Entries Tagged 'freelance copywriter' ↓

Successful Home Working – How to Adapt from Office Life

Isn’t it everyone’s dream? home working

Working from home, no long morning commute, peace and quite and being on time for dinner every night.

It sounds idyllic, but for many it’s a culture shock too far.

So how do you successfully adapt from an office life to one working from home?

The office

Life in the office can be frustrating, political, competitive and noisy.

But having said that it’s a dynamic environment full of like minded people who you can bounce ideas off, have a laugh with and confide in.

Of course, the downside is that you have to be at your desk at a certain time and, at times, can feel pressured to be the last one to leave to show your dedication.

That’s why so many people want to work from home, but is it really so idyllic?

Working from home

I’ve been working from my home office for about 10 years now (in various roles, presently as a copywriter) and have learnt how to cope with the different pressures and difficulties home working throws at me.

1. Designated workspace

The most important aspect of successfully working from home is having your own dedicated workspace.

Using a room that has a double purpose (i.e. your office that’s also your kitchen/dining room/living room/spare room) is doomed to failure from the beginning.

You must have your own space that you can set up as a permanent office that feels separate to the rest of the house.

My office is downstairs. Its sole purpose is as an office so all my computers, papers and files are set up as I want them without having to clear everything away at the end of the day.

2. Schedule

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep a regular work schedule.

OK, there’s no boss breathing down your neck if you’re not at your desk by 9am, but that doesn’t mean you can just drift in and out whenever you feel like it.

It’s important to structure your day as if you were at the office. Make sure you’re at your desk at the same time each day and finish on time. When working from home it’s very easy to be sucked into the ‘just 5 more minutes’ mentality that inevitably sees you still at your desk at 10 o’clock at night.

Have a set start and finish time. Although be prepared to be flexible, especially if you also have a family to think about.

3. Breaks

Without the chatter of colleagues and the lure of the staff room, it’s easy to sit at your desk in the morning and not move until you run out of steam in the afternoon.

Regular breaks are essential to keep your motivation and energy levels up. Get out for some fresh air, have a coffee with friends and make sure you take a lunch break. That way you’ll break up your day (just as you would in the office), you’ll get some fresh air and that much needed human contact.

4. Dress

No one can see you. There’s no boss to have a go at you. However, that doesn’t mean you should sit at your desk in your PJs.

I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that you don a suit when working from home (unless you really want to), but dress smartly to reinforce the fact that you’re at work.

5. I’m working!

Another thing to consider, especially if you live with someone else and/or have a family, is to get other members of the household to appreciate the fact that, although you’re at home, you’re working.

It’s very easy for people to think that because you’re at home you can also get the housework, washing and all manner of other household chores done because simply because you’re there.

It’s up to you to make sure they understand that you are working.

If you want to work from home can be isolating so it’s important that you chat with colleagues just as you would in the office, but on top of that, you must also be:

  • Disciplined
  • Motivated
  • Organised

Pretty much the same qualities you need in an office environment too, you just won’t have the boss breathing down your neck all the time.


Image courtesy of iconmac/FreeDigitalPhotos

Freelance Copywriting Help – There’s no ‘I’ in Interview

As a freelance copywriter you will, at some point in your career, have to interview a client. Interviewing copywriting clients

Ideally, you’ll be doing it a lot, as it is by far the best way to get the information you need to create winning copy.

So, what do I mean by there being no ‘I’ in interview?

Well, you’re conducting the interview to gather information; you need to come away knowing:

  • Who your client is and what they do
  • Why they do it?
  • Who they do it for?
  • How they help their clients
  • How they want to come across in their marketplace
  • What their brand image is
  • How they want to sound

And that’s just for starters.

But have you noticed something about that list?

It’s all about them – your client. There is nothing in that list about you and that’s just how it should be.

Being your client

There are people out there who see copywriting as simply writing about a company and its products or services.


For starters is should be about your client’s customers and the benefits they receive as a result of dealing with your client.

But it’s also more than that; when writing for your client you have to forget about how you would phrase things or the vocabulary you would use and instead write as though you were your customer.

Obviously, you would use the techniques within your writing that you know work, because you’re a copywriter and your business is writing great copy. But every piece of work you do should be different, because every client you work with is different.

Taking on someone else’s persona is not an easy task, but if you want your copy to appear genuine, it’s what you have to do.

So don’t go into a client interview with preconceived ideas of how you’re going to write for them. Just because they’re an IT company and the last job you did was for another IT company, doesn’t mean you can get away with writing in exactly the same style because they’re different companies.

