What I’ve Learned From my first year being a freelance copywriter

A year ago, I took the huge (and very scary) step of leaving my secure, sensible, and generally fun job as Senior Copywriter at Avon, to become a freelance copywriter.

I had practical worries: Will anyone want to hire me? Will I make enough money? Will I be lonely working by myself? Am I crazy to give up a good job in a recession? What if being self-employed is more stressful than my job? What if I get too distracted by other tasks to work from home?

But I also had two very good reasons for leaving. Ava and Thea.Ava and Thea

I was worried that by having them in childcare four days a week I was missing out on way too much. The cute email updates from nursery were tinged with a shade of sadness, and even guilt. I should have been there when they did that funny dance/painted that brilliant picture etc. I felt that my precious time with them was slipping away.

Before leaving Avon, I had interviewed for a different job. I was told I was “head and shoulders above the other candidates” and that the concepts I presented really stood out. I didn’t accept that job: it was a long way away and any benefit I would have gained by working three days instead of four was overshadowed by a huge commute. But having that feedback gave me the confidence I needed to go for it. It taught me that I am better than I think. So although that job wasn’t right for me, I am so glad I went to the trouble of preparing for the interview. I’m not sure I would have had the guts to go freelance without it.

It was strange leaving the office that afternoon, and it was also quite hard to get much done during the day, thanks to the desk decoration!

Becky Pink's desk on her leaving day

I was given a lot of really thoughtful and lovely presents, but the funniest by far was this picture:

Grammar: It's the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit

They made this picture for me, as I am not keen on rogue apostrophes. OK, I hate them.

I was confident I’d be asked back to freelance for them, and in fact, I have been back pretty much every month for at least a few days. Going back is always a pleasure, catching up with the wonderful team of creative ladies. I love hearing about who’s having a baby, who’s got engaged, and who’s renovating their kitchen.

My Earl Grey teabags are still in the creative kitchen cupboard, and there is one other major benefit to working there on a Friday: the CAKE TROLLEY! Two lovely ladies come round in the afternoon with a trolley laden with goodies, and really, it would be rude not to, right? 

The past year hasn’t always been easy, in fact it has been quite tough in many ways. I live in fear of one of our cars dying. And just tonight my old MacBook has finally kicked the bucket. It’s pretty scary booking holidays. And the printer is always out of ink!

The Benefits of A Freelance Life

Going freelance has given me the opportunity to write this blog, which I’d been wanting to start for years. I’ve also made lots of very interesting new friends through blogging and social media. I’ve written on some very diverse new topics, including (amongst lots of others) whether water births can help ease the pan of childbirth, and if ovulation predictor kits can help you get pregnant for bounty.com. Less fun was how to plan a funeral, for a funeral director’s website. The  website and prospectus for a lovely local nursery, and an events planner’s website were right up my street. I enjoyed writing the coffee machine distributor’s site, and managed to make concrete pouring fairly interesting.

But the main benefit has been to Ava and Thea. I’ve been able to cut down Thea’s nursery to two days a week, and I’ve been there to pick up Ava from preschool, and now school two out of three days. I’ve been able to go to the Ava’s first Nativity and Harvest Festival, I’ve been able to make their costumes and remember Jeans for Genes Day. I’ve even been able to make home made presents for her pre-school teachers at the end of last the year. And last year I clubbed together with two friends to do a Frozen themed birthday party for Ava and two of her friends. There’s no way I would have been able to do that if I’d been working four days a week.

After a few months of being freelance, I was back at Avon, and a friend from a different department asked how it was going. I answered “OK”, and her next question was brilliant.

She asked if the girls were happier. And it dawned on me that yes, yes they were (and are) happier. And THAT was the reason for it all.

I was so pleased she asked me that insightful question.

I’ve learned that actually, despite being a bit of an introvert, I’m not bad at networking. Clients tell me they are thrilled with how well I’ve grasped their business and how the tone of voice I’ve created for them is spot on. I’m actually quite interested in the technical side of blogging (something I NEVER thought I’d say!). I’m enjoying taking photographs and want to improve my skills. Although I’m working fewer days than before, I’m actually doing far more, and still just about fitting it all in.

Why I’m Glad I went FREELANCE

I’m so glad that I didn’t just keep ploughing on when I was pretty miserable about missing out on family life. I’m so thankful that I have a supportive husband, family and friends, who have helped me and encouraged me in so many ways, not least recommending me to clients. I’m so happy (and lucky) that I have skills and experiences that let me be self-employed and set my own rules. I was worried that by leaving, I’d damage the career I’d worked so hard for, for so many years. But actually, I’ve just gained a whole new career, and I’m learning new skills all the time. Plus I’ve been able to use some of the skills I gained as a broadcast journalist.

