Want a freelance writing job? We’re peeling back the curtain on how to become a freelance food writer with tons of tips, strategies, and marketing advice on how to land your dream gigs, and what the day-to-day is really like.
So you want to be a freelance food writer?
What does it even mean to be a paid freelance writer in today’s world full of digital media, slashed budgets for writing, and excessive amounts of online content–with more and more free content being produced every single day?
People have so many questions about this career choice. Are you a food critic? Is it the same thing as being an influencer or blogger? What is your day-to-day really like?
Getting paid to eat and travel the world sounds glamorous in a lot of ways, but there is SO much more than meets the eye.
If you’re interested in freelance writing but don’t know where to start, this episode is for you!
How to become a freelance writer
Today we’re breaking down the mystique of this career and what it REALLY takes to be successful. We’re covering everything from:
- the initial idea and how to pitch editors
- what it takes to actually book the work
- best practices for researching and writing your stories
- invoicing and actually getting paid
- personal finance management
- balancing the perks (free food!) with huge risks (will publications stay in business? will you get enough work?)
Our guest today is Nevin Martell, a Washington, D.C.-area based food and travel writer, parenting essayist, recipe developer, and photographer who has been published by The Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, National Geographic Traveler, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, Michelin Guide, Plate, and many other publications.
He is the author of eight books, including:
- Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery
- The Founding Farmers Cookbook: 100 Recipes for True Food & Drink
- It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids
- the travelogue-memoir Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations
- and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip
Nevil has appeared on The Frommer’s Travel Show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and the Chatter on Books podcast. Additionally, he is the co-founder of the highly successful New Kitchens On The Block event series and the internationally acclaimed Pay It Furloughed initiative. Last, but definitely not least, he is a proud poppa and husband.
For nearly a decade, I was a full-time, freelance journalist for over 125 magazines, newspapers and websites, including USA Today, EatingWell, Cooking Light, Travel + Leisure, The Washington Post, Forbes, Esquire, Women’s Health, Clean Eating, Wine Enthusiast, SELF and Real Simple. Nevin and I met as fellow freelancers, and I can’t wait to share this candid conversation with you today!
What you’ll learn in this episode:
- How to get paid to eat and write about food
- How not to chase the perks and maintain journalistic integrity
- Tips on how to pitch editors
- How financial planning is a huge part of running a freelance writing business
- Why you should avoid aggregate freelance sites like Upwork and content mills
- Why niching down and establishing yourself as an expert is key to success
- Why the ‘community over competition’ mindset is critical
Subscribe and Review
Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.
Also, please leave an honest review for The Success with Soul Podcast on Apple Podcasts so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you could be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts to get automatic updates. My goal for this podcast is to inspire those who seek flexibility and freedom in their lives by making something happen with holistic, soulful, step-by-step strategies from me and other experts.
Links + Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
- Don’t forget to join the free Success with Soul Facebook community here! We have follow up conversations about the podcast episodes and I often go live to answer your burning questions.
- Get a copy of My 13 Pitches That Worked For Freelancers e-book. You’ll get an exact copy of 13 real email pitches I’ve used as a freelance journalist to land paid writing gigs across different niches, plus some notes for me about why it worked. Get your copy today for just $10 today to earn hundreds–if not thousands!–of dollars from one pitch!
- Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Creative Processing Podcast
- Check out Nevin’s website or follow him on Instagram @nevinmartell and Twitter @nevinmartell
- Follow me on Instagram @katekordsmeier and @rootandrevel
- 001: My Soulful Journey – From Burned Out Corporate Copywriter to Six-Figure Blogger and Business Owner
More Ways to Enjoy Success with Soul
- Don’t forget to join our free Success With Soul Facebook community for follow-up conversations about the podcast episodes and where I also often go live to answer your burning questions. Hangout with like-minded bloggers and heart-centered online business owners exchanging priceless feedback, encouragement, and other golden insights from the trenches.
Kate Kordsmeier 0:00
You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast episode number 14. I'm your host Kate Kordsmeier and today we're chatting with a dear friend of mine, Nevin Martell. He's a DC based food and travel writer, parenting essayist, recipe developer and photographer who has been published by the Washington Post The New York Times, savour men's journal, National Geographic traveler fortune, Travel and Leisure and many more. Nevin has also written eight books, count them eight, including the red truck bakery cookbook, the founding farmers cookbook and my personal favorite, the travelogue memoir freak show without attend swimming with Puranas getting stoned in Fiji and other family vacations. Nevin is so smart, business savvy and so funny. He's appeared on the Frommer's travel show, the chatter on books podcast, and now on the Success with Soul podcast. Nevin is also The co founder of the highly successful new kitchens on the block event series and the internationally acclaimed pay at furloughed initiative. Last but definitely not least, he is a proud Papa and husband and a great friend. Nevin and I used to work together when I lived in DC back in 2011. And today, he's coming on the show to talk about how to get paid to eat and travel and write about food. We're going to cover all kinds of juicy topics like how you can maintain journalistic integrity instead of chasing the perks. Why financial planning is a huge part of running a freelance writing business, and why you should avoid content Mills. And we're also going to talk about community over competition and how there is space for everyone even in the Uber competitive food writing world. I'm so excited to introduce you guys to Nevin and all of his infinite hilarious Wisdom. So let's get to it. You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast with Kate Kordsmeier x journalists turned CEO of a multi six figure blog and online business. But it wasn't that long ago that Kate was a struggling entrepreneur who lacked confidence, clarity and let's be honest money. But all those failures, experiments and lessons learned helped Kate create a thriving business that impacts thousands and brings freedom, flexibility and fulfillment to her life. If you're ready to do the same and make something happen with holistic, soulful, step by step strategies from Kate and other experts, you're in the right place. here's your host, writer, educator, Mom, recovering perfectionist, bookworm and sushi connoisseur Kate Kordsmeier. Before we jump into today's episode, I'd love to share another listener spotlight with y'all This one comes from er wellness, actionable blogging tips. As someone who has been blogging since 2009. I'm always delighted to find someone new to learn from Kate shares info for both the beginner and the more advanced blogger. What makes her different is how she cuts out the fluff and really dives into what's working and what's not. I'm so impressed with her new podcast and it's a must listen for entrepreneurs. Holy moly, thank you so much Mr. wellness. The fact that you took the time to leave your honest feedback means the world to me. In fact, if you're listening now please send me a DM on Instagram at Kate Kordsmeier. As I've got a special surprise gift I'd like to share with you as a thank you. And if you'd like to be featured in a future listener spotlight, head on over to iTunes Apple podcasts to leave a review. Your reviews are super helpful and motivating to me personally but beyond that the reviews help with rankings which helps others find the show And allows me to keep providing you with free content every single week. I hope to feature you on a listener spotlight soon.
Navigon Welcome to the show.
Nevin Martell 4:16
Thank you. Kay, I have to say it's awesome to be here. It's so sad that we don't live close to each other anymore, but I'm so glad that we can get together virtually.
Kate Kordsmeier 4:26
I know So, you guys Nevin and I used to well I used to live in DC Nevin still does, so jealous and we were both food writers and Nevin still is and just crushing it as always. And we had so much fun just being freelance buddies, and then sadly, gosh, now I'm like, seven years ago I moved to Atlanta.
