By Katie Reynolds on Verblio becoming her full-time job
I first realized that I wanted to turn writing into my profession when I was a freshman in college, writing a paper on Hamlet for my English 100 class. I remember finishing my paper and feeling somewhat let down that the whole process was over. I had really enjoyed going to the library to do research and turning that research into a 10-page paper.
I casually joked with my roommate that I wished I could write papers for my career. She looked at me kind of funny and said: “I’m pretty sure that’s what professors do”.
And so began my pursuit of a graduate degree.
Graduate School & a Weekend Writing Gig
It’s been 11 years now, and I have my B.A., my M.A., and just recently my Ph.D., all in English Language and Literature. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the job prospects for someone with a Ph.D. in the humanities, it can best be summed up as “bleak”. In fact, that’s what our professors tell us all through graduate school. But they tell us this because the main career path for a Ph.D. graduate is academia for a full-time job.
We are being groomed for a life of teaching and research, even though we are also constantly told that there are other jobs out there outside of academia. But because all of our professors were fortunate (and talented) enough to land a research job (meaning they have a light teaching load so they can focus on getting their books and articles published), they don’t have any way to guide us outside of the academic job market. This isn’t their fault, but it does make it harder as a graduate student who is starting to get nervous about how I’m going to pay my student loans back without an income.
An English Major on the Job Market
In Fall 2015, I went on the academic job market. It was bleak, just as had been predicted. There are plenty of jobs out there, but there are also plenty of applicants. I have received countless rejections, many of them detailing that they had hundreds of applicants for a single position. My graduate-school friends and I drowned our job hunting sorrows in coffee and pastries, trying to think of ways we could make a living that would cover our enormous student-loan debt.
The difference, though, between my sorrow and that of my peers was that I had some experience in my back pocket that could be used for an alternate career path. I had supplemented my meager graduate stipend with money I made from Verblio for the last year and a half of graduate school.
I started writing for Verblio in October 2014, and had made over $5,000 by December 2015. Not too bad, considering my annual stipend as a graduate student and teaching assistant was less than $12,000.
Along with giving my family and me some breathing room, writing for Verblio taught me a completely new style of writing. Writing a business blog was in some ways familiar, and in other ways totally foreign to me. I had rejections at first that confused me. How could someone say I didn’t know how to write? I had at least 10 years of higher education to prove that I had learned something about writing.
The thing is, though, business blogs are not academic. They aren’t supposed to be filled to the brim with research. Sure, you want to include facts and figures when you can to add credibility, but you also need to throw in some personality and have some fun so that people actually want to read these blogs.
Even with my relatively high rejection rate early on, I kept plugging away on Verblio. It was a nice break from teaching freshmen composition and trying to write my dissertation as a full-time job. I could spend some time fantasizing about taking an amazing vacation to the islands while writing a blog on catamarans, or I could research the best time of day to exercise while writing for a fitness club. As I kept writing, I kept getting better and better, and my list of customers who had marked me as “preferred” kept growing, making it more likely that my posts would get bought. To this day, I have written well over 500 posts.
Content Marketing Experience
If you asked me four months ago where I would be working today, I would have said “writing as a full-time job for Verblio and attending a class or two”. But then came the day when I talked to the CEO of an online business that was based locally, and who, it turns out, was in search of a long-form content writer.
I casually mentioned that I had been writing content marketing for over a year and sent him a link to my Verblio profile page. He told me he was “blown away” by the extensive list of positive comments customers had left. We set up an interview with some of the people who would be overseeing me for the following week.
I unknowingly have been preparing for this job for the last year and a half of my life.
During the interview, I talked about my experience researching and writing my dissertation along with everything I had learned about business blogging through Verblio. My graduate English degree coupled with my Verblio experience made me an excellent candidate for this job since it involves a lot of research, an extensive amount of writing, and a knowledge of how to write business blogs.
Verblio and the New Position as a Full-Time Job
I can work remotely whenever I want, so I need to be disciplined and organized—both things that I perfected while writing my dissertation. I need to be able to think of niche topics for general ideas and companies, which I learned to do on Verblio when I wrote articles week after week for my favorite customers from a new and creative angle. I unknowingly have been preparing for this job for the last year and a half of my life.
I am only a few weeks into my new job, but so far it is working out great. I have had a few long-form pieces published, and I am learning all about adding graphics and designing a web page to suit the content on it. I have continued my work at Verblio, albeit much less frequently than I had when I was a student. I still write for my favorite customers and have set up a separate account that I’m calling “fun money”. We’re hoping to take a family vacation this summer with my Verblio earnings instead of relying on it to pay our utility bills every month.
Working for Verblio is Great for Writers
I encourage anyone who likes writing to work for Verblio. You can work as often or as little as you want, and the number of posts you write per month can change depending on what else you have going on in your life. In addition to making some extra cash, you will hone your writing skills, become more concise with your wording, and get experience writing business blogs.
You will also learn about a variety of industries. I know some writers prefer to stick to writing what they know, but I have learned a lot about businesses, including what CRM software is and how it helps businesses, what entry-level employees can do to become executives, and how to nail an interview.
If I stuck to only writing what I know, I would be writing mainly about graduate school, teaching, parenting, and working out. This would limit the number of customers I could write for, and it would also get boring pretty fast.
Writing for Verblio has literally opened the door for me by giving me the skills I need to start a career in content marketing as a full-time job. I am excited to go to work every day because I get to do something I love—wri te.
Katie earned her Ph.D. in English Language and Literature in 2015 and is currently working as a researcher and copywriter for an online company. When she isn’t writing, you can find Katie at home playing board games and reading Harry Potter with her kids or training for an upcoming triathlon.