Two thousand and fifteen was an interesting year. It was the first year where my only employment for the whole year has been freelancing. And with that came the ups and downs associated with the freelance life. In this post, join me as I look back through 2015 and take a look forward to my plans for 2016.

The Highs

Let’s start on a positive note!

Awesome New Clients

This year was a landmark year for me when it came to the clients I got to work with. A great range of companies of all shapes and sizes worked with me to better communicate with their customers. These clients include:

  • King.com, the makers of Candy Crush
  • Readdle, the makers of Spark, Documents and more
  • ConnectiD, helping people stay connected
  • Nuance Designs, developing and licensing next generation auto-injectors
  • 8fit, helping people live healthier, better lives
  • Realising Designs, helping small companies in Kent make an impact online

I look forward to the awesome companies and brands I will get to work with in 2016.

Mentoring A New Generation of Startups

Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of the word “startup”, I’m incredibly happy to mentor small and growing businesses on how they can market and communicate better. Through the Google Developers Launchpad program, this year I was able to help small and growing tech businesses from Barcelona and across Spain.

These companies include:

  • MyAbcKit, helping kids learn a new language
  • Aloha24, delivering what you want, whenever you want, to your door
  • Haptter, bringing haptic feedback to online video
  • CreatorStats, helping YouTubers with their stats
  • Teamhood, helping you and your team stay organised online
  • Neosentec, helping those with visual impairments navigate the world
  • Regalamos.es, making it easy to club together to buy gifts
  • Get Up Code, making it easy to scale your cloud team
  • Hearthy, keeping you and your doctor connected
  • Dareyoo, bringing friendly betting to all areas of life

In 2016, I’d love to continue mentoring early stage companies and “startups”. If you’re able to make this happen, get in touch!

New Friends

Through some very interesting Slack groups and Twitter conversations, I’ve found some awesome new friends. Friends who are there for support when I need it, which is perfect when you’re working at home, alone most of the time. To write a list of all of them would take too long, but I’d like to give many thanks to:

I look forward to making many more new friends in 2016!

The Lows

No year is without its lows. And in a world of pruned and curated public profiles, I think it’s best that I outline some of them here.

Finances

Starting your own business is hard. When you’re responsible to yourself, you’re likely to give yourself a lot of leeway. Leeway you wouldn’t have if you were working for someone else. Mix this with the struggle of finding new work, working out what work I actually do, etc, and you end up with a year that’s not quite as I would have liked, financially, in 2015.

You can see from the graph below that I missed break even (the red line) for 8 out of 11 months this year (January was invoiced in February, due to paperwork, and December is happening as I write this). This has meant that I’ve had to borrow money, accrue a little debt, and sell some stuff back in the UK to make ends meet.

A bar graph showing my monthly revenue with a line to represent my break-even point. Two out of the 10 completed months of 2015 are above the line.

Finances will be a major focus for 2016. I’ve got some debts to pay off, some family members I need to pay back, and a shiny new iPhone I want to buy!

Depression

Those of you who have known me for at least a while will know that I have suffered from depression for the last decade. I’ve written a post or two about it, and I’m not quiet about the fact on social media (when appropriate). With the stress and work involved with starting my own business, depression was worse this year than it has been since I was on medication 8 or 9 years ago.

Thankfully, I’m now in a better position. I’m taking a natural remedy to level my mood, and I’m surrounding myself with those people I can trust. In 2016, I will focus on how I can continue to manage my mood, and where I can help others who are suffering from this modern disease.

A Change for 2016

For the duration of 2015, I sold myself as a “copywriter”. But, I think this may have been a lie. I’m much more than a writer, and my opinions expand way outside of the world of copy. So, at the advice of some friends, I’ve decided to leave behind the title of “Freelance Copywriter” and step into the new domain of “Product Marketing”.

This new role will still involve writing, as I help small companies and startups understand and communicate with the customers better, but will also involve understanding a company’s market, their products, and how the two interact. I’m still learning a lot and cutting my own path for how this will work, but I’m excited to take on this new role and help companies in a way I feel better suits me and my skills.