Meet Ben Culbreth

Nearly four years ago, I was working in a sales job I wasn’t enjoying. Most days had me on the road for a minimum of three hours per day, and when I wasn’t driving, I was typically making cold calls.
I had taken this job as a step towards entrepreneurship. In the back of my mind, I always wanted to build something. But if you asked me then, I could not have told you what that something would look like. 
Around this time (probably after one of the miserable phone calls), I had a conversation with someone who encouraged me to pursue freelance writing. 
Writing wasn’t new to me. I freelanced in college (even though I didn’t know what freelancing was) and had enjoyed writing for most of my life. 
Maybe a month after that initial conversation, I received a call informing me that I was laid off. 
It was a gut punch and a relief at the same time. I knew things weren’t working, but it was tough nonetheless. I had never been in a position like that. And I wasn’t even sure how to respond. But one thing I knew for sure was that it felt incredibly frustrating to have someone else deciding whether I received a paycheck or not. 
These feelings were reinforced in April 2020 when my employer reduced my hours and compensation by roughly 40%. My wedding was two months away. I couldn’t access unemployment insurance because the state said I made “too much money” (tell that to the mortgage company). 
That was it for me. I decided that I was finished having my hours, time, and money controlled by someone else. So far, it had not worked out in my favor, and I figured I had a much better chance of working independently. 
It was through one of my first freelance jobs that I met  Fiona. We started out working together mostly on small projects, like editing or writing a blog post. But since then, we’ve extended our working relationship to multiple clients. 
I’ve learned a lot from Fiona. I’ve grown as a writer and marketer since working with her. So when she approached me about the idea of a co-op working model, it was a no-brainer. 
From my point of view, it offers the opportunity to work together and collaborate in what can often be a solo journey as a freelancer. As the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one,” which is often true in creative work. So we can brainstorm ideas together and leverage each of our strengths. And when we do good work, it makes perfect sense to share in the rewards. 
A co-op is something new for both of us, but I’m excited to see how it goes and inspire a few others to try out a different way of working together.