Untamed Freelancing - Copywriter Karen Marston
It feels like Karen is being freelance on her terms.
With her own voice, her own style. Stress free. Quite possibly in pyjamas.
Here we chat about how she got started as a copywriter, how she got started making money from courses helping other writers and how she got finished with trying to be a digital nomad.
Plus there's her thoughts on SEO (and Google does say she's the number 1 copywriter in Edinburgh, so maybe we should pay attention).
Keep scrolling for links to find Karen online and a transcription of this episode, but first let your email address loose in the box below to stay updated about other great freelance stories like this one!
More from Karen
Who the hell is Steve Folland?
Steve's a freelancer helping businesses use and make video & audio content in much better ways. Find out more at stevefolland.com, track him down on Twitter @sfolland or lay a trail of cake and he'll eventually catch you up.
Check out Steve's Being Freelance Vlog that documents his weekly wanderings and wonderings as a freelancer.
Transcription of Freelance Podcast interview - Karen Marston and Steve Folland
Steve Folland: We have got freelance copywriter Karen Marston - How about we get started here on how you got started being freelance?
Karen Marston: Okay. It was 2011 when I decided I was going to become a freelance writer. Then obviously, I didn't do anything for about another year. I think that's the way it goes. Decide to go freelance, and then just think about it for a very long time. I was working in pubs, which is what I'd always done. I'd been working in pubs, saving up money, going traveling, coming home, getting another bar job, saving up again, going traveling again. I was like, "How can I make this something I can do all the time?" I wanted to be able to travel without having to just pick up a crappy job along the way. Can I swear, by the way?
Steve Folland: By all means.
Karen Marston: Crappy isn't a swear word, but it made me ... I guess maybe for some people it is. It made me go, "Huh? I should check."
Steve Folland: That shows excellent manners and breeding.
Karen Marston: Well, of course. I was working in this bar job again. I'd just moved to Edinburgh. Had just been promoted and my boss took this as a sign that he should give me loads of just extra work, which obviously is what happens when you get promoted. However, I know for a fact that he wasn't giving this to the previous manager. He was just like, "Oh, fine. Just do this work," and just calling me up when I wasn't even at work. I'm like, "What are you doing? That's not ... I don't get paid enough for you to contact me when I'm at home." That was kind of what made me go, "Okay. I'm finally going to do this."
Karen Marston: I went home one day and I just made a website, which makes it sound super easy, but I already knew how to do it so I just created this website quickly in WordPress. Then I think I wrote all the content for it inside a day, just a really simple freelance writing website with, "Hello, I'm Karen. I do this. Hire me," kind of thing. Then I just started email ... I started writing. I started out writing SEO articles for not very much money. This was the end of 2012. Yeah, just started emailing companies basically saying, "Hey, do you want to hire me to write for you?" They did, and so that was how I got started. Actually, it only took two months I think before I was replacing my bar job income, which I was ... Yeah, obviously not getting paid a lot for, so that made that a lot easier.
Steve Folland: It's all good.
Karen Marston: Yeah. Then I quit. I was like, "Ha-ha, screw you bar."
Steve Folland: It was just sending out loads of emails saying, "This is what I do."
Karen Marston: Loads of emails.
Steve Folland: "Can I do it for you?"
Karen Marston: Yeah. I was just targeting SEO companies in the beginning, because it was ... SEO articles were still a thing that was worth ... Well, I won't say worth doing, you could get paid for in 2012, so that's what I did. Then it didn't take long before I was like, "This is kind of not that great, like writing about heat exchanges, and airport car parks, and stuff like that." Just, I was like, "This is fascinating." No one cared about the quality either, which is a bit ... Obviously, it makes it real easy to do, but it's a bit unfulfilling, should we say? It's just write crap for them. One of my clients, the one that actually allowed me to quit my job, was giving me five 500 word articles a day, which sounds like a lot, but because I could write them in 20 minutes flat, that's how I replaced my income. 125 quid a week is all that I got from that, but it was enough for what I was living on. I lost my train of thought there, but yeah. That was how I got started.
Steve Folland: Yeah. You were trying to fill ... Seems to be going towards, you had lots of work, but it wasn't necessarily work that you wanted to be doing, as in, the quality wasn't necessarily what you wanted to be doing at that point.
