How has your business changed since your first Member Spotlight interview?
It’s grown. The number of quality jobs I get has increased and so has my day rate. Most of my work comes to me via word of mouth, which feels like a big step forward. And it means I no longer have to go to excruciating networking events.
I now offer bespoke writing training sessions, which are going really well. These would have put me well outside my comfort zone in the past, but I really enjoy the whole process now.
Having a baby in January 2016 also changed my business (not to mention my life. I’ve aged about 800 years for a start). I now have the added challenge of fitting a greater amount of work into part-time hours. But it’s true what they say – having limited time can make you more efficient. Procrastination is a luxury these days.
What’s been your biggest success since your first Member Spotlight interview?
I’d say finding the confidence – with the help of mentoring from Andy Maslen – to put my prices up. It elevated me to the next level. I now have fewer jobs, but they are of a higher quality. It’s great to finally have some work I’m proud to put in my portfolio.
What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?
The fact that I don’t have a niche. I love the fact that one day I can be writing a blog post about online mapping software, and the next day a video script for a charity app. It keeps things interesting and means that I’m always learning.
What are you working on just now?
After the busiest six months I’ve had since starting Messagelab Communications in 2012, I’m allowing myself a couple of weeks of downtime. I’ve just finished a contract with a college, transforming a stuffy post-GCSE guide into a magazine. It was pretty much my dream project, taking me right back to my editorial roots, and the client allowed me a lot of autonomy.
I’ve also been working on a couple of web copywriting projects for a digital agency and writing business award entries for a global consulting company.
Describe your desk and what’s on it
My desk is also our dining table, and it’s usually home to mugs, glasses of water and a packet of baby wipes. Today there is my diary, a notebook, a stack of reading material, a scented candle and a jar of pink and white sweet peas from the garden.
And just to balance out all that twee, there are three plastic dinosaurs watching a baby triceratops hatch from an egg in a jug of water.
Tell us about your side projects
I’ve still got a tricky novel on my mind – something I started when I did a Masters in Creative Writing in 2010. I’m hoping it will eventually write itself if I think about it enough in advance. I’ve also tentatively started writing a kid’s book.
How has your writing process evolved?
I’m not sure it has evolved a great deal. I suppose I have got quicker and more efficient with experience. But ever since I learnt about the power of simplicity, that’s always been the focus of my writing.
What advice do you often hear given to newbies, but you don’t agree with? Why?
I don’t think you need to work for free while you’re building up your portfolio. I didn’t. Of course you won’t be charging the amounts you will with five years’ experience under your belt, but I don’t see any reason to ever work for free. There are always paid opportunities for talented writers. You just need to find them, which is also good practice.
Any lessons you’re still learning?
Yes, all the time. We’ve always got to keep learning. We’ll never know it all.