In this week’s Peep Profile, we get to know Peep Valerie Stimac. Valerie was once a mental health therapist for three years and can handle just about anything. Today, she puts writing first, and just about everything else second. She’s worked in community management with companies in tech, travel, startups, web development and more. In this interview, we talk to Valerie about how she got to where she is today, her daily routine, her client strategy, who inspires her and more!

Tell us about your career to date…

It’s a long and twisting path, let me tell you! I started with undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Economics, and left college to get my Masters in Psychology. After working as a therapist for three years, I went back to school to get an MBA.

Armed with my double graduate degrees, I snagged a great role as the first marketer in a Paul Allen-backed startup here in Seattle just a few days after arriving. When that shut down, I started freelancing in community management in social media. About six months ago, I took on a full-time role in a larger marketing capacity, and I still freelance with a few clients on the side, in various marketing roles.

Describe yourself in three words.

To-do list destroyer.

How did you get into freelancing and why did you choose a freelance career?

It’s interesting — I don’t necessarily think that I have a freelance career, and I certainly didn’t get into freelancing on purpose. When the startup I was working at shut down unexpectedly, I naturally fell into freelancing through an introduction to the CloudPeeps community as well as a few contract roles that came about organically on Twitter.

Now, even with a full-time role, I keep a few freelance clients on the side because of my passion for working on diverse topics every day. I can work harder and longer and more productively when I have multiple things to focus on.

What does your daily routine look like? Where do you work from?

My daily routine starts at 5:45 am when I sit down to start freelancing, coffee in hand. By 8 am, I’ve worked out and am in the office for my full-time role. After an hour of decompression post-work, I’m back to freelancing until about 8:30 pm each evening. I work from home on my freelance work; the office for my full-time role.

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How do you keep your clients happy?

I try to keep communication open; I think that being in regular contact and continuously requesting feedback helps keep my clients feeling like I’m an extension of them and their work, rather than a renegade on my own path.

Who inspires you most professionally? Why?

I love following Joel, the CEO at Buffer; his approach to work, life, and the balance is really inspirational.

What do you like to read, watch or listen to either while working or in your free time?

I use media to escape and take a break: you’ll often find me reading sci-fi or fantasy books before bed, and I pick a movie instead of the news 100% of the time. My music tastes tend toward indie and electronic music — it’s great to have on in the background of everything (except working out where I need pop and dance music to keep me going!).

What are your favorite freelance and/or marketing resources?

I have a huge Feedly full of resources I try and read every few days. The Buffer blog is a pretty constant companion when I’m curious about a marketing idea. I recently found out about Dan Martell and his helpful entrepreneurship videos and content. Now I’m a regular subscriber.

What’s your one piece of advice to those new to freelancing?

Be patient and work to build a reputation rather than client base. Word-of-mouth referrals (even when they come in digital forms like a LinkedIn recommendation) are your most valuable tool for gaining new clients later. It takes time to fill your funnel, but if you do it right, you won’t have to work as hard at client acquisition ever again.

What are your top three places we should check out when visiting your city/town?

1) Kerry Park: the best views of the city skyline! The nighttime/adults version of the Seattle

2) Underground tour: it’s a great way to learn about the history of the city.

3) Bathtub Gin: a hidden speakeasy in Belltown, near downtown. Let me know when you’re headed there and I’ll join you for a drink!

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Learn more about Valerie and hire her to help with your community needs.

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Shannon Byrne

Shannon Byrne

Content Chief at CloudPeeps
As CloudPeeps' content lead, Shannon crafts words, creates strategies and engages our audience through content contributions, newsletters and more.