Shea Karssing is breaking down borders.

She freelances from her home in South Africa, working with an eclectic list of clients from countries around the world. She’s also showing others how to build their own international solo businesses with her new book, Freelance Like A Boss.

Read on to discover more about Shea’s work as a writer and the framework she uses to work smarter, not harder in her freelance business.

When did you start freelancing?

I started freelancing in 2017 for the freedom, flexibility and income potential. And to satisfy my independent and rebellious streak.

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

I love variety, so I don’t focus on specific industries. You could say I’m somewhat niche-resistant!

I will say that I’ve refined my offering over time based on what I enjoy doing. I used to offer other marketing services like brand strategy, Google Ads, editing, social media management, etc., which I no longer do. Now I focus on doing what I love – getting paid to write.

Who are the clients you work with?

Again, variety is the spice of my life! That’s why I love working with agencies. I get one point of contact for multiple brands.

What types of projects do you work on?

My main focus is writing thought leadership articles, blogs, website copy, emails, video scripts, flyers, advertising copy, etc.

In one week, I can write:

🔸An OpEd about business downscaling
🔸Homepage copy for a steel company
🔸A video script for a salt company
🔸Website copy for a gym gear company
🔸Corporate documents for a gifting company 
🔸A blog on healthcare training
🔸A real estate portfolio
🔸A blog on hybrid work
🔸Social media posts for a marketing agency, CPA and L&D company
🔸Blogs and website copy on email marketing
🔸A blog on tax deductions
🔸Website copy for a smart sewer sensor
🔸An article on regenerative agriculture
🔸Website edits for a luxury branding agency
🔸A new page for my own website

Where do you freelance from?

My home in Hilton, South Africa. I’m obsessed with wearing activewear exclusively and can honestly say I don’t miss an office environment at all.

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

My second screen. How does anyone work without one? Plus Toggl time tracking, which has helped me price my services, learn to value my time and track my progress and profitability.

Name one thing that’s surprised you about freelancing.

The supportive community of other freelancers out there, across borders. Community > competition. I love how we share insights, work, referrals and get the chance to bitch to one another in a safe space.

Made any big mistakes during your freelance journey?

Saying “yes” to projects I should be saying “no” to – either because they’re not in my sphere of expertise, don’t pay enough or I know I won’t enjoy them. It always ends up a drag that I regret.

What are you proudest of with your business?

The fact that I’m learning to say “no” and take advantage of my freelance freedoms.

And writing Freelance Like a Boss, the book I wish I had when I started freelancing.

Freelance Like a Boss

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

Don’t settle for poverty wages. There are still good gigs out there that will pay you what you deserve. (If you don’t know what that number is, try my Freelance Rates Calculator.)

Your network and your portfolio are your two best marketing tools.

If you’re worried about the impact of AI, focus on the human-centered skills and expertise the bots can’t replicate. If you’re a content writer, for example, what unique opinions and real-life examples can you add? How can you upskill and add to your human-centered skills? What value-add will make you irresistible to clients?

Deliver great work on time, every time, and go over and above to become an irreplaceable service provider.

Remember that the best clients are those who trust YOUR expertise and want to put the highest quality work out there. You can probably afford to lose those who don’t.

The life of your dreams isn’t going to land in your lap. You need to make it happen.

What common advice do you disagree with?

That you have to be in a rush to niche down, or that finding a niche means finding a target industry. I love the way I work.

Deliver great work on time, every time, and go over and above to become an irreplaceable service provider.

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

I wrote Freelance Like a Boss because I genuinely believe in the power of the freelance economy to help South Africa claw its way out of its gaping unemployment hole.

With borders broken by the speed of international communication networks, I’m obsessed with the idea that anyone can work from anywhere, for anyone around the world.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m on a mission to work smart, not hard! Over the years, I’ve upped my income by 55% with 20% less time. The turning point for me was optimizing three things:

⌛ Taking control of my TIME
🧰 Using automation TOOLS
💰 Increasing my TAKINGS

I call them the Triple-T Freelance Freedom Pillars.

It’s still a work in progress, but I keep getting closer to my ideal freelance freedom.

Anyone who wants to join me on my journey and steal my strategy to get there sooner than the six years it took me is welcome to download the “Work Smart, Not Hard” workbook, which outlines my topic tactics to optimize the Triple-T Freelance Freedom Pillars.

Want to connect with Shea? Find her online at or connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter/X. You can also join her group “Freelancers Who Work Smart, Not Hard” on Facebook.

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