American clients, loads of blogs and disappearing customers. It’s been a busy and interesting six months of business.
Let me satisfy your curiosity. Here’s what I’ve been up to from January-June 2019: the highlights, the wins, the lows and the learnings.
Website writing gigs
Surprisingly, there haven’t been that many. One was for a cyber security company and the other for an American-based digital marketer.
It feels like I’ve written more than two websites, but my notes tell me otherwise.
Compass Digital Strategies (CDS) landed in my lap just before my January snowboarding holiday in Japan. I remember having the initial briefing call with Barb Davids (the lady behind CDS) the morning of my flight.
Well, ya know, I had time to squeeze in the 20-minute Pleased to Meet You chat. And I love a good natter with new people.
Working on the assumption I wasn’t going to seriously injure myself while hurtling down a snowy mountain, we planned to catch up again when I got back.
Turns out we worked well together. So well, in fact, Barb commissioned me to write another 11 pages for her site and we’re currently doing some work as an SEO and content marketing duo.
(So yes, if you want technical SEO stuff and fantastic content, then you’ve just found your dream team and we’d love to hear from you!)
The second site was a messaging and copy refresh for Equate Technologies, a Brisbane based cyber security company.
This was a tricky one. My cyber security knowledge is pretty limited so I went into full research mode.
First, I binged on cyber security blogs and sites. Once I had a basic knowledge I set up meetings with the sales, technical and management teams, learning what it was they wanted their website to do. In the end, I was really pleased with how the project came together.
Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat.
If I’ve learnt anything in the last six months it’s that people are lovin’ the blog packages.
Clients like Firewire Digital booked my Fiver service and got some entertaining SEO articles.
Euroworkspace also got back in touch and commissioned me to write another two blogs.
And Barb at CDS has been flicking me pieces to edit and spruce up as and when she needs them for her own site.
The biggest blog win came in the form of AdultWork.com. The launch of their online publication, Insider, meant they wanted a go-to content marketer and writer.
Using The Tenner service we’ve been chewing through blog topics. I’ve enjoyed writing about everything from social media marketing through to porn stars on bicycles.
I’m really pleased with how this relationship is developing and hopefully creating a set of articles and conversation points that are helpful and informative to the sex worker readership.
What’s on the horizon?
I’m currently working on another block of blogs for AdultWork.
TotallyMoney keep in touch and send me fun quick-turn around projects.
There’s the return of Keppel Dental (hurrah!) for more website pages and blog work.
I’m working on a bespoke SEO blog package for a new wedding photography client in Las Vegas. (Mega excited about this, because I’ve never hitched up a wedding industry project before.)
CDS is ongoing with blog editing
And I’m continuing to subcontract for a couple of other copywriters who have overflow.
Phew! Chokka. All this will take me through until the first week of August, so if you’ve got an upcoming project that needs words now is a good time to kick off the conversation.
Wins and happy moments from the last six months
As well as all the client work I’ve enjoyed lots of positive moments in my own business.
Working as a writer for a whole decade
In June 2009 I started my internship at Scarlet magazine. A month later they hired me as full-time editorial assistant. So, July 2019 marks 10 years as a professional writer.
This sounded like a good excuse for a mini celebration… Which my husband and I took to mean, let’s bake a cake and scoff the lot.
In all seriousness, reaching this point has flicked a switch. It’s having a very positive effect on my thinking, attitude, helped my confidence and is a good remedy to bouts of imposter syndrome.
Better processes and packages
Setting up a business isn’t easy. If it was a doddle, everyone would be at it.
Wrestling with my business processes and packaging my service offerings has been one of the tougher tasks in the last six months. My goal has been working out how to make my client’s life as simple as possible during our collaboration.
A few clients have commented in their testimonial about how easy my process is, so I feel like I’m on the right track.
Helping out (but not using the ‘M’ word)
In February I was contacted by a former client looking for a career shift into freelance copywriting.
Turns out the brain dump I emailed to answer her questions coupled with all the reading and research she’s been doing, overwhelmed her.
