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Ky Trang Ho is a freelance business and financial writer, PR consultant and owner of Key Financial Media LLC in Los Angeles. She is also the author of Humans of Shark Tank.
1) How did you get started working from home?
It happened rather haphazardly in early 2014. I was working as a reporter at Investor’s Business Daily, my employer since 2005. A startup financial news site offered me a job as an editor and writer. I gave IBD the customary notice, which I think was actually more than two weeks in my case. My editor organized a going away party for me on a Friday, my official last day, at our usual bar and restaurant, Thompkin’s Square in Los Angeles.
Only days before my last day, the startup founder retracted the job offer. I told IBD’s executive editor I wanted to stay at IBD if possible. He said I already showed emotionally that I wanted to leave so they didn’t want to keep me, but he said I could continue working there as a freelancer. I continued working there until they hired a replacement, which took several months.
2) How did you choose a freelance career?
I really didn’t choose it. I just fell into it after getting rejected by a handful of jobs that I applied for.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
The beauty of being a writer is that you only need your wits, a computer and internet connection. Tell everyone you know and their brother that you’re ready to fulfill their every need for the written word.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
I reached out to financial advisors and asset managers I knew from my days as a reporter at IBD and told them that I was open for business and to refer anyone my way.
5) How do you market your freelance business?
I am a LinkedIn whore. I have more than 11,000 connections and 90 recommendations. I reach out to targets that I would like to work with and ask them if they need any copywriting done.
I use my website, kytrangho.com, as a storefront. I send people there to look at past work, testimonials, etc. But I don’t do much marketing now because I have a client I work for full-time.
6) What does your usual day look like?
I get up around 7 or 7:30 am, drink Soylent for breakfast, walk my dog, jog or do a powerwalk. I sometimes listen to an audiobook while walking. I also check emails on my phone while still in bed in case my client has an urgent message.
I return home around 9 or 9:30 am and read the newspaper until 11 am. Then I read my emails and respond to requests if any. The rest of the day I work on projects for my client such as producing pitch decks, writing articles, creating landing pages, etc.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Never let anyone try you out or see what you can do for cheap. And always demand payment up front.
One time, a marketer said he wanted to try me out and asked me to work for $15 an hour for one day as a trial run. He said if he liked me, he would give me more work. Well, I spoke with him only once after that and he didn’t have any other work to send my way. He basically duped me into working for him for cheap to get one editing project done. Hence, I never do anything on spec or for a discount unless they’re my good friends.
I also demand payment up front after one client, a mutual fund manager, gave me the check is in the mail runaround for a few months. I later discovered his business went under and that the SEC was investigating him for defrauding investors.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home or start a freelance career?
Get a pet if you don’t already have one. My dog and cat are my office mates and provide excellent company, love and support. I never feel lonely thanks to them.
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Her Book: Humans of Shark TankKy Trang Ho shares how job rejection led her to start a successful home based freelance writing career. @kytrangho #successprofile #freelance #workathomeClick To Tweet