Freelancing isn’t simply about working independently. It’s also about gaining more control over your time and creating a more fulfilling life on many levels.
For copywriter Amy Bell, freelancing has led to better health and a richer family life. If she needs a break in her workday, she’s free to get up and go for a bike ride or stream a dance class or drop into a spin session. And she seizes those opportunities!
“Working independently is more than just the freedom to choose when and where I work,” she says. “It’s allowed me to be a better mom and wife, be more present for my family and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. I don’t think I’ve ever been in better shape.”
Amy’s freelance journey began in 2004, long before it was mainstream for marketers to work independently. And now, with nearly two decades of freelance experience under her belt, she’s reached a new milestone: being voted the Freelancer of the Year by her peers in the 2022 Rosie Awards. This award recognizes Amy, who’s the founder of the content company WritePunch Inc, as an “MVP who’s experienced incredible personal and professional growth through independent work, thanks to an entrepreneurial spirit, consistent commitment, and probably a little bit of magic, too.”
Cartoon Network and a career change
Amy graduated from college with a journalism degree and started out at an Atlanta-based magazine. But when an opportunity opened up in the marketing department at Cartoon Network, she jumped on it.
“I was already a Cartoon Network fan, so I was totally geeking out at the chance to work there,” says Amy, laughing. “It was a super fun place to work, and I loved it.”
“I was in marketing there for about four years, and I learned so much. That’s what got me interested in copywriting, and it’s where my career pivoted to marketing.”
When Amy’s husband was transferred to another city, she had to leave Cartoon Network because remote work wasn’t accepted by management at the time. She had a series of full-time jobs after that but also began freelancing on the side.
“At my last full-time copywriting job, I had a horrible, hour-long commute,” she recalls. “There were salespeople right next to me on the phone all day as I was trying to write copy.”
“I tried to get my manager to allow me to work from home occasionally, but senior leadership wouldn’t even consider it. That’s when I decided to go independent.”
Deeper skills, broader knowledge and funeral home expertise to boot
Although Amy’s main motivation for the change was dropping her commute and getting a better work environment, working independently came with a number of other, unexpected benefits.
“When you work full-time, you tend to stay in a niche and work in a single industry,” she says. “But working independently almost requires you to take on a wider range of clients. So I started picking up a vast amount of knowledge on different subjects across a range of industries.”
“Having that knowledge makes you much more versatile and deepens your capabilities. You’re more confident and comfortable working in a wider range of areas.”
One of Amy’s first clients was an ad agency that specializes in funeral homes. While it may sound odd, she’s quick to point out that it was genuinely interesting to learn more about that type of business. In fact, she still does work for them from time to time today.
Working independently also has allowed Amy to have more time for her family. She says she’s been able to go to her daughter’s school when she was in a play during the day or to volunteer as reader-of-the-day for her kindergarten class.
“I’ve also been able to drive her to and from school each day,” she says. “As she’s gotten older, those drives home were a great way for me to check in with her and see how she was doing. I just felt so much more present in her life.”
Finding a freelance community
Though Amy has been thriving as an independent marketer for years, her career entered a new phase when she joined We Are Rosie.
“It makes me feel like I’m part of a real team; I’m not just floating out there,” she says. “They provide support that I never experienced before. And because they take on the job of finding new clients, it allows me to focus more on my writing and producing the best possible work.”
Being a Rosie created an even more positive impact for Amy in 2021, when she was placed in a 40-hour-a-week role with a leading tech company. That’s allowed Amy to divide her time among fewer clients, enjoy more stability and, in 2022, to have the best financial year she’s ever had.
“And I still have a great work-life balance,” she adds. “It still feels like I’m independent. Honestly, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to my career.”
Things are going so well that Amy is now taking junior writers under her wing, giving her an opportunity to develop younger talent while also learning how to be a more effective leader and mentor.
Final thoughts from Freelancer of the Year
We can’t let Amy go before getting her thoughts on how it feels to be the 2022 Freelancer of the Year.
“It feels amazing; I was shocked to find out I was even nominated, let alone won. I don’t think I’ve ever won anything since high school,” she says with a laugh.
“As a freelancer there are few opportunities for awards and recognition, so this award helps fill a genuine need. I’m already thinking about some of the really talented Rosies I know who I want to nominate next year!”
We Are Rosie is a home for marketers in all seasons of their career, whether you’re in your first few years or a seasoned pro like Amy. Join our community today for career opportunities, networking, upskilling, and more.