We had the good fortune of connecting with Taz Basit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taz, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was born to be a writer. That’s the simplest answer. I wrote my first poem when I was eight years old, and I just kept going without really thinking too much about it. Writing feels as natural as breathing to me.
I’ve experimented with different genres over the years, but of course the real challenge was finding a way to make a decent living as a writer. For a while, it didn’t seem like a realistic prospect. And my parents, like so many other first-generation immigrant parents, didn’t exactly encourage it.
So, I did the “responsible” thing. I went to university, got my degree, and tried my hand at different entry-level roles. But nothing fit and I was creatively unfulfilled.
I caught the entrepreneurial bug a couple of years after graduating. I thought it would allow me to use my creativity in a practical way and began actively searching for problems I could solve. This was around the time the conversation surrounding cannabis legalization in Canada started heating up. It was uncharted territory that was full of possibilities. I saw the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a nascent industry and didn’t waste time. I started my own cannabis industry newsletter to serve other interested parties like myself. Professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, etc. Kind of like theSkimm and The Hustle.
It was an exciting time. We weren’t just building our own businesses, we were also building a brand new industry together. It felt like a collective birth. But none of us knew what the baby would look like. We could only guess and hope for the best. Unfortunately, in my case, it didn’t work out. My monetization strategy hinged on ads and sponsorships, but the new laws and regulations didn’t allow it.
Still, I learned so much from that experience, picked up new skills, and the personal growth was huge. But the most valuable takeaway was that it redirected me towards copywriting and branding. I discovered I had a real talent and passion for it. The progression felt organic since it’s natural for a writer to have both a micro and macro-level view of things, keep track of all the moving parts, and stay on message while moving towards long-term goals. I decided to pursue copywriting full-time and did a stint at an agency before branching out on my own with The Copywitch.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think what makes me stand out the most is my brand, The Copywitch. She just walked into my mind one day fully formed and bursting with potential. I don’t think I created her as much as I channeled her. I think and work from her perspective, and I make decisions to empower her to achieve the highest expression of herself. She tells me what I should do next.
But it was challenging to believe in her at first because I couldn’t know how other people would respond. I knew the idea was crazy, but I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a good or bad kind of crazy. I was extremely nervous. But all of those doubts were soon put to rest as I started generating interest almost immediately.
The biggest lesson I learned was to trust my instincts, both in business and in life. It’s a constant work in progress though, especially for a woman. People are quick to judge us based on arbitrary factors like the way we look, what we wear, which emojis we use, etc. It helps to remember what the witch represents: The full spectrum of feminine power.
The Copywitch is a beacon for those who get it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Montreal is a gorgeous city that strikes a perfect balance between history and modernity. It’s unique because it’s a metropolis that’s built on a human scale. Walking is the best way to take it in. I would start in the bohemian Plateau, a haven for artists and home to Schwartz’s Deli and Tri Express, which serve the best smoked meat and sushi in the city, respectively. From there you can walk down to Chinatown to enjoy fresh bao and dim sum, and then on to Old Port, and downtown. There’s no end to gastronomic and aesthetic delights along the way. And of course they’ll have to see the view from Mont Royal, check out the Botanical Gardens, and visit the Museum of Fine Arts.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My maternal grandmother was my biggest influence and cheerleader. She gave me my first journal when I started showing an interest in writing as a child. She told me to write whatever came to mind, and I did. She was a writer too, and she started her own NGO serving underprivileged women and children in Bangladesh, which was quite unheard of for a woman of her generation. I wouldn’t be the writer and woman I am today without her support and encouragement. She actively instilled some of my most deeply held values. She was an oasis in a desert.
Other than that, I’d like to give a shoutout to my two cats, Dude and Bebe. They always have my back.