In today’s Her Business Story at A League of Her Own we meet Rosemary Richings, she is the female entrepreneur behind ‘Rosemary Richings Content Creation & Strategy Services’
Rosemary tell us more about your business
I have a service-based business, where I provide website and blog content copywriting, editing, and content strategy services, to B2C (business-to-consumer) retail and E-Commerce brands.
A major flaw that I’ve noticed in my industry is that far too many clients, and even freelancers, treat copywriting and content strategy like they’re two separate things that should be handled by two different people. And that’s kind of a problem because a large percentage of the clients I’ve worked with don’t know how Twitter works and have never used WordPress before, for example.
So…about a year ago, to solve that problem, I introduced content strategy sessions, which help clients figure out how to reach their target audience once the final draft is complete, and made my strategy sessions a complimentary part of my copywriting and editing services.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I became an entrepreneur for a combination of reasons, really. However, the one thing that made it seem really appealing early on in my life is that I grew up in a creative household.
In fact, my father’s an actor, both my parents have formal theatre and writing training, and my mom has done everything from having her own column in a major newspaper, to freelance grant writing, to running her own diaper store over the years.
So, the entrepreneurial life has always been there, from childhood up until now. And I’ve always admired how much my parents have handled it with grace, poise, and bravery.
But it was circumstance and bad luck that gave me the necessary kick in the pants to get started.
It started during a period of my life, when I finished a degree, and thought I was going to pick the “easy” path of going to grad school, teaching others about writing, and studying writing. And then, everywhere I applied to said “no” and I had to reconsider what I was going to do next.
And then I tried applying to a variety of full-time positions in a crappy economy and nothing happened. So that’s when I decided to do what I always wanted to do and give the entrepreneurial life a try. And that produced results, so I stuck with it!
How long did it take for you to put your idea into action?
The first month was extremely bumpy, exhausting, and challenging. Because I was only pretending to know what I was doing most of the time. But I was already starting to get attention, slowly but surely.
Long before I started pursuing the entrepreneurial life, I had my own blog. And my blog, back when I first started, and now, gets me clients and web traffic!
As soon as I started treating my freelancing as a business, a lot more people took me seriously. And when people took me seriously I had actual clients!
In addition to that, I also got to take the lead on a lot of content creation campaigns for not-for-profit organizations such as Shakespeare in Action, before I started freelancing, and that really paid off.
In fact, it’s what helped me choose a niche, and stick to the marketing strategy that I’m the most comfortable with, inbound-focused marketing and cold emailing.
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
Two things really.
However, what immediately comes to mind is my first networking event as an entrepreneur. Not only was I one of two women in the room, but I was also the youngest person in the room, and everything about it felt like a corporate meeting. So, I didn’t really feel like I belonged. All the guys were in suits, and the organizers were bankers. But it was eye-opening too, because it was the first time I had to sell the value of my services in person.
I also live in a city that’s heavily gentrified, which created a bit of a dilemma when I decided to keep going with my business. So that’s when I realized that I had to do something about this.
And this happened right around the time when I decided to go back to school part-time, and my significant other had work projects to wrap-up and a major surgery to go through and fully recover from, before moving elsewhere was the least bit realistic.
This lead to major changes in my business because I had no other choice but to stick around for a bit longer, even though it would be so much cheaper to live elsewhere. So that’s when I had to “gentrified city proof” my business, through raising my rates and introducing packages.
But that was eye-opening too, because it pushed me to think carefully about what I offer my clients that other writers don’t. And I think it was a blessing in disguise, because it made me a better copywriter as well.
I would still like to move somewhere a lot less gentrified when everything I just mentioned wraps up, but no specific plans yet!
What has been your proudest moment?
Even though they haven’t really been the big money clients, I think the most valuable moments I’ve had as an entrepreneur have been the work that I’ve done for two different startups.
When I first started producing blog content for them, these organizations were only just starting to grow. Now they’re both at their peak.
For example, one of the startups I’ve worked with is a photo editing app, and now I hear about them all the time on major marketing blogs, and their app is doing extremely well on the IPhone app store.
And the other startup that I’ve worked with has a travel emphasis, and their founder went from offering tours in Toronto and Paris, to quitting her day job and introducing additional tour options in places like New York and Mumbai.
And as one of the writers that developed content for these organizations’ websites over the long-term, I feel like I was an important part of their growth. And that’s awesome!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?
The most important lesson that comes to mind is what one person saying, “thanks but no thanks” can really mean. When putting yourself out there as any kind of creative professional, no matter what you’re offering, I find that “no” is never a final answer.
Sometimes a “no” can turn into a “yes” in a matter of moments. And I find that what causes people to chance their mind…well totally varies. And that’s exactly why just happening to be there, either in person or being someone that a potential client follows on Twitter or LinkedIn, is what can put you at the top of a customer’s list when they need your help.
What does success mean to you?
Success for me is about freedom.
If I can feel like I can take a day off in the middle of the week to recharge, or I can take the morning off to take my significant other to the doctor’s office whenever necessary, without feeling like I’ll lose money or clients, I feel like I’m doing something right.
It’s also about doing what I can to adapt and grow, based on what’s going on around me, so that reaching daily goals isn’t out of my reach.
Which women inspire you?
Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and Bjork, because I think that’s awesome that she’s been making music since the 90s and she still doesn’t feel the need to please anyone but herself. Another important source of inspiration that’s worth mentioning is Leah Kalamakis, who runs the Freedom-to-Freedom Project School, and taught me a lot of useful tactics about streamlining my business and marketing based on consistency.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
I wish that someone reminded me of the value of saying “no” sometimes to clients that aren’t a good fit.
Back when I first started my hunger to work with pretty much anyone was so strong that I said “yes” to far too many projects I should have said “no” to.
And that lead to a lot of frustrating experiences with clients that I could have easily avoided.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
The most valuable business advice I can think of comes from the founder of the Freelance to Freedom Project, and it’s extremely useful! She’s a passionate believer in the value of sticking to the marketing strategy that is the most comfortable.
I used to get a bit side-tracked when I saw other freelancers doing things like creating videos, and being consistent on social media networks like Pinterest and Instagram that aren’t really where my “good” social media content happens to be.
I’d be like “oh no, but I’m not doing that right now! That’s not what I’m good at!”
But I quickly learned that it’s better to avoid marketing tactics I’m not comfortable with, because that’s not what clients hire me for.