I’ve got some exciting projects coming up, and I’m keen to see what happens next for me and my little family. So sometimes, I think you just have to take that leap of faith and trust that you are good enough. And if you work hard, anything is possible! I’m not saying everything is perfect. I’d feel more comfortable if I had a few more clients. But I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

I read this great blog post about “Imposter Syndrome” from Honest Mum and I think I suffer from it. I’m always telling Ava and Thea that they can be anything they want to be. So maybe it’s time I started believing it myself!

She believed she could so she did

When I manage to get some new ink cartridges, I’m going to print out this little picture I made, and pin it to my wall as a reminder. If you’d like a copy, pop me an email to becky@pinkscharming.com and I’ll send it over.

Hello Beautiful Bear

Mummuddlingthrough

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Best of Worst
Let's Talk Mommy
Like this? Please share it!

69 Comments

  1. 15th June 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Good on you for making teh change to being self-employed. I have been considering it for years but haven’t summoned up the courage yet. Best of luck to you!

    • 15th June 2016 / 8:49 pm

      Ah thanks, it was a bit step but I don’t regret it for a second. I am probably more busy now, as I have my blog as my third child, but I feel so much happier. I hope you can do the same one day! xx

  2. 3rd March 2016 / 12:11 am

    This is fab i’m glad it’s working out well for you and that you’re finding the confidence to believe in yourself. It must feel amazing to know you’ve made a positive change not just for yourself but for the girls too. I hope I can write a similar story about my own experience some day soon. #Teaandcakelinky
    Hannah recently posted…Weaning a Breastfed Baby – #MilkMomentsMy Profile

    • 4th March 2016 / 9:17 pm

      Thank you so much Hannah, I hope I can keep it up! It can be hard keeping the balance (actually virtually impossible, ha!) but I think it’s definitely worth it xx

  3. 27th February 2016 / 9:52 pm

    Kudos to you! I definitely think you made the right decision. I find in most cases, when speaking to people, taking that leap of faith is bloody hard but it fits so much better with family life and it’s great that your girls are happier having you around. Freelancing is something I’m quite new to but it definitely has its ups and downs doesn’t it?
    It’s great that you still get to pop in to Avon and socialise etc. whilst freelancing for them. You still need your mates and some ‘grown-up’ time 🙂
    Lucy
    X X
    #TeaAndCakeLinky

    • 27th February 2016 / 10:54 pm

      Thanks so much Lucy, yes the freelance life isn’t for everyone, but its working out really well for me so far! But you’re right, going in to the office to actually interact with people is really important, otherwise I think I’d feel a bit cut off, much as I like being able to work in my PJs if I like! xx

  4. internationalelfservice
    23rd November 2015 / 12:38 pm

    I absolutely love hearing about people peeling off to do what THEY want to do and what is right for them. So often our self-confidence gets in the way. Rebecca from Artemis Mindset Coaching is absolutely brilliant at getting ones mindset sorted out. It’s very ‘vulnerable making’ putting yourself out there, particularly when you’re in the creative biz.

    • 23rd November 2015 / 9:20 pm

      Thank you so much, I’ll check that out, it sounds very interesting xx

  5. 20th November 2015 / 10:18 am

    This post has really made me smile. It’s so fantastic that you are able to spend more time with your little ladies whilst still bringing in some money doing work that you enjoy. You just don’t get these years back. Enjoy every minute of it!

    • 20th November 2015 / 11:47 am

      Thanks so much Sarah, I’m so relieved to have made the right decision even if it is very hard sometimes! I feel very lucky xx

  6. 19th November 2015 / 2:58 pm

    Ha ha thanks for the apostrophes that made me chuckle! And thanks for your comment xx

  7. 19th November 2015 / 2:28 pm

    Such a great post, I started my blog in July and it’s been wonderful, such an eye opener and I now have the confidence to take things further and I’m considering reducing my contracted work so I can be at home more. #brilliantblogposts

    • 19th November 2015 / 3:02 pm

      Yay go you! That’s brilliant, congratulations. There’s so much to learn but so many opportunities if you work at it aren’t there! I’m excited about the future and it’s so great we can do it on our own terms xx

  8. 19th November 2015 / 10:19 am

    Lovely post. I decided rather than going back to work I would freelance and also write this bog and thankfully they are both making a little bit of money! Not much, mind…but totally worth it to be able to work part time and use my brain and be a mum…the perfect combination! Thanks so much for linking up to #coolmumclub! x

