Sarah Turner — ProCopywriters Member Spotlight Revisited

How has your business changed since your first Member Spotlight interview?

Blimey. Not much at all! Let’s see. I’ve moved studios a couple of times, although still based in Putney, I’ve joined a mentoring programme as a mentor. And I only work Monday to Thursday. So I guess that’s a change.

What’s been your biggest success since your first Member Spotlight interview?

The fact I’m still working as a freelance copywriter and getting paid a good load of moolah to do something I love. That’s a success I think. Helping other copywriters progress in their careers is rewarding too. And not being in the office on Fridays in order to pursue a creative side gig, has been a pretty cool development.

Why did you decide to focus on the kind of work you’re doing now?

When I started freelancing in 2005, I decided I wanted to focus on web copywriting and that hasn’t changed. I write all kinds of stuff. But web copy is still where I feel most at home.

What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?

Right now is a great time to be a copywriter. I think clients appreciate the value of well-written copy and are willing to pay for it. And the copywriting community is inspirational, supportive and second to none.

What are you working on just now?

It’s pretty varied. Jobs on the go at the moment include: software development, construction, acoustic panel design, slow motion photography, packaging design and bike tyres.

Describe your desk and what’s on it

So anyone who has ever read any other interviews with me or seen my tweets, will know that my desk is full of plastic – err –treasures. Some people may refer to them as toys. I prefer to call them inspiration. After all, who wouldn’t want a three-inch figure of Harry Styles on their desk? Exactly.

Tell us about your side projects

Screenwriting has been my side project for a while now. That’s the thing I’ve been doing every Friday. It’s been interesting for me to see how many of my copywriting skills are transferable. I described it to a friend the other day as the difference between regular football and five-a-side. Yes, it’s a different game. But at the end of the day, you’re still just kicking a ball around.

How has your writing process evolved?

My approach hasn’t really changed at all in the last 10 years or so. My advice is: turn up every day, sit at your desk, start typing something – anything – and eventually, some copy or dialogue will appear on the page that’s not totally shit. And if you’re lucky, pretty good.

What do you wish copywriters were more honest about?

How easy it is to become a successful copywriter. It’s not. It takes hard graft. And that’s especially true for freelance copywriters. Not only do you have to be good at your craft, you also have to be good at being the account manager, the new business development manager, the accounts department, the marketing and sales department and the IT department. And you have to learn very quickly how to network, how to manage clients, and how to manage your time. Still wanna be a freelance copywriter? Go for it. It’s a brilliant job.

What advice do you often hear given to newbies, but you don’t agree with? Why?

Working for free. Or working for peanuts. I know some copywriters choose to do this to get their foot in the door or to bump up their portfolio. But I just don’t agree with it. If you produce good work, you should be paid for it. End of.

And the other thing is this notion of younger copywriters being paid less than older copywriters. Anyway, at what age do you stop being younger and become older? And, more importantly, have I gone past the magic number? (Yes, you have – Ed)

To use football parlance: if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. If you’re really good at what you do, you should get paid a shed load. It doesn’t matter if you’re 22 or 62.

Any lessons you’re still learning?

Every day’s a school day. I’m always learning. Twitter is a good resource for keeping up to date with what’s happening over at Google. I’ve also learnt that Twitter can be a toxic cesspit of negativity. My advice? Unfollow or mute. Life’s too short to have your timeline stuffed with Debbie downers.

What’s something about your work that makes your inner copywriting nerd happy, but you’re not able to chat about enough?

Something I’m not able to chat about? Do you not know me at all ProCopywriters?

What do you think?

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