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Each month we’re singling out one of our members for extra love! The lucky member this month is Matt Fenwick

In this post Matt will tell us a little about his copywriting journey and the challenges he’s faced so far.


Matt Fenwick | Bio

Tall, pleasant, with a hint of ginger, Matt Fenwick’s love of words was confirmed when, as a ten-year old boy, he was given a Collins Dictionary/Thesaurus, which he proceeded to clutch to his chest and roll around on the floor in delight.
He is now greyer, and more contained, but remains the same in most other respects.


Tell us about life before you became a copywriter, what did you do?

Definitely one of those meandering paths. I always loved words, but had no idea how to turn that into a career (other than starving novelist).
So I studied law, and lived the life of the itinerant researcher/academic for a while. But then got more and more interested in clear writing and plain English. So I joined the public service as a policy adviser.
Then I realised that policy just did my head in, so I shifted to coms. Then I realised that public service blah and beigeness was killing me inside, so I left to work for myself.


Why did you decide that copywriting was the right career for you?

The vocation for me is content. So part of that’s writing it, but I’m also nerdishly fascinated by everything else around content – IA, branding, workflows, capability development.

I love being able to swing between really abstract strategy stuff and sitting down and smashing out some copy.


What challenges have you faced since becoming a copywriter?

Self-confidence is a big one. I’m naturally introverted, so learning to project confidence is a work in progress.
And non-sleazy sales techniques.
But working for myself is a huge growth opportunity – my friends tell me I’m way happier, and just a better chap. Also I need to be more systematic about marketing, but am very pleased to inform you that my website redevelopment is underway.


Tell us about your favourite client so far?

Gosh. Carona would be one. They’re an Aussie manufacturing success story (they do industrial roller doors, freezer doors etc).

They’re very very good at what they do, but are confident in that, and open to advice. They’re grateful. Also, money has never been a problem.


Tell us about your worst client experience so far and the lessons you learned?

Ha! I had one last year – a referral from a marketing consultant. It was in the ‘wealth generation’ space.

My contract was with the client direct, but the marketing consultant inserted himself into the middle of conversations – so for example, when the client wasn’t happy with the first draft, they talked it over with the marketing consultant, not me.

They wanted a further meeting to discuss, which was outside of scope, so I was like ‘you need to pay more $$$’. It all went south after that – debt collection etc.

What did I learn?

1) Where there’s a third party involved (other than the client), be very clear on the lines of communication and what their role is

2) Be a bit flexible. I know you’ve talked about this on the Pod – so have a clear scope, but be prepared to bend that a little if it makes the difference between the project being derailed, and it shuffling along. I think if I’d had that meeting with the client, a lot of the guff could’ve been avoided.

3) Cut dickheads loose. The marketing consultant was zero help on the non-payment issue (and had referred a couple of other duds) – so I’m no longer doing business with him.


I love being able to swing between really abstract strategy stuff and sitting down and smashing out some copy.


How has becoming a copywriter changed your day to day life?

I don’t come home with a gnawing hole in my stomach.


What one tip would you pass on to someone looking to make the move into copywriting?

Loving??? Don’t be too much of a purist about following your niche in the early days. It’s absolutely fine to have a few ideas about the type of work you want to do, but…

1) It’s also fine to take some short-term contracts via a recruitment agency for cashflow and contacts (I didn’t do this because I was all about flying the freelancing flag, and chasing my own leads – but I could’ve done with the money.)

2) You may discover that what you love is very different to what you thought you’d love.


Over to you

Have you had any similar experiences to Matt? Please share in the comments below.