Interview with Sophie Lizard – Freelance Writer and Professional Blogger

Interview with Sophie Lizard Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

I’m a 36 year old Englishwoman who grew up in Luxembourg speaking several languages, so it’s not surprising that I love words. Now, I’m a freelance writer and professional blogger.

My entrepreneurial journey started with a website called People Per Hour, which is a global freelance marketplace based in the UK. Through them I wrote web content for a carpet cleaning company and a few blog articles for a lingerie retailer.

My freelance career was just getting started when I found out I was pregnant. After my daughter was born, I had to start all over again. I discovered that I loved blogging and was good enough at it to earn a living, though looking back I still had a lot to learn.

After building a successful freelance blogging career for myself through trial and error, I started to look around me at other talented writers and bloggers who weren’t making ends meet.

They didn’t know how much to charge; they didn’t know where to find better clients; they were getting ripped off and sometimes they didn’t even know it. I decided there had to be somewhere they could learn how to make real money instead of scraping by on low-paying gigs. So I started my blog, Be a Freelance Blogger, to share everything I know about making a living blogging for hire.

What did you do before launching your own business?

I tried a few different careers on for size. I worked as an examinations invigilator for a local school, a volunteer administrator in a UK national non-profit, a data entry specialist at The Nielsen Company, the marketing manager of a science education center, and finally as a photographic model!

When the global economic downturn hit, I lost my marketing job and was living on occasional income from part-time modeling, but that wasn’t reliable enough for me so I started looking into freelance writing.

How did you fund your business?

Honestly, I didn’t fund it. It funded me. I was broke when I started, and spent all my early freelance income on preparing for my daughter’s birth. After she was born, I worked with a great client who bought software licenses for me and paid well enough that I could afford better equipment. I still work with them today.

How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?

I work anything from 10 to 20 hours per week for my business clients, plus 5 to 10 hours per week on my blog and one-to-one freelance blogger coaching sessions. I don’t have a home office, but I do sometimes lock myself in the bathroom to avoid interruptions when my daughter’s at home!

How would you rate your success?

I’d rate it as better than I’ve done before, but not as good as what I hope to do next. I find it very unproductive to rate one person’s success in comparison to other people’s, so I focus on improving myself and what I give my clients rather than the notion of gaining or losing ground in a competition.

The other way I rate my success is by the number of bloggers who email me to let me know they got their first higher-paying client through my free resource The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs. That always makes me feel proud of what I’m doing.

What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?

Being your own boss is tough because there are so many opportunities to slack off and you have to resist that! I’m not a naturally early riser or a neat freak, but I get up early to take morning calls from clients and I keep my work stuff organized. It takes self-discipline to stay on schedule and avoid distractions. Making myself be the boss is definitely the biggest struggle of all.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

Get some money behind you. Otherwise, the terrible lack of confidence that comes from being broke will make you underestimate yourself and your value. It’s too easy to develop a price-competitive mindset in that situation, whereas you need to compete on quality and value if you want to earn good money.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

I use Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Tasks and Google Drive. Because they’re all designed to work together, it makes staying organized a lot easier. For booking appointments I use ScheduleOnce, and I do my time tracking and invoicing with Harvest.

The simpler the tools are, the better, as far as I’m concerned. I still have a paper calendar on the wall, too, just in case there are any technical problems.

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