About Nerissa BentleyNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer and founder of Write to the Point Communications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Queensland with majors in Journalism, Communication Studies and Australian Literature. She also gained her Certificate IV in Magazine Writing, Editing and Publishing from RMIT University in Melbourne, while working in the industry. Nerissa has a vast array of experience working in event management and publications. She has worked at a number of not-for-profit organisations, a public hospital, two leading universities, and a corporate wellness company. She has highly developed research skills and the ability to work across a variety of industries, locally, nationally and internationally. While Nerissa can turn her hand to anything word-related, she specialises in writing for the medical, health and well-being market. Her passion is to empower people to take charge of their health and well-being, through her writing.
Email: [email protected]
About Write To The Point CommunicationsWrite to the Point Communications is a Melbourne-based freelance writing service, specialising in writing for the medical, health and well-being market. Our highly developed research skills, ensure that what we write for you is spot on, having been sourced from reputable organisations and institutions. We have 17 years industry experience, working across a variety of industries including the not-for-profit sector, public hospital system, two leading universities and a corporate wellness company. We are experienced in writing and developing print and online publications, marketing and promotional materials, health booklets, commissioned articles, newsletters, brochures and advertising flyers. We have the ability to work across a variety of industries, locally, nationally and internationally. We also provide affordable freelance copy writing, editing and proofreading services, along with marketing and social media solutions for small businesses.
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Q & A with Nerissa Bentley
What’s the story behind your business?
Write to the Point Communications was born out of being made redundant. I had a part-time job working form home which gave me the flexibility to work and still be there for my two children. I was offered a newly-created full-time job in the office, which I had to turn down, as it would have interfered too much with raising my family. Unfortunately, there was not enough money for the new position as well as my part-time position. I had always dreamed of being a freelancer, but had never had enough courage (or time) to get it sorted. It was also very convenient to have ‘regular income’, particularly when the kids were younger, so it was never a real priority. When my redundancy came through, I knew it was the perfect time to strike out on my own.
What was your first job?
The very first job I had was watering lawns. About 300m down the road, a builder had built a few new houses and laid some turf. He needed to keep the grass alive and was looking for someone to water it for him. He knocked on our neighbour’s house and asked them if they could water the lawns for him. Fortunately, they turned him down (I think they were too lazy to be honest!). The builder then came to our front door and offered the job to my brother and I. We accepted and made quite a bit of money over the course of 2-3 months. I think in total it was about $300 each, which was a lot in the early 80s. Looking back it was quite easy money really, but at the time we didn’t think so. We lived in QLD, and it was summer. The last thing we felt like doing after school was packing up the hose, walking down the road, and setting up sprinklers, and then having to go down every 20-30 minutes to move them around. But it was our first taste of ‘working for a living’, and we still talk about it.
When you decided to start your own business, what was your big “why”?
Being made redundant is certainly a big push to going out on your own. I need flexibility in my work as I want to be there for my kids’ various school activities. I also don’t want to be one of these mums missing out on life because I am too busy working, getting organised to go to work, and being too tired from juggling work all the time. So having my own home-based business is ideal. While I don’t mind project work and having to go into an office from time-t-time, I certainly don’t want that for the majority of the time. Establishing “Write to the Point Communications” has enabled me to take control of my destiny, spend time with my husband and kids and use my skills as a writer. It’s certainly a good balance — most of the time!
What have you had to give up?
The main thing that I’ve had to give up is a regular salary. As a freelancer, it is sometimes difficult to know when the next job is coming in and how much it will pay, particularly in the beginning. My goal is to establish regular clientele on a monthly basis, so I will at least have a ‘base amount’ that I can count on. Sometimes when deadlines are looming, I have to give up a bit of sleep, or a coffee with the girls, but overall, I haven’t had to give too much up. In fact, I think I have gained much more.
Your proudest achievement to date?
In Business: There is something quite special about seeing your name in print (that also includes online publishing!), so when that happened for the first time, it was exciting.
In Life: I am quite proud of was completing the Melbourne Oxfam Trailwalker (100km walk), two years in a row. When I first decided to undertake the event, I wondered whether I could actually do it. But with my team, I committed. We put in many, many hours of training, endured blisters, aches and pains and that was all before the event! We crossed the line in just over 30hrs, having had no sleep and several breakdowns, swearing we would never do it again. The next year, two of us lined up at the starting line to do it all over again. We raised over $13,500 for Oxfam doing those two events.
What are some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
In 1994 I was involved in organising activities for Australia’s very first Breast Cancer Day. It has been an annual event since then and is now known as Pink Ribbon Day. During my time at the University of Melbourne, I organised several “Virtual Alumni Summits”, or online conferences. Alumni from around the world switched on their computers, read articles that were written by fellow-alumni, academics and other professionals and then held online discussions relating to a multitude of subjects that were relative to them. It was very rewarding. More recently, my son has been elected Publicity Captain of his primary school, so I have been providing him with some assistance and guidance in writing a proposal to get an author to visit his school and hold a book launch, as well as guiding him in his job of writing for the school newsletter. Sharing my passion for words and passing on some of my knowledge is a great privilege.
What would you tell your younger self not to do?
Don’t believe the negative things other people say about you. It’s usually because they are jealous or ignorant. Discover the real you, be proud of who you are, and let your talents shine.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Strive for excellence, not perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist.
What’s next for you and your business?
I want to take on the world! No, actually, I don’t. I want to build my business to the point where I am earning enough money to enable my husband to do something he really wants to do. At present, his job is the main source of income, but it would be nice for us to swap roles for a while, and let him explore other avenues. As long as I didn’t get too busy and ended up missing the important things in my kids’ lives!