opportunity

Baltimore, Opportunity and Freelancing

I’m from a small town in South Carolina. I wasn’t born there, but I spent most of my formative years imagining life beyond the local Piggly Wiggly. My father lived there as a child, and his father lived there. Prior to that, his father likely lived there … The story continues as far back as slavery when they picked the cotton that still grows there. It’s an upbringing that I am thankful to have because it keeps me grounded, although I have never set foot in the town as an adult.

My grandfather left our small town during the segregation era as a young adult to pursue work in Baltimore. In the big city, he found opportunity on the boats. My father left during the Civil Rights Era headed for New York, after a short stint in the military, he found opportunity in entrepreneurship. I chose a different route. Opting for college and a family I jumped from city to city, eventually laying roots in the Seattle area.

How does this relate back to freelancing?

I come from a legacy of people that search for opportunity when presented with little. From the moment I left my small town, I knew it was going to be an uphill climb, and I sought out that challenge. On the backs of those who had left before me, I knew there was opportunity in front of me… I just needed to find it.

That opportunity presented itself online. With the exception of part-time retail jobs, every job I’ve ever had was courtesy of the Internet. From freelance reporting to modeling, to mystery shopping… I found my opportunity through a system of information that connected me with the world.

I have been ‘online freelancing’ for 17 years now… and as I watch the environment change – I am saddened by what it has become. Just like Baltimore was once a Mecca of opportunity for my grandfather, it is now a city of despair. Similar to how my father ran to New York in the 60s, he ran from it in the 80s. The online marketplace has become overrun with the second-wave of hopefuls looking for their next opportunity. Many of them come underprepared and under-qualified and aren’t willing to put in the necessary work.

As a result, they have cheapened the definition of what it means to be an online freelancer and made it difficult for the quality ones to stand out.

Take, for example, the million dollar freelance copywriter. …

He brags about how easy it was for him to make money. He brags about how little education he has. He suggests that anyone can do what he did – if you just click here — it’s no wonder why anyone would have a difficult time putting a value on quality copywriting.

Am I suggesting he’s not good? Not at all; I don’t know anything about his work. What I am saying is that he is not unique. Time Magazine reported last year that 1 in 3 Americans freelance. If so many of us are going at it alone, how does anyone know who is actually about their craft and who is just looking for the next opportunity?

I’m not going to say I’m the best to have ever done it. Actually, I will be the first to admit that I am not. What I am, however, is dedicated. I am dedicated to freelancing, not because it’s what’s popular and not because someone suggested I could make a whole bunch of money. I am freelancing because it was the best opportunity for me- a small-town girl with big dreams. The Internet is my Baltimore. Freelancing is my New York.

I am committed to defending ‘my city’ from decay, and helping others succeed here as well. You deserve to be online. Read about my services and let me know if I can help.