Get started sooner - Copywriter Leif Kendall

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Working in a job he didn’t like with a bully for a manager, Leif was desperate for a way out. But, nearing 30 and expecting his first child, he didn’t have many options.

After discovering copywriting and feeling drawn to it, Leif began freelancing on the side; going to networking events, building up his portfolio with “friend of a friend" gigs, and launching a website, all alongside his full-time job.

It’s 11 years later now, and Leif’s made a career out of copywriting. The late nights and weekend-working might be (mostly) a thing of the past, but work still comes with its struggles.

As well as being freelance, Leif’s the director of ProCopywriters, a small professional association with over 850 members. He chats to Steve about the story behind his successful side project, including how it runs without a single employee and takes up far too much of his time.


Leif Kendall: ... as with so many good tales, it starts with a bully.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, so I had a job, I'd like to say it was a good job and I liked it but it was a terrible job. And I was only marginally content in that job but the thing that really tipped me over the edge was that I had a manager who really didn't like me and she was a bully. Looking back I do feel like I earned some of her wrath because I was quite horrible at the job, so I was already a bit disengaged, and then her being demon just meant I was really keen to escape, so I was looking for exits. And also, around that time, my wife was pregnant, it was our first child, so there was kind of a lot going on, I had this sense that things needed to change.

Leif Kendall: And also in this job that I was doing I was mostly shipping stuff from China, that was my real job, but I wasn't very good at that bit. But on the side they'd been asking me to edit copy that the product development team had been putting together, and I loved doing that because I'd always been an avid reader and a bit of a wordy person and I'd been writing fiction in my spare time and always just really obsessed with words and language. And so, yeah, the fact that part of my job involved working with words had really been a revelation to me, but before I'd done that I hadn't even heard of copywriting, I didn't even know that was a thing, knew nothing about it. So once I discovered this I got very excited and read lots of books and kind of gradually recognised a way out of the situation I was in through copywriting.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, so I had this weird coming together of forces, some pushing me away and discovering something new that I was really attracted to and really interested in. Yeah, but it was kind of weird because when I looked into copywriting, you know, I was thinking, "What the hell is this? How do I do it? How can I do this as my job?" And all the advice I found back then was relating to the advertising world, and there seemed to be a clear route into advertising which involved doing a degree and then doing an internship where you'd work for quite a period of time without money and then, eventually, if you were lucky and you had a good portfolio, you could get real job. But then it would have to be in London and you'd have to work silly hours and you'd have to give up your social life.

Leif Kendall: And being 30 with a kid on the way I couldn't work for free, I couldn't go to university, these were all things I just couldn't do. So I started to think there was no real route into it, but I happened to be living in Brighton at the time and in Brighton there's a big digital tech scene, there were loads of web designers and developers around and I started talking to them and found out that actually they needed copy for websites.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, so I think that's ... I'm kind of rambling, but I think that's how I became a freelancer.

Steve Folland: So it was the fact that you couldn't go and do the traditional into advertising copy route that you went and found your own. So who were your first clients? Were they those web companies?

Leif Kendall: Yeah, I mean I think the very first couple ... I did a couple of things free because I was really interested in doing this and I wanted to kind of test whether I could actually write copy for other people, so I was just telling everyone I knew, "This is what I'm interested in, it's this new thing, do you have a business, do you have a project? Can I help?" Just kind of looking for anyone who needed help with marketing and promotion. And I found a friend of a friend who was setting up a T-shirt business and she needed some help with copy, didn't really know anything about web marketing. And then I found this other guy, again a friend of a friend, who had his own, I think, video marketing business.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, so I managed to find a couple of people that wanted some help, I offered to help them for free, and I think I had done those projects and I had done a lot of writing in my job, so I had a bit of a portfolio that I could point to but it was really very minimal. And then from there what I started doing was creating a website of my own, going to networking events, this was before I'd even gone freelance, I was going to things in the evenings after work. And I also figured that local agencies might hire me because I figured that they already had a need for copywriting but often they don't have anyone in house that does that. So I drew up a list of local agencies on a spreadsheet and I would take my laptop to a café at lunchtime, I had an hour for lunch, and I would walk very quickly to a local café and I would sit there and I would call the agencies on this list and just say, "Hi, I'm a local copywriter, I'm just starting out, do you ever need copywriters? Do you ever work with copywriters?"

