After 14 years of B2B marketing within the world of IT and tech, I’m finally very happy and content fulfilling my passion in life – copywriting.
Since studying my A Levels, I’ve always been fascinated with business, specifically how to set up and grow a business. After having my first son back in 2014, I decided there was no better time to set up my own company in order to achieve the perfect balance of time to be a mummy, and time to focus on a work I adore.
But I’ve skipped a few years there…
Straight out of university…
I found myself flicking through the pages of the Newbury Weekly News and Basingstoke Gazette to see what jobs I would be suitable for. Trusty BIC Crystal in hand, I was circling anything that looked interesting (including a tea taster for Twinnings, because who wouldn’t want that job?!).
Eventually I saw this:
Rocking up to my first ‘proper’ job interview (as opposed to the part-time retail and hospitality jobs that got me through college and uni) I felt like I was entering the lion’s den. But Alister was unlike anyone I’d ever met before.
An entrepreneur with crazy passion and a laser focused belief that his governance software had the potential to change the world, I was literally jumping for joy when he took a chance and offered me a job sitting in the basement of a shared office alongside him, and a developer (think baggy jeans, greasy dreadlocks, chain smoking, coffee drinking introvert who might say ‘hello!’ in the morning if you were lucky, and seemed superhuman in being able to work 24/7).
Alister opened the door to a world that was so bright and colourful, full of events, webinars, sales literature, case studies, email marketing, web content, PR, merchandise, PPC – anything we could think of to be seen and establish ourselves in the market.
It was an incredible opportunity where I had the scope to try anything and everything, where it was ok to fail as long as we knew why and learned, and where I was allowed to be as weird and wonderful as my imagination.
Years later, when I was thinking about turning freelance, Alister’s was the first door I knocked on for reassurance that I was doing the right thing. His advice:
“I’ll be disappointed if you don’t do it.”
It was like a knife to my heart – how could I ever disappoint the man that gave me my big career break?
And a couple of years later, while thinking about returning from maternity leave after having my second son, I was jumping for joy again when Alister called to say that he was thinking of setting up a new company focussed on process management software and would I like to get involved…
Well yes, absolutely!
But again, we’ve skipped too far ahead…
From in-house to agency-side
After a few years with eShare, I was getting itchy feet, and a lot was happening in my personal life that made me feel like I needed to try something new. Having worked in-house, I thought it could be fun to see what life was like agency-side.
I knew I loved working with small businesses so looked around for something exciting and I discovered a cute little boutique PR and marketing communications agency – this time based in the attic of a gorgeous Tudor building in the centre of Newbury.
Our primary focus was in securing media opportunities through press releases and editorial, but our success was reliant on creating strong content that sat behind our campaigns, such as case studies, research reports, and white papers.
I spent many wonderful years here, watching the team grow, helping to refine our offering and working with some of the most interesting and innovative IT and tech companies.
In particular, we hit upon a huge opportunity within renewable energy. The market was just taking off in the UK and the Government offered amazing benefits through its feed-in tariffs. We jumped at the chance to pivot and take a sidestep into broader technology, mainly around solar.
We were getting so much traction in the media, our clients were super happy, and we were growing at an incredible pace…
But again, I started to feel the itchy feet syndrome.
My biggest fear has always been ending up as a tired, washed out marketer, looked over in favour of the next generation. I vowed to avoid this at all costs, so I moved on.
But I’d worked in-house and agency side, so where next?
Entering the world of big business
I thought it would be interesting to try life in the world of enterprise, and with the experience gained in an agency environment I quickly secured a role with a solar company who was well established in Europe but relatively unknown in the UK. It would be my job to head up marketing for the UK subsidiary and establish a strong sales pipeline.
I lasted 5 months.
It didn’t turn out to be the role that was advertised, and the rigid internal processes made me feel like I was handcuffed and unable to do my job to the best of my abilities. It was hugely frustrating.
So I left and found what I thought was an incredible opportunity – marketing manager of not 1, but 2 IT businesses. On one side they offered IT infrastructure, and on the other SaaS products based on SharePoint.
Starting out as the marketing manager, in time I was appointed to the senior leadership team. The whole team was amazing though, so knowledgeable and so fun. I also learned how to navigate the complex world of vendor co-op marketing campaigns and secure the necessary funding to boost my marketing budget. And my biggest win…
I got the sales team to like me.
Burned by ineffective marketing in the past, they had grown sceptical and transitioned into ‘lone wolves’. It took time, but I got them to include me in their world and try to help them.
But then life happened…
I got married and a little while later was expecting our first baby.
I’d always wanted to set up a business and thought that maternity leave would be the perfect opportunity to give it a go. So I gave myself 6 months to establish a successful freelancing career, and when the deadline past I had a business where I earned more and worked less than when I was employed – the perfect work/life balance I’d set out to achieve.
So I never looked back.
The joy of being freelance
Over the last 6 years I’ve been in the process of continuous improvement to refine my offering and the work I provide to my clients.
During that time I’ve tried and tested different services, positioning and messaging and I feel I’ve finally created something I’m happy with under my new brand ‘more than words’ – working as a B2B copywriter for small IT & tech companies in the Thames Valley, providing top of the funnel content, like blogs, thought leadership white papers, guides, reports and case studies.
I have a strong and interesting client base that make me excited to get to work everyday. And I’ve discovered the power of community by getting involved with initiatives like Freelance Heroes and Being Freelance.
But this isn’t the end…
I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason – so if you really want something, it’s up to you to put the effort in and make it happen.
It’s why if I’m not writing, I’m reading, studying and applying the lessons learned to my own business in order to test them…
It’s why I believe in ‘paying things forward’ – putting enough kindness and good will out into the world to help others, just in case I might need some help in the future…
It’s why I’ll never stop pushing to be the best I can possibly be, to the benefit of both my family and my clients.