In this article, we will be talking with Gabrielle Seunagal, a full-time freelance writer who is passionate about adventure, health and fitness, and social causes such as human trafficking, anti-child marriage laws, and women’s rights. Gabrielle shares her journey into freelance writing and how she finds and secures new clients. She also talks about her process for managing her workload and ensuring timely delivery of projects. Gabrielle provides insights into how she stays current with industry trends and her long-term goals for her freelance writing career. In addition, she discusses how she balances her personal life and professional responsibilities and shares her favorite hobbies and activities outside of writing.
What inspired you to pursue freelance writing as a career?
I’ve always had a passion for writing. In fact, when I was in middle and high school, I would write stories in my composition notebooks when I was supposed to be paying attention in math class. After I finished high school in 2016, I eventually started guest posting on various blogs in my spare time.
These blogs weren’t paid assignments. However, in the latter half of 2016, I figured that if my work was good enough to be published online, then surely I could build a career out of writing as well.
In various books by accomplished people, a common theme states that to truly be successful in life, you have to do what you love. Writing was always a form of self-expression and communication that genuinely struck a chord with me. So, I kicked off my freelance writing career in January 2017 and the rest is history.
Can you describe your process for finding and securing new clients?
Upwork, the top freelancing site in the world, has played such a major role in my freelance writing career, especially when it comes to finding and securing new clients. When I was first starting my career, I set up my Upwork account, listed my skills in writing, editing, and SEO, and then applied for jobs.
Applying to jobs and then delivering the work product consistently and in keeping with the guidelines has played a big role in my landing new work and new clients. On Upwork, because I have high ratings on the platform and years of projects completed, sometimes, clients will even reach out to me with job offers.
It takes time, but if you’re truly dedicated and put in the work, you can find great clients on the platform. Many of the clients that I’m working with to this day are ones I connected with on Upwork.
How do you manage your workload and ensure timely delivery of projects?
Workload management and timely project delivery are deeply critical in the freelance world. Clients need to know you’re consistent and dependable; otherwise, you won’t have work for very long.
When it comes to managing projects, I always consider which assignments have stricter deadlines versus which ones are more flexible. Assignments with tighter, more specific due periods are the ones I generally tackle first.
To ensure timely project delivery, I always make note of deadlines for when a client needs a project turned in. From there, I’ll determine how many hours I need to devote to the project in order to meet that deadline.
In a way, my processes for both workload management and timely project delivery are very similar and intertwined with one another.
How do you stay current with industry trends and changes in the market?
A huge part of tracking industry trends and market changes is understanding the content business and what clients seeking content are looking for. To do this, I read through various job listings posted by clients, follow news and updates about the freelance market, and observe which skill sets are in the highest demand at any given time.
Writing is a part of it, but so are editing and SEO. In the freelance world, some gurus suggest that having one niche and sticking to it is the best way to go. I humbly disagree. In order to remain competitive amid a changing industry and market, you have to be able to meet the needs of the clientele.
For me, that sometimes involves writing blog posts, writing copy for a client’s landing page, editing already existing content, or going into the backend of a client’s website to optimize the content for SEO.
What are your long-term goals for your freelance writing career?
Later down the line in my freelance writing career, I would love to write and publish a book (or books)!
I’d also very much love to dabble in political speechwriting for various US leaders. Throughout my career, I’ve spent years writing about various US political affairs. American politics is something I’m very familiar with, in tune with, and I know I could write amazing speeches that truly reach the audience that our nation’s leaders will want to connect with.
Personal Interview Questions:
How do you balance your personal life and professional responsibilities as a full-time freelancer?
My personal life and professional responsibilities as a full-time freelancer are very intertwined with one another. In many cases, I will complete projects with upcoming or immediate deadlines, take a break to do something else (whether it’s watching a movie, swinging by the gym, etc.), and then I’ll jump back into writing.
More often than not, I’ll also take my laptop with me to many places I go. This gives me the flexibility to go out, have a good time, and then stop by a cafe to get some hot chocolate, power up my computer, and return to writing.
What are some of your favorite hobbies or activities outside of writing?
Outside of writing, I’m very passionate about traveling and exercising. For years, I’ve done domestic travel. Though in late 2021, I finally got my passport.
So far, I’ve been to four countries: El Salvador, Costa Rica, France, and Ireland. In May, I’ll be spending three weeks in London, England. Travel inspires me and broadens my horizons, while also providing me with personal fulfillment and worldly novelty.
Exercising is another hobby of mine that I truly love. Whether it’s hiking, mountain climbing, or lifting weights, I love to get my body moving and work up a sweat. Staying physically active also provides a great balance to the considerable amount of sitting down that comes with writing on a consistent basis.
How do you stay motivated and avoid burnout when working on long-term projects?
As a freelance writer, long-term projects and repeat work from clients are gold. They provide consistency and stability, while also allowing flexibility to take on additional assignments as well. Though motivation and avoiding burnout are both critical.
A huge part of what motivates me is how far I’ve come and how much further I want to go. For me, my own personal ambition is a very powerful source of motivation. However, to avoid burnout, I always make sure to take breaks as I’m working on long-term writing projects.
Many long-term projects also allow me the ability to work ahead of time (within reason) as well. Sometimes, that means getting content written the night before so I can sleep in a little later the next morning or get an early morning workout in.
Other times, avoiding burnout means taking 15-minute breaks every two to three consecutive hours that I spend working on a project. A huge part of dodging burnout involves knowing yourself, knowing how you work, and listening to yourself when you feel a break or some extra downtime is necessary.
What is a lesson you’ve learned through your writing career that you would share with aspiring writers?
Throughout my writing career, one huge lesson that I’ve learned is that consistency is everything. When you’re first starting out from ground zero, you have to consistently apply for jobs and consistently pitch your services to clients, even when you don’t immediately hear back or get the gig you were hoping for.
Likewise, when you do land projects, you have to consistently meet the clients’ deadlines and make sure you’re delivering a high-quality work product.
Doing it sometimes or only when you feel like it is simply not enough. Consistency in freelance writing determines whether or not clients rehire you or choose to go with another writer who is also trying to land work.
In order to truly be consistent as a writer, you have to go all in, be fully committed to the craft, and trust that the time and effort you’re putting in now will come with a high return on investment later.
How has traveling impacted your writing and creativity?
Traveling has allowed me to approach writing and creativity with more nuance and perspective.
On my own websites (GabrielleWrites.com, GabrielleSeunagal.com, and GabrielleSeunagalWrites.com), I’ve actually written about my travels and how time in different countries has contributed to my personal growth, understanding of the world, and curiosity to learn more.
Being an avid traveler not only inspires new content as a writer, but it’s also allowed me to ensure the content I create is of a higher quality with more to offer to my audience.
What is a piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to turn their passion into a full-time career?
As much as this may sound like a cliche, I would say to do the following: go for it, go all in, never let anyone tell you it’s not possible, and never give up, even when it gets tough.
When I first started in 2017, many people told me that full-time freelance writing wasn’t a realistic career path. People also said I should have “kept my day job” and that I wouldn’t make much money writing.
If I had listened to these people, I wouldn’t have six years of a career under my belt at age 25. If I’d only worked on my writing career on the side and “kept my day job,” as I was advised to do, I also wouldn’t have the career I have today.
When you’re serious about something, passionate about it, and feel a genuine desire to achieve it, that’s your calling. I truly believe that when you set your mind to something, fully go for it, and refuse to let anything slow you down or stop you, things have a way of working out.
Some people may say this is idealistic or naive, but it’s my life story…and it can be the story of anyone who has a dream and is willing to fight for it.