Celebrating Ten Years with Kathy – A Woman of Many Hats
CELEBRATING TEN YEARS WITH KATHY – A WOMAN OF MANY HATS
Ten years ago, Kathy agreed to help her best friend with some paperwork. She had no idea that the bag full of accounting receipts she tackled that day would turn into a full-time job that includes things like project management, accounting, and client interaction on a typical day. On top of all that, Kathy works on a range of projects, from Wikipedia to genealogy to web design. And one of her favorite “duties” is to pep up her co-workers when they have a bad day.
Management. Bookkeeping. Psychotheraphy. Kathy does it all.
To celebrate a decade with Kathy, we sat down with her to chat about some of her favorite memories and projects during her time with The Writers for Hire. She even gave us some juicy details about some of the company’s most unusual projects. Here’s what she said:
How did you get involved with The Writers for Hire?
I’ve known Wintress since I was 22 and we played dorky board games. She started this writing business and needed someone to help her part-time. I went to her house and she gave me a stack of accounting receipts and said, “Fix this.”
I helped her for a bit, then left and worked at the Grand Canyon. She hired me again when I came back. By then, her business had bloomed from just about 20 clients to over 100. I’ve been here ever since.
What is the best part of your job?
I get to work with my best friend every day, so that’s kind of cool. The hours are family-friendly, and I can be home when my kids get off school. Also, I learn new things all the time. No day is ever the same. For example, right now I’m formatting a book for a family history project, plus choosing company software, accounting, and all sorts of stuff.
I really love working with a lot of the clients, especially some of the book clients have had such fascinating lives.
What’s the most unusual project you’ve done?
So many! I’ve gotten to meet so many interesting clients, even though I don’t always get to work on the projects directly: a PBS kids show, 19th century journal transcription, the history of a Native American tribe, autobiographies for some really amazing people. We also did some comic books, which I didn’t work on directly, but I thought were interesting.
When I first started working for The Writers for Hire, Wintress left me with the phone in the office one day. The very first person I talked to was a woman who wanted our help marketing her foaming bath salts so that she could sell them to high-end hotels. She claimed that she had developed this software program that would allow the hotel to pick the right bath salts for the customer. When we asked her how it worked, she said the program “read your aura.” She hired us for the website, but it didn’t really work out. We have learned since then – you don’t have to take every client. It has to be a good match.
What is your favorite type of project or work?
I like brainstorming and coming up with grand ideas for helping the company be more efficient. On the client side, the genealogy and family history projects are really my favorite. The team gets to dig up some really fascinating stuff – old cemetery records, newspaper articles, even church records from Europe. I live vicariously through the writers on some of those projects, and get almost as excited as they do when they find a piece of hard-to-find history.
Even though Wikipedia projects are frustrating, sometimes I find a way to get what the client wants and stay within the Wiki regulations, and that’s exciting.
What is the hardest project you’ve worked on?
Anything Wikipedia related is difficult just because it can be so frustrating to explain Wikipedia’s many rules and regulations. People don’t like their rules and sometimes get angry with me, but they aren’t my rules.
You’re often the first point of contact for a potential client. What is the strangest inquiry you’ve gotten for a project we didn’t end up doing?
We get lots of inquiries from people who want us to write rap music and highly personal projects. Needless to say, we don’t take these types of projects!
Even so, here are a few that stick out:
We had a person contact us because he’d just found out that his wife was cheating on him and he wanted to write a “strongly worded letter” to his wife’s lover to get him to go away so he could get his wife back.
A long time ago, a guy called Wintress and wanted help putting together a book about his struggle with the government. At first it sounded like he’d been sued by the government and he talked about having all this documentation, so we were intrigued. Then he sent us this whole envelope of notes about how his neighbors – and aliens! – were spying on him, and had drawings of the spy devices. That was wild.
How has the company changed since you’ve started here?
When I first started working here, the office was just a spare bedroom in Wintress’s house. I would go to her house a couple days a week to help her file paperwork. We learned about accounting and bookkeeping along the way. We have really grown up. Plus, there are a lot more people that work for us now. When I started working with Wintress, she just had two part-time writers who helped with her overflow work, and now we have a network of over 20.
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