Create Opportunities with MacGyver-like Resourcefulness
Almost 30 years ago, the TV show MacGyver premiered. You remember secret agent MacGyver, don’t you? His incredible resourcefulness and endless scientific knowledge allowed him to solve complex problems using simple everyday objects and a little ingenuity.
For example, in the first episode, he used a bent paper clip to stop a missile timer. And later he smashed a pair of binoculars so he could use a prism to deflect a laser beam.
It didn’t take long for TV viewers to become fascinated with the character.
Over the course of seven seasons, MacGyver’s superhuman abilities kept fans intrigued. And, to this day, the name MacGyver is used synonymously with the idea of being resourceful.
Hi, I’m Linda Wilkinson, and as a freelance writer, I’ve had to develop MacGyver-like resourcefulness to create my own writing opportunities. No, I can’t stop missiles or deflect laser beams, but I can find new clients and creatively solve challenges with some simple tools and resources that are available to all copywriters.
Before I reveal what’s in my personal toolkit, let me show you some of the most common tools MacGyver used to help him solve complex, and often life-threatening, problems:
- MacGyver’s most famous tool was his Swiss Army knife. He used it for everything from picking locks to hotwiring elevators and everything in between.
- MacGyver regularly used duct tape to build all sorts of useful objects out of everyday items … like a periscope from bus mirrors.
- MacGyver’s extensive knowledge of science, technology and outdoorsmanship set him apart from the less memorable TV heroes from the 80s and early 90s.
- MacGyver’s ingenuity, when coupled with his science know-how and his trusty tools, allowed him to solve one life-and-death crisis after another.
So, how does MacGyver’s toolkit compare to mine? You’ll find out each day this week as I discuss the resourceful copywriter’s most common tools – and compare them to MacGyver’s top four tools.
For today, start getting in touch with your inner MacGyver. Write out any challenges you’re facing as you build your copywriting business. What MacGyver-like tools do you think you’ll need to address those challenges?
Please take a moment to share your ideas with me in the comments.
And tomorrow, I’ll tell you about my top copywriting tool, which can be as handy as a Swiss Army knife …
The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter
The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »
The world would end without duct tape. Nice article Linda. I'm looking forward to the rest of them.
Chris B –
I have always wanted to write. Now, this is my opportunity. I need you to help me out on how to be a good copywriter and also get clients!
Guest (GANIYU) –
Thanks for your feedback, Chris. I hope you find this week's suggestions helpful.
Read the rest of this week's series for more suggestions on how to develop your copywriting skills and gain clients, Ganiyu. I would love to hear your feedback at the end of the week.
Hey Linda, great article.
My challenge is trust in myself, and I am working on that by taking action; learning and doing what is required in full faith that it will all work out perfectly.
I visualize myself as an extremely successful direct sales and web content copywriter; feel the feeling of that, and hold the feeling-tone of that picture, and I KNOW that is where I am heading.
Guest (Elvire) –
Oh boy! I introduced my sons to MacGyver about a year ago. They are hooked.
The MacGyver-like tool I need is a time machine, but I don't think he ever pulled that one off. I'm burning the candle at both ends to keep up with my 4 kids, business building, and writing. I'm looking forward to channeling my inner MacGyver with your help!
Karen G –
MacGyver certainly personified the 4U's in spades.
Guest (Bob Royer) –
Hi Linda, How do you think I can use this MacGyver's incredible resourcefulness and endless scientific knowledge to get my first client and beyond? I'm ready, set and waiting for the tip to go!!! :):):)
My problem is trying to get through the Accelerated Copywriting Program. I am a slow typist. Never had a lesson in my life and never thought about it until I go here and realized that Writing meant Typing.
The next problem is my handwriting is worse than my typing. These two together slow me down to a crawl at times. Can't think what MacGyver would do about those problems. I cannot seem to get to the point of actually copy writing but my Restaurant letter was not received with smiles and compliments so I am anxious to get to the point where I can practice it more. I am of space on this little comment box so will look forward to talking with you tomorrow Linda.
Bob Thrall –
Elvire, visualizing success is the first step. Then comes the work! I'll share more about that this week.
Hi Linda! That was one of my favorite shows. I am a newbie, working my way through one of the programs right now. My chosen niche is B2B, for the variety of possible projects. At this point, I would say that my most MacGycer like quality is my determination. It's hard to convince me that I can't do something. I am also learning about thinking outside the box. It's fun to see how many ways I can come up with to do something.
