Interview with Karina Antenucci
Founder @ Message Sprout and Badass + Healthy

Atlanta-based senior writer, editor and brand content strategist Karina Antenucci brings more than 15 years of diverse editorial and marketing experience. As Founder of Message Sprout, a copywriting and brand messaging strategy company, she offers professional, premium digital content services to consumer lifestyle, B2B, entertainment and tech companies. With creativity, positivity, and organization, Karina delivers stellar communication and leadership skills, an excitement for the written word, a strong commitment to deadlines and senior-level experience that balances an editorial sensibility with a brand marketing focus.
Hi, Karina! Why do you prefer to work as a freelancer? How did that lead to you founding Message Sprout?
I prefer to work as a freelancer because of the flexibility and autonomy it affords. Prior to launching my copywriting and brand messaging strategy business, Message Sprout, about seven years ago, I worked on staff at large media corporations. This was a wonderful foundation for my career and I learned so much. But I found that when I went out on my own, my work flourished and it was stronger than ever before. That's because my clients hire me for my expertise and I'm able to dig in, be creative and follow my gut instincts and get things done, without being in meetings about meetings, as is the case with many corporations. I love being a part of helping my clients, many of whom are small businesses, grow and succeed.
What advice do you have for people working freelance full time? What are some challenges you've faced?
I have met with a lot of friends and colleagues who have asked me this question over the years. My first piece of advice is always, go to work. That may sound funny, but it means don't hang out in your pyjamas all day, get up take a shower, put on fresh clothes even if it's leisure clothes. The good thing is you don't have to do your makeup and hair if you're not seeing clients, or going to an event, that's a huge time saver. But, act like you're going to work because that will put your brain into a certain mindset that you're going to get things done today. My second piece of advice is, know that freelancing is hard. It's not all rainbows and cupcakes and the grass may look greener back on the other side, once you get here. There are certainly, I have experienced them, highs and lows that you wouldn't necessarily experience with a full-time job and paycheck. However, if you're really committed to it hang in there and know that the next high is right around the next corner.
How did you decide to start the health and wellness site Badass + Healthy? What have you learned in your work on this?
Badass + Healthy is a healthy lifestyle blog that simplifies wellness information across the subject of clean beauty, nutritious foods and healthy habits for busy women. Wellness is a subject that is close to my heart and I have written about it for the entirety of my career, during my time spent as an editorial staff member at magazines, such as Health and also through Message Sprout, my copywriting business where I work with clients to hone in on their brand messaging and create beauty and wellness content on their websites, blogs, emails and more. In my free time, I have studied and am certified in various holistic therapies like reflexology, Iyer Veda and Reiki one. This is all to say that Badass + Healthy grew out of my interest for wellness and also serving as a trusted resource in the subject, for friends and family. I wanted to spread the love beyond that close knit group. What I have learned is that women are so incredibly busy, myself included, juggling family and work and don't have time to decipher what is true and what is marketing hype. There's a thirst for knowledge out there from a trusted resource and Badass + Healthy aims to be just that.
How has journalism changed (or stayed the same) in your 15 years of experience?
In the 16 years since I've been in the industry a lot has certainly changed. For one, the rise of blogging and user-based journalism has exploded. What has not changed, for me at least, is what it means to be a journalist. To be a journalist is not only to write words, but to seek the truth and to tell a story, no matter the subject you're covering. Great storytelling is both a craft and a gift and that will never change.
What's next for you and your companies?
I am so excited for the year ahead. Badass + Healthy will step out more into the e-commerce space, offering a curated selection of must-have wellness products. Stay tuned for more about that. Message sprout is launching new content packages for small businesses on the rise. The content tool kit, is made up of copy and brand marketing consultations you need to launch or rebrand your business. The case studies package, to showcase your expertise and grow SEO on your website. The email automation package, that makes staying in touch with your customers by email marketing more efficient, personalised and relevant. The product launch package, from product packaging copy, to e-commerce product descriptions, to video scripts about the products. It's all the copy points you need to market that product. Message sprout works with both b2b and b2c clients across several industries, health and wellness and beauty as I've mentioned, but also technology, entertainment and travel. I'm really excited for what the rest of this year and beyond will bring.