Tom Kuegler Freelancer Writer
Tom turned his love of writing into his dream job. He now creates content for major websites and owns his own Medium publication.
What's your background and what type of services do you offer to clients?
My background is in Marketing of all things. I got my degree two years ago and realized soon after I didn't want to go anywhere near an office job. I just felt it was so stifling. I knew I enjoyed writing and the thought of working at home in my pajamas sounded incredible. So I went to Upwork and Craigslist and started to apply to everything. I wrote for free at a sports website for a month and had a bunch of samples under my belt so I naturally just showed them to possible clients. Most of all I was very passionate in the job applications and cover letters. I only applied to jobs that excited me because I knew my excitement would come through in the pitch. I won a few projects here and there and slowly built up my portfolio.
I wrote ebooks, articles, content, social media posts, copy, etc. To be honest I was never taught, but I did it anyway. Slowly but surely I made my way into journalism and publishing digital content for big websites. I think that's what I always wanted. I wrote at the Inquisitr for a bit at the start, and that allowed me to really gain some authority as a freelancer. It all snowballed from there. Now I write for Huffington, Diply, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, and I own my very own Medium Publication called The Post-Grad Survival Guide. The bulk of my income comes from helping major websites create content.
What motivated you to start your freelance career?
The idea that freelancing offered up a life where I could choose. The choice of when to wake up, who to work with, where I could work from. I didn't want to be tied down in a place doing grunt work. I wanted to value myself a little more than that from the start. I knew if I didn't value myself professionally, nobody would.
How do you find and attract clients?
Lately I've been on Indeed. My resume has a lot of big websites on it, and I don't mean that to sound cocky! I'm just saying that's how it is and I'm so, so proud/blessed to be part of them. The reality is that my resume captures attention because of Huffington and Diply. I don't need to put much effort into it.
I've also been scoring some sponsored blog posts recently on my personal blog and Medium publication because clients read some of the stuff I wrote and get in contact with me.
How do you grade your success? What metrics do you use to determine whether or not you've been successful (revenue, free time, ability to travel, etc.)?
To be honest with you it's tough to answer that. Financially I think I could do better. The problem with being a freelancer is the taxes. I take out 25% of my income for taxes right out of the gate, and when you have competition that will do what you do for pennies, it's tough to get any work. But I think I've sacrificed being financially successful for the freedom to travel, do what I want when I want, and work from home.
I think that's something I don't pay attention to as much to be honest with you. That's the reason I did this in the first place--more freedom AND the ability to do what I love. I think with all things considered, I've been successful. I got to go on a 4-month road trip out West last summer and link up with my best friend for two whole months. I get to work at home with my Mom and spend time with her. I'm going on a 3-month trip to Europe this coming August. I'm SO happy with the decisions I've made, I just wish I made a little more money, that's all!
What advice would you offer other freelancers that are just starting out? Any online resources/services/apps/tools, books, or courses you would recommend?
I never took any courses or really frequented many online resources/services except for Upwork, Craigslist, and Indeed. Stay on these sites and look for that diamond in the rough. You'll be surprised at how many there are hiding in plain site.
Where can we go to find out more about you and your business?
Go to Findingtom.com for my personal travel blog, and hit up The Post-Grad Survival Guide to take a look at my Medium publication.
Surprisingly I don't write about freelancing that much, but every now and then I'll drop something related to it.