Behind the scenes at my location-independent business, Q1 2021

by Gigi Griffis
work supplies photo

This post is part of a series about how I make money while traveling the world. I’ve been on the road for nearly eight years. For a deeper look at how I started my business and began traveling full-time, start here.

It’s that time again.

Time for me to take a look back at the quarter and see how business is going – and to share that look back with you in case it’s helpful as you think about your own business, planning, marketing, etc. 

So, how do I make money while being location independent? Here’s the skinny on Q1 2021:

How I made money in Q1 2021

As a content strategist and copywriter, I do a variety of tasks – from planning to interviews to writing and research. Every quarter is a bit different in its focus. And in Q1 this year, I…

:: Wrote web copy for several projects, including a non-profit focused on poverty reduction

:: Performed data analysis to identify content opportunities based on a client’s proprietary research

:: Wrote a lot of blog posts on technical and marketing topics

:: Ghostwrote a short eBook

:: Wrote landing pages, emails, and social media copy to promote high-value content

Sales & marketing in Q1 2021

I’ve been self-employed for almost 10 years now and for the first 5+, I hustled for work. Sales and marketing were an important part of getting the business going. But these days, honestly, I don’t do a ton of marketing. I have a very full schedule and most of my new clients find me by referral or through my bylined writing online. So, while I did pick up new clients this quarter, I didn’t do much beyond responding quickly to emails, sending a few samples, and then signing a contract.

New business: how I got new clients in Q1 2021

As I mentioned above, most of my clients come to me either by referral or via people I’ve worked with before who move on to new companies and want to work with me again. This quarter, I took on three new clients – two one-time projects and one ongoing client relationship. Two were referrals from clients I’d worked with in the past and one was a referral from another writer who didn’t have time to take on the work herself. 

My location-independent freelance schedule

About six years ago, after a health scare, I realized that working full-time hours was harming my health – both physical and mental. Which is why I cut my schedule to the bone back then, going from about 40 hours a week down to 15 – 20. 

It was much needed and a good decision. It forced me to focus on the highest-paying, lowest-stress clients, to raise my rates, and to prioritize health and productivity. 

Since then, I’ve shifted again and again, sometimes working as much as 35 hours per week, sometimes as low as 10. 

This quarter, I worked a pretty solid four-day workweek (about 32 hours per week), which is on the high end for me. I expect Q2 to be a bit lighter and I’m anticipating taking a vacation in Q3, so working a bit more than usual this quarter should pay off by allowing me some space to breathe in coming quarters. 

Location independence: where I worked

As you probably already know, I am a location-independent freelancer. This means that I can work from anywhere with stable internet and enough time zone overlap with my clients. In practicality, this means I work from Europe 99% of the time and the vast majority of my clients are in the US. 

In 2020, obviously, my freedom of movement changed a lot. And in 2021, things are still pretty limited. I spent my whole quarter hanging out in Thun, Switzerland, before getting a PCR test in late March and flying my butt to Croatia, where I hope to get a visa for up to 12 months.

The view from our place in Switzerland:

Need some content, strategy, or web help?

I’m currently booked up, but you never know when that’ll change. If you need someone like me, please reach out.

I’m particularly great at:

:: Writing content about technical topics for a a non-technical audience

:: Inbound marketing/content marketing

:: Developing writing guidelines for your team

:: Organizing navigation and site content

:: Coming up with headlines, taglines, and brand campaigns

:: Optimizing content for SEO

:: Managing blogs 

Tech businesses I’ve worked with include Dell, BestVPN, ComplyData (oil and gas compliance software), miiCloud (face recognition software), Atlassian, Amplitude, and Lytics Customer Data Platform. Agency clients have included Atlas Advertising, Fractl (the infographic masters), and Catalyst Marketing.

If you’d like to chat about what I can do for your business, drop me a line.

Are you a freelancer or business owner? Tell us about your quarter. Feel free to drop any questions you might have in the comments. 

Is there something you wish I’d cover in these quarterly reports? Please let me know. I want them to be as useful as possible, so if you have a suggestion, drop it in the comments or reach out to me on Facebook anytime.

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