Leif Kendall: Yeah, and actually I got a few bits of work that way. Yeah, so it was just a real mix of things, like contacting people directly, sending out emails, networking and just kind of gradually building things up.

Steve Folland: And how long were you doing that? So you were clearly still in a full-time job doing that in your lunch breaks and in your evenings; how long did you go through that phase?

Leif Kendall: I don't think it was that long, it wasn't really long enough because I think, ideally, I would have stayed like that for a while and just built things up a bit, made some connections, really developed a network. So, at the same time as really wanting to step into this new world, I had all kinds of problems with my manager and her bullying was getting worse, I was put on some kind of special measures kind of program. Because she wanted to get rid of me but she had to do it through the HR system, so they kind of drew up a plan, I had to meet certain targets otherwise I was out, so there was a lot of pressure coming from within the company and I was desperate to leave. So that made it very difficult for me because on the one hand I was trying to at least create the illusion that I was keen to work there, but I really wasn't, I hated it. As much as I didn't really fit there, I wasn't happy about it either.

Leif Kendall: So, yeah, so I think it was all coming to a bit of crunch point and actually I met a couple of really nice guys, Prem and Michael Bailey, two web designers and developers, and they introduced me to a copywriter called Ellen De Vries and she was the first copywriter I'd met, so it was really exciting to actually ... you know, this is the kind of career I want to do and I finally get to meet someone who does this work. And I remember one day I was at work and everything was really coming to a head and I'd been out for a drink with Ellen and found out a lot about freelancing and was getting more and more excited about it. Things were terrible at work and I rang Ellen and I said, "What do I do? What do I do? I really want to go freelance but I'm about to have a baby and I'm a bit scared."

Leif Kendall: Actually I was more than a bit scared, I was terrified, because since I was 16 or 17 I'd been working full-time, I had never been unemployed for all those years and I was about to turn 30, you rely on an income. And always, whenever I'd left a job, I'd always had another job to go to, I'd never quit a job without knowing what the next one was, and it felt very perverse and it made my stomach turn to think about quitting when I had nothing to go to. So I was very anxious about it.

Leif Kendall: Anyway, I rang Ellen and I said, "What do you think?" And she said, "Well, if you don't make the leap you'll never know if you'll make it." And I thought, "Well, that's a really good point," so I did something very uncharacteristic for me and took a risk and I think a few days later I'd drafted my resignation letter and yeah, I was out.

Steve Folland: And so, on your last day at that job, how many clients did you have really to work with?

Leif Kendall: Again, not enough. So maybe two, it was something really ridiculous like that. So one thing I did have, I'd been talking to a couple of local guys who were working on some really big project and they were saying, "Oh, we really want you to come and help us with this, there's a ton of work," and so that was one of the things I had in mind. I thought that I've got something in the pipeline. And it's probably one of the ways that I reassured my partner that we wouldn't be destitute. But, of course, as these things go, that project never happened. It was talked about for a period of weeks, possibly even months, one of those things that kept getting pushed back and then eventually just vanished completely.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, so the early days of freelancing, for me, it was quite tense and involved a lot of calling people, going to networking events solidly, just constantly working on my website, writing blog posts, doing stuff on social media. Yeah, just kept really really busy, just pushing and pushing and pushing.

Steve Folland: And so, by the way, just to put this in perspective, when was that? When did you quit that job?

Leif Kendall: It was about 11 years ago.

Steve Folland: Did you give yourself a timeframe, or how long did it take for you to start to feel a bit more comfortable?

