Haris Halkic: Hi Lindsay, thanks a lot for agreeing to share your best tips on copywriting and your background. Let’s start with how you got started in copywriting? Please, tell us more about your story.
Lindsay Deidda: Hi Haris, thanks for inviting me to share my story. So how did I get started?
Well, I’ve always wanted a writing-based career of some kind. After finishing a degree in English, I initially planned to go into publishing.
But life got in the way. My personal circumstances at the time meant I was moving backwards and forwards between the UK and Australia, and my career plans eventually ended up on the back burner.
Then in 2012 I was offered some online translation work. The project itself was painfully boring, but the remote freelancing element really appealed to me.
Haris Halkic: How did you transition to freelance copywriting from your previous job? What’s your best advice to someone who is employed and wants to become a freelance copywriter?
Lindsay Deidda: In 2013, I was living in Florence, my husband’s home city, with a young baby and very little chance of finding ‘conventional’ work. The Italian economic crisis was in full swing, but I had an honours degree, I knew I was a skilled writer, and I was determined to put them both to good use.
I spent hours a day trawling internet job sites. Then one day I came across Karen Marston’s website. Until then, I’d never dreamed I could actually start up my own business.
At the time Karen was running a series of online copywriting courses. Her unconventional, no-bullshit approach and her teaching methods based on her own experiences, convinced me to sign up.
I learnt how to build my own website, the fundamentals of SEO and digital copywriting, and how to go about finding clients. Within a month of finishing the course, I had my first clients and I was actually earning money!
My advice for someone who is considering this career is be prepared to put in a lot of hard work.
Patience, perseverance and good writing skills are essential. Set your standards from the beginning, and prove your worth by consistently producing high quality work.
Haris Halkic: Getting clients is one of the greatest challenges for freelance copywriters. Could you tell us more about how you get clients?
Lindsay Deidda: Right from the start I took the cold emailing approach. I was advised to stay away from content mills, and I’m so glad I did; they’re soul destroying.
I’m quite chuffed to say that some of my very first clients are still with me today. It took a while for me to build my confidence, but the turning point was when I started getting work through referrals. Satisfied clients were happy to recommend me to others. Boy, did that feel good!
Haris Halkic: How do you prepare for a writing session?
I need to know who I’m writing for. I won’t start work until I have a clear understanding of my target audience.
It influences everything: research, data, writing style, tone of voice.
Haris Halkic: How did you learn to write copy? Are there teachers, books or resources you can recommend?
Lindsay Deidda: As I mentioned before, Karen Marston taught me the fundamentals. Since then it’s been a constant learning process. I haven’t actually read any books on copywriting, but I have a massive archive of blogs, guides and articles by top influencers and successful copywriters. The best teachers are people who are currently working in the industry. It’s important to build up a good network of people who can offer advice and support, which you need in this remote line of work.
Haris Halkic: Who’s your favorite copywriter or piece of copywriting?
Lindsay Deidda: Gosh, I don’t know if I have a favourite. But I do urge anyone who’s interested in business writing to follow John Espirian. The guy’s a walking treasure trove of useful information and advice.
Style-wise, I really admire fellow copywriter, André Spiteri. His writing has great personality and natural flair, and I always enjoy reading his blogs.
Haris Halkic: In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of being a freelance copywriter? What makes this lifestyle so special?
Lindsay Deidda: Having the freedom and flexibility to choose my own working hours, and not having to face a daily commute!
That said, freelancing isn’t an easy life. It takes determination and a lot of self-discipline. You can never rest on your laurels, and working from home has its own challenges.
But being my own boss, doing something I enjoy, while helping provide for my family, makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Haris Halkic: Is there a daily habit that has contributed to your success more than any other?
Lindsay Deidda: I’m an early bird.
On work days I start at 5am. I love the silence, there are no distractions and it’s when I’m at my most productive.
I get more done in those early hours of the morning than throughout the rest of the day.
Haris Halkic: If someone wants to hire you, what is the best way to get in touch?