So we’re already into February and it’s time to publish my plans for the year ahead.
I deliberately set out not to set 2018 new year’s resolutions and, more controversially, not to put together a business plan until that first, tricky month was out of the way.
Experience has shown me that too much expectation in January tends to result in broken dreams and feelings of failure. Silly really. So I’ve been focusing my energies on getting updating my business processes and giving proper consideration to the year ahead.
Before I make myself accountable for my future plans, a little bit of background:
I set up, very quietly, as a freelance copywriter in 2015 and since then, I’ve worked on a number of projects. I started off by doing a few freebies for family and friends and then signed up to a freelance site to build confidence and get experience under my belt.
It didn’t take long to start getting direct enquiries via my website, which surprised me as I was new to copywriting and had taken quite a lengthy career break before. So over the last couple of years, I’ve worked for small businesses and a couple of bigger brands (who unfortunately requested I signed a Non Disclosure Agreement, so I can’t name them).
Looking ahead, I want to continue working for small and medium businesses. Mainly because that’s what I enjoy the most and, as a parent carer who works part-time, I’m wary of the time commitment bigger companies will want from me.
My main offering will be content for business websites and business blogs, but I’m happy to consider other projects (for example, last year I wrote a series of guides for an accountancy firm).
How I want to improve my copywriting business this year
Networking and marketing my services
Firstly, I need to get much better at promoting myself. It’s been a real block for me that I’ve struggled to ‘put myself out there’ despite having good review from the clients I’ve worked for.
This is partly due to logistics, as I am a parent carer to a child with autism and partly because I believe I communicate more effectively in writing.
I started out trading as MK Word Studio – a name I came up with and went with because I loved it. With hindsight I think the name wasn’t quite right as the word ‘studio’ has a bit of an agency feel, resulting in the wrong type of enquiries.
So rather than continuing with a business name as such, I’m simply going to market myself as Alison B Copywriter, which is the handle for my social media channels and better for SEO purposes.
It’s easier to remember, makes it clear I’m a one-man band and not a company and has more of a personal touch.
Continuing Professional Development
My best learning has been through working with clients and consuming the huge amounts of helpful content aimed at copywriters in the form of blogs, podcasts and downloads.
I’m planning to publish a diary of my ongoing CPD efforts for social proof and for general information purposes, so don’t miss that. There’s so much information and advice out there – I want to share it with you.
I do think it’s good to undertake some formal training every year (previous courses include The Complete Copywriter, Breakthrough Copywriting and Hubspot Academy inbound marketing).
This year I have my eye on a couple of new courses. I don’t plan to offer social media management as a service, but I do want to get better at using it myself and to be able to offer added value to my clients by improving my own knowledge. I love social media but I know I could be doing more with it.
I’m planning on completing the Hubspot Academy social media certificate, which is being released in the spring.
The other biggie is SEO. I’ve consumed so much content and information about SEO over the last couple of years and the only constant I have found is that there is no constant! It’s ever changing and the advice varies massively.
I can add value to your SEO strategy through writing high quality content, naturally including keywords and relevant synonyms and optimised for readability.
I do want to increase my knowledge and although I will never market myself as a techy SEO expert, I think I can add further value by increasing my knowledge.
As well as keeping up with current advice from experts such as Hubspot and Yoast, I have my eye on some SEO Copywriting courses to formalise my knowledge. There’s a lot of views around whether it’s necessary to complete a copywriting SEO course – the main argument being that you can learn it all online anyway – however I don’t think it can do any harm and it will add further proof of my knowledge and skills in this area.
Website updates (including pricing)
I’ve created a lot of new content for my website in order to target the right clients. The most crucial change is pricing. In the past I haven’t published fees as each project is priced individually.
However, I know that I can be reluctant about making queries when there is no ballpark figure to be found so after much thought, I have gone ahead and published my fees.
The fees published are not set in stone – prices will still vary depending on the type of project, research required, complexity of subject matter and word count. But potential clients will have a much clearer idea of the possible cost.
So that sums up my business plans for 2018. What about my other life?
Although I shied away from the usual 2018 ‘new you’ rubbish, I am putting health and fitness at the top of my personal list. What I’ve had to come to terms with over the last few years is that raising a child with autism isn’t an easy gig.
Image by Pixabay.com
My son is vulnerable and he relies on me. So health and wellbeing are more important than ever.
I’ve already been making dietary changes throughout January and upping the amount of exercise I get. Sleep and drinking water are top priorities too. They’re all obvious steps, but they do make a massive difference. The problem with me is that once I start to feel good, I let things slide. And then I’m back at square one. So I’m making a big commitment to myself to remember self-care and I hope you will too.
I’m also taking time to indulge myself with a few creative hobbies – photography and calligraphy. Both for fun, rather than professional purposes, although never say never… Creativity is good for the soul!
Image by Pixabay.com
I love Instagram, which is a great place for sharing creative outlets and making new connections – if you fancy looking at my photographic efforts (some are better than others), getting to know me and day-to-day snippets of my life please do follow me there: alison_b_copywriter There are no sales pitches, just one link to my business website – my account is for engaging with other humans, which is important when working alone. If they turn into clients, that’s a bonus.
And of course, the important one: family life. Having a child with special needs has changed everything forever. I think we’re doing okay – both boys are happy – I just need to keep my eye on the ball and remember that they are my ‘why’.
Everyone has to have a why!
So, will I actually do all of this?
I’ve built my knowledge and experience slowly over the last couple of years. It’s been difficult. I’ve had to stop at times to get on top of things. But I’ve never let a client down, always delivered on time and always worked hard to create good content.
Despite setbacks and the occasional confidence issue, there’s still a consistent voice in my head telling me: “You can do this. You’re good at what you do.”
I’m giving that voice the respect it deserves. And if you’re a small business owner, I suggest you do the same. 🙂
That’s enough about me! If you made it this far, thank you and I won’t make a habit of publishing lengthy articles about myself.
Let’s talk about you instead. I would love to hear about your plans, goals and dreams for 2018 and what you are going to do to overcome any difficulties.
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