Quick chat with Valerie Khoo
You’re created a highly successful business. What do you love about what you do?
I absolutely love seeing people achieve the goals they once thought were impossible. Whether that’s publishing a novel, scoring a book deal, getting a promotion at work or changing careers, I love it when people are able to follow their passions. I really believe that it’s best for our soul if we get to do what we love.
In terms of career highlights… I’m proud of what my team and I have built with the Australian Writers’ Centre. Mainly because it’s such a lovely community of writers who support each other – and I get a real kick out of seeing them succeed!
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
I’m proud of what my team and I have built with the Australian Writers’ Centre. Mainly because it’s such a lovely community of writers who support each other. And I get a real kick out of seeing them succeed!
Other career highlights include the fascinating people that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interview through journalism. Everyone from Matt Damon and Jon Bon Jovi to Michael Dell and Britney Spears. And everyone in between. Never a dull moment.
You offer a variety of courses for writers. What skills do you think are the most important for freelancers to acquire?
It depends on what your goals are. For example, a freelancer who wants to forge a path in journalism has different priorities – and requires different skills – to a freelancer who wants to focus on content or copywriting. Based on the name of the Summit, let’s assume they are a freelancer who wants to earn a lucrative income by writing content and copy.
It goes without saying that you need excellent writing skills. But, beyond that, it’s having skills to identify opportunities that may be outside your immediate comfort zone or industry. It’s also a useful skill to be able to clearly show how you can add value. And you need to make strategic decisions in order to maximise your revenue.
Important skills for freelancers? It goes without saying that you need excellent writing skills. But beyond that, it’s about having skills to identify opportunities that may be outside your immediate comfort zone or industry
Why do you think the Summit is important for freelancers?
I believe that connecting freelancers in this way is wonderful. As writers, we are often so isolated. And technology has made it so easy for us to communicate via a screen. But nothing beats the relationships and opportunities that result from real life connections.The conference theme is all about futureproofing your career.
What steps are you taking to futureproof your own – and that of the Australian Writers’ Centre?
Like most aspects of life, it’s advancements in technology that will change the way we live and work. So I’m constantly learning and always observing what’s happening in the industry.
To futureproof your career, there isn’t a silver bullet where you learn one new skill and you’re set. Even if I suggested one now, this advice will be out of date soon enough! To truly futureproof your career you need to always be curious. Don’t be afraid of technology. And embrace change.
What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Do what you love – and the money will follow. It’s been my mantra through life and it’s worked well for me. If you have a creative itch, scratch it. If you are curious about a particular career in writing, explore it. You have nothing to lose – and everything to gain.
Now, almost every organisation understands the need for content. This is true for large corporates to small businesses. From multinational mining companies to your local dentist. So the opportunities for writers have increased exponentially
What are your thoughts on AI / ChatGPT?
I think it’s very exciting. It’s here to stay so there’s no point ignoring it. It’s about learning how to use it to your advantage. I don’t believe that it will replace writers for the most part. But it will help writers do their jobs more efficiently.
Do you think the future is exciting for freelancers, and if so, why?
Yes! In terms of content and copywriting, I honestly believe that there has never been more opportunity. Even just 20 years ago, content wasn’t a thing. If you wanted to write articles, your only options were the relatively small number of publications in the market. Now, almost every organisation understands the need for content. This is true for large corporates to small businesses. From multinational mining companies to your local dentist. So the opportunities for writers have increased exponentially.
What are you most looking forward to about the Summit?
Valerie will be speaking on Day 2 of the Summit. Her topic is: Micro-credentials, the changing landscape of education, and why staying relevant through upskilling is more important than ever.
Find out more about Valerie Khoo on her profile page.