I’ve lived in the US, specifically Iowa, my entire life. I grew up in a fairly rural area but always knew I wouldn’t stay there. When I was getting ready to graduate high school, I found out about the profession of copywriter and knew that with my love of writing and how excited I can get when it comes to sharing something passionate, useful, or just plain fun, this was what I wanted to be when I grew up. After attending a private university studying creative advertising, I started out small. My first job out of college was working as an Administrative Assistant for a local childcare company. Not wanting my copywriting skills to go dry, I offered to revamp their parent newsletter through editing and adding content including a director’s letter each month. My first big break was at the same company I’d interned for in college, the Des Moines Radio Group. As a Promotion’s Assistant, I would be in charge of writing promotional commercial copy as well as any talk points the talent needed. From there, I went on to help start the social media presence of a warehousing company, grow the awareness of a financial equipment company through email, print, and direct mail, and increase the presence of a nation-wide auto shipping company with all types of marketing. While doing these 9 to 5 jobs, I was also growing my freelance business helping local realtors, business owners, and non-profits with their marketing. After 5 years of juggling both, I had grown my freelance enough to find security in leaving a full-time job.
I’ve chosen to stay in Iowa because I’ve seen the great potential for businesses and non-profits to grow and thrive here. Des Moines continues to make national top such-and-such lists all the time, which continues to bring more entrepreneurs here. What I offer that most writers here don’t is that I work directly with the company. There’s no chain of command or multi-person email. I take the time to get to know my clients, in person. Most writers in the area work with a marketing or advertising company as a contractor. I wanted to choose a more direct route and work with clients that I could give my best work because I could get behind their cause or share in their excitement for their service or product. Granted, being a freelance copywriter in Iowa isn’t always easy, but through great networks like the American Marketing Association and the Social Media Club, I’m able to make some great connections and meet some great colleagues who are willing to help one another.
The best thing about being a freelancer in Iowa is that we have a lot of great places to work remotely. Des Moines specifically has over 25 locally owned coffeeshops, and, of course, numerous national chains such as Starbucks and Caribou Coffee. There are also great co-working spaces throughout the city to help entrepreneurs at all levels grow and thrive with less overhead. If I could move to another city, I would choose San Antonio. I’ve never found a place more soothing than the Riverwalk. I would probably spend most of my “working” time just sitting somewhere around La Villita.
Although it sounds cliche, I truly enjoy every client I’m working with currently because I have so much variety. I have clients in real estate, construction, sanitation, and an educational non-profit. The majority of my work for these people is in social media – building their audience and awareness through engaging posts and conversation with customers. Outside of that, I help show off their expertise in their fields through blogging, updating content on their websites to be current, email communication with current customers, and, for the non-profit, helping to grow their effectiveness with grant writing. My favorite piece of work is a large scale project. I helped create, promote, and implement a fundraising event for a company to donate it all to the American Alzheimer’s Association. It was done 2 years in a row, double in its size in both attendance and funds raised.
I truly love being a copywriter, seeing my talents and passion used to help entrepreneurs grow and consumers find exactly what they need. I’ll never be more than a one-person shop, but my ultimate goal is to help the next generation of eager copywriters by giving them real client experience with an internship as my list of clients becomes large enough.
I am digging my heels into learning the Craft of Copywriting! It’s great to read Success stories, such as yours! I have had many wonderful jobs here and overseas, although I guess I did it backwards! My birthday is at the end of February and I’m changing careers. The hardest part is always the Beginnings for me! Showing up and slicing my goals down to comfortable sizes. Or, going out of my Comfort Zone! Do I make sense?
Anyway, Congratulations on your accomplishments! If you have advise for a ‘Newbie’, please keep in touch! BeWell.