Thursday, 7 September 2017

Graduate to Grown-Up: Olivia

Olivia, age 28.
Studied English at the University of Exeter,
graduated in 2011. 

On the day that you graduated, how did you think the next 5 years would pan out?
For pretty much my entire third year of university, I was of the ignorant assumption that because I wanted to go into some sort of creative role/industry, I didn’t need to plan ahead. While others were filling out grad scheme applications, I was starting my blog and using any spare time to go out for a drink with friends. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me that seeing as I didn’t know which industry I wanted to go into, it would be worth doing some research to find out.

That being said, working on my blog has opened doors and is something I would big time recommend to anyone who is looking to write in the future. I’ve been noticed and offered jobs because of it, I’ve been nominated for awards because of it and I’m certain it makes me stand out when applying for jobs, but it's debatable whether that’s perhaps a little more to do with the fact I write about sex all the time, but who knows?

Anyway, back to your question. I didn’t think that grad schemes were how it worked when it came to publishing or editorial. If I had done an ounce of research, I might have realised that wasn’t the case at all and it would’ve been really valuable. Basically, if I’m honest, I couldn’t see past my nose at the time, let alone 5 years away, but I did have a genuine inkling I might be famous (FAT CHANCE) or that I would easily get a job in a magazine…. (hilariously naive of me) so I wasn’t worried.

Answer to your question: I really hadn’t considered how the next 5 years would pan out. Would go back and plan a little harder, but it hasn’t been detrimental to my life in any way!

What are you doing today, and how did you get there?
Today, I am a freelance digital marketer and copywriter, but I have one major client who takes up three days of my week, then two minor clients who I look after on a Monday and Friday. I basically help small businesses get their voices heard online and help larger business maintain theirs.

I got here by doing lots of different jobs. You name it, I have probably done it. Lots of experimenting has led me here, as well as taking a mahoosive pay cut to do an internship in digital marketing at 26 years old! That role, which led into a full time permanent one within a month, led me into meeting lots of good people and gaining experience in order to allow me to do what I do today.

What's it like being a freelancer?
It's tricky because I'm not totally freelance - I'm sort of part time with freelance on the side. The two days I do a range of freelance work, so I work from hot desks, coffee shops and at home. I am a people person so I need to be around humans as much as possible. Motivation is easy - if I don't get up and work, I don't eat! There's no more turning up and having a lazy day knowing you'll get paid at the end of the month!!

Do you feel like you've found your 'thing', or is there still a lot of experimenting to do?
Totally. Although that could change, I actually love what I do now. I get to be really creative, am in charge of my work load and life, and get to meet lots of great people whilst doing it. An aspect of my role consists of writing chunks of copy, which isn’t for everyone, but that’s the part of my job I probably enjoy the most.

What have been your biggest achievements and greatest regrets of your working life so far?
My biggest regret - turning down a job at a huge retail brand because I had already accepted a job elsewhere. I felt indebted to the other job as I had known the boss for years. I should’ve opted for the retail brand, but whatever! I met some really great people there, which is what life's all about. Greatest achievement - striking up a partnership between a client and MAJOR retailer in my first week of a new job. Good first impression, that was.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
I would be a fashion stylist or a rockstar, obvs.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time?
Well, I’ll be 38. Fuck… that feels so old. I used to think that about being 28 though in fairness and now I’m here I still go out constantly and feel about 16. In all seriousness, I hope I have a baby by then, which feels crazy to say. Not fussed about marriage. Living in London. With a kickass business I’ve grown from scratch. Watch this space..!

What advice would you give to someone struggling through their early twenties?
Say yes to things. Even if it's scary. Even if you're not sure it's 100% what you want to do. All experience is good experience, no matter how random or how old you are. I interned at 26 and did work experience at 24. Also - pursue something you love on the side of your 9-5, you never know, it might turn out to be your full time job one day!

Check out Liv's blog at:

and find her on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

1 comment

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