Nevin Martell 4:53
God Yeah, just seems like just yesterday we were having that like, what I think was our goodbye meal together for brunch at source? If not, that was like close to the end before you left. Yeah, now the source barely even exists. It's being turned into like a much more casual concept and you know, all the major talent that was in the kitchen as long gone. And
Kate Kordsmeier 5:12
I was gonna say, well without Scott drew now, it's probably never been the same.
Nevin Martell 5:17
Well, to be honest, the guy that took over was this guy, Russell Smith, who'd been with Scott for 10 years. And there was not a stutter step, if anything, like he took it in some interesting new directions while maintaining the level of quality that everyone had expected. And he got a rising star nomination from the Grammys. And, you know, he did very well for himself, but unfortunately, just like that location in the Newseum, which was like as a failing well failed now institution, you know, it just it really that really cut into their bottom line. And anyway, it's headed for a revamp with air quotes around it.
Kate Kordsmeier 5:53
And gosh, you just said so much right there in the Newseum, it's a failed institution. So let's talk about print media today.
Oh my gosh, yeah. So tell everybody kind of your background and how you got started in freelance food writing in particular. And I mean, I know you've done a lot of things outside of food writing, too. But would you say still that foods kind of like your main beat
Nevin Martell 6:21
food and to a lesser degree travel and parenting? Travel kind of came on after I had a kid and I was able to travel again, or I was able to write about family trips. And then parenting writing came about because I was talking to an agent, and they were saying, you know, you seem to have some really strong feelings and thoughts on parenting. And there's very few dads that write about parenting. Yeah, so it might be something interesting for you to explore and, you know, being an interracial marriage with a multiracial child. That's something where there's a lot to think about and to talk about, and so that It's something that I also do, but I only really write parenting stories. If I have something to say it's not something I just kind of turn out to make a living. Because I feel like that that writing is so personal and you're sharing so much of yourself. And in my case, my wife and my son to that I don't want to cheapen it in any way. I want it to all be of the highest possible value, you know, on a personal level, but so food writing still is my for lack of a better phrase bread and butter, along with, you know, writing cookbook with other people and doing other freelance writing on the side.
Kate Kordsmeier 7:34
Yeah. And so how did you get into freelance writing? I'm trying to remember if I even know the answer to that.
Nevin Martell 7:42
Well, I had a kind of circuitous route to food writing. My dad was a restaurateur, and owned a very popular place on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for 25 years, and some places before that, and he sold the place in New York, when I was about 10. retired, but I'd grown up in the industry even though I didn't spend a lot of time at the restaurant, you know, my dad and a lot of his family members all worked in restaurants. So I've always had like a real appreciation for for the industry. And I've had a love affair with food my entire life, you know, all my family, love food, we travel a lot, and we spend a lot of time eating when we do travel. And so it was always something that was just a passion of mine. And I never thought about going into the restaurant industry, you know, watching my dad, you know, work 16 hour days and spend three weeks a month away from the family at the restaurant made me think that that would probably not be a lifestyle for me or for my future family. And I never thought that you could make a living writing about food that seemed like such a, you know, a tiny thing you know that why shoot for that when, when it would almost be impossible because food writing used to just be like a few critics, a few travel guide writers and then like a cup, you know, Some freelancers that got to write for the big magazines like Gourmet, again, recipes, bone app, food and wine and that kind of thing. But when I moved to DC in 2006, I started kind of paying more and more attention to food. And it was a great time to start paying attention to food because DC is a scene was on a huge upswing, it had been maligned, and rightfully so for years for being kind of just a expense account, restaurant town, lot of steak houses a lot of just expensive for no reason restaurants.
Unknown Speaker 9:29
Nevin Martell 9:30
but there were like all these interesting chefs that were starting to come up. And they were, you know, getting to the point where they could get the investors to open their own restaurants. And I was working in television development and kept thinking, you know, let's let's do shows about these people. And unfortunately, the firm that I worked for decided that they wanted to focus on True Crime shows instead and could never really see the value of food programming, even though I kept bringing in people that would ultimately get a show with another production company. And so it was frustrating, you know, as a creative person when you know you have good ideas, and you know, they're good, not just because you feel they're good, but because you see other people selling the exact same idea you tried to sell to somebody else. So in 2010, I quit my job, and with the blessing of my wife, who also promised to make me work at Starbucks as a barista, if I if I didn't make it as a food writer, that's the motivation. I mean, I literally would not go to sleep until I made the amount of money that I needed to make that day like I would stay awake until I sold the story, you know. And so that was really motivating. And it turned out to be a great time I started writing for The Washington Post express in Washington life in eater and a bunch of other places and just kind of started to build my portfolio from there. And, you know, a couple of years later, I did a cookbook with family farmers, which was kind of like a good experience in the sense that I got to write about food in a deeper way. In a larger format, which for those that
Kate Kordsmeier 11:02
don't know, founding farmers is a restaurant in DC?
Nevin Martell 11:05
Yes. It's, you know, it's it's a farm to table styled concept but intended for the masses. And it's the most book restaurant in the country on Open Table and has been for, I don't even know 10 years now.
Kate Kordsmeier 11:20
I didn't know that.
Nevin Martell 11:20
Wow. They You know, they're open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is very rare seven days a week. Yeah. And so, since then, I've had a chance to write for a lot of different people across the board, you know, again, in the food world, The Washington Post, the Michelin Guide, plate, National Geographic travel, leisure, a whole bunch of people. And, you know, just kind of been slowly, slowly but surely building up my portfolio and my clients over the years. very humble beginnings.
Kate Kordsmeier 11:50
Yeah, I don't think so. I got to DC in 2011. And I don't think I realized that you had so recently quit your job because You feel like you had fallen pretty quickly into like a good rhythm with lots of regular clients and Okay, so, so many questions here to answer. So I want to know, and maybe this has changed since I lived in DC, but it's I feel like DC was such a good place for this to but you really focus a lot on local publications and and the local restaurant scene rather than global or even national, would you? Is that still true?
Nevin Martell 12:32
Yeah, definitely. Because I feel that, you know, when you read a national publication with a roundup in it, you can tell that the writer in all likelihood is never been to any of the places that they're writing about. Or maybe just like one or two in the city that they happen to one time and is like,
Kate Kordsmeier 12:49
yeah, this is where I happen to eat. So
Nevin Martell 12:52
and it was great. It's definitely the best for this story anyway, and don't get me wrong. I've written those stories before. can't meet it, but. But I prefer to do my research by actually experiencing a place and eating the food and meeting the chef and finding out what the philosophy of the restaurant is. And I, you know, that's always reflected in the writing, you can always tell when a writer has actually been somewhere and experienced it with the goal of having an objective experience rather than going in to say like, Okay, I have to write about three places on this trip that I'm taking. And these are the three places I'm meeting. So no matter how good it is, or how bad it is, I'm going to make sure that these are the three places so I don't have to go anywhere else. Yeah, you know, I always want the writing to be to ring true and I always wanted to, you know, have depth. And I think, again, that only comes from being able to be on the ground, which is why so much of my writing is for local publications or for national publications where I'm covering something that's happening in DC or where I have happened to travel.
