As you may know, the main reason we launched the Drinking Coffee With Writers series is so that our community would have a chance to share their stories. Whether they light you up with inspiration or make you think “Wow, I totally know what they’re going through!”, relating to another writer’s journey is a powerful way to stay motivated and feel unified with your peers.
We love that this week’s featured writer, Rinu Ogundeji, founder of The Selling Words, was inspired by the stories of other writers to launch her own career—and that she transformed that inspiration into something entirely her own. Rinu is a conversion copywriter who saw an opportunity to launch her copy business in an ever-changing marketplace. After connecting with fellow creative professionals online, she decided to forge her own path into the world of freelance.
Read on to learn about her copywriting journey—and to see how she landed her first client via Twitter!
Freelance Writing Cafe: What was the #1 reason you decided to start freelancing?
Rinu Ogundeji: The main thing that pulled me into freelancing was my desire to carve a new professional path. Copywriting was a skill I was eager to grow, and once I saw that the online business and marketing space was filled with opportunities to add great value, I decided to dive straight in.
How did your freelance journey begin?
I began teaching English as a Foreign Language online to students across the globe on a semi-freelance basis back in 2015, so I’m more than used to the “lifestyle” associated with remote working. However, when it came to getting started as a copywriter, that was a whole other endeavor.
I’ve been nurturing my creativity, artistic talents, and curiosity about the world—and the stories it tells us—since before I could remember. I’ve also always loved reading, had a knack for writing non-fiction, and an affinity for piecing together memorable content on topics that sparked my intrigue. While these passions have led to many meaningful projects and pursuits, my “professional” focus typically lied elsewhere.
Twitter is what pushed me to consider another route. By early-to-mid 2019, I’d been following and connecting with many online business owners, marketers, freelancers, and creative professionals. They were constantly sharing knowledge and insight on leveraging your skills and matching them to the opportunities being created by an increasingly digitized world.
I built up the courage to begin through seeing other experienced freelancers openly share their own stories of setting a vision, starting small, and then—with focus, determination, and perseverance—growing to achieve their goals while making an impact.
I took workshops from trusted experts, took copywriting and marketing courses, and relentlessly observed online businesses and entrepreneurs from a variety of niches. This necessary learning helped me build courage, too. I love studying, researching, and informing myself as a source of empowerment. I also participated in conversations with genuine interest and contributed my own perspectives.
My first client came (through a Twitter DM!) shortly after officially labeling myself as a “copywriter”. This was after I’d taken ample courses, read essential texts, and produced practice projects that put my newly honed skills to the test. At this point, I hadn’t set up my business, started my website, done any marketing, or even chosen my company name, value prop, or angle. But here was a business owner who simply saw my label and decided to inquire. Something just clicked in me that this was it. And that all those extra details would come in due time if I just took the leap, said “yes”, and gave it my all.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
That one of the most critical factors for success is having a constant eye and hunger for opportunity, and consistently nourishing the courage to grab it once it presents itself. At the same time, it’s important not to rush the process of growth once you take them on. Each individual’s journey towards finding that balance will look different. Embrace your own with patience, personal integrity, and trust.
What is something you still struggle with as a freelance writer?
Perfectionism. While attention to detail is an essential element of this craft, needing things to be “100% perfect” (whatever that means…) can present a challenge both with the work and with how you view and treat yourself as an individual. Nurturing a balanced mindset while being hardworking is key to thriving as a writer and/or creative.
What advice would you give to freelancers who are just starting out?
Study how those people who are already successfully doing what you’d like to achieve got to where they are. Take note of the most commonly mentioned tips or approaches and use them to guide you. Also, find and place yourself in communities (online and offline) that you see yourself flourishing in, contribute wherever you can, and never stop making connections, no matter how big or small. Doing this makes it infinitely easier to find collaborators, attract clients, and stay up-to-date.
What is your favorite thing about freelancing?
That it’s a constant learning and character-building experience, for which I’m grateful.
What is your favorite app, tool, or tip for productivity?
My go-to’s for productivity are the principles of Deep Work (by Cal Newport) and keeping the internet on my phone off until midday—or any time I’m doing important work.
Do you have a go-to mantra or quote that keeps you inspired?
Maya Angelou is one of my favorites. Her quote “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have” inspired immeasurable courage in me the first time I read it.
English breakfast tea with milk and sometimes a dash of honey.
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 email@example.com
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IMAGES VIA RINU OGUNDEJI