Freelance Copywriter: This is What I Do

Freelance Copywriter: This is What I Do

I am regularly asked, “What do you do”? Some people ask me a few times as it doesn’t sink in straight away. For the few who don’t know, I am a freelance copywriter (my work website is here) and have been my own boss for coming up thirteen years now. I can tell people this and still, people aren’t 100% sure what it means. Do I copy things? Do I stop people from copying things? Not quite. 

What Do You Do?

I am a freelance copywriter. I write content for clients. Content can include anything from website content, blog posts and articles, product descriptions, sales and marketing information and much more. As a freelancer, I don’t work for anyone. I am not employed. As a freelance copywriter I work with a number of clients, some regularly and some on an ad hoc basis. I have a contract with each client. I have to source my own work, nothing is given to me. Fortunately, I rarely have to go looking as word of mouth works well for me and I regularly have enquiries hit my inbox asking about my availability. 

I work with a variety of different clients, from one who is pretty big in the vaping industry, to a fab wedding photographer, the owner of a single parenting resource website and many others. Over the course of the month or year I can work on a huge number of topics, from digital marketing to food organisation, SEO to finance and some rather “unique” topics too. I once wrote for a client who ran a website that produced products for pampered pets. Really pampered pets. Like Kardashian-level pampered. 

I work with small businesses, start-ups, huge corporations, charities, public sector, the private sector and individuals. I love the variety!

Freelance copywriter, common computer issues

A Freelance Copywriter Doesn’t *Just* Write

The bulk of my work is of course writing. There’s more to it though. As I run my own business I am responsible for:

  • *Finance/Bookkeeping
  • All Admin (From client onboarding and contracts to emails and more)
  • Sourcing Clients
  • Contracts
  • Website Maintainance
  • Social Media
  • AnalyticsThe list goes on….

*I have an accountant who does my year end accounts and sorts my tax return for me. He is an absolute gem and if anyone is looking for an accountant in Thirsk please let me know as I’d be happy to give a recommendation.

Where Do I Do It?

I work from home, from Caffe Nero, from a coworking group (more on this in a mo) and with a fellow freelancer. The beauty of my work is that I can work anywhere with a decent internet connection. While I love working from home the ability to remote work appeals to me. If I’m having one of those days and I know that I’m not that motivated (I’m human!) and Netflix is calling, the laundry pile starts to look attractive and I suddenly have the urge to reorganise kitchen cupboards I know that I need to go and work somewhere else.

Often I work somewhere else purely because I like the buzz! Take Caffe Nero for example. Our local branch (Thirsk) is fabulous and incredibly freelancer-friendly. There are often 5-6 people at any time on their laptops or taking meetings in there.

Freelance copywriter, coffee, caffe nero, Thirsk

Who Do I Do it With?

As a freelance copywriter, I work alone in my business but I work alongside numerous people. I work a couple of times a week with my good friend and fellow freelancer Gemma Symmonds of My Little Graphics Co. She is an incredibly talented graphic designer (get in touch with her if you need a GD). We work on our own projects but will occasionally collaborate. She keeps me motivated and is great company. 

I set up the Thirsk Coworking Group back in 2017. I am used to working by myself and am fine with it but recognise that others can struggle with the isolation and that sometimes, working alongside others can help with motivation, productivity and that a little accountability can go a long way. I currently run two coworking sessions a month that are completely free. There’s no membership or anything else. These sessions are not networking sessions. People pitch up with their laptops, we chat for a few minutes, then all crack on, then chat, then work. It works! The TCG has become very popular. 

Thirsk Coworking Group, Nicki Cawood, Freelance Copywriter

 

Why Do I Do What I Do

I went freelance back in 2006 after my eldest was born. I wanted to be at home but still work. I didn’t want to pay for childcare five days a week and I didn’t want to miss anything. My eldest walks to school on his own now obviously but I do all of the school runs for my youngest, go to all assemblies, can help with school trips, never miss a sports day or anything else. I can be completely flexible around the needs of my family, and it works! If one of them is poorly, I don’t need to feel bad, apologise to my “boss” or use holiday time. I just rejig things a little.

