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Quick chat with Ed Gandia

You’ve been a business writer, coach and podcaster for many years. What do you love about what you do?

I love helping writers and copywriters run and grow their businesses more effectively. I also love helping them shift from a freelancer mindset to a business owner mindset. Seeing their transformation  and the impact of that transformation on their personal lives is very rewarding. 

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

Well, at the top I’d say quitting my day job in 2006 and becoming a business owner. Being able to chart my own course and not having to answer to a boss is a core value of mine. Growing my writing business to the six-figure level and working with wonderful people is right up there as well. And the ability to work with smart, ambitious writers every day to help them achieve their biggest goals has been amazing.

Have you always worked for yourself? What do you enjoy about freelancing?

I started my writing business as a side hustle in late 2003. By the summer of 2006 that side business had turned into a full-time workload. That’s when I left my day job. I’ve never looked back.

By far the biggest thing I love about being a business owner is the freedom to dream up new ideas, implement the ones that speak to me the most, and see how these ideas help others thrive. 

As a coach, I love helping clients meet themselves differently every day. I enjoy working with them to tackle big challenges. And I get tremendous satisfaction from witnessing their personal and professional growth. 

Not everything we do together works beautifully. In fact, the more ambitious your goals, the more obstacles you’ll have to overcome. But that’s the work – becoming the kind of person that can push through those challenges, even when you don’t think you can. 

I love about being a business owner is the freedom to dream up new ideas, implement the ones that speak to me the most, and see how these ideas help others thrive.

What skills do you think are the most important for freelancers to acquire?

At the top of the list is a positive growth mindset. It all starts with mindset. From there, grit is essential. You have to be resilient and keep going even when you don’t feel like it. 

Being a great person to work with is also very important. Clients love freelancers who are helpful, creative, personable, proactive and who always do what they say they’re going to do.

AI has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons in the writing world – how should freelancers be responding?

This is a big topic. But I would start by recognizing that there is a ton of noise about AI right now. The disruption is real…but there’s also a lot of hype. We don’t yet know where exactly this will go and how it will impact most writers. The dust will soon settle and we’ll have a clearer picture of how AI will work its way into content creation. 

In the meantime, I strongly urge writers to move up the value ladder. The first layer of writing it will impact (and that’s happening already) is the SEO-driven, content mill fodder that wasn’t paying but maybe $.02 per word. That wasn’t a viable segment of the market anyway. 

I’ve been telling my clients and podcast listeners for years to shift from being an “order taker” to a trusted advisor. And there has never been a more important time to do that, regardless of your target market or skill level. 

I’ve been telling my clients and podcast listeners for years to shift from being an “order taker” to a trusted advisor. And there has never been a more important time to do that, regardless of your target market or skill level.

Become the kind of resource who provides much more than just writing. Offer ideas and advice about topics, content repurposing, content creation and management. Become more proactive. Make their jobs easier. Come up with creative solutions. Take a stronger interest in their business. 

In other words, become indispensable by doing the things AI can’t do and may not be able to do for decades. 

Just as important, learn all you can about how to use these tools to improve your writing productivity. They can be excellent tools for brainstorming ideas, repurposing your content, making your drafts flow better, and so much more.

What are you looking forward to on your first trip to Australia?

So many things! First off, visiting Australia has been a dream of mine since I was 16. I lived on a military base in Japan when I was in high school in the mid 1980s, and I really wanted to make a trip to Sydney while my family and I were there. But it never happened. 

This time I’m taking my oldest son with me. He’s incredibly excited about the trip. We plan on seeing a lot of Sydney and the surrounding area. I also have a coaching client in Sydney, so it will be wonderful to meet him in person. (And I’m always open to ideas about must-see spots. If anyone has any please message me!)

Why do you think the Summit is important for freelancers?

I can’t think of a better time to come together as a community and discuss the biggest issues we’re facing–including AI and the economic uncertainty ahead of us. Freelancers need to remember that they’re running a business. And part of running and growing a thriving business is meeting new colleagues, sharing ideas, learning from each other and just getting out of your comfort zone. So many breakthroughs and shifts in perspective can come out of these events. I’ve seen it over and over again!

So many breakthroughs and shifts in perspective can come out of these events. I’ve seen it over and over again!

The conference theme is all about futureproofing your career. What steps are you taking to futureproof your own?

I’m doing a few things in that regard. One of them is creating new products and services–new offers, essentially–that are well aligned with the evolving concerns of my market.

Another is looking into additional income streams. When you have two or three income streams, you’re not fully dependent on client work to pay your bills. You can also make better decisions about what clients and projects you take on.

And yet another is to get out there more often. I’m speaking more this year and getting myself in front of new audiences–both in person and online. I’m stepping up my LinkedIn activity and interactions. And I’m collaborating with more colleagues to come up with new ideas.

When you have two or three income streams, you’re not fully dependent on client work to pay your bills. You can also make better decisions about what clients and projects you take on.

Do you think the future is exciting for freelancers, and if so, why?

Absolutely. Companies and organizations everywhere are recognizing more and more that they need access to top talent on demand. And the challenging economy is reminding them that having access to that talent on a freelance basis is a very smart thing to do. 

From what I can see (at least in the U.S.), too many companies aggressively overstaffed over the past three years. As things slowed down, they had to lay off a (sometimes big) portion of their team. 

But the untold story here is that these same companies are also hiring talented freelancers while they lay off full-time employees. They want access to very specific talent and skills, they just want to be able to turn it on and off like a spigot.

This creates all kinds of opportunities for freelancers who know how to position themselves well, market their services strategically, and run a thriving operation.

What are you most looking forward to at the Summit? (a particular speaker / session, meeting colleagues, or drinks on the destroyer!)

Meeting colleagues! I love meeting writers and hearing about their business, including what’s working for them and what challenges they’re facing. I learn from them as much as they might learn from me. 

Oh, and meeting Jennifer Gregory. Jennifer and I have known each other for at least five years. We live just a few hours away from each other but we’ve never met in person. Our joke is that we have to fly halfway around the world to do that!


Ed is one of our keynote speakers. He’ll be speaking on Friday and will participate in a panel on Saturday.


Find out more about Ed Gandia on his profile page
or listen to this episode of the podcast. And don’t miss these key moments from our fireside chat with keynote speakers Ed and Jennifer Goforth Gregory.

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