One year ago today, I packed my office up at the Paint Horse Journal and said good bye to my assistant editor job of nearly five years to become a full-time freelance writer and photographer. It was a scary decision, but one I felt God led me to make and He has shown His guidance a lot in the last 12 months. I'm so thankful for the projects, clients, experiences and support I've received and I am excited about what the future holds.
If you're interested in a recap, a few of the highlights from this past year include:
Publications: It's been a pleasure getting to write for multiple publications. I continued to write features for Paint Horse Journal, Paint Horse Connection and Paint Horse Racing. After attending the AAEP convention in San Antonio last November, I began writing more technical health articles for APHA and other publications--something I'd previously shied away from because medical is a tough area to write about. These topics have really stretched me as writer. In February I traveled to Amsterdam with a horse transport company and wrote a story for the Paint Horse Journal about it. Last August I began writing for the National Reining Horse's The Reiner, doing both event coverage (reining--my favorite event!!) and feature stories. I wrote for Haslet Style, Wise County Style and North Texas Magazine in 2011, getting some experience in lifestyle magazines. In September I became a regular contributor for Western Shooting Horse magazine--my first newsstand publication. In fact, I got to interview Chris Cagle last week for WSH--I never thought that type of thing would happen to me! In January, I began writing for the American Quarter Horse Journal--a publication I interned for in college and it's been a pleasure to work with them again. Recently, Horse & Rider magazine asked me to write an article for them. It was almost full circle, because Horse & Rider was one of the very first magazine subscriptions I ever had at 8 years old--and now I write for them. That publication is also on newsstands with a greater circulation than any magazine I've worked with before. I'm set to cover some horse events for Quarter Horse News later this summer.
- Future plans--I love every magazine I write for, and I'm excited to share the articles I have coming down the pike. I hope to write for even more new publications in the future. In the next year, I hope to write for other genres--women's interest, travel, lifestyle and even more equine publications.
Social Media Clients: Social media was initially a big facet to my freelance career, and it's grown so much in the last year. I started with launching Salon Friends' social media presence, photography and public relations from the ground up, and began working with D. Jones Tailored Collection doing social media, photography, newsletters and blogging. I worked with Tara Wilson Events for several months after creating a social media marketing plan, doing blogging, press releases and pitches and social media. I've done social media marketing plans and training for several businesses, and in the last few months I've launched social media programs for Breaking Bread the Healthy Way and Veritas Life Adventures. I also recently began blogging, social media and e-newsletters for the legendary Les Vogt.
- Future plans--I love every social media client I have. The variety of industries is exciting and I'm learning so much about each of their businesses. I've taken classes to enhance the skills I bring to my clients. I hope to improve performance on all platforms for my clients and perhaps gain a few new businesses.
Writing Clients: One area I've really enjoyed exploring since I've started freelancing has been writing copy. I worked with photographer Kari Crowe on her bio page and I wrote bios for the Salon Friends stylists and service team. I wrote press releases and menu descriptions for Panama City, Panama, hotel Tantalo Hotel/Kitchen/Roofbar. I wrote several press releases for the American Paint Horse Association this summer. I recently wrote all of the web copy for Breaking Bread the Healthy Way's new website. I've been working on web copy for Les Vogt as well.
- Future plans--Copy is a fun aspect of my job. I enjoy working with clients to make the words they print match their brand and goals. I am excited to see what businesses I work with in the future.
Photography: I've done portraits for a while, and after leaving APHA I've worked with quite a few more portrait clients. Capturing relationships between families and people with their horses is so rewarding to me. I even got to photograph a wedding in Australia in March. Unfortunately, I'm behind in blogging these sessions, but you can see them on my proof site. :-) I've done corporate photography for JEH Equine Reproduction Specialists (used on billboards, calendars and brochures), D. Jones Tailored Collection, Salon Friends and Breaking Bread the Healthy Way. My photos have appeared in Western Horseman-- a huge magazine that I've always wanted to work with. I've shot event coverage photos for APHA's marketing department. My photo was the cover image for the AAEP Convention Wrap-Up (published by The Horse--wow!!). My photos will be appearing in AQHA's member magazine America's Horse later this year. I earned a third place award at the 2012 American Horse Publications Seminar Awards competition for a Paint Horse Journal cover photo I took in 2011. I've worked a lot on my techniques and processing and I've invested in better equipment in the last year.
- Future plans--Photography is the area I'm most focusing on improving. I am shooting another wedding in 2013 and I have more portrait clients this fall. I'm doing event coverage and editorial photography in the next few months. I hope to expand my repertoire of genres and improve in every area.
What does the next year look like? I'm not sure. I've got several areas I'm working to improve. Now that Zach and I are based back in DFW (we were mainly set in San Antonio from November--June) I hope to grow my business even more in this area. The future is exciting! Thank y'all for your support--I never thought I could be my own boss, but now that I'm here, it's amazing what I've been able to do. I hope to always improve and I work hard to learn something new every single day.