Kate Kordsmeier 13:54
Yeah, exactly. That was one of the big reasons that I felt like I needed to get out of the game. When I moved to Atlanta, when I lived in DC, it was such a destination that national publications wanted to know what's going on in DC. So it's not easy, but it was much easier to get work in Atlanta. nobody really cared on a national level. And so it was really hard for me when I got here because it was like, it's just not that same destination. And you know, we've got Atlanta has got a lot going for us. So yeah, but I remember that being tough and that thinking like, wow, to really make a good living at this, you probably need to be in a city that people nationwide care about, or that has a really devoted, like, local food scene that you could write out locally. So then the other thing I used to get asked this all the time, and I'm sure you do, too. People always are like, Oh, so you're a food critic. Or they would be like, what are you gonna say in your review of this place? And I was this constant like, Well, I'm not I'm not a critic. I'm As regionalist, I'm a reporter. So how do you answer that question?
Nevin Martell 15:04
Yeah, I'm very clear. I do do some work as a food critic, but it is such a small sliver of the work that I do. And then the other question is like, Oh, are you a blogger? Are you an influencer? You know, and yes, I'm on Instagram. No, I don't have a blog. But I have to be very clear. Look, I'm a, I'm a food writer, like you said, and, you know, I'm like, I do a lot of profile pieces, trends, stories, best of roundup kind of stuff. I'm like, Yes, I go into restaurants. And I am going to kind of review them in my mind to understand like, what are the strengths that I can write about or the things that I can direct people towards, but I'm not going in necessarily to write a review. Right. And, you know, like a month ago, I wrote a piece for The Washington Post that was called, how to eat around the world, like a food writer. And, you know, it was basically a store service story, kind of with an anecdote About my recent trip to Tulum, Mexico. And, you know, I told about all the different types of research that I do before I go to a place. So I figured out where to eat. And my editor wrote me back, and she was like, Hey, can we include like, a paragraph about, you know, has a food critic, you would never identify yourself to a restaurant, you would never talk to a chef, you know, because I had mentioned something like if you know, somebody at a restaurant, you know, in the region, or know somebody that knows somebody at a restaurant or region, you should definitely get them to put in the word for you. So you get a kitchen tour, or whatever the case may be. And she wanted me to put in this whole caveat about how food critics would never do that, yada, yada, yada. And I was like, Well, let me be very clear, like, I'm a food writer. This is what the story is about. There was even a misconception from her. And I mean, you know, she's on staff at a major publication and, and I didn't falter and when I wrote her back and said that she was like, Oh, yeah, that's a great point. Like, of course, like, you spent time interviewing chefs all the time and like, spend face to face time and, you know, are sitting at the bar eating something that they've made, especially for you like, that's it Just part of that job, whereas it certainly wouldn't be for a food critic. But I think, you know, people, people have all sorts of ideas about what you and I do. And I mean, you know, it can be hard to explain, you know, just me trying to explain the internet to my dad has been a lifelong, you know, ever since the internet came along, and I started working in the internet space, which was 1997. Like, he still has never been online. He's never, no, no, he has never had a computer. He's never read an email or send email. And I mean, he's 93 now it's not gonna ever happen. But I mean, like, just trying to explain the internet to him. still true. And then trying to explain food writing where, you know, he even as a restaurateur, he's like, so are you a food critic? I'm like, No, Dad, you know, yeah, went through the whole spiel. But you know, it's, um, it's one of those jobs that everyone thinks is super cool, but no one knows exactly what it is. And, and to be honest, for so many of us, it means a lot of different things, but it's, you know, it's very rare these days. But it's like, yes, I'm the food critic for The Washington Post. And that is my job, right? You know, for someone like you or someone like me, it's like, that is one of many hustles that I have to keep this thing called life going, you know?
Kate Kordsmeier 18:12
Yes, exactly. Yes. The side hustle thing and just having many different hustles is definitely part of it. One thing I think people never got, and still don't. And even now I'm in obviously, like a slightly different industry, is how many hats you have to wear as a freelance writer. So how much of your time would you say is spent actually writing versus marketing yourself and pitching and managing your business and accounting and research and all of that?
Unknown Speaker 18:45
Yeah, I mean, it. There are so many things that you have to do, just to make a living in terms of like booking the business, you know, getting the stories and like you said, that starts with good pitches. Good contacts, great relations. Chips, all of which take time to cultivate. And then back end stuff, which is the promotion of the work, the kind of the dissemination of the work, it can be a little depressing at times because, you know, the story isn't over. When the story is handed in, or when it's published, it's then you have to get on Twitter and you know, post about it, and you have to get on Facebook and potentially have a conversation about it. And you know, you have to figure out is there a way I can put this on Instagram that it's going to look good, and it's not just going to be like, some lame photo I took, and then me being like, oh, here, let me talk about my story to it is non stop. I like to joke that even my side hustle has a side hustle. Because, you know, there is so much to be done. And there's like a fair amount of uncertainty as you know, that comes with freelancing, both in terms of you know, am I gonna book the work Am I gonna get my pitches accepted? You know, are my publications gonna stay in business? I mean, The last year I lost four publications through no fault of my own, they all just went out of business. And you know, that's, that's horrifying. Because, you know, as a freelancer, you're the last to know. So like on a random Tuesday on a trip to the Cayman Islands. This past year was ever where I was on assignment for another story. Like, I got an email from an editor. She was like, Hey, you know, we're closing up shop Friday is the last day, you know, you're like, Ah, you know, and right before Christmas, I got, like, you know, an editor called me and I knew that her company had been taken over and she was unhappy, but she called me She's like, Hey, you know, I just gave my last. This is my two week notice, because it was either that or the other thing, and I wanted to go out on my own terms, and, you know, and you're just like, Oh, my God, right before Christmas. Like, you know, there goes all my December work. Yeah, I was planning on, you know, so there's a lot of uncertainty. So you almost have to produce more than you think you're going to need just because there is a fee. famine element to it, you have to take it when you can get it, and not complain about when you have it. But just kind of put your head down and do it because there'll be plenty of times when you need it or want it. And you know, you're going to be like sending out pitches and following up with people and, you know, it's just not going to be there, like you want it to be. And so you have to kind of prepare for it and kind of create consistency in your business life as much as you can, both through regular clients and also with you know, sound personal financial management. Yeah, because you never know when someone's going to just call you or send you an email and say like, Hey, you know, we're done. The bottom dropped out. And you know, to be fair, all my editors have been super gracious about it. I know in stiffed me on the bill I've been paid up at every publication has gone out of business, knock on wood. Right, you're then like, great, like there was a publication I wrote for for five, six years, and where am I going to go find a similar publication With another editor who's going to be able to give me the same amount of work for the same amount of money? That's a really hard question to answer these days, because other places do open up, but they usually offer less as in terms of work. And in terms of payments.
Kate Kordsmeier 22:12
Yeah, gosh, so much to unpack there. I mean, On a similar note, I can remember again, when I first moved to Atlanta, and that first year, I mean, it was 2013. So it's not exactly like the internet was new. But I up until that point, I was mostly doing print work. And I
Unknown Speaker 22:32
remember you were the queen of print.
