Phyllis Stylianou from Write Stuff Media
Who are you Phyllis Stylianou?
I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter, mum of three teenagers and two cats, Harry Potter aficionado and I’ve recently discovered The Hunger Games. I’ll write anything for anyone, but have found myself specialising in engineering and construction copywriting. I’ve written two books, carried the Olympic torch in 2000 and wish I had some sort of talent, but unfortunately I don’t.
What did you do before you became a copywriter?
I’ve been a journalist unofficially since I was 15 and officially since I was 18. I used to go to the local newspaper every afternoon after school to work. (They invited me back after I did work experience.)
I worked at Cumberland Newspapers (the Murdoch local papers in Sydney), then went to Readers Digest where I was a sub-editor of Handyman magazine, then returned to local papers (Fairfax). I love local media. It’s a shame they’re dying out. I always had Write Stuff Media as a bit of a side hustle but didn’t get serious about it until I was made redundant five years ago.
How long have you been copywriting?
Five years full time.
What has been your copywriting career win?
Securing a fairly regular client that is a large engineering company – Calibre.
What was your worst copywriting fail?
Getting conned into writing 30 x 1000-word webpages and not getting paid.
What are your number one fave copywriting tools?
Kate’s email templates, Grammarly, Tiny URL, Voice Recorder, and Rev transcription service.
How do you deal with self-doubt?
Curl up in a ball and fall apart. Tell my husband I’m hopeless. My eldest daughter slaps me around (figuratively), I have a cry, think of a plan and write it down, dust myself off and keep going. Cuddle my kids.
What work/life balance or mental health tips do you have?
Set regular business hours and stick to them, go for a walk, and remember how bad things seem, good things can be just around the corner and nothing ever stays the same forever.
Try to keep regular business hours so you don’t spent the evening or weekend thinking about the jobs that need to be done. Try to eat well and exercise. Above all, talk to other people if you feel unsure, upset or worried.
Talk to people in the TCCS FB group, talk to family or friends. You can even chat with your doctor. I’ve found that people in the TCCS FB group are always there to give you a boost, and will even offer advice or to lend a hand. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
What tip would you pass onto any newbie copywriters?
Join this group, do some courses (they’re great), get Kate to do a Member Makeover or, if she still does them, a one-on-one consultation (best money I’ve ever spent). Get Tony Cosentino to build your website or, if you can’t afford it, get him to give your website a health check (another great investment).
Get some part-time work if you can to keep you going financially and build your confidence. Don’t overprice yourself – start small (not too cheap though) and gradually increase prices. Learn about SEO through Kate’s course so people will find your website.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been getting some contract work as a comms officer which is building my skills and experience. I hope to keep doing that but really need to get back into making a big effort with my business. I’d love for my business to take off enough that I never have to worry about money again.
Why do you love TCCS?
I love Kate and she is the heart of the group. It’s a great place to come for reassurance when feeling down, for information and advice, and for company – because working at home can be a bit lonely sometimes. I love that Kate doesn’t allow any nastiness, and anyone who makes cutting remarks soon leaves. (Happened to me a couple of times so I stopped posting.) It’s a place of friendship.