Tania de Kock: Not at all! Before becoming an entrepreneur, I did not really know anyone who started their own business. I thought that having a 9-5 job was the only real option. However, I always had a bit of an independent streak, so in retrospect, it makes sense that I would love to run my own business.
TDK: Wow, there are too many to mention! I started my business out of necessity, not out of choice. Like many South Africans, I was retrenched at the beginning of lockdown and had to find a way to keep paying the bills. Therefore, I think I had to learn a lot of lessons really fast.
My dad always says that life is like a hiking trail. There’s no turning around when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and you just have to keep going — one step at a time. I often think about this analogy when it comes to running my business. I quickly realised that I don’t have to have everything figured out right now and that it will unfold the way it should. Sometimes you have to shut your laptop, go to bed, and figure out your next step tomorrow.
TDK: Oh absolutely! Not only women but men too. I think there’s a massive increase in entrepreneurs post-Covid. Many of us realised that we can’t have all our eggs in one basket and that anything can happen. Also, once you’ve had a taste of being your own boss, it’s very difficult to turn back! It's as rewarding as it's challenging.
TDK: I hope that young girls will see more female entrepreneurs as role models. Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur, and that’s okay, but knowing that it’s an option is important.
TDK: I've always been a bit scared of feedback, which I guess is normal. However, running my own business means I'm the "face", and I have to be open to feedback to improve. I think automating your review process is important because you're constantly juggling so many things and wearing so many hats as a business owner. And Hellopeter's seamless review invite technology has really helped so many South African businesses to manage this.
TDK: My biggest struggle was knowing where I wanted my career to go. I wanted to write but did not know what options were out there. When I started my own business, I quickly realised that many brands struggle to communicate who they are and what they actually offer. I saw the opportunity to help them develop their brand voice and bring that into all channels of communication, from social media to blog posts, newsletters, and website copy, to more technical things like internal and external documents.
The biggest reward… well, I've had so many! From sending my 100th invoice, hiring my first employee, and receiving reviews from happy clients — having your own business is a rollercoaster, making it terrifying yet exhilarating.
I always say that anyone who decides to start their own business and leave the workforce is incredibly brave! But if you feel this inexplicable pull towards starting your own business, you should do it! My advice for young women considering a career in copywriting specifically is to think about how you can add value. If you're a creative, you often want to know that you're fulfilling a purpose.
Also, try to write about as many different topics as possible to make your services attractive to different industries and not just one niche. You can always specialise at a later stage. You should also keep learning as much as you can. All copywriters know that we're not just copywriters. We're digital marketers, project managers, SEO specialists, social media managers, etc. You have to keep up and continually learning because you never just "write copy". Last but not least, ask other people for advice, as life experience is one of your greatest teachers.
In October this year, we're celebrating two years as Tania de Kock Communications! I'm very grateful for everyone who gave me advice along the way and every client who helped me get to where I am today.