Confessions of a Freelance SEO Writer [Interview]
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Interview With a Freelance SEO Writer
The Internet is a vast information center, filled with endless things to do. With it comes great opportunity for just about anything you want to do, including pursuing a job, a career, or a lifestyle that allows you to make a living without ever stepping foot into a physical place called work. While I am interested in all walks of life in every career, there is certainly something fascinating about people who move into the virtual world and are able to make a paycheck. It is nearly a dream for many people to work at home and make enough to live comfortably.
Whether one chooses programming, web design, web development, advertising, sales, e-commerce, marketing, social media, social media marketing, SEO, creative content writing, or even a question and answer forum or column website or a regular website that allows one to generate a daily income, there are unlimited opportunities available online. Hundreds to thousands of companies worldwide are looking for talent and skills to fill job positions, with many new positions becoming available everyday.
I had the pleasure of being contacted by a woman, who makes her living online working as a Freelance Content Writer and SEO Marketing Specialist, who was interested in contributing a few helpful articles to Confessions of the Professions. After reviewing several of her very useful and helpful articles, I was interested to find out who the woman was behind the screen. I asked her for an interview and she gladly accepted. I am always trying to uncover what people do at work and she opened up to me by answering my questions.
This is my interview with her.
What is your name? My name is Melanie Hargrave.
How old are you? I am 36 years old.
What do you do for work? I’m a freelance writer working from home. I write articles, blog posts, guest columns, and anything else I can get my hands on!
What company do you work for? I’m affiliated with an SEO company based in Utah.
Do you enjoy what you do? I really love writing. I’ve always loved to put my ideas down on paper, and playing with the English language is one of my greatest pleasures. I love the creative freedom of being able to write whatever I want; seeing my work published on blogs and sites across the internet is thrilling every single time a new post goes up! I just love being able to share my ideas with readers across the web. Knowing that my words are being read is immensely fulfilling even if I never get any feedback.
What is your education? I have a B.A. in English, emphasis Creative Writing. I’m currently working on an M.A. in English, but the going is slow since I consider my family to be my full-time job.
Do you feel your education has helped you get to where you are today? I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without my education. I loved every moment of my undergraduate degree. Sure, test days were stressful and some teachers were definitely better suited to my personality than others, but all in all, I wouldn’t trade a single day. My professors pushed me to give them my best work, and my writing grew in leaps and bounds. I learned to analyze, to read intelligently, to write both professionally and creatively, and to love what I do. I found my writing voice, my niche, and my life passion, and I attribute all of that to my four years as a student.
What did you want be when you "grew up"?
When I was very young, I wanted to be a cowgirl. Riding horses for a living just sounded like the best job in the entire world. When I got a little older, I wanted to be a piano teacher, and then an astronaut for a few strange weeks in middle school. Once I hit high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always loved books, writing, and playing with words, so there’s only one thing I ultimately could have done with my life: write.
The only aspiration that stayed consistent from those transition years from cowgirl to writer was the desire to be a mother. That’s something I dreamed of ever since I can remember, and I am blessed enough to see that dream fulfilled twice over with my two beautiful daughters.
What would you say you are most passionate about?
My first passion is my family. I am married to a wonderful man, and I have two daughters that I love more than life itself. My life goal is to see them happy and successful.
My second passion is language and literature. I can’t remember ever not reading—I always have several books I’m in the middle of at a time, one from each genre, so that I can read whatever I like according to my mood. At this moment, I have the Complete Sherlock Holmes, a Neil Gaiman novel about Armageddon, a history of London, and Peace Like a River by Leif Enger on my bedside table. I’m about halfway through all of them.
If you could go back in your life and change one thing, what would it be?
This might be horribly cliché, but I wouldn’t change a single thing. I’ve been through some rough things in my life (who hasn’t?), but there is absolutely nothing I would redo. Everything I have been through has made me who I am today, and if I were to take away a single piece of the puzzle I would lose part of myself. Who am I to decide what experiences I would be better off without?
What are your goals for the next 5 years of your life?
That’s a question I feel like I haven’t had to answer since I was a college student! First, I need to get my girls through the teenage years. That’ll be quite the achievement in itself. One of my dreams since high school is to tour Europe, and that’s in the works for the next few years. I’d also love to get my first novel published, get through my Master’s program, and take a spin in one of those shark cages off the coast of Mexico.
What are your hobbies?
As I think I’ve said several times, I adore reading and writing. That’s how I spend most of my free time. But I also love running (I’ve done several marathons), playing soccer with my girls, going on Friday night dates with my husband, and watching British TV.
What advice do you have for college students looking for financial freedom?
I would say that the best thing you can do for yourself is work hard. I made it through my B.A. on scholarship, but it was only because I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. Grades can carry you through a lot of financial tight spots. I also worked through college to pay for housing. It’s hard, but do-able. Don’t be afraid of hard work. Don’t be afraid to lose some sleep, say no to a party here and there, and be a goody-two-shoes.
Working hard is not only for the nerds. It’s for anyone who doesn’t want to spend the rest of their life paying off piles of student loans and debts.
On the other hand, don’t be afraid to take out loans, apply for grants, and ask for help. People want you to succeed. They want you to finish college. You will find help if you swallow your pride, fear, and do your bit to make your dreams happen.
What advice do you have for people looking to get into the type of work that you do?
If you want to write, you’ve got to write. That might sound obvious, but it’s absolutely true. Write every single day. Write poetry, write fiction, write essays, write a blog. Experiment with words, with sentence structures, and with your own voice.
Read like your life depends on it. Good writers are good readers. Reading opens doors, unlocks your abilities, and helps you see what you truly want to write. The better-read you are, the better writer you’ll be.
I feel like I just spouted a lot of cliché’s, but they’re all true! Write, write, write, and eventually you’ll wake up and realize that you’re writing for a living.
What else should we know about you?
I’m from a large family, originally from Idaho. I married my husband in 2000, and we started our family shortly after. I’m an Aries, a cat-lover, and more than a bit of a science-fiction geek at heart (Star Wars, Firefly, Doctor Who, anyone?). I love God and my family more than life itself. I also love travel, the smell of coffee and new books, and I probably keep small book shops in business singlehandedly.
I’m the luckiest person alive to be doing what I love for a living. If I could give one last piece of advice, it would be to make doing what you love a priority. Don’t give up. Don’t let other people tell you what you are and aren’t capable of. And eventually, you’ll end up exactly where you want to be.
I appreciate the interview Melanie and I do hope you have great success in your freelance career for many years to come! You are a great inspiration to me and to my readers. I have also had the pleasure of working from home, which really does give a wonderful work-life balance and allows you to feel very comfortable in all you do.
Thank you so much Melanie!
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