Working in the insurance industry gave Brittany VanDerBill two things: certainty that she didn’t want to work in the corporate world and a built-in niche for her marketing and consulting business when she went freelance.

Today, Brittany has pivoted to freelance writing and expanded her niches. Read on to discover how going independent gave her the flexibility, freedom and income she was seeking.

When did you start freelancing?

I started freelancing in 2015 as a marketing consultant, then began my pivot to freelance writing in 2019.

I had a part-time work-from-home job alongside my freelance business for the first few years, then went full-time freelance in 2021.

Why did you choose to pursue freelance work?

I spent about five years as an insurance agent. After the unexpected death of my boss and mentor in 2015, I realized that owning an agency and jumping through corporate hoops wasn’t what I wanted for my life. I translated my marketing and networking skills into a job with a nonprofit, but started freelancing when it was clear that job wasn’t a fit for me.

All of that to say: I choose to freelance because of the flexibility and freedom it gives me. It also doesn’t hurt that I earn more as a freelancer than I ever did as an employee!

What are your niches – and how did you choose them?

I’d say my niches are travel, personal finance/insurance and lifestyle.

I love traveling and writing about it, so that was an easy one. I have five years of experience as an insurance agent, so writing about insurance and finance topics comes pretty naturally as well. And lifestyle writing encompasses a broad range of topics, which adds variety to my work and keeps me on my toes.

Who are the clients you work with?

I think of my writing business as having two “sides.” On one side, I write web copy, press releases and blogs for marketing agencies’ clients and for businesses directly.

On the other side, I write for publications like Travel + Leisure, Insider, HerMoney, Better Homes & Gardens, Subaru Drive, Entertainment Weekly and more.

Generally, I write web copy, blogs, press releases, emails and articles. Depending on a client’s or publication’s need, I might incorporate some SEO work.

Where do you freelance from?

I work from my home office in rural Minnesota. I’m especially thankful for my home office during our brutal winters!

Tell us about two tools you rely on to run your business.

Well, I always have pen and paper at the ready. But I also rely on Trello for project management.

Name one thing that’s surprised you about freelancing.

The pricing conversation still isn’t easy, even after 8+ years of freelancing. It’s much better than when I started, but it still feels a bit uncomfortable.

I choose to freelance because of the flexibility and freedom it gives me. It also doesn’t hurt that I earn more as a freelancer than I ever did as an employee!

Made any big mistakes during your freelance journey?

Not enforcing boundaries. When I first started freelancing, I would answer client calls or emails whenever they came in, and I would allow all kinds of scope creep. These days, I’m better at setting boundaries up front and sticking to them – though that’s still a work in progress!

What are you proudest of with your business?

Probably how far I’ve come since I started in 2015, and that I had the guts to start a business and keep going. Since 2019, I’ve come a long way – I’ve increased my income (most years) and added several bylines that only felt like a distant possibility when I started focusing on my writing.

Also, I have to give credit to my awesome husband. He’s incredibly supportive and I wouldn’t have the business I do today without him.

There’s lots of advice out there for freelancers. What advice do you agree with?

Set boundaries, both with clients and with yourself. I also subscribe to the idea that freelancers should take time off. I take as much time off as I possibly can.

What common advice do you disagree with?

I vehemently disagree with the “hustle 24/7” mentality. If that works for people, then that’s great. But that’s also a recipe for burnout for many people, including me, so I don’t support it.

What areas of opportunities do you see for current or future freelancers?

I’m seeing opportunities in the editing space and commerce writing space, in terms of openings for freelance work.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’ve found it immensely helpful to network with other writers. I’m a member of several writers’ groups on Facebook and a paid member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). This year has been a weird one, and it’s so helpful to know it’s not just me. Freelancing can be somewhat lonely at times, so connecting with other writers can be a sanity saver.

Want to connect with Brittany? Find her online at, connect on LinkedIn or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.