9,335th day of working from home

Zarywacz | communications to attract attention in print, online or at events | copywriter | journalist | proofreader | z2z.com

Zarywacz started on or near 1 September 1994 after Robert Zarywacz resigned from his corporate role on 31st August. He has been working from home ever since, joined several years later by brother, Simon. Now they work remotely from Ilfracombe and Wilton respectively, and have worked for clients across the UK and internationally. Robert describes the development of home working over 26 years.

Home businesses are serious businesses

In 1994 it was unusual to run a creative business from home. There was still very much a view that a professional business needed an office with all the associated infrastructure . . . and costly overheads.

I’d been working in, what I considered to be, a sick building on a business park for a company whose management I no longer respected. I’d already purchased an Apple Mac and inkjet printer, and had started doing some freelance work, and so I decided to make the leap.

Equipped for business

The first thing I did was to buy a laser printer so everything I produced looked crisp and professional. It amazed me that years later many businesses still used poor quality inkjet printers. Then most clients would still receive printed drafts and proofs, even if they were faxed, so presentation was paramount.

I also produced the DL leaflet above, printed by a photocopying specialist I had previously used as a supplier. Colour was still expensive in those days, but the high quality black and white copies demonstrated that we were professional.

One Saturday, my wife and I were just about to leave to visit an Apple exhibition in London when a tax refund from my PAYE salary landed on the doormat. We were going to the exhibition because I wanted my wife to understand why I needed to spend money purchasing various equipment. The rebate enabled me to buy a good scanner that day and lug it home on the train.

Comfort for productivity

I preferred working at home from the start. I found I was far more productive. The company where I had worked had cut staff and those of us who were office based spent lots of our time sorting out the problems of those who were on the road. When copywriting and creating publications, I needed peace so I could concentrate, and at home I found I could achieve so much more.

At first, I worked in our spare bedroom, but soon realised I needed to redecorate and buy a large desk, which I still work from. I have a messy desk and use all the space on it.

In those days I had separate business phone and fax lines, although the fax has long gone. As use of the internet developed, I had a dedicated line-of-sight wireless internet connection installed. Use of email increased and use of couriers to collect and deliver artwork stopped.

Flexible and healthy

The main downside of working from home was that I didn’t go outside much. I wasn’t much of an outdoors person then and in the winter I could stay inside our front door for two or three days at a time. The remedy was to expand the business by recruiting a dog. Our first cocker spaniel, Felix, transformed me into an outdoors person overnight. I lost half a stone in weeks and developed a teenager’s appetite. Felix is sadly now long gone, although still remembered fondly, and sprocket Barley now looks after my mental and physical health.

The joys of working from home mean that we can walk on the beach early in the morning or the afternoon then work throughout the day or evening. This ensures I get enough vitamin D in the winter when we walk in the day and work at night.

Create your own lifestyle

Over 25 years on, it’s weird to see people talking about the challenges of working from home. My view is that people either like or loathe it. For me, it is the ideal way of working and enables me to live how I want. I can see it will not suit everyone or every job role. However, I believe many people can take the opportunity to remodel their lives for their own benefit by working from home.

Zarywacz | z2z.com | copywriter journalist editor proofreader

The first 25 years of Zarywacz

Where did that go?

What? 25 years in business.

It’s hard to believe that Robert Zarywacz set out to provide copywriting services way, way back in 1994 . . . before the internet, social media and mobile phones embedded themselves in many people’s lives.

Simon Zarywacz joined in 1997 and together as the two Zed brothers, we have written, edited, proofread and published millions of words in print and online for clients ranging from small businesses to universities, magazines and international corporations.

Robert’s very first freelance work was as a proofreader at Safeway Stores’ head office in Hayes, leaving his corporate job on a Friday afternoon and starting work for this first Zarywacz client first thing the following Monday morning.

Our relationship with Safeway continued for 10 years until the company disappeared after being taken over, although we build long relationships with most of our clients, who know they can depend on us.

Thank you

We’d like to thank all our clients, both past and present, as well as all our suppliers and connections, not only for your custom but also for the many friends we have made.

