Imagine what it would be like to pursue your hobbies and interests on a daily basis — and get paid for it. That’s exactly what Jeff Traister has done, making it his lifelong mission to follow his passions in health, wellness, and the arts. But on top of that, he’s cracked the secret to writing in all of those fields. Enjoy Jeff’s inspiring story.
As a Barefoot Writer, what kinds of projects keep you busy?
I’m a copywriter with niches in health and video. I got into the health niche because of my passion for wellness and natural healing. Plus, I have a graduate degree in nutrition and medicine.
My first job was with a supplement company called Tyson. We specialized in amino acid products and clinical lab services. I wrote the copy for product labels, brochures, ads, and educational content. Plus, for speaking presentations we gave to doctors. That was 30 years ago.
Since then, I’ve worked with clients in the supplement, pharmaceutical, medical device, and other health-related industries. Today, I write copy for websites, landing pages, sales letters, emails, ads, and more.
I got into video at the time digital technology came out. I had always wanted to be a filmmaker. So I took a few classes. And I learned the rest on my own. Soon after, I got some video projects from new clients. One was a cosmetic surgeon for whom I wrote and created a series of DVDs to promote his services. Now I focus my video skills on webinars and sales letters.
You’ve worked with some pretty notable clients before. What was that like?
A success story I’m proud of is writing the video script on a project for The Home Depot. I was a copywriter freelancing with their ad agency. A manager asked me to create a presentation for a talk he was making at a retail merchandising trade event. I proposed the idea of the video as a prelude to his talk to best convey the story of The Home Depot. They approved.
The seven-minute video contains archived footage and still images. Plus, we added animated graphics, voiceover, and music. The amazing thing is, we did not have to shoot any new footage.
What is the secret to creating a good video script?
Do your research. Before writing the script, I researched the history of the founders and their vision to start the big box store chain. I traced it through the awesome growth. This includes when they became one of 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And I followed how they sustained growth afterward. We completed the video just before their 30th anniversary.
What are the pros and cons of life as a freelancer?
Freelancing has given me more freedom to control my schedule. Plus, I get to choose the type of projects to work on. So freelancing has allowed me to be involved in a wide range of projects that otherwise may not have been possible working as an employee for one company. At times, I may work more hours. But working from home saves me time from commutes.
What’s keeping you busy lately?
I’ve become more engaged in writing direct-response copy. Plus, I consult on marketing automation. This is software that integrates CRM, email, website tracking, e-commerce, and reports. It involves setting up sales funnels with a focus to convert leads into buyers. And to nurture buyers into brand-loyal clients who buy more volume, more often.
I’m also writing e-books on self-help topics. I plan to sell these through a Money-Making Website and automation system I’m creating.
How do you manage the work-life balance?
For me as a freelancer, the key to keeping organized is to know when to turn my “work light” on and off. When the “work light” is on, I focus on writing. Or I do something that supports my business. When I turn it off, I focus on other things.
I find it vital to relax and enjoy life. So I’ll walk along the beach near where I live in South Florida. Or fish off the pier. Or ride my bike and soak up the sun rays to get my daily Vitamin D.
If you could have any superpower to help with your writing, what would it be?
As a copywriter, my goal is to persuade the reader to act. So having the superpower to get inside the thoughts and feelings of the reader would be my desire. Then I would be better able to write the right words to get them to opt in, buy, or do something else I ask.
What have been the most important steps you’ve taken to become successful as a freelancer?
I believe reading and continuing to learn is the key to success. Then to practice what I learn as much as I can. And to value what I have more than regret what I don’t possess.