Well, it seems like only yesterday (or at least just last month), but Twelfth Day Ltd is one year old. So it's as good a time as any to pause for a bit of reflection about what I've learnt over the last year.
It hasn't gone how I'd expected.
When I set up last year I thought it would be a long, hard, slow slog to get business in and then to gradually build it over time. In fact, it was all pretty full on from day one. This hasn't stopped since (if anything it's got even more so).
I can't put this down to any fantastic skill in networking or new business on my part. It seems that when it comes to specialist B2B copywriters, especially technology savvy ones, there is a real demand in the market.
Over the past 12 months I've worked on projects for Adobe, Avaya, Bain, Basware, Baynote, Colt, Crucial, Dell, Econsultancy, EPIServer, Fujitsu, IBM, Ingres, Lebara, Magus, Microsoft, Nominet, Software AG, SWIFT, Symantec, Tata Consulting, ValueClick, Virtualworks, VeriSign, Vodafone and XO Communications among others. I've written ebooks, websites, video scripts, lead nurture campaigns, ads and blogs (though I struggle to find time for my own). I have also developed the tone of voice strategies for a number of companies (and am due to start another in the next month or so). So I can honestly say it's never been boring.
These projects have been primarily through a bunch of really good agencies doing some pretty cool stuff. Anyone who thinks that B2B lags behind B2C in innovation needs to get out more. And, despite the reputation agencies often get, the people have been delightfully human and unaffected (thank you all).
So what have I learnt?
- That getting good at B2B and technology copywriting was a really good idea
- That I know more about this stuff than I realised when I was employed
- That I'm still passionate about all things tech – this stuff is changing the world
- That content marketing is the most important thing for companies to get right today
- That not many have yet
- That you should trust your gut instincts about who you work with (or don't work with)
- That if you work every hour of the day you can get a lot done
- That you can't work like that forever
- That it's really difficult to say no to interesting projects
- That there are a lot of interesting projects around
- And that the combination of luck and skill is a powerful thing
While I have no mission statement, I decided when I started up that once clients worked with me I wanted them to never want to work with anyone else again. So far I've only parted company with one company (where I didn't trust my gut instincts). So all in all not too shabby.
It would be dangerous to make any predictions about year two. Anyone involved in this industry knows all about its ups and downs. But thank you to everyone I've worked with over the last year, it's been quite a ride.