Freelancing Part-time. A Good Route into Copywriting?

A guest blog by Nick Pagan Copywriting


When I first started out as a copywriter, it was on a part-time basis while I worked full-time for a large corporation. My day job was in finance, and was about as removed from copywriting as you could get. But I’d always wanted to be a writer, and managed to realise my dream alongside my career.

Going into copywriting was what I wanted to do when I left university, but hadn’t because life had got in the way. I took a job in finance to pay the bills, and because it was reasonably secure. But I soon tired of the soulless existence and decided to try and return where my heart lay. After exploring the possibilities, I took an online course, and in 2010 qualified as a professional copywriter.

And once I’d qualified, my first question was: “Can I freelance part-time and manage my 9-5 existence too?” I soon discovered that yes I could. But not without a lot of sacrifice. And juggling. And hard-work.

The sacrifice came with not having any evenings or weekends to myself as they were spent (and often still are) finishing projects. The juggling came with having to be a dad, husband, office worker and freelancer. The hard-work came from all of the above and trying market myself as a copywriter. I joined a breakfast networking club at the suggestion of a friend, and used to go there before doing a full-day of corporate financing.  Great for pushing the business forward but extremely tiring!

And being tired was one of the main problems of combining self-employment with employment. Late nights and early mornings coupled with long days at the office meant I was exhausted most of the time. Especially when working at my employer’s. And there was the popping home at lunchtimes to deal with emails from clients, the furtive conversations on mobile phones in the corridor to arrange meetings on my days off or after work, and a general shift in interest from the day job to the job on the side.

It got to a point where I was beginning not to concentrate as I should have done on my main employment. Most of my thoughts while I was there turned to the copywriting project I was working on, or how to get my next one. At that point I had to completely separate the two, as I had to remain focused during the day, and not think of it as a daily grind.

I’m now thankfully at the point where I don’t have the two-existences. You can start your copywriting career part-time as long as you’re aware of the pitfalls involved. It can become all consuming, and a challenge to switch your brain to your creative side after using its logical side all day. But as a way to get yourself established, I’d recommend it as a route into becoming a full-blown copywriter.

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