The business world is very different from what is was in 1994 and while technology is a much bigger driver now, we believe that what’s most important in business remains the human touch.

We continue to be approachable and accessible, always happy to discuss a piece of work or project and to offer our professional advice on what we think is the best way to achieve your business objectives.

Zarywacz | z2z.com | Attract customer attention with your marketing, PR and communications


I was looking back over previous blog entries and was startled to see the date of our first post, way back in 2000. Was it really that long ago? We launched our first web site in the mid-1990s and our blog followed soon after. How have communications changed in that time?

Changes in communication since 2000

Technology has driven many changes in communication, with the development of social media, greater access to video and many new ways of communicating that we didn’t have back then. We’ve also seen services come and go, like Google+ and Vine, while others have been all the rage for businesses for a year or two before falling out of favour.

At the moment, it seems that social media services are imposing more restrictions on users, meaning that businesses have to work harder to get their messages across. For some years, users were able to automate posts and bombard networks with sales messages. Twitter and Facebook especially are making it harder to do this in an effort to make their networks more social. Whether they’ll succeed in turning back the clock to the pre-automation days remains to be seen.

Currently, many businesses seem to be moving on to Instagram, much as they previously embraced Twitter and Facebook, and it will be interesting to see how individual users respond to this. LinkedIn, which has always been more business focused, seems to attracting more interaction too. Yet nothing stands still and it is impossible to say which will be the most important networks in five years’ time.

Which is your essential network?

Inevitably, you’re going to find that one or two social media networks or online channels work more effectively for your business than others – and they are where you’ll want to focus most of your efforts – but it’s vital not to depend on them.

I used to love Vine as an outlet for my personal videos and thrived on the creativity of creating looping six-second videos. After Vine closed, I haven’t really found a community which suits me so well, even though I am now more active on Instagram.

The same could happen to any service you come to depend on for your business. That network or channel could suddenly change its rules without warning to disadvantage you, perhaps even preventing you from posting, or even disappear along with all your content, as Google+ did. Developing your own web site, blog and offline materials is important so that, whatever happens to your preferred social media networks or other services, you control and maintain your own presence at all times and don’t lose access to your audience.

Your own network – whether on or offline – is essential to you and must be resilient enough to withstand the loss of any third party channel.

Attracting attention takes effort

Attracting attention always takes effort. That’s why shortcuts promising to save time and energy often appeal to us. The big digital players – social media networks and search engines – are also aware of this and have become more vigilant to stop users bending the rules for an easier life and faster results. Much of the convenience provided by automatic posting is disappearing as networks crack down on spam, fake followers and similar practices. Remember how some web sites used to display white text on a white background to fool search engines? Not any more. Neither can anyone cram web pages with keywords out of context. Quality of content has become more important again and that’s good, although it presents the challenge of creating original, interesting content all the time.

I’ve been creating digital communications since 1985 and consider online tools valuable, yet in 2019 I’ve just launched a print magazine. The reason is that the medium does not matter: it’s the content that’s important. Content that attracts attention is essential, whatever the medium.

It also means that quick results can be more difficult to achieve. You have to be in it for the long haul, publishing original blogs and social media posts, taking photos and video, and mixing these with offline communications, from newsletters, adverts and brochures to live communication including phone calls, face-to-face meetings and events. Depending on the nature of your business, some of these will be more effective than others.

Attracting future customers

Almost two decades since our first post, we now have the most remarkable selection of communications tools at our disposal. Applied with thought and creativity, there is no limit to what we can achieve through communication – when we commit appropriate time, effort and resources – to attract customers’ attention.

Robert Zarywacz is a partner in Zarywacz, editor of Business Action magazine and co-organiser of BBxpo exhibition.

Zarywacz to exhibit at BBxpo

Zarywacz will be exhibiting at the BBxpo exhibition on Thursday 24 October 2019.

BBxpo is developing into the largest business-to-business event in North Devon and is co-organised by Robert Zarywacz.

For full details of exhibitors, presentations and the free networking buffet, visit bbxpo.uk.

