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Self-Employed Copywriter

"I work as an independent writer, although I’m almost always involved with a team. I write copy, create storyboards, and help groups to brand or position their product and ideas. All of my writing is relational—it’s about connecting with people, getting a point across, and nailing the message. It’s about efficiency and elegance. I’ve learned a lot about writing for the web, digital design and technical copywriting. Sometimes my jobs are just about editing and proofing, but most times it’s about communicating a message to get target audience members involved."

Salary Range:

$44,000 - $62,000

The Tip

Hold on to your sense of humour through this work. You have to roll with the punches, tolerate periods of unemployment and quickly learn to work with all kinds of people.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Evidence-based Decision Making
  • Keep your reputation by publishing sound work based on valid sources

  • Ability to set priorities

Advanced Research & Analysis Skills
  • Critically analyze research

  • Manage multiple sources and synthesize multiple viewpoints

Contextual Knowledge
  • Area-specific knowledge, concentrated areas of expertise

  • Adapt messaging for a variety of audiences and viewpoints

Technical literacy

Advanced Communication Skills
  • Excellent writing skills

  • Creative writing skills combined with excellence in grammar and storytelling


Inter-personal Skills
  • Work in groups of various sizes

  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal


Intra-personal Skills
  • Work on your own

  • Well-organized, punctual, self-motivated

  • Creative thinking skills

  • High adaptability

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) with a minor in journalism


This combination has been great for me. I’m one of the few in the field that has this kind of background. The journalism side taught me skills for developing evidence-based stories, and I became confident with specialized communications and design technology. My interviewing skills were augmented by my understanding of human behaviour and motivation.

Employment Experiences:
  • Babysitting, then lifeguard. I worked part time through the school year and full time in the summers.

  • Outreach coordinator for city programming department

  • Manager, community relations for a not-for-profit agency

  • Community newspaper writer/columnist


I thought that I wanted something stable and consistent in my work life, but what I discovered was that I really wanted freedom and autonomy. I’ve had to give up security, but I’ve gained the ability to set my own hours, take or refuse gigs as I wish to, and I can do a lot of my writing from anywhere in the world.

Community Experiences:
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer

  • Board of directors at local Boys & Girls Club

  • Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity builds



Volunteering in ways that directly help families has been important to me. When I was in university I liked volunteering to help the same kid each week. Now that I have time and funds to travel, I’ve put my energy into building houses to support low-income families. I’ve learned some solid skills and I’ve met some terrific humans along the way. It’s sort of social, but not really – I am part of a group, but I’m focused on my own tasks.

Contextual Experiences:
  • I enjoy working around people, but I prefer to be my own boss if I can. I’ve found a good mix in my work now.


I’m naturally quite introverted. I prefer to work on my own or in small groups, and if I’m going to volunteer my time it will either be one-to-one, or where we’re focused on a skill.

  • I don’t like to “network,” but I do enjoy connecting with individuals and small groups. If you know me, you likely know me well.


Being a writer has been perfect for my disposition. I can share of myself without being drained and freelancing means I can join teams without needing to get involved with the politics of the place. I feel it gives me the flexibility and freedom that’s right for my personality.

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