The highs and lows of trying to make it work as a full time freelance copywriter…
It’s been an interesting first month since taking the plunge into full time copy writing. There have been various ups, an assortment of downs and more procrastination and distraction options than necessary (I kinda knew that was gonna happen though so, ya know).
So what the hell have I been doing?
The first week was in reality a bit of a write off having left my job.
I’d read a lot about being a copywriter but I spent the first week reading. A LOT. Blogs, forums, books, twitter, facebook groups… Everyone has an opinion about how to make freelance writing work so I slogged away reading up as much as possible.
I also spent a lot of time on the phone to agencies around London having a chat and finding myself surprised that most creative agencies are quite friendly.
In my experience over the years I’ve had some ridiculous amount of jobs, mostly through agencies. You can often feel like a bit of a commodity; you’ve got about 30 seconds to get the agents attention, tell them what you’re looking for and what your experience is.
Creative based agencies all seem to be a little less harried than standard agencies, so that has been a bit of a change in approach for me.
I also fired off a few emails pitching ideas for articles to inflight magazines. Reason being, they take travel articles and they always need decent content. Why not eh.
All in all, the first week was easing in but still trying to be proactive.
Sun tan level: A mild browning thanks to decent sun levels. A struggle to stay out of the park…
Around the beginning of week two I stumbled across an ad on Linkedin for a small startup looking for a copywriter. I fired off an email and the response came back pretty quickly – sure, lets have a chat.
Oh, wow that was easy.
A few days later we were chatting over Whatsapp video about their plans for their app and website. Loads of work. Awesome. They haggle me down on my rates saying that although what I quoted is what the expected, they would rather arrange something which essentially means I get paid half what I quoted. I shrug it off and say let’s see how we go after a few months.
Over the week I read up on their proposals and had a look at what I would be able to do. Pretty straightforward and in fact not dissimilar to a project I did for another health and lifestyle site a few years back. Vamos!
Never one to rest on my laurels, at least not for long, I also fired off applications for various jobs on Indeed and Linkedin.
Main distraction: A guest arrives on Friday which was not that big a distraction. Did a lot of blogging for the travel site again.
Sun tan level: Lost a bit of lustre thanks to a mostly grey and unpredictable week.
For some reason I spent an alarmingly large amount of time writing content for the travel magazine site and occasionally shooting off pitches to other magazines (online or otherwise).
Called some of the agencies back, one hung up on me immediately before I’d even finished introducing myself. I take back what I said about not being too harried… I spend a bit too long dwelling on whether it is worth calling back and eventually settle on the idea that, nah if they’re that rude I don’t wanna work with them anyway.
The health and lifestyle clients send me a stack of reading material including their business manifesto. I read through it a few times then send them my first draft proposal for what they were intimating that they’d need. They send me back an email saying well, no that’s not exactly what we’re looking for as it’s not really in our voice. No problem, I say, I don’t know your voice yet but we’ll get there…
Besides this I spend a lot of time applying for jobs in marketing and copywriting on Indeed, Reed and Linkedin.
Main distraction: More visitors and a trip to a mates bar which results in a job offer. It’s money so, sure why not…
Sun tan level: Monsoon weather followed by scorching sun means I’m getting into a fairly authentic sub tropical lifestyle. Minus the beach. Or the actual sub tropical bit.
The week starts with some pretty heavy rain. British summer time eh.
Following up on some agencies who I contacted in the early weeks results in some quite encouraging feedback. Still not much in the way of work though, but hey, they’re optimistic.
I do some writing for the health app clients based on what they ask for – and more in their voice as requested. Should be perfect, so I zap it off and wait.
Meanwhile I wonder about my approach to applications – am I being a bit too formal? I start doing job applications in an overly friendly and casual way (I don’t call anyone sweet’art or darlin’ yet though) in an attempt to see if that makes a difference. I’ll keep you posted on that though.
My mate with the bar that I visited asks me if I wanna do a shift or two? Sure, why not. So I end up doing a couple of shifts which may or may not impact my productivity with the writing the next day.
Amongst this, one of the earlier applications for an inflight magazine get back to me. They like my suggestions and they offer me a good rate to have one article every couple of months. Winning.
Main distraction: Working in a bar is good for working with people but not so good for next day productivity. Also there is an election this week which gets a bit aggy. Or I do anyway.
Sun tan level: Holding my bronzed tone despite the monsoon and grey weather. Weekend looks good though…
I’m writing this on the second day of week five and so far all good.
Health and lifestyle clients send me an email saying that they’re going to go elsewhere as they don’t think I’ve got them down. I’m actually sort of relieved…
One of the agencies I contacted at the start comes back with a client who are a startup in the financial sector. They’re happy to take me on for at least one day a week to start with a view to more content down the line.
Swings and roundabouts.
What Have I Learned?
It’s a constant struggle which involves putting in applications, prospective emails and approaching random clients to see what sticks.
Early wins fall by the wayside, but smaller wins keep popping up.
In fact, one thing that I’ve read from all of the stuff that I’ve ingested is – keep at it. There is so much work and so many clients looking for a writer that you just have to play the numbers game (much like everything).
Anyways, stay tuned for more exciting adventures and some rants about other unrelated stuff. Ciao for now.
If you’re a struggling copy writer or general freelancer then drop me a comment below and share your woes! Feel free to share this article or follow me on social mediaaaaaaaa…