As MPLS MadWomen continues to grow, we look forward to bringing more original content to our community. Our blog has always been an important part of our organization, and we’re excited to be able to feature more stories, articles and insights than ever before. To make this happen we’re relying on a number of women in the community to lend us their thoughts — and their pens. Our newest contributor, Olivia Boone, kicks off these efforts with her perspective (and a few good pieces of advice) on breaking into the advertising world.
So here’s what I can tell you. Like many, I was pretty lost after graduation. I tried my hand at a lot of different things, from publishing to event management, even a brief stint at a yoga studio. Nothing felt right. And then, thanks to a lot of determination and a little luck, I was hired on as an administrative assistant at my first agency and it totally changed my life. It was here I discovered my passion for copywriting and completely fell in love with the advertising industry.
Fast-forward to March of 2017, again at a crossroads. I knew I wanted to keep working in advertising but I was totally unsure of how to land a job as a copywriter. I felt a little afraid, a little excited, and very uncertain about what was next, but it’s times like these when we make some of life’s most defining choices. For me, that meant taking a chance and becoming a copywriter.
To keep a long story short, I took the little agency knowledge I had and spent the next few months building both my book and my network. I met as many talented people as I could and, through it all, learned as much as I could about making it in advertising. I’d like to share some of the best pieces of advice I received during my career transition, in the hopes that it will help others who are also trying to make it as a creative in the world of advertising.
1. Just Go For It
If you want a career in advertising, just go for it. This might seem obvious, but it’s a piece of advice that always keeps me going in times of doubt. It’s critical to set a goal and work toward it every day. Do your best to make choices that bring you closer to where you want to be. This isn’t always easy advice to follow, but if this is something you truly want, you have to find a way to go for it.
2. Learn to Network
I think the most honest piece of advice I got, is that you have to learn to reach out to people. The more people you can meet and learn from the better. Agencies and creatives won’t know who you are or what you can do unless you show them. If there’s an agency you admire or a creative who makes great work, reach out! Most people will appreciate that you want to learn from them, so just go for it.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Weird
If you’re looking to be on the creative side of this industry, you’re going to need a good portfolio full of spec work. And while it definitely isn’t easy, the fun thing about creating spec work is that there are no limitations. I always do my best to remember that creative directors want to see how far I can stretch my brain and think outside the box. With no client to please, the only limitation is your own creativity.
4. Advice Isn’t Universal
One of the most important things I try to remember is there is absolutely no single answer. There’s no right way to do this. Everyone is going to have a different opinion, from your portfolio to networking and everything in between. At the end of the day, you have to decide what works for you. Take advice to heart when it feels right, and don’t worry when it doesn’t.
5. It’s Not a Race
One final piece of advice: Don’t compare yourself to others. I find that the more I focus on my own success the better I feel and the closer I get to where I want to be. I’m happy to report that this past May, I landed my first job as a copywriting intern. Without the advice and support of some very talented folks, I may not have been brave enough to take a chance on myself, and I’m so happy I did.
I look forward to continuing my work with MPLS MadWomen and to creating content that empowers, inspires and encourages women to do great things.
/written by Olivia Boone
/photo by Jake Armour