Elma Glasgow

11 May 2017

Returning to freelance copywriting after a break

The journey back to copywriting

The nudge back into freelance copywriting came whilst sipping a pint of local ale. A cask brew called Frosty Ferret (or something). Anyway, the prompt came in the form of a random conversation that night, with a fellow drinker.

In fact, the unexpected exchange led me to a major turning point. Or perhaps I should say re-turning point.

Let me explain.

Whilst enjoying an evening at a beer festival, me and my partner got chatting to a web designer and fellow ale fancier (meet Dave), who, after hearing of my copywriting background, urged me to check out a local co-working space.

The Atrium Studios, just a few strides away from the scenic and prestigious marina in Ipswich, offers independent creative professionals a laid back, sociable workplace.

As Dave enthused about the studios and the buzz of collaboration within its walls, my mind began to amble down the path of possibility.

Please welcome my big What If

After a few reflective slurps on my Sunrise Meadow (or whatever it was called – I’m no expert), I knew a new door was opening. Letting in my big What If.

I’ve met him many times before – often accompanied by exciting new ideas. And over the next few days, the What If kept poking me in my side. Like a pestering sibling daring me to plunge down the water slide: “Do it, do it, do it.”

A muddle of exhilaration and apprehension curdled inside me – just as it had when I originally started Red Ruby Copywriting in 2012.

So I booked a tour of the studios. Just to take a peek.

Re-committing to copywriting

I loved the space.

The balance of being my own boss whilst joining the studio’s family of creatives including graphic designers, web gurus, painters, sculptors, a craft beer brand and a swordsman (yep, a real-life swordsman), seemed ideal.

By now, I’d shuffled my bottom to the top of the slide, with my What If ready to give the final shove. It’d been almost two years since closing Red Ruby Copywriting due to relocation, and here I was again, re-committed. I started preparing for a comeback.

What’s for seconds?

The burgeoning start-up and creative scene in Ipswich offers me the opportunities I didn’t have access to last time. It’s a brilliant town for entrepreneurs.

Yes, I’m starting from scratch in some ways, but wisdom has prepared me for the frustrations of freelancing such as late payments – as likely as mud, pear cider and naked people at Glastonbury (very).

Second time round, I’m going to fulfil my ambitions. Looking back, I was too busy learning how to be self-employed to consider the future. Included on my checklist:

  • Building my brand, not just selling services.
  • Shaping, then realising my vision.
  • Focusing on my favourite kind of copywriting – telling stories.
  • Discovering more copywriters to follow (check out Lacy Boggs).
  • Delving into digital resources – there’s so much more available compared to just two or three years ago, reflecting our lively industry, I guess.
  • Tuning into my wellbeing – it’s a cornerstone of my business.

Pints and potential

I wonder whether I’d be reclaiming my professional independence, had we had not ventured out that sub-zero December night. If the next Ipswich Beer Festival is as transformative as the last, well, bring it on, I say. I’m ready.

The co-working thing is providing a release from social isolation, and it’s already having a positive impact: new projects, ideas and friends, just for starters.

So, at the very least, I’ll be celebrating – whilst staying on brand, obviously – with a tipple of ruby ale.

Red Ruby Copywriting


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