Kate Kordsmeier 22:34
Well, I don't know about that. But it was a lot of print. And then even some of the few publications that I did online stuff for without naming names, like a huge travel website that used to pay me $2,000
Nevin Martell 22:47
Oh, I know you're talking about Yeah, I've been waiting you ever since you told me that. Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 22:54
And had nothing to do with the move obviously, but your timing change and they needed to change your stuff. At For the exact same story and amount of work and everything, they said, $150. And I wrote back like, Did you forget a zero? Because I remember thinking like, how do you go from 2000 to 150. And they didn't. So it's even like, the places that weren't closing up. We're still slashing budgets, and especially in the digital space, because they had to create so much more content to keep up. So and then also the feast or famine, which I think you know, any entrepreneurial venture is going to have some some aspect of that. And this kind of brings me into the pitching thing, which I know people are going to have a lot of questions about, because I think so many people are still like, But wait, how are you even getting this work? And so I want to talk about that. But first, just to say like, Yeah, when, even when you were having great months or great quarters or periods of time, you know, and you'd be like, I'm so busy. I have so much work but you still had to make time to be pitching and marketing yourself. Because when all that work was over, if you hadn't, it would just be like starting at zero again, you turn in all your assignments, and then you're like, Well, shit. I know I got bills this month, and I didn't plan anything. So yep.
Nevin Martell 24:17
Well, thanks for letting me know that I can swear First of all, oh, but, you know. But second of all, ya know, it was always so gratifying to get a huge chunk of assignments, and then make your way through them. But, you know, then you're at the end, and you're like, Oh, my God, like, I'm done. But what happens when the next set of bills comes due? Right? And you know, it, getting into that rhythm of writing and pitching at the same time is really it can be it's really hard. And it's something that I still, you know, struggle with, because you want to give all that you can to the story that you're writing, right, but you know, you still have to be kind of percolating in the side or in the background. Absolutely. You know, I thought that that would get easier and to a degree it has, but
Kate Kordsmeier 25:04
Nevin Martell 25:06
I know better now, but I do have a list like list literally sitting right next to me of the three places that I've been meaning to pitch for the last two weeks. Yeah. And that I just haven't found the time to do so. Yeah, but I know that if I get the assignment, and you know that money is not gonna come for months. Right, you know? And so it's like, you know,
Kate Kordsmeier 25:24
the other thing, it's like, okay, you let's just say you get the assignment and then it's like, you probably have two to four weeks to write it just I don't know, maybe even less now these days. But let's just say you have two weeks to write it, and then you turn it in, then you submit your invoice, then they take 30 to 5000 days to pay it and yeah, it's it's not just like, Oh, I got the assignment and I got money in my bank account today. Yeah. So it's a it's a lot of financial planning involved, I think in in freelancing in a way that people probably don't even think about when they're getting started.
Nevin Martell 26:00
Well, what I say for people who are starting, don't start freelancing until you have at least three, preferably four, maybe even five months worth of money set aside that you can live off of, because it's going to take you that long to get paid, you know, or get paid in a meaningful way. You know, that seems like really daunting to people, like, you know, four months of money, like just sitting there and Mike, I'm like, Well, yeah, because these checks aren't going to come for a long time. The first ones you get are not going to be for much money. And you know, you have to be realistic about it. Don't just go into it, thinking like I'm gonna get a bunch of assignments, I'm gonna make a bunch of money and it's all gonna be easy peasy. Nothing could be further from the truth as you well know.
Kate Kordsmeier 26:42
Want to connect with other heart centered entrepreneurs. Don't forget to join the free Success with Soul Facebook community at Katekordsmeier.com/Facebook. I go live often. To answer your burning questions, plus, you'll get to hang out with like minded bloggers and other heart centered online business owners exchanging priceless feedback, encouragement and other golden insights from the trenches. That's Katekordsmeier.com/Facebook. See you there?
Well, okay, I want to talk about it's not all doom and gloom. You know, there's a lot of perks and great things about freelance food writing, too. But But first, I want to go back to this this pitching idea because they do the people are like, what, what even is a pitch? Who are you picking? How are you finding people? I know, those are the questions I got all the time. So what's your process? And for the newbies out there people considering this career path?
Nevin Martell 27:46
Yeah. So first of all and foremost, and this is advice that anyone will give somebody who's thinking about this. You need to know the publication that you're pitching, you know, pick up a copy of the magazine if it's still in print, read their website. get a sense of the type of stories and the types of things that they cover. Because you want to make sure that when you do approach an editor for the first time, you're giving them something that they might want. Now, it might not be what they want at that time, and you still might get rejected, but it won't be like, you know, pitching them a story that they would never ever run in their magazine are on their website, which editors tend to be somewhat offended by because they know that you didn't do your research. Now finding the editor to pitch, you know, that can be that can be difficult, you know, mastheads change so often, you know, lots of places like have like some sort of like general email address that they want you to send pitches to, but I always try to find the editor that you're supposed to be pitching to figure out their email address, which can you know, I've spent hours looking, I was just I just spent probably an hour and a half looking for the editor, an editor at the New York Times his email address, and eventually I got frustrated and I emailed a bunch of a freelancer friends. And one of them actually happened to have it and wrote a wrote back to me with email address with a caveat. But she's never written me back the 10 times I've pitched her, which is like, Well, great thing. Yeah. But I do say always find the right editor and the right email address that that's much better than just pitching whatever, you know, editorial and blah, blah, blah, calm, like that. email goes to an inbox, who knows who reads it first. It could be an intern, it could be somebody that's not even on the editorial team. And then thirdly, I'd say, you know, make your subject line punchy. You know, I try to include like, maybe like a sample headline for one of the stories on pitching or just like something, some like random piece of information that's in one of my stories that pops out like zombie popsicles, you know, zombie popsicles. And then you know, then the story is about, you know, that 10 frozen Halloween drinks that you need to have this season or whatever. But, you know, my pitches are always synced, you know, I put a, maybe a very short paragraph about myself at the top of the email, if I'm pitching an publication or an editor for the first time, this is who I am, this is where I work, or, you know, this is where I live. And then here, like, maybe three or four examples of stories I've written in the past that are, I feel, both demonstrative of the work that I do, but also demonstrative of the type of work that they might want me to have them do for their publication. And then I always put three pitches in an email for first time. Three, because i three, I just feel that, you know, even if they don't, you know, if they don't like one or two, they don't like to, there's always the third. And, you know, some I've had it where I've pitched people three, and they've taken all three right off the bat, because it was clear that I did my research. I knew what kind of stories they wanted. I knew that, you know, it just, it clicked for the editor. They liked my clips, or they'd read my clips before and so I always put three and each one is, you know, Potential headline, and then a rich paragraph of text about what the story is who I plan on talking to, you know, any considerations, you know, at the end, like, I have color photography from my trip for, you know, I've already done interviews with XY and Z. And you know, and I could turn it around quickly or anything like that, that would make the editor more likely to take the story or to know that there's more depth to the pitch than just, I want to write the story. And I always follow up after like, about two weeks unless there's a pressing deadline. But since I don't write breaking news, that's usually not an issue for me. But I do want to know if they do or don't want the story, because if I've spent the time to write the pitch, I want to sell it to somebody, right? And so I want to know that I can take it back and try it somewhere else.