Karen G., it's definitely a challenge to be a freelance writer/business owner while caring for children. Allow yourself the time you need to develop your skills and find the right opportunities for you. I hope my tips on creating your own opportunities will help this week.
Yes, that's true, Bob. Are these the four Us you are talking about? Urgent, useful, unique and ultra-specific?
Cecalli, the tips this week will focus on your resourcefulness and copywriting knowledge (although scientific knowledge is helpful in some niches). Glad you're ready to get started!
Let's see. What would MacGyver do in your situation? Practice typing with a typing program? Although, as you know, there are lots of benefits to writing out the direct mail letters included in the Accelerated Copywriting Program.
Let me know what you think after tomorrow's resourceful tip.
Well i usually get demotivated. But inorder to motivate myself to write sometimes i use the tool called the mobile phone to call the AWAI staff. They are great motivators, nice, polite kind and willing to help.
Guest (Timothy) –
That's good to hear, Timothy. Writing is such a solitary profession, so it helps to have a support group.
I am a new AWAI member...just speed-read the 6-figure program....now I am going back to read it and do the exercises.... am I really supposed to hand-write the letter? I prefer to type it. (lousy handwriting means I type everything)....am I defeating a learning principle by typing?
Look forward to rest of your article series... especially the...'do this..because' reason.
Guest (Joseph) –
It is recommended to write the sales letters out as a "copywriting workout." To quote the program, "I credit my fast success to reading, copying, and re-copying dozens of winning promotions. It gave me an immediate grasp of the feel and tone good, strong copy should have" (written by Paul Hollingshead). If you have any specific questions about the assignments, you can contact AWAI at (866)879-2924 (US toll free) or (561) 278-5557.
I almost cannot wait to read this weeks toolkit, Linda! My challenge is commitment. I'm terrible at it. Also, focus. I easily stray. But I do sense myself getting closer to just doing it, like Nike says! Thanks to AWAI's articles like this one! My heartfelt thanks to all of you guys encouragement at AWAI! I think B2B is calling me…?
I think the biggest challenge is that within; releasing the old for the new. Maya Angelou said it best,"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
Guest (Nette) –
The always ever present challenge is dealing with living on a fixed income and when the money runs out you sit at home and stare out the window. The next major challenge is my wife's impatience with my being at home so much now that I am retired. And the third most frustrating issue I have to deal with is having so much time on my hands without any idea of what to do. I drive around town aimlessly, go to the library and use their computer even though I have one at home.
Guest (David C) –
Karen B. Good to know that there are some MacGyver fans along for the ride this week. I think determination and thinking outside the box are valuable qualities to help you succeed as a freelance writer.
Everyday, a challenge or obstacle surfaces that requires a "mental" MacGyver tool...learning and writing everyday, will provide the tools and ingenuity to share with your valued clients. Thus your career will be launched.
Very nice subject and I anxiously look forward to "borrowing" some of your MacGyver tools!
i am transitioning from 9=5 go to job to a work at home career due to disabilities, where do I start?
Guest (cindy) –
Soarbolde, I'm happy to hear that you are looking forward to the articles I've written for The Writer's Life this week. I agree that commitment is a big obstacle for freelancers, but when you set goals with deadlines and have specific tactics to reach those goals, it makes it easier to stay committed.
Nette, I love that Maya Angelou quote. Thanks for sharing it!
David C., freelance writing sounds like it would be a good option for you. I hope you find the MacGyver-inspired suggestions helpful this week.
Juan, you are so right! And you don't have to return my MacGyver tools, but I would love to hear how they help you with your writing goals.
Cindy, that's a good question. I hope my "MacGyver-like" copywriting tools this week will help you get started.
I think it would help my compulsion to read every e-mail I get (for fear of missing some good tip), if everything from AWAI came in one communique. I get so many e-mails, even just clicking on the trashcan for many of them--not because I don't want to read but only by ruthlessly choosing not to read--leaves me still overwhelmed.
Kathy G., you can also read The Writer's Life articles at awaionline.com.
Great article Linda! I'm looking forward to reading this week's toolkit.
Guest (Dee) –
Thanks, Dee. I hope you find the rest of the articles helpful.
Guest (Linda) –