Warning: reading this might make you want to run farther than you ever have before.

Feeling great at Mile 8.

By Olivia Barrow

“Finishing this race will redefine what’s possible for you,” my friend Max said as he jogged beside me at Mile 22 of my first marathon.

His encouragement fell on deaf ears. The fading grass of Warner Park was summoning me like a memory-foam mattress.

“I want to take a nap,” I responded. Silently, I was berating myself. “Yeah right, this marathon is redefining what’s NOT possible — running a marathon in four hours.” …


It’s all fun and games until someone owes you $30,000.

My MacBook is as well traveled as I am.

Two and a half years ago I quit my job as a newspaper reporter and started freelancing.

About a year ago, I shifted to introducing myself as the owner of a copywriting agency, because legally, there’s no difference between the two, and you get a lot more respect from the second introduction.

That’s just one of the lessons I’ve learned in the last 31-ish months of freedom.

I have also learned that it’s not exactly freedom either. I exchanged a job I could leave at the office every evening, every weekend, and 19 working days per year, for a job…


The cryptocurrency world needs your curiosity, your skepticism, and your optimism, no matter who you are

Last month, I was scrolling through one of the cryptocurrency Telegram channels I follow and came across a string of chats that contained rude jokes about a woman’s body.

There’s nothing surprising about finding sexism in a Telegram chat. It’s everywhere.

But I find value in this particular Telegram channel (which I won’t name), so I decided to speak out against the sexist jokes. …


Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

If you’re a progressive male, and you’ve ever wondered if your presence was welcome at a women’s event, read this.

Late last year, when the early #MeToo stories were first blowing up, I was looking for something productive to do with my rage. I suggested to a few other women in my coworking space in Madison that perhaps we could host an event for the Madison community exposing the reality of sexism in the local startup scene.

Overall, the response was: “It’s a great idea. But how do we get any men to show up?”

My coworking space had held an event about women startup founders a few years before, and women attendees outnumbered men 10 to 1, even though…


Blockchain is not a magical fairy dust, despite venture capitalists’ enthusiasm for it. (Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash)

Blockchain is not as magical as you’ve been told

I’ve been doing a lot of research into blockchain projects lately. Luckily, I’ve gotten past the point of trying to wrap my head around the minutiae of the technology. I’m much more interested in the applications. What industries are blockchain entrepreneurs trying to disrupt, and do they have a good chance of achieving mass adoption?

As I research projects, I’ve noticed four flaws in the way they talk about their projects. Blockchain is powerful, but it is not nearly as magical as many entrepreneurs make it out to be.

There are four assumptions or ideas about what blockchain technology can…


My interns, Haley and Violet, enthusiastically jumped onto every assignment I gave them.

8 lessons learned from offering my first internship as a freelancer

This past spring, I employed two interns from the University of Wisconsin. In retrospect, I wasn’t ready for such a big step as a business owner. My intentions were great, but my timing was off. Still, I have no regrets, only lessons learned. If you’re thinking about hiring interns, (especially if you’re self-employed), these lessons might help you make a more informed decision.

Lesson 1: Managing people is hard.

My interns were both seniors interested in experiencing freelancing and improving their written communication skills. They were enthusiastic, undaunted by challenges, and brought new perspectives to my work.

But managing them was still so much harder than…


FYI, this is what comes up when you search “Flying Spaghetti Monster” on Unsplash. (Thank you to photographer Joe Green.)

There are no rules and everything is a joke until it’s real

In the world of cryptocurrency, everything is a joke until it’s real and all of a sudden ForbesCrypto is writing about it in full seriousness.

Exhibit A? Blockchain-for-religion, invented by a self-professed atheist, who seems to think that all that religions need to solve their problems (Corruption! Inconsistent theology! Persecution! Outdated beliefs!) is a little decentralization.

I’m not joking. Michael Del Castillo, a fantastic reporter who I’ve been following for the past three years when he used to work at my old company, American City Business Journals, just wrote a feature on Matt Liston, a big name in crypto, and…


Illustrated by Violet Jinqi Wang

Designing your schedule for ultimate productivity

By Olivia Barrow

When I quit my job, I envisioned lots of mid-day trips to the climbing gym, sleeping in, and staying up til 2 a.m. finishing an urgent project for a client.

Now, almost two years into my freelance journey, my schedule looks an awful lot like it did when I worked corporate. I try to get up before 7 and catch a bus by 7:30 to get to my coworking space by 8. I usually stay until 4:30 or 5, but sometimes I ask my girlfriend to bring leftovers to the office and so that we can camp…


I’m obsessed with collecting and organizing.

By Andrew Walsh, as told to Haley Young

Andrew Walsh (Used with permission)

It’s really no surprise that I ended up being a librarian.

Every Christmas when I was a kid, I would painstakingly categorize all of my presents into different piles after opening them. I was obsessed with organization.

I collected everything — baseball cards, VHS tapes of soccer games I’d recorded on TV, and books — and I wanted to make sure I arranged them in a meaningful way.

I was initially drawn to libraries because of the massive amount of information they store and the way they keep it all organized and…


I call it “venture envy.”

Photo by Christian Spies on Unsplash

Working in a coworking space can be awesome for helping you meet other people, get exposed to new ideas, and get inspired.

But it can also lead to a lot of self-doubt. Everyone else’s ventures look like more fun, or more successful, or more revolutionary than mine. Of course, that’s probably a warped outsiders’ view, because everyone is always going through something.

But as I’ve been working on developing the brand for my copywriting agency, testing out my processes with clients, and organizations I support through volunteer writing, I’ve had many moments where I felt disengaged from my venture. Uninspired.

Olivia Barrow

Blogger, freelance writer, promoter of honesty.

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