Copywriters on the rack #1: Alice Hollis
Hello and welcome to Copywriters on the Rack. Thanks for allowing me to apply the thumbscrews. So, to get things started:
Who are you and what do you do to pay the bills?
Hello! I am Alice Hollis and I specialise as a B2B copywriter for small IT and tech companies in the Thames Valley. To pay my glittery shoe bills I focus on ‘top of the funnel’ content, like blogs, white papers, guides and case studies.
What was your career path to get where you are now?
After graduating with a degree in business and marketing back in 2006, I started a career in B2B marketing. I’ve worked both in-house as a marketing manager and agency-side as a marketing consultant, but always working for startups and small businesses within the realm of IT and tech – well, I did spend 5-months working for a global enterprise, but then we’re all allowed to make 1 mistake, right?!
What’s the best thing about your job?
That it’s my dream come true. While some little girls dream about owning a pony or dominating the boardroom Apprentice-style, I just wanted to own my own business – a little piece of the world that’s just for me. Going freelance in 2015 I started this journey and transitioning to Ltd. company in 2019 it genuinely felt like I’d realised that dream.
What’s the worst?
Anxiety. I’ve suffered with the condition for many years but being freelance seems to make it so much worse. Whether it’s having to go out there and ‘sell’ myself, starting a new project, receiving feedback (even though it’s good!), invoicing – it all sends my head into a spin. Thankfully, I’ve employed various coping mechanisms to keep that inner demon in check.
How do you fill the gaps when you’re not doing the day job?
Working one full time job to pay the bills and a second to take care of my two boys – Jacob (aged 5) and Oscar (aged 3) – there aren’t many gaps in my day.
A ‘typical’ day starts at 7:15am when I get them up, dressed, fed and ready for school. After some initial household chores, I’m out doing the school run and finally sit down to work at about 9:15am. I’ll be at my desk until 2:45pm when I head out for school pickup. Then it’s home for more chores, playing with the boys and cooking dinner. Then once the boys are bathed and put in bed, it’s back to work until about 10:30pm, and then a hot chocolate and something trashy on the TV to switch my brain off before I head to bed.
Now we’ve got the formalities out of the way, let’s go rogue:
Gravy, mushy peas or curry sauce?
Ooh, decisions, decisions. When I was at university I lived off chips, cheese, sausage and gravy. But then after a night out it was always chips, cheese and curry sauce. I don’t mind a mushy pea, but in a life and death situation it’s never going to win…
Gun to my head, it’s going to have to be gravy.
What a question! I think there are various smells that I love because they remind me of special times in my life. But for smell alone, it has to be new carpet – I could quite happily faceplant the floor and sniff it all day.
Favourite childhood sweet?
Easy – foam mushrooms.
Favourite adult snack?
Fig rolls. I could literally eat them all day. I always carry a packet in my bag and have an emergency backup supply in my safe.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I just wanted to be happy and to own my own business.
What would you like to come back as, if there’s a next time?
A mermaid – I hear it’s better down where it’s wetter!
What gives you the heebie jeebies?
Spiders. I have a major phobia.
What’s the last thing that made you cry?
I find that since becoming a mum that tap is constantly on and I cry at everything – sometimes they’re happy tears, sometimes they’re sad ones, sometimes my body just goes, “Hey Alice, I don’t think you’ve shed a tear yet today, let’s rectify that…”. It’s ridiculous.
The last thing though was a pencil holder – it was so beautiful and in the sale!!
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1) Visiting Pompeii.
2) Re-homing a Guide Dog.
3) Making it past 37 (I know it’s weird, but I’ve always had a bad feeling about this age and I’m currently 36 so it’s very much on my mind).
What is love?
Pick a random pic from your camera roll and tell us about it.
Oscar: “Mummy, if I promise to do tidy up time, please can I get a few bits of Lego out?”
Me: “Yes of course honey, but you must tidy it away when you’re done.”
Oscar: “I will, I promise. I’ll do it before bath time.”
It’s 10:30pm, he’s been in bed for over 3 hours, I’ve just finished working and looking forward to sitting down with a mug of hot chocolate when I walk into this…
…so I keep on walking and head straight into the lounge where I can ignore it. I love having a separate play room sooo much!
Is there anyone you’d like to say thank you to?
Ooh, too many! Firstly, my Dad for making me believe that I could have anything if I wanted it enough and was prepared to work hard. Then to Alister Esam, the man who took a chance on me fresh out of university and then gave me the courage to make the move to freelancing nearly 10 years later. To Martin Brooks of Gold Stag Accounts, who helped make my dream a reality by managing my transition to Ltd. company. To the freelance communities who ensure I’m never alone, even though I’m a company of one. And of course, to my family, who share every high and low and support me every day to be the best I can be.
Anyone you’d like to say sorry to?
Yes, but that should always be done privately and accompanied with cake.
Let’s play word association:
Cheese -y dunker.
Fluff nonsense and bojangles.
Favourite comic character?
My son would kill me if I didn’t say Batman.
Make up your own question and tell us whatever you want to get off your chest.
Q: Who or what would you put into Room 101?
A: Cyclists. I HATE cyclists. They drive me absolutely insane and everyday I have to encounter their Lycra-clad backsides while I’m stuck in the traffic jam that they created. I live in a village where most of the roads are single-track country lanes full of blind bends where it’s not safe to overtake. Therefore, I’m confined to crawling along at a pace that’s slower than snail speed.
And then you hit a main road and think, “Finally, some space so I can overtake and get on with my day at a reasonable pace,” but no, no, NO. Because now they’re hogging the road in packs, cycling 2 by 2 and without leaving adequate space for you to get in between, which means if you’re going to do it, you have to commit to overtaking at least 10 – but that’s never going to happen because now there’s a horse riding towards you…
Sometimes I do not like the country life.
Where would you rather be and why?
Some days I wish I could travel back in time to my 20s and really appreciate duvet days. Becoming a parent, you’re robbed of this blissful luxury because there’s always something that needs doing, someone crying about nothing or knowing you need to cook a nutritional meal rather than just eat cereal again for dinner.