Karen Marston: Yeah. I guess I learned more about blogging, and copywriting, and that I could change more for what I was doing, and it actually came about ... My writing style is conversational and entertaining. I've been informed by others and they're right. I wrote this email, my pitch email that I was just sending out to loads of companies, that was a little ... It was a little bit more interesting than the generic ones that you ... Spammy ones that you get from most people. A couple of companies, SEO companies, replied and they were like, "Hey, can you rewrite my website for me?" I was like, "Yes, I can. That will be more money than I normally charge. Here's my quote." I got this client that paid me £1,500 to rewrite his entire website and there was quite a lot of it. There were ... I think I went with £150 per page, or something, so it was 10 pages.
Karen Marston: I was just like, "Holy shit, this is amazing." It didn't take me that long to do either, because writing in that style, once I've got the information, just comes very naturally to me. Yeah, I was like, "All right. This is all I'm going to do now." I just create a whole new website called Untamed Writing, which is now my main website, but I don't use it as my freelance writing site anymore, which I'll go into later I guess. Yeah, I started pitching myself as a conversational writer and I was like, "Hire me because you want my voice, not because I can write quickly, or just do ... Write a load of crap for you for cheap, basically."
Steve Folland: Did you find that perhaps less people were biting, but the ones that did totally got you, or how did that go down?
Karen Marston: Yeah, pretty much. You either ... You get people that ... I would get people replying, because I was still going with the cold email approach at this point, and I would just get people replying like, "All right. I hate spam emails, but you've got my attention." I was like, "Ha-ha. All right then, let's do this." Yeah, now I'm kind of like, "I'm not going to work with you unless you really want me specifically." Quite arrogant about it.
Steve Folland: That's so good. At what point would you say, because this is what, six over the past six years then? Five, six years. At what point did that arrogance, with our tongue in cheek, but at what point did the arrogance kick in? The confidence I guess to say no to certain things, or to demand a certain start?
Karen Marston: Well, I am naturally quite a confident person anyway, so I haven't had the whole, "Am I good enough? No, I don't know how to do this." Anytime anyone was like, "Can you write this for me?" I would just say, "Yes," and then I would just get progressively more excited that people were hiring me for my voice, and paying me well for it. Then, it also helps that I had this brainwave that I could ... I was part of this forum called Location Rebel, which teaches people how to start their own online businesses. The thing that most people do, they have various options of ways you can start your own online business, and the one that most people did and which is how I learned about it, was SEO article writing.
Karen Marston: In the forums, I noticed there was so many people that were like, "Oh God, am I doing this right? How do I do this? Are my articles okay? Is my writing okay? How much do I charge? Is my website alright? How do I map my website?" I was like, "I wonder," because there wasn't one-on-one feedback in Location Rebel. I was like, "I bet I can make a course that people will buy if I walk them through this step-by-step with how to start their own freelance writing businesses, and give them feedback on all of these things that they're wondering about in the forums."
Karen Marston: That's what I did, and I actually promoted it in the Location Rebel forums, which is probably a bit cheeky, but it worked. I was telling everyone that I was running this course and I got 10 people signed up and they paid me 100 pounds each, which was a lot of money to me at the time. It just became a thing where people were signing up for my courses. I had that additional income, which meant that I could be pickier about my freelance writing clients. I don't know if I would've had the same bravery about it, in turning people down that I didn't want to work to, if I didn't have other income coming in, because it's scarier when you're like, "Oh, but if I get this wrong, I won't have any money at all." It was kind of like a safety net in a weird way.
Steve Folland: That's really cool. With the courses, how long do you think you originally ... I know, I guess you have to kind of take time ... It's always this phrase, "Passive income," for example, where you actually have to put a lot of work into it. It's not that passive at all. How long would you say you had to take out, to bring that together in the first place?
Karen Marston: I don't remember specifically ... Oh, do you know what? I started outsourcing a lot of my SEO article writing work as well, so I wasn't writing them directly for quite a while there, but I was still getting the money from it, and I quite cheekily paid my writers ... This is awful, I'm gonna sound so bad. I paid my writers less than I was getting. I ended up making more out of it than they did, basically.
Steve Folland: No, no, don't feel bad. That's a business. That's how every single business works.
Karen Marston: It is, it is.
Steve Folland: Because your clients come to you, and you are marking the quality, and finding people to do the job, and they don't care, so long as it gets done, and you had to mark up.
