5 Podcasts You Need to Check Out

I’ve been off the radar for the past week. Any spare moment in the car, out walking, around the house has been spent hooked up to the memoir Alone: A Love Story. Michelle Parise’s lilting voice has been in my ear, regaling me with her epic tale of heartbreak and the breakdown of her marriage after an infidelity. I’ve never listened to a podcast with such obsession. I’m four episodes from the end of the 20 episode marathon. And it’s very much been my kind of marathon. Here’s why you should give it a listen, along with 4 others that are my current faves.

Alone: A Love Story

For when you have time on your hands and want to be swept away by a great story

Set to a kick-ass soundtrack, the story of Michelle’s relationship and its subsequent breakdown is completely addictive. It moves seamlessly back and forth to reveal more and more details of her love story. It’s also brutally honest. Michelle holds nothing back when sharing intimate details of her relationship with The Husband, later The Ex-Husband and her subsequent lovers. The story is sometimes sad, sometimes funny, awkward, moving and brave.

Being Boss

For when you need a no bullshit business boost or someone to talk some sense into you

I feel like I talk about his podcast a lot. Partly, that’s because since I’ve discovered it, I’ve been keenly exploring the very extensive back catalogue. Even though Kathleen and Emily have been recording since January 2015, there’s no need to listen in order. I just pick and choose the episode topics that interest me the most. Over the years, they’ve hosted some pretty inspiring guests too, like Brene Brown who spoke about creative vulnerability, and Danetha Doe who chatted money, mindset and energy. I feel a strange synchronicity with this podcast, where new episodes often align with some element of business that’s been on my mind. Spooky.

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For when you're behind on current events and the stuff everyone’s talking about

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales are funny. Really funny. Their conversation rambles, taking many twists and turns, but it’s always intelligent and entertaining. 30 minutes snappy episodes, where you get to eavesdrop on some highly engaging, witty chatting.

Making Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution

For when you’d love a bit of a history lesson and to celebrate your love of all things Oprah

I recently came across this fantastic WBEZ Chicago podcast Making Oprah. 30 years since Oprah debuted, it tracks her journey in a three-part series. It was fascinating to learn about the early days of the show, to hear from Oprah herself, rival Phil Donahue and a bunch of her former staffers. On my must-listen list is the latest WBEZ podcast Making Obama, a 6 part story of his climb from Chicago to national stage as US President. I can’t wait!

The Slow Home Podcast

For when you need to slow down, or when you feel disconnected

This podcast was recommended to me by a friend, who I consider to be fairly mindful and calm. I confess it took me a while to get around to it, but now I look forward to spending time with husband and wife Brooke and Ben as they talk topics such as, the joy of doing nothing, the importance of getting back into nature, presence over presents and many more. When I’m feeling a bit bogged down in ‘stuff’ or ‘busyness’, tuning into The Slow Home reminds me of the importance of slowing down and of reconnecting. Simple stuff, but somehow so hard to do sometimes.

Enjoy discovering a newbie or two from this list. There’s something there for whatever mood you find yourself in. I’d love to know some of your favourite podcasts, too.

Be in touch and tell me what I should listen to next!

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What I’ve learnt in my first year in business

That first year in business. Would we still do it if we knew how hard it would actually be? The fact that you’re really ‘on’ 24/7, making very little money and frantically upskilling well outside your comfort zone? I would. Because, as tough as the first year has been in many ways, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

Here are 11 important things I have learnt over this past year working as a freelance copywriter.

1. Mindset matters

Your mindset and attitude go a long way to ensuring you can go the distance! Things like goal setting, staying focused and thinking positively really do make a difference. I nourished myself with exercise and yoga, fuelled my passion for learning by listening to podcasts and reading, and networked with like-minded people. Importantly too, I spent time with my family and friends who centred me.

2. A network works

Having a powerful network around you is essential, including family, friends and professionals. Nurture these relationships. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone when it comes to professional networking (even if, like me, the idea terrifies you). I hunted around to find a business networking group that felt like the ‘right fit’, sought out like-minded types on social media and learnt to talk about myself and my skillset.

3. You have value

It is important to charge what you’re worth, perhaps not in the earliest of days, but once you become more established. Some small business owners are dead-against offering mates’ rates or freebies, but I’m open to it in the right context. It can be a good way to build up your client base and gather testimonials. Just make sure you have the time for it or you’ll find yourself resenting it. You might not always make the ‘right’ decision around this - I certainly didn’t - but it’s all part of the learning process. Always ask for testimonials too. They are gold! Let your happy clients do the spruiking for you!

4. Don’t wait

Stop waiting around for the perfect moment to start - it’s not coming. The time is now.

5. Trust your gut

Don’t waste valuable time over-thinking everything. Of course you’ll be winging it at times, especially in those early days. Be kind to yourself and trust that you’ll make the best decision you can in the moment. Just a note to trust your gut (especially when it comes to more difficult clients). Nine times out of ten, you're probably right.

6. Understand your client

In the beginning, it can be tempting to want everyone as your client. Unfortunately, this broad approach may mean you end up pleasing no-one. Try to understand your ideal client or customer by getting into their head (find ‘types’ of your client on social media and stalk away!) and figuring out how you can solve their problem.  

7. Social strategy

Social media marketing is important (engagement over ‘likes’), but it is just one piece of the pie. Spend time focusing on your website, network, write great content (and have the SEO gods smile upon you) and email any potential clients to reach out. I’m personally not on every social platform and I don’t always work with a particular ‘strategy’ in mind when I post. But I’m always 100% me.

8. Good things take time

There will be days where you feel like you’re winning and other days you almost throw the towel in. Take time to acknowledge the wins, however small.