Kate Kordsmeier 31:48
And follow up. Gosh, I are just in any business, I think but particularly freelancing like the fortune is in the follow up, for sure. There's so many moments that I didn't even hear any Anything back from and then I follow up and I get a couple thousand bucks to do something and it's like, Good thing I followed up and didn't just take it personally or think they hate me because I didn't hear back and
Nevin Martell 32:14
yeah, you can't take it personally. I mean, you know, the hardest thing about this whole business in a way is that and you just alluded to it. Oftentimes rejection comes in the form of silence Yes. You know, like the didn't even bother to read your email didn't bother to read your pitches or if they did didn't even bother to write you back to tell you that they didn't want them right, you know. So that's why the follow up is so key. Because sometimes people don't have a chance to read them. And it's not that they hate you. It's not that they don't want new writers or want new, you know, voices in their magazine or on their website, but they just don't have the time and you need to keep resurfacing it to the top of their email because, you know, people
Kate Kordsmeier 32:54
got faith in you. Everyone's people are exactly yeah, I always said and still say like it's rarely if ever personal it's so much of getting a freelance assignment is right place right time. Right idea right editor like all things have to align so perfectly and you know sometimes I've pitched something I haven't heard back and then like, I mean, I think the longest it ever was was like two years later they got back to me and we're like, oh, I loved this idea. Now is a good time for us to do it. It wasn't when you initially pitched it and right. Yeah, so also just want to say for people who still or maybe confused about the pitch or the process is like, the way that freelancing works is you don't write the article first and then try to sell it somewhere. You are pitching an idea to an editor and asking them will you hire me to write this story? So the the pitch is always the idea. Don't do any work. Until they say, Yes, we will pay you to do this work.
Nevin Martell 34:04
Absolutely. Though the one caveat, I would say is that the one instance, when that might not be the case, when you may actually have to write it first, as if you're writing a personal essay of some kind, like, you know, Modern love for the New York Times, or certain parenting essays I've been lucky in not had to do it before. But certain publications have a certain stature like if you're going to be pitching the New Yorker, or the New York Times, or there's a number of publications that run personal essays, they're almost always going to want to see those first, just because voice and tone are so important. And you can't really encapsulate that in a pitch when it comes to a personal essay. So I would just offer that one caveat.
Kate Kordsmeier 34:42
That's true. That's true. Yeah. So let's talk about some of the perks of food writing because there are a lot of things about it, too. I know one of which is that and this is something I like hate to admit how much I miss it, but I do I used to feel like a celebrity when I walked into restaurants like the chef's knew me, they sent they came to the table, they swipe food, you know, like, they want you to love their restaurant, and they want you to see what they can do. And that was really fun. I miss that. Nobody does that for me anymore.
Nevin Martell 35:19
Well, first of all, you're still loved. You're still celebrity. Yeah. Yeah, no, I mean, it's nice to get that kind of VIP experience. You know, getting the chef out of the kitchen to talk to you in the middle of service and bring out a dish or bring out something that he or she is working on and wants you to try and wants to get your honest opinion on. That's fantastic. I mean, you know, I always say that I never complain if a chef comes by to be like, Can I shave on some fresh black truffles? So that pasta dish for you, you know, I just think that would be so much better. And you're like, yes, it would be please like shave away, sir. Shave away.
Kate Kordsmeier 36:01
Coming by my table anymore asking to do that it's sad.
Nevin Martell 36:05
Oh, well, you know, it's that's the mercenary way of freelancing. Yes. You know, and of just life in general, it's the unfortunate thing you learn about life as a freelancer is that, you know, we are really, for lack of a better term expendable in a lot of ways, like we are only as good as the work that we produce. If we aren't producing or the work we are not producing is not good publications will hire us and, you know, sources won't want to talk to us. And they certainly won't want to be coming over to shave black truffles onto our pasta. You know, I think it hasn't made me jaded. It just, you know, it's made me be be very clarified and pragmatic about, you know, the world. It's unfortunate. I mean, you know, there's, we don't have the same kind of safety nets as people that work in an office and if they have a week where they kind of Want to just maybe schlub? it a little bit like, you know, their 401k still gets paid into, they still have health care coverage, they're still going to get a paycheck at the end of it. They might not get the best review at the end of the quarter and you know, if they keep doing it they're they're gonna get fired. But there's there's a, there's a there's a larger safety net to permanent work that's just not a freelance Freelancer
you don't make money. Yeah, no, it's pretty simple.
Kate Kordsmeier 37:25
Yeah, so pretty simple equation
is. And that was my next question. Because I do think that was such a fun perk. And especially then when travel got involved too. And like, I was able to go to places all around the world that I never would have been able to afford on my own. And, you know, it was it was glamorous in a lot of ways. But there's a but of course, but first of all, you can't pay your mortgage with free food. So again, to your point, it's like you still have to be producing quality. work it's not really about the the freebie stuff that you get in that VIP treatment. That's a nice bonus. But you kind of got to keep your eye on the prize. Right? And I want to talk a little bit about just the journalistic integrity piece. And I think that comes back to the what we were saying before of like, well, we're not critics, right? And so, being anonymous and writing an objective review isn't really what I keep saying, we're not doing this anymore, but what you're doing. So how do you balance that influence that getting free stuff might have in your journalistic integrity?
