When a friend first passed on a job ad for a freelance copywriter, I was a little sceptical, despite having no real right to be. As a recent journalism graduate, I was fresh from an environment that lauded journalism above, well, everything. I was also facing a frankly terrifying job market.
Amid grim statistics about the number of new graduates every year and rapidly shrinking newsrooms, I was spending about as much time searching for hospitality jobs as media-related ones.
Despite my constant bouncing between restaurant gigs, temporary contracts and various volunteering, freelancing sounded so…uncertain. Wouldn’t I have to find clients, negotiate rates and chase invoices?
I applied anyway, completed a sample brief and was accepted as a Spotzer freelancer. I came into the cool Fitzroy office, signed my contract and got my first brief within an hour. I’d worked in a few different writing-related areas – corporate communications, reporting, editing – but I’d never done SEO before. I’d never realised it could be interesting or even fun, like solving a puzzle with words.
I found a supportive, helpful environment. My new colleagues endured a barrage of questions with patience and good humour; they provided resources, tips and feedback. I felt like I had found the best of both worlds: the flexibility to work from home (or anywhere) and set my own hours, and a constant stream of steady work.
I also found that copywriting is very similar to reporting in some interesting ways. Both are completely results-oriented environments, fast-paced, with tonnes of variety. Copywriting is fantastic training for a number of journalistic skills: solid time-management, excellent researching and fast writing.
My stay at Spotzer has been brief – just about long enough for me to start fantasizing about relocating Thailand for a month – but as I move on to a full-time journalism position, I’m grateful for my time here. I’ve kept my skills sharp and picked up some new ones; I’ve stayed in the industry I want to work in.
And who knows, next time I want a working holiday, maybe instead of waiting tables or picking fruit, I’ll be writing copy on a beach. Sounds alright to me.