Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jessica Hatch, Founder of Flourish Freelance, located in Jacksonville, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Maybe it’s because I work with words all day, but I believe strongly in brand stories. Both as the founder of Hatch Editorial Services and the creator of the course Financial Freedom for Freelancers, my story is like that of Prometheus, bringing fire down from the gate-kept mountain to help illuminate options for the masses.
I’ve been a full-time freelance editor since October 2016, and in those nearly seven years, I have had the privilege to work from the comfort of my home or neighborhood coffee shop with clients from all six habitable continents, clients who have snagged book deals, won national awards, held top ranks on Amazon, and received critical acclaim.
Along my freelance journey, I’ve fielded calls and questions from others who see the success and financial independence I’ve earned and who want to find something similar. Through Hatch Editorial’s effort, Flourish Freelance, which relaunched last month, I’ve wrapped my knowledge up into an accessible, practically minded package—a free podcast called English Majors Making Money and a paid online course, Financial Freedom for Freelancers. Financial Freedom for Freelancers is meant for creative entrepreneurs, such as copywriters, freelance editors, graphic designers, videographers, and photographers, within the first five years of their freelance life, who need practical guidance for the organizational, financial, and mental parts of running a business.
Tell us about yourself
From the age of sixteen, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I adored books, everything about them. I was going to get my degree, move to New York, and work in book publishing. That was the dream. I laid the foundation for my career with internships at hallmark institutions like Writers House, the literary agency representing Ken Follett, Stephenie Meyer, and Michael Lewis, and after graduating in 2012, I moved up to the Big Apple, ready to face my destiny.
I did for a time, temping at New Leaf Literary and Media, assisting at Fox Literary Agency, and then working in publicity for St. Martin's Press, but, as I like to joke, I had neither a trust fund nor a boyfriend that worked in finance. I couldn't afford New York on my pittance of an entry-level salary, and the stress sent me home, feeling like a failure.
But I couldn't shake my desire to edit. I was doing it for my friends for free, and I was doing it until three in the morning before turning around and going to my nine-to-five job for the occasional freelance client. Could I turn this into a career? I wondered. And, over the course of the last nine years, with those from 2016 onward as a full-time freelancer, I have!
As my success became apparent to others from similar liberal arts backgrounds, I started fielding calls and questions not only from friends but from friends of friends and even the occasional college student who wanted to know how to make a living doing what they love. Just like I’d wondered if I could turn freelancing into a career, beginning in 2020, I wondered if I couldn’t bring the fire down from the mountain, share with other freelancers the illuminating organizational, financial, and motivational tips that had worked for me, and which ones hadn’t.
In October 2020, I created Financial Freedom for Freelancers. I took a break in 2021 and 2022—to take care of my mother after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and to write and publish two novels—but now I’m back at it and eager to add to the original course!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I love watching my clients and freelance colleagues have breakthroughs. Rejoicing with clients who have won national literary awards and gotten multi-book deals with publishers is awesome.
On a purely materialistic note, as a freelance editor, I very nearly tripled the income I was making in trade publishing, my original dream job. I went from making $28,500 and living in a narrow room at a women's residence in 2012 to grossing $75,000+ in business income in 2019, making my own schedule and traveling around the world. Oh, and my earnings were the primary funds that helped my husband and me buy a house during a worldwide pandemic. Not too shabby for an English major, huh?
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Such a good question! For me, bucking Imposter Syndrome has been a major part of the journey. The solution for me has been in practicing self-trust, wherein you either believe you have what it takes to deliver what you’re promising or you build up your skill set so that it becomes true. By practically chipping away at Imposter Syndrome, eventually, you stop having armpit stank every time you send a cold pitch. Eventually, hearing “no” is part of the journey and not something that limits you. But, and this is important for me as a person with anxiety, you can’t rewire your brain into a positive risk-taking mode by thinking your ruminating thoughts. You have to take those first baby steps of faith and keep going.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
These are a few of the tips you’ll get from my course, actually:
- Build an emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of expenses before you quit your current job and start a full-time entrepreneurial business. This safety net will give you more grace as you find your target market, etc., and you will feel less pressured to say yes to opportunities you know are a poor fit.
- Whether in Salesforce, an Excel spreadsheet, or elsewhere, keep track of your conversations with prospective clients. Regular follow-ups are an important and cost-effective means of closing deals.
- Freelancing has sprung up beyond the point of being a cottage industry these days. Find your unique selling point, and continually learn and grow in your field. This will help you stand out from the crowd.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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