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Copywriter Lakecia Hammond overcame imposter syndrome and now she’s the Freelancer of the Year

by | Dec 13, 2023

Freelance copywriter Lakecia Hammond, the We Are Rosie 2023 Freelancer of the Year
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“I decided to take a chance on me.”

That’s what We Are Rosie’s 2023 Freelancer of the Year, Lakecia Hammond, says when asked why she nominated herself for this recognition. But it also sums up her outlook and the choices she’s made in her career.

Lakecia began her copywriting career working in a full-time capacity, and she encountered the negative aspects of the corporate world, things she refers to as “corporate regularities.”

“We see a lot of things and don’t flinch when it comes to corporate structures,” she says. “I got tired of office politics, lack of pay transparency, cliques, hazing, and the lack of mental health support.

“I think anyone entering the work world should know that unfair treatment exists, and there’s a lot of work to do to make the corporate world a safer place for womxn and marginalized folks.”

Unfortunately, an even more negative situation arose that led Lakecia to consider moving to freelance work.

“My employer sexually harassed me,” she explains. “So I wrote a book called ‘Not a Compliment,’ about motivating the silenced to speak out and help them navigate the gray area of sexual harassment. It was picked up by The National Museum of Women in the Arts’ bookstore.

“I entered the freelance world out of trauma and didn’t want to be taken advantage of ever again. I wanted things to be on my terms.”

Lakecia’s initial forays into freelancing included writing blogs and social media posts, which led to rewarding projects, such as scriptwriting for the Tupac Shakur pop-up museum/exhibit and developing marketing messaging for the personal grooming company Bevel.

Giving full-time another try

Lakecia took a break from freelancing in the fall of 2018 when she was offered what she describes as an “amazing position” with NPR.

“I got to work with an awesome creative team to come up with ways to promote some of my favorite podcasts,” she says. “I directed a poster series and collaborated with the entire marketing team on scripts, ads, brand books and other copy assets for donors and listeners.

“I also had the opportunity to write landing pages for, meet brilliant journalists, and attend a lot of Tiny Desk Concerts. The first day I started, Wu-Tang Clan performed. I even got to name and brand NPR’s very first true crime podcast, ‘White Lies.’”

Despite all those positives, the desire to be independent resurfaced. So once again, Lakecia decided to “take a chance on me.”

Reconnecting with a healthier, more interesting work life

Lakecia says the day she rejoined the freelance world and registered her business as an LLC is a day she’ll never forget. The freedom to blaze her own trail was worth the occasional struggle finding new clients and sustaining a steady income.

In addition to that freedom, Lakecia believes that independent work allows her to take a break now and then, whenever she needs it. Self-employed workers typically handle multiple roles, from billing and marketing to doing taxes, and fulfilling all those roles can take a toll.

“Freelancing can lead to burnout,” she says. “I didn’t take the necessary breaks I needed early on in my career and pretty soon, it accumulated. Now, I listen to my body more and know my max.”

Another perk of being independent is the ability to choose the type of work and type of clients to partner with, which Lakecia values immensely.

“Equity is very important to me,” she says. “Projects that center growth for BIPOC or LGBTQ+ folks is where my heart lies.”

“In terms of project type, I like to be a little all over the place,” she adds. “So I have a schedule that has me writing about mental health one moment, but on another project I’m writing a natural hair festival video script. That keeps me well-rounded and far from bored.”

In addition to keeping boredom at bay, Lakecia says that the variety of work provides her with both professional and personal development.

“Every new brand I get to write and strategize for is an opportunity to exercise that creative muscle,” she says. “I’m way more into the content marketing aspect of words than when I first started. Knowing my ‘why’ has made me a better writer for brands who want their stories told with meaning.”

Growing as a Rosie

Lakecia officially became a Rosie in 2020, when the We Are Rosie team reached out about a project helping a global social media company execute on its pledge to spend $25 million in support of Black creators.

“I’ve been able to work on some very cool projects,” Lakecia says. “I was tasked with owning copy for a sports incubator for Black and Latinx student athletes, and another incubator for Latinx creators.”

“It was awesome to meet so many different creators who are re-shaping social media as we know it. It was a great opportunity for me to hear about their wins and struggles and help [the company] steward these conversations and locate solutions.”

After success on these projects and the growth of her freelance business in recent years, Lakecia can now proudly add ‘Freelancer of the Year’ to her resume.

“It’s a good feeling,” she says. “It helps me feel empowered to keep putting great work out into the world. It’s comforting to know that those feelings of imposter syndrome I’d experienced in the past have been proven wrong.”

Written by Rick Reger
Rick Reger is an independent writer and editor based in the Chicago suburbs. He has over 30 years of professional experience, spanning journalism, marketing and public relations. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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