12 years ago today, I officially set up in business as a freelance copywriter.
In 1999, I left Uni after hanging about for an extra year doing a Masters (partly because I wasn’t ready to leave).
I worked in admin for a holiday company in my University’s city (mostly because I wasn’t ready to leave) and then made my way to…where else… London.
I lived in a houseshare in Archway with Uni mates. I shared a house in the wilds of South Woodford with one Uni mate, our very old landlord, and his disgusting German Shepherd dog. I lived in a beautiful house with my new London friends (and – randomly – a friend from secondary school) in Tulse Hill. We said we lived in Dulwich.
I worked in “conference production”, which these days would probably be called Content Development & Offline Marketing For Corporate Events (or something).
The company was owned by a huge publishing brand. My job involved interviewing very high-level execs, extracting research information from them, and writing it up into various formats (including the titles, topics, and structure of the conference, as well as the copy for the conference brochure, promotional web copy, and letters).
This was before email was widely used in marketing. And long before social media was big enough to be a marketing tool.
I went in at the very lowest level, and eventually became a Lead Producer in two different conference departments.
The in-house training was market leading at the time. It set the blueprint for various conference companies which followed it its footsteps.
It taught me…
** to think VERY quickly and commercially.
** to come up with themes, topics, and titles against tight deadlines, and to write them in the most compelling way. Our events lived and died by delegate bookings. Not enough sales? Your event would be cancelled, and you lost money (for the firm, and for yourself).
** to be fearless about picking up the phone and asking strangers to give me their thoughts about industry trends.
** how to write for the web, for email, for direct mail, for marketing and sales, for post-sales.
** how to use my curious mind to learn just enough about a lot of topics in a very short amount of time.
Then I was made redundant.
But it was OK. Around that time, I’d met the guy who would be my husband (then my ex-husband), and I was training to swim the English Channel. I was growing, and I’d outgrown the conference world. Truth be told, my mind was already out of there.
You might think that’s when I set up “thefitwriter” and went freelance.
You’d be wrong. I had one more lesson to learn…
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.