginner copywriters. As I researched the process of selling a book proposal to a literary agent and publisher, I learned that one of the most important aspects of becoming a published business nonfiction author is having a platform. That means you have to be able to prove to the publisher that you have an established reputation with enough reach to help sell copies of your book. I had the education, the marketing experience, the story to tell, and the ability to write that story, but I did not have a platform.
Typically, authors spend a lot of time on the road, speaking at events around the world to build their platforms. They teach seminars, attend conventions, and get in front of as many people as they can. With toddler triplets at home, this type of travel was not an option for me, so I turned to the social web to build my platform.
My first target was blogging. The more I researched, the more I realized that building a quality blog independently would take a lot of time. I needed to speed up the process, so I actively sought out opportunities to blog for networks that would help me build my online exposure more quickly. I took paying blogging jobs and nonpaying jobs that would help me establish myself as a blogger and marketing expert across the social web.
After I had a blogging portfolio, I was able to land higher paying blogging roles that offered even more exposure. From there, one thing led to another, and there was more work on my plate than I could have imagined. By doing my research, creating a solid plan, and focusing on my niche area of expertise, I was able to develop a career as a writer in less than a year.
Today, my triplets are just about to turn 6-years old. They’re home for summer vacation before staring 1st grade in August, and I’m trying to juggle my business through my company, KeySplash Creative, my speaking schedule through SusanGunelius.com, and I’m churning out more books than I ever expected. Somehow, I manage to juggle it all, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Of course, you can connect with me across the social web. The main places where I spend time where you can connect with me are: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
So that’s my personal story. If I can do it, so can you!
How has your personal life affected your writing career? Leave a comment and share your own story. I can’t wait to read it and be inspired.
John Hewitt says
Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your life. Triplets! That’s amazing.
Wow, this is truly inspiring. I’ve been wondering how a freelance web writer can break into the publishing world and you made sense. If you have a strong social proof on the web, you don’t even need to make that query letter. Numbers speak for itself. I guess, if you are passionate about something, just write from the heart. Be a thought leader and not just another reword, rewrite, or ripoff of something that’s already existing on the web. Cheers!
Denise Turney says
Enjoyed reading your story about how you transitioned from the corporate world to online writing. You’re the second person I’ve met who made a significant life change after they had a child (which is change enough in and of itself).
The best to you!
Author – Long Walk Up
Off The Shelf Radio
Hey, Susan. Like many in this group, I’m a working mom – but I’ve been a professional writer since long before my kids, and a freelance writer since long before I was even married. It’s not that I dislike working for “the man,” but rather that I seriously dislike being pigeon-holed into doing just one kind of writing (marketing, fundraising, educational, etc.). The fact is, I enjoy diversity and freelance gives me a chance to do just about everything and get paid for it.
While I have more than plenty of experience in for-hire work of all sorts (including blogging), I would love to learn more about how to monetize a site/blog based on having a solid following on Facebook and on network blogs. Do I just build a useful site and blog, ad google ads, promote, and collect? Surely there’s a lot more to it!
G. Grenci says
Dear Susan,this is a glimpse into my son Angelo’s life. Currently he has app. one year left to serve. He was featured on Americas most Wanted,(not for what you might typically think, it was a fight among several people all friends) he was given a total of thirty years, through appeals reduced nine years serve 85%. He has written several books, the first about his life in Mexico where he was captured. He is articulate and well spoken. I am trying to line up a speaking event geared to young adults about his transformation. Much more to tell about his amazing journey. I became a publisher because of his writing talent. The first book Inabsentia I had self published.
The second book the first in a series The Text Keepers, ages 12 and up is truly wonderful, I published that book. But what I’m trying to accomplish is to find someone to help me get his story out there along with his books. There is so much to tell about his life that I can say you would be truly inspired, if interested email me and I will respond.