My East Midlands Fastest 40 Awards Interview

On my first day back at work this year, I found out that I’ve been shortlisted for a ‘Rising Star Fastest 40 Award’ by East Midlands Business Link (which was rather nice).

Here’s the interview that appears on their website:

East Midlands Fastest 40: Shortlisted – Sally Mayor

Sally Mayor of WordNerd has made her living out of being good with words. Here she explains why she’s been shortlisted in the Owner-Manager category of our East Midlands Fastest 40 Awards.

What is your name? 

Sally Mayor.

Where do you work and what is your job title? 

WordNerd, where I’m a copywriter and blog trainer (I’m also the founder and sole director).

How long have you been with your company? 

I set up WordNerd as a sole trader in August 2011 and it became a limited company in February 2014, so almost three and a half years in total.

Name an innovation, product or way of working you have introduced which has made a substantial improvement to the financial performance of your company? 

I started out with an overdraft, no funding and no contacts, and I now run a company with a five-figure turnover (that doubles every year).  I’ve achieved that by doing lots of marketing – networking, social media (I have over 3000 followers on Twitter and more than 800 connections on LinkedIn these days), through my website and blog, and email marketing.

I had never worked for myself before or worked as a professional copywriter so I learn as I go and leverage my income to pay for courses and other help. I have also been determined to provide great customer service and excellent writing since day one, however much work that entails. I believe that my dogged determination to maintain extremely high standards has helped me grow WordNerd financially and build my reputation.

I have recently written an eBook (called ‘The Insider’s Guide to Awesome Online Writing’), which was distributed via another company’s mailing list in December 2014. Within the first 12 hours of the eBook being sent out it was downloaded over 100 times by senior administrators and executives at some of the largest companies in the world. I’d love the opportunity to work with some of them and I hope I will do within the next 12 months.

How do you think your colleagues would describe you? 

I don’t have colleagues as such but I have collected lots of testimonials from my clients who say I’m creative, witty and fun to work with.

What has been the biggest achievement in your career so far? 

I’m constantly amazed by how well things are going and what it’s possible to achieve if you work hard. I write blogs for an online language learning company called busuu, which was voted one of the best language learning blogs in the world in 2014.

I’ve written two first prize-winning award entries for Adams Catering Hire, who were crowned EHA Hire Company of the Year UK in 2013 and 2014. I’m also very proud that after less than three and half years, I’m often told that I’m one of the best copywriters people who’ve been in the industry for many years have worked with.

That’s all wonderful and I feel like I’m achieving things every day – and I work extremely hard to do that – but my greatest achievement is that I do it while managing a chronic illness I’ve had for nearly 11 years. Working for yourself and setting up a business is tough but doing it with on-going health problems makes it even harder.

On top of all the marketing and paid work, learning and development, I have to try to keep myself healthy. If I am ill I have to manage my clients and my workload, and ensure that I hit deadlines and keep my reputation intact. Being able to do that and grow a successful business in a competitive environment is by far my greatest achievement.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received that has help you get where you are in your career?

I’ve been lucky to have received lots of great advice from people far more knowledgeable and wise than me that has helped me.  The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to “do one thing every day that scares you”. I am constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone, learning how to do new things and being terrified. And it seems to be working!


The winners of the Fastest 40 Awards will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 26th February 2015.

UPDATE I didn’t win the award but I’m still very proud to have been shortlisted and my Mum says I’m a winner anyway so  it’s OK. Congratulations to everyone who won their categories and to Matthew Tucker who was crowned overall Rising Star Fastest 40 champion.

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