Welcome back to a special series where you’ll get to know each of the incredible team members at Emily Writes! While I started as a one-woman show, I soon discovered I needed a team. I certainly can’t do it all, and I am incredibly grateful for each woman who contributes to our success. Each project is matched to their individual creative talents and expertise.
This week, I’m so excited to introduce you to Melissa Finley. Melissa produces a ton of content for our clients, especially blogs and social media posts that require in-depth research. She is never afraid to take on a challenging topic, and I am immensely grateful for that!
Melissa is a talented researcher and writer who knows how to condense complex information into a readable format. She’s very reliable and oh-so-pleasant to work with! I’m so blessed to have Melissa on the Emily Writes team!!
What is your name?
What tasks do you work on for Emily Writes?
I write blog posts and social media for various clients and their businesses.
How long have you been working for Emily Writes?
What is your favorite thing about working with this team?
I love working with our team for a number of reasons. Firstly, I enjoy the variety of work that we get to do. We have such unique clients, allowing me to find creativity and inspiration in many kinds of businesses. Secondly, I love our team environment. I can always talk to our team. We have such a supportive and caring environment. I appreciate the work, but also the caring touch that Emily, especially, makes sure to give us. From positive feedback to constructive ways to improve, she is very thoughtful and kind in her work.
What is your favorite thing about working in the digital space?
I love that you get to meet people from all over the globe. I live in Pennsylvania, in a very small town in the middle of the Allegheny National Forest, but each day, I travel digitally to New York City, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and beyond. I get to have unique experiences and interactions with people I would have never met otherwise!
What are your top 3-5 tips for working from home successfully?
1. Have a dedicated workspace. This may sound obvious, but once you blur the line between the bedroom and an “office,” or a living room couch versus a desk chair, so too will the lines between home life and work life blur. Keep the two as separated as you can.
2. Likewise, and for the same reason, have dedicated work hours. This is especially crucial with a family. My children (now teens, but toddlers when I started working from home) know when mom is working, she is “at work.” Yes, she is just a room away, but she is at work, and they treat it as such. I am not to be disturbed. And the opposite is true. When I am home, though I have not left the home, I am now “home, home.” It is my time with family, and I do my best not to focus on work.
3. Boundaries. That is my ultimate word for successfully working from home. Boundaries. You need to set them for yourself. You need to stick to them yourself. And, then, you also need to enforce them with others. If a client needs something at 9 p.m. on Friday, they need to know that those are different from your typical working hours. It should be a very rare occurrence, if ever, that someone tries to reach you during nonworking hours.
4. Other practical tools I find helpful include “Schedule Send.” Every person should know how to “Schedule Send” an email. It is totally fine that your work hours are midnight to 3 a.m., that is the glorious world of setting them for yourself. But, be realistic about when others may see and email or respond.
Be aware of co-workers’ hours and be respectful of them, too. Minimally, a caring footnote to your email can go a long way. I’ve taken a note from Emily’s own tips to note that “Should you receive this during nonworking hours, do not feel obligated to reply instantly” (or something of the like) to denote that your message is not urgent, and don’t feel like you need to drop everything to answer immediately.
If you have clients less than cooperative, consider a tool like “Do Not Disturb” that come pre-loaded on your smartphone. If nothing else, turn it off. Give yourself peace. Whether it is to prepare for sleep or just to take an hour to yourself, don’t feel guilty silencing your calls and emails. Remember, it was not long ago that we were completely unreachable if we were out of the house! Today’s world seems to forget that, but somehow, we survived.
How does freelancing fit your life and goals?
Freelancing is the very best thing to happen in my professional life. For one, I was able to be a mother and a “breadwinner.” As a single mom, you don’t have many choices in that regard. You instead serve all roles of all parents. But thankfully, my profession has let me stay home to raise my two kids while also pursuing my writing goals.
Additionally, freelancing has allowed me to expand not just globally (through those worldwide webs) but also for a wider variety of topics. I get to write for a lawyer in NYC, then a small insurance saleswoman in Kansas. The options are nearly endless, and I love a good variety.
One of my favorite things about being a writer is never writing the same story twice. There is always something new to learn, explore, and share with the world.
What do you do outside of work (hobbies, family, passions/interests, etc)?
Outside of my work, I love spending time with my two teens, now 15 and 17. I know they will soon spread their wings to fly out of the nest, but for now, I squeeze in every moment of quality time they’ll let me!
I also have a 12-pound chi-mix that is my absolute bff. She goes with me everywhere I go; though only 3 years old, she has become my close companion. Outside of the home, I love exploring the Allegheny National Forest, my hometown, to which I’ve returned after living 20 years in Philadelphia. It is great to get back to nature, friends, and family that I can always count on, no matter what.
Anything else you want to add?
I am always looking for a great story to tell. I’d love to help you put into words anything; from what your business means to you, to sharing your life’s journey, I’m here to lend a helping (and writing) hand.
Thank you so much, Melissa, for taking the time to introduce yourself to our audience and provide such helpful tips. I am blessed to have you on the Emily Writes team!