Our latest Featured Freelancer, Deborah Wroe, has been freelancing since 2010 after returning to the UK from Sydney. Initially working in a partnership, Deborah has since begun working solo and her best advice for aspiring freelancers is “don’t take in parcels for neighbours.” Read all about Deborah and her journey…
What is your name and what do you do?
Deborah Wroe, Copywriter
How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?
Since 2010, I returned to the UK from a stint living and working in Sydney and decided to go for it, albeit initially in a partnership.
What strategy do you find most effective for attracting new clients?
I don’t think there is one that’s more effective than others. It’s about being where your clients are, which will be different for each type of business.
What app or social media platform could you not run your business without, and why?
I’ve been a big fan of Twitter since around 2009. I have occasional self-imposed time outs but it’s still my favourite and go to. I like the immediacy and the connections I’ve made, and sometimes tweets can make me roar with laughter, so it’s my water cooler too.
Do you research prospects before a call or meeting? If so, what information do you look for?
Yes of course. I look at their website, particularly the about and the news sections – to see exactly who they are and what they are up to. I evaluate their existing tone of voice and see where and how I can best add value.
What do you do to help maintain positive mental wellbeing?
Howl laughing at tweets. Take my dog for a walk and enjoy nature. Observe very strict office hours. It is way too easy to be always on which is just not healthy.
Is being a freelancer what you expected? Do you work more hours (or less) than what you had first anticipated?
It’s been so long I’m not sure anymore!
What are the most common objections you’ve had from potential clients? How did/do you overcome them?
I don’t think there are common objections in my line of work. Obviously, there are occasionally those who want things cheaper and done yesterday. They can get them – elsewhere.
Have you ever turned a prospect away? If so, why and how did you do it?
I’ve always said I’ll work with anyone except arms dealers or slaughterhouses and thus far I’ve never been approached by either.
What do (would) you do when a client ghosts you?!
If it’s a prospect, I’ll let it go after some reasonable chasing. If it’s a client and I need their approval on work done, then I will chase as per my Ts&Cs then promptly invoice for balance owing. Tight procedures and contracts are key for me. Life happens to us all but good communication makes for happy clients and happy freelancers.
Are your motivations now the same as they were when you started freelancing?
A bit yes, a bit not. I started out as quite location dependant, a local freelancer targetting the local business community. Now I’m a location independent copywriter – ie I have the ability to work from anywhere in the world (should I choose).
What is it about being a freelancer that you enjoy most?
Even though I am up early every day and dressed and ready to work (the pyjama thing is a total myth) and maintain ‘standard’ office hours I have freedom within that. I can walk my dog when I want (weather dependant). Heck, even having a dog is a freelancer perk. I could never have had one in my previous staffer life.
What do you enjoy the least about being a freelancer?
Not having a Christmas bash – joking – I mainly hated them!
What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?
That the tax doesn’t need to be taxing slogan is poppycock.
What is your ONE top tip or piece of advice you would offer to other freelancers?
Don’t take parcels in for neighbours – you will never get any work done.