Entries Tagged 'Achieving goals' ↓

Do You Have a Dream Team?

No two people are the same.

We all have different strengths and weakness and excel in different areas. That’s why, for your team to be successful, you must have a wide range of people types.

That is the view of Don Fornes, CEO and Founder of Software Advice who has identified different psychological profiles, such as the ‘Giver’, ‘Champ’ and ‘Matrix Thinker’.

The one I want to look at in this post is the “Savant”.

They are amazing at what they do.

According to Don:

“Highly-functioning Savants can apply their innate ability, intelligence and determination towards the development of exceptional talent in a single field. They tend to be skilled writers, researchers and engineers.”

But at the same time they tend to be introverted and can struggle in social situations.

So what are their qualities?

Well, a Savant is usually:

  • Creative
  • Independent
  • Committed
  • A problem solver

Why does your team need them?

Simply because they’re great at what they do and because they tend to find one thing they are good at (e.g. writing, researching or engineering) they can provide your team with the expertise it needs to flourish.

Many writers show characteristics of the Savant because of their innate ability to learn and desire for perfection in everything they do.

But at the same time, these traits can cause problems. Their social anxiety can make them poor communicators, they can encounter self-doubt and depression when they discover they can’t achieve perfection in every aspect of their lives and, being non-conformists, they can challenge authority leading to clashes with management.

I’m a writer, am I a Savant?

As a copywriter, Don’s post would suggest that I am a potential Savant.

Am I creative?

Yes, I spend every day creating copy for my clients.

Am I really good at what I do?

I guess you’d have to ask my clients that one, but judging by the testimonials, recommendations and repeat business I get, then I’d say yes.

Am I focused and determined?

Most definitely, because I won’t give up until a project is complete and, when required, I can turn around work quickly.

Do I love to learn?

Considering I always have my nose in a book (when I’m not working), then yes, I do love to learn.

Am I a perfectionist?

Most definitely, in all parts of my life, I won’t let anything get the better of me. Even if it’s something I’m not the best at, I always give it my all to do the absolute best that I can. But if it falls a long way short of others, I do have the tendency to doubt myself and get very down.

What about social anxiety?

With friends and family I’m fine, but put me in a business networking environment and I clam up.

I have been working on this aspect of my personality and have started making inroads. It’s still far from my favourite activity, but I’m getting there.

Do I challenge authority?

This is where I differ from a typical Savant. Confrontation is something I avoid at all costs; so no I don’t tend to challenge authority.

What about you?

Do you recognise yourself?

Perhaps you’re one of Don’s other psychological profiles?

For any team to thrive, multiple personality types are a must. Each brings its own take on things giving a wider perspective on the project you’re working on.

What’s your take on this?

Do you believe we all have a ‘type’, or do you think we meld our personalities to the situations we find ourselves in?

Leave a comment below.


Thank you to Software Advice, who commissioned the original research, for allowing me to comment on their research.

Cycle Challenges – Newcastle to London in 24 Hours

Yes, I know this blog is normally about copywriting, marketing and social media, but I hope you’ll forgive this one transgression.

When I’m not working as a copywriter, I’m a keen cyclist (possibly the fastest copywriter on wheels?) and a volunteer with the Make A Wish Foundation.

This year I was given the opportunity to combine the two – cycling and Make A Wish supporting.

It was challenge that involved cycling from Newcastle to London, 300 miles in 24 hours – non-stop, organised by RIDEUK24.

RIDEUK24 cycle challenge

The smiles at the start line were in spite of the ominous looking black clouds that were gathering overhead. We kidded ourselves that it would stay dry, but soon realised that was pie in the sky when, after only 10 miles, the heavens opened and it didn’t stop until we reached London.

The first 123 miles or so went well. Although I cycled much of it on my own, I managed to average just under 18 mph. But then the sun started to fade.

cycling in the rain

The night cycling stages were horrendous. I did stay with a group, but cycling in the pitch black with only a small amount of light from our bike lights breaking through the gloom, was terrifying. The rain wasn’t helping and the lower temperatures meant we all started getting very cold.

