Interview With AWAI Student Christine Cavaliero
Christine Cavaliero is living the writer's life. It's been less than two years since she successfully completed AWAI's copywriting program – and now she's making more money than ever, she's her own boss, and the thought of going back to the 9-to-5 rat race is out of the question.
We caught up with Christine in her Connecticut office while she was awaiting a call from a client in the Caribbean.
TGT: Christine, how is your post-course life going?
CC: Wonderful! I can't understand why more people don't choose to do this for a living.
TGT: Why did you decide to pursue your own career rather than work for a traditional company?
CC: I came to one of those defining moments in my life. It was Christmas 2001, and I'd just been laid off. The company I was working for offered to relocate me, but it would've meant a big commute. So I was thinking, "Do I want continue this same old routine, or am I finally going to break out and go for my own thing?" I went for it, because I believed that being my own boss in the long run would work out much better – both financially and emotionally. I said to myself, "Why make someone else rich? Why not create something for ME?"
TGT: What attracted you to the Michael Masterson program?
CC: In a sense, AWAI spoke to me. The promotion asked if I could write a letter like the example. I thought, "Yeah, I can do that." Then, when I went through the lessons, I found that a lot of the info was very thorough. It showed me where I was lacking. I realized that what I needed most was practice.
TGT: Were there any lessons that helped more than others?
CC: "The Myth of You" was very good. It made me realize just how self-serving most bad writing is. Now, I can easily spot the bad writers who just focus on themselves and how amazing their products are. On the other hand, I can also pick out great copy that engages the reader and makes him the center of attention.
I especially appreciated learning about copywriting emotions ("The Myth of 'Fear' and 'Greed' … and What Really Makes Us Tick"). I didn't realize there were so many emotions. Knowing about them gives me and my writing much greater depth.
TGT: You recently landed your biggest client. How did you do it?
CC: Yes, I recently started working with an Internet-based client that does almost $600 million in sales a year producing educational e-books.
First, I did some work for them on spec. They liked what they saw – and checked out my website, where I describe my services. Then they gave me a test project, which was pretty good pay – and then a second project that paid even better. The best part was that after that job was completed, they referred me to four additional clients!
TGT: Now that's a great client! Where did you find them?
CC: I belong to a website called WriterFind.com. They post work for writers in all areas. I highly recommend it. The client read my profile there, and then contacted me.
TGT: What do you like most about your new professional and personal lifestyle?
CC: I love the schedule – there's no punching a clock. I can work as hard or as long as I want to. And I have a family, so I can spend more time with them and watch my kids grow up.
TGT: Do you have any advice for beginning copywriters?
CC: Yes. If you like copywriting, stick with it. It won't be easy at first, but it will get easier if you practice a lot. That's probably the most important thing – practice a lot. And the more you work at it, the better you will become.
And get out there and network – that's critical. If you really want work, you need to go out and tell everyone what you do. You never know who's looking for a service like yours. In addition to WriterFind.com, I belong to two formal networking groups in my hometown. Groups like these really help enormously.
TGT: In closing, is there anything that you would like to add?
CC: If you decide to "go for it," you're going to hear people say that you can't do it. Don't listen to them. Remember, you're doing this for you. I did it, and my income grew exponentially because of it. Don't let anyone steal your dreams.
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