That depends. Are you ready to let go of being a teacher?
I ask this as a copywriter of over a decade, and an ex-teacher. The question, for me, is not about whether you can be a copywriter, it’s about whether you can un-teacher yourself.
Teaching provides a massive range of transferable skills. But skills and experience are vastly different things, and unfortunately, the majority of teachers considering copywriting as an alternative career are doing so because of their experience.
Teaching is not fun. It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never known burnout on a scale in any other industry, nor have I known an industry in which employees are treated so badly that almost half of them plan on quitting in the next five years.
44% of England's state-school teachers plan to quit by 2027, according to the latest NEU poll.
Since I launched my mentoring service for new copywriters, over 90% of the women on my programme have been teachers or ex-teachers.
Here’s what they always ask:
“How much can I make?”
“How long will it take me to replace my salary?”
“How do I find work?”
I answer these questions in my free 30-minute sessions for new mentoring enquiries. You can book yours here.
Here’s what I ask teachers, though:
“Why do you want to be a copywriter?”
What I hear back is usually the answer to, “Why do you want to stop teaching?”, and I get it, you just want out. When I left my teaching job, I was depressed and utterly burnt out. I was often late, not because I’d got to school late, but because I couldn’t will myself to get out of the car once I’d arrived.
When I think back to working this way, I can’t believe I didn’t leave sooner. Jumping into the unknown was scary. Staying in that situation was worse.
Teachers often work themselves to the brink because of the pressure put on them. This is the very thing you have to undo if you want to be a copywriter. Copywriters are creative. You need a mind that’s free to create and think. Forcing yourself to work every waking hour to get more done is the opposite of what will make you successful, and that’s the big thing I ask people to get their head around. It’s not about whether teachers can be copywriters. Of course they can. It’s whether they can free their mind and the way they work to do it.
Here's a test:
You have complete control over your working week. COMPLETE control. No boss. No SLT. No expectations from anyone except yourself.
How many hours do you work?
If you want to answer any number that roughly translates as ‘full time’, stop and ask yourself why.
I’ve already pointed out that working more does not equate more success. Working enough to succeed is different, but part of being a copywriter (specifically, a self-employed one), is about understanding your own ambitions.
For me, that’s having enough family time. I want to be there for the school run and to take time out to take my youngest to playgroups. I’ve built a copywriting business around that specific goal. I don’t want to work full time, so I don’t.
That means I have had to learn enough about business to be as successful as I need to be, without working full time. I’ve learned first-hand over the last decade how to become fully booked on my own terms, and how to build a sustainable way of working that supports my family and lets me live the way I want to.
I’m not a six-figure coach. I’m a real-life mentor. It’s the consistent reason the women on my programme work with me – they just want to know they can do it.
Real life isn’t about creating dollar signs everywhere we look and sipping a coconut on a beach, laptop in hand. It’s about living the life we know we want to. For most of us, that’s being comfortable, paying the bills with ease and spending time how we choose.
Yes, teachers can be copywriters, but you have to let go of working to others’ expectations. Yours are the only ones that can drive you forward in this career.
Are you ready to consider your next step? Book your free 30 minute call with me to ask any questions you have about freelancing, setting up a business or building your copywriting skills.
If copywriting skills are what you want to focus on, have a look at my course here, designed to take you through the core skills needed, one task at a time, with feedback on your final piece of work.