Ed Gandia is a freelance copywriter and consultant specializing in the technology industry. Prior to hitting the world of copy, Ed was in enterprise software and industrial sales for over a decade. In addition to writing copy and consulting, Ed is also the co-founder of the International Freelancers Academy. For more information on Ed, check out his website at www.edgandia.com
Ed, what’s the best part of your job?
The fact that I get to pick the people and clients I work with, the projects I work on, and when (and how) I work. You can’t put a price on that level of freedom!
You were in sales for 11 years before going solo and starting your copywriting and consulting business, was that a hard transition to make and why did you make the switch?
Yes, it certainly was difficulty. My last job was for a small software company where the pressure to make and beat sales quotas was high. I did very well there, but I had to put in long hours, which left little time to work my copywriting business on the side. Not only that, but we had just had our first child, and my wife had left her job to stay home with him.
So, basically, I had a high-pressure sales job where I couldn’t afford to slack off. My family was depending on me. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my six-figure income — and yet I had very little extra time to do anything on the side. So I had to make the time to launch, grow and work my business.
The reason I wanted to make the switch is that I was sick and tired of the corporate grind. Corporate sales can be fun and very lucrative. But you’re often chasing someone else’s goals. You’re assigned higher quotas every year. The moment you hit them, it starts all over again. And even though the income grows with that increased performance, so do the demands placed on you. If you ever want to change your pace, it’s very difficult. Additionally, I had reached a point in my sales career where weekly travel was almost unavoidable. I didn’t want to be away from my family all the time, even if the money was incredible.
Because of these frustrations, I had set a goal to strike out on my own by 2008 (I beat that by almost two years). I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and I’m wired to make my own decisions, take risks and chart my own course. Initially, my idea was to either buy an existing business or start a new business. What I didn’t realize at the time was that a solo business was actually the best-suited model for me. I’m now glad I went the solo route.
You’ve chosen to specialize in the software and technology sector. Yet, many consultants and solo professionals are worried about going to narrow by specializing in a specific industry or offering a limited number of services, what is your take on this and how has this decision impacted your business?
I’m a huge believer in specializing as a freelancer or solo professional. There’s a misconception that if you specialize your business will suffer should that industry, sector or set of offerings lose favor. That’s simply not true when you’re a solo business — not if you know how to position yourself strategically and market yourself consistently.
I believe that “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” comes from the corporate upbringing many of us have had. The fact is that when you’re a solo professional, your capacity is very limited. It’s just you. You’re not PwC or Booz Allen Hamilton — firms that need to keep bringing a ton of business in the door just to keep the lights on. When you’re on your own, two or three clients can give you more work than you could possibly handle. So you’re not impacted by economic or market conditions to the extent most companies are. Continue Reading