How a Busy Dad Switched from Engineering to Freelance Writing

Man writing in notebook at table

Let me show how it’s possible to launch your freelance career in a matter of months. Three months to be exact.

That’s exactly how long it took AWAI Member Bill Nettleton to land his first client who was happy to pay him a $2,000 fee. And Bill is just getting started because he’s already developed a strategy that practically ensures he’ll have more clients knocking on his door.

And it’s a proven tactic you can use just easily to launch your freelance career.

In fact, it’s one of Bill’s favorite strategies for getting new clients … and one he perfected during his days working in environmental engineering.

For several years, Bill lived and worked in Alaska on a variety of environmental-related projects.

While it’s work he enjoyed, when Bill moved back to Ohio, he decided to step into the financial services industry. And that’s where he stayed busy for the next five to six years.

However, over time, Bill got the “itch” to move back to Florida, where he grew up. But this time, Bill decided he was ready to give up working for someone else.

It was time for him to take a stab at being “the boss.” So, he quit his job in the finance industry and opened his own environmental firm.

Everything was working out great for Bill, except operating his own business meant too many hours and long days in the office instead of being at home.

What Bill really wanted to do was spend more time with his kids, especially after his recent divorce. So he made the rather bold decision to give up his environmental business and open a dog park.

Yep … a dog park!

It was the ideal business, one that suited his needs. It gave Bill the flexibility he was looking for, including more time to be with his kids.

But as his kids got older and could take care of themselves, Bill sensed he needed yet another change in his life. And it wasn’t long afterward that this busy Dad would soon find himself working 7,398 miles across the globe in the middle of the desert.

You see, a former colleague from his days as an environmental engineer was about to open an environmental firm in Saudi Arabia and wanted to know if Bill would be willing to help get it set up.

This was a place Bill had never been to before, so he said yes. But Bill knew from the moment he agreed to help his friend out, it was going to be a temporary move. He’d get the business up and running and when that was done, he’d move back home to the U.S.

Bill says, “It was a great experience and the people I worked with were great too. I got a chance to help develop the business, which included doing marketing and community relations. And it gave me a chance to do some writing.”

More writing is what Bill now craved. So when he received an invitation from AWAI to join The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, he didn’t hesitate to do so.

And he dug in. In fact, he couldn’t stop learning everything he could about copywriting. He bought AWAI’s Companion Series and then soon joined our Infinity Program. He then converted that into AWAI’s highest level of membership, Circle of Success.

Bill explains, “I just needed to go all-in. If I'm going to make this thing happen then I didn't want to limit my resources.”

But his learning didn’t stop there. When he had the chance to participate in AWAI’s Writer’s Launch Party, he didn’t hesitate. The program provided Bill with a roadmap to success, one that he would later use to launch his writing career.

You see, with that roadmap fresh in his mind, Bill then signed up for AWAI’s Content Profits Audit program, led by Pam Foster.

And while taking the training, Bill was eager to start landing clients, which he wasted no time in doing.

For him, it was a matter of what he calls, “leveraging existing relationships.” That means he simply connected with former friends and colleagues.

Bill called up a client he had in mind and wanted to connect with and told them what he was now doing. The client mentioned that their site had just undergone a website redesign but needed someone to provide content.

And Bill used that as an opportunity to get hired. He negotiated a deal with the client, where he’d perform a site content audit on the website for a fee in the range of $2,000.

But there’s one catch. And this is where’s Bill client getting strategy from his days in environmental engineering came in handy. The client actually had two websites and Bill was willing to do the second audit for free … as long as the client was willing to refer him to other people.

That referral strategy paid off well because just three months later, Bill launched his freelance copywriting career.

Amazingly, Bill landed this client before he even finished the final session of the Content Profits Audit program.

Of this entire experience, Bill says, “None of this would have happened had I not had an affiliation with AWAI and taken the Content Profits Audit course. You just cannot put a value on that kind of organization.”

Bill’s story is a perfect example of how you can launch your freelance writing career even in the midst of still learning how to be a writer. In fact, learning is what provided Bill with a critical advantage … one he used to land clients.

If you haven’t landed a client yet, you might consider doing it the way Bill did … simply call a colleague and let them know you are a writer. And when they hire you for a project, be sure to ask for a referral. You might just wind up with all the clients you need to launch your writing career.

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Published: December 7, 2020

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