Women Who Work: Copywriter, Jane Schwartz
Jane Rebecca Schwartz is a copywriter and strategist. She sets brands apart by combining strategy methods with copywriting. She’s created content, social media posts, and web copy for the digital age. When she’s not working she’s reading, traveling, and constantly petting strangers’ dogs.
What made you want to start your business?
First, I want to say how excited I am to be featured on The Daily Deskside! Thank you, Wendy. Love your site.
I’m highly self-motivated, so I knew getting the work done wouldn’t be a problem. And I always thought it would be cool to try my own thing, so here I am and loving it.
How do you explain what you do to others?
I’m a copywriter who does a variety of types of marketing writing. I use my background in marketing strategy to set brands apart. I’m known for attention-grabbing headlines as well as effective social media posts and website copy. I also recently started creating websites. It’s fun!
I pride myself on being a very thoughtful writer. Even with something seemingly as simple as social media lines, I can write lines that use: plays on words (clean eating includes licking your lips), metaphors (our porterhouse is a staycation), personification (the happy coconut), twist on a common phrase or idiom (come eat for yourself), puns (I thought it would be hot in here, but it’s chile), silly statements (people swim miles for fish this good), and even lines that are straightforward, yet still fun (Don’t disappoint your #taste buds. Haven’t they treated you well?) And this is only the language part. I also think about strategy, creative concept, and tone.
What is a day for you like? What is your routine?
I keep things loose. I’m a night owl, so I get up late but start working right away. From there pretty much anything goes, since the rest of my day is a mix of (mostly) work, regular life stuff (bills, laundry) and social things. I could meet a friend for a bite at 5, but then come home and work again until 11. Also, my intention is to take a walk or work out in some form every day as much for my mind as my body, but that doesn’t always happen.
How did you go about starting your business (or side hustle)? What were some of your initial steps that you took?
I didn’t really do much planning or prep. Maybe not the best way to go, but I just started freelancing and it led to more, so I’m going with it. Right now I’m a 1099 freelancer, so I didn’t need to do anything major.
What are your biggest responsibilities?
My biggest responsibility is to make my writing as strong as it can be. I could just whip something off—many people are perfectly happy to get something clear and with correct punctuation and spelling. But for me, that’s not even close to good enough. As I mentioned, I think about strategy, concept, use of language and tone. I take a lot of pride in my work and I want people to get a great product, not something that’s merely acceptable.
Separately, my responsibility to myself is to “keep the lights on,” so to speak. This means I need to step away from the actual work long enough to get more work. One of the things that has helped a lot is sub-contracting, meaning working for another marketer who works for the “client.” For example, someone may be managing a restaurant’s social media. They may be responsible for content strategy and the images and hire me to write the copy.
So all you content strategists, web developers, art directors, photographers and the like, hit me with your copy needs at janeRschwartz@gmail.com!
What has been the hardest part of your transition?
It’s a lot of hours. I want to get things done more quickly going forward. (I will.)
What do you think is the most important characteristic to have for someone who wants to take a similar career route to yours?
If you are shy or reticent, if it’s hard for you to ask for things, if you hate approaching strangers or people you don’t know well, either online or in person, if you’re not willing to put yourself out there, again and again, having the type of freelance business I have is probably not for you. My business requires me to reach out to people, knowing many of them will ultimately not need my services. You’ve GOT to be willing to ask.
What do you wish you knew before starting out on your own path?
I don’t think I realized how much time it would take to get business. Reaching out to people is one part of it. It’s also can be quite time-consuming to write a proposal, depending on what’s needed.
Did anyone help you in developing your own business or side business?
I’m in a few Facebook groups and people have been amazing at answering questions.
What is your favorite thing about the industry you work in?
LOVE the writing. I love the challenge of determining the right strategy, the right creative idea and the right language and tone.
This next comment isn’t about the industry, but I also love working from home. It’s not for everyone, but I don’t have to commute and I can work in pj pants and a t-shirt. Hallelujah.
What do you have on your desk or working space right now?
My “workspace” is my laptop and phone. At the moment, I’m drinking a Diet Coke and sitting on the floor.
What do you want other women in similar situations to know about your chosen career path?
It’s time-consuming to get and keep things going, but if you want to wear yoga pants every day, choose your projects and be your own boss, it’s totally worth it.