In this month's SPOTLIGHT feature we talk to freelance copywriter Nicki Cawood.
1. When did you start your business?
I’ve been offering copywriting services and blogging since 2006. I’ve worked with a vast number of clients, on some fabulous projects across a wide range of sectors in that time.
2. What led you to start a business/how did it all begin?
After my eldest son was born I wanted a change of pace and to work from home. I started with some blogging, then worked with digital marketing agencies, PR companies and so on. I can honestly say I’ve never looked back. It has enabled me to enjoy a level of flexibility that works fabulously for our family and I enjoy the work that I do.
3. What do you like about Thirsk?
What isn’t there to like? Despite getting bigger by the day Thirsk has retained its strong community feel and I’ve found that there is always someone happy to offer help and support when needed. Business in Thirsk is growing year by year, with more and more people setting up on their own, be that as a freelancer (like me), as an independent seller in our lovely marketplace or in another, equally important way.
4. What is your most popular product/service?
Website content and blog posts are equally popular and the most requested services out of all of those I offer. Whether you have a new website and need engaging and optimised content or are looking to share information and news with your target audience on a regular basis with blog posts, I can help.
5. What other local business do you support?
I work closely with Gemma Symmonds, My Little Graphics Co who is a graphic designer (my first port of call for all things visual) and actively support Clockworks, the new social enterprise business that supports The Clock. I use local services whenever I can, personally and professionally.
I also set up the Thirsk Coworking Group back in 2017. Anyone can come along to any of the sessions (they are free) which are held upstairs in the Thirsk Community Library. This isn’t a networking group, but an opportunity to get together with other business owners, freelancers and so on to work through your to-do list. I set TCG up to help people working alone battle the isolation which often comes with this kind of work and to provide an environment where people may enjoy some accountability and plough through their tasks.
6. What is the best part of your job?
Working with small businesses. I’ve worked with global companies, big publishing houses and on some high-profile campaigns. These commissions have been great of course. I really prefer working with small businesses though. I’ve helped start-ups find the tone of voice for their branding, put together content for new websites and helped a great number of small businesses reach their goals.
7. What is the best piece of advice you would offer a new business in Thirsk?
Reach out! Come to the Thirsk Coworking Group, join the Thirsk & District Business Association (just £45 a year), talk to business owners around you, online and in person and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Thirsk is a small place compared to nearby York or Middlesbrough however this often works to our advantage as the business community are keen to support others and help them get started and to thrive.
8. Fun/amazing fact about your business people might not know?
I have written for a top fashion house, some very well-known high street brands, contributed to government content, several magazines and produced content for some very influential people. Something you might not know is that I often have to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) which means that I can’t tell you who any of these were/are or what they were for. This is standard in the copywriting world and few people realise it.
9. Favourite book/famous person that inspires you?
I’ve had to think really hard about this one. Despite being a keen reader (you should see my GoodReads account!) I couldn’t say that one particular author inspires me most or one key figure, as so many do. In addition to this, there are some truly inspirational people out there and not all of them have publishing deals and PR companies to represent them. I read a lot, enjoy listening to Ted Talks (this is one of my favourites), listen to podcasts and talk to people (actual offline conversations) whenever I can, and all of these have inspired me in some way to work harder, help others more, to try something new, to learn more and to be adventurous.
10. What does the future look like for your business?
Over the years my business has continued to evolve. I’ve added services, removed services, prioritised certain aspects and included extras such as the Thirsk Coworking Group. It has been a heck of a journey. I hope to continue into the future the same way, adapting what I offer to meet the needs of local people and small businesses especially while continuing to enjoy what I do.