From Bartender to Freelance Writer


Introducing Ms. Ashley Wallis

1. What kind of work were you doing or had you done prior to becoming a full time freelance writer?

Before I started doing freelance work, I’d spent my adult life working in restaurants and nightclubs. I’d been a bartender, a server, a prep cook, a line cook and a restaurant manager. In my very early twenties, it was fun and exciting. As I approached my thirties, it became progressively more draining. I rarely made it home before sunrise, my schedule made it impossible to maintain a functional relationship and I was starting to get burned out on the service industry.

2. Is freelance writing your full time income or just a part time income source?

I am a full-time freelance writer. In the earliest days of my freelance career, I still picked up a few bartending shifts on weekends to supplement my income. Within about a year, I was able to make more than enough money to get out of the service industry altogether.

3. What age bracket did you fit in when you started freelance writing? Under 30

 4. Do you have a college degree in journalism or any other area? No. I never attended college or any other type of post-secondary school.

5. Are you making as much or more a year than you did before you started freelance writing?

I’m making more now as a full-time freelancer than I have at any point in my working life.

6. Do you have children at home?

Not yet, but starting a family is an adventure I’m actively planning in the relatively near future.

7. What types of writing projects have you done? What makes up the majority of your work currently?

Over the last few years, I’ve written blog posts, website copy, trivia questions and a handful of magazine articles, most of which I’ve done in a ghostwriting capacity. These days, blog posts for a variety of clients and trivia questions for an iPhone app make up the majority of my work.

8. Do you do most of your writing during business hours or outside of business hours?

I’m a certified night owl, so most of my work is done outside of business hours. I tend to do my best work late at night, especially in the spring and summer months when I spend most of the daylight hours outside.

9. What do you love most about being a freelance writer?

Most of my family lives in another state. Because I’m able to work anywhere, I’ve been able to spend the last few years traveling to see them more often. With aging grandparents, the ability to travel whenever I’m needed is a blessing. The most amazing thing about freelancing is the freedom it allows me, both to spend time with the people I love and to pursue my own hobbies. Since becoming a freelancer, I’ve taken up gardening, started learning how to sew and have discovered a quality of life I didn’t know was possible for me.

10. What is your least favorite part of freelance writing?

Freelancing is fun, and I learn something new with every blog post I write. Through my clients, I’ve learned a host of useful skills and earned a comfortable living. Still, there is a level of uncertainty that comes with living the freelance life. Sometimes we lose clients, and most of the time the loss is beyond our control. Even the longest and most reliable projects will eventually run their course, and it can be scary to lose a large client.

11. If you could write about anything and be paid for it, what would it be and why?

I love writing for a wide variety of clients, because it gives me the opportunity to learn things I might ordinarily never think about twice. In a perfect world, though, I’d be writing primarily about books and the entertainment industry. I’m a dedicated lover of pop culture, and writing about books, music, television/film and video games would be a dream come true.

12. What words of advice do you have for someone considering freelance writing as a career?

Discipline is everything. It’s easy to let the freedom of a freelance lifestyle go to your head, so to speak. Even after close to three years of freelance work, I still struggle with scheduling from time to time. Missing deadlines is a career killer, though. Discipline is one of the most essential attributes a freelancer can possess, and it’s also one of the most difficult for some of us to cultivate.

13. Where can you and your writing be found online or in print?

My writing is scattered across the Internet, and very rarely published under my name because I tend to do a lot of ghostwriting. I have recently started a blog, which can be found at  (A music review written by Ashley can be found in Evol Magazine online.)

Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn

Ashley started her freelance career writing blog posts for me part time. Since then she has become an invaluable part of my freelance network. She is a certifiable grammar geek, which means she’s a top notch editor, in addition to her skills in research and writing on any and all topics thrown at her. 

Each Thursday, for the next several weeks, I will profile another freelance writer who I’ve had the privilege of encouraging and working with during the last three years. You’ll find they come from varied backgrounds and age groups. Be sure to check back.

Don’t forget to check out Ashley’s blog: and follow her on Twitter @alwallis84.


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