From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Knowing When You’re Ready

Three interesting emails this week – a question from a member who isn’t sure if she is ready to take on a paying assignment, a quick "hello" from a graphic-design member in the UK, and a note from a member who’s on her way to a career in copywriting.

First up, the question… from Rosemary Z:

"Scott, I have spent hours searching countless sites for writing gigs. I went onto and found a query that I am very interested in. I am just about done with Basic and I am 4-5 months into the Masters program. Vitamin assignment was just sent in for critique. Am I ready to try something in the real world?"

– Rosemary Z.

Hi, Rosemary. Before answering your question, I looked you up in our database (I hope you don’t mind), and it appears that you have indeed been working diligently on both of those programs… and that you’re coming to Bootcamp in October. I’m guessing that you are chomping at the bit to turn your last year of academic cultivation into a fulfilling, profitable career. But I’m also guessing (from the way you posed your question) that you’re being overly cautious about taking that first big step.

It’s difficult for me to say without a doubt what you are ready for… but don’t make the mistake that many people make and wait until you think you’re 100% prepared before you answer a query that looks interesting.

In other words, "Ready, Fire, Aim!" (By now, you’ve seen these three words at least once in ETR or The Golden Thread.) You are clearly Ready to flap your copywriting wings… so Fire! Try it. See what happens. At the very least, it will be a learning experience – one that will help you Aim your next shot.

Point is, you may be able to write a very good promo right now… but you won’t know for sure unless you try. Taking that leap of faith worked for Anita (above), Elaine (below), and a long list of other members-who-are-now-working-freelancers.

Remember, you have the full resources of the Accelerated program and the Masters program available to you right now. If landing your first paid job turns out to be tougher than you expected, we offer a coaching program that is designed to help you accomplish some very specific goals. Many of our members have used it to get a handle on a tough assignment. You can read more about the coaching program here:

And here’s a "hello" to us all from Kate…

"Hi everyone! I received my first [graphic design] program materials less than a week ago, and was so impressed that I called up and paid for the rest of the program immediately. I’m just waiting for it to land on my doorstep!

"I’ve been in business for six years as a Web designer and programmer, and heard about the program from a freelance writers’ newsletter I subscribe to. Since I signed up for the program a few weeks ago, I’ve been lurking on the forums… and I thought it was about time I introduced myself. So, hi – I’m Kate. I’m in the UK and I’m a graphic designer!"

– Kate

Hi, Kate. Nice to meet you. I think you will be very happy with the rest of the program as well. Keep in touch with us through Member Services and the Member Forum, and let us know. I mentioned in an earlier issue of The Golden Thread that we hired Kristin (a graphic-design specialist) to help us develop even more quality programs for graphic designers. At the top of her list are programs that teach desktop publishing and web design. I’m sure she would be interested in your feedback too.

Finally, here’s Elaine B.’s success story…

"Scott, I’ve been taking the AWAI 6-fig program for several months now, and really enjoy it. I wanted to get some side income before I finish up. I received a direct-mail piece from a local realtor, who was promoting his site. I went to it, and blah. Boring and blah. I emailed him on ways that I could write copy to improve it, as well as do some design. (Have done design in my career…)

"To be honest, I really did it just to see if I would get a response. It was an experiment. And guess what? He responded. We are meeting to discuss details tomorrow. He wants to redo his entire site!"

– Elaine B.

Great job Elaine! This is a perfect example of how to get started as a copywriter. You approached a potential client with a friendly, benefit-oriented email. You offered him something of value for nothing – and in return, he gave you a chance to prove your skill. Let us know how it turns out.

Thanks to one and all. Keep those emails coming!


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: May 16, 2005

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