    • 19th November 2015 / 3:01 pm

      That’s brilliant, it all adds up doesn’t it, and it keeps the skills up- I can’t believe how much I have learned from blogging so far, and how much I still need to learn. And who knows where our blogs will go in the future! It’s exciting isn’t it! Xx

  9. cvnxena
    19th November 2015 / 9:54 am

    Well done for taking such a big leap of faith and fantastic news that it is going so well – I love your blog and i’m going to take a gander at the other articles you’ve written. I am in the process of mustering the courage to go freelance myself so this was a little added inspiration 🙂 Thanks for sharing it! #coolmumclub

    • 19th November 2015 / 3:00 pm

      Oh yay thanks so much that’s wonderful if it has inspired you! It’s not for everyone and maybe I will go back to a ‘normal’ job when the girls are older but it suits me and our family perfectly at the moment. Good luck and I’ll look forward to reading about it in the future! Xx

  10. 10th November 2015 / 12:17 pm

    Huge congratulations for taking such a great big plunge and doing well and making the most of your beautiful kids and life. You sound like you are doing fantastic hun. Well done. Thank you for linking up to Share With Me and I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round. #sharewithme

    • 10th November 2015 / 7:26 pm

      Thanks so much Jenny, it’s working out pretty well so far! Xx

  11. 9th November 2015 / 2:27 pm

    It’s lovely you had the guts to do what you wanted to do in life. I hope to one day be doing what I want also and if your girls are happier then that’s the most important thing. Well done you #KCAKOLS

    • 9th November 2015 / 5:12 pm

      Thank you so much, the girls are so much happier (not that they were unhappy before, but I have noticed a change). Best of luck with your plan, I hope it goes really well xx

  12. 8th November 2015 / 10:26 pm

    I love this post Becky!! It is so nice to know more about your story and your feelings about deciding to be self employed. I know it is definitely not easy as you always worry that you won’t be able to earn enough money but the truth is that if you don’t try it, you will never know! I’m still wondering myself if I could some day earn properly from my blog and keep doing what I enjoy the most which is my blog! I’m so happy for you as you can clearly see that making that decision has changed your life! Being able to spend more time with your girls is really precious! Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I love your posts! I’m so happy that you has joined me since day one with this new adventure. I really appreciate your support! If you would like to guest co-host with me one weekend just drop me an email as I would love to have you!! 🙂 xx

    • 9th November 2015 / 9:44 am

      Thanks so much Franca, I really appreciate your support too!! I think you will be able to earn a good living from your blog sooner than you think, it’s obvious you take it seriously and treat it like a job already, as it’s really professional. xxx

  13. 8th November 2015 / 7:22 pm

    Such great post! I know how it feels working most days of the week… I hope I have the same courage as you do, taking the plunge, resign and go full-time blogging, so I can look after my kids myself rather than pay childminder to do it, just ridiculous, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing this very inspiring post! #KCACOLS

  14. 7th November 2015 / 11:36 am

    AH this is such a lovely post – I left my job last month and have taken the step into full time blogging. It is scary but I can already see that my three children love having me at home xx #brilliantblogposts

    • 7th November 2015 / 12:44 pm

      Congratulations, that is a huge step and so exciting! I’d love to get to that stage one day. As long as the kids are happy it works for the parents right?! Xx

  15. 6th November 2015 / 12:10 pm

    Brilliant and inspiring when I find myself at a crossroads career-wise too. Thank you for sharing x

    • 6th November 2015 / 6:06 pm

      Ah thank you so much, I’m glad it has inspired you, and I hope that you can find the balance you need too! Xx

  16. 5th November 2015 / 11:01 pm

    What an inspiring post, it sounds like it’s working so well for you, and it must be lovely to spend more time with your gorgeous girls. I’d love to find something to do that will allow me to stay at home with my baby too, I’ve thought about it every day since he was about 5 weeks old! Oh and I LOVE that quote!

    • 6th November 2015 / 6:10 pm

      Thank you so much, I hope you find your next career and enjoy your maternity leave too! Xx

  17. 5th November 2015 / 12:18 pm

    Thanks for writing this. I’m at the beginning of my journey. #TwinklyTuesday

    • 5th November 2015 / 1:54 pm

      Oooh good luck Helena, I hope everything goes well for you! Xx

  18. Joanna @mumbalance
    4th November 2015 / 10:06 pm

    It’s wonderful that you took the step you did! As you say, the key is that your family is happier for it 🙂
    Having the background in copywriting is great for getting freelancing jobs. I would love to get into copywriting, or freelance writing in general, but not having any formal experience makes it hard to pitch to clients. At the moment I’m trying to make some income from my blog, but it’s proving difficult. I have no problems getting items for reviews and giveaways, but getting paid for writing is another story. It doesn’t help that I’m pregnant, so my energy levels are up and down and I know soon (I’m due in January) I’ll be taking a longer break.
    We could certainly do with a second income.
    Congratulations again and bravo for courage!
    #sharewithme

