Why I Stayed: My Journey at CopyPress

Yesterday I had a bad day at work.

As I walked downstairs to go home, I felt frustrated. I felt overwhelmed. I felt mentally drained.

But while I was walking out to my car, I wasn’t feeling bad for myself. I wasn’t cursing CopyPress or getting ready to go search the classifieds. While I was walking downstairs, I was thinking about one thing: solutions for tomorrow.

Sometimes it isn’t easy being a CopyPresser. We are a baby start-up in a highly competitive, ever-changing, results-driven industry. We are learning as we go and grow. We are innovating and evolving and solving complicated problems. It’s fair to say we have had our fair share of growing pains.

I know that better than most.

I started working with CopyPress in September 2011. I quit my job at a law office to pursue my passion with an internet marketing company I had never heard of.

But when I sat down for an interview with our now VP of Operations Stefan Winkler, one thing caught my attention — SteelCast (now known solely as CopyPress) was a game changer and something unlike anything else in the Tampa area (at that time I didn’t know it was also unlike anything else in the industry). I wanted in.

I was working at SteelCast for less than a year when things got financially strained. SteelCast was an incubator helping to grow CopyPress and three other ventures. At that time only CopyPress was proving to be financially successful, and the lack of success with the other ventures was taking a strain on the entire company.

Changes needed to be made — both logistically and financially. The new plan to resurrect SteelCast meant a few things:

1. The company would move forward with a new direction, focused on CopyPress (which at that time had only 6 staff members).

2. Almost all of SteelCast staff members would need to take a 20% salary pay cut in order to keep the company afloat.

I say almost, because not all of us were cut by 20%. Myself, along with one other creative staff member and upper management were taking a much heavier hit to our salaries.

Mine was cut by 60%.

SteeCast

If I wanted to stay with CopyPress, I would have to go down to working two days a week for three months. All with the hope and faith that after three months, I would be able to return to full-time status along with everyone else in the company.

Most people in my life told me to get another job, find something new. Even Dave Snyder our CEO.

In his words, he completely understood if I didn’t stick around. He would understand if I couldn’t stay but hoped that I did.

I did.

It sure wasn’t easy. Cut pay and cut hours meant less people working less time trying to complete more work with less resources and monetary initiative. To say it was difficult is an understatement.

But during that time, we came together as a company (those of us who chose to stay). We weren’t fueled by cash, we were fueled by something else.

And yesterday, when I was fumed and tired and beat down, I thought about that time. And on a parking pass scrap of paper in my car, I scribbled down why I (and seven others) stayed.

Because I Want To Be a Part of Creating Something New

There is nothing more special than creating something that hasn’t been previously created by someone else. CopyPress is doing that and I feel so lucky every day that I get to be a part of it. I knew that I couldn’t leave CopyPress because if the company was going to become successful by creating something new, I wanted to be able to say I helped build it.

Because I Hate Job Descriptions

I have never had a full job description at CopyPress. When I was hired, the job duties listed on my HR documents said “as described during the interview.” I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hate being boxed in and limited in my job responsibilities. I like crossing over and taking on work outside of my “defined” role. Not everyone can handle that type of cross roles workload, but I thrive off of it.

Because When I See Problems, I Want to Fix Them

I don’t want a job where there are a bunch of defined processes that I have to follow with no room for providing feedback or criticism. I want a job where I can be a part of coming up with new, improved processes. I want to identify a problem and be proud when I help fix it.

Because I Don’t Want Anyone To Hold Me Back But Myself

As I mentioned, CopyPress is a baby start up. There is nowhere to go but up. I knew that if I stayed with this company, no one was going to hold me down in a position but me. I like to be in control of my own destiny, and at CopyPress, I have been able to grow by good old fashioned hard work.

Because I Want a Career, Not a Job

I wasn’t working at CopyPress for a paycheck. I was working at CopyPress for a chance to establish myself in an growing industry. I didn’t want a job, I wanted a career. And working at CopyPress has given me the tools (through training and guidance) I need to build a life in this industry. I knew that even if CopyPress were to fail, every minute that I got to work there was extremely valuable, and I wanted to get as much out of the experience as I could.

Because I Care About Building a World for Creatives (and so Does CopyPress)

When I first started to learn about CopyPress, I had my doubts. I had bad past experiences with online content development companies so my guard was up. But after learning more about the company, I found that they were really fighting for writers (and other creatives), rather than looking to exploit them. CopyPress is shaping a world for creatives, and as a creative, I need to be a part of that fight.

Because Management Doesn’t Want to Succeed for Them, They Want to Succeed for Us

During my time as a part-time employee, I knew that however difficult it was for me, it was more difficult for management. Of course they didn’t want to cut our salaries. They didn’t do it so they could hoard more money for themselves. They did it so they could pool money for everyone else. Those of us who stayed enabled others to be able to stay. We all pitched it to succeed as a group, not as individuals.

Because My Boss Isn’t Going to Get Mad that I Wrote This Post

I literally started this post with a rant about my day, but I am in no way worried that my boss is going to come down on me for it. At CopyPress, you are allowed to be exactly who you are. You don’t have to hide your feelings or personality to fit some type of perfect employee, pencil skirt and all smiles. You can be who you are and say exactly how you feel.

Because If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It

It’s cliche. But it’s absolutely true. It’s not always easy to work at CopyPress. It’s not the kind of work that is right for everyone. But I don’t want to be like everyone else, and I certainly don’t want to work with everyone else. I want to work with a team that is willing to work hard in order to be great.

Because Even When I Have a Bad Day, I’m Still Looking Forward to Tomorrow

Yesterday I had a hard day. I wasn’t alone.

I’m sure other people in the office had a hard day too. I’m sure some of them felt tired or drained.

And rightfully so. Those people worked their ass off.

Those people gave the day everything they had, and that’s what this post is really about. It’s not meant to be a post about what makes me a great CopyPresser. It’s meant to be about what makes other people on our team Great CopyPressers.

It’s meant be about the journey that we had to go through to get CopyPress to where it is today. It’s meant to be about the values that current staff members have and the values we want to instill in our new and future staff members.

And when I say staff members, I mean STAFF MEMBERS.

Staff Meeting 2013

Three months after my salary was cut, I was brought back to CopyPress. Another month after that, the entire staff was brought back to full-time. And now, just a year later we are almost three times the size we were when work was cut.

And I am so lucky that is the case, because all of the reasons why I stayed are the same reasons why I look forward to coming to work tomorrow.

Yesterday I had a rough day at CopyPress, but no matter what, it was still a great day.

Snow Cones

About the author

Raubi Marie Perilli

Raubi Marie Perilli is the founder of Simply Stated Media. She regularly writes about freelancing, writing, and marketing on her blog and around the internet. Learn more by following her on Twitter or signing up for her free training, How to Get Your Freelance Business Off the Ground Without Wasting Time.