A Day In The Life: Sally Cameron

Today, I’m joined by the very lovely Sally, of Sally Cameron Copywriting, who I met when she emailed me out of the blue to invite me to a skype chat to talk about business! Sally’s story reminded me of my own (years spent behind a desk, before taking the big leap into biz-lady-dom) so I jumped at the chance to learn more. Sally’s sharing some of her top tips for women in similar situations, including some of the biggest lessons she’s learned since starting #freelancelyf.

What do you do?

I’m a Freelance Copywriter, Editor, and Owner at Sally Cameron Copywriting. It’s still a total thrill to be able to say that after eight years in the corporate world! What do I do exactly? Help solopreneurs, start ups, and SMEs connect with their tribe, compel action, and convert more business with awesome copywriting. It’s my dream job.

How did you get to where you are today? Any stand out career moments?

After loving all things Literature and English at school, I did a Bachelor of Professional Writing and Editing. From there, I made my way into copywriting, and took a detour into B2B marketing which eventually saw me managing a Marketing Services team in a B2B agency. I did that for three or so years, then realised I was feeling really envious of my team members who were getting to do all the writing and execution while I spent my time resource planning and doing performance reviews – yuck! I longed to get back to being creative and the freedom of being my own boss really appealed. I haven’t looked back.

Stand out career moment is definitely finding the courage to give my own business a go. I could have continued down the path of management, but I knew it just wasn’t right for me. So, I leapt and trusted that the net would appear. Thankfully, it did! I still pinch myself daily that I’ve actually done it, and it’s actually working. Thank you, Universe.

Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like?

I do, and I think it’s essential when you work from home. I wake up at about 7.30am (which is totally luxurious after 5.30am starts for the last eight years!). Then, it’s shower, yoga pants, and hair up in a messy bun (also luxurious after eight years of stockings, high heels, and hair straightening!). Next, it’s brekky and my morning cup o’ chamomile, whilst checking my email and social media – but I try really hard to limit this to 30 minutes max. Any longer, and it encroaches too much on my most productive writing time. This week, I’ve also been experimenting with a quick morning walk before jumping into work. Moving my body seems to get the creative juices flowing.

What do you love most about what you do?

A couple of things. The first is feeling like I make a meaningful difference to my clients’ lives and businesses. Most come to me feeling really confused and frustrated about how to effectively communicate with their market. Taking them from that place right through to clearly articulating the right message in a way that feels authentic is so rewarding. All of a sudden, they’re proud and excited to promote their business, and relieved they no longer have to waste hours attempting to write their own copy! The second is very simply the joy I get from playing with words. Carefully crafting a sentence that cuts through and sings on the page gives me such a high. I’m a word nerd, for sure!

What do you find most challenging?

All the ‘What ifs?’ that come with self employment. What if they hate my work? What if I get sick and can’t meet that deadline? What if I don’t get enough clients next month? And so on. I guess this uncertainty is the price you pay for the automony of self employment. And it’s a price I’m willing to pay. Of course, most of these worries never eventuate anyway. There’s that funny quote: ‘I’ve got 99 problems and 86 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that I’m stressing about for absolutely no logical reason.’ Yep, that’s totally me!

What do you think is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur / freelancer needs to have?

Oh, there are so many! I’d say the biggie though is resilience. Along with the massive ups, there are naturally going to be some downs, some rejection, and lots of uncertainty. You need resilience during those times to remember why you started, to keep at it, and to soldier on.

What’s one thing you learned today?

That it’s necessary to say ‘No’. I had a project referred to me that just didn’t float my boat. I could’ve squeezed it in and it would’ve meant some extra cash in the bank, but instead I politely declined and trusted that something better will come along. As a freelancer, you have the luxury of choosing which projects you take on. So, choose wisely. It’s the projects you’re really excited about that are going to enable you to do your best work.

What do you think is missing / small businesses are struggling with most at the moment?

I think the temptation, particularly when money is tight, is to try to do everything yourself. Which is a recipe for burnout and mediocrity. It’s important to check in with yourself regularly and ask, ‘Is this something I enjoy or something I’m good at?’ If the answer to either of those is ‘No’, it might be something to consider outsourcing.

Any advice for other wannabe or existing entrepreneurs / freelancers?

Forget the ‘shoulds’ and do what’s right for you. Perhaps you’re an introvert, like me, who feels like they should be going to weekly face-to-face networking events – but would rather poke their own eye out! That’s okay – there are heaps of other ways to network online. You started your own business to live life on your terms, so remember to honour that. Really, creating your own business should be a big beautiful expression of who you are, how you want to be of service, and how you want to live your ‘one wild and precious life’ (thank you, Mary Oliver). Conclusion: do what’s right for you. No exceptions.