Nevin Martell 38:39
Yeah, it's an interesting conversation, because for such a long time, all of the food and travel writing was done by people on staff at publications, who usually had quite considerable expense accounts to power their meals out and their trips, and as those positions have gone, The way the dodo or had been shrunken down, and certainly as the budgets have shrunken down, if not disappeared entirely, a lot of the work is moved out of those in house positions and onto the backs of freelancers. But without necessarily the expense accounts, you know, I still have to argue for money for a travel story. But it's never going to be the full amount that I would spend on the trip that I'm taking that I'm writing about. That's one of the unfortunate things is that we're in an interesting place where there's not enough money to do what people want to have written about, either from the, you know, if you're going to take a two week trip, you know, a $600 travel story is not going to cover the trip, much less the time that you spend on the trip that you can spend writing other stories, but the publications don't have the expense accounts for you to take that trip on their dime. So at least you're like, Okay, it's 600 bucks, but I'm not out the travel costs. And while I'm on the road, I can Keep writing and make other money to Okay, I can make this work. That just doesn't happen. And anyone who says that they can do it is either in some rarefied existence that I haven't met yet. Like, maybe they're the person that gets to write, you know, the two to 3000, maybe not 3000. But 2000 word stories for like Travel and Leisure or something. There are a couple of people that are making serious money on long form narrative travel stories, but there's only a couple of publications that do them and a couple of writers that are at the level that are asked to do them or they can do them, and even for them if they land one or two of those stories a year. That's a lot for a freelancer, maybe not for staffer. So it's hard because you know, people are like I would love to have you write about Hawaii, and you're like, Okay, well, you know, me going to Hawaii is going to be several thousand dollars. I can't just take a trip to Hawaii for your $500 story or your thousand dollar story about whatever you want me to write about. So I mean, like, I'm very upfront, I'm I eat at restaurants for free all the time. You know, I've taken comp travel, and things like that. But that does mean that certain publications, you can't write those you can't write travel stories for, because you're not listing comp in, in theory, in theory, exactly. Because you can't write about comp travel. Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 41:19
Although I will say that there were a couple publications that always would say, Oh, we don't accept comp travel. We don't know. Yep, this. And then you'd go on these trips, and you'd see staffers and other writers from those publications on these comp trips, and you'd be like, really, but I think one thing to clarify, too, is that I got asked all the time, so these magazines just pay for you to go to Hawaii. Like Wouldn't that be nice? Yes. And, for me, the way that it worked, you know, back in 2013 to 15, or whenever it was, was that Either the PR firm that manages the restaurant, or I mean, it's not the PR firm paying for the free meal. It's the restaurant just covering the meal. But it was them paying for it. It was the city's Tourism Board or a hotel. They were the ones that paid to send me somewhere and covered my expenses while I was there. And so I wasn't out any money. There was the opportunity cost of being on the road and not being able to to write other stuff while I was doing that. But then the magazine was literally just paying me for the assignment for the karate. They weren't reimbursing me for anything. They weren't sending me on their dime. And it to me it was like this is the only sustainable way to do it. Because Yeah, how can you afford to pay for all this travel yourself? When you're only getting paid, you know, a few hundred bucks or even even a few thousand bucks. It's just like, that's the doesn't cover the cost of the entire trip.
Nevin Martell 43:02
No, no. And it's you know, and it's impossible to go somewhere fabulous and not end up spending some of your own money. Right? You know, it's like, I'm not going to spend a week in Mexico and not buy some cool stuff for the house, or not eat out on my own a few times, or have to take cabs between, you know, places that I need to cover for my for my story or for just for my own enjoyment. You know, travel is expensive. Even if you're watching your budget and someone's covering a lot of your expenses like, you know, Chamber of Commerce or a Tourism Board or Visitor's Bureau might. That is really the only sustainable way to do it. I mean, people get angry at influencers, because they're like, oh, my god, they're taking these free trips and they're getting their posts paid for and like, I can't believe anything that they have to say. And I certainly get that because you look at influencer posts, and you're like, you know, you're just saying this because you got a free trip and you're being paid to say it and there's not a lot of there's no critical eye to it. Looks like an ad with a real person instead of, you know, a model, and then a photographer shot with a pizza. Oh, you can totally tell. And so I think for me, what's important is, first of all, never making a promise to somebody, you know, it's, it's important to say, you know, I am going to try to sell as many stories from this trip as possible, not because I want to appease you in any way, but because this is how I make a living. If you show me things, or if I experience things that I don't like, I'm not going to write about them, because that's not a good story, right? That's not something that I feel comfortable sharing with readers. So it's very important to be clear, with anyone that is hosting you, you know, like, if I go into a restaurant, I'm not going to say, and they give me You know, they're like, oh, we'd love to have you in for dinner. I'm like, well, thank you. I'd love that. But I'm never gonna say oh, well, I'll definitely get your story because of this Rob. Definitely even post a picture on Instagram. You know, be very clear with your promises and be very clear. with yourself, like, I only want to write about things that I would feel comfortable spending my own money on. And that I truly enjoyed, or that I think that the readers that I'm writing for would truly enjoy. There's, you know, I go on some things that you're like, you know, I was in Miami a couple years ago, and I spent an afternoon on a luxury yacht, which is really not my thing. You know, like, if I ever have all the money in the world, the last thing I'm going to buy is a luxury yacht. But for the readers of DC modern luxury, that is like it was a beautiful yacht. I mean, you know, I don't even remember how many staff members around the yacht or crew members are right, but I mean, it was just, it was an opulent, fun, cool experience, not to my taste, not anything I would ever spend money on, but certainly for my the readership that I was talking to. It was the best version of that and I felt really comfortable writing about it. So you also have to keep in mind your readers like sometimes you experience things that might not be to your tastes, but would be perfectly aligned with your readers values and your readers desires. So I do keep that in Mine. And that's not a cop out. That's just being realistic. I mean, all freelancers end up writing for publications that, you know, their readers, they might not be a reader of the publication, they may not be a target demo of the publication, like, I'm not a RP level yet. But if I wrote for AARP, you know, I'd be thinking like, Okay, if I was 68, and recently retired, would Arizona be a nice place to go? Yeah, I guess it would be, you know, like I can, because I can see all these activities that would fit in for that demographic and stuff like that. Just to circle back and finish that point. You need to keep checking in with yourself and to make sure, essentially, that you haven't sold out that the free meals and the free trips hasn't clouded your judgment or your sense of what's really important. What's really important is telling stories that you believe in talking about people places, experiences that you believe in for readers who you believe it like that, that you just have to keep checking in on that. Yeah. Because like you remember that There's a lot of perks thrown your way. And it you know, I think some people get lost in the perks or just start chasing the perks. Yeah, exactly. That should not be that is that is not the role of the perk, right? Yeah.
Kate Kordsmeier 47:11
And that's why I had this stigma, it took me a long time to come to terms with leaving a journalism career for a blogging career, because so many of the bloggers I knew, seem to just be in it, because they heard you could get free dinners. And, you know, I hated that. And, of course, that was sort of a case of like a few bad apples. But I think what you said and this applies both to freelancing and to blogging and what we do all the time is exactly what you said about what kind of promises or guarantees you make, which is none. And we are very clear that I would be happy to look into this for editorial consideration. But there is nothing guaranteed just because you send me your product to try or you bring me in for a meeting. Or you send me on this trip. And yeah, I think that's the that's the only way that you can. You can keep it and then that the integrity piece really comes from within you and cool enough to set your own what you feel comfortable with and your own, you know rules around that. This episode is brought to you by my ebook 13 pitches that worked for freelancers, if you dream of getting paid to eat and travel the world and think seeing your byline in a glossy national magazine, like Travel and Leisure or bone appetit would just be the bee's knees. Then you need 13 pitches that worked. Inside the book, you'll get an exact copy of 13 real email pitches I've used as a freelance journalist to land paid writing gigs across different niches, plus some notes for me about why it worked. The fee I earned for the job which will give you an idea of what kind of money you can Expect to make. I see so many people making mistakes in their pitches that cost them precious time and money. Don't let that be you. Go to Katekordsmeier.com/freelance to get your copy today for just $10. Take it from Leah, a freelance journalist who said, "I purchased Kate's e book when I first launched my career. And it's one of the things I credit with making my first year such a success. It's a good reminder that story ideas can be found anywhere in life and that even a good rejected pitch can lead to work and help establish a relationship. I still reference the book today when I need inspiration for structuring my pitches." Think about it you can spend $10 now to earn hundreds if not thousands of dollars from one pitch. Just go to Katekordsmeier.com/freelance to snag your copy now. I'd love to help you land your dream job.
