Pursuing 'a vision of independent success and hustle'
As the pandemic pivot and transition drags on, we are working hard to update the blog once a week with what I hope is inspiring, compelling and educational content. The cool thing is, most of these posts will highlight the incredible people we get to work with through our business. We have no shortage of amazing people to feature and hope you enjoy their stories. With help, we can do it better. Enter: Allison Antram! Allison is a kick-butt freelance writer and an all around cool person. I'm happy to let you all get to know her a little bit better because her byline will be on many of these stories we publish.
AL: Tell us who you are! Where are you from? What led you to Lexington?
AA: Hi! I'm Allison Antram. I'm originally from Canton, a.k.a. northeast, Ohio. My grandparents lived in Somerset, Ky., for most of my life, and convinced me to go to Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky. I ended up moving here permanently after college and I've been here since! The community has been too sweet, and kept me here much longer than I expected!
AL: You recently quit your full time job (with benefits, the whole "adult" thing) just in time for this pandemic! How did that feel?
AA: Whew, I really did! To be honest, it felt great. Definitely scary, but great! I was in a 9-to-5 job that was fine, but I knew it wasn't what I wanted to do long-term or where I ultimately wanted to be. I am lucky to have an inexpensive apartment and no spouse or children to provide for, so if I wanted to take the risk, it seemed like there was no better time! It felt so freeing. Can't wait to tell my future children how I quit my job in the middle of a pandemic.
AL: Did you have a moment of panic?
AA: I have many tiny moments of panic, ha, but it has much more to do with imposter syndrome than instability.
AL: What are you doing to “make it”? Any advice?
AA: I definitely don't feel far enough along to give advice on this (I'm sure you would have great advice!), but I will say connections have truly been everything for me. And I'm never afraid to send a cold email and semi-obnoxiously put myself out there.
AL: More and more people are turning to freelancing. I've read often in Forbes that the freelance/gig economy IS the new economy, and it is how increasing numbers of people prefer to work. Why do you think that is?
AA: Of course there's a technology factor; the pandemic showed us just how possible remote work is. But honestly, I feel like the draw to freelance work is a big millennial culture thing. Nearly everyone I know has a side hustle or has thought about going rogue and finding a way to be their own boss. I don't necessarily relate to my generation's extreme love of flexibility and complete self-authority. I actually was pretty hesitant toward the freelance world! But I think that has grown our version of the "American Dream" into a vision of independent success and hustle.
AL: Tell us about some of the projects you are excited about for 2021? We are so excited to be working with you.
AA: Honestly I'm just excited to get settled in with freelance work! Everything still feels new and shaky, so I'm hopeful for it to become more normal for me. On one hand I'm really looking forward to continue some contracted copy/writing work, but more importantly I'm partnering up with my best friend to be her copywriter for her branding studio, South Brook Studio, which she's relaunching soon. And on the other hand, I'm excited to explore my personal writing and branch out into more magazine writing! That's where I'm hoping to end up, so looking forward to taking steps in that direction.
AL: You write a lot. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
AA: Pretty much! There were a few years in early childhood where I wanted to be an artist, but I have truly always been a writer. I would write and illustrate short stories when I was young, or make newspapers for my family. It's always been my niche.
AL: Logistically, where do you typically work?
AA: I truly live in coffee shops. I also work from my apartment, but it's quite tiny and as an extrovert I find I need a bit more stimulation to be productive. So I'm usually at Manchester Coffee or Brevede in Lexington.
AL: I love working with you because I was a less-cool version of you 10 or so years ago, and I love seeing people like you succeed! I used to cry in my car on the way to work at the last "full-time" job I ever held. I have never looked back, and I truly admire people who step out of the status quo. But I know it can be scary. For me, all it took were a few wins and a few people telling me I could do it. What made you take the leap to freelancing?
AA: Ha, first of all, you are absolutely cooler than me, just in different ways, but I am honored! That story resonates more than I would like to admit; I wrestled with my job for a while for a lot of reasons, most of them involving not knowing what my next step was going to look like, and being fearful that I would be equally frustrated with whatever I hopped to next.
There were many small lightbulb moments, I would say. There was an initial jump, when I knew in my gut that it was my time to take a leap of faith and quit my job with quite literally nothing lined up, and from there it was a lot of prayers and emails and rejected job applications before I recognized the amount of freelance work I already had in front of me, and that this could be a viable option, not just a backup plan. It's definitely not where I thought I would end up, but I'm so glad I did. Opportunities have continued to unfold in proportion to my willingness to say "yes."
AL: I LOVE that. 'Opportunities have continued to unfold in proportion to my willingness to say yes.' This is truth! Have you ever second guessed yourself?
AA: I second guess myself about many things, but I have not second guessed quitting my job one time.
AL: I love working with you, because you are very creative but also incredibly organized. A rare combination! I can just say a bunch of random stuff that I'm envisioning and then all of the sudden you’ve sent me some nice tidy to-do item in Asana. What do you feel that you bring to the table for your new clients? How have you set yourself apart?
AA: Ah, so much joy in doing that for you! I'm a very strategic thinker, which translates into organization, but also communication and structure around goals. So my organized creative brain has led me to become a jack-of-all-trades, which I hope makes me adaptable. I've done large and small-scale event planning, I created a podcast, I've managed publications, I dabble in photo and design, I do all kinds of writing from profiles to business to very technical copy to more reflective pieces... these are all creative elements that, I hope, can lend me to be an exceptional support for the individuals and businesses I work with. I love learning and taking on something new.
AL: Most writers also like to read! What’s a favorite book you’ve read recently?
AA: More recently, I really enjoyed Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle, and it has stuck with me. But honestly, I started my 2020 reading Educated by Tara Westover and I still think about it all the time. Incredible memoir and it reads like fiction.