On March 28, 2016, copywriting agency and PR agency, SK Copy Co was born.
It’s the first day Sanina Kaur stopped officially working for employers, which she’d done for 18 years, and switched on her computer as the Director of SK Copy Co. Back then, she had one main retained client and a cluster of ad hoc work to keep her going.
Fast forward five years and SK Copy Co is a hugely successful copywriting agency and PR agency, delivering PR, copywriting and wider digital marketing services to B2B and B2C clients across the UK. It also works with clients who are based further afield, for instance, in the US and Jersey.
Clients range from London and Midlands-based marketing, digital and PR agencies, to start ups and multinational companies with international marketing teams. Sector-wise, SK Copy Co works with organisations across industries, including manufacturing, engineering, construction, public sector, retail, technology, property and healthcare.
The last five years have flown by in the blink of an eye, which Sanina says is down to the fact workflow has been one continuous peak (with the exception of a pandemic-shaped trough) last year.
“Before setting up SK Copy Co, I spoke to quite a few freelancers I knew who told me to expect work to come in peaks and troughs,” she explains.
“However, we’ve been fortunate enough to be flat-out busy since day one, with the exception of last year’s unprecedented circumstances. Now the pandemic’s behind us, we’re busier than ever and really grateful and happy to be working with such an amazing set of clients again.
“The last five years have flown by, which is most probably down to the fact we’ve always had so many different retained and ad hoc projects to deliver. Yes, it’s been a steep learning curve, but it’s one that’s been enjoyable and rewarding; my only regret is not taking the leap of faith and setting up SK Copy Co sooner.”
Like most company owners, Sanina admits that being self-employed comes with just as many challenges as opportunities, that test and delight you on a daily basis. The type of company you’re running, sector in which you’re based and the objectives you’ve set yourself will all invariably shape these challenges and opportunities.
Here are 5 freelancing tips from Sanina based on her last five years in business:
1. Make contacts – whether that’s by connecting with your ideal clients on social media, in networking sessions or at meetings (virtual or in person) always look to be constantly expanding your network. The more people you know and who know of you, the greater your chance of being recommended for work and, as we all know, recommendations are the best form of lead because they’re an endorsement of your skills and work.
2. Be organised – ideally client work should take up around 80% of your schedule. Use that remaining time to work on company business – e.g. generating and following up leads, attending meetings and networking, training and development, marketing and business admin. Having a full schedule is every freelancer’s dream, but it can mean you can’t physically carry out the tasks that enable you to stay on top of company business and help generate a steady flow of work.
3. Keep up with your accounts – the financial side of running a business can very quickly become overwhelming if you don’t keep up with it as you go along. For instance, invoicing, chasing payments, submitting VAT returns, paying bills. They can all quickly mount up and then take ages to sort, which is time most freelancers don’t have because they’re snowed under with work. If you can, get into the habit of dealing with your financial tasks as you go along, e.g. issuing invoices as soon as work has been signed off, checking for overdue payments once a week, keeping an on-going log of your income, running balance and expenses etc.
4. Ask for testimonials – they’re crucial for showing people how good you are at what you do and helping prospects choose you over your competitors. Saying how great you are and sharing some work examples will only get you so far (plus, it’s what everybody else is judged on). But, if you have a bank of testimonials from clients, who are all endorsing your work, you’re more likely to get noticed and win the work. Every time you finish a project, politely ask your client if they wouldn’t mind writing a quick testimonial for you about what it was like to work with you and the quality of the services you provide.
5. Make referrals – don’t see freelancers who do the same thing as you as your arch rivals. Yes, they may be a competitor, but they also work in the same field as you and if they’re too busy, they might need an extra pair of hands. Likewise, there may be times when you’re extremely busy and need to outsource a project to somebody. When you’re following Tip 1, make sure this includes creating a good network of fellow professionals, who you can turn to and they can turn to you, if needed. What’s more, if they’re busy and hear of work, they can recommend you instead. Us freelancers are all in the same boat; it’s important we work together and help each other out.
Here’s one extra tip, which is so easily overlooked, but crucial for your wellbeing:
6. Plan your downtime – when you work for yourself, days off are rare, especially during those early days when you’re building your business. While it’s good to be in the position where you’re winning work left, right and centre and saying ‘yes’ to it all, it does mean it leaves you with very little time to switch off, which is incredibly important to avoid getting burnt out. If your schedule’s looking a bit quieter one morning or afternoon, take some time out. And if you can’t see any gaps, make sure you create some because you’ll be no use to anybody if you push yourself so hard you get frazzled. Listen to your body and make sure you look after it.
For more real-life insight on the world of freelancing and the challenges associated with working from home, read this blog, ‘The Freelance Files: ‘Great! I get to work from home!’
In the meantime, if you’re an agency or business looking for PR, copywriting or digital marketing support from a copywriting agency or PR agency, get in touch today to discuss your requirements with us.