Interview with freelance copywriter Lucy Cheek
Lucy is a seasoned copywriter who is well on her way to freelancer freedom! We find out how it all began for this introverted writer and learn what three qualities you need to succeed as a freelancer (hint, one involves alcohol, but we'd recommend in moderation)!
TELL US HOW YOU ENDED UP HERE AS A FREELANCER? WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
I kicked off my career in women's magazines, working for Cosmo for several years and then Women's Fitness, before crossing over to communications with a marketing role at Business Chicks. I quit my full-time job at the end of 2016 and I haven't looked back.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START FREELANCING?
While I enjoyed my previous role, I was itching to do my own thing and be autonomous. I'm an introvert at heart; while I love socialising, I'm happiest working in solitude. Just me, my laptop and copious cups of tea.
WHAT WAS YOUR LAST 'REAL JOB' AND HOW DID YOU MOVE AWAY FROM THIS AND START WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
My last 'real' job was working at Business Chicks, a brilliant, buzzing business which is doing incredible things for women. I was there for almost four years and really enjoyed it – but, while on a soul-searching trip in Africa last year with The Hunger Project, it dawned on me that what I truly wanted to do was work for myself. I resigned the week I got back.
IN THREE EMOJIS, DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE AS A FREELANCER...
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR BEFORE YOU STARTED FREELANCING? ANY TIPS FOR OVERCOMING THIS FEAR?
The obvious one: that I wouldn't make enough money to survive, and I'd be forced to live on Cruskits and busk in the mall, singing Lorde songs off-key. My advice is to save up some cash before you take the freelance plunge, but also not to stress. Things have a way of working themselves out – have a little faith in yourself and your talents.
WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF YOU?
I'm currently in LA and travelling a lot. But, typically, I wake up around 8am (I'm not a morning person), make a cuppa, yawn 87 times, perhaps attempt a workout, then plonk down in front of my laptop with a big bowl of cereal around 9am. If I'm working on a project, I'll work solidly for a few hours on that, with a short break for a sandwich. Towards the end of the day I'll do admin (chase up outstanding invoices etc). I usually work until 7pm or 8pm, but it varies. Wine is mandatory after 7pm.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT FREELANCING?
I can work from anywhere. It really is called FREElancing for a reason. I now have more flexibility than a yogi. Also, I love that I can be working for a tech start-up one minute and a fashion website the next. The diversity is awesome.
WHAT SUCKS THE MOST ABOUT FREELANCING?
Chasing invoices; having mild freakouts if you're having a slow week; pricing projects; deadline pressure.
WHAT THREE QUALITIES DO YOU NEED TO SUCCEED AS A FREELANCER?
Tenacity, unwavering self-belief, a love of gin.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT?
Join networks (such as Business Chicks) and freelancer Facebook groups to get tips and support. Use a time-tracking and invoice-generating tool such as Harvest. Subscribe to Seth Godin's blog for some golden advice on how to market yourself and carve out a niche. And buy at least five pairs of track pants.