Interview with Alexis Siemons, Freelance Creative Writing Professional
Alexis is a very talented freelance writer and creative business consultant who is actively associated with the Philadelphia co-working space, Independents “Indy” Hall. Fueled by her passion for tea and crazy words, Alexis is a great resource for companies looking to convey their brand in a concise, fresh and creative manner.
What made you leave the stable environment of working for a marketing and advertising company to become a freelancer?
After two years of working as a copywriter in an advertising agency, the business model of the company changed, which caused it to close. As difficult as the closing process was, I gained valuable experiences during the final months, as I was assuming various roles within the agency. These additional responsibilities have given me the background to offer the services of a creative business consultant, in addition to writing.
I had been preparing for the close and informed a few freelance design friends to keep me in mind for freelance writing, and luckily they did. While working on a few freelance projects, I looked into several advertising agencies, but slowly realized that I found my passion in the freelance world. I made the final decision to remain freelancing while attending the Blog Philadelphia conference on a whim. It was there that I met everyone who would soon create and become members of Independents Hall (coworking organization).
When I combined the support group of Independents Hall and my love for freelance writing, I decided that I truly wanted to continue working as a freelance writer/creative business consultant. The jump from stable to freelancer was bumpy, but thanks to the help of friends, Indy hall and perseverance, I survived with only a few bruises that were worth the pain in the long run.
How did your family react when they caught word of you becoming a freelancer?
At first, I told my family that my freelance work was only temporary while I looked for another position in an agency (which was true at the time). However, after a few months they all could tell my heart was in it. My boyfriend was incredibly supportive, especially through the bumpy starting months. He even directed a few jobs my way.
My parents expressed their concern regarding job stability (as any normal parents would), but after explaining my game plan and seeing how passionate I was, they were supportive. In fact, answering their questions only gave me more reason to continue freelancing, as I heard myself speak so passionately while explaining my choice.
Now that you’re a freelancer, are you able to land the big clients (Tylenol, Sunoco, J&J) that you used to work with as a member of a marketing and ad agency?
A main reason why I decided to continue freelancing as opposed to returning to an agency was my desire to work for local clients. I wanted to support fellow entrepreneurs and small businesses with big dreams. After learning how to build strong relationships with small businesses, I gained the confidence to approach prominent businesses, such as Mighty Leaf Tea (as a tea enthusiast, that’s quite exciting). This may come across as corny, but I think of all my clients as big clients. Each project has potential to turn into something spectacular. Sure, they might not have stock options, but they are more receptive to creativity and imagination, without the burden and delay of layers of administration.
What’s a typical day in the life of Alexis Siemons?
· Wakeup at 7:30/8 (depending on if I had a late night of writing)
· Cup of tea while reading news, blogs, etc
· Check emails
· Meetings/Conference calls
· Lunch/ Take a walk
· Continue writing
· Administrative tasks (invoices, keeping track of receipts for taxes, etc)
· I try to sop work at a reasonable hour so that I can spend time with family and friends, while recharging my battery for the next day.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get past it?
I do have my bouts with writer’s block and I’ve found a few cures that seem to get me out of the funk and back to the keyboard.
· Read outside. The stimulation of other words and the movement in the world seems to move my thoughts.
· Go have a cup of tea in a café and just absorb the world around you. A new environment and caffeine are a great combo force for writer’s block
· Call a friend and talk about your writer’s block. You can easily break through a block just by hearing yourself talk about the issue.
· Go for a walk. Break a sweat. Get your body moving and work out the frustration through exercise, which is often rewarded and counteracted with a nice treat of ice cream.
Where do you find inspiration?
I could probably write a few pages to answer this question, but if I had to pick a few:
Reading short stories and blogs about anything. I tend to rarely read blogs about writing, because I don’t want to follow someone else’s pattern. Instead, I’d rather create my own path. That is not to say that I don’t still learn from the masters every so often.
Listening to friends talk about their life, as I find their different views and new ideas inspiring.
Watching movies and listening to music. A poignant phrase in a film or captivating lyrics will remain with you and inspire thoughts.
Sitting in any park in and just observing life.
Antique stores. It may sound weird, but history has a way of blocking out emails, iphones, blogs, texts and other technology that can sometimes get in the way of clear thoughts. A trip back to history can inspire new thoughts.
How do you reward yourself/celebrate after a job well done?
by taking a small break and enjoying something simple, like buying some new tea and having a cup outside on the patio. Getting out and trying a new restaurant, etc. Ah the wild life of a freelancer!
What one piece of advice would you give to an emerging freelancer?
I still consider myself to be an emerging freelancer, but if I had to give just one piece of advice it would to join a coworking group. The support, education and references you receive as a member of that community are priceless.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Well I’m glad you’re not asking difficult questions. But seriously, I plan on having built a business model for myself, in which I create and maintain an organization’s online presence (blogs, website content, press releases, etc), while also closely working with the client on creative business strategy that supports the content. At the same time, I want to leave part of the path unplanned, since serendipitous moments are wonderful and life changing.
How do you want to be remembered?
As a talented writer and innovator with endless enthusiasm and a kind soul.