The Content By The Sea Family

Quitting my job during a pandemic: Why Craig stepped down from management to join Content By The Sea

In March, the whole world sort-of lost its mind as the full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Here in the North East, I was the Head of Content and Outreach at Inspired Agency, working out of a nice office in an old converted library. I remember very clearly playing down the worries my team had around the news, telling them “it’ll be like SARS or Swine Flu. Nothing serious will change.”

How wrong I was.

As we all know, the UK went into lockdown shortly afterwards and me and my team, which I’d worked hard to build and develop, were suddenly placed into remote working situations. We had to adapt quickly to facilitate the agency’s communications and keep client relationships intact. Thankfully, we adapted quickly. 

But as the months rolled by and I continued to work from home, I began to see how tired I was of ‘hustle culture’ and the general ideology of day-in, day-out office work. I was more productive than ever with my dogs at my side, and Ellen upstairs working from her office.

But then the inevitable question arrives: “why can’t it always be like this?” I am a stress sponge, so I was worrying about my team, the agency itself, our clients etc. I wasn’t thinking about myself or my own ambitions – we, like many businesses, were in survival mode. One day whilst I was out walking the dogs, I came to a sudden realisation: I could not go back to ‘normal’.

Working from home is fantastic for me. It removes the stress of a commute, gives me more flexibility to plan a day and caters perfectly to my ADD diagnosis – which forces me to be productive at random times throughout the day and often led me to despair in the workplace when I had to spend a specific section of hours of my life in one place. 

Goodbye management, goodbye secure salary. Hello, freedom and adventure!

Despite the fear of not having a steady income, I knew as soon as I’d made the choice that it was the right one. Mental health is a taboo subject which is usually used by businesses as a symbol with which they can throw a poster on a wall or hold a charity day, whilst at the same time causing or exacerbating many of the mental health issues most people have. For me, the full-time office routine and the stress of worrying about my employees was simply too much to juggle during a global pandemic where every news website was telling us how terrible things were.

So after a three-month notice period, here we are: a clean, fresh start as I look towards an ocean of adventure. The title’ Content By The Sea’ carries dual meanings: we produce content, but we are also content in our little lives in the North East. We once lived in Sydney and worked in the CBD. I once managed a team before 30. But ultimately, I’m at my happiest here with Ellen and the dogs, producing good work for clients.

And that’s what this is all about, really. I just want to produce good work for the clients who want to work with us. I don’t want to chase clients who undervalue content. I don’t want to pitch to people who think copywriting could be farmed out on Fiverr. I want to work with businesses who are ambitious, innovative and understand that content is EVERYTHING – from the very first touchpoint, a customer makes with your brand through to aftersales. 

With that in mind, here is what I believe I’ll be bringing to Content By The Sea. I’d be happy to discuss any of this with prospective clients who may have their interests piqued….

Full-Service Content Marketing 

Content marketing is about using content to get your message across – but that doesn’t mean slapping some blogs on a site and calling it done. Instead, you need to consider your customers, anticipate their questions and build a content strategy that meets their needs and cements your brand as the go-to.

Content Consultancy 

My brain works in a weird way – but one I’ve found is very valuable to my clients. I’ll ask you difficult questions based on what I believe your users care about. I’ll provoke, prompt and poke at your business and website to try and help you make future decisions. This is perfect for teams that already have content resources and don’t want to pay us to produce anything. I’m happy to swing by for a half or full-day session and assess everything from your social presence to your website’s copy. But most importantly, I’ll help you re-evaluate how your business ‘feels’ to your customers. 

Long-form Article, Brochure And Whitepaper Creation

Ellen and I share the majority of writing duties for our clients – as we are both veteran copywriters who can adapt tone of voice to suit any style. I, however, really love sinking my teeth into longer-form pieces. Whether that’s a brochure for a new product line, a whitepaper gated behind email signups or just a technical, long-form article to discuss something in-depth, I’d be delighted to make it happen.  

Ad Concepts & Video Scripts

I’ve worked for luxurious automotive companies, Australian education stalwarts and technology giants to produce ad concepts and video scripts. If you’re in need of a snappy slogan or a video script that enthrals, I’ll get it done with plenty of flair. 

Of course, all of this is in addition to the services we already offer. 

So why did I quit my job as a time when job losses were becoming sadly prevalent? Why take the risk? Because this pandemic has shown me one thing: that making a choice which protects the future of my family and allows me to spend more time with them is good for my mental health, my professional development and my overall happiness.

For more musings from m,e you can find me out Twitter @CraigTBoyle or connect with me on LinkedIn. If you fancy working together, drop me an email at craig@contentbythesea.co.uk.