Inspiring businesses: Elena Chow

by | Jun 1, 2024

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know how much I love words and talking about their importance for your business. So I was thrilled when a fellow word lover agreed to share a bit about herself and her business in the Inspiring Businesswomen series.

Elena Chow is a fellow copywriter, passionate about helping businesses and freelancers “sell their story without selling their soul”. She shares with us her early career and how you can work with her now.

What was your first job? Did you enjoy it?

My very first job, aged 16, was working in the fitting rooms in my auntie’s dress shop. I helped to zip, corset, lace, and mostly be a fashiony therapist, for sequin-loving women as they tried on bedazzled gowns for proms, weddings, and luxe events.

I was enamoured by the glamour and stories that were shared with me in the privacy of the changing room – and I didn’t know it then, but looking back I loved connecting with people at this very intimate level. Like the time a young bride nervously admitted she was pregnant and no one who was waiting on the other side of the curtain knew. Or the time I defused a bridesmaid blow-up situation (the bride put them all in canary yellow, with ruffles, and it was NOT cute). Ah, memories! 

What do you do now? Is this what you originally trained to do?

I run Words by Elena, where I help ambitious freelancers, founders, and fab brands sell their stories without selling their souls. My mission is to get small business owners falling back in love with their website words. Because yes, it’s not as fun and sexy as the other stuff (looking at you, ring light), but it’s where you get to write your story on your own terms and where people go to, like BUY – and SO many business owners leave theirs gathering digital dust, just saying.

Writing for a living is all I’ve known because I decided to do the thing where I monetised my passion. I started out as a journalist with a thirst for interviewing (because… curiosity) but quickly switched to copywriting just as the graveyard of glossy mags started filling up.

I worked in-house as a say-yes-to-every-brief copywriter for almost 10 years for big high street brands (like Superdrug, Savers, The Perfume Shop) and went solo with Words by Elena in 2021 after spending my mat leave in lockdown – I had a lot of time to reflect on my life choices… and here I am. 

How do your services help small business owners?

I left the world of corporate copywriting behind because I’d been quietly raging at the fact that my day job was making the rich man richer – and I didn’t have it in me to find yet another way to sell a beauty product that leveraged an invisible flaw! So, when I launched Words by Elena, I wanted to be like the Robin Hood of the copywriting world, stealing the secrets from the rich to give to the… well, not poor, but people with much, much smaller marketing budgets.

I’ve been backstage at brands small business owners (like me) idolise, and I share all those insights freely in everything I do. As small business owners, we walk this rickety, twisty-turny path to do the thing that gives us immense fulfilment and share a meaningful message – and so I do everything in my wordy power to help spread that story and get it to land with the people that need to hear it the most.

I have lots of different ways of doing this. I run Website MOTs every month, which are 1:1 workshops where I live-edit website copy, strategise, and share my copy know-how on a very bespoke level – this service is my fave because it helps empower business owners to have a go at writing with me and gives them the confidence and tools to keep going long after our session.

Elena Chow

For business owners that are a little further along in their journey, what I like to call version 2.0 when they’ve done the DIY thing and want to focus on growth by outsourcing, I offer done-for-you website copywriting. It gets the job of writing copy completely off your plate so you’re free to channel your energy into the stuff that made you want to work for yourself in the first place.

And if you’re on the learning journey and want to figure out the word stuff: my free weekly newsletter Better Words by Elena shares one story and one writing prompt every week, to help business owners get better at writing their copy in their own unique voice.

I’d love you to come and say hello and follow me on Instagram or LinkedIn.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given? How did it help you?

Never. Stop. Marketing.

It’s so obvious and stupidly simple, and as someone who works in marketing, it’s far from an outlandish concept. Yet, when I first started out, I never thought I was “running a business”, instead I told people I’d “gone freelance.” And because of that, I didn’t think I needed to market myself, all I needed to do was do a good job for my clients and, *poof* I’ll be booked and busy.

Yes, I was busy – but it came in fits and bursts because marketing myself was always a “nice to have” that I left on the bottom of my to-do list. It never was my priority on my very precious working days (the motherhood penalty is real).

But, in the last 6ish months I’ve made my business my number one client and have been marketing more consistently and not only have I managed to flatten the “feast and famine” curve, but I’m also working with perfect-fit clients because they vibe with me from the word go.   

If you could give your 20-year-old self, one piece of career advice, what would it be?

Create better boundaries at work and once you’ve drawn that line, keep pointing to it.

Which do you prefer, tea or coffee? Beach or pool? Seaside or countryside?

A builder’s tea with a stick of cinnamon please and thank you. Beach for the extra soothing sensory vibes (sea, not sand for obvious reasons). As a reformed city-dweller, I’d have to say beside the sea.

What’s your dream job or client?

It sounds super corny but I’m in my dream job – working for myself, on my own terms, with clients I really vibe with. I spend most of my time supporting other creative, ambitious (mostly) women who are building a business that works for their lifestyle and each project feels like a partnership – most of my clients become good friends and cheerleaders.

One day I’d love to add “author” to my bio because even though I’ve been published all over the gaff I won’t sleep until the day I can pick up my romance novel (work in progress) at Waterstones. 

If you’d like to read about more inspiring businesswomen and get tips and advice about SEO, head to the blog section.


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