So another question that's come up. This was actually a listener question that somebody wrote in was they wanted to know about the best platforms for freelance work. And I used to hear that all the time too, because, you know, she's saying I currently freelance through Upwork. Are there are other platforms that have higher paying work? And you know, my answer is like, run far away from those aggregate sites, you need to be having a direct relationship. But I'm curious what what you would say.
Nevin Martell 50:31
What I would say is that, you know, I, I would start at either local publications or smaller national websites whose work you admire or whose work you think is analogous to the type of work that you want to do and and start pitching them. It can be really hard and frustrating in the beginning, because you might have a lot of ideas but what I would say is start with a small simple ones because people want to have you prove yourself especially if you don't have a lot A lot of credits and to your name or a lot of pieces in your portfolio, you know, start out with smaller pieces don't pitch, the biggest story you can think of right off the bat to an editor. If you don't have many pieces in your portfolio, it might be the best idea in the world. But an editor is gonna look at your clips and say like, I just don't know if you can write this. And I'm not going to give you an assignment of this magnitude. But if you have smaller ideas that also fit in for that publication, that's a good way to get your foot in the door. I would say for places like Upwork and other aggregate sites, like any place that refers to your work is content. Is is not a great place to start if you want to be a freelance writer because if you're just like a content mill, you know, hamster, the value of your work will never be respected enough that you earn a real living from it or that you make a real name for yourself. You know you have to be you you have to get known for things I would say specializing in Don't pitch three stories for three different parts of the magazine or for three different parts of the website. Be specific about what your areas of expertise are, hone in on them. And, you know, I really stayed on food for I can't remember how many years, five years and then I started doing travel stories, but with a food focus. And then, you know, when I had my kid that gave me kind of, quote, unquote expertise to write about parenting, but I started out with small, you know, and still do mostly just personal essays on the parenting front, like I said, So pick your niche pitch in that niche to places like I said, local publications or smaller national websites or publications, and small smart ideas for stories and build up your clips, build up your relationships, because you want to be you want to be a known quantity. Part of the reason why you were hired before Caden. The reason why I'm hired is because we have the portfolio we have the following. We have the connections, we have the expertise We have a voice, you know, and I mean, on the page, as well as on social media and elsewhere, but you know, people kind of know what they are getting into when they hired someone like us. And they knew what a story might sound like, or what might what might it might look like. So you have to kind of build up that reputation over time and take some risks. You know, like, I always felt like when I first started doing the parenting, writing, it was a real risk because it was a different type of writing. It was much more emotional than the writing I normally do. It was obviously much more personal. But those pieces to this day when I write a parenting essay, are the pieces that get the most traction. You know, I get, you know, emails from people that I've never met before around the world about parenting stories. I rarely get them about food stories except like, I went to this place on your recommendation kind of, you know, things. I get tagged in an Instagram post from a restaurant that I wrote about or that I shared on my own feed, but what I write about parenting. That's what I get. People come out of the woodwork and you know, send me it's usually very emotional emails are very, you know, like, you personally know, which is really, really gratifying. That is for sure. And I think, I mean, couldn't agree more about like pick a niche, establish yourself as an expert. I know when, like the first year of my freelance career, I was just like, Oh, right, anything. Money, right and very quickly real. Yeah,
Kate Kordsmeier 54:28
you know, there's not a sustainable way to do it. And the great thing that starts to happen when you do establish yourself as an expert is that people start coming to you. So beginning yours, you know, it is so much just pitching and if you don't ask for the work, you're not getting the work and pitching i think is always going to remain a part of the process. But the longer you've been doing it, the more x you know, established you make, you know, if people know, I need a DC food writer, they know I'm going to Nevin and I think that that helps with especially that feast or famine cycle and kind of like, you know, figuring out how to make time for pitching when you are busy and all that. So just another another point in that check in that column of like, yeah, pick, pick a niche, and you can always expand and you can always do like said like, Okay, then I had a kid and I wanted to do some sad stuff and, and that's great too. But, you know, it sounds like that's not really what's paying your bills, that's what you're doing for
Nevin Martell 55:32
parenting stuff is deeply personal and really meaningful. But it's like such a small sliver of my income that, you know, it really is just, it's not for the money. It's, it's because I have something to say. And since I'm a writer, and a journalist, I have a platform to say it on. Yeah, the other thing I would say and you know, I'm gonna get off this call with you at some point and you know what I'm going to do. I'm going to send out a whole bunch of pitches this afternoon because It's true every time. And this always happened when I had lunch with you or we hung out at a coffee shop or whatever. It is so necessary for us writers to have fellow writers that we can bounce ideas off of, we can share contacts, you know, you can just cheerlead each other, which is so just so important. And it's also important because everybody has a different perspective. You know, I had, I think you remember Kelly dinardo. I had coffee with her a couple weeks ago, I walked out of the coffee, not only that, I send some pitches. I had like a new idea for something. You know, it's, it's really helpful to have a group. I'm not saying you need a writers group, but have other people that are freelancers, specifically freelancers, not just writers, but freelancers that you get together with regularly, even if it's just to have coffee and bitch and moan because there's a fair amount of bitching and moaning and no one else understands it. It's like any industry nobody stands it except somebody else. Who's deeper in it. You just got Oh, yeah, that's a for people starting out, finding that little, that making a little club for yourself is so is so helpful. And it really is good on a professional level to for all the things we offer all the reasons I just mentioned.
Kate Kordsmeier 57:13
Yeah, and it's such a beautiful thing when you can realize like kind of the whole community over competition thing. Because in like DC is a small town and you and I were covering the exact same beat. And we could have easily been like, well, I don't want to share this with you because then at the work and I went and it's like, there is room for everybody agree. And though we had a really similar beat, we took different approaches to how we wrote things, and we each had our own unique voice. And so just remembering that and I think freelancers in particular seem to be so competitive with each other. I know I've a lot that just are like, just the opposite of community and it's just porting everything to themselves and then like just not a good one. I mean to live, it's like not good for your heart.
Nevin Martell 58:02
No, like, no. I mean, you know, when you're cutthroat, you eventually got your own throat.
Kate Kordsmeier 58:08
So I love that. I have never heard that before
Nevin Martell 58:10
I just made it up, I'm gonna write it down, write that shit down, put it on bumper sticker, it's gonna be on Zazzle by the end of the day. But no, it's true. You have to be you know, it's community, not competition. That's a great way of putting it. That's the way I've always felt because there's enough work for everybody out there. And everybody has their own strengths and their own ideas. And, you know, if you're good enough, you're gonna get the work and you're gonna have enough work and it's not if you fail, it's not going to be because somebody else did better. It's because you didn't do well enough for or, and the fates conspired against you because there we all know great writers that you know, hit a wall or just have a string of bad luck or whatever and bring
Kate Kordsmeier 58:59
excess never had an impact. It never took away from my success. If anything, it just inspired me. You know, and yeah, I think when you think of it that way, you'll be I mean, you'll be much happier as a person. And I think you will be more successful. So that's such a good note to end on. I love that. Yeah. So okay, I'm not technically ending just yet. We have a couple questions that we asked everyone. All right. Oh,
Nevin Martell 59:28
this is my gotcha. gotcha journalism. Great.
