More of What You Need to Make Your New Writing Career Pay Off

In my last article, I gave you a checklist for successful copywriter training. Five things you MUST do to succeed:

  1. Read one piece of direct mail daily.
  2. Become a marketing sponge.
  3. Feed your brain morning to night.
  4. Write even when you can't.
  5. Do everything you can to get a mentor. Yesterday.

I hope you included all five in your list of New Year's resolutions. If you didn't, consider this message a second chance.

But consider this, too.

I recently asked a few other successful direct-mail writers and marketers what they would add to the list. They came back with some excellent recommendations. And today, I'm going to share them with you.

The first comes from friend Deeba Jaffri.

Deeba is the kind of person you'll get to know during your career. She spent many years as a successful marketing manager for a financial newsletter. Now, she's making it on her own, consulting professionally for all kinds of direct marketers. Her specialty is hiring good copywriters.

What does she look for? According to Deeba: "Unless you're on staff, it's key for new copywriters to keep clients happy. Simple. But I'd say that's a pretty important ingredient for success!"

Good point. So what makes a client happy? Meeting deadlines. Being agreeable to suggestions. And most of all, writing copy that leads to big profits. We'll touch on each of these in future issues of The Golden Thread.

In the meantime, here's another key suggestion – this time from California copywriter and author David Garfinkel: "Get some first-hand sales experience. Like old Zig Ziglar, I've sold cookware door-to-door. Today, I sell my products in person as well as through direct marketing. And, of course, I sell my services as a freelance copywriter …"

GREAT point. I met a promising copywriter at one of AWAI's Florida bootcamps. He told me that he got the best part of his education by selling Bibles door-to-door. Fascinating guy.

And, in fact, dozens of great copywriters earn their chops selling door-to-door, on a showroom floor, or over the phone.

But Wait, There's More …

Here's some great advice from my friend Porter Stansberry. Porter has written only marketing copy for about three years. But he's had blockbuster success, both professionally and personally. What's his secret? He shares below:

"The top five things I had to have to make it as copywriter," says Porter, "are …

  1. "The ability to tell a great story (which comes from lots of reading). I know what good copy 'sounds' like because I have 'heard' it a million times before. It's like swimming: You will not find your stroke until you've practiced for years. The only shortcut to great writing is spending your whole life reading. So it's not really a shortcut. Do you know how to tell a story? If not, spent a lot more time reading great stories.
  2. " giant chip on my shoulder. I'm used to feeling like I'm going to fail and I'm determined to never let the bastards win. Ogilvy had the same thing. This allows you to work harder than others, to be more stubborn than others, and to form definitive opinions about important matters when others would hedge their bets.
  3. "A genuine eagerness to learn new things. There's almost nothing I'm not willing to learn more about.
  4. "An understanding of the different nuances of an argument. You have to be able to tell the difference between what's necessary and what's convincing. They are frequently not the same thing. And if you've got the part that's really convincing, what was necessary might not be anymore.
  5. "The assistance of lots of SUPER smart people. Great writing requires great ideas. No one can think of everything himself. Share your copy. And appropriate good ideas wherever you find them."

There you have it.

If you're at all serious about making money as a copywriter, I hope you'll take some of these suggestions to heart. They're time-tested. They work. And they'll make your future a heck of a lot more enjoyable.

One last point: I hope you'll also consider applying for AWAI's Guaranteed Success Program.

I know, I know … that sounds like a pretty naked pitch. But you'll notice that I don't make a habit of pitching services I don't believe in. And I assure you, the AWAI program is something that's easy to endorse. Why?

I've worked with AWAI's programs as a mentor many times before. But even as a teacher, I still walk away with new ideas and new information.

With the Guaranteed Success Program, the effect is amplified. You work side-by-side with some of the best writers in the industry. You get coursework and telephone consultations, so you're never left wondering what comes next.

Will it be everything you expect? Frankly, I couldn't imagine a better way to accelerate your rate of success. But, heck – it's a "Guaranteed Success" program. That means if you qualify for this program, AWAI will guarantee you an assignment of $1000 or more and they'll stick with you until you get it. Not even Harvard can offer you that kind of risk-free guarantee.

Anyway, I'm not the one you'd talk to if you're at all interested. Instead, talk to my friend Louis. He can fill you in on all the details. Give him a call at 561-278-5557.

How could you go wrong if your success is absolutely guaranteed?

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: January 14, 2002

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