I’d been a solicitor for almost ten years before I started my business, so had spent most of my adult life involved with the law in some form or another. Despite that, the desire to write had always been there. My grandpa worked in publishing so I’d grown up with a house full of books, along with the knowledge that people wrote them for a living.
I wrote stories and plays as a teenagers and was shortlisted in a national competition for young radio playwrights twice.
I have a passion for crime fiction and soon realised that I didn’t have the experience to bring my stories to life. That lead me to the law in a roundabout way – you might think of the legal profession as being a bit dry, but they have some great stories! Throughout my legal career, opening a new file was like starting a new novel, only the ending hadn’t been written yet.
I loved my work, but times change. By the time I went back to work after having my second child, the nature of the work had completely changed and it really wasn’t the life for me anymore. At first, I had no idea what to do. I was still writing fiction but there was no way it was going to pay the bills any time soon! My husband asked if I could write for businesses, given that I’d been working for loads of them already and a lightbulb went on – Kirsty France Writes was born.
When I first set up the business, I kept things really simple. Thankfully I had quite a few self-employed friends so benefitted from some good advice from the start. The scariest part initially was networking as myself. I was used to going to legal networking events where I had an established company name to hide behind. I threw myself into it and found business related Facebook groups particularly useful. Amazingly, I got paid work in my first month. I’d expected it to take a lot longer than that. Self-belief has been one of my biggest challenges as there are lots of writers out there with more experience than me and it can be daunting. I remind myself that my legal career taught me to write persuasively and ask nosy questions, which are both essential skills for a copywriter.
I’m approaching my fourth business anniversary and I’ve learned a lot along the way.
Both of my children are at school now and it’s great to have the flexibility to work around them. It can sometimes be hard to set boundaries and I get ‘mum guilt’ if I need to finish something off when they’re at home. My main priority is to have time with them but also to be a positive role model for their future working lives.
I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by inspirational people. I’ve been a member of a networking group for women in business for over three years and every meeting gives me a boost. I’ve also had some fantastic clients over the years. I love working with other small businesses; they have great stories and it feels wonderful to help them share their personality and the things they care about in their marketing. Learning about a new client is one of my favourite things about my work, although I love the parts where I get to sit down and write best of all. When I first started out I didn’t realise just how important my network would be, both for business and my own sanity. They’ve taught me that every business is a work in progress and that everybody fails at some point.
I’ve learned that the important thing is to get back up again when you fall down.