Get that portfolio sorted, be proactive and keep tabs on YunoJuno briefs! Annabelle Margolis, Sweet FA finalist
Annabelle Margolis spoke to us about her experience as a freelance copywriter and being a Sweet FA Finalist. Read her extremely interesting story and great freelancing tips!
We first asked Annabelle how long she’d been freelancing and what encouraged her to take the plunge:
"I became freelance in February 2019 when I quit a job just before my three-month probation period was complete. Sometimes all it takes is for you to take a risk - and fail - to make you realise what you really want. After 6 years of working in marketing within the fashion industry, I hopped over to another marketing manager job, but this time in food as I wanted to break free from fashion. However, the job was not what I signed up for, my manager was a bully and I had the worst time.
Plus, I’d been thinking a lot about how I never got to be in full control of copywriting as a marketer; I would write assets but they’d always get polished up or changed by a copywriter. And I thought - I want that job. I want to be the copywriter, not the marketer. A bit of an ‘always the bridesmaid and never the bride’-type situation."
Making the move to go freelance was a brave move for Annabelle, but her partner pointed her in the right direction to find exciting new projects– and the rest is history:
So I turned to YunoJuno upon recommendation from my partner and a freelance writing job at Farfetch was sitting there, begging me to apply! It felt like it was meant to be.
"I got the booking and haven’t looked back since. And as soon as I finished that freelance role at Farfetch, I was hell-bent on making sure I branched out, so my experience now spans loads of industries: wellness, sleep, FMCG, tech, auto, media, sustainability, FinTech, recruitment, B2B, legal and even building materials."
As with many freelance disciplines, creative copywriting comes in many forms, from blogging and online content management to writing catchy slogans for billboards. We asked Annabelle what freelance copywriting was to her:
Well, like any freelance job, it’s providing a service on a freelance basis. So you’re not tied into a permanent contract. And it can range from half a day to 3 months for a client. I love that it varies and I can piece together my work schedule. This is one of my favourite parts of being freelance.
"Freelance copywriters are hired to hit the ground running with particular projects and deliverables. It’s great fun - and sometimes exhilaratingly scary - but what’s the point in always doing something you’re comfortable with?"
When it comes to connecting with peers, freelancers are some of the best networkers around and often see opportunities to grow their network of creative freelancers in places others wouldn’t. We then asked Annabelle how she networks: “There are several tools I use: LinkedIn, Facebook (I am part of a UX writers’ network) and word of mouth.
My partner is also a creative professional and we have lots of creative friends that we’ve made throughout our careers, so we’re often getting in touch to share freelance opportunities, give tips or ask questions. We even started our own Slack channel in December 2018 which has grown to include a network of friends-of-friends who are creatives. It’s a great place to chat - especially for freelancers like me that aren’t office-based.”
As a creative, being able to express yourself and flex those creative muscles outside of freelance work is important. Working on personal projects like websites, blogs and even painting is a common theme for freelance creatives. We asked Annabelle how she chooses to express her creativity without the confines of a brief:
“I used to run three blogs - the first on fashion, the second on wellness and the third on cooking. However, the further I progressed in my career, the less time I had to maintain them, so they’re dormant now. But they were an excellent way to satisfy my creative writing itch. I might share them one day - but you’ll need to buy me a glass of wine first!”
As well as using social channels to expand your network, we asked Annabelle to share any other advice she has for someone considering going into freelance copywriting:
First things first: get that portfolio sorted! It’s the first thing clients will ask to see and is what they’ll measure your capabilities against before they’ve even spoken to you. So make sure you outline your key skills and work history and include copy examples that show your talent in action.
"If you don’t have any ‘real’ examples from previous jobs, make some up. Take a campaign, advert or particular asset you’ve seen and rewrite it. Put your spin on it. And show what you can do. Then, I’d suggest being as proactive as you can. Keep tabs on YunoJuno briefs. Scour LinkedIn for industry updates and insights. And keep your finger on the pulse of current creative campaigns, whether that means reading magazines or popping into London or another city for the day and checking out the advertising splashed around the city. This is a huge source of inspiration for me and I save all of it to a top-secret board I have on Pinterest. I'm also not averse to sending emails to heads of departments at brands I want to work for. It's how I got my job at Ted Baker back in 2015 and I know other people who have been successful in doing this, too. Just because a job listing is on LinkedIn doesn't mean you have to apply that way... Get creative!”
And finally, we asked Annabelle if she knew which which project secured her the place in Sweet FA finals:
“I do indeed - it was crafting the tone of voice and messaging for a new wine brand, Castillo de Ibiza, with the brilliant team at Pernod Ricard.”
Fancy working with a creative copywriter on your next project? Book Annabelle here.