These are the three words that spring to mind when I consider the last 18 months. Let’s rewind to just before the shitstorm that kicked off in 2020 to January that year. I had just committed to taking five weeks off from my business to travel with my family. We were making the most of the time before my daughter started school and switching on the longest Out of Office I’d ever managed. I’d saved hard to make this work, but the idea of not working for five weeks made me nervous. I figured I’d come back and dive back in, working hard from February for most of the year. And then March happened. Words like ‘pivot’ and ‘survive’ were everywhere in business communities, but I’m choosing one to mark that period with a more positive stance. Adapt. Here’s how things have played out since then.
My clients were mostly small businesses, including a lot of sole traders. Projects I had lined up were pulled or postponed through fear of spending. I got it - risk was everywhere. Just breathing had become dangerous overnight, why would anyone want to spend money on content right now?
It was a true period of survival mode – at work and home. The news was worse every day and the only option was to keep going. I was going to stay healthy and keep my business alive. So, I adapted. I worked with a business coach, narrowed my focus and became intent on offering the best copywriting service I could to people who really needed it. Other services got scrapped, my clients began to change and my business adapted. All of this was just a stepping stone to get to where I am now.
At this stage I was no longer in a state of panic. I wasn’t pivoting to survive. I felt confident, back on my feet and I was evolving my business to fit my interests and work in new markets. I collaborated with others for the first time to take on larger (much larger!) projects in the charity sector, and worked with my first international organisations. At the same time, my usual clients were regaining their confidence, and restarting their projects. I was busy. Busier than ever, and under an ever-increasing workload I found myself facing a choice to say no to work I loved or start outsourcing.
This was a hard one for me, but the move to work with others was incredibly positive. It showed me I didn’t hate the managerial side of project work like I’d suspected – I looked back at my previous corporate roles managing teams and felt nervous I would dislike the process. But I was building connections and working with people I trusted, and crucially, working on my terms, and terms I was making sure worked for others.
Almost a year on, I have built my network, begun to build my team and built my client base. I have grown my business authentically, intuitively and at a pace that suits me, my family, and my goals. I’m offering a full content portfolio that matches what organisations need. This isn't a new, digital agency. This is a team offering traditional, core content that supports organisations to fulfil their comms objectives.
From now on, blog posts will be signed off by me, so you know whose brain the thoughts have sprung from. On occasion there’ll be thoughts from others too.
This is by far the most exciting phase of business I’ve experienced (unless you count entering into a pandemic exciting, which is possibly true but far scarier). The one thing that has made it possible though has been the connection to others. Coming from a solo freelancer position is one often thought of as quite, well, solo, but the last year and a half has shown me how brilliant it is to work with others. I’ve now collaborated with other content and copywriters, a brilliant proofreader and editor, and others to compile my new and exciting offering, but the door is never closed. I plan to connect more and more as the year goes on, so please get in touch if you feel like we should chat.
One other achievement to list? I’ve written the majority of this post left handed, which I am not, while serving as a pillow for my other new focus, my eight week old daughter who loves sleep, as long as it’s no further than four inches from my face.
Until next time…
Is freelancing something you'd like to do? People new to business have benefitted from my freelance mentoring scheme. Right now, it's in its pilot phase, meaning you can secure sessions with me without a scary price tag, and launch your freelance business with my experience in your back pocket.
Here's what freelance copywriter, Hazel thought:
"It was really great speaking to Laura - her friendly manner instantly put me at ease and she helped give me the reassurance I needed that becoming a freelance copywriter is right for me. Her experience and knowledge came through and, knowing she’s been in a similar situation to where I am now, I felt that I would be in good hands under her mentorship. I’m looking forward to working with her more and getting my new career off the ground."
Find out more here: https://www.ellastcommunications.com/product-page/copywriting-mentoring-pilot-scheme-invite-only