Leif Kendall: I think it was quite a while, because I think I had a little bit of money saved but it was maybe enough for a month and a half or something like that, so it really wasn't very much of a buffer to get me anywhere. So I don't think I really thought about it in those kind of terms but I'm pretty sure the first few months it was okay, then I think I did have a really rough patch after maybe the fourth month or something like that. And it was so bad, I mean I just didn't have enough work, so I went to a temping agency and yeah, I did, I think, just a couple of weeks of temping.

Leif Kendall: But the really frustrating thing was that that work, the money I was earning, and I was doing ... yeah, I was an admin assistant for the local health protection agency, it was something really obscure and random, but I think the money I got for two weeks work was the equivalent of about two days work of the freelance stuff that I could have been doing. So, luckily, I think I did a very short spell of temping and then some work came along and that was the first and last time that I'd had to fall back on an alternative income source.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, so yeah, there were certainly some rocky patches and I think in the first year particularly it always felt a bit tentative and uncertain. Yeah, and then I think these things just kind of gain momentum and one client refers you to the next and you start to get known in your local area. Yeah, so maybe it was after the first year that things started to pick up.

Steve Folland: And in your first year as well, you did become a dad, so were you working from home when you went freelance?

Leif Kendall: Yeah, for a little while, which was really difficult, we were living in a fairly small flat in Hove and it was very difficult because ... and often it wasn't because our son was crying, it would be because he was laughing and it might be only the second time he had been laughing, or ... so you can't sit there and try and do any work when something that wonderful and magical is happening, so you have to drop everything and go and see what's going on. Which is lovely and it's an amazing bit of good fortune, in a way, that that happened, but you can only do that for so long and then you must earn some money.

Leif Kendall: So I think I'd been volunteering to help a woman called Rosie in Brighton, and she runs this amazing group now, I think it's called Test Bash, and it's a community for people who do software testing. At the time she had a blog about digital tech things that were happening in Brighton and I'd been volunteering to help her with that. And I was talking to her one day and she said, "Oh, we're setting up a co-working space," I said, "That sounds amazing but I've got no money," and she said, "Well, come and try it out for free, while you get established you can come and hang out there." So that was amazing, so that really helped, I had a place to go to and I think I paid minimal rent or no rent for quite a while, which was incredibly generous of Rosie and the other people. And that co-working space, I'm pretty sure, still exists in Hove, it's called The Werks, W-E-R-K-S, and it was an amazing place with a fantastic community around it. And that was great because it just meant I had a place to go, I met loads of other freelancers, I learned so much from people around me and I think, yeah, I got some work from people in that space as well.

Leif Kendall: So that really helped, and actually I was there for years in The Werks, so I went from doing just kind of co-working at a desk with lots of other people, and then eventually rented my own desk there for a few years as well. So that was really lucky, a bit of luck. But I think with all these things I attribute it to luck but if you kind of look back where that all started it was because I got in touch with Rosie and I said, "I see what you're doing, that's really cool, can I help?" And then that kind of became something else further down the line. So I think ... which goes back to one of the things I love about freelancing, is that it makes you available for all kinds of opportunities and things that I just don't think happen in the same way if you're an employee. Well they certainly never happened for me, I mean I'm sure they could if you try and you're interested, but yeah, whenever I was an employee I just kind of would go to work and I'd go home and that was it. I think maybe there's something about freelancing that encourages you to get involved in more varied things, and maybe it's being out there and visible and available, I don't know, but I love that about freelancing.

Steve Folland: And so work gradually built and built as you got to know more people and word spread and so on, but I notice if I go to your website today that you call yourself Kendall Copywriting; did you always call yourself that?

