Name: Kathleen Celmins
Location: United States
Bio: Hi, my name is Kathleen Celmins, and I’m a dork for marketing. I love helping businesses who “really don’t like” marketing create a system that brings in more email subscribers, more sales, and more happy customers, but, blissfully runs in the background.
How long have you been doing freelance work?
More than 5 years.
Tell us about your freelance business, in 200 words or less.
I work with entrepreneurs who love creating content but hate putting themselves out there to sell the digital products they’ve created. I do one-on-one coaching and done-with-you webinar packages to help people get marketing done and off their minds.
What do you consider to be your specialty. How does it help you in your business?
My superpower is to see revenue opportunities creators can’t see because they’re too close to them, so my ideal clients either have digital products or ideas for digital products that they just can’t get out of their heads.
What made you become a freelancer?
I worked remotely for a content marketing company that showed me I was in fact cut out for work-from-home life, and it was a small step to busting out on my own.
What do you love most about freelance work, and why?
Setting myself up for the kind of autonomy and success that isn’t possible when someone else is setting my priorities.
What do you hate about it?
Tell us about your first paid job. How did you land your first client?
Sorry, don’t recall. 🙂
Do you think aspiring freelancers should take unpaid work to gain experience? Why or why not?
It depends. I know there’s a lot of “people die from exposure!” rhetoric out there, but if you want to build a website or write a sales page and you don’t know what you’re doing, why not do it for free? I assume this question is more for the people who aren’t sure where they’re going. Pricing is iterative, especially project-based pricing.
Let’s say you want to help me with my stuff and you tell me that you’ll work for me for $15/hour. Ten hours later, you have a better understanding of what my business is. Should you make $15/hour forever? NO. But is it worth it to get some lower-paying jobs under your belt while you’re learning? Absolutely.
Do you feel you’re charging what you’re worth?
I do, now. I don’t charge by the hour anymore, and when I do, my hourly rate is high enough that people don’t often book me for hourly work. I charge by the project, and all of my projects help my clients make more money, so the ROI is there, and I’m compensated for my experience.
Related Post: What Is Freelancing? A Guide to Freelance Work
Describe your process for finding new clients? Where do you look?
Honestly, my favorite clients are friends and colleagues I’ve known for years through FinCon. I’m no longer actively involved in personal finance myself, but I love helping other business owners who are making a huge difference to their communities get more out of their marketing.
Name 3 tools (apps, equipment) that you can’t live without. What makes them so great?
ClickUp, Missive for email (it’s great because you have the ability to have a conversation with your team about the emails that come in), and Beautiful.AI for making really great slide deck presentations.
What is your #1 productivity hack?
Don’t force yourself to sit at your desk past the point of getting things done. You’re a business owner, not someone who is getting paid warm body points.
Do you outsource tasks? Why or why not? If so, which ones?
I do. I have a contractor who lives across the country from me, and her strengths complement mine very well. I do the high-level strategy and she closes loops.
In your opinion, what is the most important skill required for freelance work, and why?
Reliability. Get to your meetings on time. Make your deadlines. If you start hating the work, talk to your contact instead of ghosting.
Do you consider yourself a strong time manager? How do you stay organized?
I am a strong time manager. I don’t waste my time, because I don’t get very much quiet focused time as a mom of two small children who are underfoot. So once I do get my hard-won focused time, I don’t waste it scrolling. I get things done. I keep myself and my team and my clients organized in different projects through my project management tool.
Where do you do most of your work?
I do my best work in my home office, and my second best work from my laptop in another quiet place.
Do you use a co-working space? Tell us a bit about it.
No I don’t.
Name an entrepreneur/freelancer/influencer who inspires you. What is it about their story/message that resonates?
I’m lucky to surround myself with people who inspire me. People who are rewriting the rules for what it means to work for yourself. To be location independent. To make the world a better place.
Name 1 thing you would do differently, if you were starting over today?
I’d work more on getting clients early on instead of doing what I call “fake work” — making sure the copy on my website is right, etc.
What is your #1 tip for aspiring freelancers?
Stop aspiring, and do. Treat freelancing like a paid degree — do you like doing X as a freelancer? Find out by taking a job that will teach you.
Check out more Freelancer Success Stories: Kevin Payne, Freelance Writer
Colin: Kathleen, loved this interview, especially how you described your ‘superpower’! You have a clear understanding of where your greatest value add is as a freelancer, and I’m sure that has helped you build your business. I think every freelancer (myself included) could benefit from figuring out their own superpower. : ) Thank you for doing this!