Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, what did you do in your previous life?
I live in a small town in Northeastern Wisconsin. Most people that find my work immediately assume that I reside in a larger city—such as New York or San Francisco. But, I really love the small town life!
Before switching to freelancing full-time, I worked as a Marketing Assistant for my local Convention and Visitors Bureau. We promoted travel to the local area in an effort to draw more visitors dollars into our economy. Marketing travel was definitely a fun gig, but I always found myself itching to venture off on my own!
How did you first get into freelancing?
I began freelancing when I was still employed full-time—I suppose “side hustle” is the trendy name for it now. I wrote for a few small, local publications and collaborated with a few area businesses in my free time. I really enjoyed it, and made an effort to continue building up my side business. Eventually, I decided to just take the leap and dive into that completely! It was terrifying, but also really thrilling.
Your blog is called Lemonade Linings, can you explain the origin of this cool, alliterative name?
My blog is something that I started when I was still working full-time. I didn’t have as many opportunities to write and express my creativity as I would’ve liked, so I began blogging as my own creative outlet. Since then, I’ve managed to build a really awesome, engaged community!
As far as the name is concerned, I consider myself a pretty positive person—I always see the glass half full.
Two of my favorite sentiments about positivity are, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and “Every cloud has a silver lining.” So, I mashed the two together, and Lemonade Linings was born!
I love how your blog is so empowering and encouraging to women! How do you incorporate this #bosslady mindset into your writing?
You know, when I started blogging, I had assumed that I would want to write about style and beauty like so many other female bloggers my age. And, that’s exactly how I got started. However, after going through a major career shift, I found that I had different things I wanted to talk about. Productivity, self-development, fulfillment, and building a freelance business were all things that made my heart sing. So, I really altered the focus of my content.
I think this mindset of empowering women to also build lives and careers they love just shines through naturally. It’s something I’m super passionate about, so it sort of filters its way into anything that I’m writing about! But, with that being said, I don’t want to exclude men either. Guys, you’re also completely entitled to careers that excite you!
You produce so much content. How do you keep finding great ideas and avenues to pursue?
I’ll be the first to admit that this is a struggle for me. Particularly since so much of my content is related to career advice, it can be challenging to constantly come up with fresh ideas and pitches.
First, I think any good writer also reads a lot. There’s so much inspiration you can pull out of things that have already been written—whether you disagree with a point that was made or want to expand on a minor detail. I also often go through and read some of my own older work to see if there are any nuggets of inspiration hiding in there.
When all else fails, I like to ask my network for their thoughts. What are they struggling with? What do they want more information on? What questions do they have? Believe me—your connections are a bottomless well of inspiration.
Our members always ask about fluidly connecting their blogs with their Twitter and Instagram, and you do this so perfectly. How do you make all these pieces work together?
Ironically, my own social media strategy is something I hope to refine and polish this year. However, I think there’s one key thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to branding yourself and your blog on social media. My secret is to pick one key focus, and then stick with that. For me, that’s career development—whether you work a traditional 9 to 5 or are starting your own business.
Pretty much all of my blog content centers on that topic, as do most of my tweets and Instagram posts. I think this creates some cohesiveness that lets my target audience truly know when they’re in the right place. They know they aren’t going to hear about my favorite lipstick or what I ate for dinner.
They’re able to ascertain right away what they’re in for—and if it’s something they’re interested in sticking around for.
I can tell you love interacting with your readers through social media. Can you talk about why this is important to you?
Honestly, I never would’ve dreamed that I’d have so many people sending me messages about my work. No matter how many tweets or emails I receive, each one is a real thrill to me! As a writer, it’s so rewarding to not only know that people are reading your work, but actually taking something tangible from it that they can use to improve their own lives.
Additionally, I don’t want to just be this faceless writer behind a computer screen.
I want to connect with people and let them know that I’m a real person—a person who has been through a lot of the same things they’re going through now.
After I wrote a piece about lessons I learned from quitting my full-time job, I was inundated with messages from people who wanted to do the very same thing but just felt stuck. It was so interesting to hear all of their stories and offer some pieces of advice to help them navigate their way through it. Connecting with and helping other people is—without a doubt—one of my favorite parts of publishing my work.
Is there anything you regret or would have done differently early on?
This is a question I get a lot. And, of course, hindsight is 20/20—there are likely tons of things I would’ve done differently. But, when I think about it, I don’t really have any regrets.
While I definitely encountered my fair share of roadblocks and frustrations along the way, they all taught me something valuable.
So, instead of looking at them as mistakes, I get to view them as learning experiences. Honestly, I wouldn’t change much!
Are you working on any fun side projects?
Oh, of course. I’m one of those people with a constantly growing to-do list (although, I’m sure any freelancer or entrepreneur would say that exact same thing!).
Right now, I’m working on redesigning and rebranding both of my websites (my business website and my blog) and bringing them into one place. I’m really looking forward to not having to balance two totally different brand identities. Once that’s all set, I’m really excited to start stepping up the quality of my content, offering downloadable extras with my blog posts, and (hopefully) building an email list of people who want to do the very same thing I did in regards to building a freelance business.
Long term, I’d love to offer some digital products such as ebooks, e-courses, and worksheets to help people get their own freelance businesses rolling. I’ve got big plans—now I just need more time!
Lastly – what is one small thing that an aspiring writer can do today to improve their freelancing business?
I’ll sing the praises of networking all day long. And, building a freelance business is really all about making connections.
Do what you need to do to connect with others and continue growing your network. Believe me, your connections will pay dividends as you continue to build your business!