Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dashed Dreams and Renewed Hope: Why I got into Copywriting

As a child, my mother would always tell me "pay now, play later". This simply meant that if I committed my childhood to books, if I slaved away behind the desk in the first section of my life, I would definitely enjoy the promise of a successful career with no ceilings to smash through. Doors would just swing open and life would be a lavish cocktail of designer suits, dinner parties and holidays. Sure enough, I clung to my mother's words and worked my proverbial butt off. At primary school, night time reading was always complete and homework was always done.

Even at secondary school my coursework was always attacked with the knowledge of my dream job waiting at the other end. This continued through sixth form and university (bar a tiny, crazy period of  raving and missed deadlines in my first year of university!)

Anyway, with a portfolio of good GCSE and A-Level results, a Bachelors and Masters degree, one would think that I would be occupying the CEO's chair in someone's company years later, right? Well not exactly. What no one prepared me for was a frustrating period of stagnation. Many applications went out, and would often come back in the form of rejection. I was subject to the classic millennial's dilemma of being asked for experience, whilst no one was prepared to give me any. The firm I was at, at the time, managed to keep me at my entry-level position and refused and rejected my every attempt to climb up the career ranks - even with my knowledge of the company and all the voluntary work I did for the bi-monthly newsletter.

Fast-forward a few years. I was finally in a position which loosely resembled what I had envisioned as a child (of course it would be a secondment and not a job which was fully mine!) The promise of the permanent position was being pulled away from me by my then manager. "I am sorry, but you'll have to go back to your original posotion", she was telling me, whilst I looked head-on with a stupid expression on my face. Was I hearing right? My mother's affirmation, that my childhood sacrifice would afford me the privilege to "play later", rang in my head, but it just wasn't making sense to me anymore. At the age of 27, this was my time to play, right? So how come after at least 18 years of education and ten years of employment, I was still banging on the doors of recruiters, begging them to give me a chance? 

It was at this time I spoke to a friend about taking a copywriting course with the College of Media and Publishing (this is not an ad). I had been blogging since the age of around 18, and one thing I had always been complimented for (apart from my smile and smooth skin) was my writing. Immediately, I thought to myself, "Madeline, you're too intelligent, too hardworking and too educated to be begging people to see the potential in you".


By now, you might have heard about the calls by standup comedienne and actress Mo'nique for a Netflix boycott. Her gripe is that she was offered a fraction of what other comics were offered to do a comedy special. Her anger burns towards Oprah, Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels*, who she claims collectively destroyed her reputation in Hollywood, which has resulted in her not finding work and being offered insulting amounts of cash in return for her talents. She is currently on an interview tour across America, telling her story and burning bridges and further destroying her career in the process, and I am thinking "Mo'nique, why not turn your frustration into creating your own opportunities?"

This is what I did. I made it a point to solidify my God-given ability for written communication with a qualification. At the time, I stumbled upon a fantastic Facebook group of female entrepreneurs, which was led by a business coach, Chichi Eruchalu. From listening to the host, and the hundreds of other talented women, all with their different struggles and walks of life, I learnt to believe in myself, and that the time to go freelance, or to start that business was now. So I started advertising my services to the group, and that is where I won my first contract.

At the time, I was ploughing along with my copywriting course, and the advice given to students was to begin showing the world our writing by submitting articles to various publications and starting a blog. I already had a blog at the time, but I wanted to take my writing in another direction, hence why I started this one! Thankfully, things have grown from strength to strength. I have been blogging on madelinewilsonojo.com for around a year and a half, worked with a number of clients and authors, and have had my work featured in a few publications.

So there you have it. How I got into copywriting.

My advice to you if you're itching to start a business or a project is to go for it. You don't have to be perfect or have it all figured out. Just begin. Bake your first tray of cookies, opt to do your friend's makeup and post it on social media, write the story you're carrying inside you. Do your research, be humble and learn as you embark on your journey. I can't promise you overnight success but I can assure you of progress in the right direction. Network within your industry,  do not be afraid to take advantage of opportunities, and don't be shy about marketing yourself! People will have as much confidence in you as you have in yourself!

Having said that, if you are looking for a copywriter for your business, hit your girl up! Contact me at contact@madelinewilsonojo.com, and I'll work with you according to your business needs and budget to make sure your brand shine!

Similarly, if you have any further questions about how I got into copywriting please leave them below. I would also love to hear your career journey, and what business you are into or would love to start. Perhaps I could give you a few pointers. Please share below!

*Tyler Perry is an American actor and filmmaker, and Lee Daniels is an American director.