    • 4th November 2015 / 10:29 pm

      Congratulations on your pregnancy, I’m not surprised your energy levels are dipping, it’s hard work growing a mini person! I find with freelancing that the old cliche of who you know is almost as important as what you know, it is a good idea to keep in touch and remind them you are there! Best of luck with it all, keep on as you never know what is around the corner! Xx

  19. 4th November 2015 / 9:50 pm

    This is brilliant – how wonderful to be able to your job from home. And it’s so wonderful that your girls are happier from it. That’s all we really want isn’t it? I still dream of being able to do that! Keep at it 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • 4th November 2015 / 10:04 pm

      Thanks so much, yes I am very lucky, and wearing slippers a lot of the time is a nice perk too 🙂 The girls are so much happier, it’s worth it a hundred times over xx

  20. 4th November 2015 / 8:23 pm

    This is brilliant. Congratulations on your first year! I went freelance in 2013 after being made redundant and it opened a whole bunch of new doors for me. I now have a part time job with a former client and my blog is growing every day. I also get four days a week with my daughters and feel that I am (mostly) on top of my family and work life. Freelancing can give you the best of both worlds if you pluck up the courage to take that first step #TwinklyTuesday

    • 4th November 2015 / 8:55 pm

      Ah thanks so much Claire, you have the life I want!! Brilliant that you took such a big positive out of redundancy, such a great story xx

  21. Mrs C
    4th November 2015 / 5:52 pm

    Loved reading this – hat off to you for taking the plunge! You’ve hit the nail on the head about it not just being about us but about how our work affects our littlies. And the thought of writing at a pace slowing than frantic sounds pretty great too!x

    • 4th November 2015 / 8:53 pm

      Thanks Mrs C, it’s all about the kids isn’t it, and rightly so. Xx

  22. 4th November 2015 / 3:51 pm

    I love this post! Going freelance is something I’m seriously considering as Little Miss A rapidly approaches school age, so it’s great to hear someone’s actual experience of it.
    Oh, and I love that grammar picture! Why do people find apostrophes so confusing?!
    #bestandworst

    • 4th November 2015 / 6:29 pm

      Thanks Ellie, I think freelancing is great so far, it has drawbacks of course, but it means a lot that I don’t miss out on the girls so much. Good luck with your decision! Glad you like the picture, I think it’s hilarious. I can’t help but get cross about bad grammar! Xx

  23. 4th November 2015 / 12:06 pm

    This is so inspiring. Well done you! Super brave. I think most of us are suffering from Impostor Syndrome, I certainly am. Two gorgeous girls you’ve got there. I’m glad your able to spend more time with them and do something you enjoy and, even better, are good at!

    Thanks so much for linking up to #bestandworst x

    • 4th November 2015 / 6:22 pm

      Thanks so much, I’m glad you found it inspiring. It does still feel a bit scary sometimes but the benefits of having more time with Ava and Thea definitely make it worth while! Xx

  24. 4th November 2015 / 9:59 am

    I absolutely loved reading this post Becky and I am so glad, whilst you have some anxieties about the financial side, that you and your girls are happier for your choice! You seem like a very talented woman and will certainly succeed and the blog you have created is wonderful.
    You are doing a fab job with the girls and seem to be getting a good balance x x

    • 4th November 2015 / 6:18 pm

      Ah thanks so much Mary, what a lovely comment! We are all definitely happier and that’s the main thing, and I’m glad you like my blog too xxx

  25. 4th November 2015 / 9:35 am

    I’ve been freelance for three years now and although it can be tough I wouldn’t want it to be any other way – I’m there for so many more of the little things than I would have been otherwise. Well done on your first year! #bestandworst

  26. 4th November 2015 / 9:34 am

    Good for you!! This post is so relevant to me as I’ve literally just handed in my notice at a creative agency after my year of maternity leave – to also go freelance! I haven’t had chance to sit down and plan everything out yet but I need to start looking into nursery and getting stuck in in the new year. I do think it’s daunting but at the end of the day, if you’re in a senior role then you know that you’ve been doing something right – so why not carry on doing it for yourself. I agree that it is all about self belief. And the most important thing at the end of the day is always family. So glad it’s working out for you xx #TwinklyTuesday