Forcing a client into a preconceived idea or template is asking for trouble. As a writer you have to be able to mould your writing style to the personality of your client and, if necessary, blend perfectly with the existing voice used on their other marketing materials.

There’s no room for egos in copywriting. It’s your job to meld perfectly with the company’s personality and brand image.

The Great Work From Home Vs Office Debate

This post was prompted by an interview on BBC Breakfast this morning. The discussion centred around whether workers should be allowed to work remotely and why some companies insist on their staff being in the office.

Of course, technology today means that working remotely is easy with very few barriers to overcome, but is it really the most efficient and effective way of working?

Before I began my copywriting agency I used to work in a traditional office environment, actually is was a bank. Needless to say due to the nature of the work I did, remote working wasn’t a consideration. Being in amongst my colleagues meant that there were always people to ask for advice, always someone to bounce ideas off and a real camaraderie. Granted, at times it could be a noisy and distracting place to work, but on the whole it seemed beneficial.

Then I went out into the big bad world of business alone. Suddenly, rather than being surrounded by friendly faces I was on my own. Overnight I had become the boss, financial controller, marketing director, sales executive and customer service officer – quite a leap. But more than that, I’d gone from an office of 20 -30 people to an office of 1.

Now my colleagues were virtual and could only be contacted by Skype, email or phone. None of these are exactly difficult to use, but it wasn’t quite the same as being able to turn around and speak to someone on the desk next to me.

To my surprise it didn’t take me too long to get used to this new working environment. As I became a competent tweeter my network widened even further to include other professionals with expertise in areas that I knew nothing about.

Although the buzz of a hectic office was gone, I found the silence comforting and beneficial. So much so that now, should I have a second person in my office, it is very annoying and makes it very difficult for me to concentrate on what I’m doing.

Home or away?

Whether you should or should not allow your workers to do their jobs remotely comes down to the business you’re in.

If you’re working with confidential information then it’s a no brainer, unless you want sensitive data left in the back of cabs or on trains. But if your workers are doing a job that doesn’t demand high levels of security, that doesn’t require them to work constantly within a team environment, then why not  let them work from home?

Some companies argue that it is beneficial for their staff to work within their team, so they have people to refer to because it enhances their knowledge and will help them to become better employees. OK, for some that might be true, but for many people the option to work from home at least once or twice a week would benefit them greatly. And it they’re happy and it makes their lives easier, surely that will bring benefits to the company too?

After a quick glance at the i newspaper at lunchtime, a story about Yahoo! caught my eye. Apparently they have banned their staff from working from home. A memo was sent by the company’s head of resources told Yahoo! staff that they had until the summer to migrate back to the company HQ in Sunnyvale, California or forfeit their job amid mounting concern that workers were “hiding” from bosses who had lost track of who was supposed to be where and doing what.

The memo went on to say “to become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side by side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings.”

The article then goes on to say that in response, Richard Branson commented that “If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, maintain regular communication and get the right balance between remote an doffice working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality.”

Over to you

Whether you’re an employer or an employee we’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

Do you wish your company would let you work from home? Perhaps you’d prefer to remain in the office?

Whatever your thoughts, air them in the comments section below – I’d love to see what you have to say on this issue.


Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd

Starting Your Own Business: a few words of experience

The following guest post was written by Vicky Fraser. The author’s views are entirely her own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.


Anyone who has started their own business knows that it’s terribly exciting – and also that it is, on occasion, terrifying and confusing. There is a wealth of advice and information out there on making the decision to go it alone, and how to go about starting your own business.

But what if, like me, your motivation is more immediate? You don’t so much plan to start your own business as windmill into it headlong with a massive dose of enthusiasm and very little business knowledge to go on.

My motivation was The Worst Job in the WorldTM. The choice was leave, or become (more) ill – genuinely. So I left the job.

Lean on others and use your contacts

I was exceedingly lucky: some old friends who run a creative agency that I’d worked with offered me some freelance work, and my new career snowballed from there! I had always wanted to run my own business, so off I went.

Now, about 50 per cent of my clients come through the agencies I work with. These are contacts that I knew from previous jobs, courses and friendships – and they’ve proved extremely valuable.

The old cliché is true: it’s not necessarily what you know; it’s who you know. Use your contacts and if they’re not appropriate, use their contacts! Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family, too: if you’re good, they’ll know it. People prefer to do business with those they know, like and trust so start with your nearest and dearest.

Business advice and finance

I had work coming in – but now what? Like many freelancers and small business owners, I knew what I was doing when it came to writing, PR and marketing; but when it comes to the ins and outs of running your own business, I was a complete novice.

