Here’s today’s question, from the mailbox…
Question: If you were starting out today with no money and no support… But, you have the AWAI Accelerated course in hand, a laptop with Internet access and one vision to be a successful copywriter/marketing consultant.
At this point, you’re green — zero credibility and still little to no confidence in your writing ability.
1.) What would you do daily to get better and grow confidence in your abilities as a copywriter?
2.) How would you go about establishing your credibility as a copywriter?
I would really appreciate practical things I can start putting to work today or at the latest tomorrow. I remain grateful.
Donald Chu Obii
This is a common question for copywriters — and one I’ve answered before.
And yet, because it’s so common, I’ll answer it again.
And hopefully, in answering it for YOU Donald, I’ll approach it from a new angle, and new insights… Such that it will provide new insights and breakthroughs.
Start small, but get started…
When you decide you want to be a copywriter, I think you need to get started — ASAP. Go out there, and get a client. Do the work. And repeat.
You won’t be great. And that’s okay.
One of the best things you can do is go looking for clients who are looking for newer copywriters. Folks who are putting out spec assignments, looking for writers who they can work with and develop.
You won’t get the top gigs out of the gate.
You won’t get paid $10,000, $20,000, or more for a sales letter.
Right now, you’re getting experience. You’re learning.
And that makes you a bigger risk and liability for the client. You have to recognize that they’re primarily hiring you because you’re cheap. And that you can write copy while they work on other things.
If they’re good, they’ll help you find an idea, then help you edit what you write to make it a lot better.
But in exchange for them working harder, you will make less.
That said, you’re being paid to learn. So it’s a good deal for you, even if they don’t pay you a bunch.
When you have a bunch of winners, you can get more picky.
Also, if the clients you’re looking to work with don’t offer a spec challenge to get in the door, you can use an irresistible offer letter to approach potential clients. I repeatedly get copywriters writing to me, telling me how they used that one approach to get their first one or two clients, and launch their freelancing business.
It’s very important when you’re starting from zero, before you have confidence and credibility, to take on as much of the risk of the transaction as possible for your client. Those two links dive into a lot more detail on that.
Recognize that your learning is just beginning…
You mention having the AWAI program. Is that all?
I don’t say that to be brash, but let’s get real. Name one profession that you can get to professional-level at by going through one class. Or studying one source.
It doesn’t exist.
Go to school to get into a career, and you’re going to take 15 credit hours per semester, for 8 semesters. If you assume that each class is 3 credit hours, that’s 5 classes times 8 semesters, or 40 total classes you go through.
If each class has just one textbook, that’s 40 different sources you need to study before you graduate and are let out into the workforce.
One good thing about copywriting is that you can start making money immediately, after studying almost nothing.
When I got my first marketing job, I had only read about 6-8 marketing books. (I went to school for psychology.)
But that was only a couple months after discovering copywriting and direct response, and recognizing that it was what I wanted to do.
And at that point, I was tearing through multiple books per month, giving me all sorts of perspectives on the field.
Within the next couple years, I probably read at least 100 books on selling, marketing, and entrepreneurship. And that doesn’t count all the interviews, podcasts, seminar recordings, programs, and everything else I went through. Plus all the blog posts, emails, and reports I read online.
AWAI is great — so are so many other resources.
A good start for books to read is my post, My Top 10 Best Copywriting Books.
If you’re in it for the long haul, this is just a start.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other…
… If you haven’t made a dollar yet writing copy, and you get on fiverr tomorrow and write a little piece of copy for $5, you’ve suddenly made money as a copywriter.
That’s a step in the right direction.
I don’t recommend sticking to fiverr or other commodity freelance sites for long, but if you need to get started, they will help you do that.
Then, keep going.
As you get some experience, you’ll gain confidence. You’ll also gain credibility — especially if some of your projects lead to success for your clients.
Then, seek out bigger opportunities.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other.
You may have big dreams, and they may not appear immediately. But if you stay focused on them and moving toward them, always heading in the right direction, you’ll start to enjoy more and more success.
There are shortcuts, but you’re not going to wake up tomorrow as a world-class, A-list copywriter. It comes from going out, doing the work, getting the experience, learning, keeping going, doing more work, getting more experience, and so on. Until suddenly you wake up and everything you’ve worked so hard for has finally started to fall into your lap.
Remember: “Just do it!”
Folks who are in your position — starting out — tend to fall into two big categories.
Dreamers. And doers.
Both have the same excitement. Both have the same ambition. Both want the same things out of copywriting.
And yet, in 10 years, the dreamers will still be where they are at today, and the doers will be enjoying tremendous success.
Why? Because the dreamers will always be thinking about what they want, without going out to make it happen. The doers will focus on taking action.
Results don’t come from wanting something. They come from taking action in pursuit of the goal.
So my best piece of advice is in so many Nike commercials, and on so many shirts and other places where the Swoosh is also found: “Just do it.”
You will fail. You will also succeed. But nothing happens until you go out there and start making it happen.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,