Meet 6-figure freelance writer Carol Tice

Meet 6-figure freelance writer Carol Tice

 

The Energizer Bunny has nothing on Seattle freelancer Carol Tice. She seems to be everywhere at once, writing for big name publishers like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and more. Carol keeps up with Fortune 500 client demands, authors books, and in her spare time(!),  serves as Den Mother of the 700+ member writers’ community Freelance Writers Den. I’ve spent many hours reading her words of wisdom at Make a Living Writing and I’m thrilled to introduce her to you. 

Q. As a six-figure freelancer (wow!) you’ve definitely made it big time as a freelancer. What do you want to be your legacy as a writer?

A. I want my legacy to be that I was a good mom. I work hard to make time with my kids.

As far as writing, I think I’m creating it now on my blog. Helping other people earn more money is incredibly fulfilling work, and I love that those tips just keep on helping people.

Aside from my own blog, I’m hoping my legacy will be in writing nonfiction books, and maybe fiction ones, too. I love all the how-to, helpful business writing I’ve done over the years, and now I’m focused on doing that at the book level. I love big projects!

My first business book, How They Started, came out last year, and I have another one, The Pocket Small Business Guide to Starting on a Shoestring, coming in July.

I love telling great business stories…hope I get to do more of it.

Q. With so many deadlines, what does a typical day look like for you?

A. I don’t know if there is one, but here’s what I try to make the day like: I get up at 6:30 and get my daughter and son off to school, then try to work out — often walk the hills around my house for about an hour, or hit the NordicTrak. By about 9 I want to be at my desk. Or I’ll do a quick email/Den check and then work out.

Once I’m in, I usually try to dive-bomb through email, blog comments, Freelance Writers Den forum comments, and social media. I keep trying to shift this later in the day, but it’s hard — living on Pacific time, there’s already so much going on by 9 am my time!

From there, it’s time to send out requests for interviews, write queries, or write blog posts or articles. Or if I’m presenting, that’s usually from 12-1 pm — I try to inhale my lunch during the sound check right before we start! Or eat right after. It’s always something quick…leftovers and some raw veggies and fruit to snack on, usually.

I tend to write and report in batches — so one day I might write several posts for Freelance Switch, or research several Entrepreneur feature stories, or write a week’s worth of my blog posts. I find this way more efficient than doing a bit for each client every day.

I always take a break from 5-8 pm to be with my family.

Then I’ll do a few hours at night if there’s more to catch up on, which there usually is! This is when I might work on Den bootcamps or write ebooks or work on other long-term projects.

But I’m trying to cut the night shift back these days. It’s not easy though since I basically have two full-time jobs, my freelance writing AND then my own blog and work helping other freelancers. I keep trying to find more Den tasks I can pay someone else to do.

Obviously, this is a day in the office, not when I’m out at a conference or interviewing sources.

I always am completely off from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, and usually through to Sunday morning, when I’ll do a quick email/Den/comments check just to make sure there are no emergencies and nothing’s broken.

I strongly recommend everyone take at least one full day off from the computer. Your productivity will explode, I promise.

Q. How do you keep from being distracted by social media?

A. It’s not a big addiction for me. I play Bejeweled with my Facebook friends about once or twice a week for maybe a half-hour. I get on Twitter usually once or twice each weekday, share my stuff, post my blog post to Facebook, engage in a few conversations and I’m done. I might come back once in the afternoon.

Q. Recently you tweeted you were doing “3 days’ work all at once” so you could spend time with your family. With so many deadlines, do you ever really get to take a break?

A. Now that I have a laptop and an online community to serve, it’s harder and harder to be totally off of all work!

But when I’m traveling, I rarely do any of my freelance work — I plan my deadlines around the vacation. I just try to keep email from backing up too far and keep Den Members’ questions answered. My tip: Set your email bouncer to say you’re gone for 1 day before you leave, and an extra day when you get back. Give yourself breathing space.

But to answer your question — my goal is to take 6 weeks off a year. One of the big reasons to be a freelancer vs an employee is more vacation time! The standard 2-3 weeks we get in America is appalling. I haven’t done well on this the last couple years while I was building the blog and launching the Den, but I am getting back to it. I want to take all my kids’ school breaks and long weekends – winter, spring, etc, and then several weeks in summer. That’s my goal…not always easy to get there!

It is hard with the Den to be totally gone. But I enjoy helping the other writers so much, it doesn’t really feel like work to spend 15-20 minutes answering a few questions. I don’t consider that as ruining my vacation! And at this point my kids get what I do — my younger son who’s 11 is actually learning from me now and building his own Apple fan blog, which I think is awesome.

Connect with Carol Tice

See her site: caroltice.com

Check out her blog: makealivingwriting.com

Join her community: The Freelance Writers Den

 Like learning from Carol? Me too. Let her know in the comments!

 


19 Comments


  1. I am a huge fan of Carol Tice! She’s helped me so much as a freelance writer balancing the mom job – thanks for the great interview! And beautiful site. Can’t wait to poke around.

  2. Samantha Murphey

    So happy to read about freelancing role models out there. Thanks for posting this!

    • Thanks for reading, Sam. In a practice of self-enlightenment, I feature writers I want to be like. That’s something you and Carol have in common: I’m your fan. 🙂

  3. Great post!! So glad for the example of Ms.Tice. She gives all us writers hope. Love the updated site!

  4. Robert Jennings

    Thanks for the great interview. Carol’s blog was where I learned that there was an alternative to content mills. I’ve picked up a ton of information from her, and discovered a few other great blogs from her guest posts.

  5. Carol, you’re impressive. Crystalee’s been raving about you.

  6. Young Work At Home Moms

    I am a huge fan of Carol Tice. She is my inspiration. I hope to be able to join the Writers Den whenever she opens the doors again.

  7. Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing

    Thanks for all the positive feedback, folks!

    Just to clarify my blog is makealivingwriting.com…the link works but what it says isn’t quite right.

  8. It’s nice to hear from a freelancer who’s actually making a living doing this. I’m still at the pennies and tears stage of the game. Kudos!

    • Well, you can do it, T.A.! Carol gives me a lot of hope too. It’s possible. It takes tenacity, but it’s really possible to make living writing. I think too many people give up on their dreams when the going gets tough. Remember that everyone who’s doing well in this field had to start somewhere – and anyone who’s published was once unpublished. I remind myself that in the moments I get discouraged. It’s worth the fight to go after dreams.

      Thanks for your comment.

  9. Crystalee,
    Great to read something about Carol that she would normally write directly herself.

    I’d love it if, one day, somebody did a Q&A about me!

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