You want to know what it’s REALLY like to be a freelance copywriter?
Well, in this email I want to show you a side of the job that most people won’t tell you about.
True, it’s a far less glamorous part.
But as I told you yesterday — I believe sharing personal stories that other people won’t share helps build you a stronger brand.
So today’s email is a little longer than usual, because I’m going to share my honest thoughts on the experience of being a freelancer. Which means if you’re just after a quick sugar-hit, maybe tune back in tomorrow.
Otherwise, let me tell you about what happened to me today …
For the last four years, the lion’s share of my copywriting work has come from one client.
Well, earlier today I went to log into my company email.
And … it didn’t work.
“Your password was changed 1 hour ago,” said Gmail.
Well, I didn’t change it.
So I sent a text to my client:
“Did you change my email password? Because we might have a security issue here.”
He … texted back an emoji of a crying owl.
(Which I took as an all-clear on the security front.)
But then he said:
“Didn’t you get my email?”
“You mean to the email address I just told you I am locked out of?” I replied.
He messaged back one word:
And then, nothing.
Then 5 minutes later an email came through to me at my Persuasive Page address:
Subject: See ya later!
Well, it’s time to officially draw a close to the business.
And as a practical matter, that means we are ending your contract, effective today.
My accountant is cc’d into this email, and will be in touch with the formalities.
And … that was it.
I felt … a sense of shock.
I honestly was not expecting this email.
I sat there for a moment, silent.
And then I felt …
Okay, so this isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Turns out, I’m still engaged as a contractor. And, I’m on good terms with my client still. But going forward I will have much less work from him than I used to.
And … I couldn’t be happier.
See, I’ve been Head of Operations at this company for quite a while. And managing a giant info-publishing business has given me a skillset most other copywriters would kill to have. I’m not just a copywriter; I can manage teams, optimise rebill campaigns, hire staff, and do all sorts of things your average ‘writer’ can only dream of.
But that role also meant being on-call ALL the time … and plenty of time spent in meetings, and managing projects, and generally doing things OTHER than what I actually like. Which is writing copy.
And honestly … I was starting to get a little jaded.
Thankfully, we made the decision to end this business a while ago, and it’s been winding down since June. I was expecting a formal discharge soon (though today was a little earlier than I expected).
But for the last few weeks, for the first time in years I’ve been able to finally focus on my own business, plus a few other clients I’ve wanted to help for a while.
And you know what?
It’s been AMAZING.
Today — before the email that ‘fired’ me — I rode my bike down to a cafe to catch up with a client and come up with business ideas.
Other mornings I get to just sit there for hours, pumping out emails and leads and concepts for sales pages.
And I take Wednesdays off to take my kids to Japanese playgroup, and then bring Eli to his swimming lesson.
I honestly have never felt happier in my job than I do right now.
And it made me realise something:
I used to be incredibly cynical of people who promoted the “freelance copywriting lifestyle”. (You know … charge people a lot of money. Work wherever you want. And all you have do is write copy!!!)
For starters, it’s not so easy to charge people a lot of money and have them happy to pay it. I know.
Also, “work anywhere and anytime” always seems to translate to “work everywhere and all the time”. Yeah, yeah, you can work from a park bench, or an Airbnb, or a Starbucks in Osaka. I know — I’ve done all three. But you know what? Who WANTS to spend their time at the park, or their holiday to Japan, working on a project for a client? Trust me. It’s overrated. And so I’ve always disdained anyone talking about how great the “freelance lifestyle” is.
But I have to admit … I’ve changed my mind somewhat.
When you’re writing the right copy, on jobs you like, with clients who truly respect and appreciate you, getting paid very well, and you really are so busy that you don’t care what clients say, because you don’t need them …
Well, it feels good.
Even though I’ve softened up on the idea of the idyllic freelancer’s lifestyle …
I still despise people who sell it as if it’s something easy to get.
Truth is, I don’t think I’d be where I am now if I hadn’t done the hard yards to earn it. And there is DEFINITELY no one “program” or “course” that’s going to get you there.
And that includes Inbox Detonator, the coaching program I’m currently running in beta.
The students in there have already been blown away by just how much time and wisdom I’ve given to them in less than two days. Some are having me help with client work they’re doing (hey, why not?). And by all accounts, it’s already paid itself off for several of them.
In fact, MY main concern is that I’m spending so much time on guiding my students, I’m not leaving enough for other projects! Which is why I’ve closed this coaching off to new entrants — joining the waitlist via my email list is the closest anyone can get at the moment.
But even Inbox Detonator isn’t going to take anybody to “living the dream” after just one month.
It’ll help point you in the right direction … but copywriting, like anything, takes a lot of work if you want to be world-class.
That’s not sexy. But it’s the truth.
And I hope that one thing you can count on me to tell you is the truth.
(Okay, okay, so I do like doing the ‘sexy’ selling thing too. But also the truth.)
All right. That’ll do it for now. Got a sales page to get back to. Because after meeting with my client today I came up with the most amazing lead … and I need to go polish it. I might even show it to you one of these days …