I can dig.
She felt like she was treading water rather than moving forward towards her goals.
After a bit of back and forth I agreed to help her pick a direction so she could chart a path and realise her ambitions.
We’re not using the ‘M’ word that sounds like ‘shentoring’ (not a word – she’s doomed!). But I am catching up with her every two weeks to chat through her research, findings, set goals and help her with accountability.
I’ve also been finding our chats enlightening. For example, in one of our first natters she asked, “How do you research?”
This is a huge question. Answering it was really difficult. It threw me because I’ve not had to stop and think about how I do my research for ages.
After 10 years, it’s sort of just instinctive.
Anyway, working with Sandra has got me thinking about how I do lots of my writery things. This whole non-mentoring thing is giving me plenty of ideas for material for the Stuff for other Copy & Content Writers part of my blog. Hopefully articles I’m planning will be useful to someone out there.
A few guest posts
If you wanna grow your business, you gotta get your name out there.
For me, that’s been guest posting and interviews.
I chatted journalism, freelance writing and time management on Wordable.
Over on The Clever Copywriting School I discussed the benefits of joining a community.
I offered up five tips for marketing an adult business on Adult Industry Services.
And just scraping in, I contributed some thoughts on copywriting training to John Espirian’s copywriter guide.
I enjoyed putting these pieces together and it’s made me think I should pitch to write more often…. Or perhaps pitch to be a podcast guest.
Crappy bits from the last six months
With the highs come the lows and there have been plenty of losses and learnings. Such as…
Not reaching my financial goal
The 2018/19 financial year has just ended in Australia. It’s not been a bad year (I earned more than last year) but falling short of my financial target means it’s not been great, either.
How did it happen?
- I spent more on business stuff and training than I should have.
- I basically took all of August off when I went back to Europe.
- Australia seem to shut down from November-January for the holidays and I didn’t plan for this. At. All. So it fucked me big time.
- I didn’t line up enough work — so when one project ended I didn’t always have another to take its place.
To combat these things happening again I’ve put more time management and project planning systems in place. This will help me see where I’m taking time off, plan ahead for quieter and get a better visual on project timings so I know when to brief new work in.
Hopefully, with these changes I’ll find it much easier to reach my target by end of 2019/20 financial year.
And for my next trick: vanishing clients
Not every project has a happy ending. In the last six months I had two leads and projects start, but ended up coming to zilch.
Thinking back, there are a couple of reasons why I think they failed.
The first is I was brought on too early. What do I mean by this?
When a business hires a copywriter they should have a basic understanding of important aspects of their business like their service offerings/product, who their audience is, why they’re different, the structure of their processes.
(And I know this last one ain’t easy, because as I mentioned earlier this is something I’ve had to work hard on too, so I get it.)
There were perhaps gaps in this knowledge. Or other tasks within the business/project that needed to take priority.
The other reason they may not have finished is that I simply wasn’t the right writer. And that’s fine. And it’s on me for saying “yes” to the project in the first place.
I am not a good fit for every type of small business.
In both cases communication just…stopped. It’s a shame. But it happens.
Beer niche — still brewing
Of all the stuff I didn’t get done in the last six months this is the one I’m most frustrated with: not doing more to get into writing for the craft beer industry.
I really need to get my arse into gear. I’ve got packages sorted. I’ve identified some opportunities and companies I could write for. But I’ve not done enough to push this.
I’ve set this as one of my BIG GOALS for this financial year. My aim is to score at least two craft beer clients.
Shameless plug: if you’re a craft beer company wanting website, article or video script content for the love of all things frothy and hoppy contact me.
Curiosity = satisfied
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about how the first half of 2019 has gone for me.
If you’re reading this as a fellow copywriter, I’m keen to know how the last six months have gone for you? Leave a comment or drop me a tweet (@RoseC_Leic).
If you’re a business owner reading this then hello and cheers for taking the time. You can head back to my blog and get more content advice for businesses.
Or if you’ve got a question about content marketing and copywriting for your business, I’m happy to help.