Develop a routine, early on: Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you work when you want to. It means you work when other people need you the most. It’s important to develop the same 9-to-6 schedule (or whatever time frame works best) for the sake of your publications, or clients.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Hilary Sheinbaum, a content creator and freelance journalist. She writes about beauty, entertainment, food, fitness and more. Hilary has contributed to dozens of publications including The New York Times, USA TODAY, New York Magazine, Us Weekly, Marie Claire, ELLE.com and Forbes.com, among others. As a lifestyle and entertainment expert, she is regularly featured on national and local broadcast outlets such as FOX, CBS, NBC and PIX11.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
About 7 years ago, I quit my desk job and decided I was going to pursue a writing career. I’m pretty sure my friends (and parents) thought I was crazy. At the time, people weren’t really “going out on their own” — the career mindset was very much geared toward working for a company, and a standard 9-to-6 (or 7 p.m.) job.
After my last day at the office, I started freelancing for a few publications like The Huffington Post, The Village Voice and some small beauty-focused websites. I was still looking for a full time job — in case the perfect opportunity came up — but, I soon became an out-of-the-office stringer for Life & Style and In Touch magazines, so I never went back to corporate life!
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
When I started my writing career, there weren’t a ton of other freelancers out there, so my days were kind of quiet socially, and, at times, lonely! My friends and I had completely different work-life settings, so it was hard to relate to each other sometimes.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I really, truly, love what I do. I think that’s gotten me through a lot. Even on days that may have been hard, or less-than-ideal, or straight up terrible, I remind myself that every day I get to learn something new, and I love writing stories.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
Every success I’ve had, I contribute to being super focused and sure that this was the path I wanted to take. I’ve had a lot of push back from friends and family, editors and fellow writers — which is totally normal, but sticking it out has made all the difference. And, of course, putting in the work! There’s no shortcut to dedicating time and energy to pursuing your goals.
So, how are things going today? 🙂
Things today are going well! I think there’s always room to grow, and room to achieve — so stay tuned on that. 🙂
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’m not sure I can qualify this as a mistake, but certainly the biggest lessons from any missteps or uncomfortable situation is changing your pattern or thought process. If something doesn’t work, it’s a new opportunity to try a different route.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I’ve written about everything — from beauty procedures to red carpet premieres, to cocktail recipes and everything in between. I’m not afraid to write about taboo topics or try something new for a story. I did a piece about challenging myself to 30 days of Barry’s Bootcamp. I went to class every-single-day for one month.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
If you need a break, take a break and come back to it. Also, if you want to write about something new, go for it!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’m definitely thankful for a number of editors who have guided me — and my stories — along the way. I’ve written for about 70 publications, so there are a ton!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’ve been lucky to have a platform to get the word out about causes I care for. I’ve donated my hair to charity six times now, and I’ve been able to write about it twice!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
● You may experience some push back — even from your biggest supporters: Early on, my parents were super skeptical of my decision to quit my job (and I don’t completely blame them)! But, it’s also important to give yourself some credit and some time to adapt to a new beginning and lifestyle.
● Find people who support your ideas: In the beginning, I didn’t have a ton of people I could go to for advice, but I talked to everyone and anyone who had at some point started something of their own. Some people had relevant pointers, and some didn’t, but it was always encouraging to know that being a freelancer was a long-term possibility and not just a ‘phase.’
● Develop a routine, early on: Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you work when you want to. It means you work when other people need you the most. It’s important to develop the same 9-to-6 schedule (or whatever time frame works best) for the sake of your publications, or clients.
● People will ask you a lot of questions: Whether they want to know how you spend your days, or how you find work, or how they can become freelancers, too. It will happen on a weekly basis, at least!
● Develop boundaries: Just because you don’t go into an office doesn’t mean that you are free to work 24/7! I learned that the hard way, but it’s important to recognize that everyone needs a break from time to time!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I try to be as positive and encouraging as possible! Supporting others in the industry is super important. It’s a fairly small community. I try to read as many articles as possible and connect with fellow writers. I’ll message them or comment on their stories that I think are great.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Twitter — @hilary_she
Instagram — @hilarywritesny
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!