Kaitlyn Parker, founder of Copy Uncorked, didn’t know she was going to become a copywriter—she almost fell into it, which should be a major relief to those who think it’s impossible to claw your way into a copywriting career… *ahem* believe in yourself *ahem.
Anyway! Once she found her footing, she learned how to turn a new passion into a thriving copywriting business. When it comes to freelance writing, multi-passionate writers who have a penchant for over-working can bring a whole new set of challenges. In this week’s installment of Drinking Coffee With Writers, Kaitlyn is dishing out some major wisdom on how she handles it all.
Freelance Writing Cafe: What was the #1 reason you decided to start freelancing?
Kaitlyn Parker: I’ve always loved writing and have had a personal blog since before college (kaitlynhparker.com – it’s evolved a lot over the years!) and knew I wanted to find a way to get paid to write and make a living from it. After getting a Masters in Strategic Communications and exploring online business I sort of fell into copywriting and have loved it since the beginning!
It encompasses so many of my passions and career interests (words, branding, marketing, business, psychology, and culture) without ever letting me get bored. Each client is different and I’m always researching and learning something new.
How did your freelance journey begin?
During grad school, I found myself wanting to start a business and create an LLC. I had no idea where that would take me and I remember being so nervous. A lawyer from my church helped me set it up and I turned my personal blog into more of a business website with various service offerings. They were all across the board, including a bit of design and social media strategy.
A friend from college referred me to one of her friends who just started an awesome swimwear line. I wrote some of her website copy—not really having any idea what I was doing—andt it went pretty well! Turns out, I loved it.
I joined a few Facebook groups and started commenting on project requests from various members. I eventually got my first long-standing content writing client from there and my business has really just continued to evolve and grow from there. Most of my clients now come from referrals/word of mouth, but I have certainly invested in building my brand over the years.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Build relationships. I’m a homebody, an introvert, a DIY’er, a type 3 on the Enneagram, and independent. But the few in-person events I’ve gone to and designers I’ve built relationships with have allowed me to connect with peers who just GET IT. They’ve become my cheerleaders on the daily and I’m so grateful for that. That and CREATE SYSTEMS. From day one. Treat your business like a business.
What is something you still struggle with as a freelance writer?
It’s a “good struggle” in a sense, but I often overbook myself or struggle to leave enough margin. I’m in the process of building out a team and have my VA take on more and more of a role within my company, which I’m excited about. But I struggle with overworking because there’s almost always something that needs to be done!
What advice would you give to freelancers who are just starting out?
Build relationships with other online business owners and build a brand for yourself. That creates so much credibility in and of itself. Decide what you want to write and who you want to write for and gear all your content creation/marketing efforts towards that. Use any downtime you don’t have clients to learn about branding and marketing yourself online. That will pay dividends in the long run!
What is your favorite thing about freelancing?
Being my own boss—choosing the type of work I do and the clients I work with. Basically just having complete ownership, freedom, and autonomy.
What is your favorite app, tool, or tip for productivity?
Currently, Trello! Pretty much my entire business is contained within it. I have also heard great things about ClickUp but haven’t quite made the switch yet. I also use Dubsado for my client project management which has been invaluable. I share all the tools I use in my business at copyuncorked.com/resources.
Do you have a go-to mantra or quote that keeps you inspired?
“Never stop creating or exploring”
“What distracts us will begin to define us. You don’t have to swing at every pitch. – Bob Goff”
“Create more than you consume.”
…there are a lot. I’m working on a brand manifesto currently.
What’s your favorite hot beverage to sip while working?
Coffee with almond milk creamer—or wine when working in the evenings! 😉
Want more inspiration? Read more from our Drinking Coffee With Writers series.
☕️ Drinking Coffee With Writers is here to give you a dose of inspiration and actionable tips for the week ahead. We’re showcasing freelance writers who are designing their careers and living life on their own terms. Want to be our next featured writer? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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IMAGES VIA KAITLYN PARKER