“By Danielle Batist”. As soon as I saw that first-ever byline printed in black ink, I was hooked.
I was 17 and had yet to start journalism school, but I figured that the quickest way to learn was to dive right in. Three days after contacting all the local media around my Dutch home town, I had secured my first commission from a weekly newspaper. Before long, I criss-crossed the area on my bicycle (in Holland you can only get your driver’s license at 18) to cover stories.
Over the years, I got my BA and MA (with distinction) in journalism, but neither degree taught me the practical, hands-on skills I needed to grow my freelance business. I knew how to get the byline, but I didn’t know much about the bottom line. Through trial and error, and without any initial capital or contacts, I discovered the basics of journopreneurship.
The term ‘lean start-up’ had not yet been invented, though that is essentially what I built. My physical ‘business’ never consisted of more than a laptop, notebook, camera, recorder and a handful of business cards. I moved to eight countries across three continents and took the business abroad with me everywhere I went.
I became a news and feature writer, international development reporter, editor, foreign correspondent, translator, copywriter and social media manager. I worked both as a staffer and freelancer for mainstream media organisations, charities and social enterprises and occasionally (and sometimes accidentally) turned into a photographer, TV subtitler, trainer and communications consultant. Usually, I held several of these roles at once.
The quest for great stories, powerful platforms, meaningful work and enough money to support my basic yet travel-rich lifestyle inevitably led me to become a journopreneur. I embraced digital and discovered the power of the crowd, not only for sourcing and distributing my work, but also to fund anything from a single story to a series, a book and even entire news organisations. My media crowdfunding campaigns raised over £1 million.
While mentoring journalism graduates and teaching MA students at universities across the UK, I increasingly got asked where to start, and how to stay ahead of the game in a changing media landscape. This platform explores these questions, and provides not just answers but hands-on tips and tools you need to turn your passion, ideas and talent into a successful and sustainable career as a journopreneur.