It is very easy to waste an enormous amount of time and energy on the administrative side of starting your business. Being organised about your tasks and commitments (work, study, home and leisure) is absolutely essential. Being realistic about what you can and can’t do is also key.

Consider using an accountant, especially if you’ve set up a limited company. Doing it yourself may be a false economy – work out how much your hourly rate is, then estimate how long you’ll spend on your accounts. You may be surprised. There are a number of excellent resources online – I cannot recommend SJD Accountants enough for their free advice and information, including downloadable accounts spreadsheets and freelancers’ guides. Likewise, HMRC are a mine of useful information about corporation tax and VAT – not to mention personal accounting.


Never underestimate the value of a support network. There are many and varied business networking groups out there, and there will almost certainly be at least one in your area. I attended my first local networking event recently, and it was £15 well spent (tax deductible, of course!).

Not only did I meet several freelancers (copywriters, graphic designers, photographers and others) to add to my network of talent, I met a group of like-minded, creative, friendly people who all have similar goals. They were generous with their time and experience.

Networking will gain you new contacts and new business opportunities; but it will also give you a support group who are in the same boat, facing the same issues and challenges. That’s worth its weight in gold.

My local group is the Leamington Tweetup, which is a social media-based networking group. There are bound to be similar organisations around the UK (and the world) – but the Chamber of Commerce is probably a good place to start.

Good luck!

Starting your own business is hard work. Let’s make no bones about it: you will work harder than you ever have in your life.

However, it will be the most rewarding work you ever do! Everything you work for is for the benefit of you and your family, rather than for your employer. There’s nothing like working for yourself to get you motivated.

Be prepared to be short of free time, and probably cash, for a while. Work hard, keep your goals in mind, and have fun. There is help and support out there, so take my advice: grab all the help you can get, and enjoy your new life.

Good luck!

Vicky Fraser is a freelance copywriter and marketeer based in Warwickshire. Being a science nerd undertaking a physics degree, she specialises in simplifying and clarifying scientific and technical copy but writes about all manner of things for a wide variety of clients. She blogs about science, freelancing and writing – amongst other things.

Freelance Survival Tips

A lot of people dream of ditching their boss. Freelance survival guide

No more 9 to 5, no more tedious meetings, no more ‘wage slave’ status.

But is it really greener on the other side?

Going freelance definitely gives you an added dimension of freedom than being an employee, but it’s not all a bed of roses.

Firstly, you can kiss goodbye to a regular pay slip. The earning power of the freelancer can outstrip the regular employee, but it is also notoriously unpredictable.

Secondly, although there are no constraints for 9 to 5 working, certainly in the early days you may find your working hours are longer as you try to get established. But the up side of that is that you’re doing it for yourself and not someone else, so you’re more likely to put up with it.

Thirdly, when working for someone else, there’s always another person near by to pass work onto, an IT department not far away when your computer goes wrong and various other experts waiting in the wings when you need them. None of that will be available to you when you go it alone.

But despite all of that, freelancing is a great way to work.

Coping on your own

There will be times when you find yourself under immense pressure.

You’ll be sat at your desk working to tight deadlines, the phone will keep ringing and your inbox will be filling faster than an Apple store at the launch of the latest iPhone. Gradually, you’ll feel the pressure bearing down on you. So how do you cope?

As soon as you feel the dark mist forming, step away from your desk and do something else. Take your dogs for a walk; if you don’t have any, take yourself for a walk. Just get out and switch off.

If you don’t, you’ll end up as the crazy person on the bus no one wants to talk to.

Twitter is also a great substitute for the ‘office’. It’s a great source for research, finding the suppliers you need to help you (especially with things like IT and debt chasing), a sounding board and general camaraderie.

Building a virtual team

Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you have to work completely on your own. Let’s face it, you can’t be an expert in everything, so you’re going to need to find people you can delegate to.

It’s a great idea to build a team around you of fellow professionals you can call on when you need them.

That could be a designer, programmer, writer, accountant, computer whizz, credit control specialist…the list is endless.

At least that way, when something goes wrong and you need a bit of expert help, you know you have someone to call on.

Surviving the day

One of the key skills a freelancer needs is organisation.

To be productive, it’s essential you plan your day. Assign certain blocks of time for each project you’re working on to make sure you don’t waste time. And that includes things like marketing, accounting and other paperwork.

It’s also important to take regular breaks to recharge your batteries. Plus, it will get you away from your computer screen.

If you want to be a successful freelancer remember,

  • Build a support network of experts around you
  • Pass on the jobs you’re not skilled at to those who are
  • Plan your day effectively

Sally Ormond started her own freelance copywriting business in 2007 and has worked with numerous high profile companies, helping them communicate effectively with their customers through the written word.