Health writers with nutritionist qualifications are far and few between. But Samantha Gemmell’s professional training stands her apart from many other health writers.
“My passion for food as medicine translates into my writing, so that readers and clients actually enjoy learning about health,” she says.
She specialises in sharing evidence-based health tips in an engaging manner so that readers can understand the science behind it all, from paleo to ketogenic to wholefoods. This freelancer can write about it all.
Not surprisingly, she’s written for multiple companies including Natural Beauty Expert, Matcha Maiden, KOJA, Wellineux and Wellspring Magazine. I
She’s also a health expert for numerous print and online publications.
Here’s what Samantha told us about her freelance writing career.
Q: What is your professional background, and what led you to a career as a freelancer?
A: I’m a qualified nutritionist (BHSc), and have a Certificate 3 in Fitness (Cert 4 is on the to-do list!). I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, but never really considered it a career.
I fell into the freelance life accidentally. It started when I discovered that full-time clinic was not my cup of tea! To cope with the financial and emotional turmoil I went through, I would write for myself and for my college.
After a few paid jobs, I realised that there were a lot of clients out there that would prefer to get their articles written by a qualified expert. So I started to wind back my part-time job. I’ve been a full-time freelancer since January, and haven’t thrown in the towel yet!
Q: Tell us about your key skills – what brings clients knocking on your door?
A: My main focus is writing articles, e-books and e-courses on health and wellness topics. But I also offer nutritional consulting and recipe development. The latter can be a lot of fun – especially when I get to eat the leftovers!
Q: How do you drum up new business when things quieten down in your business?
A: It depends on whether I WANT new business! Sometimes, I just revel in a bit of a break – take a few days off to meditate, read, research, anything that gets me into a good headspace.
A lot of my work has come through word of mouth or networking groups. So I also get interactive on social media, sharing my articles and insights daily. I check in with fellow freelancers to see if they have any overflow clients.
Finally, I actually go out and LOOK for it. Work isn’t just going to turn up on your doorstep – freelancing is a consistent hustle for the first little while.
Q: And what sets you apart from others in your field?
A: My qualification is in nutrition, rather than writing. That means that I know many of my topics inside out, and have had real-life experience working with clients in clinical nutrition. I’m also very passionate about evidence-based information, so you won’t find me spouting health claims that I can’t back up.
One major reason why my clients work with me is my ‘voice’. I don’t write dry, bland articles – I make sure that you can hear the inflections, the smirks and the joy in every paragraph. This engages the reader and draws them in to the story I’m telling them.
Q: Tell us a bit about your clients – who do you mostly work for and in what capacity?
A: It can vary. The majority of my clients are health practitioners, or businesses in the health and wellness industry. I’ve worked for a number of supplement companies as well.
But every now and then something different will pop up – one of my first freelance jobs was writing a business description for a healthy dog treat company!
Q: Tell us about being part of The Freelance Collective – what’s it all about?
A: When I started out freelancing, it was something I just sort of tripped into. The Freelance Collective was like my peer support group – everyone was more experienced, and had knowledge to share with me.
Now, it’s one of my lifelines. Freelancing can be very isolating. But I know that if I have a bad day, or a classic freelancing moment, I can shout out to the group.
Q: What advice would you give others considering becoming a freelancer?
A: Be prepared. Get yourself set up before you start: financially, emotionally and physically. It can be lonely, it can be stressful, and some days you will want to tear your hair out. But if you have a support system set up, it’s a lot easier to get through the hard times and enjoy the great times.
Save up a good few months of expenses. Get yourself used to being alone for long periods of time, or set yourself up in a co-working space. If you’re more of a virtual socialiser, join up with the Collective so you have people who understand on call. And make sure you invest in a cute teacup – because you will always make a cup of tea or coffee when you’re in procrastination mode!
See Samantha’s profile page on The Freelance Collective here, where you can connect directly with her.
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