Family flexibility isn’t the only reason I do what I do. I do it because I love it. I love the freedom, the work, the clients and the fact that there is no cap on my earnings. I’m not held in by salary banding. I work when I want, with who I want to and I set my own prices.  

This is Me!

This is me and this is what I do. I love my work life and it offers me work-life balance that I couldn’t have enjoyed in my previous career. Being my own boss works for me. I can’t imagine being employed by someone else after all of these years! You can see more of the daily happenings over on my “business” Instagram.

Now I want to know what you do! 

Nicki Cawood, Freelance Copywriter

 

Keeping Compliant as a Freelancer

Keeping Compliant as a Freelancer

Being a freelancer can be a very liberating experience, yet with all that freedom comes responsibility and occasionally loneliness. I’ve been doing this for more than twelve years and it isn’t just a case of being a copywriter and writing, I need to know about current law around compliance, GDPR etc AND more! In this blog post, I’m going to take a look at some of the key components of being compliant as a freelancer to ensure you don’t get yourself in hot water along the way.

ACCOUNTS

If you’re used to being paid as an employee, then you will be used to having your tax deducted prior to it reaching your account.  However, as a freelancer, you are responsible for paying your own tax, and as such, you can find yourself in quite a predicament if you forget, or spend it, prior to it being due. This is something that you need to make a good habit early on.

On the plus side, there are many companies such as Qdos Accounting that can not only help you to remain compliant but can help reduce the amount of tax you do pay, as the majority of business expenses are tax deductible. This is a complex area, particularly when it comes down to aspects like home offices. I did my own books/accounts in the early years and I have to say that employing an accountant was by far one of the best business decisions I made.

GDPR

No matter how large or small your business, there’s a good chance that  GDPR is going to affect you. The GDPR is in place to make data processors more responsible for the information people give them, in this sense, it extends beyond most basic data protection policies and is in place to stop people abusing the information they hold. It is important to keep on top of GDPR in terms of being compliant with legislation in your business. To no do this could cost you money, your reputation and land you in hot water. None of this is good when you just want to get on with your freelance work.

CONTRACT LAW

The law of contract is pretty simple.  The reason a contract exists is to protect both parties entering into it, and the most important aspect is to clearly define the tasks and expectations; both in terms of requirements and reward.  This way, everyone knows where they stand and if there is an issue down the line, you can both refer to the contract agreed to in the first instance.

In simple terms, a contract is the exchange of promises between parties. Despite this so many freelancers I speak to don’t have contracts with their clients. Make this a priority if you want to protect yourself and your business.

contract, compliant

MISREPRESENTATION

This is a particularly pertinent aspect of law for freelancers. Misrepresentation is simply misrepresenting something material, for instance, it could be a qualification or something you have said the customer will get in order to induce them into sale. If you are found to be misrepresenting yourself the contract is likely to be rescinded (withdrawn) and the other party is unlikely to be held responsible for paying you any money. The key is to be transparent. Don’t say you can do something when you can’t, and basically do not lie about any aspect of your business.

NEGLIGENCE

Finally, negligence is where you carry out work without a reasonable standard of care.  Negligence when driving is when a person is found to be driving without due care and attention, which is similar in business, in that if you make a mistake that isn’t intentional but was a little reckless you could be guilty of negligence.

If you are accused of being negligent, then the other party is likely seeking damages to compensate them for any loss suffered as a result of your negligence.  It, therefore, pays to take this aspect seriously, and many freelancers know the importance of being able to demonstrate they took reasonable steps to ensure no negligence occurred. Good insurance is a must when you are a freelancer, as is, of course, being compliant.

These sorts of things aren’t what you went into business for and they don’t come up when you imagine your perfect working day. Ensuring that you are compliant in all of these areas is an important part of being a freelancer so don’t get caught out.

 

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