This December, I am celebrating WriteCloud’s 5th birthday. So I am taking a look back over the past half a decade, how it all started and where’s next on the journey.
It was July 2008, my maternity leave was coming to an end after having my second child, and the likelihood of returning to my job was getting slimmer by the day. I didn’t want to work full time, the office had relocated, I didn’t want to commute and I didn’t want to be relying on expensive childcare to allow me to work.
I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of accessible jobs. I trawled through the internet, contacted agencies and explored the so-called ‘work from home’ opportunities in the hope of finding something that would fit with me and my life. I didn’t want to compromise - I wanted to find valued and challenging work that was flexible enough to fit around my family - but I still needed a job. So I took a part-time job in a restaurant.
And then I fell into copywriting
In 2009, I was asked if I could help out with some copy for a flyer, you know, as I was ‘quite good at English’. To which I replied ‘ok, but what is copy?’
I loved it; researching, writing and working at home just me and my laptop, so much so that I decided to sign up for a distance learning course to learn more. Finally, something I could get stuck into.
Over the next year, I studied, researched and self-taught, taking on only a couple of writing gigs in the following year.
I was contacted quite by accident through a friend who knew someone that wanted some home-based admin support for a few hours a week. It was a good fit for my skills and experience having worked as a customer service administrator previously. At the time, the term ‘Virtual Assistant’ was unknown to me and it was actually unknown to the client, too. They just knew they wanted some reliable support, but, being a virtual organisation themselves, couldn’t employ someone to work in their office.
So, 1st December 2011 marked the first day proper of my freelance virtual assistant career. I had my first regular client signed on the dotted line and WriteCloud in its current form was launched.
Five years of freelancing
Five years on and I am reflecting on my progression from occasional freelancer to full-time business owner. I have had some amazing opportunities to work with some amazing clients. I have written copy that has been seen by thousands of people on leading online shops, on billboards in the London underground and for book promotions for a best-selling author. I regularly have the privilege of helping clients on their own business journeys as they launch their website and reach their audience or to support them as their business grows. No two jobs or two clients are the same.
Working for myself has also given me the opportunity to learn new skills. Whether it’s researching for a new project or just brushing up on the latest technology, the opportunities to continue to develop in this career are endless.
The freelance world is a growing industry as people embrace the ‘work from anywhere anytime’ flexible approach and the virtual assistant sector is no exception. Just recently an article in Entrepreneur magazine placed Virtual Assistant eighth in the fastest growing freelance skills. Although, it’s difficult to define it as just one skill as the term encompasses an approach to working as much as a skillset. For a while, I wrestled with the concept of being both a VA and a copywriter, but I now know many VAs specialise in a specific industry or profession. They find an industry or a niche they like working in, and they make it work.
Bring on the next five!