Not Sure How to Get Started? Get Inspiration from These Successful Writers
At some stage in their journey, just about every new copywriter will ask, “Can I really make it as a writer?”
Yes, you can. You just need to take one baby step at a time.
It’s easy at times to be confused by all the choice, and overwhelmed by all the opportunities. And to get discouraged if you feel like you’ve tried everything, but still haven’t gotten your first client yet or you’re not where you want to be.
Well, that’s when it’s time for a dose of inspiration!
Because the easiest shortcut to success is to learn from someone who is where you want to be.
So for inspiration, encouragement, a boost, and ideas for how to move forward from where you are now, check out these stories of everyday people who have created successful writing careers.
Every Writer’s Path Is Different
The AWAI Case Studies page is filled with Member Success Stories.
As you read through them, you’ll notice they have a common thread … persistence.
Every one of these Success Stories is about a now-thriving copywriter. Yet they all had setbacks and self-doubt at the start.
What’s inspiring about these Case Studies is, every person achieved the writer’s life by taking a unique path. Read the stories and you’ll realize every path is different. And their backgrounds are diverse.
There are dancers, teachers, engineers, accountants, parents, military personnel … even a rocket scientist! You don’t need a marketing background or a university degree.
But you do need persistence.
Many were bored with their current job — or it was being phased out. Some needed extra income. Others needed a more flexible schedule to fit with parenting or caring for others.
Others (like me!) wanted the flexibility to travel, while still being able to work remotely.
So if you’re ever feeling a bit flat or discouraged with your progress, then have a read through some of these Case Studies.
They’re an excellent antidote!
And remember, these are everyday people who started out just like you. They all had the same doubts and fears when they were starting out. Yet they stuck with their dreams of the writer’s life and pushed through to success.
You can follow in their footsteps. At the end of each Case Study is a short list of “Tips for Copywriters.” This is where you’ll find some real gold …
Once you read through these Tips for Copywriters, you’ll notice a bunch of common themes. Things like:
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Move on from your mistakes.
- Change your mindset.
- Get a mentor.
- Trust in what you’re doing.
- Be easy to work with.
- Use your network.
- Think like a business owner.
- Make a start.
Every one of these is a powerful message. But two of them stand out …
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
We’re all human and that’s what humans do, right? Well, yes and no.
A little bit of competition can be motivating. However, comparing yourself to others can also be very destructive … what I call the “I’ll never be as good as them” syndrome.
It eats away at your self-esteem.
So what’s the alternative? Set your own goals. Sure, look around and see what successful copywriters are doing. That’s how you learn and grow.
But don’t use their success to confirm what you perceive as your own failures.
Instead, do what’s right for you. Then have the confidence to put your plan into action.
Here’s a real-world example. My wife Peta and I decided to travel around Australia full time. Many of our friends and colleagues were excited for us. But many thought we had lost our minds, and weren’t shy to voice their opinions … behind our backs.
But really, who cares? It’s our lives, not theirs. If we’d have listened to the naysayers, we’d still be stuck in our mundane middle-class lives. We wouldn’t have travelled to some of the most remote places in Outback Australia or lived our dream life on the road or met so many amazing people from all over the world.
And I would never have started copywriting.
Be inspired by what others have accomplished — it means there’s opportunity to succeed. But don’t judge yourself on where they are now. Instead, look at their stories for tactics on how to achieve your own goals … and then move forward on your own journey.
Make a Start
One of the most exciting things about copywriting is the incredible variety of writing opportunities … emails, blogs, content, B2B, direct-response, case studies, SEO, and so on.
But so much variety and potential can spoil you for choice. You can’t decide what to start with.
So you take another course, and another … and never make a start as a copywriter.
Don’t get caught in a learning-only cycle!
The way to get started is to pick a niche, then start searching for clients. You can always change your niche. In fact, you might discover you end up niching-down in something you’d never considered before … simply because a client asked you to write copy in that niche.
Once you get in with a client, you’ll likely go places you’d never considered. For example, I re-wrote a website for a small business. But somehow, six months later, I was writing Google Ads for them!
That was definitely a specialty which had never crossed my mind.
The other barrier to making a start is perfection … “I’m not ready yet” … “I don’t have any samples” … “I need to improve my skills first.”
Let’s call this for what it is. Fear.
We’re afraid to start because we’re terrified of contacting clients, we’re scared of rejection, we’re afraid we won’t be good enough, and so on.
Those are all perfectly valid concerns.
But you can only overcome fear by facing it. Cliché, I know … but true. And it doesn’t need to be a full-on confrontation. You can chip away at it. Try this:
- Choose a niche. If you’d like some inspiration, this Inside AWAI webinar, The #1 Easiest Way to Choose a Copywriting Niche and Start Attracting Well-Paying Clients is packed full of great ideas.
- Decide to contact one new prospect every week for a month, then two new clients every week for a month and so on. This way, you’ll ease into it and refine your prospecting skills. LinkedIn is a gold mine of clients. If you need help making it work for you, this Inside AWAI webinar can help: LinkedIn Now: Best Practices for Getting Great Writing Clients.
- Look for other ways to get started. This Inside AWAI webinar How to Make Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Writer covers a whole variety of ways you can get your first writing gig.
- Write samples. Aim to write one every day or every other day. Choose pages from your dream client’s website and re-write them as samples for prospects. Here’s more about How to Create a Winning Portfolio of Samples If You’re Just Starting a Freelance Writing Career (Even If You’ve Never Had Any Clients!).
- If you’re looking for writing clients? Here are the 10 easiest places to find and land them.
- Celebrate your small successes. You might write down every success or simply pause to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. This is an ideal way to recognize your own achievements. Post your wins, small and big, in AWAI’s Facebook group and enjoy the camaraderie of a supportive community.
Gradually you’ll realize this copywriting gig isn’t as scary as it seems. By chipping away slowly, you’ll be taking baby steps towards your writer’s life and understanding more about the world of copywriting.
Remember the “Why”
And above all, remember the “why” … why you chose to become a copywriter. You knew you wanted to write, and to find a way to earn money from it. You started off with a dream of freedom, of working from home, of spending more time with your family, of traveling, of making more money, or something else.
Always keep your “why” at top of mind. Write it down, then stick it on your wall or your laptop so you see it every day.
And then if you ever feel a bit down or discouraged, take inspiration from those who have come before you.
Read through some of the Member Success Case Studies.
They all started from scratch, just like you. And if they did it, then there’s no reason in the world why you can’t too. Learn from people who are where you want to be — and before you know it, you’ll be the next inspirational story.
Which Member Success Story inspires you the most? Let us know in the comments.
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