How I Became A Freelance Copywriter?

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freelance copywriter south africa

Thalana Bradley

A copywriter, editor and proofreader
Naturally Write

Team Size

1

Revenue

< $10,000 / month

Location

South Africa

STart Date

2 – 5 years ago

Today my interviewee is Thalana Bradley from Cape Town, South Africa. A copywriter, editor and proofreader at Naturally Write.

It was great fun hearing Thalana’s story on how she discovered her true passion after studies and turned it into an exciting and thriving business.

We wish her all the best on her journey to move from freelance to full-time entrepreneur.

INTRODUCTION

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE BUSINESS YOU STARTED?

By day I work as a full-time proofreader at an ad agency and by night I work on my business as a bilingual copywriter, editor and proofreader. My love for creative writing started in school, but I only discovered my interest and talent for copywriting and editing after my studies.

I consider myself to be a potentialite (a lifelong learner with interests in various subjects), which also means that I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do after I left school.

I was interested in animals at the time, so I studied BSc Biodiversity and Ecology and obtained my BSc Honours degree in Environmental Management.

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I then found a job as a receptionist at a small marketing agency, and that’s where I discovered the world of advertising. They gave me the opportunity to work on my copywriting and editing skills.

More than a year later, I found an opportunity at an environmental consultancy, but in an administrative role. I was excited to finally enter the field that I studied for.

I learned a lot in my position, but I wasn’t happy, and it seemed like I will never be able to grow while working there. I also missed writing and editing.

Eventually, I applied for a proofreading position. I thought I didn’t stand a chance since I didn’t have a language background.

But I passed the proofreading test and I’m still working there today three years later. It gave me the self-confidence to put my side-hustle into full gear.

Naturally Write

THE JOURNEY SO FAR

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?

When I was first introduced to the advertising world, I wanted to know more about copywriting and did an online course. I was also told that I’m talented in spotting mistakes and inconsistencies in copy.

I felt that my talents weren’t used properly at the environmental consultancy, which really frustrated me. That’s why I started my business, but only as a Facebook page.

I like both copywriting and editing and couldn’t see myself just doing one or the other. I can’t remember how I came up with the name, but I do know that I wanted people to know that I help them make their copy sound right, naturally. And that’s how the name Naturally Write came about.

 

PLEASE DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS.

Even though I “launched” my business as a Facebook page in 2016, I only started working on it for the last two years (finding clients, building a website, getting the word out there, etc.).

I was worried that my employer would find out that I’m doing something on the side, plus I wasn’t in a good space until I left the environmental sector.

I used my knowledge and research skills to build a website and market myself on social media, mostly on Facebook. The feedback I’ve received on work I’ve done for clients has been amazing so far and I love working with them.

Related: The Long Journey From Corporate Misfit To Confident Copywriter

 

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT AND YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE ALONG THE WAY?

Biggest Achievement: It will sound odd, but the fact that I’m able to make an extra income doing what I enjoy is my greatest achievement. It shows that there is a need for my kind of services out there and I can help people with my skills.

Biggest Challenge: It is a challenge to still work full-time while you’re trying to build a business, though. My goal is for my freelance business to replace my full-time job salary, but the more time you spend at the office, the less time you have to grow your own business.

 

HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS?

My big clients have been referred to me by word of mouth.

As for marketing, I mostly use my Facebook page and group and recently started attending networking events.

I’m looking into other social media channels, as well as blogging on my own website and using email marketing soon.

 

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE BUSINESS?

My short-term goal is to double my business’s average monthly income, and my long-term goal is for my freelance business to replace my full-time job’s salary so I can work on my own terms.

RECOMMENDATIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS

PLEASE RECOMMEND ANY RESOURCES AND TOOLS THAT YOU USE TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS.

If I can recommend one tool, it would be Grammarly Premium. It’s not perfect and can’t replace a proper editor or proofreader, but it will point out typical grammar mistakes and make suggestions that you haven’t thought of.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BUSINESS BOOKS, PODCASTS OR BLOGS? 

I’m currently reading The Introvert Entrepreneur by Beth Buelow. It’s a great book to help you understand yourself as an introvert and how to use your strengths as an entrepreneur.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?

The first step is always the hardest: the first day, the first week, the first month, the first year, getting the first client… Just keep going and celebrate every win, no matter how small and share them with your loved ones.

 

Sometimes we think that no-one will support us, but you may be pleasantly surprised.

 

How can you expect them to understand if you don’t explain it to them? When you look back in a year’s time, you’ll see how much you’ve grown.

Violeta Semenova

Violeta Semenova
Founder
theBizLadies

Welcome to the Biz Ladies interview series!

If you’re new to these series, I interview women entrepreneurs on how they started their business, what was the idea behind it, how they got where they are, the struggles, the reality and more.

By sharing their stories, we want to inspire other women to get started.

If you are interested to share your own story on the Biz Ladies LET ME KNOW!

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