9. Say no to 24/7

It can be so tempting to work all the time, but make sure you carve out time to rest, have a break and fill your cup. You’ll become a better business owner for it. Promise.

10. Systems and processes

Putting systems and processes in place will save you time in the long run. I certainly didn’t factor in that I’d be learning accounting software, or how to create graphics, or a newsletter template. If it’s just you, you kinda need to take it on. Occasionally I will outsource, if the task is way beyond the scope of what I can do, and that’s been great too.

11. You will change

This small business journey will alter you. There will be so many new people in your world, and you yourself will grow. Embrace the changes and all of those people who choose to walk beside you.

As I prepare for my second year of freelance life, I can't wait to see what learnings lie ahead.

Want to be a part of this journey? I'd love to work some word magic with you. Say hello!

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Book Review - Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur by Kate Toon

I first came along Kate Toon back in 2016 when I was still summoning up the courage to call myself a copywriter, despite already taking on clients. I was doing a lot of research to try and educate myself about the industry and current trends, when I discovered the gold nugget that is the ‘Hot Copy’ podcast. This podcast about all things copywriting is hosted by Kate and her partner-in-crime Belinda Weaver. I related instantly to these two because they are natural, no-frills presenters who speak honestly about the peaks and troughs of copywriting and freelance life.

Gradually over the months that followed, I continued to listen. I began to understand and relate to much of the content, and to take on board advice offered by the pair. I also started to tell people who asked what I did, I’m a copywriter. Eeep, scary! But, of course, nobody argued with me. Instead they wanted to know more about my work.

Flash forward to the middle of this year, with my business Instagram and website up and running, and my portfolio of work building. I even took the bold step of purchasing accounting software. No matter what I did though, I just didn’t quite feel like a small business owner, whatever that was supposed to feel or be like.

Enter Kate Toon again with her book Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur.

Kate has written a book about small business and freelance life that is unlike any other business book I’ve ever clapped my eyes on. She is brutally honest about what the process was like for her and how many ‘rules’ she broke along the way. Kate’s book is divided into chapters, each of which tackles a popular entrepreneurial myth. She responds to each in turn, blasting some out of the water and compromising where others are concerned. I found it so refreshing to hear about someone’s unconventional journey.

Kate’s style is wry and humorous at times, and she tells it likes she means it. Whilst I don’t relate to all aspects of her story - (Um, I don’t have three burgeoning business just yet! I also can’t work in my pyjamas because it just doesn't feel right) - I found it a real page-turner. Kate’s tone is natural, relatable, and definitely no-nonsense. One of the best pieces of advice she offers is to stop comparing yourself to other people and she has a great point. Since finishing the book, I’ve curbed my Insta-stalking, focusing on being me and doing my own thing, without worrying so much about what others think.

I would recommend this book to freelancers or small business owners, or even those with an inkling they might like to venture down this path. I finished the book feeling more positive and knowing there’s more than one way of achieving small business success.

To learn more about me and how I do business in my own way, click here.

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Why you need a Copywriter!

If I had a dollar for each time somebody said ‘Oh copywriting...what’s that?’ or confused copywriting for copyrighting, well, I wouldn’t need to write copy. I’d spend all my time reading great books, taking dance classes and binge-watching Girlboss. Actually, as a self-confessed word nerd, I’d still do it because I love it! To tell you the truth though, before I became one, I didn’t know much about copywriters either. Here are the answers to five of your burning questions:

What does a copywriter actually do?

You may be surprised at the breadth of tasks we can help you with. In simple terms, a copywriter writes advertising or marketing text or ‘copy’. I do this with the assistance of a very strong coffee. This copy can take many forms, such as website copy, brochures, ebooks, speeches, headlines, PR copy - the list goes on! The best part is, while we are writing your copy to further engage your current and prospective clients, you are doing what you do best - growing, nurturing and expanding your business. What could be better?

Can’t I just write it myself?

Being a good writer isn’t the same as being a good copywriter. It is a very particular and unique results-driven skill. It needs to generate sales of your product or brand, and get conversions from website visitors. Objectivity is important too. A great copywriter is skilled at making your biz sound all kinds of fabulous. As humans, we’re not always great at telling the world how awesome we are. Your copywriter, on the other hand, has just enough distance from your passion to highlight your best features without sounding ‘salesy’. Do you tend to procrastinate when writing about your business or get stuck ‘perfecting’ something that never seems quite right? All the while, your potential clients or customers are missing out on your message. Engage a professional copywriter for website copy and other marketing collateral that sings!

How can a copywriter help me if I don’t sell a physical product?

Even if you’re a service-based business, you are selling your brand, YOU, to your potential clients. You are creating a vibe, a feeling that draws people to you. Your copywriter can help make sure you’re branding is targeted towards the very type of clients you wish to attain.

What does a copywriter charge?

This can vary quite significantly, and many copywriters quote for each individual project, rather than by the hour. This takes into account all of the preparation and research your copywriter will do before they even begin writing your copy. It may not be as expensive as you think though. Think of good copywriting as an investment in your business. Done well, the rewards will be tangible and long-lasting. Rather than asking if you can afford it, the question should perhaps be ‘Can you afford not to?’ Your competition is, so you probably should too.

What is the process for working with a copywriter?

Any copywriter worth their salt will take steps to learn more about your business before launching into the copywriting itself. Most commonly this is done via a Creative Brief of sorts, where you have the opportunity to flesh out your expectations, goals, target market, brand voice and preferred writing style so that your copywriter can work for you more effectively. Put simply, the more we know about you and your point of difference, the more we can shout from the rooftops about the benefits of your business to clients. At the end of the day, everybody does a happy dance.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch - I can’t wait to work with you!

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