It happened unexpectedly, but quite like the many books on writing that I have read. I won't pretend that it took some magic formula, unless you consider the right place at the right time a magic formula.
I've been running my website for over a year; I update it and it's contents regularly. Unbeknownst to me, a friend was developing a product and company that he wanted to launch. Jeff was deep into the development phase and had put no work into the marketing phase. He just didn't have the time. He had started researching freelance copywriters that could handle the copy portion of the business while he focused on the UX (user experience) of the app associated with his product.
Around this time, while in a group text with his friends—one of which is my husband—my website was mentioned. Now, before you start thinking that this was a freebie or that someone threw me a bone, read on because that is not the case.
Why He Chose Me
Jeff is serious when it comes to business ventures, and he does not make decisions lightly. My husband didn't realize that by telling everyone in the group text to check out my website that it would lead to anything more than maybe a few more subscriptions to my email list, at best.
Jeff knew that I wrote novels, but he did not know that I write copy at my day job. He checked out the copy on my website, which includes my blog, bio, headings, and reviews. He reached out to me and asked me if I had any copy experience. Due to the structure and staffing configurations at my day job I have been tasked with writing the majority of the copy for the company's brochures and business letters for the last few years. I also played a major role in the re-branding campaign that the company launched in 2018. This amounted to extensive experience that I shared in my first copywriting conversation with Jeff.
That phone call landed me the copywriter role, but that's just where my freelance copywriting journey began. After a few more conversations, and deliverables that I provided to him, he offered me the marketing campaign and more control over the message to our audience. We worked really well together and shared a similar vision for the brand—that's imperative for a partnership like this to thrive.
The 4 Key Ingredients that Kicked Off My Freelance Career
I read a lot of books about the business of writing. It's not just about how to write well, it's about how to run a business. I'll admit that working in marketing during the day gave me the advantage of having experience in networking, sales, and setting business goals; however, there was plenty to learn.
From the beginning I took my website seriously. It requires constant updating and curation. I did a lot of research before launching my site because it's more than just splashing the page with a few pictures and writing a blog. My website isn't a closet or secret hideout. I meant it to be found. So the first thing I did was create a chart and mapped out what I wanted my site to look like and what I wanted my message to be. From there I laid out all of the keywords that would enrich my site for SEO. (Hint: Wix helps out tremendously with this process—I recommend them for website hosting.)
I want to be a writer. I feel it deep in my heart. It's what I think about almost as much as I think about my family, maybe equally. If I want writing to be my sole career, I can't rely on fiction novels alone. The chances of breaking out into a career built solely on novels are not great. At some point you'll have to factor in other forms of writing jobs to supplement your work-in-progress babies. I looked into other writing jobs and came across copywriting. This was essentially what I did at work everyday—and quite frankly the only part of my job that I don't loathe. I read everything that I could on the topic so that I could strengthen my skills. I even signed up for podcasts, and subscribed to copywriting newsletters. Whatever tools were available, I grabbed them.
I made my talents public knowledge. There was a point when I was very shy about sharing any information about my writing. I feared the criticism that all writers must one day accept as part of the process—if a writing career is the ultimate goal. How was I supposed to build a writing career if no one knew that I was a writer? I went public with my website and spoke up about my writing to anyone that lended an ear. This might be the most important key ingredient of the four listed.
With no prior freelance experience, would someone else have given me the chance that Jeff did? Maybe not. But, that's exactly what most books on writing describe the writing journey to be like. Sometimes it's luck, sometimes it's being in the right place at the right time, sometimes it's who you know. However, had I not taken the steps above first, there is zero chance that Jeff would have even considered me for the role. How could he? How would he have known that I had copywriting in my repertoire? The answer is he wouldn't have known, and that would have been a missed opportunity.
This has been such an exciting experience. I can't wait to share more information about the project that I have been working on with Jeff and the wonderful company that he is building. It has an amazing message; one that I am proud to be a part of sharing.