Today marks the two-year anniversary of my “leap of faith”.
No, I wasn’t leaping off the roof of a building. I was walking out through the glass doors like everyone else.
Okay, maybe I was skipping a bit. I certainly had a spring in my step. Because while they were all leaving the office for a couple of days, I was leaving it forever.
Two years ago today I left the organisation I’d worked at for 20 years to become a freelancer.
It’s something I’d always planned on doing. I just wasn’t expecting to do it quite so soon. Or so suddenly.
I’d read enough books and talked to enough people to know this isn’t something you do on a whim. You needed a lot of money saved up, and a large enough list of regular clients to make at least something resembling an income.
I had neither. But I had a dream, and I wasn’t about to give up on it now.
I cashed in some of my superannuation as a way to keep myself afloat while I was starting out. But while the work slowly trickled in, the money flowed out, and pretty soon I was relying on a NewStart allowance from the government to keep a roof over my head.
But as time went on I started picking up clients, mostly by recommendations and word of mouth. (Despite having my website brilliant designed by the team at Men With Pens, it took me a while to get it up and running.) I read some amazing stories, and got to know the amazing people behind them. It’s one of the best things about being an editor–every book, ebook, article or whatever you get to work on is an opportunity to learn something new. And it’s a privilege to think you’re one of the first people to hear what these writers have to say.
At this point I didn’t consider myself a copywriter. Sure I could write, but copywriting is a lot more than that. No, I was quite happy to let someone else come up with the words, and then let me fine-time them a bit.
Then one day a friend and fellow copywriter spend the best part of an afternoon on the phone with me (it may have been Skype) going through a piece I’d written and pointing out how I could make it better. It was a hell of a lesson, and for the first time I felt confident enough to try it myself. Later on I was lucky enough to enrol in one of the best writing courses around and improve even more.
I’ll always consider myself an editor first and a copywriter second. But thanks to Glenn and James the gap between them is a lot narrower than it was. (And if either of you are reading this, thank you.)
These days I get to “hang out” with a whole bunch of great copywriters (thank you, Google+) pretty much every day. Thanks to them I’m always learning something new—even if it is just another example of what people shouldn’t be writing.
I’ve come a long way in two years (although you may not think so looking at my bank balance). I took the leap of faith, and survived. And while it’s certainly been rough at times, it’s still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
And I think that’s definitely something worth celebrating.