Leif Kendall: Yeah, I did, yeah. And for a while I had this very old fashioned logo because I knew a designer, well he had been working at my former employer, and I asked him to create a logo for me and I think for some reason at the time I'd found all these examples of really old fashioned logos and I really liked them, from the '70s and stuff, and I showed them to this guy Dan, Dan Marsden, and yeah, I said, "Oh, I'd love a logo, maybe something like this," and he designed me this amazing logo and that's what I had to begin with. And I found out later that partly because of the logo, and also the way I came across online, some people thought I had been going in business for a decade or more or something, so they kind of thought I was this seasoned professional, whereas really I knew nothing, I was making it all up.

Steve Folland: And so you went as Kendall Copywriting but it was just you, but now I get the feeling at least that you hire other people to work with you, is that right?

Leif Kendall: Yeah, I think what I try to offer is that we can be an agency. And so in the past I have done much larger projects where we've had teams of people working on big content projects, and I haven't done anything like that recently, so now most of my work is really just me and the client, which actually I think I prefer. So yeah, I still have the facility and the option to bring in other people, and I still do, to a smaller extent, with some of my client work. So if we need a designer, an illustrator, a developer or whoever, then I know plenty of people and I can get that involved and I can manage that for my clients.

Leif Kendall: So yeah, and I think I was listening to a bit of one of your previous episodes and I can't remember the guy's name but I think he operates as Wells Park?

Steve Folland: Yeah, Nick Saalfeld.

Leif Kendall: Yes, and I think he was saying a very similar thing, that he looks like an agency but it's mostly him, and I'd say I'm very much the same thing. And actually, whenever anyone gets in touch, I say, "Look, the reality is if you work with me, you're working with me," and if ever I do outsource any of the writing I'm still so heavily involved in it that it may as well have been me because I would brief the writer, I would review it, I would check it to make sure it matches the same standard that I would have produced.

Steve Folland: So actually, whilst you took on those, you kind of adapted by bringing people on in order to take particular jobs, but found that actually maybe it's not worth ... or rather you don't particularly enjoy, perhaps, managing all those other streams of it.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, I think what I did for many years was clients would come along and say, "We've just been working on this website, it's nearly done but we need some words," and they would brief me on what was required and I would fill in the blanks. Whether it was me and a team or just me working alone, we would create copy, hand it over to the client and then, two months later, you might see the website and see what they've done with the copy that you've provided. And that can apply to brochures, email campaigns, social media content; whatever the format the process would be the same, that I would be quite removed from the entire process. So I probably wouldn't be involved in the strategy, definitely not involved in the execution, have little connection to the results, which I found very frustrating because you could write something wonderful and then the client takes it and they implement it in maybe a slightly odd way, or miss a bit, or put the wrong thing in the wrong place, and you have to just kind of sit back and watch and there's no opportunity to say, "Oh, actually what I intended was that this goes there and then this should be like this." There's no opportunity to adapt your work to better suit the medium and the requirements.

Leif Kendall: So what I tend to do more of now is working on clients on a regular basis, so if they need content for their website or if they're doing email marketing or social media, I try and get more involved in doing the whole thing. So even publishing content, formatting it, sourcing images, just everything, as much as I can, because then I can control how it appears, when it's published, every last detail, because all of those little details are so important.

Leif Kendall: And yeah, so I'm much happier being involved on that basis and then it means I can see what the results are from one month to the next and I can learn from that, adapt to it, try new things, experiment, it's much more satisfying for me.

Steve Folland: Obviously ... so you've got a young family, work is picking up, all is going well, but you're also very much into building relationships and getting out there, so at what point did you then decide to create your own community and platform in Pro Copywriters? When did that happen, and what was the thinking behind it?

Leif Kendall: Well so I didn't, I didn't create it and it wasn't my idea. No, so that's an interesting one but before I had anything to do with the Pro Copywriters I had always found that there weren't many copywriters around, and I'd go to all these networking events, everyone's a designer, an illustrator, a developer, whatever, no copywriters. And it would always drive me mad because I would end up talking to a cluster of people, Bob and Jane talk about their work, Sue and Harry talk about design, but I could never talk to anyone about the words. Because even though the people I might meet would kind of take an interest, it wasn't their job, it wasn't their work, they can't talk about it in the same way. I found it so frustrating.

