Your identity isn’t solely what you do for a living

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Meghan Downs is a brand voice and website copywriter. She’s based in Scotland but is originally from the Midlands (so don’t expect a Scottish accent).  Meghan specialises in helping creative business owners finally sell themselves with confidence through done-for-you copywriting and messaging consultancy services. Craft a message that captures your personality, resonates with ideal clients, and boosts sales - without feeling sales-y. 

Biggest fuck up? 

My biggest fuck up was not standing up for myself with a client, and it ended badly.

I’d been working with a marketing agency, writing regular blog posts for their clients. It all went smoothly until they had a change in staff. I started getting negative vibes, communication went downhill, and I had a feeling the new manager was trying to make a stamp. 

The briefs that started out detailed and clear changed to one-liners with a link to another article.

Instead of pushing back and not writing anything until I had a better brief to work from, I (stupidly) decided to do my best with what I had. They ripped my work to shreds, which both knocked my confidence and pissed me off. 

Even though it left a gaping hole in my diary, I’ve never been more happy to stop working with a client – and then they turned nasty over an outstanding invoice. The stress that situation caused taught me to always stand up for myself, and even when someone is being a dick, I need to ask the difficult questions. 

Rant

It pisses me off when people in the marketing space sell people services they don’t need or are not transparent about what actually goes on behind the scenes. Too many times I’ve heard of customers losing access to their websites, not being able to update things themselves, or being sold ‘SEO’ for thousands each month that gets them nowhere.

I’ll always be honest with potential clients about what I believe they should be spending their money on, and if that’s not working with me, that’s fine. No smoke and mirrors.

Useful advice

A few years ago, I decided to give up my first business as a ceramic artist. It took me a long while to accept that I wasn’t ‘failing’ for admitting I didn’t love it anymore. For a while, I answered the question, “Are you still doing your art thing?” with a drawn-out, over-complicated, and awkward response. 

And when I moved into freelance writing, I still felt a pang of loss for my previous identity. Then, one day, I read an article in the Freelancer Magazine sharing similar thoughts (that I’d struggled to articulate). 

It helped me to finally accept that your identity isn’t solely what you do for a living. Of course, it’s great to love what you do. But if you change paths or fall out of love with something – that’s ok. 

So, if you’re worried that what you’re doing right now isn’t your ‘forever job,’ just ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Are you learning something new in your current role? 
  2. Is it helping you to figure out what you do – or don’t – like doing? 
  3. Does the money make it worthwhile for your current life situation? 

If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to any of these, then perhaps it’s time to switch it up. Otherwise, crack on and allow yourself to follow an unknown path.

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