Success Story:
How My First Real Assignments Will Pull in $28,000

My background is sales and marketing. Recently, I decided to change my career. I needed to improve my writing skills to make the change, so I enrolled in AWAI’s copywriting program.

I finished the Accelerated program and, to further hone my skills, I’ve enrolled in the Master’s program. But I couldn’t wait. I wanted to get started building clients right away.

So I fished through a drawer full of business cards I’d saved over the years. (See today’s Quick Tip.) Each week, I mailed out 10 letters of introduction, and followed them up with phone calls. One was to a former employer.

After listening to my story, he asked if I could do something to help him bring in more distributors. (A full line distributor in his business averages $250,000 in annual purchases of products for resale.) Soon after that, I sent him a plan.

The program I designed targeted high-level decision makers in prospective distributorships. It consisted of five promotional packages sent out every two weeks with a phone call following each one. The mailers contained a product-related item, some preexisting literature, and my sales letter. The five mailers and follow-up phone calls were intended to educate prospects about my client’s product line and assess their interest level.

The goal of the program was to set up face-to-face meetings between the targeted prospects’ decision makers, and my client’s sales reps. The initial prospecting package mailed to 30 potential retailers in the Ohio-Indiana-Illinois area.

The promotion went far better than expected. After the fourth mailing, we eliminated prospects who had no interest in the presentation. Our fifth and final mailing resulted in six prospect/client meetings – a 20% response rate.

Of these six, two have become distributors (a 6.7% conversion), and two more are looking good (which would bring the conversion rate to over 13%).

I recently returned from a meeting in Minneapolis where we had a retrospective discussion of the program. My client was more than pleased with the results, and wants to replicate the program three times in 2005. Some package improvements will be made, but everyone thought the letters were great, and didn’t want to change a thing about them. (Thank you, AWAI!)

All those present concluded that the educational and selling efforts of the promotion were the equivalent of 3 to 4 "in person" sales calls. This is a great savings to my client, because most of his sales reps have to travel to meet with prospects – and this involves airfare, hotels, rental cars, and meals.

I negotiated $17,500 for this promotion, including $7,500 for copywriting (5 four-page letters at $1,500 per letter), $4,500 for package creation, and a $5,500 management fee. (The management fee was for 11 days spent in Minneapolis setting up protocols for executing the program.)

I’ve also negotiated a fee of $3,500 for each of the next 3 program refinements.

My client said he’d spent "tons of money" with marketing agencies, yet none of them produced results this good. I suspect he will become a permanent client, and there will be many opportunities for both of us in the future.

I wrote this piece for The Golden Thread to encourage you to take the initiative in finding clients. Be bold and be imaginative. When you find a client, be reasonable about what you charge. My client stands to make between $500,000 and $1 million dollars in sales from this first promotion – and even more from subsequent ones. So my fees are more than fair.

Be fair to yourself too … and be patient. I started on the low side for a sales letter ($1,500 each), and made sure I charged fairly for other parts of the promo. As my successes build, I can charge more for my work. But I need the references first.

Be sure to study your work carefully. I’m proof that these concepts REALLY work. And if you want to be super-successful, make an additional commitment to yourself. Enroll in one of AWAI’s advanced programs, like I have. Or attend a Bootcamp. The time and money you spend will come back to you many times over.

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 »


Click to Rate:
Average: 4.0
Published: January 24, 2005

2 Responses to “Success Story: How My First Real Assignments Will Pull in $28,000”

  1. You must be on your way to be a successful copywriter. I just finished my first web site and hope it goes well. I just purhased the masters program before I finished the accelerated course. It is interesting. I have to make my portforlio up of the writings I did. As you can tell I am new at this and seem a little lost at times but your story helps me bring out the impulse to get back to work and keeptrying.

    ChaneaMarch 2, 2010 at 11:29 pm

  2. thanks for sharing

    Guest (whitney)April 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)