An Interview With Andy Maslen – Part 2: Freelancing

In our last post, we brought you the first instalment of our interview with Andy Maslen talking about copywriting.

In this second instalment, Andy talks about working as a freelancer.

Andy Maslen on Freelancing

1. What prompted your decision to go freelance?

I got sacked while on holiday and realised I didn’t want to be a marketing director any more.

2. How do you make sure you manage your time effectively?

I’m not sure I always do, but I try always to write copy between 8.30 and 11.00 a.m. because that’s when I do it best. I ensure we have deadlines for every project, then stick to or beat them. I have an office, not a space in the house. We have a dog and two children to look after as well, so there really is only a finite amount of time for working – that concentrates the mind, I find.

3. What would you say is the biggest challenge of working on a freelance basis?

It has to be money, doesn’t it? If you don’t work, you don’t make any. That would lead you on to selling yourself. So that’s the number one challenge. I happen to enjoy selling, but I know a lot of freelancers don’t.

4. What are the advantages of being freelance?

Where do we start? Freedom, up to a point. Earnings potential, ditto. No office politics. It’s very motivating running your own business, too.

5. Do you have any tips on how to network effectively?

To paraphrase JFK, ask not what this person can do for you; ask what they can do for your network. I’d also say, figure out who you want to work for then identify people who could help you enter that market. If you want to work for international oil companies, you probably won’t need to worry about your local business breakfast club. You might, though, need to fly to Dallas for a conference. And also, get over your shyness. Everybody feels a bit nervous, so practice your introduction: smile, shake hands and say, “Hi, I’m Andy. What do you do?” (You’ll get your chance to say what you do in a minute or two, but asking questions is an easy way to develop quick rapport.)

6. As a freelancer, which marketing tool have you found most effective?

These days, as MD of a copywriting agency, my reputation seems to open the doors. When I didn’t have a reputation, I used to telephone people I wanted to work for, or write to them. My newsletter, Maslen on Marketing, is a great marketing tool, and we devote a lot of time building our list.

7. What advice would you give someone who is considering going freelance?

Build up a six-month financial reserve. And either be good at selling, become good at selling or hire someone who is good at selling. I’ve written a book called Write Copy, Make Money that gives a lot more detailed advice, including interviews with some pretty successful freelance copywriters – you included Sally!

8. Just for fun, what little known fact can you tell us about Andy Maslen?

I once went on a summer holiday with John Mackay, who went on to play guitar for Souxsie and the Banshees.

9. Is there anything you have in the pipeline you want to share?

We’re launching a new venture called The Andy Maslen Copywriting Academy. It’s a website with a free resource centre and we’ll be running a ten-week online course in copywriting twice a year, in March and September. The 2012 course starts on 10 September. The site’s in beta just now but it will be at


Thank you so much Andy for taking the time to do this interview. As for all you copywriters out there (established or just starting out), you can get your hands on Andy’s books here. Plus, you can sign up to Andy’s Copywriting Academy and receive his 5 free resources (including his newsletter) here.


Andy Maslen F IDM

Andy Maslen is Managing Director of Sunfish Ltd, a copywriting agency specialising in corporate publicity, direct marketing and subscriptions. He writes and speaks regularly on copywriting and corporate communications and is a best-selling author.

Andy has worked with, among others, The Prudential, Nobel Biocare, The Economist Group, Emap, the DTI, BBC Worldwide, Hamleys, The London Stock Exchange, The British Standards Institution, the RSPB, Time Out, The New York Times Company and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Andy is a lifetime Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing and author of Write to Sell: the Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting; 100 Great Copywriting Ideas: from Leading Companies Around the World; The Copywriting Sourcebook: How to Write Better Copy, Faster – For Everything from Ads to Websites, and Write Copy, Make Money: How to Build Your Own Successful Freelance Copywriting Business, all published by Marshall Cavendish.




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