Chantelle Davison is the Owner of Choice Words by Chantelle, a company dedicated to helping business owners put words to their vision. Chantelle talks to The Industry Leaders about how she got into copywriting after a career in corporate sales and why it's better to go after something you want than settle for something you don't.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
After a seven-year career in corporate sales, I decided it just didn't represent the future I wanted for myself. I wanted to make my own hours and feel in control of my life, so I quit my job three years ago and started my own business. I've got a degree in English Literature and have always loved writing, so Copywriting felt like a very natural combination of my sales and writing skills. Ever since I was a kid, my parents - also small business owners - would ask me to help them 'word' everything from emails to award entries, so I'd unwittingly been preparing for the job all my life!
What kind of work does your role involve?
I help business owners to articulate what makes them awesome! That involves writing website copy, emails, blogs and marketing content for business owners who are brimming with ideas and inspiration but just can't put pen to paper.
In early 2020 when Covid hit, many small business owners suddenly needed to start generating online revenue, so I also started offering 1-1 copy coaching sessions via Zoom. I also launched an online course for virtual assistants, many of whom are working mums who either lost clients during lockdown or started their businesses after redundancy due to Covid. I think women being financially independent and knowing their worth is vitally important, so I teach skills that enable and empower my students to charge more for their services, creating better lives for themselves and their families.
What gets you excited about your industry?
I work with a lot of really incredible, passionate business owners who care deeply about what they do and the people they help, but often they struggle to promote themselves or put into words what makes them special. People are often hesitant to put too much of themselves into their copy, but in a saturated market, personality is our greatest strength.
As a copywriter, I get the privilege of helping them articulate something they have, in many cases, spent years trying to say. The relief and joy that it brings can't be underestimated, and getting to be part of that is more rewarding than I can explain. It completely lights me up.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
When I was deciding whether to quit my job and start my own business, my Dad asked me what would make me happy. I told him I loved writing, and I wanted to do it every day, but I was terrified of failing. He responded, "If you don't do it now, you never will."
I think that applies to almost anything you want in life. Nothing worth having is easy, especially not running your own business. It's often lonely, and the lows are very low. But it's my belief that you only get one go at life, and I'd rather spend mine trying to succeed at something I love than settling for something I don't.
What, or who inspires you?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. They've run pubs and restaurants since I was a baby, and I grew up in the pub! I've watched them work incredibly hard to give me everything I could need. They've always supported me, challenged me and believed in me, telling me I had a gift for writing long before I recognised the value of that myself.
My ultimate ambition is to be successful enough that I can, in turn, give them everything they could want or need when they retire. They deserve a great deal of the credit for where I am today.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I subscribe to hear from industry leaders I admire and have a wide network of friends and colleagues in the online marketing space who I look to and learn from regularly.
I'm also part of a fantastic mastermind group of other online entrepreneurs who help me stay up to date with the latest techniques, trends and tools.
However, I think in a world of 24/7 social media, you can definitely pay too much attention to what everyone else is doing. There's a lot to be said for keeping our eyes on our own paper, doing things our way and focusing on our own goals and ambitions.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
When I first started my business, I was a certified people pleaser. I had no real sense of the market value of my skills, and very few boundaries to speak of. As a result, I let a lot of clients get away with murder. When I think back to the capitulations, accommodations and insulting fees I put up with back then, it makes me shudder.
I'm much more resilient now. Nothing forces you to develop a backbone so quickly as running your own business in a competitive industry. I know my worth now, and I know that in a race to the bottom, we all lose.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I'd love to say I'd give it all to charity. We all want to be that person, don't we?
I'd pay off my parents' mortgage and set them up with everything they could ever want for. Then I'd do the same for my extended family and close friends. Looking after the people I love is definitely a huge driver for success for me.
I'd love to build a life and business skills school for aspiring young entrepreneurs. I think schooling in the UK really misses a trick in not preparing young people for the possibility of self-employment, and I'd love to inspire and empower more of the next generation to take control of their own destiny.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
A large glass of wine, my partner, my cat and Netflix.
I've always loved TV. It's escapism at its absolute best, in a world of beloved characters, adventure and romance. I'd love to write for television one day; that's always been a dream of mine.
Probably a dark, self-referential comedy with larger than life characters my family and friends would find suspiciously familiar...
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
That we stop trying to create mini-me's out of every successful coach or industry leader and truly accept the awesome power of being a little bit weird.
The online space is a busy, saturated place, but there's no shortage of money to be made or success to be found if you're honest about who you are and what you're good at. No one can be everyone's cup of tea, so my wish would be that we embrace that and find the people who absolutely need what we have to offer.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
I recently listened to a fantastic Audible original series called 'How to Tame Your Inner Critic' by Clare Bowditch, and I thought that was genius. It's a 5-part series on how to quieten those voices we all have in our heads that tell us we aren't good enough and can't achieve our dreams. It's inspiring but also incredibly practical advice for how to combat that, and take action to overcome whatever stands in your way. For anyone who gets anxiety or struggles with confidence, it's a game-changer!
How should people connect with you?
You can visit my website www.choicewordsbychantelle.com or follow me on Instagram @choicewordsbychantelle.
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