I was pleased to see the sun come up (well, the light, still couldn’t see the sun because of the cloud), an hour or so into stage 6 although I began to flag as exhaustion was really starting to kick in.

After a quick stop at Buntingford for some food, I got back on my bike for the final 34 miles into London. Boy, is cycling in London scary!

food stop

I was so relieved to see the finish line and even more relieved to see I’d completed the challenge in 23 hours and 15 minutes.


The organisation by RIDEU24 was amazing. The food stops (of which there were 6) provided everything we needed, including somewhere to get out of the rain. There were medics and mechanics on hand if needed, making all the riders feel very supported.

But the best part of all was my fabulous husband who stayed with me most of the way round. After seeing me off at the start, he drove to various locations on the course to cheer me on and was then at every food stop (bar one, so he could get some sleep) to give me some much needed encouragement – especially in the early hours when I was (still) soaked, cold and tried and ready to give up.

Thankfully, just before the ride we discovered the Life360 app, which meant he could track me (through my phone) throughout the event, so he could find me along the route.

All in all it was an amazing experience. It’s now 2 days on and I’m pleased to say most of the aches and pains have gone, although I’m still very tired.

Everyone has been incredibly generous, helping me raise (to date) £1362 for Make A Wish, which is way beyond what I had hoped to achieve.

What’s next?

Well, I don’t have another crazy charity event lined up just yet, but I do only have 2 weeks before my next 100 mile sportive, closely followed by another 2 weeks after that.

Thanks for allowing me to ramble on off topic. Normal service will now be resumed.




Are You Asking Too Much of Your Website Visitors?

Audience engagement is the name of the game.

Everyone is trying to attract as much traffic as possible and then capture as much information about them as possible.

I don’t know about you, but I get a little bit hacked off at the number of sites these days that want you to set an account to access information. In fact, it’s pretty much at the point now that I won’t enter my details and come up with yet another password, instead I’ll move along and see if I can source the information I need another way.

I understand why marketers want to capture my information, but I often wonder whether they’ve actually thought about their web visitors much and the impact it has on them.

To show what I mean, here is an infographic that those lovely people at Convince and Convert have allowed me to reproduce (created by Janrain), which shows why 86% of users may leave a website when asked to open an account.


A Freelancer’s Life – Who Are You?

For many, working for yourself is a dream come true:Freelancing dreams

  • No more annoying bosses calling the shots
  • You can work the hours that suit you
  • You only work for the people you want to work with

Within reason, you can do what you want, when you want.

Of course, there is always a flip side in that you also have to be Jack of all trades – Managing Director, Finance Director, Operations Director, Customer Service, Sales Director etc.

But all that aside, there is one very important thing you have to do when starting out as a freelancer, and that’s deciding who you are.

Finding your niche

When you start your business, it’s vital you understand what you are and what you offer.

It’s very tempting to say…

 “I am a copywriter. Design? Sure, I can put something together for you. Run your social media accounts? Sure, no problem”

…because you don’t want to appear inflexible, but that could be your downfall.

Defining yourself and what you offer will help you focus your marketing activities to make sure you get in front of the right clients.

 Think marketing

Even though you’d probably love to be able to say ‘yes, I can do that’ to any job that comes along, just think for a moment about how you would marketing yourself.

If your materials and website listed umpteen different skills you could be watering down the effectiveness of your sales campaigns.

When I started out in 2007, I decided I would market myself as a copywriter. To some, even that was too wide and I was advised to specialise in a particular industry.

But I knew that wasn’t for me.


Well, the main skills of a copywriter are to put yourself in the shoes of your client’s customers to discover what it is they need to know to make them buy. Then you have to learn enough about the business to be able to sell its products or services. And you have to adapt your writing style to fit in with their existing brand and tone of voice.

To me, they aren’t industry specific skills.

And it worked. I knew who I was, how I was going to position myself in the market, and, 5 years down the line, business is great.

