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Inspiring Conversations with Martin Ceisel of Copy Martin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Martin Ceisel.

Hi Martin, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Sure. I’m a writer by trade (publice/privatim). Writing is such an iterative practice. Calling myself a professional writer in this latest iteration (Copy Martin, LLC) still makes me a bit … uncomfortable. Especially when you consider some of my previous iterations. In high school, I was scribbling rhymes to the sound of hip-hop instrumentals. A decade later, I was living in Bratislava and composing what I thought was travel writing (glorified diary entries, as I later realized).

Since then, I’ve done in-house tech writing and content strategy. Copywriting for a timeshare company (!!). Published short stories in literary journals (under the pseudonym Anthony Martin). Earned an MA in Rhetoric from SDSU. Traveled. Made a family.

Somewhere along the way, I started doing side work. A blog post here and there. Maybe some business websites. And I just kept iterating, and iterating, and iterating on all fronts until I had a bonafide monthly income from freelance writing and felt ready to iterate all on my own (and away from the full-time corporate jungle).

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’m a business of one, which has its advantages. It’s not like launching space telescopes with a group of engineers or practicing medicine. I’m writing content for businesses. Not the easiest thing, but you get my drift. Still, I am running a business and, at least early on, I didn’t exactly understand what that meant. Everything was transactional (write X, get paid Y), like mowing lawns on the internet.

I had to learn how to pitch my services, for example, on what were essentially sales calls (with people who made a lot more money than I did). Had to learn how to manage writing projects from start to finish, too. Then there was the practical side of things (taxes, invoicing, accounting). Again, not space telescopes. But I had to simultaneously ramp up my business, learn how to run it properly, and stay competent for my various in-house roles. That all gave me the fear from time to time.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I write digital content for businesses, mostly blog posts, white papers, websites, and case studies. For whatever reason, a lot of my clients come from the software space, including loads of customer service/customer experience material. But my current client roster includes a couple of marketing agencies, a community organizer, even a large cannabis brand.

Regardless of industry or audience, companies hire me to ask the right questions and tell engaging stories. From a personal branding perspective, I bring the same storytelling to my social media channels (mostly Twitter and LinkedIn), where my aim is to bring value, share knowledge, and engage with other people in meaningful ways.

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