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19 comments

  1. A friend once said, "If I have the power, I'll stop tertiary education". The promises of a bright future and all that is not certain Just because you went to 'school'. People spend years going to school and yet very few are lucky to live their dreams of an accomplished career.
    We forget about self-development, we forget about skills, crafts and entrepreneurship, we forget to develop our potentials.
    Most successful people of the world aren't even university graduates yet they're fulfilled and Forbes richest|Most influential etc.
    I think we shouldn't play down our skills/ potentials while seeking white-collar jobs. We should infact hone them!
    I had a lovely read Madeline, thanks for sharing your experience with us.
    JessicahugoInspire.com

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    1. It's funny that a couple of years ago, even with my expereinces I might have disagreed with your frind, but knowing what I know now I am fully convinced that it's a rip off - well at least in this part of the world. There is so much we as humans have to give without the need to sit in a classroom for hours or to cough up so much money.Thanks for passing by the blog!

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  2. So, how do you suggest starting to do freelance writing? What is the process of submitting articles? I am very intrigued by this article.

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    1. Hi my love, I will suggest writing articles on topics you are interetsted in and are current and sending them to the appropriate publications. Do not get discouraged by rejections and going ignored, keep going. Someone will pick up on what you are writing. Also start a blog, with a 'portfolio' page, and promote it on social media. I have a few more pointers so if you want more please drop me an email at contact@madelinewilsonojo.com. I will also be doing a blog post on this topic very soon, so please keepe your eyes peeled.

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  3. What a great post, you express all the feelling and frustations I also had for so long.Thankfully I now have a nice job that I love in a media company and i keep my blog as a hobbie, a place where i like to share the things like. Im so glad you are finally finding your place, good luck strong women like you deserve the best!

    https://strawberryleopard.blogspot.pt/

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    1. Hi Ana, thank you so much for reading! It has been a frustrating journey, especially as formal education does not really teach people about self empowerment and taking chances. I am glad you have found a job you love. Freelancing is my side hustle, so I would still like to always work for someone in some capacity because I enjoy the structure :)

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  4. I love how you express yourself and also I love the joy that you show in your photos! keep it happy girl!
    Please visit my Blog!

    http://www.alessabernal.com/
    Alessa Bernal

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    1. Thank you dear. It's a lot easier for me to express myself win writing than verbally!

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  5. Madeline! You are so inspirational! Reading the first bit of your story about continuously banging on recruiters' doors to failure sounds like a place I'm at, at the minute. Similar to you I did have a similar mentality of 'pay now, play later', and the hope that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Fingers crossed! x

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    1. Thank you so much! I try to be as honest as I can with you guys. I know it's a frustrating thing to go through. But be persistent and don't be too shy to brag about your talents. I have my fingers crossed for you!

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  6. This is sooo inspiring. I used to blog some 4 years ago and i took a longggg leave and just came back some days ago and i am so overwhelmed and depressed...blogging isnt as easy as it used to be... Its so easy giving up but seeing this post, I am so hunng on you..as a matter of fact, we are besties now...Thanks for this post..mwaahh

    www.lifeasmoby.com

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm really humbled and only wanted to encourage others . The blogging game has changed a lot but please do not be discouraged. Keep going. There are probably a few new tricks to learn but you'll get the hang of it. Good luck!

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  7. This is inspiring. Whether you have a job or you own a business, it is important to make the most of your "inspired skills". Glad you've found your spot in copywriting, Madeline. You're turning out great. :)

    amakamedia.com





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    1. Thank you so much Nwamaka. God has given everyone skills to be a blessing to others, and for me, I get to help small business women (particularly of colour) by providing the words they need to shpw off their business. And yes, I still do have a job!

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  8. This is my first time on your blog and naturally I always read the very first post but I just scrolled down a bit and saw 'copywriting', I knew I had to read this first because a friend mentioned joining an online class for copywriting and I've postponed it since. Not because of a lack of interest but because I have not been able to fully grasp what exactly copywriting is about. Oh, Google didn't help but I'm sure you will be able to. I'm looking forward to coming back to read your reply. Thanks. xx
    Laitanbee.com

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    1. Hi Olaa and welcome to our community! Which online course is that? I am with the College of Media and Publishing. Might I suggest youread my blog post on 'Five Tips for Writing Great Copy', and also my 'Copywriting' page (find it on the nav bar at the top). If you still need help after that, send me an email at contact@madelinewilsonojo.com and I'll email you some more info. Good luck xx

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  9. This was an interesting post Madeline. I always love to learn from the experiences of others and you are right, you just have to take the first step with what you have and let it begin from there! Have a great weekend. - www.jamilakyari.com

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    1. Thanks Jamila. I want to be as transparent as possible so I am glad you rnjoyed reading it.

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  10. Copywriting is all about choosing the right words and placing them correctly to make the content highly impressive and attractive, and http://copycrafter.net/ professionals did the same for me. They have helped creating marvellous content for landing pages.

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