Today I have the honor of interviewing the author, finance expert, and freelance writer extraordinaire Holly Porter Johnson. I came to know Holly after taking her online course Earn More Writing (EMW) last Fall, and am now a huge fan of her take no prisoners approach in life.
As a professional writer embarking on a full-time freelance career, I went searching for guidance on the ins-and-outs of online writing. As I am sure you know, there are dozens of online writing courses on offer these days, but not all are worth their asking price.
When I found EMW I was impressed with the information covered and the relative affordability of the course. Holly knows her stuff - from how to compose pitch letters that land writing contracts to getting seen and heard on social media.
The course material is presented in a no-nonsense approach via easy to understand modules with straightforward lessons. One bonus that makes a world of difference - access to a private EMW Facebook group with the purchase of the course.
Holly is extremely active within the group, and gives a rundown on her writing work each day - with the exception of Sundays. The transparency in her posts serves as serious motivation as she goes so far as to share her daily earnings with the group!
Holly earns a solid six-figure salary and makes no secret of how she came to earn such an impressive amount of income.
Purchasing EMW and connecting with Holly and her Facebook group of 900+ writers is one of the smartest moves I made as a full-time freelance writer, and I strongly recommend anyone wanting to up their writing game to do the same.
One thing I must stress - EMW is a solid course and worth the cost IF you already have a solid foundation in writing to start with, along with the determination and desire to work hard.
Freelance writing can be a lucrative business, and self-employment is rewarding on so many levels - but it requires time, effort, and energy to realize the dream.
As a former journalist, I had the skills and experience but lacked the organization and roadmap needed to thrive as a full-time freelance writer. EMW provided me with the tools and techniques needed to launch my business.
In fact, within 8 weeks of taking the course I managed to exceed my goal of making $4000 in monthly earnings.
While not everyone who purchases the course will make what I made out the gate, many of the writers I met through the EMW Facebook group experienced similar results.
By the way, the writers in this private group are smart, supportive and quick to offer encouragement - this is a huge added bonus.
Once again though, success as a freelance writer calls for grit, determination, and hard work. If you are up for all of the above, EMW is an excellent course to set you on your way to earning more as a writer.
Here is my interview with Holly Porter Johnson - I hope you all enjoy it!
Hi, Holly - thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule for an interview today!
As an award-winning writer with clientele across many sectors, what inspired you to dive into the competitive world of freelance writing?
I started writing after my husband and I started our blog, ClubThrifty.com, in 2011. I was looking for a way to earn some income on the side, and the creation of our blog led me to find out about various writing opportunities in personal finance."
I love personal finance and I have always enjoyed researching and writing about money, so I was a natural fit for a variety of writing projects I found online. My career started with personal finance, but now I also write in several niches including higher education and travel.
Of all the amazing benefits afforded you as a freelance writer, what is the one thing it gives you that gets you to power through the tough moments?
My husband and I worked in the funeral industry together for many years, and our jobs were incredibly hard and stressful. We worked long hours and it felt like we were never home. Because my husband spent the bulk of his life “on call,” even our time spent at home was rarely ours to spend how we wanted.
Any time I am frustrated with my freelance career, I look back to where we came from and I’m instantly grateful. I am very happy to be working at home and on my own time, and I’m even happier my husband is able to do the same. It’s nice being able to set our own hours and travel when we want, and I love being home and available for my children all the time.
Many misinformed individuals scoff at the idea of making a living as a freelance writer. Would you care to enlighten us on just how amazing your life is since going the route of full-time writing?
Well, I earned $412,000 in freelance writing income in 2019. That doesn’t include income from our website or courses or any other income streams. Compare that to the $40,000 I made in my last year as the Director of Family Services at a funeral home and it’s easy to see why I’m happy.
But it’s really about more than money. We have traveled around 20 weeks per year for a few years with the exception of this year, but I still believe we’ll get in at least 10 weeks of travel for the remainder of 2020 despite COVID-19. We’re just doing a different type of travel this year.
Either way, we have a lot of freedom we never could have had in the funeral industry. We get to live how we want and work on our own terms. That is truly priceless.
Being your own boss comes with tremendous freedom - can you share some of the amazing travel adventures you have experienced as a result of this mega benefit?
We typically travel around 20 weeks of the year, and we do work some of that time off and on. But I like being able to travel for longer stretches and not be in such a hurry all the time. In the last few years, we have gone to Europe for 3 to 4 weeks at a time. That makes it a lot easier to settle in and have more time to explore, even when you consider that we work a few hours on some mornings.
In terms of great adventures, we had some good ones last year. I took my elderly parents to Italy, France, and Spain for two weeks for starters, and we took my in-laws to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. I went alone to Saudi Arabia, and we also went to Italy with friends in April. I also planned a surprise trip to Las Vegas with 19 people for my husband’s 40th birthday, which he loved! We went on other trips as well, but those were the highlights.
I know you keep a very full writing schedule - do you have any organizational or time management hacks you would like to share?
Not really. I don’t use any apps or tricks. I use a counter-top calendar and I plan out my work a few weeks in advance. I have a great work ethic and that helps.
As we prepare to enter into a “new normal,” what do you believe are the most crucial skills needed to succeed in freelance writing post-COVID -19?
I don’t think much has changed. For myself, I have tried to be more flexible in terms of the pieces I write, including being willing to write on topics I wouldn’t normally cover. To be successful as a freelance writer, you really just need to do an excellent job and be responsive to your clients.
How has your workload as a freelance writer changed since the global pandemic?
My workload has been about the same. A few of my travel-only clients have paused new content for a while, but I have filled in those gaps by doing more work for other clients. I feel very grateful that I haven’t seen any impact on my work due to COVID-19. I hope it stays that way but I would bet on myself regardless.
Do you plan on creating any more courses in the near future?
I plan to refresh my original Earn More Writing course this year if I get time. I may create more courses later on, but I don’t have any plans in the works at the moment.
And lastly, where do you plan to go as soon as the international travel ban is lifted?
I still have three trips to Europe planned for later this year, mostly because I am waiting to cancel until I can actually get a refund. But if I am able to go, I’m sure I will. My July trip to Budapest, Prague, and Krakow seems unlikely at this point, but as I said, I am just waiting to cancel until closer to time. No point in doing it now. We have an August trip to the UK booked and a Spain/Portugal trip planned in October for my kid’s fall break. I would go on either of those if I am able, but we’ll see.
Keep in mind, these are trips I booked and paid for before COVID-19. I will go if I can’t get a refund, but I am waiting until the dust settles before planning more international travel.
We have plans for US travel this summer and later this year.
If you are ready to make more income as a freelance writer, please check out Holly Port Johnson's course here.