Looking for a web designer who combines visual, linguistic and commercial acumen and doesn’t break the bank?
Chris Sharp (otherwise known as C#) has set up two of my blogs/websites and delivered exactly what I was after. Many web designers quote extortionate amounts which simply aren’t viable for budding entrepreneurs, so if you’re looking for someone who’s new business friendly, with bucket loads of patience and helpful input to boot, he’s a tried and tested recommendation.
Over to you, Chris…
Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do?
I’m a freelancer specialising in digital marketing. My main focus is on copywriting, primarily for websites, blogs and corporate white papers. I am also a dab hand at graphics and web design as I have the right kind of left brain-right brain mix to manage technical aspects with attractive design.
What Was Your Previous Experience Before Starting Your Business?
I didn’t have a great deal of experience copywriting, only a good basis from university projects. But with a good mentor to help me along I quickly picked up what I needed to know to polish my writing to a standard that pleased my clients.
From the design side of things, I used to work in a photography studio and began picking up PhotoShop techniques. I later became friends with graphic designers at university who introduced me to other programmes such as Illustrator. Combining these with education in web designing seemed like the logical next step – bringing together my skills to create attractive, functional and well-written websites.
What Inspired You To Start Your Business?
I decided to become a freelancer after travelling. The idea of being tied to one place was really difficult after having been so free. I started as a researcher and writer, making myself invaluable to a few different clients and that allowed me the opportunity to hone my skills in other areas, such as graphics and web design.
How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?
I was fortunate enough to be drafted in to help with two companies almost straight away. This gave me the financial security I needed to then go on and train in other areas, and clients are always happy if you can bring new skills to the table.
What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?
I once wrote a proposal for a new gym and boxing complex to be built in a deprived part of London. The project would be a big step towards rejuvenating the area as well as providing a healthy hobby for local kids. The local council accepted the proposal and it will be launched in the Limehouse area this Autumn.
What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?
Once I was asked to write a wedding speech for the maid of honour. I had never met her, the bride, or the groom – which made it pretty tricky to start with – and then they asked that it all be in rhyming verse…
Another great highlight was hearing just how well the speech had gone down!
There are too many to choose from but here are a select few:
Who Do You Write For?
Writing work is more difficult to give examples for, as most were ghostwriting for others. For example, I wrote the blog for www.adramatch.com for two years, but they sell automatic account reconciliation software, or www.oisg.com who sell computer stuff to businesses, or www.tribecaknowledge.com who sell software for pharmaceutical launches.
How Do You Build Your Client Base?
Most of my clients come through word of mouth. As you can imagine, it is difficult to know who and what you are getting with a freelancer – how easy are they to work with? Will they give you what you want? Will you pay through the nose? By going through recommendations both the client and I know that we are getting someone vouched for, and that adds a world of comfort and satisfaction to the project.
What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?
There is a lot to learn, both in terms of your skill and in terms of just being a freelancer. The toughest one for me was budgeting. I’m not great with money to begin with, but when your income is not fixed, you have to pay tax and NIC at odd times of year, and you have other expenses such as a laptop and computer programmes, it can all get very tricky.
The next hardest part was correcting everyone who thought a copywriter put little © marks on things…
What’s Next For You?
I have had a lot of fun being back in the UK, but it is time for more travelling. Hopefully this time I can take much of my work with me!
How Can We Contact You?
Through my website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s Your Favourite Quote?
Oh, there are so many! As a copywriter I collect them. But if I had to pick one, it would be this: