Crunch Spotlight: Life As A Writer And Business Owner
by Amanda Low. |
Crunch Spotlight is a Crunch-driven initiative aiming to add value to and inspire both our community and industry leaders across the nation through interview-style articles. Join us as we discover more about the story behind different industry leaders’ lives and journeys towards where they are now, and how they have transformed into the people they are today. We hope you get inspired by these stories and realize that you are capable of achieving your goals, too.
What do you call someone who does freelance copywriting, works full-time as a journalist, is an aspiring fiction writer who loves to garden, cook, read, shop at thrift stores, AND runs a little granola business called Tiny Factory Granolas? If you guessed an insanely busy person who always does their best to live life to the fullest, you’re not wrong. But, this person is none other than the illustrious Rachel Yeoh! If you’re not a stranger around these parts, you’ll know that Rachel is a hardcore Crunchie—she’s one of our panel writers and a regular at our Crunchin’ Mondays sessions each month!
1. Could you tell us more about how you became a freelance writer?
It was accidental, really. I started blogging when I was in Form 6 as a form of distraction because I found school very draining. During that time, blogging was the “in thing”. All my friends had blogs, but then a good friend of mine told me that my content was interesting and easy to read. After my exams, I posted up my availability to work on a site called Elance. I got a job there that allowed me to start freelance writing. The person who hired me then gave me a bunch of copywriting jobs and that was how it sparked!
I later did my degree in Journalism and I have been writing ever since. It may sound easy, but doing freelance is something you always have to work on. You have to work on getting clients and retaining them as you continue to upskill yourself to be relevant in the market.
2. How does a typical day look like for you on the job?
I write almost every waking moment. I wake up and write as I munch on my breakfast (it’s not a good habit, but work does not end). I break for meals and sometimes if I am feeling uninspired, I head out to the shops, see pretty things, talk to people and do other stuff to get myself inspired.
3. What do you think makes quality or impactful content?
Knowing your audience. If you don’t know who is reading your stuff, it is like shooting blindly and hoping to hit someone.
4. How do you use your voice or platform to speak up about the issues that matter most to you?
I am very grateful that the company that I work for (The Vibes) allows me to write about issues I am passionate about. I’ve had people from almost all walks of life talk to me about the community’s problems, personal successes and other life stories that have enriched my life. When I feel strongly about it, I pitch these ideas to my boss and he will give me the green light to write about it.
5. What does work-life balance mean to you?
Work-life balance is what I need to have in my life right about now. Though I enjoy writing and creating, I often know what is my top priority. In the busyness of it all, I still make time for family meals and going out with my friends (working together in a cafe works, you catch up and spur each other on to finish work at the same time—multi-tasking!).
6. How do you stay focused on your goals?
Write them down. Although I write a lot on my laptop, I am definitely a pen and paper person. I write my goals and to-do’s more than once in the same notebook just to ensure I remember to keep to what I promised to do. Sometimes, I forget, but when I see it again, I steer myself back on track.
Recently, I started to print out a few calendars for a specific purpose. I have one for daily exercise. So if I did exercise that day, I’d colour in the box. At the end of the month, I have an overview of how often I exercised. I do the same with “new things I learnt today” and finance tracking.
7. When you are having a bad day, how do you stay productive and motivated?
I take a nap. It works for me. When I am having a bad day, my mind is messed up, and nothing that I do seems right. At the height of my mental storm, I take a nap and when I wake up, the problem does not seem as big as it was before I slept—most of the time.
8. What skills have been most useful to you in your journey thus far?
Confidence. Most people may think it is not a skill, but it is to me. I am not a confident person, but I know how to hype myself up and act as if I am as confident as I want to be. When I am confident, I can be convincing—and that is how I land my freelance jobs. I once landed a job talking to the person next to me at the airport while we were waiting to board a plane.
9. What does your night-time routine look like?
I cannot sleep until my face is fully pampered. It’s like telling my body it is time to rest. I will usually do a double cleanse, make my skin happy with serums, moisturiser and face oil. If I have a little more time, I will do gua sha on my face.
10. Do you have a personal mantra that you always repeat to keep yourself motivated?
I talk to myself A LOT. Most of the time I tell myself, “Come on, Rach!” and that is about it. However, I do surround myself with things that keep me going. I follow IG profiles that are very motivating, like Crunch by Nuffnang, and these words of encouragement keep me going. I don’t like the idea of only having one mantra, I like a variety.
11. What is the most recent thing that you have learned? Why or how is it important to you?
I learn a lot of things every day. It is the nature of my work. I can be studying genetics today and writing about how to apply your eyeshadow the next day. But personally, I am learning to be kind and not to take things personally.
It is especially important to me because I am a very sensitive person, especially when it comes to things people say. My core love language is words of affirmation and not everyone can affirm me! So I am still learning this as we have not walked in the other person’s shoes—and with that said, I have the power to offer kindness for the kindness I was not given. I think learning this will help make the world a better place, even if it’s just my world.
12. What advice do you have for our readers?
Trust the process. Life is TOUGH, but every hurdle brings you to a higher vantage point. For example, I shared a little bit about going through Form 6 - it was tough! As much as I loved the sciences, my little brain just couldn’t remember all the concepts, scientific names, chemical reactions and worst of ALL, Mathematics T. I didn’t understand what I was doing and why I was doing it. And I didn’t understand why for about 10 years. Until recently, I realised why I went through what I went through. My science background allowed me to “dumb-down” terms so my science-affiliated clients can reach out to the masses through my writing. So really, trust the process.
Rachel surely does inspire us with the tenacity she brings to everything she undertakes. While the journey is definitely not easy, she does her best to balance both work and rest. And we all know that is a delicate balance to strike. It’s important to always bring your A-game to all your responsibilities and passions, but your body and mind can only take you as far as you care for them! Always remember to be kind to yourself. If you’ve always been afraid to take the first step to explore freelance writing, we hope that these words from Rachel inspire you to be brave and just do it!
You can find out more about the author on Instagram.