It’s hard to believe, but my fledgling copywriting business is almost a year old. I started Ink of Imagination in January 2013 and so far I’m having the time of my life doing what I love while meeting new people, picking up new skills and enjoying a flexible work schedule. I learned a few things this past year and I’d like to share just a few with anybody who may be thinking of a career change and/or starting their own business in 2014.
- Build a Bridge
Career changes are very common. In North America and the UK it is common for individuals to change their careers anywhere between three and seven times during their lifetime. That said, career changes are less common in Israel and so I feared disclosing my career change.
Building a bridge between what I was previously doing (work in the not-for-profit world) and what I wanted to do (write copy for businesses) helped me over this hurdle. To do this, I simply thought about what I wanted to do and the skills required to do it. No matter what your career leap may be, chances are you’ve employed at least some of those skills in your previous job. Tell your story truthfully and coherently.
2. Build an Infrastructure
I believe that every business is built upon three pillars: knowledge, experience and appearance.
Learn and understand. Whether your new career requires a degree, and even if it doesn’t, learn about the industry. Get your hands on anything that will teach you more than what you know; keep learning and never stop. Knowledge and understanding never end and the more you can bring to the table, the better off you are.
Many may think there’s a Catch-22 here: nobody will hire you without experience and you can’t get experience without being hired. Of course the solution is to try to find an internship either free or low-paying. My problem was that people wanted to see a portfolio, but I didn’t have one. And even though I had done some unpaid work, I was reluctant to ask to use it. In retrospect I was just being shy and stupid and if you’re doing work – especially unpaid for someone, the least you should do is ask for it. Chances are the person you’re doing the work for will be pleased because even though they’re not paying you they’ll feel like they’re giving you something. And they are.
Being a pro is not enough. You have to look the part. And though I don’t have all aspects of this worked out yet (I haven’t properly built my website), I did get this part right. I set up my domain name with an e-mail address to match and I hired a kick-ass graphic artist (Ilana Hadary, I hope you’re reading this!) that gave me a sharp yet creative look.
Once I had these three I was ready to go out there and get my first client, and then my second, and then my third…
Not enough can ever be said about perseverance. I’ll just use this brilliant cartoon.
Never give up. Ever.