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Community Highlights: Meet Melissa Brandzel of MediaChick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Brandzel.

Hi Melissa, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I always loved reading and writing, and my instructors gave me great feedback in my English and creative writing classes. It took time to discover that I also had a knack for editing. I interned and worked in advertising, television, public relations, journalism, and entertainment marketing before I decided to go into publishing. Having no connections, I had to start from scratch. After a few years of working as a copy editor for a magazine publisher in L.A., I started getting freelance work on the side through referrals. Eventually, I began to wonder if I could turn my freelance editing into a full-time business. I started with a few clients, took the leap, and never looked back. That was more than 15 years ago, and my business is still thriving.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road is rarely smooth when you’re an entrepreneur! Like anyone who’s self-employed, I face challenges in running a business. I wear many hats. In addition to doing the actual work, I have to get all of my own clients (luckily, many are referrals and repeat business), manage my ever-changing schedule, negotiate rates and terms, learn new software, handle the finances, etc. Deadlines frequently shift. Sometimes there are too many projects at once. I don’t have 9-to-5 hours. Working from home, the challenge is to hold boundaries with my schedule so I can have a life outside of work.

I’m the kind of person who has always followed her own path. People said I had to specialize, to pick a niche—but being a generalist has worked out well for me. I’ve edited every topic you can imagine, and that breadth of experience is useful. Plus, I enjoy the variety of subjects. I’m always reading something new, always learning. I’ve also worked in a range of editing and writing roles. I don’t let others define me or limit what I can do. If there’s a rule, perhaps I can be the exception.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about MediaChick?
I provide editorial and writing services to publishing companies, ad agencies, marketing firms, a wide variety of businesses, and individuals. I offer a range of services: editing, developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, proofreading, and writing. I work on books, magazines, websites, blogs, ads, press releases, newsletters, scripts, marketing materials, catalogs, reports, presentations, and more.

In addition to my expertise, I offer friendly support to all of my clients. I’ll be your cheerleader. I’ll help hold you accountable so you can get the work done. I’ll tell you the truth. Whatever you need, I’m in your corner. Writing a great book—or a magazine article, website content, whatever the case may be—is a team effort. I want to help my clients get their finest work out there.

I love developing ongoing, long-term working relationships with my clients, and I’m so happy that I’ve become friends with many wonderful colleagues over the years.

I currently have some new projects in the hopper: my own book and a video series. I’m excited to share my knowledge with others.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Sometimes you have to rebuild. I happened to have a lot of clients in the travel sector when the pandemic hit, and, well, travel dried up immediately. I had to intentionally diversify my client base after that.

Also, you need patience when times are hard. Things can take a while to improve. Take baby steps each day. You’re playing the long game. Tap into your inner strength and don’t give up.

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