Every business is made of people, and every person has a story. Writing freelancer Andrea Van Essen helps tell those stories with her business, from founders to CEOs to assembly line workers to chefs. Van Essen works full time crafting pieces like press releases, blog posts, website copy, articles, e-newsletters, and more, and gave 605 a look into her (remote) life.
WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE WRITING PROJECTS AND WHY?
When you’re writing something that requires an interview, it’s always going to be 10 times better if you can do that interview in person. I’ve had so many fun opportunities to meet and talk to people that I never would have had in day-to-day life because of my work. A particularly fun one was for the October issue of 605 a couple years back. The story was on the haunted Hotel Alex Johnson, and I happened to be out in Rapid City, so I was able to do my interview with the manager in person. He gave me a tour of all the spookiest spots in the old building, including the creepy basement with cement staircases leading nowhere. Memorable interviews make the writing process so much easier and more enjoyable.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR WORKING OUT OF AN OFFICE?
I definitely love the freedom of running my own business, but I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be successful if I didn’t develop some sort of routine or schedule for myself. I don’t do the same thing every day, but I do make it a priority to plan every day the night before (on paper), from when I’m going to work out at Barre3, to lunch at home with my husband, Mason, to when I’m going to write at home and when I’m going to work at a coffee shop.
“Certainly for some, marketing is a place where budgets can be tightened, but the people I really want to work with understand the power of communication and storytelling for their brand and are willing to invest in it.”
WHAT SOUTH DAKOTA RESTAURANT ARE YOU THE MOST EXCITED TO BE IN ONCE THIS IS ALL OVER?
Queen City Bakery is my favorite place in town, whether I’m working or just hanging out, so I’ll be happiest when I can get back there. They’re still doing carry-out, though, so go support them!
WHAT IS A HOBBY YOU ENJOY?
We rented a plot in one of Sioux Falls’ community gardens last summer on the suggestion of a friend, and we honestly had pretty low expectations, but it was the highlight of our summer. We’ve been so excited to get back to it this year, and we have a totally nerdy spreadsheet of all the vegetables we want to try and how it’s going to be organized.
WHAT IS SOMETHING SOCIAL DISTANCING HAS TAUGHT YOU?
Mostly just that I have a lot to be grateful for. My husband is my best friend, and hanging out with him 24/7 is honestly the ideal situation (even if it’d be nice to get out to our favorite restaurants or bars with friends for a change). And I’m also incredibly grateful for our cozy home. We live in the upstairs apartment of an old Victorian house in All Saints, and the owners did a beautiful job of restoring it.