Alyssa Ruane is a freelance journalist, blogger, and editor, and has been working from home full-time for about two years. She’s based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and writes for the city magazine. As a media maven, she’s passionate about storytelling across a variety of platforms—whether it’s a print publication, a website’s “about” page, or an emoji-riddled Instagram caption, she’s proud to deliver wordsmithed content for a variety of clients.
1) How did you get started working from home?
It was a combination of choice and happenstance. I was 23 years old, sour from my first “real” desk job as a PR rep, and unhappy with my life in Miami. I needed to uproot and try again… Sometimes I think I had my quarter-life crisis a little early, ha! So I left Miami to stay with my brother and his wife in Charlotte, NC, until I figured out my next move. While applying to random media jobs across the country (I was open to living in any established city), I decided to amp up my freelance writing, which was something I’d been dabbling in since college. Soon enough, I garnered enough clients that I didn’t bother with getting another “real” job—two years later, and I’m still making a living working from home.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
Being a writer has always been my passion. Though magazine journalism is my true love, I do recognize the changing nature of the media industry. Luckily, my skill set includes both digital and print content creation, so I’m able to exist in both worlds.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I created a website with my portfolio and fleshed out some pricing options to make it clear that I am for-hire. I then scoured some job boards for freelance and contract work, tirelessly applying to gigs until I finally scored a few good ones that could sustain my lifestyle financially. I also asked around my immediate network for any leads or connections.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
My first-ever client was a result of some work I did on a platform that connected freelance writers with the people who need them. That was back in college. That client and I still work together to this day on a variety of projects, and I’m so thankful that I randomly got that gig many years ago. It opened up my eyes to the possibility of freelancing full-time—I never even realized it was an option back then!
5) How do you market your business?
I have a website, social media, and a blog. I don’t pay for any advertising; I mostly rely on word-of-mouth and referalls—I’m a one-woman band, after all. I find that my business is simply an extension of me, so I mesh both my personal and “business” accounts to showcase all sides of me. People want to know their writer. To write like a human, you have to be human, so most of my marketing efforts just focus on bridging that gap between myself and a potential client.
6) What does your usual day look like?
I’m not big on structure (I don’t like feeling trapped or part of a machine), which is why freelancing and working at home work so well for me. I wake up around 9 a.m., have coffee, and read and send emails. I usually workout and eat lunch around noon, then get to the bulk of my work after that. Much of my work is dependent upon whether or not I have a client meeting, an interview with a source, or hard deadlines. It changes day-to-day, which I like.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I wish I knew how stressful it was going to be. Since I own my business, it can be very scary knowing that work has been slow. Sometimes, a client will randomly drop off (not maliciously, it’s just the nature of the business), and I’m not able to find work or a client to fill that income void for a while. Sometimes, I’ll wake up, wanting to get “a real job” because I’m afraid I won’t make enough money, but somehow, it always ends up evening out if I stay positive, work hard, and keep focused.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
Remember that some boundaries are necessary if you want to be productive. Friends and family often don’t realize that just because you work from home doesn’t mean you aren’t working at all. Be firm about when people can stop by and whether or not you can run an errand for them. It’s not being rude; it’s just being responsible—something that’s even more important when you don’t have a boss supervising you all day!
Find Alyssa Online:
Facebook: Alyssa Ruane Writes
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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