Going viral online changed my life. So, what now?

Photo of me yelling into a microphone | taken by Christopher Diaz Photography

Right now, I have a lot of titles — poet, performer, ghostwriter, editor, and (to my mother’s dismay) grad school dropout. Figuring out my life in these past two years after leaving school (aka the only thing I knew how to succeed in my entire life) has been both exhilarating and extremely stressful. Still, even though I don’t always know what the heck I’m doing, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Here’s what happened.

The above photo is from 2017. I was on the final stage at a slam poetry competition called Texas Grand Slam (TGS), performing my poem about anxiety…

Reduce stress by turning people down

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels: woman with her hand in a “stop” gesture

Over the course of the last year, I’ve come to terms with two facts: 1) I am a people-pleaser, and 2) people-pleasing is neither a sustainable nor beneficial way to live. The pandemic gave me a new mental image of boundaries in many more ways than having to keep people physically away from me. In fact, I nearly dissolved all other boundaries to make up for what I couldn’t do for people in person. Around this time in 2020, I went into hyper-drive, trying to show up for everyone and everything to the point of exhaustion. To where I literally…

Suggest these ground rules to help strengthen the discussion—and get better outcomes for everyone in your meetings

Photo by fauxels from Pexels.

Thanks to introversion and a soft voice, I’ve been talked over in group settings since I was a kid. For that reason, I often leave meetings feeling unheard and unable to share my expertise. Whether you’re at work or school, losing the chance to share your ideas can make it seem like you don’t care, aren’t keeping up, or aren’t assertive enough. All three assumptions can be detrimental to your goals and the goals of the group.

When I began copywriting a few years ago, a potential client set up a meeting with me and the rest of their marketing…

Four ways to share your work or business authentically

Photo by Samson Katt from Pexels: Woman covering her eyes with her hands

Recently, leads for my ghostwriting business came to a grinding halt.

I expressed my frustrations about finding clients to a friend who knows that I am both shy and introverted, and she told me, “I hate to say it, but you might have to put on a smile and become one of those people who never shuts up about their work to get people to notice you.” I groaned in response.

Promoting my work and networking with others are not my strong suits. Like 57% of people in the world, I prefer to retreat into myself and avoid the spotlight…

So, go ahead and take that break

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels: Man leaning on a closed laptop

We have all seen some version of the same thing on social media: praise for someone who is “self-made,” any iteration of the phrase “we all have the same 24 hours” or someone promoting their personal brand.

Measuring our worth by how “productive” we are is an ideology rooted in white supremacist and capitalist values that do not serve us.

Society normalizes the idea that “success” only comes from breaking our backs day in and day out, subsisting off of coffee, never getting help from anyone, and never resting. Most of us were taught from childhood that if we work…

No, none of these are Upwork or Fiverr

Photo by Canva Studio from Pexels: People sitting around a table typing on laptops.

When I decided to start freelance writing shortly after college, I found myself endlessly scrolling through Upwork and Facebook groups competing with other freelancers for jobs. As a new writer, I landed a few gigs only because I was willing to do them for embarrassingly low rates. I figured I was paying my dues. If you’re a new writer, don’t do what I did.

Even at my low rates, I struggled to find consistent work. Some months I’d be set. Then, the next month the well would dry up, and I’d have to start fighting for gigs again. Finally, I…

Before you take the freelance path, weigh the pros and cons

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels: woman sitting at a laptop

Very few writers actively choose to be copywriters. Copywriting is something that you fall into because you’re trying to make money from home, or you went on a job board and thought, “Sure, I could write a landing page for that website. Why not?” Then boom, you’re a copywriter.

While copywriting has been around as long as print ads have, the profession has seen a significant recent boom as companies are placing a bigger and bigger emphasis on their online presence. Marketers and business owners understand the importance of having clean and engaging copy for consumers to read that encourages…

Maybe. If you have the time and money.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash: a blank gold trophy

The short answer is this: whether writing competitions are worth it to you depends on the competition, your writing goals, and how well you handle rejection. A writing contest can be a fun way to flex your muscles, get feedback on your work, and potentially win something.

On the other hand, writing contests uphold the literary world’s existing power structures and faux scarcity model. After all, who decides what’s “good?” Who decides how many entrants can “win?” And who appointed those people to make those decisions? …


A lesson I learned in my first year of business

Photo by Cytonn Photography from Pexels: hand signing a document

When you start a freelance business of any sort, you find out a lot of useful information through trial and error. 2020 was my first year as a full-time freelancer, and one of my hard-learned lessons was that there are certain documents I need to have ready to keep my business running smoothly.

As a one-person business, you can’t afford to waste time starting from scratch with each client. While you should absolutely personalize your services, you also want a business method that you can replicate easily. This way, you can work efficiently and remain consistent across clients and projects.

Jae Nichelle

Poet, writer, lover of sweet potatoes. Here are my questions for the world. More at jaenichelle.com and jaeghosts.com

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