Episode 26: Taking the Next Step
The Freelance Remuda Podcast launched in January 2017, and since then, we have produced two episodes each month that focused on the equine media industry. We interviewed guests including established editors and young up-and-coming media entrepreneurs, inviting them to share their expertise with you and hopefully, helping to educate and inspire you.
Now, we are jumping off into a new venture with The Freelance Remuda, but don’t worry. We aren’t abandoning you. This episode, we’re going to reflect on 2017, set goals for 2018 and forecast our next step.
1. Recap on goals from 2017
Kate: Wow, what a year. Last August, I jumped – maybe I was slightly pushed by a silly little thing like moving and marriage – into the freelance world full time. I was excited to get back to writing and photography full time but there was so much I was still figuring out. Luckily, I had my superstar freelance buddy Abigail to pester with questions.
Abigail bolstered my confidence and answered allllll the questions. She also had a crazy idea for a podcast. At my last full time job, I was in charge of a short lived podcast for a diagnostic laboratory. AB has a misguided idea I was able to facilitate our own episodes – HA! She talked me in to it and some of those pesky questions turned in to episodes of the Freelance Remuda Podcast.
Our goal was to produce a podcast worthy of listening, something that offered education and some entertaining aspect. We used all our contacts, and some we only hoped to meet, to find great voices to speak for the equine media industry. Along the way, we learned a lot, too. LIKE TAXES!
It was a long shot, but our little dynamic duo made it work, in spite of the miles between us, the technical issues and so, so, so many deadlines that always seemed to fall when we needed to wrap our own FR deadlines.
For me, all I wanted was to be a vehicle for others to learn from those better at this job than me, and hope that I could also pick up some knowledge.
Abigail: It definitely has been a different year for me too. My husband switched jobs earlier this year to being a commercial realtor, which has been something he’s always wanted to do, but the paychecks take a while to come in. We’ve had a lot going on this year, but thankfully I had a full slate of assignments. So I’ve been learning how to streamline, and how to be really really productive. I met workload goals—and then some, and also exceeded my income goals. But it’s an added a challenge with balancing life with two little ones and then, we’ve had a bunch of house repairs this summer, which makes it tough to buckle down and work sometimes when you’re dealing with contractors and insurance!
But over the years, it’s been so great to have Kate to bounce ideas off of, to vent to, to brainstorm with, and now that she’s a full-time freelancer, we have had many good conversations about how we want to build our businesses. We align in a lot of ways, and many of our conversations sparked topics we covered on the podcast this year. I feel blessed to be able to work full-time as a freelancer, and I wanted to give back to our industry. The Freelance Remuda is our way to do that.
So starting with the podcast, we talked about challenges and triumphs the two of us experience as freelancers. Then we brought in guests who shared their advice and insight into their careers—Pros that I have wanted to pick their brains about the business—the podcast gives us a platform to share their responses! I took all the notes during some of these sessions—Shelley Paulson blew my mind! We’ve had some really great people take the time to share with us.
We have built a Facebook community where fellow equine professionals can gather to share ideas, ask for help and just support each other.
We’ve spoken to Texas A&M University students in ag communication, sharing our experiences in equine media.
And one of my favorite parts of this year was going to Arizona for the American Horse Publication Seminar. We felt honored to speak in a seminar, (here's part 1 and part 2) and we LOVED getting to meet up with some of y’all in person over dinner. I love that the Freelance Remuda is a way for other equine media professionals—particularly freelancers—can get to know each other and support each other.
Kate: While the episodes mean a lot of legwork for us, and some hard core after recording time getting the newsletter and blog posts ready, it has been worth it. But I think now, we are ready to focus our efforts on a new plan and a new venture for the Freelance Remuda, our Mentorship Program.
2. Setting goals for 2018
Kate: A couple weeks back, we blogged the announcement of our Freelance Remuda Mentorship Program. The program came to us because you guys have had great questions, and editors have shared a desire for aspiring freelancers to receive guidance in some areas. We’ve shared a lot of information on the podcast, but getting down to your individual needs is hard to do on that platform. So, mentorship is where we begin!
Abigail: We have a couple of tiers of mentorship. The first is a three-session package we’re calling The Futurity Mentorship. The second is The Masters Mentorship, which is a 6-session package that goes into greater depth with the mentee. We’re also offering Lesson Sessions, which are a one-hour session for individual topics. Our main objectives with the program include goal setting, branding, and niche identification, as well as reviewing your work portfolio and potential pitches. We want to help you feel confident when you reach out to editors about working with equine publications. Our time can be customized to help you achieve your business goals.
We’re excited to offer these programs on an individual level. Clients can work with one or both of us. They can spread the sessions out to once a month, or work more intensively. We’ll be providing video chats and worksheets to help guide you. But we’re limiting the number of clients we take on to provide quality instruction, and so that we can continue to do our own freelance work.
But we’ve got some ideas for other formats of education. We plan to offer a pitching master class in the spring and an online course in the fall. I’m really looking forward to what we develop this year!
We’re scaling back the frequency of our podcast episodes to make room for these programs. You can expect an episode quarterly, and we definitely have more equine professionals we want to have on the show, so keep your iTunes subscription and join our email list. We’ll keep you in the loop. And our Facebook Group is still a place for you to come, get to know other equine media professionals, share your triumphs, ask for advice. It’s our home base on the internet, and we love connecting with you there.
Kate: With a little more flexibility in our schedules, it will work out for our families and our work goals. Personally, I want to branch out this year… I am aiming to pitch to non-equestrian magazines, like Texas Highways or Garden & Gun. For me, 2018 is going to be a different kind of year, financially and work load wise. It is my first year where half or more of my assignment slots are already full after pitch season. Also, I have an idea of where I will be each month financies wise because I have working coming in from previous assignments. I can’t wait to better figure out how much work I can handle and keep up a high quality.
Abigail: Personal goals, I just want to carve moments where I can recharge—whether it’s riding, reading a novel, going for a walk, sleeping more, things like that. I love getting to spend time with my kids, and I want to make the most of these years—they’re 4 and 2 and it’s such a fun age. Time is fleeting, so I want to make sure that anything I do away from them is worth it!
Work wise, I want to improve my photography and editing. I feel like that is an ongoing quest throughout my career, but I really want to make space and budget for that. Whether it’s enrolling in a mentorship program myself or choosing an online course, that’s something I hope to do this year. I want to keep meeting my deadlines and look for innovative ways to cover the story topics I cover. I’ve got income goals I want to meet, and I am fairly on track for at least the first half of the year. I want to explore some different revenue streams, because there are only so many features I can write in a month. I’m working with some freelancers on a subcontract basis and have started working with some companies in the equine industry outside of strictly publications. I’m working on a stock photo site and I’m proofreading and wanting to expand that. Basically evolve my business a little bit. I love what I do and I love being able to change the course of my career the way I want. But really I just want to get better at what I do and continue to enjoy it.
Kate: Ultimately, our goal is to continue gathering our Remuda and giving you tools to elevate your own careers. Great freelancers help make for better magazines. We all can work together to lift the equine media industry.
Abigail: So tell us what you think? Hop over to the Facebook Group and share your goals for 2018 and thoughts about our new offerings!