Valérie Du Pré – Freelance copywriter and journalist
When did the click come for you to start your own business?
After more than 10 years in the advertising industry, I had seen enough. The pressure was getting higher, other people were determining my schedule down to the minute, I wrote for brands and products that I could not always support ... I noticed that I had a very good feel for what was needed for a particular assignment, but that the system I was working in was killing my creativity and giving me a lot of unhealthy stress.
To channel my creativity I started a blog with my own writing: www.alittlebitofsoap.be. The reactions I received to this, and the assignments that followed, strengthened my belief in a future as a freelancer. A future, in which I would never again have to devise an award-winning campaign for an unethical brand on a Tuesday morning between eleven o’clock and a quarter past twelve. I can feel for myself when my creativity is flowing and when I am better off finding distractions in research or administration. I can feel for myself which customers are in the right place for me and which ones I am better off referring to someone else. As soon as I consciously chose to follow my intuition and believe in my own ability, everything gained momentum.
What is the most important lesson you have learned? What was the biggest challenge you faced?
Certainty is an illusion. Everything changes, all the time. If it’s not happening in your personal life, it’s happening out there. When a nasty virus turned the world upside down in 2020, I had a diagnosis of breast cancer on my plate. Nothing will ever be the same again, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just as the coronavirus has opened eyes, my diagnosis has also given me insights. I thought I was doing a good job, but apparently I wasn’t quite on the path that was right for me. I learned a lot from it. I have discovered a huge strength in myself and now choose my words and my customers even more consciously, with my head, heart and gut feeling aligned. Stumbling teaches you to balance yourself better and that is particularly a valuable lesson.
Which woman do you look up to and why?
I have infinite respect for women who give the best of themselves every day without necessarily receiving applause, a big cheque or a few hundred likes. The woman who does her absolute best for her child’s future. The woman who makes soup for those who are in the soup. The woman who listens to those who need it, in complete anonymity. The woman who takes charge of her own life and thus inspires her neighbour or granddaughter. All women who contribute extraordinarily to a better world, even though they may never get a statue for doing so.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Trust your intuition even more. You know more than you think, you just have to dare to believe it.