We speak to Sarah Davis, once a teacher and now a copywriter and published author. She shares her story of what she has learned and what she would do differently. This interview is part of our It's Never Too Late series, championing women regardless of age, to follow their big, bold ambitions.
Hey Sarah, we're so pleased to meet you, can you start with telling us how old you were when you started your business?
Hi! I was 49.
So, tell us about your business, what's it called and what do you do?
I am The Parenting Copywriter; I write website and blog content for baby, child, parenting and educational brands and businesses, to help them to reach more clients.
How long have you been running this business for?
I launched my business on 30/9/2020, so not very long, but it’s already taking off well.
Had you run your own business before this?
No. I had been a primary school teacher for 26 years!
Wow! What made you take the leap from being a teacher to running your own business?
It was several fold really – a combination of life experiences and circumstances.
I was looking for a change, as teaching isn’t the job that it was. I’d been wanting a change for a while, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do. I went part-time as a supply teacher, but with Covid, schools were using even less supply than before, so it seemed a good time to bite the bullet and try something new.
My 40s had already signalled other changes in my life. Aged 40, I had my first baby. Aged 47, I had a book published. I’d written the poems in my book ‘Baby Daze,’ unexpectedly, while up for the 3am feeds!
By the time my son was 8 months old there were 40 poems!
‘Baby Daze’ got recommended in ‘Mother & Baby’ magazine’s ‘3 of the best funny books’ feature. I found myself doing talks for large groups of expectant parents at Mothercare and Mamas & Papas, talks for new mums and live BBC radio interviews.
I was invited to write guest posts for parenting audiences and I learnt lots of sales and marketing related skills along the way, while promoting my book. My story was also featured in ‘Woman’ and ‘Chat’ magazines.
My husband had previously suggested copywriting as a job that might suit me, but I didn’t want to go into a 9-5 ground level job to learn the trade that way and I didn’t know that there was an alternative.
In August 2020, I happened to come across someone who offered a copywriting course on-line. I jumped at the opportunity and took the course. I decided to specialise in writing for a parenting audience, as it fit perfectly with my experience as a mum, a teacher and what I’d learnt while promoting my book. I set up my own website and launched my business as The Parenting Copywriter.
That's quite an exciting transition. What did you find hard in the beginning?
Building my website, calling myself a copywriter when I’d always been a teacher, deciding on a pricing strategy and finding out what I needed to do to go freelance.
What surprised you most about starting your own business?
I’ve realised that I was using so many skills as a teacher that were transferable and really suited my new role. As a bit of a tech dinosaur, I was stunned that I actually managed to build my own website.
I was even more amazed to get 5 paying clients in the first 6 weeks, with great feedback from all of them! I’ve also had others in related industries approach me to set up collaborations. I haven’t paid for advertising, instead, I’ve built up clients through networking in Facebook mums in business type groups.
It sounds like you really hit the ground running. What would you do differently?
I wish I’d realised earlier how many transferable skills I’d got.
I think a lot of people underestimate what skills they have. What are you passionate about?
My family, helping others and doing a good job.
What makes you feel good inside?
Talking to new clients and helping them to really recognise their own personal and business strengths and putting all of that into words for them. I love getting great feedback, knowing that the website content, landing page or other content that I’ve written, will be helping someone else’s business to reach more clients.
What is something that's made you proud in the last 12 months?
How far I’ve come in the last 5 months and how well the business is doing, despite starting up during the pandemic. I’ve already got client work lined up for 2021 and lots of new enquiries pending.
What advice would you give to someone who has been dreaming of starting their own business later in life, but has been holding back?
If you have an idea that you are passionate about, then go for it. You might be surprised at how much you can achieve by stepping out of your comfort zone.
Finally Sarah, what are your goals for the next 12 months?
To continue to build up my business by making a few adaptations to my website, working on setting up the collaborations and continuing to network.
If you want to find out more about Sarah here are her contact details:
It's Never Too Late
Once thing we hear a lot from women over 40 is "I'd love to do x,y,z but it's just too late now". It's not. It never, ever is. We started this series as a way to encourage more women to follow their dreams and ambitions regardless of how many years they've been on the planet!