I once read a testimonial from the late Gary Halbert that struck me…
He was talking about Dan Kennedy. And he said he admired Dan Kennedy because…
Dan was one of the only copywriters he knew who wrote for clients… Who ALSO put his own money on the line to run his advertisements.
That really struck me. And I think it was within a few months that I launched my first side business with my copywriting, selling a video tutorial on how to cut foam wings for model airplanes.
I’ve come to believe it’s a litmus test, of sorts. Not just for copywriters. But for anyone who sells their own advice and expertise.
“Would you put your own money behind this?”
That’s the question any client has the rights to ask any service provider.
If our roles were reversed, would you be a buyer of what you’re selling me?
Or, in the case of advertising, if you were putting your money on the line for this, would you run this ad?
The natural gut reaction to this, from any copywriter who has just sold their work, is, “What? Yeah, sure I would…”
But I know with kids and copywriters that the natural gut reaction can sometimes be a fib, told to look good. Or at least a not-so-thought-through response that doesn’t represent the whole truth.
So you ask again…
If our roles were reversed, would you be emphatic about spending money, putting this out to the market — knowing that if it’s not up to snuff, that money is coming out of your bank account?
That’s when you’re met with, “Well… Maybe there’s a few opportunities to punch it up a bit…”
Don’t feel too bad — I’ve been guilty of this too.
But ultimately, whether you’re dispensing advice and work product to clients, or doing it for yourself, your goal must be to create something you’d put your own money on the line for…
This is why I believe…
Every copywriter and marketing consultant needs a side project!
Frankly, software and the internet have made this so easy, it’s pretty inexcusable to not do it.
If you have the capability to use Microsoft Word… If you have the capability to be reading this essay… You can probably figure out how to make a simple website that sells things.
There are some initial costs, sure — but that’s what we’re talking about, isn’t it?
Find a product to sell, or create one. You have a TON of options.
Create a website. Create the marketing. Build the basic systems. Think about how you’re going to get website visitors, and how you’ll convert them once they’re there.
Communicate with customers. Do customer service. Deal with fulfillment issues.
Measure your profitability. Tweak things to make the business more profitable. Enjoy the excess cash.
Buy advertising. Again, put your own money on the line. (Good news: with pay-per-click ads online you can risk a few bucks at a time, when you used to have to risk hundreds or thousands.)
Realize there are a lot of things you don’t know. Make mistakes.
Learn the lessons only failure and loss will make salient.
Put your book learnin’ and what you get from these essays to good use. Go dig for more information and ideas, and come up with some of your own.
Maybe even hire service providers like yourself, for things you’re better off outsourcing. Realize there are a lot of big promises made, and never fulfilled on. Realize that most service providers don’t actually believe in their work enough that they’d invest in it.
In short, suffer all the slings and arrows of entrepreneurship and actually putting your money on the line to try to grow a business.
This is your single-best investment of time, money, or resources into your business education…
There’s no better way to learn about building a business than doing it, even if it only ever amounts to a few hundred or a few thousand dollars worth of income every month.
This will be a far better business education than an MBA.
Your skills will very quickly rise above those of anyone who is unwilling to do this.
You will understand what it really takes to create profitable marketing, and a profitable business.
You’ll also make — but in making, learn to avoid — a million mistakes.
In the end, you’ll become a much better marketer.
This is why Gary saying these things about Dan was such a high compliment.
This is a huge part of why I am where I am today, in the amount clients are willing to invest in me.
And whether you want to go on to build a full business yourself or prefer the freelancer/consultant lifestyle, this is still something you absolutely should do.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,