10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years
Ten. Effing. Years.
September 14, 2021 marked the one-decade anniversary of EBB Copywriting + Creative, and I legit can’t believe how much I’ve learned, written, improved, failed and grown in that amount of time. In true Erin fashion, I celebrated by treating myself to a massage and some cuddle time with Elvis. Then I made a list of the 10 most important lessons I’ve learned since starting my business.
Interested? Read on.
#10 There’s enough work for everyone.
This industry makes it easy to get competitive with other writers and creatives. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that competition is the thief of joy. There is enough work out there for all of us to do and enough success to go around.
#9 Be good at what you’re good at.
I’m great at brand voice. I’m not-so-great at TV or radio. I’m fire at packaging copy. I suck at social media. I know my strengths, and I know my limits. When other people are better at something, I try to learn from them or, frankly, I just let them do it. I quit claiming to be good at everything because nobody is.
#8 A little extra can go a long way.
Whether it’s a handwritten thank you card to show gratitude for a referral, time spent on a weekend to help a client out of a jam, a small surprise gift sent after a big project launch, a list of headlines delivered early, or a few comped hours to stay under budget, it’s the little things that matter most in partnerships.
#7 Friends are for collaborating. Not generating income.
Some folks may disagree with me on this one, but I have exactly ZERO desire to make money off of my friends and partners. If you’re right for the job, I’ll gladly share your name. If you do work for my client, I don’t need to make money on it. Kindness is currency, and finder’s fees have no place in my business.
#6 It’s easy to get in over your head.
I’m still working on this, but I’m very proud of my progress in learning how to say “no.” It’s just sooooooooooooo hard to when there’s so much cool work to be done. But I’d rather direct a client to an alternative resource than spread myself so thin that I compromise the quality of my work.
#5 F*cking up happens.
We all make mistakes, and I’ve sure made my share. I think the worst thing about business blunders is the fear that it will tarnish my reputation. Because this industry is SMALL. Like, super small. So, I’ve found that best way to deal is to grow up, own up, and do everything you can to fix things. If you’re past that point, keep your dignity and move on gracefully.
#4 Business and pleasure mix just fine.
I love that so many of my friends are also my colleagues. It’s not only super fun, but it also makes me a better professional. Personal relationships foster trust, elevate outcomes and keep me accountable. I never want to let a client down, especially if they’ll give me hell about later in the friend zone.
#3 You can’t win ’em all.
Sometimes, no matter what you do or how hard you try, you might miss the mark. I’ve been in some pretty painful presentations over the years, but the key is to listen to feedback and move forward positively. If it’s fail after fail after fail and there is tension in the relationship, it may just be time to part ways. Not every partnership is the right fit.
#2 Lighten up.
I’m a professional. I’m also a complete goofball masquerading around as a functioning human. Sometimes I curse when I get passionate during presentations. Sometimes I crack wise. Sometimes I throw a joke headline or name option into a list just to get a smile out of people. I credit a big part of my success to a lighthearted approach that makes me feel happy around my clients and vice versa. Just because this is a job doesn’t mean it has to feel like work.
#1 Integrity is everything.
I don’t care about awards or recognition or titles or speaking engagements. That’s not what I want my business to stand for. I want people to hire me because they trust me and like me. It’s that simple. I don’t need employees, a fancy office or some embarrassingly cool agency name to do well. I just need to work hard and run an honest business. And that’s what I plan to keep doing for 10 more years. Probably a lot more.
Thank you to everyone for your support and kind words on my anniversary LinkedIn post too.
You know who you are. 😎