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

In this post Nicole will tell us a little about her copywriting journey and the challenges she’s faced so far.

Nicole Leedham | Bio

With more than 15 years in corporate and government communication, as well as a journalism background, Nicole is a writer with sharp business acumen and a nose for a good story.

She has a knack for taking the most technical information and re-writing for the layman to digest, and has worked with a range of clients from sole operators to large academic organisations.

Her writing services range from brochures, press releases, trade journal articles and SEO web content to annual reports, corporate profiles and tender documents.


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

I started my career as a print journalist. I did that for about 10 years (mainly at the Canberra Times), before going to the dark side to work with an ACT politician. From there, I was headhunted into a NSW Utility Company, where I stayed another 8 years, through a merger and becoming a mum.

We moved to regional Victoria and then to Adelaide for my husband’s work, and I took a job as a journalist at Flinders University, and then spent four years managing a busy communications’ unit in a State Government regulatory and enforcement authority (SafeWork SA).

I have been running my own copywriting business for nearly 6 years.


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

I have always loved to write, and the more senior I become in my field, the further away I got from what I really wanted to do. Instead, I was managing people and budgets and the only writing I got to do with lengthy minutes and ministerials.

So I jumped shipped, much to the consternation of colleagues who thought tenure in the public sector was the bees knees.

I like the flexibility and variety of the work. And the fact I can work in slippers in winter.


What challenges have you faced since becoming a copywriter?

I will never get used to the feast or famine aspect of being a sole trader.

I am either so busy, I can barely find time to have a shower, or things are so slow I can almost see the tumbleweeds through my office.


Tell us about your favourite client so far?

I have been lucky in that I have had loads of great clients. It is hard to pick a favourite.

But in general, my favourite clients are those who treat me as a business partner and a professional.

Who respect my skills and knowledge. Who are responsive and who appreciate deadlines. And who pay their bills on time :).

It also helps if they are just nice people.


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

I am going through the worst client experience right now (in fact, I have an email that ends our relationship sitting in my drafts!).

Basically, they have drip-fed information, provided vague feedback and stretched deadlines on a project that started 9 months ago.

And then they act as if the copywriter is some kind of magician that can pull a rainbow-coloured unicorn out of a pile of doo-doo.

Must send that email.


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

I used to get migraines every couple of months in my senior government role.

I haven’t had one in nearly six years. That is a winner right there!


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

Back yourself.

Don’t take low (or no) paying gigs for the experience (or even worse, for exposure).

Build up a business on the side, get a few clients and just jump! The worse that can happen is you will need to find part-time work in the dry spells.


Over to you

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