Freelance Copy Writer Photographer

I took this Freelance Writing course four years ago.
I took this Freelance Writing course four years ago. | Source

My Freelance Opportunity

It’s about time I’d say that I started doing something with that Freelance Writer Diploma I have hanging on my wall. If we look long enough sometimes an opportunity will surface when we least expect them. Maybe I was not looking in the right direction or I thought the freelance writing assignments I needed were for writing articles or brochures. I hadn’t really considered the average businessman’s needs for a freelance writer. Then one day I am looking through the classifieds and find someone looking for a copy writer, photographer and they live just thirty eight miles from my house. Most of the work can be done at home and I’d only need to travel to their location when I need to exchange parts and pick up my pay.

Stepping Outside my Comfort Zone

I’m thinking that taking pictures of small engine parts and writing description for them should be easy. It really was easy once I figured it out. Weeks of study and watching tutorials about both product photography and writing spreadsheets wasn’t the only thing that made it easy. I was puzzling over one particular problem with the spreadsheets that I really thought I’d go crazy trying to figure it out. I wasn’t finding the answer in any of the articles I read or the tutorials I watched. The key to everything was completely missing. Common knowledge to a business major isn’t common knowledge to someone who is just learning how spreadsheets work. Then right out of the blue I ask the right person the right question. It was a simple answer that was instantly solved. I was trying to enter content into the wrong place which messed up everything I worked on. Over and over I reworked the same three spreadsheets for weeks. It sure was a relief when my daughter (a secretary) told me what I was probably doing wrong. “Bingo!” That was it. You put the content into the ribbon at the top of the page (not the individual cells). Now everything is working fine and the businessman I’m working for is pleased with the results. Whoever says, you can’t teach an old dog a new trick, are surely wrong. It’s never too late to learn.

Excel How- to: Starting a Basic Spreadsheet

Learning Something New

This copy writer job I’m doing demands a little more than most copy writer jobs because I also have to do product photography and put all the information I have gathered, including the pictures into an Excel spreadsheet. To begin with I really thought I had bit off more than I could chew. I had never done spreadsheets of any kind up until now and not only was I to do spreadsheets, but I also had to take pictures of parts against a white background. They have to be near perfect and there has to be more than one view to each item. Like turning an object around and around in my hand I need to show the customer what they are buying. I’m working for a small engine shop promoting parts for small engines. I need to become familiar with these parts and I need to make sure I don’t get mixed up on descriptions or parts numbers. Any at all could be fatal mistakes when it comes to listing parts and cataloging them.

I’m still in need of improvement as my photos sometimes don’t turn out like they should. I’m learning more tricks and have found much of it is in the editing as how the final product turns out.

Small Engine Carburetor  The background is suppose to be white.
Small Engine Carburetor The background is suppose to be white. | Source

A Copy Writer is like a Salesman

The other day I stop at a local feed store to pick up pet supplies. I’ve known the proprietor, Dave for years and he also has a small engine repair shop in the back of his store. I tell him about my new adventure I recently got involved in with the small engine shop. I told him that I would soon know what most of those parts were for. Dave was interested to know just what a copy writer does. I told him a copy writer merely explains the purpose of the subject they are talking about in such a way that even if their audience is not interested at first they are after a successful pitch is directed at them. Like a salesman selling a car you must convince the customer they need your product. A copy writer must do all this with the written word. A copy writer must persuade their reader to think with an open mind. They must write like they are giving a great review or reporting on a fabulous event. They sell an argument that makes the reader want to know more. Knowing that he is not much older than I, my friend was impressed to think I could even use a computer much less make any kind of business using it. There we go again with people thinking they are too old to learn anything new.

Notice the background is suppose to be white. I'm getting somewhat better.
Notice the background is suppose to be white. I'm getting somewhat better. | Source

Business Writing is an Acquired Interest

Business writing is not much different than writing ads or doing price listings, but it is something that is in demand and for someone like me looking for something to bring in a little extra income without having to leave home, is a God send.

Write product description with an open mind and realize the interest is there to keep you focused on it, if you know your target. Product description is directed at a much larger group of people than most writers have for books or screenplay. Boredom can’t fit into your description. So what if you can’t stand the sight of nuts and bolts or you hate talking about how a chain saw works, if it pays your bills, you’ll soon acquire an interest for simple cold instructions not found outside of a parts catalog. One nice thing about parts listing is when you must list engines these parts fit, it is a lot of copy and pasting numbers from one source to another. Not much thinking involved in it, but you must pay attention to its accuracy. There is not much room for goofs. Just like a reporter with the news we need the correct content recalled.

The Right Answers Are Out There

I was asked when I took this job if I knew anything about mechanics to help me through that aspect of the job. I said not much, but I put my son who’s a mechanic through school and he now holds six masters, so I know where to find the answers. I don’t know many things about product photography either, but I’ve been adding more equipment to my make shift studio and I’m eager to learn what I need to know. I also know some photographers I’m sure can help me learn more, if I need them, too. Besides family and friends, search engines will help with any unanswered questions on most any subject. I’ve learned early on that the world is at our figure tips as long as we have a good wifi connection. Something that really does make a difference about learning anything is having support around you and someone willing to give you a chance to try something out of your comfort zone. I have found that in my new found business partner.

Notice how white I managed to get the background around this pulley. Editing tools work wonders.
Notice how white I managed to get the background around this pulley. Editing tools work wonders. | Source

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4 comments

BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 15 months ago from Victoria, Australia

I had no idea that there was a course for free-lance writers, although some years ago I was one and loved it. An interesting article.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 15 months ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

I took the freelance writer study course the same year I joined HubPages. I was really looking for feedback in those days. This is a great place to get inspired. Thanks, BlossomSB.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 15 months ago from Stillwater, OK

The key is in your lighting for your photography. DOn't be afraid to use the flash and the "+/- button on your camera to increase the light. It will improve the background tremendously.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 15 months ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

Thank you, aviannovice. I'm always looking for good advice. Yes, lighting sure does make a difference. I invested in some better studio lights.

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