I know, I’m a terrible copywriter for not posting on my blog for so long, but I have a bloody good excuse. I’ve been channeling my energy and expertise into helping people just like you bring their brand to life through conscious copywriting. So it’s not that I haven’t wanted to write on here, I just (ironically) didn’t know what to say!
But as today is the first birthday of my business, I thought screw it – now is the best time to start by ditching the excuses and stepping into my CREATIVE POWER. So I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the last year and share a few things I’ve learned along the way. Get cosy friends, there’s a bit to unpack.
At first, I was cocky and full of ego
Yep, I’m not ashamed to admit that I hit the ground running – and the ground hit back. Stepping off the creative agency treadmill and into the role of freelance copywriter was liberating. But I quickly became drunk on the power and thought I had it ALL figured out. Oh how naive I was!
I never doubted my abilities as a copywriter, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the energy it would take to manage everything on my own. No one can prepare you for having to find leads, sell work, onboard clients, deliver said work, manage finances and continually promote your brand across so many different channels. It felt clunky to my right-brain dominant mind and there were so many things I just didn’t know.
I quickly realised it was okay NOT to know everything
Running a small business is a huge undertaking. My ego wanted to master it all RIGHT NOW but my heart and soul were on a different timeline. I didn’t exactly know who I wanted to serve but I was very clear on what I didn’t want: the limitations of the 9 to 5. So that’s where I started. I let go of the urge to control every single thing and I started to focus on how I spent my day.
It might sound silly, but I went back to the drawing board to ask myself some basic logistical questions:
What time did I want to wake up?
What rituals and practices did I need to make space for?
How many hours did I want to work?
I was asking these questions while also trying to be a digital nomad in the US – you can read about that journey over on Travegram – and it didn’t help. I didn’t have the bandwidth to “create the life I wanted” while also freaking out about where to stay and how little cash I had.
So I retreated back to Australia to regroup
One of the BIGGEST gifts I have given myself this past year, over and over, is the luxury of changing my mind. The explosive combo of EGO and FEAR usually prevents us from doing this, but when I sat still, being present to my heart, I could hear the faintest whispers of what I actually needed.
“Slow down, rest, take your time and build it one piece at a time,” was the message I received.
But honestly, it took me overloading myself by taking on a full-time contract at the start of 2020 and burning myself out again as a result (for probably the 100th time in my professional life) to finally give in to my heart’s desire.
I could write for anything and anyone, but that’s not why I chose this path!
It was so sobering to realise I’d recreated my agency experience again, except this time it was 100% my fault. Without blinking, I had repeated the very scenario I was trying to escape – with the added pressure of being a business owner.
WELL FUCK THAT.
I didn’t sign up to be another lemming copywriter lured by the illusion of corporate stability only to churn out the same shit day after day. Every cell in my body was ready to run, to ditch it all and go start a commune in Bali and live off the land. But my heart had other ideas (she’s a wild one, you see).
I craved freedom.
Time to write for myself.
SPACE…oh boy did I want SPACE. For creativity. For ideas to percolate. For ME.
So I made a promise to myself…
I wasn’t going to play by the rules anymore. The level of consciousness I had brought to my personal life was screaming to be brought into my business. And with everything that’s been happening in the world this year – bushfires, floods, COVID-19, protests for civil rights and the imminent disintegration of white supremacy (a girl can dream) – it was time for me to step up and not only talk about the world I wanted to live in, but CREATE IT.
I promise to live a full, creative life.
I’m still unpacking what this means (it’s a lifelong quest). I dipped my toe in the water of it all by investing in a brief but exhilarating coaching container with Sophie Kessner called ‘Rebirth’… and I awoke.
I awoke to my self-imposed limitations.
I awoke to my fears.
I even awoke to the ways in which I was living small.
And even now, I’m not living in my full expression, but I have sparked that flame. I’m fanning it with these words, with that promise, with my unwavering commitment to creativity as not only a tool for business and life, but as a way of being.
And here’s what I’m bringing with me on this journey
After a year of stops and starts, I get to shape this life in any way I want. I’m privileged to do this and I vow to use my privilege to lift others up, to amplify and support and to also step back when it’s more appropriate to. I am not afraid to look stupid, to make mistakes and to own my stumblings as I unlearn the unproductive behaviours I inherited from my family, my culture and as a white person.
I bet that’s nice to hear and it felt good to write, but let me be clear: the above is backed by ACTION. I have set up regular donations, scheduled time to educate myself on BIPOC issues and I’ll show up in person to support and amplify when asked.
