If you aren’t already acquainted, meet Richard Shrubb: A well-seasoned journalist and copywriter working in some big-name circles for the past 18 years.
What is your name and what do you do?
I’m Richard Shrubb. Living in the wilds of West Dorset, I’m a freelance SEO, sales and PR copywriter in sustainable transport, sailing, psychotropic drugs and social affairs.
How long have you been running your business/freelancing and why did you start?
I’ve been in this business 18 years! Before I finished my MA in broadcast journalism I’d encountered the stigma associated with my paranoid schizophrenia and my confidence in working full time for someone else took a kicking. Just two years ago I learned I also have autism. That hasn’t stopped my career freelancing but it left my broadcast journalism career stillborn.
Finding clients is one of the biggest concerns for people starting out working for themselves. Where did you find your very first client or customer? Where do you mostly find them now?
For someone with my issues saying this might surprise you but word of mouth and personal contacts has always been the big one. I was on the media committee of the National Survivor User Network in around 2005 with the then editor of Mental Health Today. Ended up a columnist and feature writer. Was on the Team USA press boat with a Sailing World journalist and ended up their 2012 Paralympics Correspondent. Moved from journalism into copywriting when a childhood friend in the USA got me a gig in 2010.
In survival mode I go to People Per Hour. That saw me through when my business evaporated in the first lockdown.
Who would you love to have as a dream client and why?
That’s a tough one. Looking at this question I immediately thought back to my master’s degree placement at BBC Plymouth, producing radio packages for BBC Radio Devon. It was such fun I was amazed people got paid for it! Then there have been high times working with a tabloid newspaper on an investigation into a Rachman landlord. With his thugs driving around the area while we walked into his houses speaking to his tenants it was such a buzz! The onboard reporters at the Ocean Globe Race are having a laugh too – yes, they have to sail through horrendous conditions and still produce high quality output. I dream of sailing from Cape Town to Brazil around Cape Horn. My cat and daughter would miss me though.
In all reality? Pay me what I’m worth, accept I am not perfect as a human being, and let me work here in West Dorset with little interference.
What app or social media platform could you not run your business without, and why?
Is working for yourself what you expected? How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
Today I’m writing this in a burnout day – constructively doing f*ck all. I got to close of play Monday feeling Friday evening tired. If you’re as self-motivated as a dog after a bitch on heat, you don’t stop for anything given the choice.
However: weekends are sacrosanct. Live in a place that fulfils me. Walking, yoga, deep meditation, activism, socialising, my daughter and gardens…
What has been your favourite project to date?
Co-authoring Beat Stress Feel Better for the Men’s Health Foundation. It was the last book I wrote that made a difference.
What is your biggest win of the last 12 months?
I’m working with Ebikes.org. That’s the main client I have now.
What is it about running your business/being a freelancer that you most enjoy?
The freedom to work in fields that matter to me. To be a subject matter expert.
If you were given a free £1000 to spend on your business, what would you spend it on?
My leased MacBook Air is good enough!
What is your ONE top tip or piece of advice you would offer to other freelancers/small business owners?
Put you first. Once you have done that, your business will benefit.
And finally, is there anything you’d like to shout about right now?
Just check out my website at www.richardshrubb.com and contact me if you want to offer me my dream job!