Career makeover leads to writing | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Career makeover leads to writing

Posted: September 4, 2011 - 2:04pm
Kathy Krueger worked from the sun porch of her Brainerd home. In February,  Krueger left her career in accounting to be a free-lance writer.  Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
Kathy Krueger worked from the sun porch of her Brainerd home. In February, Krueger left her career in accounting to be a free-lance writer.

Kathy Krueger is always being offered a new job. Some offers come from gun dealers, others from construction companies. Today the offer was a TV treatment. “I think it’s because I was from Minnesota,” Krueger said. 

She said she was interested in the job, she just had one question — what’s a TV treatment?

Kathy Krueger is a free-lance writer. For the last 10 months she has been writing from her home in Brainerd for online and print publications in various parts of the world. 

 “This was nothing I really ever expected,” she said. “I saw the possibility out there and decided to give it a try.”

Before her career makeover, Krueger spent two decades mangaing accounting for area businesses, the majority of which was in the construction industry. Krueger credits her free-lance prowess to her experience in accounting. “Half of my success has been understanding the business part of it,” she said.

Krueger started her writing endeavor as more of a hobby than a business — her first efforts were in poetry. She published her work to an online community called Triond. “It’s not a place to make money,” she said. “But there are some great people there.”

Krueger got her first paid assignment in June 2010 and said she made a grand total of $2,000 in revenue over the next six months. “Not quite enough to live on,” she recalled. 

Even with the meager first fruits, Krueger said she was ready to take the plunge and see what she was capable of. “I’ve always wanted the flexibility,” she said.  

Now working from home instead of an office, Krueger has made freelancing her full-time job. Her “home office” is actually the back porch or the kitchen table and her only coworker is her Macbook. “I tell everybody he’s my personal assistant,” she said.

Krueger writes everything from construction blogs to gun reviews and has even had her share of printed content in local publications. “It took eight months to break into it,” she said. “But once you get going it’s like mining for gold — you just have to sift for them.”

Krueger said she gets the bulk of her work through outsourcing marketing firms like Elance and Guru. “The marketing firms have been really good for me,” she said. To date, Krueger has eight regular clients in both the U.S. and Canada. She has also written for marketing companies based in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Krueger said her writing has now reached the point where she is able to turn down offers she isn’t interested in and also give her the flexibility to contract out to others writers. In addition to one-time contractors, Krueger has four writers, from various parts of the world, who regularly take on writing assignments. “A couple of them are better than I am,” Krueger joked. 

One writer, a man from Kentucky, Krueger has known for years through her involvement with Triond. “I feel like I know him really well, but we’ve never met face to face,” she said.

Krueger said she regularly ghost writes blogs for company websites, lists of five things, she also does a lot of “top 10” articles — 10 places you cannot get cellphone reception, 10 places to go on a first date, and one of her most memorable: 10 ways to text and drive. The majority of Krueger’s articles are ghost written. 

“It gives you a really skeptical look at anything you might read on the Internet,” Krueger said of the assignments she receives. “When you’re researching on the web how do you know what you’re writing is true when you found it somewhere else?”

As far as declining requests for service, Krueger said she turns offers down fairly often. In addition to sticking to a personal moral standard in accepting offers, Krueger said she also tends to stay away from things she is entirely uninterested in writing about. She refuses to write on home fixtures for example. 

“I just found I really don’t like it,” she said. 

Even with her personal preferences, Krueger said she recognizes the opportunity to take advantage of markets that have a large need for specialty writers. 

“I could write as much gun-related stuff as I want to,” Krueger said. “It’s hard to find women to write on guns.” Krueger is an official reviewer on www.guns.com.

Expanding her business outside of the web community, Krueger is also beginning to accept opportunities in print. She is currently working on a ghostwriting project with a Washington, D.C.-based image consultant who is writing a book for men on credibility. Though Krueger won’t receive any public recognition for her contribution, she said the project is a great opportunity. 

Then there’s the TV treatment. 

Krueger said the phone call came from a potential client looking to pitch a reality TV show to a production company. The TV treatment is the written pitch. Krueger’s client found her on Elance and contacted her, among other reasons, because she was from Minnesota. “You look like a nice person,” Krueger recalled from the conversation. “I get that sometimes.”

 Krueger accepted the TV treatment job and has since taken on an additional treatment assignment from a screen writer.

Krueger said she has no regrets in her career shifting, but the biggest challenge she has faced is knowing when to quit. “It’s way too easy to work around the clock,” she said. “But we’re adjusting.”

 

SARAH NELSON may be reached at sarah.nelson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5879.