New Year is always the perfect time to reflect – but it’s even more important to look forward. So, as I jump feet first into 2018, ready for all the new opportunities ahead, I’m taking a few tips and lessons learned with me from my first freelance year:
• Don’t put anything off until tomorrow (within reason)
You never know what opportunities or work may come your way at any time, but if you’ve delayed things and have a backlog of work you might not be available to snap them up and could miss out. So, as tempting as it is to push your to-do list into tomorrow, stay as up-to-date as you can to make the most of your time.
• Networking is vital
That age-old saying of ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ has survived for a reason. Whether you gain work from a network instantly or have to work at it, word of mouth referrals are worth their weight in gold. Be social and turn up. The more people get to know your face and what you do, the more work will come your way.
• Market yourself 1 day out of 5
As marketers we plan our clients’ campaigns and stress the importance of a marketing plan like we do a 5-a-day diet, but often don’t practice what we preach. Marketing ourselves is just as important as promoting a client. Market yourself when you’re busy – if you wait for some downtime it will take longer to pick work up again.
• Don’t take your clients for granted
It’s easy to get comfortable and rely on regular work. There’s nothing wrong with that, provided you remind yourself that your clients can go elsewhere at any time. You’re only as good as your last job, so treat every project like it’s the first one and give it your all – gung-ho with gumption (and slap your thigh panto-style from time to time if it helps with motivation!).
• Never underestimate the importance of helping others
I don’t know about you but helping others makes me feel fantastic, in fact I find it a little bit addictive to help someone else at some point during the working day, week month or whenever an opportunity should arise. Whether it’s completing a survey, sharing a tweet, giving someone a well-deserved pat on the back, offering encouragement, or doing a good deed – we all need help at some point, tomorrow it could be you, so take time out of your day today to help. 52-lives is a great place to start.
• “There’s no friends in business”
These are words a business consultant threw at me during an early 121 and I couldn’t DISAGREE more. I’m not saying you should be best friends with your clients but I strongly believe that people buy people – and if you’re likable, others will enjoy working with you too. You don’t need to be a ‘friend’ to be ‘friendly’, approachable and easy to work with.
• Don’t be afraid of the competition
As a copywriter you belong to a wonderfully unique club where your competitors welcome you to the fold and are often the ones who support you the most. My greatest allies, colleagues and friends are other copywriters.
• Learn from your mistakes
Everyone makes them, so don’t be afraid to too. When things go wrong shout ‘plot twist!’, learn from it and move on.
I’m looking forward to 2018 being the best yet. Yes, there will be ups and downs and the odd storm along the way but it’s riding the waves that makes life even richer. See you on the beach!