To register for free places at BBxpo, visit bbxpo19.eventbrite.co.uk

Make your business bloom

As Business Editor of a newspaper, I often received phone calls from people who had started businesses and realised that they hadn’t thought about how to tell everyone. Promotion is vital for start-ups and there are many ways of doing it when you don’t have a big budget. A business will never bloom if it’s kept in the dark.

Maybe you’ve opened a shop or an online store, launched a service or started manufacturing products. You’re good at what you do and you know it, but potential customers need to know too so they start buying fast.

Getting people to notice your business can be a big challenge with so many options available, but which ones should you use? At first, you won’t necessarily know what works best, so monitoring responses as you go along is important.

Start . . .

What’s available? Paid advertising, social media, PR, leaflets and brochures, direct mail, email marketing, blogging, radio and TV, events and exhibitions, networking and more, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to manage or afford everything, even if they do all work.

Contact points

First, it’s good to have contact points for anyone who hears about your business and is looking to find out more or wants to buy. If you’ve got a shop or premises, you can do a lot with signage or otherwise a web site is the most obvious start. While you may want a big, sophisticated site, even a holding page giving your contact details – premises address, email and phone number – will help people to contact you. It’s also easy and free to create a Facebook page or open a Twitter or Instagram account. You can decide whether you want to build your presence on these networks as you go along. You can also give out business cards or printed leaflets to people you meet.

You might not be able to start with all the materials you would like, but, don’t worry, you can always build a bigger, better web site and get better brochures and business cards designed and printed. Few people start businesses with everything they want and marketing usually evolves.

Word of mouth

The main thing is to start, whether it’s simply telling your family and friends. Word of mouth is always effective. The more people who know, the more they are likely to tell people they know and spread the news about you even further. It’s free too and you can do it quickly. You don’t have to sell to everyone, so don’t feel anxious about people thinking you’re putting pressure on them. Think of the excitement you feel at starting your own business and use this to tell people your good news. Many people will be genuinely interested. Of course, if you have a special offer, an event or other activity you think they’ll be interested in, do mention it.


Networking meetings, where you meet up with other business owners to learn about and support each other, is another form of word-of-mouth promotion. There are usually one or two groups meeting in most areas and costs will vary from the price of a breakfast at an early morning meeting to annual membership, which could require you to attend  regularly. Do bear in mind the commitment to attend weekly or monthly. Networking works well for some types of business and some people love it, while others can’t stand it. Most groups allow you to go along as a guest for one or two meetings to try it out.

When it works well, you can build a far-reaching network so that when you talk to fellow networkers, they can recommend you to all their contacts with the potential to reach hundreds and even thousands of people.  

PR and advertising

Unless you need just one or two customers, it’s likely that you’ll need a lot more people to know about your business. Also, your market might not be local and need you to reach customers across the country or abroad. That’s where you’ll need to distribute publicity or advertising messages through printed newspapers or magazines or on the internet via your web site, social media services and directories.

There is so much you can do here, from free activities, such as sending a press release and photo to your local newspaper, to complex internet advertising campaigns. If you have little budget, you can run social media campaigns yourself, writing your own posts and sharing photos or video. Many small businesses do this themselves very professionally, although it does take a lot of time and effort. You may also want to advertise in local magazines or newspapers or in industry publications.

Persistence and patience

Whatever you choose, be persistent and patient. If you are extremely lucky or establish your expertise quickly, you’ll get an instant response, but for most of us it takes time to establish awareness of a business.

Whatever you do, keep doing something. If one activity doesn’t work, give it a chance. It’s unlikely that people will respond to or even notice one advert, social media post or other form of contact. They’ll need to see your brand again and again before they remember you.


You can carry out most of these activities simply at first and develop them as your business grows, eventually reaching a stage where you need to employ specialists to build web sites, manage online advertising and handle the complexity of more advanced promotional activity.

But when you’re starting out, it’s important to get your business out there as soon as you can. Only then can it start to bloom.

• Robert Zarywacz writes for and about businesses as a partner in Zarywacz. His experience includes Technology Correspondent for a business magazine and Business Editor of a local newspaper. He co-developed the pressme service of fixed-price article, blog and press release writing for small businesses.

z2z.com opens fixed-cost copywriting online store

pressme | z2z.com

We work with all sizes and types of businesses and know that small businesses and SMEs need effective copywriting and promotion as much as big businesses. This is the reason we have launched our new pressme online store where you can buy fixed-price copywriting services.

