Wednesday, 16 July 2014 19:13

Lifestyle | Startup Spotlight: Sarah Grear

Lifestyle // July 21, 2014

So you think you can write? But how do you make a career out of your words? It’s not just full manuscripts that are getting writers paid these days. Copywriting is the creative craft of the digital age.

Sarah Grear has created a business around her creativity and is helping entrepreneurs around the globe “unleash their voice” and take their brands to the next level. I chatted with her about her business and her thoughts on what it takes to make it as a copywriter:

Serena Watson: How do you stay creative with your copywriting?

Sarah Grear: Oh my goodness, that’s an awesome question… I know certain people, they feel the online world is so crowded and wonder how are they ever going to come from a place that’s different from what’s already out there.

So the way I stay in my creative zone is, I try to realize that as much as people think that's it’s all been done before, that’s not true. There’s always a way for you to come with your personal experiences in your life and no one else has experienced it but you.

For me, the way that I was able to tap into [my creativity] is to learn what my purpose was, what are my strengths, what are my experiences in life that no one else has gone through but me, and so that’s what has been really powerful for me. I learned to hone that for myself, to use my personal stories to connect with people emotionally and that’s exactly what I do with all my clients.

I get to know them in a very personal way, and I get to know their stories so intimately that I’m able to use their personal experiences as well, and shine a new light on it. That is really the root of where my creativity comes from.

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SW: That’s so real, because every story is unique. You talked about digging into the storyline of your customer. Can you describe the creative process you take your clients through?

SG: Oh sure. So the first step is for them to reach out to me and they usually find me either online or at network events. I also host meetups for entrepreneurs, so usually they’ll hear me talking about what I do and they’ll reach out.

It’s interesting because my business has gone global at this point. I feel really lucky that we live in the times that we do. I’ve had people reach out to me from Africa, Canada, England, Australia... it’s crazy. [Laughs.] It’s really cool.

So, I find out if they can fit what they need into one of my packages or I customize whatever it is they need. All of my projects are done in five business days or less. I call them my “writing vacations”. So there is a “Summer Vacay” package and the “Weekend Warrior.” I keep everything within that theme because I used to be a travel blogger. When we start working together it’s an interview process, just like we’re doing right now.

Then I go away and I’m just writing, I’m seriously writing. [Laughs] I get everything in that first meeting and I just take it and I run with it. I send most clients the whole first draft after our first call. So on the second call they have all the time left [to give notes]. They look everything over and we do the live edit on Google Docs… Then we wrap the project, shortly after.

SW: Nice. So intensive and in depth, I like it. Can you tell me what type of businesses you usually work with?

SG: My ideal clients are coaches. Like health, business, relationship coaches. But lately, I’ve been attracting a lot of creative musicians, event planners and graphic designers. Right now I’m working with a woman who actually owns three businesses and all in the wedding and event planning area. And I just wrapped a project with singer/songwriter Chrisette Michele for her new website called Rich Hipster.

SW: Oh that’s awesome! I love Chrisette Michele.

SG: Oh, me too. That project was definitely interesting. I’ve been attracting highly creative people lately and I’m pretty excited about it. What I ask people is if they’re ready to change the world one word at a time. And that’s all that matters to me is that they want to help and make the world better in some way.

SW: Well, congrats on that. Actually, I was going to ask you, what project are you most proud of?

SG: [Laughs.] That’s awesome. It’s hard to say, honestly, really my latest creation is the one I’m most proud of at that moment. I’m an artist at the core and I actually got my degree in fine arts. If you’re an artist at the core, you know that there is always room for improvement in what you’re doing.

You can always want more, you can always spin it, you can always do a little bit better... You can always improve it. So the answer is every new project. Every time I have a project I feel like I grow from it in some way. And also, it’s really interesting for other people who want to be writers. I always tell them, your brain is a muscle and the more you write, the more you exercise that muscle in your brain.

SW: Whats your favorite part of helping businesses grow?

SG: My favorite part is actually that emotional connection with the writing. I realize that being vulnerable for some people is really tough, so I come in to the space with them and open that window for them to be vulnerable.

I was working on a project for a large corporation. I met with the CEO and told them I’m here to help you guys make that emotional connection with your product that you’re not making right now.

I literally saw his shoulders drop, he was so grateful for someone to say “let’s do that,” “let’s get vulnerable.” I try to just be a little more real with people. That’s the most satisfying part is to see that growth in them and to know that when I plant that seed with them now it will grow after we work together.

We make changes in them and they are not even aware of yet and I just love that. And they will come back to me six months to a year later, like “wow!” I get goose bumps just talking about it. [Laughs.]

SW: That’s great that you love what you do. That’s so important. So what advice would you give to someone who’s getting in the copywriting?

SG: For the people who want to get into the copywriting, the first book that I read was the Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman. I think that’s a great book to start with. The next thing I would do is [engage in] either an online network or an in-person network.

One of my online networks that I enjoy being part of is "B School” by Marie Forleo. You can interact with the Facebook group and we meet online for the course once a year. It’s a program that you go through, it’s really intense.

And then after you do those things, read some books about other copywriters that have built businesses out of it and get in system for networking. I highly recommend reading Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. Those three things that I did changed my life, changed my business, changed everything.

SW: Last question, and this is just based on your experience after working all these different companies and seeing what they do well and what they do not as well… what mistakes do you see young businesses making in terms of branding?

SG: Not speaking the truth. Usually they come to me because they weren’t being true of who they really are and they got lost. Also, having fun. If you’re not having fun then you really shouldn't really be doing it. At all.

Not to say that there won’t be hard times. I get that, but overall, you have to be able to pull yourself out of that. You do that by... having values that you’re always going to hold yourself and everyone around you to. Branding is an experience, a direct extension of who you really are. If you can really hold true to your brand and speak your truth, you’re going to be a cut above the rest.

For more information on Sarah Grear visit her website or check out the next Unleash Your Voice: DIY Website Writing Workshop, a two day writing event! Get early bird tickets from now until July 31st!

Published in Lifestyle
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