2020 has seen no shortage of hardships, from a staggering number of deaths, skyrocketing unemployment rates, and a pandemic that seems never-ending. In spite of so much difficulty, Black entrepeneurs are still finding a way to flourish despite impossible odds.
I took the time to interview Taylor Medine, a financial writer and new mom, on her experiences maintaining her business during unprecedented times. Taylor has written for notable publications such as USA Today, Business Insider, Huffpost, and MSN Canada. Taylor discusses what it’s like living and working abroad during a global health crisis.
How long have you been living abroad?
We moved to Germany in October of 2019, so we’ve lived here for about a year.
What has it been like living overseas during a pandemic?
When the pandemic first started making its way west, we were a little weary and thought it would be better if we were at home in the states. Then we felt really lucky because Germany was quick to enforce rules and kept the pandemic at bay. But because of that, we’ve also been in lockdown for most of this year, and it all started right after we had our daughter, so it was a stressful time. Still, we’ve been able to take day trips and make new friends, so we’re enjoying our experience.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional work?
I’m a freelance writer who specializes in finance and personal finance content. I write articles for publications, FinTech companies, and other brands. I also sometimes ghostwrite articles and books for influencers in the personal finance space. My work has been published in Business Insider, USA Today, Bankrate, and more.
How long have you been an entrepreneur?
I would say I’ve been a part-time entrepreneur for the last six years while being a full-time writer. I like to make a distinction between the two. An entrepreneur to me is someone who sets up a scaleable business where they’re not trading hours for money. But my bread and butter is writing where the product is the content I produce, so it’s scalable up to a point.
I’ve dabbled with the idea of turning my business into an agency where I hire other writers. But I found the stress of hiring is harder than actually doing the work so I’ve put that on the backburner. In the meantime, I’ve experimented with other more passive ventures like publishing books and running a blog. I also have a few other projects in the works, so I might be calling myself a full-time entrepreneur someday soon!
How have you maintained your business during COVID-19?
Content has been in demand during the pandemic, so I haven’t seen too much for a drop off in business. At first, some clients put a pause on projects, but those quickly rebounded, and my income has been steadily increasing. That’s due to a lot of things, though. Having a daughter really puts things into perspective. I stopped being a people pleaser and started demanding more for myself because that means I have more time and resources to give her. Saying no to projects while scouting out better opportunities has been a game-changer.
What is the best part about working for yourself? What has been the challenge?
The best part is being able to nap during the day when I want to and being able to set my own hours. The challenge is that income can ebb and flow. You also have to be smart with your money because you could get many checks that come in at once and then not again until weeks later. Another challenge is that it can be lonely working at home all of the time. You have to actively practice your social skills because you’re not forced into social situations with bosses and coworkers on a daily basis.
What has it been like navigating twin pandemics for you?
Dealing with the racial injustices while over here has been a challenge. I sometimes feel I should be home and in close proximity to my people. But it is something you can’t really escape since symbols of oppression are all over the world. Just a few weeks ago we walked by a house in our neighborhood that had a Confederate flag. So it’s been stressful and hard to concentrate at times, but many of my clients have been understanding when I’ve asked for deadline extensions or to circle back on conversations at a later time.
How do you practice self-care?
I listen to a lot of music and take walks. It’s VERY scenic in the small town where we live. We also invite our friends over for pasta nights and sip wine. Anything away from the computer is self-care for me, and I try to get away from the computer a lot.
What motivates you?
Closing deals. It motivates me to know that I’ve created something out of nothing and been able to close deals worth four- and five-figures doing it. That’s also because a lot of people have doubted me in the past, and it’s nice to internally say, “I told you so,” even if I wouldn’t actually say it in person.
What advice would you give to others who are considering starting a business during this time?
Don’t start a business because other people are doing it. Don’t listen to anyone on Twitter or Instagram. Haha! No seriously, there are so many voices on social media swearing that their way of doing business is the right way or they have the perfect product to help you do X. Don’t get me wrong, there is advice worth paying for, and I wish early on in my career I had invested in coaching instead of trying to do everything myself. But there comes the point where all of the noise gets toxic, and much of the #girlboss #bosschic stuff is rooted in ulterior motives, so choose who you follow wisely. Outside of that rant, don’t be scared to try new things, pivot if something isn’t working, and double-down on what’s working. Often the right direction for your business doesn’t come from thinking about it—it comes from doing, landing on something your customers like, and then pursuing it.
If ya’ll are looking for any financial advice, Taylor is ya girl! Check out her Business and Finance articles below!