In celebration of ProPRcopy’s third birthday, which we celebrated in April, we thought we would do something different by interviewing our company’s founder and president, Joe Donovan.
First, we’ll share a little background on Joe. Before ProPRcopy, he worked in communications as the president of a Milwaukee-based PR firm called the Donovan Group, which he still owns. Over the course of his career, Joe has worked for a U.S. senator, attained a master’s degree in educational policy studies and was a collegiate wrestler. Joe and his wife, Leah, have three elementary school-aged kids.
Could you tell us about the start of ProPRcopy? Why did you start the copywriting service?
JD: Before ProPRcopy, I owned and ran a small public relations firm, and at the time I was a solo-practitioner. For the most part, when I got busy, there was no one to whom I could hand stuff off. As a result, I was doing all of the writing, all of the editing and all of the planning and consulting—not to mention all of the things it takes to make a business run. I was looking for a partner, or a company with which I could work with that could help me with copywriting.
I looked long and far, and while I found several “content mills” and freelance copywriter sites, I did not find a firm that offered top-notch written copy and customer service. I just couldn’t find the partner I was seeking. So, I decided that I needed to create it myself.
Now that ProPRcopy has been in operation for several years, what has changed from the early days?
JD: I’ll start with what has not changed because I think that is most important. Steve Bailey [currently ProPRcopy’s executive editor] and I worked on all facets of the business from the start. Our mission has always been simple: To offer clients the highest-quality written copywriting service in a way that is faster and more affordable than ever before.
That is still our mission today, and if I said it 10 times a day in the first few months of our business, I say it 20 times a day now.
We also felt strongly about offering unlimited revisions, a 100 percent money-back guarantee for all orders and the ability to do distribution and translation. Again, these are still central to what we do.
While I don’t think we have changed the central tenants of our processes, we have certainly improved them over time and will continue to do so in the future. We continue to build on our proprietary technology infrastructure and our top-notch training program. We keep getting better in time.
Looking back, what has surprised you the most about ProPRcopy?
JD: The challenge in starting a business is that you really don’t know what to expect until it launches. We did a lot of market research and felt good about our chances at having a successful business, but we did not know what to expect in terms of sales. I’m really happy with our growth over the years, not only in terms of sales, but even more importantly how we have added so many absolutely great copywriters and editors to our team.
What gives you the most pride as it relates to ProPRcopy?
JD: I was once told by someone who had been in business a long time that a great company is one that brings together great customers, great employees and great processes to create value. We have absolutely terrific customers. I could go through a list of folks I spoke with today—people who represent different industries and in businesses large and small, all across North America and increasingly the world. Our customers are people who put their trust in us as their partners, and that is very special to us.
In addition to that, we have great employees. I feel weird calling them employees because they are more than that. They are partners, as well. I’m talking about individuals who are at the top of their fields. Not only do we have dozens of talented copywriters, but we also have a team of senior editors who are some of the most talented, knowledgeable and hard-working people I’ve ever worked with in my career.
One last question: If you could go back to when you started ProPRcopy and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
JD: That’s a good one. I think I would tell myself, “It’s all going to be okay. Work hard, but enjoy the ride.”