Penny Hunt has plenty of professional life experience, having served in sales, customer service, and executive-level administration for over 35 years. But none of her previous positions could ever match the flexibility offered by Barefoot Living, which is what drew her to this world not once, but twice. Find out how she revved up to make her writing career work the second time around, and why this time, she’s not looking back.  

What was your background before you started freelancing?  

Prior to becoming a freelance copywriter, I was first a wife and mom. After taking AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, I instead got into sales. I traveled the country representing a smoking cessation program and giving presentations to both the public and companies. When travel became too much, I transitioned to the world of administrative assistant for senior-level managers.  

Why did you decide to come back to the world of Barefoot Living?  

I met Mindy McHorse at AWAI’s 2007 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. I enjoyed watching her writing career take off and watching Barefoot Writer grow. It has been a pleasure to see her success and learn from her writing. 

What about the freelance lifestyle do you appreciate most?  

I’m probably pretty much like most freelance writers in that I can do what I want, when I want, as long as I meet my deadlines. So, if I need to be with my grandchildren during the day… I can write at night. Or vice versa. That sort of flexibility is what I truly appreciate. 

What’s your favorite type of copy to write?  

Emails. Love writing them. I absolutely enjoy coming up with stories to bring people in and then lead them to something totally unexpected. Blogs are fun, too, and sales letters round out the top three. Sales letters continue to challenge me, so I like keeping them in the mix. And from my administrative assistant days, I’ve developed a keen eye for copyediting and critiques. 

What writers have influenced your career the most?  

There are several who have had an enormous impact on what I’m doing today. Of course, there’s Barefoot Writer Executive Editor Mindy McHorse, and also copywriters Pam Foster and Jim Turner, who attended that 2007 Bootcamp, as well. I watched them all soar to Wall of Fame status. [Editor’s Note: Visit AWAI’s Wall of Fame for 80+ writing success stories.]  

Seeing their stories confirmed for me that it could be done, since “I knew them when.” Also, my Circle of Success instructors [an elite AWAI writing and training membership] encouraged me with honest critiques and reviews. One even had me do work for her, and that helped me gain confidence and believe I could do this. Finally, there is Jay White. He made a huge impact on my life with his program, Email Copy Made Easy: How to Write More Persuasive Emails That Get Opened, Get Read, and Get Click-Throughs. 

If you started over again, what are the first things you’d do to be a successful freelance writer? 

  1. Become an AWAI Circle of Success member — which I did.
  2. Take the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting — which I did (twice). Once by myself at home, and then alongside AWAI’s Live Companion I highly recommend the Live Companion series…
  3. Try to select your niche and decide what writing service you will provide for that niche.
  4. Write, write, and then write some more. 
  5. Start reaching out to people. Network. Join groups on LinkedIn or Facebook where you can observe for a while. Then start to contribute your own ideas. Don’t just go there and begin selling your writing services. Get them to trust you and get to know you… then, when they need a writer, they might think of you. 

Describe your home office. What’s your favorite thing about it?  

My office is located in the smallest room of our home. I have a corner glass desk with pieces of our dismantled entertainment center holding files, research materials, and a printer. Also, to my left, there’s a window overlooking our back deck, our yard, and the woods behind our house. In the warm weather, my office moves out to the picnic table. The thing I like most about my office is that it’s quiet, warm, and cozy. It’s easy for me to do my thinking and writing in there. 

Editor’s note: Find out more about Penny on her website: