Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I’ve always had an interest in writing but, for some reason, I’d never thought about a career in it.
I’ve written stories since I was a kid and I studied creative writing at university but I’d always only ever thought about being an author of children’s fiction really.
After a period of travelling and working abroad, I came back to the UK with no idea what I wanted to do.
When I was in university I’d got a job as a student helper on the university’s IT service desk and remembered it being a job I’d really enjoyed so I decided to try it out again.
Fast forward five years and I’d worked my way up into team leader, and eventually manager of an IT service desk for a large corporation.
I enjoyed my time there but then I started to get ill from stress due to an ever-growing workload and eventually, I became so unhappy and felt so unsupported that I made the decision to get out.
I wanted to get back to being my happy, normal self and I realised that a big issue was that I was fed up with my career choice and felt very restricted.
I made the decision to try out freelance writing because I wanted the freedom to work when and how I wanted, and I wanted a job that would challenge and excite me.
When I looked back on my life, I realized that writing was just something I did no matter how I was feeling. And I thought how cool it would be to make a living doing something that I love.
Honestly, I didn’t think I’d last six months, but I knew that if I didn’t try I’d always regret it. You never know unless you give it a go, right? I’m still here almost a year later and I’m excited to see where I go.
What work are you most proud of?
I don’t really feel like I have anything epic to shout about just yet in terms of my copywriting.
Is it cheating if I say I’m proud of everything I’ve produced so far? I’ve been able to earn a living by myself for almost a year which, at the start of my journey, I didn’t think was possible.
Heading into my second year I have a couple of retainer clients under my belt and I feel confident in my abilities to source more work.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
If I’m feeling energetic I’ll take myself for a run or a walk in the forest or along the beach to clear my head. Otherwise I’ll just play a computer game or watch something on TV and chill out. It always works.
When I first started, I used to sit and stare at my PC and then get angry with myself when the words wouldn’t come, I quickly learned that that’s the best way to waste time.
Not only was I not getting anything done in the moment but I was delaying the point at which I could start writing again because my motivation was drained by my frustration.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
My favourite’s when all the research is done and I’m just in the flow of writing. I know exactly what I want to write and how to write it.
It feels epic when you work solidly on a piece and then come out the other side feeling confident about what you’ve created.
I’m not really sure what my least favourite is. There’s nothing I really dislike. I do get bored easily though so if I’m writing about the same thing day in and day out then I start to go nuts.
I had one client for a couple of months who was just pushing cookie cutter type content on me (and lots of it) although I was making some alright cash from the job I had to drop the client for fear of going insane.
Any copywriting pet hates?
When you submit something you’re happy with and the client destroys it by making it boring and businessy. It’s only happened once but it was yesterday, and so very fresh in my mind.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Recognise the small wins!
The thing is you will always get upset or annoyed by the negatives and if you’re not careful they’ll overwhelm you. It’s important to recognise when you’ve done something good too because this positivity is what will get you through the tough times.
Whether you’ve landed a new client, had some nice feedback, had your best paying month, or even simply kept on top of your to-do list, recognise it and reward it.
(Although make sure the reward is equal to the win, you shouldn’t be popping champagne each time you tackle all of your to-dos).
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Just get going. Oh my days, it took me the longest time to take the plunge and start actively looking for clients.
I spent an age reading everything I could and learning everything I could about my new career, never feeling like I knew enough. But here’s the thing: you will never feel ready. Just go for it because the best way to learn is by doing.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
I get paid to do something I enjoy and for me that’s really important. It’s been almost a year and I still sometimes sit back in my chair and think, ‘wow, I’m really getting paid to write, I’m making money and loving what I do.’ I hope that feeling never goes away.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
I’ve only just signed up but I’m here for the community. Writing is a pretty lonely job most of the time and it’s been wonderful getting to know other writers on LinkedIn.
They support you when you’re down and they remind you that others have been through what you are going through when times are tough which makes life a little easier.
It seems like Procopywriters offer that support network too and I’m looking forward to getting involved in the forum.
Also, the benefits are pretty great too like 10% of insurance and money off the annual conference ticket.
Where can people find out more about you?
I have a business website, personal blog, and I’m pretty active on LinkedIn and Twitter too. Links below 🙂