Pamela Sabin
Freelance Travel Writer
November 11, 2019

Interview with Pamela, a travel writer adjusting to freelancing

Pamela is new to the world of freelancing. In this interview, she shares the ups and downs of adjusting to the gig economy.

What are you working on?

I’ve worked on some website copy, as well as editing websites and an e-book. I’ve been working on building out a communications plan for a major university in Atlanta.

I’ve also found some steady work writing blogs for a previous employer. This has been a great confidence builder, and it’s helping me build a portfolio in travel, hospitality, and tourism, which is where I want to focus my efforts.

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What's your typical work routine?

I go to an exercise class in the morning, then get showered and dressed and start working. I don’t have set hours yet. Sometimes I work in the evening or on the weekends.

I’m spending a lot of time researching how other people do things as well as taking time to network.

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Do you have a dedicated space to work?

Yes, I have a very colorful, inspirational space, complete with a computer, printer, and vision boards.

More often than not, I work on my sofa upstairs and listen to music. I think this is a direct act of rebellion in reaction to sitting in a cube for so long, so I’m giving myself the freedom to enjoy it.

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How do you stay on task?

Honestly, this is an area that needs improvement. I’m easily distracted by a friend calling, jumping in to help others, and answering text messages.

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What do you like about remote work?

Not being expected to sit in a cube for 8+ hours a day, whether there’s work to be done or not.

I feel like being out in the world more allows ideas to come to me more freely.

I have time to research what other people and companies are doing in the area of communications. And I have the opportunity to network and take classes – things that would often get bumped for urgent deadlines.

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What tools do you use to stay productive?

I’m a writer, so I just need a laptop and Wi-Fi connection, and I’m good. I find I’m using Canva quite a bit for presentations and invitations.

I’m also a member of a lot of Facebook groups related to my line of work. These are useful for connecting with others, getting questions answered quickly, and finding inspiration and support.

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Where are you finding work?

I’m going to a lot of networking events, conferences, and taking classes at General Assembly. I’m involved with the Atlanta Copywriters Meetup, as well as the Atlanta Freelance Union – both have been very helpful in learning how to get up and running. I’m on Upwork, as well.

I am proactively building my LinkedIn network to include more travel writers. This has changed my feed, so I’m seeing more travel-related posts, and I’ve also reached out to people for “virtual” coffee sessions to learn more about their career paths and get ideas.

I’m also finding opportunities through former co-workers and teams I’ve written for in the past. I’m looking for some steady part-time work to pay the bills.

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What has been the biggest challenge so far?

The logistics of setting up a company, bank account, understanding tax implications, and learning the landscape of what freelancing is all about.

I’m also battling “impostor syndrome,” where I wonder if I can really call myself a writer! I’m learning this is very common and have moved forward, building a portfolio that demonstrates my talent in writing newsletters, blogging for executives, and writing intranet content.

I’m targeting projects that will build my portfolio in the new areas I want to get into.

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Do you have any advice for remote workers?

Meet other successful entrepreneurs and freelancers and learn as much as you can from them.

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel.

I am humbled by the number of strangers who have answered my questions, taken a moment to review a submission or provide guidance.

I would also suggest putting social time on your calendar. The inside of your head is a dangerous place to be. It’s important to be out among friends, family, networking events, and classes to keep your brain in check.

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What contributes to being a successful freelancer?

I have to admit, it’s pretty scary and not an “add water and stir” experience. I keep telling myself it’s like learning a new language, and I just need to keep moving forward.

I listen to TED Talks and podcasts to keep me motivated. My favorite podcasts include “Quit Happens,” “Don’t Keep Your Day Job,” “Great Escape Radio,” “Careers by Jenn,” “The Daily Meditation Podcast,” and “Life Through Transitions.”

Of course, I lean on my family and friends for support. I have to say; I’m meeting so many great people. One of the biggest surprises has been getting to know more people from the Millennial generation.

We have been pitted against each other in the workplace, and I’m finding them to be an amazing source of knowledge – they were raised on technology, and the educational programs they have completed blow away my college experience!

I have a Millennial mentor who teaches me about websites, apps, and acronyms. If you want to know something, ask a Millennial!

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What does your future look like?

I really can’t say. I hope to build a business that allows me to support myself, or I might run back to corporate at any moment! If that happens, I will keep hustling and building my side gig.

I think freelancing is the way the world of work is heading. People can have the autonomy, less commuting, and more variety in the types of projects they work on, while companies can hire freelancers on a project-by-project basis.

Knowing how to work outside of the corporate paradigm will be an advantage. Maybe I can even teach others who take on this new adventure!

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Biography

Pamela Sabin

Pam Sabin is new to the gig economy. With more than 20 years of experience in employee communications, she’s combining her love of travel and writing into a business. Pam is discovering who she is beyond a world of DISC assessments, performance reviews and rankings that she thought determined her worth. From the words she writes to the clothes she wears, Pam is on an exploration to find her own voice and see if she can make it in the freelance world. Check out her writing samples.

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