Former Pastor Finds Freedom as a Copywriter

For some people, it's the monotony and boredom of their 9-to-5 job and commute that bring about a desire for a career transition.

But for Eddie Stephens, his job was anything but monotonous or boring. The work was meaningful, took him to different places, and was certainly not 9-to-5. In fact, he enjoyed it.

Yet, after over 25 years working as a pastor, he realized that the time for change had come.

"I had to keep the plates spinning and be on the job all the time, tethered to the responsibility that goes with that," recalls Eddie. "I was having to fly at such a high altitude on a day-to-day basis that I was really struggling to get air. And I said to myself, 'Hey, maybe it's time for a change.'"

Having Faith to Make Change

One day, Eddie stumbled upon a worn and well-thumbed book on the subject of earning a living as a copywriter.

Intrigued by the possibility of actually making money by writing, Eddie wanted to know more. And as American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI) was listed as a top resource at the back of the book, he signed up to their free mailing list.

When a promotion for AWAI's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting landed in his mailbox, it triggered Eddie's career transition.

"When I read that letter, I couldn't put it down and couldn't sleep," he reflects. "I thought, 'I've got to do something with this.'"

Eddie performed due diligence to verify the credibility of AWAI – and his online research confirmed that their team of contributors were indeed independently successful freelance writers. Realizing that this was the golden opportunity for the career transition he was seeking, he ordered The Accelerated Program and immersed himself totally in the content the day it arrived.

While copywriting might seem like an unusual pivot for a pastor, Eddie had always enjoyed writing. And besides, in writing sermons, he had already developed baseline skills in writing and persuasion. For Eddie, those skills translated very nicely into copywriting.

But AWAI taught him even more.

"I already knew how to get inside people's heads. But what I was learning from AWAI was how to really turn that volume up," says Eddie.

The Best Decision of His Career – Inspired by Bootcamp

Eddie was hungry to put what he was learning into practice. So even while still studying the program, he was already reaching out to prospective clients and building a fledgling freelance copywriting business.

Meanwhile, he had left the pastoral ministry and started working part-time in the dental practice where his wife was employed. It was there that he first applied his writing skills to dental copywriting – helping his employer with direct mail campaigns, email, and various other marketing strategies.

With his freelance income and part-time employment, Eddie was now making a full-time living as a copywriter. But things were about to get even better.

Eddie then attended his first AWAI live event – the annual FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. It was there that he received the personal recommendation and the inspiration to focus on a copywriting niche – leading him to seize the opportunity to specialize as a dental industry copywriter.

It was a decision that was to lead Eddie to the lifestyle freedom that he truly desired.

Today, Eddie considers AWAI's Bootcamp and the Circle Of Success (COS) – AWAI's lifetime access to mentors, advanced training, skill-building and business-building resources, and more – as game changers in his journey through career transition.

"Bootcamp's about the connections, the relationships," he says. "Every time I go to Bootcamp, it's like a homecoming. When you get around people who are actually in the trenches, working copywriters – whether they are the masters that are on the stage or the people just getting started – you see that there are actually people doing this at a level that you may never have thought of. So the investment in Circle of Success was just a slam dunk, you know? I viewed that as an investment in my new career. As my wife said to me, 'If you're serious about this, honey, you need to do it.'"

An In-Demand Dental Copywriter

Eddie's switch to niche writing in the dental industry enabled him to accelerate the growth of his business. With the help of AWAI's COS resources and programs, and with Bootcamp connections, he built his website and developed his niche business with an organic growth strategy based on compelling content.

With that strategy, dental companies have found him online. Writing both B2B and B2C copy, Eddie is very much in demand with companies that target dental offices, as well as dental offices that target consumers.

Today, Eddie works exclusively as a freelancer, crafting compelling direct mail, ebooks, email content, website content, blog posts, and social media content.

"I've worked with clients all over the world. People see me as a person who can provide copy specifically in the dental industry," says Eddie. "If you know the industry and know their language, if you're adept at researching and getting to know who you're writing for and to, it doesn't matter whether you're a technical expert in that area or not."

Freedom: How Eddie Defines Success

It's said that once a pastor, always a pastor – and yes, Eddie is still very much active in his faith. But a journey through life can take various twists and turns too.

Today, he is still exerting a positive influence in people's lives, through persuasive, compelling, and useful content in his niche. And as a freelance copywriter, he has at least matched or even exceeded his pastor's income.

But for Eddie, it's not solely about the money.

It's about the freedom.

Freedom to be his own boss and have unfettered working hours. Freedom to have time to support and to be with the ones he loves most – his wife, children, and grandchildren. And sure, freedom for some vacation time out on the beach too!

"For me, freedom is probably the greatest benefit. It's the ability to work where I want, when I want. If I make a lot of money, great. But it's the freedom – the ability that if I want to, I can."

Eddie’s Tips For Copywriters

  • Copywriting is business – Even if you're doing copywriting on the side, you've got to think like a business owner.
  • Research is everything – Sometimes, just one little nugget of fresh information can inspire you to say something in a totally original way.
  • Avoid perfection syndrome – Writing a first draft is not difficult – if you avoid perfection. It's the editing and revision that take work. Just get the copy down first.
  • Get verified – AWAI training and verification give immediate credibility, demonstrating that you have put in the work and commitment that it takes to be a successful copywriter.

Ready to pursue your own definition of success?

Learn more about the program that kicked off Eddie’s career,
The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

Case Study:
Eddie Stephens
cos logo icon

“For me, freedom is probably the greatest benefit. It's the ability to work where I want, when I want. If I make a lot of money, great. But it's the freedom – the ability that if I want to, I can. ”

Eddie Stephens
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Former Career:
How He Got His First Client:
A church member who happened to work in marketing engaged Eddie to write brochure copy for a home security system.

Download a Print Version