Copywriting start-up Shabbadu expands to UK with Guinness deal

The founder of freelance copywriting service Shabbadu has highlighted the importance of building and maintaining professional contacts, after securing a contract with beer giant Guinness.


Chris Taylor, a former executive at Clemenger, is the founder and sole trader of Shabbadu, a Melbourne-based freelance copywriting service for small and medium-sized agencies.


In addition to securing several Australian clients – Bruin Dunn Advertising and The Reactor – Shabbadu has been working for Guinness in the United Kingdom via digital agency Tribal DDB.


“The work we’re doing for Guinness is basically just building their Facebook presence, so doing status updates on behalf of them,” Taylor told StartupSmart.


“We’re still in the process of finishing it up, but we’ve done a big batch of their [Facebook] Timeline.


“They’ve got history going back to about 1725 so there’s a lot of stuff to do between then and today, so there’s a whole bunch of work coming out of that.”


Taylor says the Guinness contract came about because one of his friends is working for Tribal DDB, the agency representing Guinness.


“When you start a business, you tell your friends about it, and my friend – who’s in London and working for Tribal DDB – was willing to give me a go,” he says.


Taylor originally started Shabbadu as a specialist radio agency around 2006.


“Then my wife got pregnant with twins and a few other things happened. I got asked to go and work at Clemenger for a few months, so I did that,” he says.


“Before I knew it, I was back in agency land for a few years. I had been looking for a way to get out, and noticing how agencies used freelancers.”


“I felt like it was a weird kind of setup – getting them in for a day or a week. It seems they spend a whole lot of time sitting around, and you’re paying a premium for that person.”


“I came up with a flexible freelance concept. One day, it was this little idea floating around and the next minute, I had clients set up and I was going for it.”


The Shabbadu business model requires agencies to pay upfront for a minimum number of hours of copywriting services. According to Taylor, the model is proving popular.


“At the moment it’s just me. I want to grow it to a point where I’m comfortable with all the work, but I do have plans to expand,” he says.


“I’ve got clients in London, Sydney and Melbourne, so the idea is transportable anywhere. There’s no reason why there can’t be a Shabbadu in every major city.”


Taylor says entrepreneurs shouldn’t underestimate the value of good contacts because they make “a lot of the initial steps a lot easier”.


“If you’re good at what you do… then you make an impression,” Taylor says.


“Making a good impression makes it easier to turn someone you’ve met into an acquaintance, and then turning that into a prospect. It’s just a matter of putting yourself out there.”


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