Karen Pryor

Pryor Consultants Pty Limited

For almost 25 years, I’ve been helping global executives – and their communications/marketing teams – to edit or write stuff that falls in the ‘too hard’ basket. Typically, my clients are very smart and time poor. They are: thought leaders looking to change the narrative; CEOs seeking to inspire or reassure their employees, stakeholders and investors; or technical experts needing to engage with non-technical audiences.

Currently, they are based in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth.

The documents I work with range from annual reports, to regulatory proposals, to multi-million-dollar tenders, to all-employee emails, to Press Club speeches. They are always urgent or complex – and often both.

Sometimes my job is to rescue a document that’s been written by multiple authors and smooth it into a cohesive, single voice. Other times, I start with a blank screen. Whatever state your document is in – I can fix it.

I get almost all my work through word of mouth. My clients say things like: “I’m sending this over so you can work your magic.”

Let me tell you – it’s not magic. It’s good old fashioned hard work and 10,000 hours of experience.

Ever since I graduated from Bristol University (yes, I’m a pom) with a Bachelor of Science in Economics (what was I thinking?), I’ve made my living as a writer. In London, I cut my teeth in PR, design and advertising, before finding my sweet spot in a nerdy little niche as an executive ghost writer.

I arrived in Sydney just in time to write Optus’ first three annual reports. The folks I worked with were kind enough to take me with them to their next companies. I’m still working with some of them.

These days, I work from home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. You’ll find me at my desk from 7am AEST – often six days a week. Most of my clients politely call ahead and book in work. Some people send me texts at 11pm hoping to book in a couple of hours first thing in the morning. Usually, I manage to fit everyone in.

In terms of pricing, I don’t use retainers. I quote each job up front and I never negotiate on price. On the upside, I don’t charge cancellation fees. I don’t ask for money in advance. And I won’t send you an invoice until you’re happy.

my core skills

Thought leadership

Annual reports

Digital content

Executive ghost writer

Blogs

Q & A

Whats the best thing to happen to you in your career to date?

I had the privilege of meeting a professor of business writing who taught me all about the linguistic strategies my school and university forgot to mention.

What does a typical work week look like for you?:

Every week is different. It's why I love my job.

Describe your working environment in a few sentences..

Cat. Coffee. Conference calls.

What sets you apart from other freelancers in your industry?

Experience. Speed. Flexibility.

What are the tools of your trade?

Evidence-based debate. Empathy. Excellence.

Do you collaborate with others? If yes, how does that works?

I'm flexible. We'll make it work.

Whats been the biggest freelancing lesson to date?

Learning that the best thing I can say to my clients is: "You get some sleep - I've got this."

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