Here’s a reprint from May of 2014, about my first AWAI Bootcamp.

Very valuable stuff below!

November 2009.  Delray Beach, Florida.

I’d been in marketing for a few years…  Been a part-time freelance copywriter for a couple of those, too (on top of my full-time job).

I decided to bite the bullet and go to my very first AWAI Bootcamp.

I’d already been doing some writing for AWAI.

I’d picked up some pretty solid copywriting skills by working with the team there, including Katie, Rebecca, and especially Mark Ford (which the rest of the world knew at that time as Michael Masterson).

But they asked me to come out to Bootcamp…

Meet them in person…

Speak on a panel…

And in general, take in the whole Bootcamp experience…

If you’re not familiar, AWAI’s Bootcamp is the single-biggest gathering of copywriters — both aspiring and top pros — every year.  And not only do 300+ copywriters fill the conference room for 3 days of marketing and copywriting insight, but around 50 of the top direct marketing companies come out…  Looking both to learn from the speakers, and attract up-and-coming talent at the job fair.

Anyway…

I loved the whole thing…

(I’ve been back every year since then, except one when I was locked-up in a full-time exclusive contract with a client and simply couldn’t set aside the time.)

I met some interesting folks — I connected with some of the top marketers in attendance…  I networked with both leading and up-and-coming copywriters…

I made many relationships — even at that first Bootcamp — that I value to this day.  (Including connecting with many folks who still send clients my way — and I, theirs.)

But perhaps the most important, most valuable moment of the entire Bootcamp happened during Job Fair when I walked up to Clayton Makepeace’s wife, Wendy Makepeace (aka “The Redhead”) and introduced myself…

It probably didn’t hurt that I was a fellow redhead…

We talked for a while, and then she handed me a big 11 X 17 poster…

Now let me step back for a moment and let you know about my emotional state at the time…

I had a successful job with an IT training publisher (I helped them more than double the business).  But I was frustrated and stuck there, feeling like I’d reached my potential in that gig…

I felt like I’d been dreaming for far too long, and was ready to go out on my own full-time (and was getting mad at myself for not doing it already)…

I was confident I had at least some marketing and copywriting chops, and yet…

I was also scared I wouldn’t have what it takes to be really successful (especially because some of my most recent copy had kind of been falling flat)…

I had a new kid, just a few months old at the time…

A mortgage to pay…

A wife in grad school (with little income)…

A move across the country in our near future…

And not THAT much in savings…

In short, I was scared…

If I didn’t get really good at this copywriting thing, fast…

If I went out on my own and fell on my face…

If I didn’t get that big career breakthrough I needed to launch my business…

What would I do? 

Would I be able to go back to my old boss with my tail between my legs and ask for my job back?  Could I find a new job where we were moving to — a small city in Iowa where we were planning to only live for a year?

Would my family be able to depend on me?

I had to make this copywriting thing work…

I needed to be able to churn out great copy, fast…

I needed to be able to sell consistently…

I needed to make sure my family would have a roof over its head, clothes on our backs, and food in our tummies…

Which brings me back around to Wendy “The Redhead” Makepeace, and that 11 X 17 poster (that still hangs on my office wall today)…

Clayton Makepeace, "The World's Highest-Paid Copywriter"

Clayton Makepeace, “The World’s Highest-Paid Copywriter”

This poster was Clayton Makepeace — a superstar, A-list copywriter — revealing his secret formula for writing copy that sells!

Among other items on the poster was something Clayton called his “Pretty Darned Good Outline.”

This was a 20-point copy outline Clayton put together for writing long-form sales letters and direct response packages…

Designed to hook a reader into your sales story…

Present it with credibility and enthusiasm…

Carry the story forward toward your product and your offer…

Present your offer in a way that makes the reader think, “I gotta have it now…”

And then seal the deal with a can’t-miss-this-opportunity close…

(I’d later meet and talk with Clayton for about 30 minutes…  But the paper Wendy handed me had more of a lasting impact on my copywriting chops than even meeting the guy in person!)

With this one piece of paper, I became unstoppable…

I started writing winner after winner…

Breaking clients’ sales records left and right…

Earning bigger and bigger royalty checks (some of them keep coming every quarter like clockwork to this day)…

Upping my fees — and getting what I asked for…

And in general becoming a sales-machine… In-demand as a freelance copywriter…  Working with the best-of-the-best direct marketers on the planet!

Using Clayton’s outline, I had a system…  A formula…  For writing the type of sales copy that does the heavy lifting…

That allows me to win in some of the most competitive markets…

And get solid controls for my clients that have sold millions of dollars worth of product…

Along the way, I also realized the incredible power of a good system…

And have taken what Clayton gave me ten steps further…

Refining my BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER process for putting together high-converting sales copy…

This isn’t just an outline, like Clayton shared…

It’s the mindset going into a project…

The in-depth research that gets you into the head and heart of your prospect…

How to identify the most powerful motivations that will make the sale…

Finding the compelling idea to hook qualified prospects…

Building out a sales story that has your readers sold before they even know what’s happening to them…

Writing the copy itself…

Breaking down what you’ve just written with fresh eyes…

Honing your sales message like a Samurai’s swordsmith forges and shapes and then polishes the blade with seven stones before it’s ready for battle…

Everything.

Beginning to end…

How to create — from scratch — a winning promotion…

Whether it’s for yourself, in your business…

Or for clients, if you’re a freelance copywriter…

From the point of knowing nothing about the product, the prospect, or even really about the market…

To putting that promotion out into the market and watching the sales roll in…

This is the core skill in business — and especially direct-to-customer selling and marketing (no matter who your customer is)…

If you can write copy that sells…

Whether you format it like an ad, a sales letter, a video sales letter, a presentation script, a web page, or anything else…

You can build your own business…

You can get a cut of others’ whose businesses you build…

You can succeed as a freelancer…

You can move forward with confidence…

Because no matter what happens, businesses will ALWAYS value the key players who know how to bring in new customers and make the sale.

I mentioned yesterday that I was putting this together.  And I got some interest in sharing it.

If you didn’t shoot me a reply yesterday, do so today.

Let me know that this sounds interesting.

It would be much more in-depth than these blog posts.

More of a hands-on training.

It would be a big undertaking, so I want to make sure this would be helpful to you.

Reply to this email with a YES if this sounds like something that would help you.

You could even tell me what sounds most appealing.

Oh, and look what I was able to dig up for you.  Clayton has shared that 11 X 17 poster online, in PDF format.  To download, click here.  Enjoy!

How about that Rainmaker?  That’s the kind of big, actionable ideas I’ll be giving away next Tuesday, as part of this exclusive and never-to-be-repeated offer.

If you thought this was good, you better invest in that!

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets

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