Karen Marston: Yeah.
Steve Folland: That's basically every business.
Karen Marston: Then it worked out really well as well when I started teaching the course, because I was working one-on-one with these people, I knew who were the good writers or not. I was like, "Hey, do you want to write for me? You can get a bit of experience."
Steve Folland: Yes.
Karen Marston: That's how that kind of worked out, in that I didn't have to do that much of the writing myself, apart from the jobs I wanted to do. With writing the course, I'm quite a last minute person and I'm like, "Right. I'll just make it and I'll do it when I need to." I had this idea, so I wrote the sale's page, and I actually sold the course, like I put a start date on it." I was like, "We'll start on this date, and then you buy it now, and then we'll go on this date." I didn't actually make any of the course until right before it began, because I knew what I was going to say, so I just wrote it really quickly. I was basically writing the materials the day before or sometimes on the day that I was sending them out. I didn't stress too much over that.
Steve Folland: Did it take much? Were you ... I think you mentioned that you were then giving feedback as well, so it wasn't just-
Karen Marston: Yeah. Giving the feedback was the most time consuming part, but as I did it more and more, I could see the bits where people were going wrong, so I could add more information into the course. I created I think a cheat sheet. Also, I used my blog a lot to write about the things that ... For instance, grammar mistakes that people made a lot. I could write blog posts about that and then I could just say, "Go check this out," or I would, I think, later on actually just made a whole new document for the course on these are the most obvious mistakes, don't make these.
Steve Folland: What year was that, that you launched your course?
Karen Marston: 2013 I think, so a year later. Just under a year after I'd started freelancing myself, which looking back on it, I kind of hate people that do that. Hey, it works and here I am.
Steve Folland: Yeah, but you were writing from a point of view of knowing the skill. You knew you knew it. How has that evolved, that particular ... Not just writing for clients, but helping and earning from helping other writers?
Karen Marston: Well, so I had a bit of a dilemma for ages, and ages, and ages, because I started writing this stuff about freelance writing and how to do it on what I had originally created as my own freelance writing site, so I was like, "Do I blog for ... Am I blogging for my potential clients, or am I blogging for other freelance writers?" In the end, it made sense to direct it towards freelance writers, because I knew that that was what most of my subscribers were, because that was who I was hearing from. With clients, it was more cold emailing, and meeting people, just basically networking, I guess is what you actually call it. I realized that my blog wasn't really bringing me any actual clients. Well, it has some a little bit, but mostly it wasn't. I kind of shifted the whole site towards that.
Karen Marston: Then I was making enough money from the courses for a while that I was like, "I don't even need to do freelance writing." Then I really started to hate myself, because I was like, "I can't be the person who teaches the thing and doesn't do the thing." Then I kind of went back again, and started doing more copywriting again, and the whole of last year I was like, "Right. I'm not doing my courses." I removed them from the site. I was like, "I'm going to make my site about copywriting again for businesses," because that felt like the right thing to do. Then, honestly, so, so, so recently, I'm talking like within the past few weeks, I was like, "Karen, why don't you just move your copywriting services onto a different site and stick with the freelance writing angle on Untamed Writing because that's where all my subscribers are?"
Karen Marston: It's like, from a business perspective, it makes a lot more sense. I've been kind of scrambling things around over the past few weeks and figuring out the most sensible way to do it, in a way that still feels good to me. Because I said I was going to blog more for businesses again for 2017, and I just didn't. I was like, "I'm going to blog twice a week again. It's going to be great." Then hardly anything, because I just wasn't as excited about blogging about it. I have to do ... I'll only do things if I actually want to do them, so I moved my copywriting services onto EdinburghCopywriter.com, and I've got it ranking number one on Google, so that helps. Now I've completely split the two and it's just fucking so much less of a headache. I'm like, "Oh, this makes so much more sense."
Steve Folland: Yes. Do you know it was quite nice to hear that? The fact that even somebody who clearly loves writing, can struggle writing a blog post.
Karen Marston: Yeah. I think if you're going to write a blog, you have to want to do it. Otherwise, you're just not going to, because it's so optional.
Steve Folland: Yeah. As freelancers, in amongst the armory of trying to get clients, you sometimes think, "Oh, I need to have a blog and I need to write the blog," and then you start maybe two a week, and then suddenly it's one a week, and then it's fortnightly, and then it's like, "Oh God, did I not do one since September?"
