Making myself redundant

January 17, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Posted in copywriting | 6 Comments
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I feel pride when a client no longer needs me.

As a copywriter, I strive to help my clients:

  1. Build their brand.
  2. Dominate their market.
  3. Make their fortune.

As I go along, I also try to do one more thing: make myself redundant.

I want my clients to grasp the basics of my profession so they become better writers.

By writing better copy, they need me less. They save money and their confidence grows.

This isn’t good for my mortgage, but I do get a warm fuzzy.

When a client I’ve been working with sends me something they’ve written and I can’t significantly improve it, I feel great pride.

This once happened in as little as 18 months.

This client took great care to re-read each of his original documents, next to my optimised versions, to see all the changes I’d made.

If he asked why I’d made a particular change, I happily explained my method in full.

Eventually, he picked up enough basic editing know-how to write good, tight copy every time.

If you’re this way inclined, you can become a better writer and get to the point where you don’t need me.

On the other hand, if you’d rather shoot from the hip and let me groom your words forever, I’d love the ongoing work!

The choice is yours. But I hope this post shows that when I take on a client, I truly care about their prosperity.

Enough to put myself out of a job!

:)

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Pic by Olerousing.

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6 Comments »

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  1. Hello, everyone. I’m here to testify that Paul did this for me. I have a blog that has millions of page views and it’s absurd, really, how many typos I have in each post. So Paul started copyediting. He’d send me corrections. At first I was annoyed. But how could I not make the corrections? Because he was right every time. Then I realized he was sending me corrections every single post. Then I got upset over the reality that I was making errors every single post.

    I told him I didn’t care. I told him that I am too busy to check for typos. So he kept checking for typos for me. And then, something happened. He made me want to be better. So I actually ran spellchecker on my post a few times. Well, I’d run it once, then I’d obsessively change random words in too many sentences and then, instead of creating new typos and letting them go, I actually ran spellchecker again.

    So look, Paul really made me see things more clearly. He showed me that typos matter, he showed me that paying more attention at the end can make all my writing better, and he showed me that he doesn’t just have incredible accuracy in finding errors, but also incredible tenacity to deal with someone like me.

    Penleope

    • Dear Penelope, thank you for your incredibly frank and generous comment! I devour your writing because it rocks and you are my No. 1 blogging benchmark. It feels very odd to ‘correct’ one’s hero, but I’m simply not wired to let typos pass. I’m delighted you feel I added value and I sincerely hope I don’t have to darken your doorstep again. By the sound of it, I really have made myself redundant! With kind regards and much respect, P. :)

  2. Well done Paul and I know I appreciate your Typo alerts as well as you picking up my grammar mistakes. The thing is for some of us who are not inclined or want to bother you will never be made redundant. The simple reason is you will always make it better.

    • That’s a wonderful way of seeing it, Susan. It seems I can never assist you without receiving fourfold karma in return. As your kind comment attests! Many thanks indeed. :)

  3. As a professional writer and editor, and as one of Paul’s colleagues and admirers, I can tell you that we mutually and respectfully point out each other’s typos wherever we find them. And where at first we perhaps thought, ‘How dare he? I’m a professional’, we are now far better writers and editors as a result of this ongoing process. And beyond typos, we now see layers in our work (often extremely subtle) that we didn’t see before. So I agree wholeheartedly with Penelope – pointing out typos isn’t really about pointing out mistakes – it’s simply showing you (me, all of us) how and where to do it better. Nice one!

    • Damn straight, Ad! I never tire of telling people you improved my writing by 20%. Any day one of my pieces gets past you unscathed is a good day. And the days on which I learn yet more from you are even better. Many thanks for weighing in. P. :)


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