Community profile: Danielle Small – writer, marketer, artist
This post is the second in our Community Profile series where we explore who the freelance professionals and brands that power the CloudPeeps marketplace are every Friday.
This week, we spoke with Danielle Small, New York-based writer and marketer. She’s also been working as the Peep for Wagepoint for six months now. Danielle shared her approach to client work, how she manages a remote, freelance lifestyle and her hobbies that keep her happy and motivated. Learn more about how Danielle maintains a balance below!
1) What’s your area of expertise that you offer as a freelance professional and what are you most passionate about professionally?
Creating social and online content (blog posts, articles, videos, and website content) and developing strategies. I love working with companies to hone their brand narrative and personality. It combines my creative writing skills with my marketing vision.
2) Why did you decide to pursue freelance work?
It just sort of happened. I started freelancing as a way to support myself while still having the time to focus on my college education. I was determined to not work in the food industry (I suffered through two years at Burger King in high school. The smell of their burgers still haunt me to this day). But I also come from a family of entrepreneurs. Every person in my family either owns a business or does work on the side, so being a freelancer came naturally to me.
3) Your profile says that you make sure brands come across as human and authentic. How do you accomplish this?
I work with clients to hammer out the details of their brand personality and approach brand personalities like a fiction writer. I often write a detailed history that entails their brand’s likes and dislikes, character traits, name, favorite movies, recreational activities, background, whether they are a cat person or a dog person, and so and so forth.
Creating and understanding the nuances of a brand makes writing human and authentic copy much easier. I’m no longer writing for a company; I’m representing a person with their own unique viewpoint of the world.
4) What have been your favorite job wins?
I was hired by an e-commerce company to overhaul their brand experience and social strategy and content. Before I took over, their online community was small and stagnant. After working with them for six weeks, their online community doubled and engagement skyrocketed.
Because I was reaching out to anyone and everyone, their once stagnant community transformed into vocal brand advocates. People couldn’t wait to share the company’s products. There was so much buzz surrounding them that they got covered by TechCrunch and other notable blogs in the industry.
5) Tell us a little bit about your work with CloudPeeps.
Because my schedule has been packed the last few months, I’ve only worked with one client through CloudPeeps. I write the social content for the payroll provider Wagepoint. It has been an amazing experience. They are one of the best clients I’ve ever had. We’ve even gone out for drinks.
6) Has your experience as a Peep differed from traditional freelancing? If so, how?
Yes, you take all the hard work out of freelancing. I normally spend hours sifting through various job sites, trying to find work that suits my skillset. Then, I spend more hours reaching out to prospective clients, hoping that they’ll respond. And maybe, I’ll get a nice client out of it (after weeding out the clients that are allergic to paying or who don’t respect my time as a freelancer).
CloudPeeps reminds me why it’s fun to be a freelancer because it takes care of all the downsides of being a freelancer–finding clients, communicating with clients, and getting paid.
7) Where do you work from? What does your workspace typically look like?
I am the farthest thing from a Pinterest-perfect freelancer. I often work from home on my couch with Netflix playing in the background. My workspace consists of my Macbook Air sitting on my Ikea coffee table, which is cluttered with books and art supplies. If I’m stuck or lacking inspiration, I’ll work out of Darling Coffee (their carrot cake is Ah-mazing), Lenox Coffee (great ambience), or Argo Tea by Union Square (I basically run on chai lattes).
8) Any hobbies or other side hustles?
I used to do event photography, but I’ve stopped since my schedule has been so packed with writing and marketing work. But I have started doing watercolor illustrations as a hobby. If I feel worn out creatively, all I need to do is sketch and paint and I feel refreshed.
See more of Danielle’s paintings and illustrations on her Instagram.
9) How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle when working independently as a freelancer? Any tips or resources to share?
This is something that I’ve been working on a lot. It took being burnt out for me to be aware of how much my sedentary lifestyle affected me emotionally, physically, and creatively. I make it my mission to prevent that from happening again through healthy eating, an active lifestyle, and cultivating a social life.
It’s easy to have a poor diet when you’re working from home or eating cafe food all day, so I plan and prepare my meals in advance. I don’t subscribe to a particular diet; I just aim to eat balanced, unprocessed meals.
In the spring, summer, and fall, I explore the City on my bike. I love cycling because it forces me to be present and focus on what’s in front of me. I do hot yoga in the winter (Shout out to Bikram Yoga Harlem!), which makes me more focused and relaxed. And it’s a great way to prevent cabin fever. I also run if I don’t have a lot of time to go to a class or bike. My goal this year is to complete my very first triathlon.
Sometimes being active is not enough, so I always make sure I have “Me” days. On these days I do a digital detox so I can do what I like to do without the nagging feeling that I should be working on something. I’m serious about disconnecting, too. I even bought a typewriter so I could work on my creative writing without my computer.
As a freelancer, it’s really easy to get absorbed in your work (especially if you love what you do like I do). But just because I love working all the time doesn’t mean I should be. That’s why it’s important to have boundaries between work and the rest of your life. If I never took the time to disconnect from the world, I would have never realized how much I love to draw and paint — two activities that are now central to my creative process.
And when solitary creative exploration doesn’t work, I hang out with my friends–playing video games, going to museums, eating out, or dancing. With all the work that I do, I can forget that I’m in my early 20s and living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. I try to take advantage of all New York City has to offer.
To learn more about Danielle and the other passionate CloudPeeps looking to help your business grow, sign up and check out our marketplace – it’s free until you make a hire!
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