Karen Marston: Yeah.
Steve Folland: As you celebrate New Year.
Karen Marston: Yeah. When I was writing for freelance writers, I was publishing twice a week for an entire year, and the year before that once a week, and it was really consistent. I do think that it can work ... I think it's good to have a blog if you want to be a copywriter, because obviously it's writing, so it's good to show that you can do that. It doesn't necessarily I think need to be on your copywriting site, unless you are going to write about stuff that's relevant to your clients. Because I just do internet kind of writing, which is most of it these days.
Karen Marston: I help people with their websites, and emails, and stuff like that. That's mostly what I do. In fact, that's only what I do, all internet stuff. I think, because I built quite a strong brand around Untamed Writing, I think just my clients looking at that, and going, "Okay, she's built her own brand. She clearly knows what she's talking about and she's a good writer. Then yeah, maybe she'll write some good stuff for us too." I don't think if you don't want to write about stuff for your clients, you can still show them that you know what you're doing with your own blog about something else, if that makes sense.
Steve Folland: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it does. Not only are you showing off your skills, because this could work for anybody really, is that you're showing your passionate, and you're putting in the hours, and caring about something else. If you're managing to do it for that, you can manage to do it for clients.
Karen Marston: Yeah. Also, of course, showing I'm super talented.
Steve Folland: Well, naturally. It's a really great sign. I can see the way that comes across. The other thing that comes across, which you alluded to earlier, the fact that you want to write in your voice, is the way yourself comes across as well. I like that.
Karen Marston: Yeah, I think that's my kind of strongest selling point is that I am just myself. When I was trying to write for businesses actually, I had ... I found it harder. Not with my blog posts, they still came out with my voice, but I was trying to rewrite the copy on my website, and I must've done it honestly about 17,000 times in the past year, and it was just never quite right. I now realize it's because I was trying to write for the wrong thing. Basically, I wasn't doing what I actually wanted to do. Yeah, having a strong voice and not being afraid to be yourself, not holding back, and sharing things like your opinions really makes a difference, because that's what makes people go, "Yeah, I agree with you on that, and I like you, and therefore I'm going to hire you, buy from you," or whatever.
Steve Folland: That works for everyone, not-
Karen Marston: It does.
Steve Folland: Yeah. It can be tempting to be too boring. It's a bit like if you go to a networking event, and feel like you should dress up in a suit.
Karen Marston: Yeah, exactly. It's just, you don't need to do it that way. Some people will be put off, and I find this is especially the case with agencies, or other middlemen, who they're not ... They may like your style and be like, "Oh my God, this is really cool," but then they'll be afraid of what their clients will think, which is not great. They're basically being gatekeepers because they don't want to look silly if the client doesn't like it, even though they themselves like it.
Steve Folland: You said very early on the fact that you wanted to be able to work, and travel, and so on, and so forth. Have you managed to do that? I believe the phrase might be, "Work/life balance."
Karen Marston: Well, let's see. I actually ... Yes, so I started the business with the aim ... I don't particularly care about being an amazing writer, I just wanted to be able to make money from my laptop. My goal was to go, and travel with it, and be a digital nomad, and be location independent, and all that. I tried that at the end of 2016. I was like, "Right. I've got to do that. I want to finally try this because I'm ready for the next phase of my life." I've been in Edinburgh for I think four years at the time, and I was ready for the next thing. I built my business up a bit, so I gave notice on my flat, and I went to Portugal for a couple of months. This was in the winter, so I came back for Christmas, and then I went to Spain for a few more weeks, and it was just crap, honestly.
Karen Marston: It's really difficult to balance doing your work with going out traveling. When you are in a new country, it's the thing that you do, is you go and see stuff, and do stuff. I was just either sitting in my Airbnb all the time just working, hunched over my laptop, really bad posture, crappy furniture in the place, and just not go out. Some days I didn't even leave the house. Then other days I would go out, and spend the whole day out, and be like, "Oh God, but I've got this work to do." It was just really not a fun thing to do, if I'm perfectly honest. I didn't work very well and I didn't travel very well, so I now think it's ... I came home, I was like, "Right. Now I'm going to move to Edinburgh."
