You are here: Home › About
This is the story of Sue Huckle...how I became a Technical Writer and why I wrote Word-Tips.com.
Ever since I learned to read at age 4, I dreamed about becoming a writer. I wrote stories, poems, and homemade cards when I was little. I loved it when my parents read my cards and laughed and laughed!
I wrote in my journal every day through junior high and high school. When I went to college, I chose Journalism as my major.
After only a year of school, I decided Journalism just didn't fit...but neither did creative writing. I wanted to be a writer, but I couldn't put my finger on what I wanted to write!
After that first discouraging year of college, I left to get married and have children. Little did I know my husband and I would have three v-e-r-y active boys to raise!
Because I was a stay-at-home mom, I found ways to make money from home: babysitting, cleaning houses, even stringing pearls for a wholesale jeweler!
In 1984, I was given an old manual typewriter which I used to start a typing service called, Sue Huckle Typing Service. Imaginative, huh? I used that freebie typewriter for years!
In 1992, my husband traded some tools for our first computer—a 286 with a 540mb hard drive and preloaded with Microsoft Works. What a shrewd business deal! I was finally able to retire my clunky old typewriter.
Wow!! A computer! And boy did I get hooked...
I learned Microsoft Works quickly, and sub-contracted work from another home-based business entering data to make thousands of mailing labels.
Within a few months, I bought Microsoft Word 6.0, and "upgraded" my data entry service to formatting term papers and resumes.
Over time, I learned computer repair and seemed to have a knack for troubleshooting computer problems. Friends and relatives started calling me to help them with their computers and answer questions about Microsoft Word. (And they still do!)
One day, I received a disk in the mail...Sue Huckle - try AOL free! I couldn't resist. I installed it immediately and set up an account. I still remember listening to the modem screech and watching the little AOL animated graphic showing my computer connecting to…the World!
I became fanatical about the internet. It was amazing that I, Sue Huckle, could sit in my little house and connect with people all over the world.
Naturally, I wanted to find a way to make money with this new tool. In 1997, I officially opened a business called Net Advantage and marketed for an internet advertising company.
That, however, was NOT a shrewd business deal. I had gone outside of my niche and failed miserably. I dumped advertising sales, but not before losing a lot of money on the investment and business start-up costs.
To try and recoup my costs, I kept the business name and started marketing myself as an office support service (the old term for virtual assisting).
Eventually, I opened my first official business web site and changed my business name to NetBusinessServices.com. I taught myself HTML and started offering web site hosting and maintenance in addition to my office support services.
I had a handful of steady clients, but I still had time to homeschool my boys and help my husband run his own business. It was the perfect set up! But I was not totally happy as Sue Huckle - Virtual Assistant. Don't get me wrong, I loved my clients and my work, but something was missing.
By 2003, I was getting the writer's itch! My kids were getting older, and I decided I wanted to go back to school to pursue a writing degree.
Through research, I learned the type of writing I was interested in was called, "technical writing." Amazing! There was actually a way to combine writing with my interest in technology.
It took me 5 years of taking classes part-time, but I finally earned my certificate. (And almost have my Associate's degree completed.)
After earning a certificate in Business and Technical Communications, I launched my technical writing career. The great part is that because I freelance, I get to work at home. My clients provide me with interesting projects such as writing software help files, User Guides, procedure manuals, and web copy.
When I'm not working on a technical writing project, I write articles for Word-Tips.com.
My grandfather was a published scientific writer, and my father, James A. Fizzell, is a well-known author of gardening books and articles. You can find his books at Amazon.com and other bookstores.
The best writing gig I've had so far was for my dad. I was so pleased when he asked me to write his brochure! That's when I finally knew I could make it as a writer.
So that brings me back to where this story started—
Who is Sue Huckle? I am a wife and mom and a grandma! (After raising three roughneck boys, my first grandbaby is a sweet little girl! How special is that??!! Update: we have a new grandson born July 29, 2011, and our newest grandson was born October 3, 2011.)
As a technical writer, my goal is to help you create the best documents possible for your business.
And that is why I created Word Tips!
I hope my story inspires you to start your own home-based business or to continue building your current one. Being self-employed is quite a challenge, but the rewards are worth it!
Do what you love; find your niche. You will be successful AND happy.
All the best to you!
Certified Technical Writer
* Illinois Gardener's Guide cover photo courtesy of CoolSprings.net