Balancing Act: The Honest Reality of Work-Life Balance in My First Year of Copywriting

As you may have seen in my recent post, my copywriting business recently turned one, so this is the perfect time to share how that first year has gone, the highs, the lows and everything in between.

If you’ve followed along, you might have caught wind of my journey starting Clare H Writes. I certainly didn’t start 2022 thinking I would be leaving the world of banking and finance behind, but once I made that decision, there was no going back, and I often wonder why I hadn’t done it sooner.

I hit the ground running by helping some people I knew with web copy and social media posts for their businesses. I was eager to learn and would spend endless hours honing my skills. Whether it was scouting for tips from fellow writers on various websites or binge-listening to podcasts, I soaked up every bit of wisdom I could find.

I didn’t even have a chance to set any business goals or have any expectations; I was just happy to be doing something I love every day.

I got my first client, who gave me consistent regular work and still does to this day. I was initially anxious. What if I made a horrific mistake in their web copy? Or worse, what if I misspelled something? Imposter syndrome hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn’t just my ego on the line; it was my reputation, my business. One wrong move could’ve flipped the whole script, and not in a good way.

Luckily, I soon found my groove, and it wasn’t long before I took on more clients, bringing new challenges. I now felt comfortable with the work and had been dedicating a few hours a day to each client, and now my days were full of different projects.

Of course, this was great, but learning how to switch hats took some time, from writing about a construction company to writing about beauty procedures. Different days could bring not only various topics but also other types of writing. Some days would be blog posts, some newsletters, and some social media posts.

No day was ever the same, and while I did find that enjoyable, something I couldn’t find was my off switch. I would still be at my desk at 8pm trying to squeeze as much in as possible, and when I wasn’t working, I would be learning. I would spend the hours away from my desk reading about writing, and when I wasn’t doing that, I would write my own blog posts. Even when I was away on holiday, it consumed me, but I was passionate about it.

Working for yourself comes with perks, but it also means there’s no clear boundary between work and personal time. No boss is signaling the end of the workday, no train to catch. You’re already home.

Over time, exhaustion crept in. I was constantly fatigued, easily irritable, and found it hard to focus. My body protested from being glued to screens and hunched over my desk. That’s when it hit me—I was on the brink of burnout.

I decided to set myself working hours. I began my days by going out for a walk each morning before diving into work. I gave myself a small non-work-related activity that I enjoyed at the end of each day, such as cooking dinner, reading a book or catching up on a TV program which would get me away from my desk and thoughts of work.

I stopped checking my emails outside of working hours and started having weekends off and taking days off when I needed to instead of trying to cram my work around other things I had planned. I scheduled time in my week to do admin tasks such as sending invoices and doing my finances, and I also scheduled writing time to write blog posts for my personal blog and my business page.

By setting these boundaries, I had some much-needed downtime. I discovered that my productivity soared by working fewer hours but with a clearer mind.

I’m still figuring out what works best for me, and that’s okay. In this line of work, flexibility is key. Priorities shift, and projects have their unique demands, but that’s the beauty of growth—both in business and as individuals.

As I reflect on the past year, one thing’s for sure: Life’s about evolving, and I’m excited for the journey ahead—both in growing my business and personal growth. Here’s to embracing the changes and discovering what lies beyond in the next chapter!

Conquering Impostor Syndrome: A New Perspective on Self-Doubt

Impostor Syndrome seems to be a popular topic lately, and as someone who embarked on a completely new career after more than two decades in a different field, I can certainly relate to it. Switching gears so dramatically naturally brings about those nagging feelings of self-doubt and makes you question your abilities. It’s like a persistent voice in your head whispering, “Do you really know what you’re doing?”

When I first started freelancing, I agonised over every single thing, every word I wrote, every post I made, and every full stop I typed. I began to get frustrated with myself. I couldn’t help but compare this struggle with my previous career and wonder why I hadn’t faced this issue before. That’s when it hit me—I’ve always grappled with Impostor Syndrome.

Back in my previous job, I remember the anxiety before meetings, the fear of asking clients for specific documents, and the worry that my submitted work might be completely wrong. It wasn’t a daily occurrence, but it did happen from time to time. And you know what? Not only did I survive those moments, but I also excelled in my role.

Impostor Syndrome doesn’t discriminate. I recently watched a TV program about the RAF, and even a pilot climbing into a fighter jet mentioned experiencing Impostor Syndrome. When you consider the high-stakes nature of their work, my concerns about making a small mistake in a meeting or process suddenly seemed trivial.

But now, the work I do doesn’t just represent someone else and their business; it represents me and my own business. So, getting it right feels more important than ever.

When I completed my first copywriting job, I was absolutely terrified of making mistakes. I lost sleep, endlessly edited and rewrote, and even considered giving up because I didn’t feel good enough. But then, after much procrastination over the first draft, I decided to take a deep breath and hit “send” (with my eyes closed, I admit).

As I anxiously awaited my client’s response, I reflected on the effort I had put into that piece. I meticulously followed the brief, generated numerous drafts, and revisited the final version multiple times. I reminded myself that the first draft was just that—a draft. Feedback isn’t criticism, and my job was to translate the client’s vision into words.

As it turned out, the client was pleased with my initial draft, and they had a few additional ideas to incorporate that weren’t in the original brief. After a few minor adjustments, I had successfully completed my first copywriting job.

This knowledge has given me the confidence I needed: the ability to challenge that critical inner voice known as Impostor Syndrome.