Leeann Minton is a freelance writer, here is a link to her website:
Q: What inspired you to start a freelance writing business?
A: Last summer I was waiting to begin a new job working for ACE Americorps. I had just graduated college and was taking a year off before returning to work on my masters. Needing to help supplement my husband’s income while my new job began I searched through the craigslist ads where I found someone who was looking for someone to write articles for a new website. The pay was 1 cent a word. I would later learn that that was a horrible pay grade for the amount of work. However, it was fun and it was something I could do at home, while waiting for my new job to start. So I contacted them and started writing. December of last year I had to leave my Americorps job for two reasons one my husband had gotten a new job and the two of us having only one car made scheduling and getting us both to work difficult. In addition, I was feeling sick from what I thought was stress in addition my seizures had returned after four years of being seizure free. I had thought I had found a new job upon quitting Americorps, but the person I spoke with had not been honest about the location of the business and my interviews had been held via phone. My seizures and sickness turned out to be a result of the fact that I was pregnant. So I was stuck pregnant and without a job. I spent six weeks trying to find something else with no luck that is when I thought about the writing had done over the summer. I began to wonder if there was a way I could find other work like that and started researching it online. I discovered the term freelance writing and learned that there were probably thousands of people out there making a living this way. I was a amazed, I had always wanted to be a writer, but been made to believe that in order to be a writer you needed to be really lucky and write a best seller, work as a journalist, or possess a day job. Though I’m technically not past the phase where I should still have a day job, if I wanted to survive/live on my own. I know that there is the potential that if I work hard enough and develop a good enough reputation with my clients I will be able to do this without the need to take on something else once my son is older.
Q: What is the central theme of your blog?
A: My blog originally started as a food blog, however I became bored with the topic after a few months and realized I needed to choose a topic that was more versatile and would allow me to write on a broader variety of topics. I love research and often find myself focusing on a certain topic for a while before moving on to a new topic of interest. Some topics can hold my attention for a day or so others weeks, months, or even years. As a result, a few months ago I choose to change my theme. Now I focus on the ins and outs of adult life. From college, to traversing the career path, and family planning.
Q: What makes your posts worth reading?
A: I put a lot of research and thought behind my posts, those that I don’t do much research for typically stem from personal life experience. I am honest with my opinions and experiences, and when necessary I check my sources to verify accuracy.
Q: What are some examples of issues that are specific to millennials?
A: Currently the majority of millennials are entering the work force or entering college. And some of us are starting families. Some of the biggest concerns of millennials are how are they going to pay off their college debts if they have any and how are they going to progress up the ladder amidst the workforce. In addition, for those who find themselves starting families they are wondering how they are going to afford this new found family.
Q: Why do you go by two different names on the internet?
A: It was not intentional, initially I meant to stick with my pen name of Leeann Minton it is my preferred name even among friends. In fact it is my hope that sometime over the course of the next year I will be able to legally change my name as my common law husband and I make our marriage official on paper. My legal name Brittany Gregory ended being the name used on some of my work across the web when companies began having me fill out W-4’s in order to receive payment for my work. To prevent confusion I just allowed them to use my legal name.
Q: What are some of the things you have done to promote yourself?
A: I have created a facebook page, and twitter account dedicated to my writing. In addition, I have also put ads up on craigslist and created posts on my personal Linked-In account. Currently I also offer four different Fiverr gigs. Fiverr has been where I have made the majority of my money since beginning my full time freelance writing career. I also promote my fiverr gigs and blog postings through google plus. I am trying to get better at putting my blog posts on Pinterest, but I have not gotten the hang of it quiet yet. I am hoping to eventually develop an email list of potential clients that I can contact and inform of my services.
Q: Who are some of your writing influences?
A: I wanted to be a writer even before I could read which I was a late bloomer when it came to reading I was stubborn and thought I could memorize everything and not need to read. J.K Rowling got me into reading and as a result made me believe that one day I too could be a world famous author. Of course time would only damper that belief as I would eventually begin to think writing was something you could not do for a living without becoming a journalist, which was not what I wanted to do.
In terms of blogs that I admire and follow religiously not just for their topics, but also there writing styles Sophie Lizard (Be a freelance Blogger), and Shannon Brown (Growing Slower). Sophie has a quirky sense of humor that I really admire; simultaneously she is also able to give you straight to the point information. Shannon on the other hand is more serious, but she is also motivational it is my hope that I too will develop a more motivating voice in my writing. Currently I feel my voice is more serious and overly academic. I am hoping with time as I gain more confidence in my abilities as a writer that I will be able to shed that academic voice at least when it comes in the form of my blog, and take up a voice that is more motivating and if I’m lucky has a bit more humor to it.
Q: Why do you think blogging has become such a popular pastime?
A: People have been keeping journals for centuries, perhaps millennia; we enjoy recording the events of today and keeping track of our thoughts. It allows us to leave behind a portion of ourselves, for us to rediscover later in life. Blogging is no different accept that it capitalizes on our current need to share every significant detail with the rest of the world. We as people I believe feel distant from each other despite being so close we have forgotten how to have a person-to-person conversation and instead we find camaraderie and understanding and relations through sympathizing with strangers on the internet. We are searching for those who are like us, we can share our lives and experiences online for the entire world to see, and in return we get the satisfaction of people commenting, liking, and sharing our posts giving us a confidence boost as we are made to feel as though somebody actually cares.
Q: What is the oddest thing you have ever been asked to write about?
A: The strangest request I ever received did not make sense to me, in fact, I was so confused by the request that I had to cancel the order and inform the client that I could not complete it. I received the request through fiverr this individual put in a request for a 250-word article that did two things. First, he wanted an article that would convince African Americans to utilize African American real estate agents. Second, he wanted me to help him disprove a research statistic from a reputable research organization, which stated that African American’s do not keep money within the hands of fellow African Americans. It was a very hypocritical request as well as a semi-racist request, the information provided made it sound as though they were wanting to create a website filled with content for a real estate company that would only cater to African American’s I couldn’t be a part of something like that. In addition, it did not seem possible to write such an article in 250 words.
Q: What kind of day jobs have you had and how do they help you in your writing?
A: I have not had too many day jobs while in college I worked as a secretary for my Universities Writing Center, while there I learned about the different stylebooks including APA, Chicago, ASA, etc. In addition, as a secretary I was able to increase my typing speed and becoming more proficient at editing. Other jobs I held while in college include retail assistant at Forever 21, I worked in the dressing room and returned clothes back to their original racks. I am not sure what it taught in terms of writing, but it certainly taught me the beauty of perseverance and working hard. The job I feel that has helped me the most with my writing however is my work as an administrative assistant for R. J Wagner Realty. Since I was 16 Ms. Wagner has kept me as an on again off again virtual assistant of sorts. As a result, I have learned a lot about the real estate business, being as the majority of my clients tend to be realtors requesting blog articles and website content the experience I have gained working for her has been very useful and profitable. Currently she and I are discussing the beginnings of a blog and social networking campaign for her website. Other jobs I have had include waitressing at Golden Corral, and tutor. Tutoring definitely taught me how to best pre-plan my blog posting topics.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)