Where to start

So, if you’re about to head out into the world of freelance, here are a few things to think about:

  • What are your main strengths?
  • Are your skills niche?
  • Who would be your ideal client?
  • What will be your primary service?

Did you notice I mentioned primary service there?

Once you’ve established yourself and have been in business a while, there’s nothing from stopping you realigning your skills to your market. Perhaps it will become apparent that your clients also need another skill you offer (perhaps PR)? In which case, there’s nothing stopping you from adding that to your services list and marketing it to your new and existing clients.

What it all boils down to is that you must work out what you are – once you know that, shout about it.

Over to you

If you’re already freelancing, what was your experience when starting out?

If you’re just thinking about it, what are your plans?

Time Management for Copywriters

Time management for copywritersThe life of a copywriter can be a lonely one.

They spend many hours alone, working their magic on the English language to create powerful and persuasive sales copy that will blow their clients’ (and their customers’) socks off.

By there lies a potential problem.

How can you make sure you’re working efficiently when you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder?

Below are a few tips on how to make sure you don’t end up wasting time.

1. Remove distractions

If you work from a home office, it’s very easy to get distracted. Whether it’s by visitors, home phones ringing,  that book you’re desperate to finish  or the temptation to pop out of the office to take care of a household chore or two, they must be ignored.

Having a dedicated office, is a must. You can organise it in a way to suit you without having to clear your things away every evening.

If you work from the kitchen table, just think how much time you waste every week setting your bits and bobs up to start work and then clearing them away again so you can use the table to eat with the family.

2. No Facebook or YouTube

Even though you’re sat in front of a computer most of the day, it doesn’t mean you can idly search the web for your entertainment.

And just in case you were thinking that if no one sees you it doesn’t matter – it does.

Make a rule for yourself that you only ‘play’ online once your working day is over. That way, you can remain focused on the projects you’re working on during the day.

3. Learn to say ‘no’

Unless you want to be working silly hours to try and get your work done and deadlines met, you’ve got to learn to say ‘no’ to those clients who just want one more thing (and usually don’t want to pay for it), to colleagues who just call for a chat, to family who make demands on your time (especially during school holidays) and to projects you know you really can’t squeeze in.

That might sound harsh, but when working from a home office it has to be done now and then.

Make sure your family understand that, even though you work from home, you are still working and they have to respect your work time. And, if you’ve decided you only want to work a certain number of hours a week, stick to it and don’t take on that extra project that’s going to eat into your weekend.

It’s all too easy to end up taking on so much work you’re at your desk 24/7. So be sensible, decide on the number of hours you’re going to work and stick to it.

4. Calendar

Keeping a calendar is a simple but effective way of making sure you hit all your deadlines.

When you’re working on several projects simultaneously, it’s all too easy to lose sight of when each section of work has to be completed.

It will also give you an overview of your capacity for future projects to help prevent you from over committing yourself.

5. Daily to-do list

Don’t laugh, it really does help.

At the beginning of each week I make a plan of what I need to do and when. That way, I make sure my blogging fits in with my client work and meetings. And of course, it also helps to make sure nothing slips through the next.

Yes, it does have to be flexible because you never know what might come in, but at least it’s a way to plan your week effectively.

6. Email watching

OK, hands up if you have that little annoying pop up thingy that appears on your screen every time an email comes in.

It’s so distracting I want you to turn it off immediately.

Limit yourself to checking your emails once, twice or even three times a day. That way, you can get on with the task in hand without being distracted by an intriguing subject line.

7. Timed work slots

This is a great way to make sure you don’t run out of steam during the day.

From your to-do list, you’ll know what you need to do each day. So, allocate a time slot for each task. Once that time is up, have a break – leave the office, make a coffee, wander round the garden or even take the dogs for a walk.

Then, you will return to your desk refreshed and ready to tackle the next task.

Over to you

These are 7 things I’ve found really useful since becoming a copywriter.

Do you have other ways of managing your time?

If so, leave a comment below.