How has your business changed since your first Member Spotlight interview?
It’s changed in so many ways! In my first Member Spotlight interview I was still finding my feet as Felicity Wild, Freelance Creative Copywriter, and doing a bit of everything to see what I liked. Now, my business has morphed into Tone of Voice Nerd (launched Jan ‘22) where I focus pretty much exclusively on all things brand voice.
Niching aside, as a business owner I’m more confident, better at setting boundaries and have embraced talking about money (rather than being embarrassed about it).
What’s been your biggest success since your first Member Spotlight interview?
Does surviving the pandemic (so far!) count? Like many, my business came to a screeching halt in March 2020 when all my retainer clients cancelled and the projects I had lined up were delayed indefinitely. There was nothing to do but roll up my sleeves and put in the graft to get it back on track. I’m so proud that I stuck in there and have brought my business out the other side stronger and bigger than before.
Why did you decide to focus on the kind of work you’re doing now?
Working as a generalist copywriter, I came across a lot of tone of voice guides that weren’t very good. They didn’t help me (a professional) write good copy so they sure as hell weren’t helping my clients either.
I knew I could do it better, and did. First under the banner of “Felicity Wild” and then as demand grew I split it off into a separate business, and Tone of Voice Nerd (TOVN) was born. This is an abridged version of events and you can read the full story over on the TOVN website.
What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?
The variety of businesses I work with—it’s fascinating to learn what they do and how they came to be. No two are the same so there’s always a challenge and something new to learn with every client.
What are you working on just now?
This week I’m wrapping up two brand voice projects—one for a children’s charity and the other for a commercial consultancy.
Next up, I’m working with an insurance company to nail their value proposition and helping a digital marketing agency finesse their web copy following on from a brand voice project I did for them at the end of last year.
I wasn’t kidding when I said I like variety!
Describe the view from your window
My office looks out onto our very overgrown garden. We bought a wreck of a cottage last year along with 2 acres of land that we’re slowly rewilding into our own little nature reserve.
It’s still more of a jungle than anything else and I expect it will be a forever work-in-progress. Always good to have a project on the go though!
Tell us about your side projects. (If you aren’t working on any at the moment, what side projects are on your list that you haven’t got round to yet?)
Renovating our cottage and rewilding our land occupies 100% of my non-work time at the moment.
How has your writing process evolved?
I break out in a cold sweat whenever a client asks about my writing process. Honestly, it’s as chaotic as ever as I like to sit with ideas and see where my brain takes me.
I think one thing that has evolved or improved is my interview style—I now ask better questions to tease out important insights and get to the heart of the matter.
What do you wish copywriters were more honest about?
Since we last spoke, I think there’s been a big trend towards more openness and honesty about the realities of copywriting (particularly in a freelance capacity) which makes me feel less alone in my moments of struggle.
Looking at the wider industry, I hope we keep up the conversations sparked by Zoe Scaman’s Mad Men, Furious Women piece last year. I lent my voice to this article and was pleased to see the shockwaves it caused—I hope this momentum continues and the industry becomes a safer and more supportive place for women.
What advice do you often hear given to newbies, but you don’t agree with? Why?
I think there’s a lot of pressure put on newbies to choose a niche right away—”the riches are in the niches” is something I see thrown about a lot. While this is true, I don’t think there’s any rush to settle on a specialism if one isn’t immediately obvious to you.
A better tactic (in my experience as someone who wanted to work on ALL THE PROJECTS) is to wait for a niche to pick you. I spent 5 years following my heart and working on things that interested me, and then slowly fell into a specialism.
I’m really glad I have finally settled on something and there are definite financial advantages to doing so (those sweet specialist fees). BUT had I forced myself to pick a niche earlier, I don’t think I’d have chosen the right thing and would’ve ended up hating my work.
Any lessons you’re still learning?
Um, yes, absolutely! Some big things I’m working on this year are being firm with my recommendations and diplomatically telling clients when (and why) their ideas aren’t good. Because that’s ultimately what they’re paying me for.
In the past, in an attempt to avoid conflict I’d bend to the whims of the client rather than standing by my professional opinion. Consequently, I’m also learning to better select clients who are looking for a collaborative partnership and not just a yes (wo)man.
What’s something about your work that makes your inner copywriting nerd happy, but you’re not able to chat about enough?
HAH! I’m a chronic over-sharer so I’m not sure there’s anything I don’t chat about enough (and plenty I chat too much about).
In all seriousness, I love it when I get to work with a business-owner who has a really strong vision and voice. It’s such a treat to capture their essence in words and see it come to life on the page or screen.
If you’re reading this and think it sounds like you—drop me a line, I’d love to work together 😉