Leif Kendall: And yeah, so I decided that we really needed a meetup group for writers, and yeah, so I created a group called Write Club which we did in Brighton, and it also spread to London for a while, it might still be going in London. And it was just a very informal meetup for all kinds of writers, some of them were copywriters and some were fiction writers, but it was wonderful just to have a chance to talk to people who get it, who know what you're talking about, have an interest in it.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, so I had done that and also I wrote a book about freelancing which is called Brilliant Freelancer, which is an amazing opportunity because I'd only been freelancing for about three years when I had that opportunity and I did kind of feel like, "Am I the right person for this?" But the publisher seemed to think I was and I had been writing about my experiences and the things I was learning quite a lot for various other blogs and publications, so yeah, I'd spent a lot of time thinking about, A, freelancing, and B, the work I was doing and a need to bring people together and have a hub for copywriters. Because if you're a designer and you look online there are so many resources and clubs and groups and resources out there for you, but back when I started copywriting there was just hardly anything, and the few things I could find were either related to advertising or this American style of copywriting which just didn't really make much sense to me.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, and then I think a few years ago I had started a podcast for freelancers and I'd been doing that for a little while and I also, yeah, started getting involved in this group, the Pro Copywriters group, and started to get really excited about that group and just recognising the potential of that to really bring people together. And they had been running for four or five years by that point. And yeah, I started suggesting things to the Pro Copywriters group and proposing ideas and offering to do things for them and get more involved. And around that time they decided to close the group. So the chap who was running it at the time, he was a copywriter called Tom Albright, and for him it had kind of run its course and he wanted to back away and pursue other projects. And yeah, so just as he was interested in stepping away, I was keen to get more involved and see the group develop.

Leif Kendall: And yeah, we managed to come up with a deal so that I took it on.

Steve Folland: And so when was that?

Leif Kendall: 2016.

Steve Folland: So it's kind of a knock on effect of all of these different opportunities that you've taken up or made for yourself and people that you've met and putting yourself forward. And so Pro Copywriters today, if people haven't come across it, can you sort of describe it for them now?

Leif Kendall: Yeah, so I'd say we're a very young and small professional association, and that's our goal is to really become a fully fledged professional association with all of the things that that entails. So we're really trying to bring people together so that we can all learn from each other, we're trying to advance our profession, which in many ways means changing perceptions around what a copywriter is, what we do and what we should earn. Yeah, trying to promote better standards amongst ourselves and yeah, so we're primarily an online organisation and we have a very popular website, we have about 850 members. We're also inviting companies to join us so that we can try and bring companies and copywriters together. We also run an annual conference in London, we have about 200 people each year come along to that. So there's various things we do via our website to try and give people more of a platform for themselves, so we have an online directory, our members can have a profile on our website, they can also share their articles with us, and we just started doing, well, sometime last year we started a series of webinars, and they're like mini workshops but online. And we get various experts and authors to come and deliver a one hour presentation, they're very interactive, the idea being you can learn something new in your lunch break.

Steve Folland: So how much of your time does that take?

Leif Kendall: Too much. Far too much, yeah. An unreasonable amount, yeah. And I mean this is one of the problems, I think, with any kind of endeavour like this is there's a period of time when it's an amateur association and there's kind of an irony in our identity, in our name, because we're a professional association but we're not run in a very professional way because we don't have a single employee, which is kind of absurd and kind of, I suppose, the magic of the internet and the modern age that so much can be achieved with so little.

Leif Kendall: But we do have some freelancers that do some really amazing work for us and that's really been, I think, one of the big changes in the last couple of years particularly is that we've increased our income, and as soon as we get a bit more money we bring on more people to manage stuff. So we have Helen Bridle, who's our amazing social media manager, and if you ever need anyone to help with social media you need to talk to Helen Bridle. We have Dawn, who's our web editor, so we get sent loads of articles from our members and then she reviews them and makes sure they're fit for publication. And we also have Jo Robertson, who's our administrator, so she deals with all our member queries and payment issues and things like that. So we have a great guy who does all of the tech stuff, a chap called Glenn.

