This is “Featured Soloist,” a feature that appears every Tuesday at The Solopreneur Life.
The purpose of “Featured Soloist” is to give all of us a glimpse at how other solopreneurs operate their small businesses. This week we meet Amy Harrison, a gifted copywriter who is based in Brighton, on the south coast of England. If you would like to be the “Featured Soloist,” please send me an e-mail, Larry@TheSolopreneurLife.com.
Name of solopreneur:
Name of business and city:
Harrisonamy Copywriting; Brighton, United Kingdom
Web site address:
Type of business:
Copywriting for busy entrepreneurs
When did you officially go into business?
Why did you start your own business?
I had been working for a small group of private investors for a few years and got a huge buzz from the passion and the spirit they had for their businesses. I wanted that same spark of excitement for my own project so I branched out on my own.
What was the best thing you did when you were starting up your business?
Turn my life upside down to support my work. We were living in a two-bedroom flat, one bedroom was used to take language students to help with the bills and the other bedroom was converted into an office space. We even got rid of the bed and slept on a foam mattress. It wasn’t stressful though, it was good fun and exciting!
What is a mistake that you made that you have learned from?
Discounting too much and not taking a deposit. In the early days it was just great to get work so you’re prepared to slash your prices. This just leads to burnout though and you send the wrong message to clients, you’re telling them that your words are cheap.
What is your biggest current challenge in the business and what are you doing to try to solve it?
Some clients have had a bad experience of unreliable writers, poorly researched work and poor-quality writing. My personal brand is front and centre of everything I do, which means that my reputation is critical to my business. I have to let clients know that my service is transparent, reliable and fuss-free so I publish my rates on the site, make myself readily available to answer queries and give clear start dates and deadlines that I stick to.
What are your goals for 2010?
I’d like to put together more content for entrepreneurs to show them what quick fixes they can do to their copy to improve results without taking up all their time. I’d also like to get to the stage to do more pro bono work later in the year.
Where do you want to be with the business in five years?
I’d love to be in a position where I can hire other copywriters to grow the business, as well as running affordable copywriting courses.
What are your main software programs?
Microsoft Word, Mozilla Firefox, Google Docs for sharing documents and updating things when I’m not at my desk.
What lifestyle choices have you had to make to stay in business?
Cutting back on spending, and spending more time with positive people. When you have a job a moan at the watercooler is a bit of a bonding exercise, but when you’re trying to get your business off the ground there’s just no space for that kind of mentality. You’ve got to believe you can do it and look for people who will support that and encourage you.
What are your strategies for staying competitive?
Taking on less work. I look for a long-term relationship with my clients, even if it’s only a short-term project. I want to give them as much of my time as possible when we work together so I can nurture that relationship and show them that I really care about their business. That’s quite an investment on my part and I can only do it by not overworking.
Do you need a second household income to support your lifestyle? (Is the business primary, or supplemental to the household?)
No, and hopefully I can stay afloat!
If your business should fail, what is your fallback position?
I don’t have one because I can’t really focus on making this work if there’s an alternative in the back of my head. But, if things changed, I’d figure it out then.
If you could begin your career all over again, with what you know now, what might you have done differently? Why?
I’d have told myself not to worry so much and to trust that by working hard for my clients and working hard to build relationships, things would be O.K. and evolve at their own happy pace.
What’s your advice for aspiring solopreneurs?
Don’t limit your goals and dreams and be careful who you listen to. Even well-meaning friends and family might try and put you off your plans because they’re concerned about you not making it. Also, don’t wait too long to jump in and do it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can overcome obstacles when you have to!
Are you glad you became a solopreneur? Why or why not?
Definitely. I love the freedom and I love working on projects and for clients that truly get me fired up. When you land a new client, get good feedback or make great connections with other solopreneurs, it’s just amazing.