I don’t have what you’d call a typical “business story”. (If there even is such a thing.)
The TL;DR version
Until a couple of days before I started doing what I do now, the idea of being a copywriter never even crossed my mind.
I started copywriting and blogging purely as a stopgap. I was living overseas having graduated with a double major in Journalism and Asian Studies, a writing portfolio filled with over 7 years' worth of published newspaper articles, and a seriously cool internship at NPR.
I had sent out over 200 resumes with no result. When I saw the ad for the content mill, I thought, “Hell, I can do that,” signed up, and that was that.
It was only meant to tide me over until I could find a “real job”. You know, the one that I’d been groomed for since childhood, the one that had been promised as the prize at the end of my years of religious prep school, volunteer work, unpaid internships, and college degrees … except oh, right, that’s not how it works.
So even though this was just a stopgap, I’m constitutionally incapable of doing something half-assed, so I got into it deep.
I started applying for writing jobs online — anything and everything. Cruise line lawsuits? On it. Parole letters? Done. Breast augmentation blog? Sure thing — do you want me to lean towards silicone or saline?
I worked my ass off, giving clients a 24 hour turnaround, taking on jobs that other people didn’t want (3,000 words on the top 25 reasons that ERP will kill your medical practice, anyone?) and turns out I was pretty damn good at it. Good enough that people started recommending me to their friends, and then good enough that people started hearing about me randomly from others in their industry.
It was a crazy amount of work — much, much more than it had to be because I was learning the industry from the ground up. But I (eventually) started to figure out how to get the best clients instead of just a lot of clients, how to avoid the huge pitfalls that people who work for themselves face every day.
And then something weird happened. I started to fall in love.
What started out as a marriage of convenience turned into a love match.
I became charmed by the delicacy of phrasing it takes to sell something really well; I fell for the precision of great editing; I fell head over heels in love with the magic that is helping other people find their voices, and I became infatuated with the freedom of the job as I hopped between Greece, Hong Kong, the US, and the UK.
It wasn’t an easy realization.
I freaked myself out about it endlessly, wondering what I was doing, how something this out of what I had been trained for could actually work out, and even did a master’s degree at a fancy pants university on the side because I was too afraid to commit to the job as being my job.
But I was in love. So much so that when the uni I did my master’s at asked me (and then asked me again) to stay on for a cushy PhD, I turned them down, along with the traditional job security it very likely would have led to.
It hasn't happened according to the business narrative you see splashed around a lot on Facebook (and I say narrative, because guys, there's no way that there are that many people with shiny hair getting themselves out of grinding debt in six months, moving to Paris, having a six figure launch within the year, and then having a business that runs exclusively on rainbows and butterflies).
But like all true love stories, it's been exhilirating, scary as hell, illuminating, punctuated by moments of despair, driven forward by a deep passion, and above all, absolutely addictive.
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