8 things I've learnt since becoming a Freelance Copywriter.
1. You are never more insecure than when you are about to hit ‘send’ to a client with a first draft of writing. You’ve had the confidence and self-belief to get to this point, to go out there into the big bad world all on your own, but all of that peacock-tail attitude whittles away once it’s time to actually show someone your work. Conclusion: you can’t please everyone, all the time. Writing is subjective to a point. Not everyone is going to love you.
2. Writer’s block is most definitely real. You’ve got a hot cup of coffee (and 2 or 3 biscuits), the kids are at school and the grandparent’s respectively, the dog is curled up at your feet and the keyboard is in front of you ready to create magic… but… nothing! I’ve found that (sometimes) the more perfectly suited to writing the situation I am in is, the more my mind blocks me from achieving anything. Conclusion: sometimes it’s ok to have looming deadlines, cold tea and Peppa Pig in the background to motivate you to get writing done.
3. Just because you’re working from home (and yes that does actually mean working to all of you non-WFHers), does not mean you can ignore personal hygiene, basic fashion rules and a healthy diet. Conclusion: always brush your teeth before you start work, ridiculous beach trousers do not go with that baggy jumper and no, you should not have two packets of crisps and a slice of salami for lunch.
4. It doesn’t matter what you’re using to create your masterpieces, as long as it’s functional. J.K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter on a scrap piece of paper on a train from Manchester to London. Conclusion: it’s ok to hijack your 8 year old’s computer, set it up on the kitchen table and use a sparkly pink keyboard to write your serious business emails.
5. SEO. SEO. SEO. It’s what people want - even if they don’t understand it. It’s basically a magical Google potion that no one really knows the secret to but endeavours to manipulate in an attempt to get to the coveted first page, or even, *gasp* the first result (did someone say long tail keyword? Ahh yes… image alt text). Conclusion: read about it, learn about it, think about it, breathe it, live it. Throw the name around a bit in daily conversation just to appear to know what you’re doing at least.
6. It’s OK (in fact it’s rather lovely albeit it time consuming) to physically jump up and down and phone at least three members of your family to share the news every time you get an enquiry. You’ve chosen this career path because it’s something that you love. Why on earth shouldn’t you rejoice whenever somebody else out there wants to enjoy your passion with you? If you enjoy your work then your clients will enjoy working with you. Conclusion: go bloody mad. Pop open the champagne at 10am if that’s how you want to celebrate (maybe wait until after the PM school run before you start downing it though).
7. Social media is actually incredibly useful as a business tool; not just for tagging friends in embarrassing photos. Learning from seasoned pros in your field, sharing useful information you’ve found and, of course, marketing your services are all invaluable opportunities that Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn all give you – for free! Conclusion: invest in the best broadband because your screen time hours just took a hike.
8. There are so many amazing copywriters out there covering all varieties and voices across the spectrum. It’s a respectful yet competitive marketplace; you must work hard to get any reward. Conclusion: the only unique power you have is being you. Put your personality into your writing to differentiate yourself from other writers and enjoy the process.