I’ve followed Kat’s journey since 2015 when I found her career advice on The Muse. At the time, I was at crossroads, and Kat’s articles helped me design the business I have now. Kat gives some of the best freelance-writing advice. In this interview, she answers questions about her:
- Freelance-writing journey
- Biggest draw to the freelance life
- Non-negotiable requirement with clients
- Secret to freelance success
- New course for freelance writers!
- Advice for young and aspiring writers
- Alternate career if she wasn’t the amazing freelance writer we know
Thank you for sitting with us, Kat. Let’s get into it.
We’ve read your work since 2014. From The Muse to Time and even the New York Times. Did you always want to be a writer? Tell us about your journey.
First of all, that is so kind! Thank you. Honestly, no, I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. I started college as a musical theater major—one of the many hopefuls convinced I’d make it to Broadway. But, after a semester of music and dance classes, I decided that I didn’t want to turn my number-one passion into my career and would rather reserve that as a hobby and creative outlet. I floundered for a semester or two, before landing on a major in communication and a minor in journalism.
After college, I worked in a full-time marketing role that involved some writing projects. When I got the itch to do something different, I took a step back and looked for a common thread between the projects and positions I had enjoyed. As it turns out, writing was that common thread! In July of 2014, I quit my full-time job to pursue a freelance writing career and here I am!
What’s your biggest draw to the freelance life?
Without a doubt, the flexibility. I don’t take advantage of it as much as I should, but I love being able to build my life around my work and not the other way around. Whether it’s planning a vacation or something as simple as scheduling a dentist appointment, one of the biggest perks is having total control over my schedule.
When dealing with clients, do you have any quirks? What’s your non-negotiable with clients?
I wouldn’t say I have any quirks, per se. I like to think I’m pretty reasonable and that working with me is relatively straightforward. In terms of non-negotiables, I know ahead of time what my base rate is, and I won’t dip below that. Ever. I’m also pretty mindful of what tools I will or won’t use with my clients. If I don’t manage that proactively, I end up in dozens of Slack groups and different project management systems.
What’s your secret to freelance success? How do you land the clients we all want?
Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a singular secret. Rather, it’s the combination of a bunch of different things, including:
- Exceed client expectations in terms of your communication, deadlines, and quality of work
- Choose a niche so you can build credibility, name recognition, and a focused portfolio
- Be active on social media and connect with fellow freelancers as well as clients you’re interested in working with
- Summon your courage and be proactive about pitching yourself for opportunities
You have just launched a freelance-writing course! Tell us about it. How can people register?
Yes, it’s my first-ever course all about how to find freelance opportunities and clients! It’s designed for all types of freelancers (not just writers) and walks through a bunch of the strategies I’ve used to find gigs and grow my business from zero to six figures. The course is self-paced and can be purchased here: https://katboogaard.com/the-get-to-workshop
If you could transition into another career, what would it be?
Ooh, this is a great question! I have serious career envy, so I’m constantly coming up with other jobs I think I’d like better—from a doctor to a barista. Right now, I’d say teaching college students. I work as adjunct faculty at a local college as an Employment Advisor, where I work with students on their resumes, cover letters, mock job interviews, etc. and I really enjoy that. So, I’d love to teach a course on writing for the internet or something similar. I guess that’s still somewhat related to what I do now, but sort of different.
What’s your advice to young, aspiring freelance writers?
Keep going! Rejection is part of the process, so don’t let one disheartening “no” knock you out of the game. We all get turned down. I promise.