Success Story:
How AWAI Student Vicky Heron Approached and Landed Her First Big Client

Vicky Heron started out working as a secretary, but then she discovered she wasn't very fond of the corporate scene. So, in 1999, she completely changed her life. She moved from Houston to Denton, Texas to be with her future husband, and she started her own office-support business. Vicky worked as a contract instructor at a local junior college, teaching Microsoft Office and QuickBooks courses to students, as well as giving private instruction in her home office. She handled resumes, newsletters, marketing postcards, database construction and management, and PowerPoint presentations. Her business took off – and, in 2000, she made more money than she had ever made before. But her business took a big hit after 9/11/01. That's when she started focusing on copywriting.

TGTE: Vicky, you started the AWAI copywriting course in July 2001. What was the attraction?

VH: When I received the "Can You Write a Letter Like This" letter in the mail, I was fascinated. I'd always wanted to write, but I thought that meant you had to write books – and I did not know where to start.

So when I read AWAI's letter, I decided to go for it! I attended my first bootcamp that September and immediately signed up for the Masters course and coaching. I wanted to get this career going as fast as possible. I literally gave up most of my personal life for two years to get where I am today. My husband, Bob, was totally behind me and believed in me even when I had doubts.

TGTE: Tell us about your first few writing assignments.

VH: Beth Erickson and I have become close friends and we support each other all the time. When an advertising agency that helps dentists market themselves contacted her to do press releases and articles, they also wanted her to have some freelancers on her team to help with the workload. I wrote several press releases for them and then did some ghostwriting for one very prolific dentist. Through this experience, I learned how to interview people and write stories about them. I wrote two articles … one for "Northwest Dentistry" and a feature article for "Dental Economics." This opportunity not only gave me some real items to put in my portfolio, it also really boosted my confidence.

TGTE: You recently contacted Joe Vitale about writing for him. Tell us about that.

VH: Joe Vitale … now THIS is a subject I love to talk about! After the articles and press releases I had done for the advertising agency, I felt ready to go forward and get some copywriting work. My coach, Denise Ford, told me to be willing to start at the bottom and work up. Maybe even do a spec assignment "gratis" to get started. So I did just that.

First, I called a successful copywriter in the Dallas area. We had a very nice conversation, and he said he would put me on his list of writers if he was overloaded. I sent him samples of my work and a "thank you" for spending time with me.

By now, I had my nerve up. Since I have admired Joe Vitale's style for a long time, I picked up the phone and called him. After all, he is also a fellow "Texas guy." His line was busy, so I decided to write him an e-mail. I sent him four samples of my writing and made him an offer he could not refuse.

I was shocked when, within an hour, he replied with a proposition for me. WOW! He wanted to know if I'd write a sales letter to put on his website for a new audio series he was going to introduce. And he wanted to know if I would do it free in exchange for an endorsement and possibly more work from him. My gut said "Go for it." But, first, I called Denise to run it by her. She agreed with my gut, so I wrote Joe right back and said I'd be glad to. He gave me a 3-week lead-time and a private link where I could listen to his audio series.

TGTE: What happened next?

VH: Well, before I even finished my first project for Joe, he wanted to know if I'd be willing to rewrite a promotion for one of his favorite clients. Her sales just were not coming in. Her website was getting traffic, plenty of it, but no sales. I called Denise, and we talked over the terms he was offering. Once again, she said what my gut said: "Accept his offer."

Now, the dam is bursting. I've written the copy for and . Both are now live on the Internet. Joe also invited me to join his organization – the Hypnotic Marketing Institute. So now you can go to and see my picture and bio as an executive board member.

My head is spinning!

TGTE: What are you working on now?

VH: As of today, I have a website to rewrite for one of Joe's clients, a workbook to write for another one of his clients, and he just informed me that he is going to hold his first-ever "Joe Vitale Super Summit" in Austin on January 15-18 – and he wants ME to write the copy for the website promoting it. He gave me a few details today, and it sounds like it will be quite an event. Knowing Joe, it will be incredible! (That's all I can say for now!)

TGTE: Vicky, what are your future plans?

VH: Honestly? To try to keep up! I've read where some AWAI students before me had more work than they could handle. I always wished I had that problem. But, guess what? Be careful what you wish for! All kidding aside, it's simply incredible, once things start happening. But you have to know you can do it. If, at first, you don't … act as if you do. That's what I did – and now miracles are happening every day.

One of my urgent goals is to generate traffic to my totally remodeled website. You can see it at . I'm also working on an e-zine. Probably will start out monthly, at first. By next summer, I hope to go shopping for the new toy Bob and I want: a cruising catamaran! That's the carrot dangling in front of me.

TGTE: What advice would you give to other copywriting students?

VH: Do the work AWAI tells you to do. Be diligent and focused. You WILL get there. And I would advise all students to run – not walk – to join the coaching program. The coaching was a giant reason I'm successful today. Denise put me light years ahead as far as progress goes. Her coaching was excellent! I give her a lot of credit for the success I'm enjoying today.

It seems like all students go through the "Can I really do this?" phase – and I was no exception. But, as Peter Betuel says, "Never, never, ever give up." So I persevered.

The biggest thing I would like to share with my fellow students is this: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! We all have times of uncertainty – but if you keep charging ahead, you'll get there. Keep your goals in front of you every day. Think positively. When things start to happen, be willing to work with people. Be willing to start out lower and work your way up. It will pay off! If you get just one client with a name like Joe Vitale, you'll have a lot to be grateful for. So, as Joe says … Go for it!

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: October 6, 2003

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