As a fellow editor, I see a lot of myself in Sue Fairchild’s story, and I’m so glad she took the time to share it with us today. Are you thinking of starting your own business? Do you have a plan? Support? Do you need them? Sue can tell you how they helped give her the confidence she needed to jump into live as a freelance editor.
Tell us about your business, including what you do, when you started your own business, and why.
I am a freelance editor. I work through a variety of businesses as well as directly with customers. I started my business about three years ago by working through sites like Guru.com for work. Now I’m an editor for an online publisher and I work through the Christian Editor Connection as well. Some of my business simply comes from word of mouth.
I started the business because I saw that I had a gift for word structure and plot. I am a member of a writer’s critique group and the other members encouraged me to pursue this line of work because they benefited from my critiques. I started mainly as a substantive editor – which is still my strongest asset – and moved into copy and line editing.
What has been your biggest struggle in launching your business/career?
Finding work. Many authors do not see the importance of a good editor and many believe they can edit their own work. Sometimes, they can do a good job, but as authors, we often can’t see the forest through the trees and we miss things in our work. Also, it’s difficult for people to spend money for good editing.
How are you overcoming it?
I overcome the difficulty of finding work by aligning myself with groups like the Christian Editor Connection, St. Davids Christian Writers Conference, and American Christian Fiction Writers. I also belong to several Facebook groups and utilize their forums to introduce myself. Overcoming the cost aspect is harder. But I’ve found that once someone sees how I can help their writing – they can understand how valuable the edits are.
What’s surprised you the most about working for yourself?
How much happier I am. I never realized how unhappy I was in my other jobs. They paid the bills and I did the jobs well, but they simply weren’t what I was called to do. “Follow your dreams” was never one of my mantras and I never truly understood what I could dream up! Now I do.
What’s your favorite part of this kind of work?
Meeting all kinds of people. I love the creativity of others and I’m amazed almost every day with the caliber of good writers surrounding us. Art is alive and well and it makes me smile.
Is there any one event/moment that helped you move from starting your own business to making a living with your own business?
I had been working in an insurance office – a line of work I did for almost thirteen years. I didn’t love the work, but it paid the bills and my attention to detail helped me be good at it. But then I began working for a new boss – one without the standard of morals I felt was needed in that line of business. I began to do editing work on the side. Soon my day job became so bad that I decided, finally, to just jump. My husband was so supportive, too. I would tell people that you can’t do it without support. His paycheck – to be honest – pays the bills. But I simply couldn’t align myself any longer with an immoral and corrupt person.
If you could give a new freelance workers/entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?
Have a plan and support. I didn’t have a plan, but I had support. Now, I’m beginning to shape my plan more and my business is starting to thrive. Don’t sell yourself short – your time is worth money. (I guess that’s more than one…and I could give more!)
If you could do one thing differently in your career, what would it be?
I wouldn’t have sold myself short at the beginning. I did editing for pennies. Not only does that rob me of good paying work, it robs others, too. Know your worth.
What’s your favorite kind of work? Why?
It varies. Right now I’m working with a woman on a devotional book. She’s been at it for a while – we’re really honing it! I love that work because we’ve become friends and her devotions speak to my heart. I feel closer to God when I edit her stuff. But then, there is an author who writes Fantasy and she’s so good at it! I love those types, too, because I get to read a good story.
What does your work space/office look like?
Laptop, desk, printer…I recently added some bright wall paintings and inspirational quotes to the wall. I also have a plant. There is always tea. And my pooch at my feet. I have a shelf full of manuals and pictures of loved ones. It’s usually a bit messy…which makes me nuts, but it’s the nature of the beast.
What does your work day look like?
I try to start with a good breakfast, then time with God. I tend to get into my emails and get lost in that ocean of replies and forwards. If I have an author who has a deadline, I start editing right away. I usually break down the number of pages into how many I need to do per day in order to make the deadline. It helps me stay on track. When there isn’t editing to do, I work on my blog or other writing. I just recently published a YA and a journal so there has been a lot of time finishing those and promoting. I keep my social media sites going by scheduling posts ahead of time.
What’s your go-to snack when you need one?
Hm… I try not to snack much. I drink a lot of water all day. Although a good piece of cheese is always welcome.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m so thankful for this opportunity and I hope I meet a few new people from it. I’d love to garner some new clients! I offer a two-page free review so people can see how I edit. Anyone interested – drop me a line!