Making a living doing what you love is a privilege, but it can be a challenge to get there. Even for freelance bloggers who are paid well for what they do, when they work on their own, much of their time goes to non-writing tasks. Searching for customers, taking sales calls, handling project management, keeping up an online presence, and dealing with customer invoicing are all skills that are completely unrelated to writing talent.
Technology expert Kay Polesser has found that working for IOD as a tech researcher and blogger provides a steady income while eliminating the overhead of customer relationship management. From Kay’s perspective, working with IOD provides the best of both worlds: learning about emerging technology and earning a living from writing.
In this team interview, Kay talks about his experience prior to IOD and how joining the IOD team has benefited his career.
Freelance writing for fun and profit
Kay has worn a variety of hats over his 15-year career, including in software development, developer relations, and blogging. He holds a computer science degree and has worked in different fields, including web, mobile, API, security, DevOps, serverless, and Web3.
Kay’s blog focused on technical topics because it was the perfect way for him to keep up with the fast-moving technology market—but it wasn’t the perfect way to make money. The blog led to him writing the book React from Zero, which brought in some income as well as clients who wanted to hire him for freelance gigs, but with only 2-4 paid articles a month, writing wasn’t bringing in enough income to make a living.
Despite being an industry expert, published author, and blogger, Kay found sales and marketing to be a challenge—and it wasn’t the part of the job he enjoyed most.
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How long were you working as a freelance blogger? What were your challenges?
I’ve been working as a freelancer for about seven years. At first, I was writing about web and API development, and later I wrote about mobile. When I started my blog in 2017, it enabled me to expand out to other technologies, which was more fun than focusing only on one thing and allowed me to learn more.
Even though I didn’t expect to make money from blogging, I hoped it would lead to more paid gigs, which it did, but not enough to be a real salary. In 2018, a publisher approached me to write a book on React development, and the book sold pretty well. That was a boost in terms of being able to make a living as a writer, and I received more client requests, including being approached by the Talent Recruitment representative at IOD.
How did working with IOD help you overcome your challenges as a freelancer?
Before working with IOD, I only had a few contracts. Writing four articles a month doesn’t pay the bills. From the very beginning, IOD provided 60% or 70% of the income from my paid work, so that was a huge boost. I also got to focus 100% on writing, which is the part of the work I love. I no longer have to worry about client relations or client acquisition.
Working with a content agency like IOD also gives me a lot of flexibility. If I had other projects, I could just dial my IOD workload down. So, I’m never blocked from opportunities that arise. This doesn’t mean that working for an agency is boring. IOD has a lot of interesting projects to offer and exposes me to leading tech companies in the industry. So, even when I’m focusing solely on IOD work, I feel like I’m getting ahead in my career as a tech blogger.
How has working with IOD helped you professionally?
Peace of mind is definitely a big factor. I’ve never been in a situation where I asked for more work and they didn’t have additional articles for me to write. Their pipeline is great, not just in quantity, but also in the variety of clients and topics.
Working with a production team really helps me improve my professional skills. The editors are excellent and have boosted my writing skills. It’s like getting paid to become a better blogger.
Working with a content agency like IOD also gives me a lot of flexibility. If I have other projects, I can just dial my IOD workload down. So, I’m never blocked from opportunities that arise. This doesn’t mean that working for an agency is boring. IOD has a lot of interesting projects to offer and exposes me to leading tech companies in the industry. So, even when I’m focusing solely on IOD work, I feel like I’m getting ahead in my career as a writer.
Wrapping it up
Kay enjoys working as a freelancer, and IOD has allowed him to focus on doing what he loves best: writing. The main benefits Kay cited from working with IOD are:
✅ Guaranteed ongoing work
✅ Interesting and varied projects
✅ Ability to focus on writing rather than other aspects of freelancing such as client relations management and sales
✅ Growth and professional development
✅ Competitive pay
✅ Flexibility and freedom to work on other client work or other projects simultaneously
IOD provides a collaborative working environment, where writers work together with editors and project managers. This type of environment means the team gets to know one another—even those who work part-time have the sense of being part of an efficient and caring group of professionals.
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