I am going to preface this post with a little philosophical thought…I think the traditional essence of the power of copywriting as a profession is simply the use of a deftly wielded pen to craft the perfect message plus plenty of paper to get it out there and fast. When we write for our clients we may use the digital version of keyboard and laptop connected to the internet – replacing the aforementioned pen and paper – but when it comes to devoting our time to plan our workdays, offline, they are still the best ‘old school’ tools to use. There is no flickering cursor on a crisp new page in your notebook for a start, which naturally lets you breathe and think before you write. Pen and paper are so important that I keep a journal and pen at my desk, in my handbag, in my laptop bag and on my beside table. If you are running a small business today, you will know as well as I do, that we never stop working which is the key to nurturing that all important small business mindset 😊
So, as promised, here is my take on six small business mindset ideas I would like to share during a rare pen/keyboard pause for me, today…
Consider planning three months ahead – with sincere and grateful thanks to the way we are required to submit our VAT returns in the UK, I now think of my business and set my productivity goals in terms of the requisite Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 business quarter deadlines they set annually. This helps me both stay emotionally detached from my performance and think of my company in terms of just sales, turnover and profit margin as numerical factors influencing my bottom line without getting too overwhelmed at the outset by how much maths this actually involves!
Focus on the best of three on a smaller scale – now that you know each quarter is made up of three months, this means you have a core time bank of four weeks of Mondays to Fridays in each month – 20 standard work days, each 8 hours long (ideally!). This 160-hour total (or there abouts) per month is the time resource you have to consider three things – delivering your work for your current clients, prospecting for work from new clients across all possible marketing and advertising channels AND continuing to keep ALL your business records up to date. And if one task seems overwhelming on one particular day – you could break it down into smaller easier wins to increase your motivation or switch your focus to something else in the mix completely – as you know, there is always plenty to do in the freelance copywriter small business world…
Your accountant truly is your best friend – I will be super honest here. I get performance anxiety the night before I have to submit my copy assignments to my clients, each and every time – this feeling never gets old as I never stop caring about what I do. Yet, the peace of mind I get from knowing my accountant is on hand to help me prepare my company records means I don’t suffer from business anxiety too, which is such an underrated blessing. Yes, I am the kind of client who is a little obsessive and heavy on the perfect presentation when it comes to preparing each and every receipt and invoice and yes, I do submit my books to them months in advance (yup, this kind of early bird routine is not for everyone, I get that..) but… I feel super in control and headache-free as a result. This way, I am more confident doing my day job with the headspace to compose and create rather than frantically sifting through a disorganised paper trail in an undiluted state of panic in the small hours just before the end of the tax year every year – this simple joy is one to be treasured, its life support – trust me.
Your website is your primary shop window – this is where you sell. It is your platform so you control the visuals, the messaging and you can blog! Inspiration and insight as shown in your creative writing content and in your style are just as compelling as describing in detail your professional offer to market and just how it can benefit your ideal client base. You can write exactly what you want – it’s your message, your brief. Take the reins of your own website to offer regular content updates and refresh the theme regularly. Answer your feedback personally and promptly. Your newly formed small business needs the oxygen of a well-kept website so think about nurturing it like the living thing that it is!
Think of your social media channels as signposts – social media is a wonderful thing to promote what you do but your content here is hosted on other platforms so you may have less control over the way your profile looks, the quality of the visuals you can upload and on some sites just how much copy you can write to exquisitely express exactly what you want to say. Offer a snapshot, a thought for the day, a day in the life of… content which piques enough interest, curiosity and enthusiasm to create the start of an authentic connection for visitors who then may wish to seek out your website to find out more. If they continue to like what they see, they hopefully then contact you with an enquiry, which you can run with, from there.
Network, network, network – nothing is better than a reminder that behind the professional video call smile we are all still human, making it work just the best that we can! Consider attending network events in person again as soon as the opportunity permits. Talk about what you do. Passion on the page is one thing but passion in person is so much more powerful as it can naturally convert the chance of a conversation into a sales lead or two in real-time. Be polite and professional, persistent but not pushy. If you know your unique strengths as a freelance copywriter and are able to pitch confidently and succinctly when you network, then your talent will simply shine through and your ideal client can be drawn to you as someone they can believe in and consider trusting with the honour of telling their brand story so far, to the world.
Good luck! 😊