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The Hustle

Name: Nicole Slaughter Graham (Freelance Writer)

Posted By Kendel Burke

Nicole Slaughter Graham loves to learn about people and she loves to write. She recognized a connection between these two passions and became a full-time freelance writer, working with big-time publications such as the New York Times and CNN. She refers to her experience in the corporate world, where she works as a social media strategist and manager. Nicole's time spent studying social media and its influences helps her to be sensitive to the needs of a particular audience, allowing her to write extensively on various topics, including social issues, health and wellness, real estate and women's lifestyles.

Years in Tampa Bay


Hustle (job)

Freelance Writer

What do you do?  

My job is two-fold.

I help companies tell their stories through content marketing. For businesses, I help to craft and create content that tells a story, engages the company’s audience, and grows the company’s audience. This can take on a variety of forms: website copy, social media leads, bios, project descriptions, newsletters, service descriptions, etc. I also help businesses with social media strategy and implementation.

The other half of my job is writing for publications. I write personal essays and journalism for publications large and small. I cover topics like family life, social justice, women’s issues, health and wellness, addiction/alcoholism, and real estate.

Why do you do it?

I do it because I love it! I love telling stories. I think stories are what connect us. I truly believe every business and every person has a story worth telling, and I feel pretty grateful to be the one to help tell those stories.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I was working as an editor at an area publication and had just a baby. I’d always wanted to venture out on my own, but it was never “the right time.” After I had my second child, I decided it was the right time. I wanted the flexibility of making my own schedule so that I could spend more time with my kids during the day – that’s not to say I work less or harder than I did in the corporate world. I work more than ever now, but I love it.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

My job is 85 percent marketing myself, 10 percent admin work, and 5 percent writing. Most people think I just create stories and do interviews and write all day long (which would be a dream, by the way), but that isn’t how it goes at all. I spend most of my time marketing, which is done in a variety of ways in my industry. I am constantly sending pitches for stories to editors, reaching out to marketing managers at businesses, following up on pitches and email sent. I’m constantly talking to people about what I do. The writing is a direct result of the marketing.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

The ebb and flow of the workload. Freelance writing is kind of seen as a feast or famine business, and it can be like that if I am not consistent with my marketing. Sometimes I’m super busy and have a ton of work. Other times, things are pretty quiet. It’s easy to slack off on marketing when I’m fully booked and have a ton of deadlines looming. The result, though, is a thin month, which is difficult as well.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Success takes time and consistency. For me, it’s easy to compare my inner struggle to someone else’s outer success. When I do this, I fail to see what the other person went through to gain that success.

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