Karen Marston: Because also I realized that my work was more important to me than the travel, so I wanted to focus on that and do a really good job of it, which really helps to do that when you're in a stable environment, when you've got the right equipment with you, you don't have to worry about where you're going to move to in a month. I decided to come back to Edinburgh permanently and I came back last March, I think, or the end of February last year. Yeah, I've just been throwing myself back into my work, and that was when I decided that I was like, "No, I'm going to reposition my business. I'm going to go back to copywriting only."
Karen Marston: Because I was not feeling good about teaching the courses without really doing that much writing myself. Last year, most of my income did come from copywriting and working with clients. I think I only ran the course once at the start of the year, and then I just took it off the site completely. I was like, "This isn't right." Now I'm in the process of kind of trying to balance the two properly, which is why I moved the copywriting services onto a new website, so I can refocus and I'm going to create a brand new copywriting course. It's going to be amazing and much better with everything I've learned since I originally wrote the course.
Steve Folland: It's nice to hear, the digital nomad's lifestyle is so-
Karen Marston: Crap.
Steve Folland: Well, it's so ... That's what is nice to hear, because-
Karen Marston: Overrated, I think is the word.
Steve Folland: Because it seems very seductive and then for those of us who maybe have to be in a certain place, because we have kids for example. You're like, "Oh, if only I could've done this 10 years ago, or whatever." Actually, it's nice to hear, but sometimes it's good to maybe separate the two out. Be at home, work, and then go traveling.
Karen Marston: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I feel like if you want to be a digital nomad, like me in the beginning, I didn't care that much about the work, I did just want to travel, but I actually ended up really caring about the work. I also think if you don't care about the work, it's kind of hard to do a good job of it, and make good money from it, and put lots of effort in. Then you kind of limit yourself to cheaper countries anyway, and that just kind of sounds like a good way to get trapped in [Chennai 00:21:52] or whatever. It's like, "Oh, well I kind of ... I have no choice but to stay here as a digital nomad, because I can't afford to go anywhere else." That didn't happen to me, but I would kind of ... Can see how it would with a lot of people who are just ... Well, a lot of people do still just write SEO articles for cheap, or whatever, and not presumably make that much money from it, but they make enough to get by.
Steve Folland: Yeah.
Karen Marston: Which is fine if that's what they want to do, but it wasn't for me.
Steve Folland: I was going to say, yeah, it suits some people.
Karen Marston: Yeah.
Steve Folland: What's it like day-to-day for you? How do you manage your time?
Karen Marston: My main goal in life is basically to remain stress-free. I'm pretty good at not taking on too much and still making enough money to live. I usually get up at around ... I think I got up at about 6:00 today. I am an amazingly an early riser now, which was not through choice. I moved into a new place that has a warehouse out back where they have forklift trucks reversing at 7:00am every morning, so that's my alarm clock that I can't turn off. I'm now an early riser through no choice of my own. I make a cup of tea, and just fanny around for a while, and then, in the flat, and then I'll go to my laptop, and I'll probably write something for my blog, or my website, or a client, or whatever. I'll do my work. Obviously, I piss around on social media as well, because that's what you do on social media.
Karen Marston: I don't have a perfect morning routine. I tried for ages to get one. I was like, "No, I'm going to read every morning, and then I'm going to write, and then I'm ... " I never said I was going to meditate, because I know I'm ... Come on. No. Yeah, I got a little bit obsessed for a while with forming this perfect morning routine, and then I kind of realized after a while, I was like, "It doesn't matter if I have a perfect morning routine, so long as I do the work I need to do, I make enough money to live, and I enjoy my days." That's kind of how I am now. I'll usually work throughout the morning, starting quite early, finish early-ish afternoon. Usually go for a walk in the afternoon down to the beach or something. Then I'll come home, might do a little bit more work, probably just go on social media with the illusion of doing work, and then I'll just relax, and chill out, and do whatever I want for the rest of the day.
Steve Folland: Making time to talk to random blokes...
Karen Marston: Absolutely.
Steve Folland: In podcast! I should have finished that sentence. Just bringing it back to you said about splitting up your business sites and already you're ranking highly. I like Edinburgh Copywriter you said?
Karen Marston: Yeah.
Steve Folland: Is that maybe all of the SEO experience that you had? Writing all of those articles, you've learned a lot of SEO kind of things over time.
