Brilliant Deviant

New To The World Of Marketing / Advertising / Copywriting? This is for you.

I’ve been doing this a long time.

Since I was 12 years old I’ve been obsessed with creative online projects. I moved to London in 2006 for my first job in digital marketing. There’s a whole story here. I owned a business for five years before this, but that’s story for another day. I am in a weird mood at the moment and felt I should post this. I figure this blog has to be more than just proving my worth and more about helping new talent navigate their way to wherever they want to be.

  • Nobody has it worked out. Those middle aged men in suits who speak so confidently? None of them are close to flawless.
  • This is just a job. Don’t let it become everything. I don’t care if this is a cliche. Your family, and friends and values are more important. This isn’t your whole life.
  • You may encounter clients and co-workers and others who write or say things to you that suck. These may be true or false. Remember this quote “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Take what you can, and don’t snap back. Be calm.
  • This doesn’t mean you should accept clearly unacceptable advances or messages or behaviour. Talk to friends if unsure. Like any sector, there are some people are who are just cunts or worse.
  • As time goes on, you should learn what you love doing and what’s part of the job and what you feel if a chore. Note this down. Don’t just follow the money. Follow your passion. That may mean a different industry, or a different sector, type of job, setting up your own business or something else.
  • Spend time perfecting your craft. Don’t coast. I did this, and I regret it. At a certain level, everyone is talented. You will be beaten in pitches and job opportunities because you were caught sleeping.
  • Put in the effort. The good managers will notice. This doesn’t mean putting in more hours, this means putting in good work. Thinking of creative solutions alongside what is demanded of you. Sometimes this may mean working longer hours.
  • Be on time. Dress somewhat nicely. Don’t leave one minute after 6. At least when starting out. This will be noticed.
  • If you don’t feel enthusiasm for your role, it’s time to move on. Look for new opportunities. Think, what do I want to do? What am I good at? What compromise will I accept?
  • You picked a sector where there will always be jobs. I say this from London, England. Your city may be different. This is a huge deal. You have options. Many people don’t.
  • Build a personal brand through social media, and writing a blog, and putting up videos. I’m doing this 15 years in. You can start now. This will open many doors.
  • Learn direct response copywriting. If you know how to get people’s attention, you can leapfrog the competition. I’m writing a book on this but Google it now. It will help you in so many ways.
  • Know when it’s time to move on. The days of working somewhere 40 years are long gone. Bored? Watching that clock? It’s time to move on.
  • Care about results. Feel good and celebrate good work. You just navigated through a lot of externalities and achieved something. Brag about it.
  • Experiment with client side, agency side, freelance, big company, small company – and find the fit for you. They all have positives and negatives.
  • If you feel dread on Sunday evenings, it’s time to move on.
  • It you feel happy on Friday afternoons, this is good, everyone likes the weekend.
  • Don’t try and get even with anyone. Co-workers may still your ideas. A client may say disparaging things. A boss may put you down. Don’t be rash. Be calm. Look for lessons. Move on. All the people mentioned here are far from perfect.
  • Find inspiration everywhere. My best ideas have come from joining dots that nobody thought to. This is called conflation, and is a form of creativity. Steve Jobs was a master of this and he did OK for himself.
  • Everyone struggles and makes mistakes. Even the person who wrote out this advice. Try and enjoy the journey, even the bad parts. They’re what make the big wins so much fun.
  • You can always email me – or tweet me @jonbuchan – with whatever is on your mind. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

This is likely filled with typos and you know what you should do? Ignore them. I will have them fixed this week. See point 2.

I think that’s enough bullet points for now. Thank you. Have a great week.


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