S06E09: Grace Goh, Freelance Copywriter, Singapore

I did not have a clue what I was doing. I was just like, oh, you know, you have grammar errors there. Let me fix it. I didn’t know what a press release was, what a blog post, what a website was. But I just started doing [writing] and I fell into it and over time just continued doing different forms of freelance writing. I never said no to any project that came to me, and it continued from there. 

grace goh

Today’s episode is with a Singaporean freelance copywriter, Grace Goh. 

While everyone was worried for their jobs during the global pandemic lockdown, Grace said she hit one of her best months ever as a freelancer.

grace goh freelance copywriter singapore
Grace is most inspired and fascinated by old people who’ve had interesting non-linear, multi-arc identities and lives. 

Her freelance writing projects are mostly in business, tech or academia with clients coming from creative agencies, in-house marketing teams, public institutes, and small businesses. 

Some of the writing work she has done includes grant writing, ghostwriting, UX writing, business communications, product copy, academic editing, market research, branding and content creation. She says she is versatile and “what I don’t know, I’ll learn”. 

And yet she is taking a career in reverse by going from freelancing to full-time employment.

She calls it the Great Rejoining. 

Grace is unabashed and doesn’t take herself too seriously which is a fantastic way to traverse life.

Some 10 years ago, Grace decided that she wanted to see the world. She calls herself the minimalist traveller and with her backpack, she would traipse over the world and on one of her trips to Japan, chanced upon photos of Myanmar temples. 

It seemed that Myanmar was calling out to her so Grace ended up in Myanmar. She recounts that these were the pre-tourist years when it was still relatively unknown and untouched. Her adventure began in that country because someone recommended that she teach English.

From the start, a freelance writing career suited her because she could travel. Remember this was some 10 years ago when digital nomading was still in its infancy. 

I think I did everything wrong. I mean, I would tell myself, think of this properly as a career, even if you’re doing it as a part-time and lifestyle thing, so that you put in the proper systems such as invoicing, administration, contracts.

She also spoke about starting a company out of revenge when she was left with a lousy curriculum when she was asked to teach English in Vietnam. She was literally creating the next day’s teaching plan after a full day of teaching English to her adult students! She remembers that it was a stressful period of her life.

“So the long story short was that I showed up little with really bad materials and students who were studying in class were looking at me and going like “What? Really?” 

Grace knew that the materials were too disgraceful for the advanced group of Vietnamese students and it was a total disaster if she didn’t do something quickly.

Out of this mishap, she decided to turn the tables on her contractor and believed she could do better.

She partnered up with a fellow Singaporean to establish a business to bid for contracts from the Singapore government and won contracts teaching English as a second language in countries such as Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.  

A lot of people in the creative freelancing space – web designers, writers or animators whatever they are – they come from artistic backgrounds or they majored in things like English or social sciences. A lot of them find their first job either as an internship in university for graphic design or whatever, and they all show up in agencies at various points. And I feel like I never paid my dues. I never did agency work. I’ve been contracted to agencies at various points but I’ve never actually done work in an agency.

Grace’s favourite quote is by Rilke on the theme of uncertainty: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue… And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” 

Her favourite reads are in the sci-fi/fantasy genre with classical music as her favourite type of music. She is most proud of her long-distance hiking milestone. 

Connect with her: 


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Today’s episode is sponsored by Redbox Studio.

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