AWAI Member, Paul Lawrence, Tells Us How He Went from Basic Copywriter to Business Partner in Just Two Years
AWAI member Paul Lawrence is a very busy copy and screenplay writer. He started our copywriting course nearly two years ago and finished in a little over two months. Since then, Paul has continued to work through our Masters program…has completed several paid assignments…and is now partnering with a multi-million dollar direct mail company to launch a course for men to improve their lives. We spoke with Paul one evening to find out more.
TGT: Paul, tell us something about yourself. What did you do before you took up copywriting?
PL: I've had a lot of different jobs. I've been a ballroom dance instructor for the last 10 years. I've also repossessed household appliances and jewelry and worked as a clerk in a video store.
About two years ago, I signed up for the copywriting course because I was looking for a way to make some extra money. And though I still teach dance part-time it's because I really enjoy it. My writing income greatly exceeds the income from my dancing business.
TGT: You got through the basic course in just two months then what did you do?
PL: Right. (I think I set a record.) I studied very hard. I did a sample package in the basic course that was very well received. I then went on to the Masters program and even had the opportunity to work with a mentor at AWAI.
I landed some simple copywriting assignments – which led to more high-paying jobs. Then, as a direct result of contacts I made from my copywriting clients, I was offered the chance to partner with some big players in the direct mail business.
The courses opened my eyes to the power of persuasion and helped me understand the role human nature plays in the selling process. Although copywriting is a non-interactive form of selling – it's still selling.
TGT: You're writing screenplays as well as copy. Tell us about that.
PL: Actually, I was pursuing a career as a screenwriter before I started copywriting – but some of the skills I picked up in the copywriting course helped me become much more successful in the screenplay business. As any working writer in Hollywood will tell you, merely writing a good (or even excellent) screenplay is maybe one-third of what it takes. The other two-thirds center around marketing yourself and knowing how to get your foot in the door.
TGT: How else has copywriting affected your life?
PL: Copywriting gave me more confidence in myself and my abilities. After taking the courses, I felt that I could convince anybody of anything.
TGT: Sounds like you're pretty busy. Tell us more about the partnership you have with the direct mail company and the product you're about to launch.
PL: I'm launching a course for men to improve their lives. We're going to mail the promotion in the next few days and we're pretty sure it's going to hit a homerun.
TGT: What do you like best about your copywriting career?
PL: I am the master of my own destiny. I make the decisions about what I need to do to advance my career. I get to make my own hours…I love having that control.
TGT: What advice would you give to our copywriting members?
PL: The best advice I can give is to stick with the AWAI system until you're really ready to go out on your own. Then I recommend you do what I did – Once you finish the basic course, move on to an advanced course that offers some kind of mentoring. Because, despite the confidence I had after completing the basic course, it was the mentoring opportunity in the advanced course that really made the difference for me.
Also, be willing to do the work first and then make the money. Convince people that you can deliver the goods. If you want a particular client, write a package for their product on spec. Then contact them and let them know you can make some money for them.
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