Sorry for the cliffhanger!
1st June 2004 was when I set up in business as a freelance copywriter. So, 2 days ago, I wrote a quick blog post about how I got to that point in my life and career.
So there I was, in 2003. I’d just been made redundant from my Conference Production job. And I was ready to move out of London.
I made my way to Southampton (long story involving a man, which is another story for another day, preferably over a gin & tonic please… although you could read this if you can bear it!)
Once there, I took a role via a recruitment agency. Trouble is, their geographical knowledge of the south coast wasn’t great. And my knowledge about the A-road system in that part of the world was nonexistent. As a result, my new job turned out to be a couple of hours away. My heart wasn’t in it from the start. Quite honestly, I was terrible, and I made no effort to be better. I sometimes wonder if I wanted to be sacked? Anyway, I was.
In hindsight, I should never have taken another “real job”.
I should have made the leap right away.
But I guess I needed to be certain….
I’d always wanted to write as a career. As a kid, I wrote (terrible) short stories, meticulously hand-written in A4 hardcover notebooks. One of my clearest memories of primary school is when a local author came in to give us a talk. I studied English and critical writing for both my BA and Masters degrees. And my 32-year streak of keeping a journal recently made it onto BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.
At the time, I was training to swim the English Channel. I thought to myself, look, if I can’t get a foot in the door as a sport and fitness journalist with a first-person feature story about swimming the bloody English Channel, then I clearly can’t pitch, can’t sell, and can’t spot a good story. I’ll give it a go.
And that’s what started it all.
From that initial feature, I struck up good relationships with the Editorial teams at various sport and fitness magazines. Over the years, my journalism career grew, and I’ve now written for consumer magazines, trade journals, the membership magazines of NGBs, the Washington Post, and books published by The Observer and by Weider/Muscle and Fitness.
Early on, I realised that I would struggle to build a business on journalism alone. I wanted to be more commercial, to deal with clients, to have a scalable business, and to make more money.
So I took on copywriting work for local businesses. My journalism skills and experience were a useful foundation.
I networked relentlessly. I put myself out there at fitness industry events (Paul Mort’s FEB was pivotal for me). I took training courses with industry bodies and with independent copywriting coaches. I studied sales, marketing, advertising. I branded myself, walked the talk, and grafted hard to deliver good work.
And now it’s 2016. I can’t quite tell you how I got here. A strong brand, good quality work, focusing on a nice. Tenacity, consistency, and enjoying what I do.
A lot of exciting things are happening at The Fit Writer towers. Business is changing, and I’ll be rolling out at least one new service soon.
But copywriting for the fitness industry will always be at the core of what I do. I love it.
…I’m so glad I was made redundant in 2003!
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.