Leif Kendall: And yeah, so that's been a real help, and for me that's the medium term goal is to bring on more people to manage a lot of the day to day stuff, because at the moment we rely on me, a lot of the time, to do various bits and pieces, and that's not sustainable.

Steve Folland: So is this part of your business? If you sit there and you look at the way you spend your time and the way you earn your money to support your family and so on, is what you're doing there part of your business?

Leif Kendall: It could be, yeah. Certainly it isn't at the moment, I mean it could be. It needs to be somebody's business because the organisation needs to have a paid staff, people that are responsible for the running of the organisation and its development and growth. But I'm not sure whether that's me because I love the work that I do for my clients and all the writing that I do, so I don't know, it's certainly a big part of my time and my thoughts and my preoccupation.

Steve Folland: So whilst it might not be forming a large part of revenue to your business, does it help your business in other ways?

Leif Kendall: No. No, no, it really doesn't, not at all, no, it's the worst. No, the trouble is I don't think you can run something like an entire association, even though it's a fledgling association, it's very small, there is quite a lot going on, there's lots of things to manage, and I think the time that I put into that is the time that I would normally be spending marketing my own business. So, essentially, I don't really do any marketing for my own business, and you might think, "Oh, well having maybe a bigger profile or being known for something else or known by more people would be beneficial," but it's not, it's not at all, it seems to make no difference. Which is fine, I mean I didn't take over Pro Copywriters because I was interested in what it would bring me, but that's just something I've discovered, and I suppose it's because if people do know me through Pro Copywriters then they just see me as someone involved in this organisation, not necessarily as a freelance copywriter.

Leif Kendall: I do try and stress the fact that I'm mostly a freelance copywriter because one of the things we try to do with Pro Copywriters is to make it more professional and more organised in everything that we do and how we present ourselves. The downside to that is that then people think that we're like a big company or a big organisation and we have lots of people, lots of money and so on, and that's just not true.

Leif Kendall: Yeah, it hasn't really translated into personal gain or more work or opportunities, which is fine, that's not really why I did it, but it's good to know. And I'd say it's a warning to anyone thinking that a side project like this kind of thing, any kind of community, I don't know how often that it translates into business because I think these kinds of projects and endeavours are amazing and definitely worth doing, but don't do it for money because it just doesn't work.

Steve Folland: And so, with everything that you're clearly putting into that and into actually doing the work for Kendall Copywriting, how is your work/life balance, would you say?

Leif Kendall: Most of the time it's very healthy, the past week it's not been so healthy, just because I had a few different client projects that I'd agreed to and, at the same time, there's a few Pro Copywriters things that I'm trying to keep rolling along, one of which is a book that we're putting together which I'm very excited about and I know a lot of our members are excited about because we're essentially taking some of the 500 articles that have been published on our blog since 2012 and turning them into a book. Because we kind of realised that we have all this amazing advice but it's scattered across 500 posts over seven years, so finding the right advice amongst all of those articles can be quite tricky, so we're assembling it into a structured flow and putting some order to it. So that's just one of the extra-curricular projects that I have to think about.

Leif Kendall: So yeah, this week I've been doing some work in the evenings, but I think that's actually pretty rare for me, I don't do that very often, I very rarely work weekends. That's partly because my work involves sitting at a desk, and I have a very nice desk in a very nice shed in a very nice garden, but it is ultimately sitting at a desk in a shed in the garden. And I'm a bit of a fidget, I would much rather be out walking around and moving, cycling, running, swimming, anything. So I can commit to working Monday to Friday, nine to five, but come the weekend I'm done.

Steve Folland: And is that what you do, do you go to the shed at nine o'clock and stay there for the day, Monday to Friday?

