The vast majority of copywriters never reach “six-figure” status…
Much less the famed (and sometimes fabled) seven-figure status of the best-of-the-best.
With all the promises of earning $100,000 or multiples of that per year as a copywriter — as much as most doctors! — most copywriters never make it. (And in case you’re not a copywriter or in copywriting — the exact same pattern applies in nearly any “money making opportunity” including entrepreneurship.)
The salary surveys show it. This isn’t just me making it up.
Most copywriters earn well under $100,000 per year. And a huge percentage earn less than half that. Despite it being supposedly easy to bring home the big bucks.
I do. If I were running for president, I’d show you my tax forms to prove it. But for now, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
And even my decent level of success, I often feel, is in spite of all my shortcomings.
I am not perfect.
I don’t work nearly as hard as I could.
Sometimes, by choice — I actually haven’t worked a traditional work week since I quit my full-time job in February 2010. This is a choice to be with my kids more while they are small.
Other times, because of my moral flaws, or something like that — as much as I’d like to claim perfect productivity, that claim would be a sham. I try, but I always see a higher standard I could reach.
And even when I am working hard and productively, sometimes I make really dumb mistakes that lead to me falling short of my potential.
When I see how much other people fail to live up to some bare minimum criteria for success, it’s no wonder I do as well as I do, while most copywriters fail to make a great living!
I’ll explain in a minute — but first, the context…
As you’re probably aware, last Friday I posted my Wanted: The next great financial copywriter video. In it, I explained an opportunity, and an offer.
The opportunity is the chance to work under me, with my clients, on generous project terms, developing your skill and reputation as a financial copywriter. This is limited based on my availability, my clients’ demands, and your capability to handle the work. But for the right writer, it could be a significant career-changing move.
For the test project I did this summer under this arrangement, I both raised the fees of the copywriter who worked with me AND I helped him write copy that’s getting him a ton of attention from the client. He put in the work and earned it, but the better copy and better fees were definitely a benefit of working with me.
As part of preparing people for this, I’m hosting a tiny get-together here in Lincoln, NE, at the end of September. That’s the offer. If I’m going to work with you, you need to take a crash-course in what I know about the financial/investment direct response world.
The types of copy that work, in what market conditions. For example, I’ve identified eight specific lead types or themes within the financial publishing industry, and certain ones work based on what’s going on in investors’ heads, based on current market conditions. There’s also information you need to know about funnels and marketing strategy specific to financial copywriting. Plus, importantly, how this business works within the niche and how to maximize demand for you as a copywriter.
I’m teaching all of that.
And, transparently, I’m using an application process to sell it. You book a call with me (here’s the link). You fill out an application. We chat. If you’re a fit for one of the six spots — and you grab it first — you can attend. Attendance is how you get on my radar, and potentially get the opportunity to work with me.
If you’re serious about succeeding as a freelance financial copywriter — especially if you’re in your first 2-8 years in the business — this could be exactly what you need.
Yesterday I had an impeccable example of why so many people fail!
This person had booked a call with me. They submitted the booking Saturday afternoon. I don’t typically do much business emailing on the weekend, so I didn’t look much into it until yesterday morning — their call was scheduled at 11 AM.
So, I’m looking and I see they didn’t fill out the required application after booking. Okay, Strike 1, but there’s still time before the call.
So I email the address they used for booking, to remind them. It bounces. Turns out they’d misspelled Yahoo in their own email address. I correct the error, and email them again, to remind them to fill out the application.
I’m being flexible and forgiving at this point. I even email them a second reminder — because of the misspelling — to make sure they know how to log on for our video meeting. I arrive on time, and after waiting a few minutes for them to arrive, I email them yet again to make sure they’re not having trouble getting on.
At this point they’re on Strike 2 — I try to be very punctual for scheduled meetings and it’s clear they are not.
Then, 10 minutes in (waiting with the video chat in the background while I did other work, so it wasn’t 100% lost time), I bail.
That’s Strike 3.
At this point, I would not accept this person’s money to attend my event.
Because I don’t even want them thinking for a moment that they have a chance at working with me. Sure, they could benefit from the content, but at this point they’re not worth my time.
And my guess is that this person is going through life, not achieving anywhere near what they see as their potential, and they’re frustrated and happy to blame their failure on factors outside of themselves.
When they showed an utter disregard for my time, set aside explicitly to speak with them.
That behavior is unacceptable and will kill your prospects of success.
Want to succeed? Start by showing up to what you scheduled, on time, ready to go…
Little habits create big habits. Little wins create bigger wins. And the simplest of wins is to show up on time for your appointments.
Have a call scheduled for 11? Stare at your clock, and start dialing at 10:59:50. If it’s something you can call in early for, be there from 3 to 7 minutes ahead of time. If it’s an in-person appointment or meeting, do the same.
If you’re always prompt and even a few minutes early, you’ll get respect for it. But every minute you’re late for anything, you erode any goodwill you could earn through any other quality or achievement.
In my mind, missing a deadline is far less damaging to your reputation than showing up consistently late for meetings but always getting your copy turned in on time.
(Better if both are on-time or slightly early, but if you’re going to pick one, pick the meetings where someone has set aside time on their calendar for you.)
If there was any pre-work you needed to do for your meeting, make sure that’s done in advance as well.
And if it’s one of the first meetings you’re having with someone, all of this is doubly-important.
It’s not that hard to have a calendar and a watch. With Google Calendar, you can even get notifications and emails in advance of your appointments, so you won’t miss them.
And in the rare instance where — after developing this habit — you’re late or unexpectedly have to miss the meeting, try to reschedule in advance or let the other person know ASAP why you’re breaking the appointment.
If you don’t respect my time, I won’t trust you…
That’s what this all comes down to. And I’m not alone.
Nearly every successful person knows the value of their time. And when they set aside time on their calendar for you, they’re doing it intentionally because they feel the time spent with you will return them some form of value that justifies that time.
But when you don’t show up? Or show up late? Or show up unprepared in a way that wastes time?
You’re showing them that you don’t value them or their time. You don’t respect them or their time.
And once you’ve shown that, you’ll immediately be perceived as low-value, and you’ll lose any trust given.
I don’t say this to sound like a pompous ass. Even though no doubt someone will read it that way. Rather, these are some basic, fundamental, bare-minimum success criteria that you need to know to get along in life.
How you treat your superiors is how you should also treat your subordinates.
This is just basic human decency.
The thing is, that decency and basic act of doing good toward others lays a foundation that also leads to doing well for yourself.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,