Cat Roberts-Young — Member Spotlight Revisited

Cat Roberts-Young


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

Physically it’s changed. My wonky shed creaked its last and, in the spot where it used to stand, is now a proper garden office. It’s still rustic, and a creative mess hidden away from Zoom cameras but it’s my little copy cabin and I love it.

Jobwise I’ve learned to love freelance life – the ups, downs and rewards along the way. I’ve attracted more tone of voice work, which I love, and have worked with some thoroughly lovely clients.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still days where imposter syndrome strikes and the negative Nelly voice makes me wonder why anyone would hire me.

But on the whole, I pinch myself that I get to do a job I love every day. We get paid to write – it’s awesome, isn’t it?

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

Can I cheat and say two things? Firstly, it has to be my freelance family (they all know who they are). The support of such amazing friends through the last year was phenomenal. We all know that copywriters are the kindest people on the planet but there’s nothing like a crisis or a pandemic to prove it beyond all limitations.

On a project level, my biggest success was mentoring a group of young writers for Young Epilepsy towards the end of last year. Seeing their confidence grow and playing a small part in their development was so rewarding. There are some talented new writers out there…it’s not AI that we have to fear.

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

Tone of voice fascinates me. I love it. I get all giddy when I spot a brand that does it well (that I can add to my list of voices I wish I’d created!). I love the freedom it gives me as a writer to be creative and help brands find their voice.

And when you see customers interacting with it and the difference it can make, it makes all the bingeing on Haribo and
ChupaChups worthwhile.

What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?

Variety. I will never get bored of how different one week can be to the next. I love learning about new industries, writing about ones I know well and working with start-ups and those with far more balls than me who have an idea, go for it and throw everything at it.

What’s not to like about a week full of adrenalin?

What are you working on just now?

Two fab new tones of voice (I can’t say what for but one keeps you clean).

Describe your desk and what’s on it

My desk is embarrassing…it’s a creative mess. I have Fagin-esque gloves, piles of scribbles, post-its in every colour of the rainbow and a well-thumbed copy of Freelancer Magazine.

Through my window I can see far too many randy pigeons that love to use my roof like a cheap motel. Good excuse to turn up the tunes.

Tell us about your side projects

I’m writing children’s stories as a side hustle. I’m more ‘Cat in the hut’ than ‘Cat in the hat’. And I’m forever trying to attract an agent BUT I have had a couple of stories published digitally so that makes me feel a little bit closer to the goal.

How has your writing process evolved?

Through the wise words of others and by learning from my mistakes. I will be forever grateful for Andy Maslen’s ‘KFC’ tip which has helped me with every brief in the last 4 years, at least.

What do you wish copywriters were more honest about?

How much chocolate they consume on a daily basis! I think we’re all quite an honest bunch about work and tell each other the truth about pricing, contracts and how to pitch…but when it comes to counting the number of penguins dunked daily, that’s another matter.

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

Work for free. I understand it if you’re building a portfolio but you should never lose sight of the fact that your skills have a value. As does your time. And you should be paid for your thinking time.

I can’t think of many industries that give you a free service because they’re training…trainee hairdressers still have a price list and so should copywriters. The only thing ‘free’ should be your availability, not your time. There’s a huge difference.

Any lessons you’re still learning?

Lots! How to say ‘no’. How to charge properly. How to trust my gut. And how one small handful of Haribo is considered a daily portion (have you spotted a theme?).

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

When you see a tone working so well, or a line or page of long copy that makes you want to stand and admire it all day, like you would a work of art in a gallery. Appreciating each word and wanting to high-five the writer(s) behind it. I love Vikki Ross’ #copysafari for this very reason.

Twitter:  @catcopycreative
LinkedIn: young-336679118/


9th June 2021

Sara Jane Potter

Love this 💕 and love you, Cat! And all creative acts thrive on chocolate 😊 x

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