As a copywriter, I’m almost duty bound to blog. But I’m aware that it’s easy to forget that there is a human being behind the words we read. So I thought it important that I lay a few things bare so you can get to know who I am. I give a nod here to Grant Baldwin, public speaker, whose similar blog inspired me to do the same. So this is me …
1. I’m over half a century.
But that’s OK. I actually found my 25th birthday the hardest to deal with, strangely enough. Then I felt that I was no longer in my early 20s and the dreaded 30s were looming far too close for my liking. But hitting my 30th birthday was actually painless, as was turning 40. Now I’ve past 50, I take comfort that 50 is the new 30, so I get to live it all over again!
2. I live in Singapore.
It’s a great place to live – very convenient, everything works and I can say I have a great life here. However, I wasn’t born here. I was born in the UK. My dad was in the UK armed forces so we moved around whenever he got posted. That meant that I got to spend my growing up years in Malta, that small Mediterranean island between Italy and Libya. I loved it there, but had to leave at age 11 when Malta became independent. I was heartbroken.
3. I came from a great home.
My parents were supportive and loving and I never wanted for anything. Well there was one time when I wanted a Pippa doll and my mum said no, and I never did get a Barbie house. But I was given everything I needed including that fantastic childhood in Malta swimming in the Mediterranean every day.
4. I’m married to a local Singaporean who fills the house with guitars.
This is OK by me, and we have two teenage children, a son nearly 18 and a daughter who is 16 (she is adding to the guitar collection and plays beautifully – all self taught).
5. I have one sister, two years younger than me.
She still lives in the UK and unlike me as an entrepreneur copywriter she is a hot-shot chartered accountant with a global brand. She’s mad about the Beach Boys and, through the community of fans she joined, she met her life partner. He also fills the house with guitars!
6. First concert was David Soul.
(I’m proud.) Second was Iron Maiden!
7. At the age of 14 I discovered Alice Cooper at a time when my friends were into Duran Duran.
Scared myself stupid hanging some of his photos on my bedroom wall, but I adore him still today. I’ve seen him several times in concert through the years, all in big venues in the UK. Then he came to Singapore a few years ago and it was free standing at Hard Rock so I got front row centre and screamed myself hoarse. Someone uploaded it to YouTube and my sister watched, telling me she could recognise my screams! I was in my element! Alice Cooper, if you need a copywriter to manage your social media posts, I’m in!
8. We had a golden Labrador called Fella.
He was gorgeous and such a character. Could never be replaced.
9. In the sixth form, I took up a secretarial course.
This was as a substitute for one A level and my form teacher literally dragged me out of the class on the third lesson saying I had to take another A level because I had to go to university. Her intentions were good, but had she left me in that class, I would now be able to speed type and use shorthand, both skills that would come in handy in the work I now actually do as a copywriter! Did the A levels do me any good? No way.
10. I used to wear all black to school.
Bit of a goth. When it turned summer, I switched to white and my form teacher on walking into the form room exclaimed: “My God, it must be summer. Ange’s not wearing black!”
11. My favourite subjects at school were Art and English Literature.
I was really good at drawing and regret not pursuing that further. My son has picked up that talent and I hope he follows it.
12. My first job was not a copywriter but working in a bank.
I did that for 8 years and had a great time socially as the people I worked with, both in Harrow and Sheffield, were great fun. But I can’t say the work inspired me. I’d say the one thing I got from the experience professionally was an appreciation for customer service excellence, which has allowed my business to excel today as a result.
13. When I got to Singapore, I started teaching English as a foreign language in a local language school.
Training for this was embarrassing. I had no idea of grammar rules or tenses and their uses, so I had a steep learning curve at the beginning. Asa first language, we just didn’t learn the theory in those days. But today, I can answer any question on the intricacies of the English language. Challenge me!
14. Teaching was a fantastic (and hilarious) experience.
And there’s a book inside me about that.
15. I got into copywriting by accident.
A friend who ran a design agency asked me to write a brochure for her client and from there I was hooked. I realised I could do this from home while my kids were young. Only that didn’t go quite to plan as I got so busy that I had to hire staff and find an office.
16. Running a business has been a roller coaster ride.
I had no experience or reference to go to to run a company and I made every mistake in the book! But along the way I got some great coaches and I’m a lot better at it today!
17. Even though I travelled across the world to live in Singapore, I’m not a great traveller.
I’ve been in Singapore for over 20 years and have managed to visit Bali, Thailand and Malaysia, each one time only.
18. If I do have to travel, then I love going by train.
And I love to fly by myself. I just stick in the headphones and play my iTunes catalogue.
19. I’m an introvert, but no one I know would tell you that.
In fact, they would vehemently deny it. But I had to come out of my shell to run a business, get clients and stand up for myself.
20. When I first started in business I hated clients haggling on price.
As a new copywriter, I had no idea of my own value and always gave in. Now I know my worth and I can leave business on the doorstep if I feel my work is not being respected. I don’t enjoy dealing with clients who don’t understand the importance of value and who negotiate only on price.
21. I got this one from Grant – I too am not that compassionate.
I cry at sad movies and I give to selected charities, but can’t find compassion for people that can help themselves but don’t. I hate to hear people complain about their lives and play the victim card. You don’t like it, change it. I worked really hard to get to where I am today. It didn’t come easy as a copywriter with zero experience, and I invested many many hours into relearning, and still do. And I didn’t get “lucky”. So when I see people think they are entitled without putting in the work and doing the time, it gets me mad.
22. I’m a big picture kind of person.
As a result, I’m very impatient. When I ask questions I expect a short direct summarised answer and not all the ins and outs. And people who speak too slowly drive me totally round the bend!
23. I’m a workaholic.
I’m trying to resolve that and give myself time to relax and do other things. Music is a big part of my life and that’s how I relax. It can be hard rock, soft rock, jazz, blues, and I’m a sucker for a strong voice.
24. I hate cockroaches.
But I don’t mind geckos at all.
25. I don’t have a sweet tooth and can do without dessert in any meal.
I love tea and coffee (both without sugar) and am partial to red wine.
26. My office is next to the best café in Singapore.
So I’m good for coffee every day. The fuel for many a copywriter!
27. People find me friendly and bubbly.
Life’s too short to be miserable. I get nervous talking to people who don’t smile.
28. I love shoes.
What woman doesn’t?