Kate Kordsmeier 59:33
No, it's all there. Easy. Just gut reaction. Don't think too hard about it. quick answers. So first question, what is your favorite way to make time for self care when running your own business? Like how do you make sure you take care of your body in your mind
Nevin Martell 59:50
when you're so busy, I always try to take either 30 minutes in the morning to use the rowing machine in my basement to kind of start my day on an energetic note. Or, and or I should say, I go for about an hour long walk every afternoon, because that takes me away from a screen. I have time to listen to podcasts, talk to people, listen to music, whatever. Just kind of decompress, get some sunshine and I find that such a great reset. Yeah, I come back to my desk. I have some good ideas. I have some, you know, it's just resets your mind. And, and I think it makes me a better healthier person.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:00:27
Yeah, Rachel Hollis always says Move your body change your mind. And I'm like, yeah,
Nevin Martell 1:00:32
that's so true.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:00:34
Yeah, and even like for writer's block, or when you're just on something like just outside and move your body and it'll come agreed. Okay, what is one tool or strategy like I use the Eisenhower matrix that you use to help with time management,
Nevin Martell 1:00:49
man, time management is a constant struggle. I try to keep my days open and not book anything. More than two or three weeks in advance except for travel, so that I have a lot of flexibility with my time so that, you know when, when assignments come up, when interviews come up, I can swap them in and move other things around. And I try to always remind myself that you know, nothing is permanent, everything is changeable because, you know, sometimes you get frustrated cuz you're like, Oh my god, I can't take this assignment, or I can't do this, because I already have this on the books and then you have to remind yourself, no, it might be awkward for whatever reason, but I can move the other things to make this happen. Because it is important and I do want to do it. So for me, yeah, but But you're the boss, but you're also the guy that or lady who has to come home at the end of the month with a certain amount of money, or else your significant other will not be happy.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:01:46
So maybe a job at Starbucks.
Nevin Martell 1:01:48
Exactly. Exactly. I'd be a heck of a barista. I just want you to know.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:01:53
But Starbucks in college that I was a barista.
Nevin Martell 1:01:57
Well, it's not easy. No, no, it is Not the I worked as a short order cook in college and it is not. It is not easy work.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:02:04
Okay, so what's the most powerful business or mindset entrepreneurial book you've ever read? Like just the one that you reference again and again and has made the biggest difference in your life?
Nevin Martell 1:02:17
That is a great question. Um, to be honest, I don't read a lot of business books
Kate Kordsmeier 1:02:25
could be a podcast then or Yeah, like a conference or just what's like a great resource that's been helpful in your business.
Nevin Martell 1:02:34
I think the first collection of Garfield cartoons really helped define my business acumen. No, I'm just kidding. I've enjoyed Joseph Gordon Levitt's creative processing podcast. He's, oh, I haven't listened. Yeah, he does long form interviews with creatives about the creative process and it's really interesting because he talks to a lot of different type of types of creatives. And it's interesting to hear these people talk about, you know, idea, production execution in different fields because it is relevant to writing in some way, shape or form, or there are techniques that they use that that can be helpful. I found that really, really interesting. It's light hearted. It's not it's not heavy. It's a fun way to learn.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:03:26
Yeah, well, I love him, so I'm sure I would love it too. Okay, do you have like a favorite quote or mantra or affirmation or something that you tell yourself when things just get tough and you feel like
Nevin Martell 1:03:40
given up while this is on my desk, it says, if not today, when, and that's the reminder that I should stop putting off what I need to do and just do it. That one is one that I keep telling myself and the other one which is also Right in front of me on my desk says, life is an echo, what you send out comes back. And that's a reminder that it's kind of helpful with pitching that, if you put out ideas or if they will start coming back to you, like, yeah, and so you just have to remember to send them out. You have to be confident enough in yourself and your ideas, to send them out and take the risk of pitching to people in places that you haven't pitched before. Or that you might think this is a reach for me, but it could work out really well. And you never know what's going to happen. Right? Like you said,
Kate Kordsmeier 1:04:33
Yeah, I'm always telling people like literally what is the worst that could happen? Yeah, probably that you just don't hear back.
Nevin Martell 1:04:39
Yeah, that is literally the worst that can happen.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:04:42
Yeah. You're not gonna get hate mail from sending a pitch? No, you're right in the same place as you know, before you sent it. But how good Could it be if you sent you know, and you're like, you'll never get it if you don't ask. So. I love that.
Nevin Martell 1:04:57
That's so true. You'll never get it. If you don't ask. So always ask and always ask for more.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:05:03
Yes. Okay, well, and we talked about this a little bit. So what does Success with Soul mean to you? Do you believe you can create a wildly successful profitable business without selling your soul?
Nevin Martell 1:05:18
I don't think a business is successful if you've sold your soul. And I've lived my life, you know, as a writer, and even before that, with the idea that I have to feel good about what I'm doing. And I have to feel like it's something that I can tell my wife, my son, my mom, my dad, whoever about it, and stand up next to it and say, This is work I'm proud of. I did good in the world in some way. I'm not saying I'm working for a nonprofit or digging wells in Africa, but I feel good about the stories I'm writing. I feel good about the conversations I'm starting or the places I'm sending people I think it's absolutely important to have just a soulful connection with what you do. And it's even more important as a writer because you can really tell when a writer is invested in a story. And the better you get at writing, the easier it is to hide your dissatisfaction of the day or your annoyance with the story. But when you read a story that a writer just really cares about, and that can't be every story that you write, but when you get to those stories, you can sense it even people that aren't writers will read the story and just feel a part of the writer and a part of their intention in it that is so gratifying as a reader and even more gratifying when you're a writer. Yeah, beautiful. I love it. Thank you Nevin. UK, this has been a rare pleasure and congratulations. I hope that I get to see you and your lovely family sometimes.
Kate Kordsmeier 1:06:55
I know. I know.
Thank you so much to Nevin for sharing all of his incredible insights. If you want to learn more or follow along on his delicious adventures, check out Nevins website, Nevinmartell.com. You can also follow him on social media. He's on Instagram and Twitter at Nevin Martell. That's NEVIN MARTELL. thanks for listening to the Success with Soul Podcast the place to be for holistic online business strategies and achieving more with less, as this show is a brand spanking new, any and all support is greatly appreciated. So if you haven't done so already, please subscribe on the apple podcast app, Google podcast, app Spotify or wherever you listen. This makes it possible for me to continue to provide free helpful content and bring you amazing guests. You can also give us a rating and review with your honest feedback so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you can be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Your reviews are super helpful and motivating to me personally. But beyond that reviews help with rankings, which helps others find the show and allows me to keep providing you with free content every single week. Share the podcast with your friends, family, coworkers, dogs, cats, neighbors, whoever. And don't forget to join the free Success with Soul Facebook community at Katekordsmeier.com/Facebook. We have follow up conversations about the podcast episodes and I often go live to answer your burning questions. Plus, you'll get to hang out with like minded bloggers and heart centered online business owners exchanging priceless feedback, encouragement and other golden insight from the trenches. That's KateKordsmeier.com/Facebook. Until next time, remember to celebrate your progress, not perfection.
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