Don’t know what a copywriter is? Take a look.
As my business has grown, I’ve needed to adjust my sails and change what my day looks like to maximize quality writing time. When you run a business, there’s quite a bit that goes on beyond the task of actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys in this instance).
I spend a lot of time on the background stuff, like the dreaded admin work: creating invoices, making sure they’re paid, marketing my business, designing ads, editing photos, creating social media posts, responding to emails and reaching out to clients that have gone MIA.
With all that admin nonsense on the docket–which is still incredibly imperative–it’s critical to make sure I actually get to the business of writing. Thankfully, with a flexible schedule, if I’m feeling more creative at 9pm vs 9am, I can write then.
But, keeping a regular routine is important for my sanity, as well as my clients. They need to know when I’m in the office and when they can expect a response from me. Pro Tip: This does not mean you need to respond to midnight emails. Boundaries are incredibly important in business too.
Set the standard. Let them know you aren’t available for hire at 2am on Saturday. (Wait, that sounds like I’m a hooker.) I make sure my clients have at least a 2 weeks heads up when I’m out of the office on vacation. Do I need to give them the 411? Nah. The work would be done before I left the office, but it’s a nice thing called professionalism.
How many hours employees put in during the day is always a topic of contention, especially depending on which generation you’re from.
I worked at an ad agency, as a salaried employee, that still required me to clock in and clock out for the day, as well as lunch. It was used as a way to quickly look at the hours someone put in and compare it to others. The kicker was the people who “stayed late” were often watching YouTube or doing their own personal online errands. The employees who put their head down and banged out work, came in on time and left on time were looked at as not putting in enough time. Then those work horses were saddled with more work because they clearly didn’t have enough to do if they were leaving on time. It was garbage.
Did you know that most employees who work 8-hour days only complete about 3 hours of work? That’s right, you’re only productive for about 3 hours a day! I’m not surprised. Keeping people chained to their desks is a great way to portray a busy, collaborative facade, not necessarily a productive one.
Are there legitimate late nights and really long days and weeks? Absolutely. Those are part of the territory in marketing. But an employee’s worth is not tied to the time they clock out and it certainly does not represent their productivity.
So, if you were to ask me years ago that my day would look this flexible and productive, I would have belly-snort-laughed at you.
My regular routine, day-in-the-life-of-this-copywriter-rockstar, looks a bit like this.
Depending on my gym classes, I’ll be up between 6:30am – 7:45am. Ideally, I’d like to be up at the same time every day regardless of my gym schedule. (I’m working on this adult thing, okay?)
I do circuit training, yoga, run or walk depending how my achilles tendon is behaving that day. From there, I come home, make some coffee and sit down to look at my day. I use the Game Changer notebook and–pun intended–it’s been a game changer. I write down my top 3 priorities to get done and bang them out.
I’m in my office between 9-10 to check emails and get the admin crapadoodaloo done. (That’s a technical term.) After that, it’s diving into the process of writing for clients. Depending how much needs to be done, this could last the rest of the morning or day.
I try to schedule any personal appointments for the mornings too, which means I get it out of the way and can head back in the office soon.
Afternoons are set for meetings. I block off mornings on my shared client schedule to ensure that I have carved out enough time for writing. This means, when clients schedule they can choose between 1pm-5pm each day, depending on availability. If a client wants a morning meeting, I’ll happily join, but setting this standard has given me control of my workday.
Depending on the client projects I’m working on, this is also when I try to do the creative work for my own business: social media posts, editing images, setting up business goals, writing blogs and reaching out to potential clients. Working with other people around during this creative time is key! I’m lucky I found the Write Like a MOFO group–the doors for membership are open NOW–to keep me on task. (see more below)
Knowing that I’ve taken care of my client projects first-thing, means I’m confident to get my own business work done at this point. It’s been a relief.
Afternoons are also meant for errands, so I can happily avoid the 5pm-6pm bum-rush to grocery stores and Costco. Pro Tip: I’ve found 2pm on Wednesdays is the best time to go to Costco, based on my unscientific study of going there way too much.
My evenings are the most flexible. They can take shape in a variety fo different ways:
- Make a dinner for the hubster and myself if he’s actually home.
- Meet friends for a quick bite.
- If I didn’t get to the gym like I had hoped in the morning because my lazy butt didn’t get out of bed, I’ll head to the gym in the evening.
In a previous life, I thought the evenings were a time that I got my best writing done. But, if I were to examine it honestly, that was only because I put it off for so long, that I only had the evening to write, so I cranked something out.
If I set up my day properly, I leave the rest of the evening for awful reality television or creative personal projects not related to my business. Or, real talk, just sitting staring at the latest episode of the Great British Bake-off. If it’s an extra busy work week, I’ll do some more writing or work after 6pm. That’s the beauty of owning your own biz and schedule: flexibility.
Cowriting sessions – I joined Write Like a Mofo cowriting sessions and haven’t looked back. It holds me accountable and lets me see other humans (virtually) during the day. These sessions can being during the mornings or afternoons, so depending on that, I’ll readjust my schedule to accommodate.
Family – If I’m visiting family, this schedule doesn’t look the same. If my husband is struggling, I take more time to support him.
Travel – When I’m traveling, I really am good at maintaining the same hours regardless of the timezone I’m in. It was actually fairly easy while I was in Japan. Crazy, right? Ah, time travel is fun. I’m a planner, so I usually have the work that needs to be done mapped out and finished before I hit publish or make the deadline. Flexibility is key and I get some hours in during the morning and also while going to bed next to my sleeping husband.
Like everyone, my days can be a juggling act. I find that the flexibility of running my own copywriting business, can mean I don’t feel like I’m getting it all done. See what Corporate America has done? If I’m not tied to my office, I feel like I’m not productive and that’s so inaccurate.
I’ve accomplished a lot in the first years of my businesses!
Here’s to many more years of writing my heart out and 2pm Costco runs.