[ Copywriting #1 ] “What Do You Actually Do?”

Image credit: DaviesMoore

I’m a copywriter.”

After the awkward silence, I usually say: “You know when you click around the internet and find one of those pages with bold text and yellow highlighting? And you know those videos you can’t pause?”

They’re usually scowling by now.

“Yeah. Sorry.”

A year ago I was working 12 hours a miserable week in retail. Now, I have a ten-year plan involving ISA’s and maybe two wolfhounds either side of my (marble) throne on the cover of TIME.

So, to clear up any confusion, here’s what a writer’s working life actually looks like.


I’m a copywriter: lucky and self-employed, registered with HMRC and Santander. The non-existent contracts, flexible hours and work-from-home nature of the job means life and work have bled into one seamless endeavour.

This means I have to be ruthless about clients, selfish with my time and territorial about my workspace because I have to enjoy it. This is home.

THE COMPANY

100% self-employed. I outsource tax returns to my accountant, who ensures everything is cool. I’m moving everything under the umbrella name BS Copywriting, because why the hell pass up that opportunity?

THE WORK

Sales copy, direct response and digital content: anything you read on the web which sells a product or service. (I write blog posts too.)

  • Emails
  • Sales letters
  • Facebook posts
  • Video sales letter scripts
  • About Me’s, bios, landing pages, email opt-in forms, and other bits and pieces

I don’t do:

  • Facebook ads (too fiddly)
  • Amazon product descriptions (too restrictive)

…But if you need those, I know a couple guys.

THE PROCESS

Prospective clients get in touch with me via Facebook 99% of the time. We talk about what they need, how I can help, and work out a deal.

I invoice them, receive payment, then write and deliver the copy. They say thank you. The great ones feed back on how it performs.

THE CLIENTS

99.9% from the USA. Which means I invoice in dollars, have to charge 5% extra for PayPal currency fees, and juggle timezones.

Entrepreneurs, other copywriters, product developers, digital marketing agencies, and anyone who needs solid copy.

THE WORKING DAY

The Wake Up: varies, but usually around 7am with the husband. Coffee. Feed cats. Eyes begin to focus.

The Commute: go downstairs, usually still in pyjamas but I might put on trousers if the to-do list contains srs bizness.

The Office: Facebook. I’d be fired in any ‘real’ working environment — it’s where I communicate with clients, promote myself and network. The Rich20Something group is my cafeteria. The Cult of Copy is the newsroom.

The Workspace: IKEA Finnvard/Linnmon desk with iMac in my living room.

The Hardware: Google Docs with Dropbox, Chrome, Skype, pen and paper, and I really should set up Calendly at some point.

The Morning (8am): work through to-do list: new projects, revisions and messages.

The Break (12pm): walk 20 minutes downtown listening to music, thinking about how I should be listening to podcasts. Brainstorm fiction scenes. Run errands.

The Afternoon (3pm): resume morning’s work if not finished, or work on current fiction project. Sometimes lesser obligations, like laundry.

The Evening: a gradual winding down depending on work left to do/ energy levels. Dinner and chain-viewing Family Guy.

Bedtime: setting a terrible example. On my iPad ’til gone midnight. Unread books by bedside. By now my fewAustralian clients are having brunch and all fired up about a project, so I message them with flagrant disregard for my circadian rhythm.

THE REVENUE

This is what you scrolled all the way down for, eh?

It’s decent.

THE GOAL

Mercenary.

To fund savings, investments and freedom. To develop fiction, and to soak up knowledge about persuasion and sales techniques to better write and market my own books.

(Later, world domination.)


TL:DR — what I actually do? Persuade. Entertain. Sell… and feel lucky to do it.