I'm not a freelance copywriter

I'm not a freelance copywriter

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Casey Bird describes the four skills she picked up when she quit her permanent job and went freelance.

When I was at Ogilvy I was a copywriter. I focused on coming up with great ideas everyday with my Art Director; I did my best to make the idea come to life through words and went home. It was fun, and I enjoyed it.

When I moved back to London I started freelancing, and that is when I stopped being a copywriter.

When I turned my perm career into a freelance career I became more than what my job description said.

In the last 3.5 years I’ve had to learn a whole load of new skills I probably wouldn’t have learned, or learned as quickly, if I hadn’t.

Let me explain…

Know your worth

You quickly have to discuss money, a lot. And British people, especially women (statistically) hate discussing money and asking for what we really feel we’re worth.

But I realised, if I didn’t, another copywriter just as good as me would take the job for the price I wanted. Or as I’ve had in the past, end up working alongside a copywriter who’s the same level but on a higher day rate.

You learn to quickly become more confident in your value.

Become a lot more versatile

I am always changing my style and my tone.

I quickly adapt the way I present to people, based on each agency and the vibe I get.

I am a lot more confident and friendly, as you’re always the new face so you need to make friends quick, or you’re having tea breaks alone.

When you first walk into an agency you have to quickly suss out the vibe, how best to work and how best to impress. Or more to the point, who to impress… to stay on the job for longer.

Build a personal brand

I was always so proud to be part of the Ogilvy family, but when you leave a big, or small, agency you feel part of your identity goes with it.

Your social media must be on brand, your portfolio always up to date and ready to present, and mostly I find a freelancer agencies like when you have outside of work passions and interest, after all isn’t that usually the reason people go freelance. Mine are leading SheSays in London and recently founding The Freelance Circle. These are things often discussed more with a new agency than my portfolio.

Be creative

And lastly, I truly believe I’ve become more creative. Working full time at any agency you often work on the same briefs, for the same clients and your creative output becomes predictable to you, the creative director and to the client. Many times I, or myself and an art director, have been brought into an agency to tackle a brief that’s been on the table for months. And often, if it’s not us, another freelance team will nail it, or at least bring in new eyes and perspective to it.

With every new brief and job I am excited to see what it is, how I can push it, what could come of it, or if it’s the piece that will make my portfolio shine. I have no reason to think otherwise, so I give it my all.  Every time this is pushing my creative thinking as I’m always working on new ideas and brands.

On top of all of the above the one thing I’ve loved the most about freelance, apart from the freedom, has been the amazing people I’ve met on my journey, and I cant wait to meet even more creative, interesting people along the way. 
Thinking of going freelance? I dare you.


By Casey Bird, freelance copywriter, SheSays president, and The Freelance Circle founder.

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Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 04 Oct 2017
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