#110: Tanya Brody on Losing Her Day Job and Starting a Freelance Business from Scratch

If you have a day job, what would you do if you got downsized?

Would you look for another job? Or would you use the opportunity to launch your freelance business?

That’s exactly what happened to Tanya Brody a few months ago.

Tanya has been a copywriter for years. But until recently, she was traditionally employed as a copywriter — she wasn’t a freelancer.

In today’s episode she explains how she got started as a copywriter, why she decided to work for someone else, why she chose the solo path when she lost her job… and what she’s learned so far in her freelance journey.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe to this podcast series in iTunes.

Tell us about yourself

Tanya Brody is a freelance copywriter. She works with small businesses in a variety of industries and helps them with lead generation and conversion.

She likes having solopreneurs and “mom and pop shops” as clients. They tend to give her more creative license when promoting their businesses.

How did you get started in copywriting?

Before she became a copywriter, Tanya was a full time musician, touring with a Celtic band. While touring, she did the band’s booking and marketing. When the band broke up, she needed to find a new way to make a living.

She came across International Freelancers Day and was inspired by the idea of freelance copywriting. She took the American Writers and Artist Inc. (AWAI) six-figure copywriting course. Eventually, she became an AWAI circle of success member.

What happened next?

After completing her coursework, Tanya took a job as a copywriter in the Minneapolis area. She worked as a contractor for about five months and then was offered a permanent position. She ended up working for the company for three and a half years. The company specialized in creating website content for lawyers.

What are the pros and cons of working for an employer as opposed to working on your own?

Working for an employer brings a lot more bureaucracy. Often, her company’s clients had firm opinions on what they should put on their website—and she wasn’t allowed to challenge those opinions. She wasn’t allowed to say, “That’s a really bad idea.”

Changing the way your employer does things is like turning a mega-freighter. It can be done, but it’s slow.

To make changes, you often have to go through five layers of management. And it’s not unusual for your ideas to get lost in the shuffle or rejected outright.

When you work for someone else, you don’t have much choice in what you write. If your company sells widgets, you’re going to be writing about widgets.

Are there any advantages to working for an employer?

Having a regular paycheck and benefits is nice. If you get sick, someone else can continue the work. If you’re on your own and you get sick, the work doesn’t get done.

It’s also nice to not work in a vacuum. When you work for a company, you can collaborate and bounce ideas off others.

Your career circumstances changed a few months ago. Tell us about that

Tanya’s company restructured, and she found herself out of a job. She was in shock for several days.

Eventually, she recovered enough to start looking for another job. But she soon realized she didn’t want to continue working for someone else. She had thought about freelancing before. She decided this was the time to do it.

She reached to her contacts and landed a few projects. She had been writing for her employer’s blog, so her name was already “out there.” Also, she had done a little bit of freelancing on the side before, which also helped.

You’ve been chronicling your experiences on your blog. Why did you decide to do that?

Tanya started writing about launching her business about four months ago. It’s a way to keep herself accountable. And it’s a way for prospects (who are also launching new businesses) to see that she understands what they’re going through.

It makes it easy to come up with blog post topics, and it’s a way to connect with others.

When you start your own business, you feel like you’re on your own. But you’re not.

Lots of other people are facing the same challenges. Sharing your experience can make you feel less alone and help others at the same time.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned since you went out on your own?

Tanya has learned the distinction between working in her business versus working on her business. It’s easy to get distracted by the million little tasks you need to do every day. You can’t lose sight of the core of your business—which is to deliver your products and services.

Tanya has also learned that a business cycles. Sometimes, you get chicken. Other times, you get feathers. You have to plan ahead.

What’s next for you?

Tanya will continue to grow her business with the goal of making it more sustainable. She would like to have a few regular clients as well as the ability to take on additional fun projects.

She’s also working on a couple different certifications: Heather Lloyd-Martin SEO copywriting certification and Leadpages conversion marketing certification.

How can listeners learn more about you?

Tanya’s website: tanyabrodycopywriter.com