Freelancer of the Month February 2013 – Julia Bodie2
Welcome to ourFreelancer of the Month feature. This month we chatted with Julia Bodie, a proofreader and copy-editor who runs www.copy-proof.co.uk.
Hi Julia! Can you tell us a bit about your business?
I offer a proofreading and copy-editing service to both individuals and companies. I have worked across a very diverse range of industries and have edited everything from Terms of Business, insurance newsletters, blogs, menus, property brochures, to all manner of marketing material and novels.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a freelancer.
I worked as a recruitment consultant for years and was a bit of a frustrated proofreader even then – there were plenty of opportunities to use my red pen on applicants’ CVs and all of the agency’s marketing material was proofread by me, prior to being sent out. I knew the agency was in trouble in 2009 and, fearing redundancy, decided I would finally go it alone as a proofreader. I signed up to do a professional proofreading/editing course and when I left the agency in Oct 2009, I set up Copy-proof.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I enjoy the flexibility and freedom that working for yourself provides. You can choose when to work and for whom and on what. Even now, I get a kick out of generating an invoice for Copy-proof and knowing that everything I earn is mine (minus the government’s share).
Have you got any advice for aspiring freelancers?
You need to really think about whether you want/need a regular income or whether you can cope with the fluctuations of workload. Freelance work can be likened to waiting for buses – none for ages and then they all come at once! You can have super months when you have earned a lot and then there are others when it is much quieter. Be aware of this before you start.
What are the downsides to working for yourself, if any, and how do you overcome them?
One downside can be loneliness if you are working from home by yourself. I did miss the camaraderie of the office environment at first, but you do get used to it. You need to make sure that you meet with friends and family regularly to counteract this. Of course, the upside is that you have a quiet and peaceful environment which helps when you need to concentrate.
Another potential downside is that the buck stops with you. You alone, are responsible for marketing yourself to get new business on.
How has the current economic downturn affected your business, if at all?
Up until 2 years ago I was proofreading for an examining board and they decided to move all of the proofreading in-house, which was probably as a result of the recession. In addition, I have a client in Estonia that used to regularly send me documents to edit (Estonian to English translations that needed tidying up) and the work has certainly become more sporadic in the past year and a half.
I believe that more and more, clients are deciding to proofread their work themselves and regard using a proofreader as a luxury!
How do you go about promoting your business/finding clients?
I have my own website – www.copy-proof.co.uk – and am fairly prolific on social media websites. I am on Facebook – www.facebook.com/copy-proof, Twitter – @juliabod and LinkedIn – http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/julia-bodie-copy-proof/31/665/43a/.
In addition, I email potential clients and have dropped off leaflets to companies in the past. I am also a member of PPH and of course findaproofreader.
What is your most treasured work-related possession?
Two things – my laptop and my Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Standard things, but essential tools of the trade!
What do you enjoy reading when you’re not working with words?
I read everything and anything. I am never without a book and have always got my head stuck in that, or a newspaper, article or online news item.
What’s your favourite book?
I don’t really have one favourite book – I have so many. I have a very eclectic taste in reading; from thrillers to romances and chick flicks to historical novels. I have recently read Ken Follett’s epic Pillars of the Earth, along with the next book World Without End and was genuinely very sorry to have finished them.