Name: Nicki Krawczyk
College & Majors/Minors: Boston University, BS in Communication
Current Location: Boston, MA
Current Form of Employment: Copywriter, Copy Coach and Founder of FilthyRichWriter.com
Where do you work and what is your current position?
This isn't as simple a question as you'd think. :) Right now, I'm working part-time for a company called SmarterTravel as their Copy Manager. I'm there to help out, but my main focus is on my company, Filthy Rich Writer. We provide tips, tools and training for new and aspiring copywriters and we're in a big growth phase. It's very exciting, if ever so slightly exhausting. I also take on freelance copywriting work if it seems interesting. (I just finished up a video series with an animation studio in Brazil.)
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
Well, my first real job out of school was running events at a health club. It took me a little while to find copywriting. The funny thing is, when I was in high school, my Dad was a marketing director and used to bring home extra work for me to do. I'd write it and he'd review it, offering me feedback and suggestions. After college, though, I stumbled through a few different jobs (I taught aqua aerobics—and I made those ladies work) before it occurred to me that I could actually write copy for a living. Once I figured out that that's what I wanted to do, I really hustled; I put myself out there, learned as much as I could, made a bunch of mistakes and wasted a lot of time. It worked out in the end, but it wasn't exactly the most direct route to success.
Since then, I've had the privilege of working for and with a bunch of really fun clients including TripAdvisor, Marshalls, Hasbro, Keurig, adidas and, yup, Harlequin Romance novels. I’ve worked for agencies, I’ve worked in-house and I’ve worked freelance. I love copywriting. It's fun, it's challenging, it lets you work with really dynamic people and you get to see your work in print or online all the time. And it doesn't hurt that it pays really well, either.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
I actually think the answer for me has more to do with a task within a job. I was working to build up a team of writers to write copy and content for a flash sale travel site and my team consisted of two brand new junior copywriters and three writers whose experience was in editorial writing. To bring them up to speed, I put together a course to teach them everything I knew about copywriting, and my company spawned from that. The crazy thing is that it’s actually been really hard for people to learn copywriting—and what I mean is that there very few college classes in it, ad school is expensive and many of the online courses out there have been either get-rich-quick schemes or don't give people all the information they need.
So, basically, I started my company to teach people everything I wish I'd known when I started out and then everything I’ve learned since then. (The books I bought back then basically just told me to buy a fax machine. I'm not joking.) I love copywriting, and I discovered that I really love coaching people to be copywriters.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
Not enough! I mean, I had a couple of public relations internships and those taught me that I didn't like public relations...so I guess that's something... Most of my preparation for post-grad life came post-grad. During college, I was always kind of itching to get out and really start my life. The thing is, though, that back then, internships were pretty much the only thing you could do to prepare. Now, there are a million and one things you can learn online and so many more opportunities to help you to hit the ground running when you graduate.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
Get training in the field you want to get into, no matter what that field is. The big secret about changing careers (or starting careers) is that it's a three step process:
- Get training
- Get experience
- Get work
The thing is, most people try to skip over step one, step two, or both of them—and that's usually exactly why they fail. A lot of people think the way to break into a new career is just to write/rewrite their resumes and apply. But no one's going to hire you and give you a shot just because you're a nice person. I mean, if two people are applying for a job and one has training and experience while the other doesn't, who do you think is going to get the job? The good news, though, is that it's easier than ever to get job training. There are so, so many quality courses online. And the really good courses, too, will give you training, plus give you the steps you need to take to build experience and success for changing careers.