Laura Belgray will tell you that her body rejects the 9-5, and that’s a feeling we empathize with every time we hit snooze. With unmotivation as the, erm, motivation for leaving a day job, Laura has built a successful copywriting business that fits her lifestyle.

From waltzing around at Nick at Nite to launching The Copy Cure (a copywriting course) with Marie Forleo, Laura has turned her quick wit and way with words into a profitable career. At $750/hour, we could all use a lesson from The Talking Shrimp.

Here's what she has to say...

1. Tell us what you do in 2 sentences

I have a creative copywriting business, Talking Shrimp. I help entrepreneurs and businesses find words that make the right people love you, buy from you, and want to wear you like a skin suit.

2. At what point did you decide the traditional 9-5 office job wasn’t for you?

The first day of my first 9-5 job, when my alarm clock went off at 7am.  I’m a night owl and a late sleeper. I’ve tried, but I will never, ever be a morning person. My body rejects the office job.

3. What did you do next? 

I found a freelance, or “permalance” job that allowed me to come and go as I pleased: I was lucky enough to get hired as a promo writer for Nick at Nite, which was THE place to write promos. When full-timers around me started complaining that they had to come in at 10 while I waltzed in around lunchtime, the company gently suggested I work on a per-job basis instead of on payroll. But it wasn’t until 2010 that I went full time as a home-based business.

4. What was the hardest part?

The hardest part of running my own business is the same problem I had in an office job: motivation and sticking to deadlines. Some days, Bravo calls out to me: “Watch another Real Housewives episode! Just one! And THEN you can do your work!” There are days when I just don’t have the creative energy or focus to sit down and write, whether it’s for myself, for my list, or for my clients. If it’s for my clients, I get it done. But damn, it can be hard.  

5. What has been the best part of running your own business? 

Sleeping till 10 without getting fired. Going to dance class in the middle of the day without getting fired. Browsing Facebook when I should be working, without getting fired. Though maybe someone should give me a talking-to.

6. What are your plans for the future?

Oh. That’s another thing I’m terrible at: “big picture thinking.” I don’t know what I’d like my business to look like in a year, in 5 years, in 10 years. One big thing I know I want: I’m hoping The Copy Cure, my online copywriting course with Marie Forleo, is huge and helping millions of people to find their voice and sell their anything. To date, it’s already helped thousands, so we’re on the right track.

This year, I’m teaching a writing workshop in Italy. I’m super excited about that.

And I need to write more stories -- either in book form, or as a TV show or something. I write them on my blog, but I want to go bigger.

7. Where did you get your voice?! We can’t get enough of it.

Aw, c’mon. {Blushing.} Or wait, is this the same questionnaire you send to everyone? Either way, thank you.

Part of it is understanding how to write like I talk.

And part of it is using concrete details rather than vague, squishy concepts.

Concrete details are the best trick for making your voice original. Instead of telling you I spent the whole morning doing mundane tasks, I’ll tell you I spent the whole morning calling plumbing supply shops to track down a replacement for our cracked toilet seat. (True.)

8. How cool is it to work with Marie Forleo?

(Oh, now I see this isn’t a form questionnaire. Newly flattered by q #7.) It’s super cool! Is she as positive and fun and energetic as she seems in her videos? 100% yes. Plus, add in a lot more potty mouth, which she’s trained herself to modify as her audience has grown.

Know what else? It’s really intense. Marie keeps the focus straight ahead, the blinders on, and all the browser windows with Facebook in them SHUT. It’s a struggle for me to stay so focused, especially when there’s a cursor on a blank page. But it’s great training.

And hey, we take walks to get coffee. And dance breaks. We both like to bust a move.

9. What resources do you suggest for other people wanting to ditch their day job? 

A winning Powerball ticket. But barring that, Marie Forleo’s B-School. If you want to have an online business, or any business that attracts buyers and clients using the power of the internet (like mine does, for example), this online course is THE gold standard. I offer a special bonus every year for people who sign up through me. It includes 1-on-1 copy help from yours truly. You can go to this page of Talking Shrimp and get on my interest list for the next round of enrollment.

10. What advice would you give to someone starting to generate income outside of a day job?

Learn copywriting! If you don’t have good copy, you don’t have a business. Even if you sell something like jewelry, and the pictures do most of the talking, you still need words. You can’t just call your two necklaces “Necklace 1” and “Necklace 2.” Right?  

And I’d be doing all of us a disservice if I didn’t tell you to learn copywriting from the best program out there: The Copy Cure.


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Ashley Hockney

Written by Ashley Hockney

Ashley Hockney is a Content Marketer & Writer at Teachable (Create & Sell Online Courses). Her knowledge spans both the marketing and literary fields. Her background is in food & beverage PR i.e. she wants to talk to you about single malts.