Copywriters rarely talk about themselves.
We’re usually talking about your product. But here’s my story. It’s not your typical copywriter’s resume…
I knew I was going to be a writer when I was about six.
And here I am. With a bachelor of commerce in marketing and an MBA to boot. Clients in different countries. Writing to my heart’s content.
Not exactly what I had in mind when I was a kid, though…
When I wasn’t catching frogs, riding horses, canoeing, and playing badminton, I spent about four hours a day reading(ten on weekends). My parents made me turn off my light about nine o’clock. So then I’d get out my flashlight.
I wanted to move people the way other writers moved me. I wrote plays and made my friends act them out in English class. Always top marks for creativity (even grammar, too!) on writing assignments.
But you know how it goes–you grow up, get practical.
‘Practical’ for me meant business–commerce, economics, marketing… So I moved to the city from my tiny village in Nova Scotia to learn how all that stuff worked.
I majored in accounting at first. The logic appealed to me. The first year, all my balance sheets balanced… But by the second year, I knew I wouldn’t be anyone’s accountant.
The psychology, the creativity of marketing got to me. Consumer behavior, market research, advertising–I was hooked. I loved how you could find the answers by knowing your customers.
Well, my bachelor of commerce degree soon led to an MBA.
Meanwhile, my passion for marketing took on practical form. I worked for a promotions company based in Toronto
I joined the Centre for International Business and accompanied local firms to Europe. Setting up meetings, giving presentations, writing research reports…I managed to tuck consulting experience for a few firms under my belt while I was still in school.
But I was ready to travel more. After graduation, my classmates soon became important people in big companies. I had been the school’s career placement officer—many heads shook in disbelief as I took off to become a language consultant in Japan.
I studied Japanese and consulted at the board of education in Hakodate, Hokkaido. Then finally I decided it was time to enter the world of business–in Tokyo, no less.
That’s when I became a copywriter. Before I even knew I wanted to be one.
I moved to Tokyo and joined a division of the world’s largest telecommunications company. I wanted to be a translator–but they spotted a better use for me and hired me as a copywriter. When I wasn’t writing copy, I helped with translation (it was like getting paid to study Japanese!) And I put on fancy shmancy seminars for Japanese business people who had dealings with other cultures.
I worked with the pickiest people on the face of this earth.
Picky in a good way, I mean. Diligent. I practically memorized the Chicago Manual of Style. Everything I wrote had to stand up to scrutiny and cross examination, in addition to being interesting, creative, and compelling.
I’d always been a hard-working perfectionist. Now, that’s not always a good thing (more on that another time). But I loved working with the Japanese. I admired the way my co-workers dug into a project and never let less than the best leave their desks. Copywriting got me. It was the perfect marriage of my marketing background and my love for writing.
I was determined to write everything as if my own signature would appear on it.
We worked side by side with the largest ad agency in Japan, possibly in the world. Those weeks found me taking $50 cabs home at night. (Surprisingly, the trains in Tokyo stopped running around 11 p.m.)
Eventually, tired from the frantic pace of life in Tokyo, I yearned to be closer to my family. With my youngest sister in Florida, I thought the climate there would be more agreeable than Canadian winters.
So, next I joined forces with a medium-sized advertising agency in Florida. Totally different. (In a good way, of course.)
Instead of mobile phones and multimedia tools, I was writing for manufacturers of air intake filters and fire trucks, equine embryo transfer facilities, fitness centers, and high vacuum components. Lots of medical copywriting, too. I wrote for residential builders, custom closets, retail outlets… you name it. If there’s one good way to build a portfolio of writing samples fast, it’s writing at an agency!
As time passed on, I became the senior copywriter at Adbiz, a fabulous, high-energy advertising and marketing force, also building up my own freelance clients.
In the spring of 2004, I began to explore another dimension to my work as a professional writer and editor: travel writing! Trips to Paris and Nova Scotia inspired this aspect of writing for my personal pleasure. I found adding editorial-style writing to my toolkit was a fantastic way to keep a fresh perspective and offer more across all my writing projects.
Professionally, I developed a specialization as a website copywriter and online marketer, where my research has kept me growing and evolving. In 2005, I joined with SEO Advantage, a search engine optimization firm, as their copywriter and marketing director. They became like a family to me, and I worked day in and out with their SEO consultants, web designers and other copywriters.
In my last role with the SEO company, I wore the hat of marketing manager and executive editor for Enjuris, a website project that I evolved from a simple legal directory into a rich resource for accident victims. I ran content production and marketing, link building campaigns, infographic development, social media, outreach and our continual development of the site.
While I have always been engaged in the work I take on, I found myself entering a professional period where I saw in myself a drive and ambition that was not present previously. I became marcom manager at a local edtech company selling software for accounting certification prep. It was my first time in 15 years working in-person at an office. I enjoyed dressing up, meeting with people face-to-face, and managing a team I could rub shoulders with. I’m really proud of the work out small team did on the company blog and resource center.
Next, I joined Animalz, the SaaS content agency, as a senior content marketing manager. I had the chance to learn from some of the greatest minds in content marketing, and work for some of the biggest SaaS brands in the world. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I was forced to scale back my full-time work.
At just the right moment, a previous client reached out to ask if I would join him as he launched a new content agency, SaaSpirin. It was just what I craved – helping a small business lay the foundation to grow.
I’ve reached my Zen, professionally and personally. I am blessed with a career that continues to present new opportunities and stimulate me to grow. A wonderful husband and two little boys who are the loves of my life. And the chance to help others move toward their goals, whether that’s the new copywriter just launching a career or the business owner growing their industry position.
Now, in my freelance work, I only accept a few new clients here and there. I have a network of other copywriters and talented people who I can refer for copywriting projects that don’t fit me. And I feel rewarded everyday when I see the online voice come alive for a brand with all the parts working in concert.
Everyone’s got a story. What’s yours?
Drop me a line and tell me about yourself.