Leif Kendall: Pretty much, yeah. Occasionally I may go for a run, I think one day I went for a bike ride, I'm quite into cycling. I have been known to go to the beach when the weather's very nice. So I'm not totally rigid in my thinking, I do occasionally take advantage of the freelance lifestyle. I think actually one of the difficulties with a group or an endeavour like Pro Copywriters is that it's so big you're never done, there's always something else you could do, something to be fixed, something to address, a new kind of project to kickstart, so I'm never done. Whereas I think if you have client work and you're just doing client work, you get to the end of it, you send it over to your client, what are you going to do? You might do your bookkeeping, you might write a blog post, you might keep in touch with some prospects or something like that, you might do some tweeting, but I think it's much easier to be done and really reach a point where you're finished, but not so with Pro Copywriters, it's never-ending.

Steve Folland: So it's always on your mind and there's always something to do?

Leif Kendall: Yeah, which I kind of like, I mean there's a lot of things that I really like about that and I have quite a lot of energy. And yeah, I have lots of enthusiasm and I love the project itself, and I love what we're trying to do and I really believe in it and I really value it. So I don't begrudge it at all, it just means that there are fewer occasions where I think, "Oh, I'm done, I'll go for a walk," because there's always something else to do.

Steve Folland: I'm intrigued, by the way, in 2012 you wrote the book Brilliant Freelancer, but obviously we're in 2019 and the world has changed a lot, there's a lot more freelancers, technology has changed, but also your own experience of being a freelancer has changed. So, if you were writing it now, I'm just wondering how much has changed, do you think, in that time, the key things?

Leif Kendall: That's a good question. I don't know to what extent the world, the world of business, has changed, and to what extent it's me that's changed. I imagine freelancing is different for everybody anyway, it partly depends on who you are and what experiences you have and what network you have, and yeah, what kind of background you have going into it, so I don't know that I've really seen any big global changes to the market or this way of working. Maybe perhaps one change is that freelancing and working independently and things like flexible working and working from home only seem to have really grown in the past 10 or 11 years, and so I think this kind of way of working has just become much more familiar to people, and I would assume that that means that more people are trying it and intrigued by it and so on.

Leif Kendall: So I don't think I've noticed any changes, have you?

Steve Folland: Well I don't know, I just sprung it on you. Although I do feel, actually even in the last few years, the sense of community seems to have become more apparent.

Leif Kendall: I would agree with that actually, there does seem to be a lot more going on and there's more groups and podcasts and different communities springing up, and maybe it's a maturing of professionals like us who work independently, and it just means that there's so many of us out there that we're recognising a need for community and some kind of support networks. And yeah, I think beyond any kind of practical thing it's just nice to talk to people who get what you're doing and what you're going through and the excitement of it and some of the challenges that you might face and all that stuff.

Leif Kendall: I went to a conference mostly for copywriters, but there were some other people there, called Creative North, and the best thing for me was just having the chance to meet other copywriters and people that just know what a copywriter is and does. Yeah, it's just so important, I think, to have these chances to talk to people who are like you, at least in the work that they do. So yeah, I'm all for it and I'm glad to see that this is the trend and I hope it continues.

Steve Folland: Now, if you could tell your younger self one thing about being freelance, what would that be?

Leif Kendall: I don't know, it might be around just trying, because I was very wary about leaving the security of a job, and just because you have a job doesn't mean you're going to have the same job in a week or a month. I know plenty of people that their jobs have just evaporated overnight because of problems in the company that they knew nothing about, and being freelance is of course not necessarily secure either, but at least you know what's going on, you know what's on the horizon, you know when there's a problem, you know when you're having a good spell or a bad time and you can do things to correct it. So yeah, maybe I'd just tell myself to get started a bit sooner, I did really languish in some really dead end jobs for far too long, so it would have been nice to, yeah, just break free of that.

Steve Folland: Leif, thank you so much, and all the best being freelance.

Leif Kendall: Wonderful, thank you, Steve, it's been a pleasure-