Realistic copywriting service

pressme copywriting services are straightforward and transparent – for when you want a single article or a series of articles, blogs, case studies or press releases.

They are realistic too. Yes, in an ideal world we would all sit down and plan everything, but the reality of PR, marketing and communications is that opportunities often present themselves without warning and we have to decide whether to take them or let them pass. Grasping these opportunities inevitably means working to tight deadlines with no time for meetings, just pressure to get effective content written in time. That’s what pressme offers you.

Write up article – when you already have all the information

The pressme Write up article service gives you the option of providing all the information yourself, as you probably have most, if not all, of it already. Copywriters often say they want to go away to research and think while their meter ticks, but sometimes clients have all the information and want it shaped into a readable article that does the job. The pressme Write up article service does this for you.

Research and write – full article production

And if you do need full research and interviews, the pressme ‘Research and write’ product offers the complete process from scratch to completed article.

Copywriting for any business

Is pressme only for SME’s? That’s why we originally developed it, but we can see that it is useful to any size of business, so we will be delighted to write for any size of client using our pressme copywriting services.

A striking image

Image is everything. On Instagram, Facebook, everywhere you look, we are bombarded with images.

An outstanding image will catch your attention, but it has to be different to stand out from the thousands of other images you see every day.

That’s why the images you use on your web sites, for your PR campaigns and in your social media posts are so important.

Aircraft | Zarywacz @ z2z.com | copywriting, journalism, editing, PR, proofreading, events

Sorry, a plane just flew over then. I took a photo of it for you to see.

Of course, there are lots of freely available images, including clipart and some stock images, as well as stock photos you can buy, but do ‘idealised’ images make you look genuine?

Perhaps the worst use is of images of people to suggest a company’s staff. Why not use photos of real employees? Certainly, portraits of named employees with a short profile create more confidence that a business is genuine.

We’d always recommend using a professional photographer for portraits, although the high quality of phone and digital cameras does mean that anyone with an eye for imagery often has a good chance of taking a good photo. Then there are those photo opportunities which you can’t plan – look out for these and snap them with your phone or camera before they disappear.

In my journalist roles, I was always thrilled when I received a press release with a striking photo. Sometimes it meant that the story got prime position on the page because of the image. Editors want articles to look good in addition to being well written, entertaining and informative.

With a little thought you can come up with lots of interesting images for your blogs, social media, web sites and press releases.

Give us a ring if you want to chat about it – here’s our phone:

telephone | Zarywacz @ z2z.com copywriting, journalism, editing, proofreading, PR

Oh, the dialling code is 01271.

✪ Robert Zarywacz is a partner at Zarywacz. Tweet at @robert or call 01271 879100.


See you at OPEN FOR BUSINESS on Friday 2 March

OPEN FOR BUSINESS | COMBEbusiness Ilfracombe Devon

We are delighted to be active in organising this year’s OPEN FOR BUSINESS event for COMBEbusiness in Ilfracombe, Devon on Friday 2 March.

Support from the local and wider Devon business community for this year’s event has been fantastic and we hope everyone gets tremendous value from this year’s event.

Robert Zarywacz has been busy:

  • selling stand space
  • organising the speaker programme
  • preparing and managing production of the printed event guide
  • publicising the event in press releases and social media

He’ll be busy helping to keep the event running smoothly on the day and pleased to speak to as many people as possible.

If you need support with your business communications or organising events, please say hello.

You can register for your free place(s), including free lunchtime networking buffet at open-for-business-2018.eventbrite.co.uk.

Robert Zarywacz presents award

Robert Zarywacz presents Pluss Employer of the Year Award

Robert Zarywacz was delighted to be invited by Pluss, which supports people with disabilities into employment, to present its Employer of the Year Award in his capacity as Business Editor of the North Devon Journal. Robert is pictured (right) presenting the award to winner Ryan Brend of Brend Hotels with Marise Mackie, cluster manager at Pluss.


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