Updates. Ideas. Rants. Techniques. Opinions. Blog.

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Making Sense of your Freelance Income

With National Freelancers Day 2017 coming up on June 8th, existing and aspiring freelancers are coming together to talk about the issues of doing it for yourself.

Here’s a prediction: expect to see the web full of blog posts and articles about becoming a freelancer, working from home, maximising your rates, and winning work.

But that’s just one side of things. What happens next? What do you do once you’re up-and-running? How do you handle the money (or lack of it)?

With inconsistent income, feasts and famines, managing your revenue as a freelance copywriter (or any kind of freelancer) isn’t easy. In fact, I’d say it took me six of the eight years I’ve been in the business to get a workflow that worked for me.

And so, whether you’re already freelancing or just thinking of getting started, here’s a little guide to what I did – and what I do now to keep things organised.

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Three Things I Learned in 2015

When your seasonal blog post starts life as relevant, passes through 391 days of making your website look dated, then becomes relevant again, you have two options.

You make the most of that fact and get on with some real work, or you finally accept that it’s time to put a new post online.

And what better topic than the issue of not blogging? What exactly have I been doing for the past twelve months? And, if I’ve not been sharing things I’ve picked up during the year, could I share them all at once now?

Yes, I can.

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You Lost Me At Model

It’s Christmas! Almost.

And (spoiler alert) Christmas is all about selling you stuff. Retailers are having the time of their lives, but they’re also facing cut-throat competition where only a perfect little Penguin will do.

Everyone’s trying hard for a heartwarming Christmas ad. But not everyone’s doing a great job.

Sorry.

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You Haven’t Got Time to Read This

So, I haven’t been the world’s best blogger lately.

In fact, I haven’t posted for what seems like an age. There’s only one person to blame.

Wait, no. It’s not me! No, I’m innocent in all this. The only person to blame is you. If you’re a client, you’ve taken up my time with, you know, writing copy. Copywriting. You should be ashamed.

But I’m not writing this to diss you on the internet. I’m writing this to say thanks.

Because it made me realise something quite useful.

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Swiped: Jehovah’s Salesmanship

I’m not saying Jehovah’s Witnesses have got it wrong.

That’s the first thing I wanted to say. This isn’t about religion, or about what you should believe in. It’s about copywriting (which I suppose is what you’re expecting).

But being a copywriter is being able to sell, at least in part. It’s about telling people about something you have to offer, explaining how it will help them, and pushing them to take action on it. To buy it. Or buy into it.

Recently, I had regular visits from a Jehovah’s Witness.

I kept inviting him back because, truth told, I wanted to take the opportunity to ask him about lots of things I never quite understood. Why can only a certain number of people get into heaven? If that’s the case, why are you telling everyone to join up?

He cleared things up. He answered my questions. But, above all else, he was trying to sell me on an idea.

And I think we could all learn a thing or two from his techniques.

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Four Obvious Things About Running a Copywriting Business

Nobody’s asked, but you might be wondering why I keep stating the obvious.

Well, when I wrote Four Obvious Things About Copywriting, it was because these were things people sometimes seemed to forget.

The very basics of copywriting. The things you know instinctively, automatically, and from the moment you write your first piece.

They’re forgotten because they’re too obvious. They’re not creative. They’re not clever. They don’t make people say ‘Wow, you’re such an imaginative little fellow.’

But they do help sell things. Which is good.

Now, I’ve decided to state some obvious things about running your business. You can read Four Obvious Things About Running a Copywriting Business as a guest post over at Copywriter Collective.

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How to Get More from Interviewees

A guest post from Lauren Holden.

“So, tell me more about your inspiration for Plankton Portraits,” I asked the man responsible for bringing this intriguing exhibition to Lancaster’s Maritime Museum.

“Errr, plankton,” he swiftly replied, before adding, rather rudely: “What a stupid thing to ask!”.

Admittedly, I might have worded the question a little differently, but I was fairly new to my role as reporter at Morecambe’s The Visitor newspaper and I was still learning my trade. Just then, something my wise old dad told me during my years serving meals to the sometimes less-than-polite punters in a well-known restaurant chain popped into my head.

“Joe Public is an a**e.”

Even, it would seem, when you’re doing him a favour – and promoting the event he’s hoping will draw in a sizeable local crowd.

It’s the same when you’re interviewing copywriting clients for case studies, or getting to know a person so you can get to know their brand.

So, just how do you get the most out of an interviewee, a subject for a newspaper piece or a copywriting client?

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