Searching for inspirational people on LinkedIn, I came across The Content Assassin, A.K.A Sabrinthia Hillen. I loved (and still love) how she has managed to market herself, create a great website, and basically make a career through her writing. Always seeing her updates on LinkedIn, I decided to pop her an email asking if she would like to be interviewed for This Stuff Is Golden – and thankfully she said yes!
It’s important to connect with those that you admire, and even though it may seem a little intimidating at first, most of the time people are more than happy to talk to you and offer advice. As a passionate writer who only ever wants to learn more about being a successful freelancer and turning a passion into a business, I asked Sabrinthia a few questions about freelance writing and things that inspire her:
What’s the story behind the name “The Content Assassin”?
The name was inspired by the idea of a pen being like a sword or a weapon of some sort (even though I use a keyboard to write, but you get the idea).
When did you realise your passion for writing?
Back in the good old days, I would write bedtime stories for my little sister to help her fall asleep. I read a lot and wrote “secret” stories that I hid under my bed. Writing became a very private thing that I did and never talked about. It wasn’t until I was applying for university’s in high school that I realised I could pursue Creative Writing as a career and that’s when I finally came out of the “writer’s closet”.
What does your normal day look like?
My day’s usually consist of a lot of typing and coffee refills! I refer to my content calendar, which lets me know what I have to get done for the day, and work on completing those tasks until I’m finished. When I’m not writing, I’m either walking my giant dog (a very stubborn Great Pyrenees), reading, writing fiction or making polymer clay charms/figurines.
What advice would you give somebody who wanted to start their own freelancing business?
Go for it and don’t be afraid to market yourself on your social media channels! I find that LinkedIn is the most useful platform for freelancers looking for work, it’s where I found most of my customers and it’s a great way to connect with other writers and potential clients. It’s important to understand that it may take some time to build up your portfolio and client base, you might need a part-time job just to tie you over until things with your freelance business get up and running. But don’t give up, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it! Writing is a very solitary business, so it’s good to try other things as well and take a break from the screen before you become a hermit!
What is the toughest part about being a freelance writer?
It takes a lot of self-discipline. Sometimes it can be hard to force yourself to write, especially if the topic doesn’t really excite you that much. Working from home can also be very distracting, but it’s worth it because you are your own boss and you can take a coffee break whenever you feel like it!
What has been the turning point of your career (so far)?
A huge turning point for me was when I realised I could actually make a living from my writing!
Have you ever felt like giving up? If so, how did you overcome that?
Honestly, yes. Working as a freelance writer can be very unstable in terms of income. During the slow months, I find myself stressing about upcoming bills that need to be paid and I always think, maybe I should just get a full-time job like a normal, sane person. But then I think about those long commutes to work and the fact that my time would become their time and those feelings quickly disappear!
What hurdle(s) have you ever had to overcome in regards to your writing?
When I first started out, my sentences were very long-winded. I had to learn how to write shorter sentences and I’m still learning!
Now onto more personal stuff! Do you have a book that changed your life/favourite book you’d recommend to everyone and anyone?
I loved Techniques of a Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. If you interested in writing fiction, I would highly recommend it!
What is your favourite genre to read and why?
I love reading thrillers, horrors, romance and YA fiction. YA is my favourite though and I prefer reading first-person fiction because I love getting into the character’s head.
What is your favourite thing to write?
I love writing fiction the most. Blog posts are a close second though!
Any favourite bloggers?
I’m very into craft bloggers at the moment! I don’t think I could pick a favourite though!
Biggest supporter of your freelance career?
My biggest supporter is my boyfriend James. We’ve been together for seven years and he’s always supported me. When I told him I wanted to freelance full-time, he was all for it. My family are also very supportive, so I’m really lucky!
What helps you get through a stressful day?
I have a little invisible box in my mind and I put everything that stresses me into that box and never look at it again. Walking and getting out of the house also helps to clear my mind.
What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
Start writing that book!
Any favourite quotes that particularly motivate/inspire you?
“It’s never too late to be who you might have been” – this quote is my favourite because it makes me feel like I still have time to do all of the things I thought I would have done by now!
Thank you Sabrinthia!
Thanks for having me Lauren! I wish you the best of luck with your own writing career!