Karen Marston: I don't think the articles I wrote really taught me anything about SEO, because they were just such bullocks. I have learned a lot about SEO purely from writing my blog, really, and from reading about it obviously. Now my blog, I committed to blogging once a week for a year, and then the next year I upped it to twice a week, and I realized that I was ranking on page one of Google for various terms that ... To do with whatever, freelance writing. In fact, my course ... My original course that I created was ranking number four on Google for ... Well, until I removed it from the site, basically. That's why it was so easy for me to just be really lax about my actual copywriting clients, because I was getting people buying my course without effort. Obviously, what are you going to do?
Karen Marston: I learned that writing good blog posts about things that people are interested in, and are helpful, and just writing them conversationally, which is my natural style, using the words that people would actually use, is basically all there is to SEO. I didn't particularly ... I think I've had two or three guest posts published linking back to my site. When I first started, I intended to do loads of guest posting, because I was like, "That's how you get a good SEO." Then I just didn't need to, because it was kind of happening anyway. Presumably, that was from people linking back to my blog posts because they were good, and then I didn't need to go and force the links back to my site myself by guest posting.
Steve Folland: Yeah. How have you coped with what could potentially be the isolation of being a freelancer?
Karen Marston: Yeah, it's better since I gave up digital nomading and committed to moving back to Edinburgh, because I've really got involved more with my local creative community, and I do co-working sessions with fellow copywriters now, and going to events and stuff, and I'm actually making more of an effort to get involved, and to get to know people. That helps a lot. I also, I'm fine generally being ... I spend a lot of time alone at home and I love it, but I do also go for those walks every day, which helps, on most days. Getting out ... I'm also on Facebook messenger with my friends all the time.
Steve Folland: Do you have anybody to talk ... I don't know, to talk business with? Because you're helping everybody else out, or will be with your courses again and stuff, is anyone helping you?
Karen Marston: Well, actually I ... Sophie that I told you about before we started recording, Sophie Playle, who lives in the same town as you. She's about the same place in her business with me and we're really close friends. We met online through our businesses, and we've met in person many times now, and we talk most days about business, and other stuff. We talk about the Walking Dead a lot too. Yeah, she's my go-to business talky person.
Steve Folland: Everyone's got to have a go-to business talky person.
Karen Marston: I'm very eloquent aren't I?
Steve Folland: Yeah, yeah.
Karen Marston: Anyway. Go to her website, LiminalPages.com. If you've written a book and you want editing, little plug for her there.
Steve Folland: What would you say has been the biggest challenge of being freelance?
Karen Marston: I don't know, because I feel like it's my natural fit.
Steve Folland: That's good.
Karen Marston: Biggest challenge? Oh, no. Obviously, it's the work/life balance, that's the hardest part. I either do nothing for seven days, or I do nothing but work for seven days. That's not exactly true, but you know what I mean.
Steve Folland: Yeah.
Karen Marston: Balancing everything is hard.
Steve Folland: Is that something you want to work on, or it's just ... In fact, are you somebody who tries to work on things, or do you just let things work their way out?
Karen Marston: I try to make stuff happen, but I'm quite ... Well, I'm all or nothing and my challenge is learning to do a bit every day, rather than just doing it all at once, and then not doing anything. I do have that tendency. I'll be like, "I've got this project. I'm just going to do it all now and then I'll just sit on my laptop and do nothing." For the past few days, I've barely done anything apart from piss around with my old blog posts since I made the decision to go back in the freelance writing direction with Untamed Writing. I deleted a load of blog posts earlier in the year, and now I've just been putting them all back up, and perfecting them, which is not ... I should've just never have removed them and then I wouldn't have had to do that, but yeah, I've just being doing that nonstop for days. It always takes longer than you think it will. Yeah, that's possibly my biggest challenge, is learning how to do just a bit at a time.
Steve Folland: Now, if you could tell your younger self one thing about being freelance, what would that be?
Karen Marston: You will not do your work after you go to the pub. That was a lie I used to tell myself when I very first started out, because I was still working in the pub at the time. I'd be like, "Oh, I'll just take my laptop down with me and I'll do the work there." Then I'd get there and I'd be like, "I'll just do it when I get home." Then I just didn't.
Steve Folland: Karen, thanks so much for taking the time - it's been brilliant - and all the best being freelance!