So how does all of that relate to one year in business? I’ve taken some time to draw out nine learnings from my experience that I feel any of us can grasp onto if we’re seeking solace, permission or inspiration to go after what our hearts won’t stop whispering about.
9. Embrace uncertainty.
This feels a little redundant and twee considering the year we’ve had, but it’s a practice. Nothing has ever been certain and that fact is more pronounced than ever before, but it’s always been there. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream, plan and map out what you want to do. Embracing uncertainty asks you to TRUST that when something doesn’t go according to plan, it’s either not the right time, or those plans might not be what you really want. Keep your eyes open – what you want is here, it just might not be in a packaging you recognise.
8. Learn to love money.
As a creative, my excuse was always “I don’t do numbers”. What I came to realise is that it was a powerful negative affirmation for my life. Money evaded me because I said I didn’t KNOW IT. What I really meant is that I didn’t understand its value.
So I’ve dedicated the past six months to falling in love with my numbers in business (it’s a bad romance, but we’re getting there), and it’s changing my life. How else could I have built a 6 figure business in less than a year? 😌
7. Make your ROL (return on life) > ROI (return on investment).
This one I’ve borrowed from Maxine Cunningham, CEO of Pick My Brain. It’s where money isn’t accumulated to buy stuff, but is used to help create the life you want. Money is there to serve you, not the other way around.
It’s a model where you get clear on your priorities and set the right kind of financial goals for what you want to call in. The challenge here is honestly answering this question: what kind of life do I really want?
6. Celebrate often.
This one is a tough one for me. Celebrate? CELEBRATE? What do you mean? Literally stopping everything you’re doing and doing a happy dance. For completing that project, for a new client, for deciding to change jobs, for moving house, heck, even for getting out of bed.
5. Rest is productive.
Anyone else just clench their jaw at this one? I’m still learning the value of REST. It’s even more true if you run a business where you’re called to deliver creative work as your primary offering.
Rest does not look like endless binging of Netflix (but an episode or two is perfect).
Rest DOES look like any activity that gives you energy, instead of taking it away. Conversations with a dear friend, a spin around an art gallery, reading a book, cooking, yoga, meditation, and don’t forget my favourite, a solid nap.
4. Yes, you can.
Whatever it is, good or bad. Self fulfilling or self destructive. You can do it. The quicker you decide, the faster you’ll know whether or not it’s right.
3. Protect your vision with your LIFE.
At one point or another, everyone will try and tell you how they think you should run your business (and life). Especially if you’re constantly asking them about it (hello, it me).
It’s taken me all my time on earth thus far to work through some serious self worth issues (still working, mind you) and learn to trust my own gut. After all, I’m the only one living my life, so why do I think that someone else knows what I need? 🤔
2. Share it ALL.
The ups, the downs, the loop-de-loops. Your thinking, your creative process, your life.
All of it. Every last nail biting moment. Why?
By being yourself 24/7, you give others permission to do the same. And a world with everyone being themselves can lessen comparison and competition, and boost admiration and appreciation.
1. Time is an illusion.
Or rather a trick. We live in a quantum universe where what we focus on becomes our reality. Obviously there’s more to it than that, but it all starts with your words.
If you say you don’t have any time to pursue what you love, you won’t.
If you say you aren’t qualified enough, you aren’t.
And my favourite: “I can’t do that”. Yep, you guessed it… you never will.
Reframe your limiting beliefs: “I have more than enough time”; “I’m qualified for this”; and “I can do anything I set my mind to”.
Go on, I dare you. See what happens.
I didn’t know diddly about business before setting out and boy, do I have a long way to go. But I have time. And so do you.
Guess what: I’m JUST getting started
In the spirit of this meandering monologue, I’m shifting how I do business. I’m learning a lot about Sacred Commerce and it’s lighting me UP.
I’ve spent far too long being the gatekeeper of my copywriting practice and it’s time to let you all in. I’m in the process of creating a more intuitive, practical and creative way for us to work together. I want to show you how to channel you and/or your brand’s unique voice into copy that not only attracts those precious dollars, but is also meaningful and valuable to the people you want to call in.
If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that everything is up for grabs. We can keep what we need and let go of anything that’s outdated, painful or not right for us.
I appreciate you making it all the way to the end of this post and for supporting me as I navigate my way through this human experience. Let’s keep doing better for each other and giving ourselves the nurturing we need.