    • 4th November 2015 / 6:16 pm

      Thanks so much! And I hope everything goes well with your new plans, sounds very exciting! Xx

  27. 4th November 2015 / 8:10 am

    It sounds like you definitely made the right decision for you and your family. I’m a secondary school teacher and currently on my second maternity leave. I worked full time last year which meant my little boy was in nursery for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, they saw more of him than I did! I don’t know what I’m going to do at the end of this maternity leave – I only had a temporary job before so don’t have a job to go back to, and we’re hoping to move to a different area, so perhaps now is the time to make a change! #sharewithme

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:53 pm

      Thank you! Could you be a supply teacher or are you thinking of something totally different? It’s such a difficult decision, I hope you can find a good balance and enjoy the rest of your maternity leave xx

  28. 4th November 2015 / 7:31 am

    Really enjoyed reading this post and have huge admiration for you. You believed you could and you did.

    • 4th November 2015 / 12:49 pm

      Thank you so much Rach that means a lot to me xx

  29. 3rd November 2015 / 12:07 pm

    Oh Becky! I love this so much! I can so relate to it. I quit my job back in February to be more at home with Evie and it’s both scary and exhilarating trying to find your own feet work wise. I now work around Evie and write my own hours. It’s hard, don’t get me wrong. But Evie is happier and so is my entire little family.

    I adore reading your blog and I’m so glad freelancing is going well for you and you have more time to focus on your blog and spend with your two beautiful little ones. I love that post by Honest Mum too. It’s so nice to hear that other people can relate to how you’re feeling and that you’re not alone. That quote has been on my office wall for the last six months and I must admit, I really need to look at it more often. xxx #twinklytuesday

    • 3rd November 2015 / 2:13 pm

      Thank you so much, I’m glad I’m not the only one – sounds like you are doing brilliantly and deserve a big pat on the back! It’s scary stuff but like you say, it is exhilarating xxx

  30. 3rd November 2015 / 10:37 am

    It is so hard isn’t it, trying to juggle, trying to keep everyone happy and trying to be there for those important milestones. It sounds like you have found the right balance. I love that quote, I wrote a similar post a few weeks ago about telling our children they can do anything but yet struggling to believe it ourselves Xxx

    • 3rd November 2015 / 2:07 pm

      Thank you so much, yep being a parent changes literally everything! That sounds like a great post, I’ll check it out! Xxx

  31. 3rd November 2015 / 10:06 am

    Lovely post! I’m so pleased it has all paid off for you, I don’t doubt that it takes a lot of effort to make being self-employed work. It must be lovely to work for yourself!! #TwinklyTuesday

    • 3rd November 2015 / 10:19 am

      Thank you so much, it’s hard but worth it! I also love wearing slippers a lot of the time! Xx

  32. 3rd November 2015 / 9:58 am

    Sounds like you’ve made some fab decisions and as a result you and your family are so much happier. Go you!! I thought i’d be back at work by now – my daughter is 9 months – but i just can’t face missing out on all her day to day little things! #twinklytuesday

    • 3rd November 2015 / 10:18 am

      Thanks Jodie, we really are! It’s true you can’t have it all, but we can try! Ah that 9 months time is so precious when they are just learning so much, I don’t blame you at all for wanting more time with her! Xx

  33. Lianne
    3rd November 2015 / 9:50 am

    This is such an insightful post. Just last night, I was telling my husband how worthless and totally unemployable I felt. Whilst were not talking about exactly the same thing, your post has given me the kick up the bum I needed to stop wallowing and and believe in myself. Please could I have a copy of the picture x

    • 3rd November 2015 / 10:13 am

      Ah Lianne thanks so much and I’m so glad it helped you! I’m sure you’re not at all unemployable, I think it’s a matter of finding your niche but also believing in yourself is so important – and having people in your life who believe in you too. Really hope you find something that is perfect for you soon and I’ll email you over the pic later today xx

  34. 2nd November 2015 / 9:38 pm

    Well done on taking the leap for your dream job! So many people just stay where they are. In the end it’s the people we love and the memories we make with them that matter.

    • 2nd November 2015 / 9:41 pm

      Thank you! You’re absolutely right, nothing is more important than the people we love xx

  35. 1st November 2015 / 10:14 pm

    Sounds like you did the right decision! Must have been scary taking that jump into the unknown and variable pay, but also satisfying to really make your own fortune 🙂 and of course, to begin this blog too with the free time! Btw, that poster about grammar made me chuckle, I think I need something like that too on my desk 😀

    • 1st November 2015 / 10:27 pm

      Thank you, it’s brilliant isn’t it, makes me laugh every time I see it! Xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you human? *

CommentLuv badge