A resident of the colorful capital city St. John’s in Antigua and Barbuda, Tasia Gonsalves-Barriero has built up her own colorful writing career. By combining her two greatest passions, education and writing, she’s constructed a writer’s life where she’s free to travel and connect with those who mean the most to her. Read on to learn what attracted her to life as a Barefoot Writer and what keeps her going strong.
Tell us your story — how did you end up doing freelance writing?
I wanted to reconnect with my earlier desire to be a writer and I also needed to make some extra cash. While researching online, I came across an ad for AWAI, tried out a couple of writing opportunities, and settled with B2B Copywriting. And I haven’t looked back.
What do you like about B2B writing?
Oh, that’s an easy one: The wide variety of work available, such as online web copy, and especially blog posts. When I took AWAI’s flagship course, The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, I realized B2B was the ideal opportunity for me.
How do you unwind after you finish a big project?
I spend time on the beach or tinker on my guitar. Sometimes I just hang with friends, but I especially like to read as it calms me.
What’s the most unusual writing project you’ve ever worked on?
It had nothing to do with B2B. A friend was writing a non-fiction book and — scared that someone would “steal” the idea — refused to allow an outside editor to look at it, so I became the editor. But it also led to other jobs: Creating a website and building a Facebook fan page.
Do you listen to music when you write?
I only listen to music occasionally as it tends to distract me while I work. If I do listen to something, I find myself rocking to the musical arrangement rather than working. But I love to listen to 80’s music and Rock.
Have you ever received any bonuses from clients?
I have a local client who prefers to work face-to-face; she’s an import/export supplier and I never leave a meeting empty-handed. There’s always something from one of her monthly travels for me to sample and take home.
In what ways does life as a writer benefit you?
My writing benefits me since I get paid, of course. But I’ve realized that even though people don’t fully understand what I do (the term B2B is not common in the Caribbean region; and don’t get me started on the “so you copyright songs?” questions!), they still tend to ask my help in areas pertaining to business. I just helped a friend create a business plan to get funding for a local start-up. I’m helping another work on a social media strategy for her gift shop that caters to tourists and other business travelers. Helping others like that warms me because I have been helped by many others on my journey. Reciprocity is a golden rule in this business.
What’s your advice to someone just starting out?
There are so many things I can say to the new freelance writer: Don’t be afraid of failure; let it propel you. Never underestimate what you know (more than likely after you’ve prepared yourself, you’ll know way more than you think). Connect and stay connected with others — not just workwise but your family, your friends … don’t let the business consume you. Don’t focus too much on the future: Take it one day at a time. Document your journey, be it online or in a book or whatever. This helps to chart your growth. Finally, choose a path and master it. Don’t go chasing every shiny object you see.
For Fact File:
Previous Job: High school teacher (currently transitioning out)
Current Writing Interest: Business-to-Business
Best Part of Barefoot Living: Having clients reach out to me because of work they’ve heard of or seen.
Top Advice: Never stop learning. Use what you learn to find ways to add value to what you’re already offering.