A review of 2019 and my first year in business
I find it hard to believe that this time last year, I didn’t have a single paying copywriting client. I had a crappy website and a couple of friends happy to be ‘guinea pig’ clients.
But I had no clue how to turn my interest in writing into a business.
12 months on, so much has changed.
I now have a great new website but it’s been missing a blog.
I’m offering an end-of-year blog package. So I thought I should answer my own questions and share a bit about the evolution of Angela Pickett Copywriter.
1. What does Angela Pickett Copywriter do?
I’m a copywriter, which means I write for business, government and not-for-profits. I write website content, blogs, press releases, annual reports, product descriptions, newsletters, reports and proposals.
In my first year I have:
- Worked with small business clients on websites and product descriptions
- Provided pro-bono work for Foundation Barossa (I’m also a board member)
- Worked on a team of over 20 writers to update the DFAT Smartraveller website
- Provided updated website content for tour agencies in the US and Italy as part of a global team
2. What were your plans for 2019?
I didn’t really have one.
At the start of 2019, I decided I wanted to be working for myself by the middle of the year.
I started showing up more in the Clever Copywriting School Facebook group, asking questions and do the work.
I made sure people knew I was serious about becoming a full-time copywriter.
3. What have been the highlights of the year?
I think the biggest highlights have involved being part of a couple of amazing teams.
Thanks to the Clever Copywriting Community I got my first small editing job.
Then I put my hand up to sub-contract to one of the more experienced members in the group. I spent 4 months working with some amazing writers to update the DFAT Smartraveller website.
An introduction from a friend in Italy saw me become part of a global team helping tourism businesses in the US and Italy improve their guest experiences.
4. What didn’t go so well?
I’m still learning how to schedule time. It’s hard when timings depend on receiving feedback from other members in the team or my clients.
Finding a balance between enough work and being overloaded can be tough.
I’ve learned some great lessons on financial management and pricing.
I set up good financial systems in Xero and followed Profit First, with separate bank accounts for profit, tax, business income and expenses.
I pay myself a set percentage of each project. The best thing was starting with the right mindset about valuing my work.
5. What will I do differently in 2020?
I’ll be more proactive about marketing myself and scheduling in client work.
I’ll also track my time better so I have a clear idea of how long each project takes. Apart from helping with my scheduling, it will mean I can provide a better service to my clients.
I’m going to start acting like the CEO of my business. Over summer, I’ll plan for the next 6-12 months, with goals that I can measure each month.
I’ll also implement better systems and processes so I can use my time more effectively.
6. Biggest surprise/unexpected result
The biggest surprise about working for myself has been the friendships I have made.
Working for yourself can be lonely, but thanks groups like the Clever Copywriting School, Digital Masterchefs, Freelance Jungle and SA Woman, I have the most amazing, generous and supportive group of colleagues.
I’m amazed by the generosity shown in these groups. Sharing both work and honest accounts of the challenges of small business life.
7. What made me the happiest?
Receiving great feedback, from a client or from someone I’m sub-contracting for makes me happy.
Building my website and writing the copy (as excruciating as it was to write about myself) was really satisfying
Writing this post, and looking back over the last year has put a huge smile on my face.
8. Where did you make the biggest impact in 2019?
I’d like to think I have made an impact on every project I have worked on.
In the first project I worked on with do it well, we increased transactions by over 300% thanks to updated home page copy and tour descriptions.
My work with Foundation Barossa has also been rewarding. I’ve written over a dozen press releases sharing the work we have done to support the Barossa community.
9. Share a story about a great employee or customer experience.
From the time I signed up to Kate Toon’s copywriting community, I’ve received the most amazing support.
She shares honestly and openly about her own business experience and gives so much time to her communities.
And in doing so, she has created a spirit of generosity that wouldn’t normally exist between competitors.
10. Share a story about working with your community or industry group.
My local, real-life communities have been a huge influence on my business.
Attending my first SA Woman event not only led to me being a part of Workspace Barossa but I’ve made some local business connections, many of whom I now consider friends.
11. What did I learn this year?
I’ve been writing for over 20 years. But this year, thanks to training and my amazing mentors, my writing has improved.
Working on the Smartraveller website taught me about UX (user experience) and the value of plain English. It also introduced me to Visible Thread, a fantastic tool for improving the readability of your writing.
Working with do it well on teams spread across the globe has been easier thanks to tools like Trello, Slack and Google Drive – not to mention scheduling and time zone apps.
The Recipe for SEO course gave me a solid grounding in SEO (search engine optimisation). My ongoing membership of the Clever Copywriting School and Digital Masterchef groups (both run by Kate Toon) has provided ongoing support and the latest advice and training in everything to do with copywriting and digital marketing.
12. Plans for summer
The next couple of weeks will be busy as I wrap up two overseas projects and a local website project. There’s a school concert and basketball carnival for the boys, and a few Christmas lunches. There are fruitcakes to bake (I’ve been making the same cakes since 1990) and presents to wrap.
But then we’re off to NSW for two weeks with family and friends.
I’m planning to be back at work on Monday 13 January. I’m looking forward to spending some time relaxing and reading.
So there you have it, my year in review.
Thank you for reading and thanks for being here and supporting me this year.
I hope your 2019 has been fantastic. If you’ve decided that 2020 is the year for a new website, a regular newsletter or blog, I’d love to work with you.
Over to you
If you’d like to write your own review of 2019 (and share your plans for 2020), sign-up to my email list for the full list of questions.
I’d love to read your post, so please share it with me.
And if you’d like some help writing your blogs, I have a few spots available for my end-of-year blog package.
Merry Christmas and all the best for a safe, happy and successful 2020