What’s Your Defining Moment?

Have you had a defining moment in your life?

In a new program we’re creating with Joe Vitale, “The AWAI Accelerated Income Goals System: A Guaranteed Approach to Perpetually Increasing Success,” Joe talks about one of his defining moments.

It happened when he met Rod Serling.

Serling was famous for hosting “The Twilight Zone” series which ran from 1959 to 1964. On top of writing most of “The Twilight Zone” episodes, he had an impressive string of television writing credits. He also wrote such notable movies as “Seven Days in May” “Requiem for a Heavyweight” and “Planet of the Apes.”

When Vitale was 16, he and a couple of high school buddies, drove to Youngstown Ohio to hear Serling give a talk.

When Serling first came out on stage, Vitale was disappointed.

As many of us often do with people we admire, Vitale had put Serling up on a pedestal. Vitale says “he was a little runt of a guy, very skinny, unshaven, chain smoking and nervous, very human. Very human.”

After Serling’s talk, Vitale had an opportunity to meet him. He asked Serling if he was ever going to write his autobiography.

That’s when Serling said something that Vitale calls “amazing.”

Serling replied “I haven’t achieved anything yet. It wouldn’t be interesting.”

To this day Vitale still gets chills when he thinks how someone, who was such a brilliant writer and had achieved so much, could have such a low self-worth.

For Vitale, Serling’s response was a defining moment.

He realized that although Serling had achieved a tremendous amount in his life (even legendary status) above all he was human.

And he also came to the realization that if Rod Serling could be a successful writer, then maybe Joe Vitale can be one too.

I recently asked three AWAI members about the defining moment (or moments) of their copywriting careers:

“I can make a living at this.”

After being laid off twice due to downturns in the economy, Malcolm Smith decided to take his destiny into his own hand by becoming a freelance copywriter.

For Malcolm, his defining moment came when he received his first check for a promo he wrote. The check was for $2,000.

At that moment, he knew that making a living as a copywriter was indeed possible.

He was confident he could at least double that amount every month and maybe even triple it.

Since then, despite minor fluctuations, his income has been steadily on the rise.

What he loves most about copywriting is that he’s now in control of his career – not some corporation or manager who may not always have his best interest at heart.

Plus Malcolm is a big wildlife fan. Freelancing gives him the flexibility to work as a volunteer at the Palm Beach Zoo and be more active in groups like the Nature Conservancy and Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Arriving” as a copywriter...

Krista Jones points to three occurrences in her career which she describes as defining moments.

Her first defining copywriting moment happened after attending her first bootcamp. It occurred when she received an email from Katie Yeakle letting her know her spec assignment had been accepted.

The second was when she got a chance to write for her dream client “Nightingale Conant.”

And the third was when she was selected to be part of Monthly Copywriting Genius. Krista says …

“Being selected for Monthly Copywriting Genius validated that I had arrived as a copywriter. It was a real honor.”

9 to 5 is not the only option.

My guess is Pam Foster’s defining moment is one many AWAIers share.

For Pam, it happened one evening in April 2005. She arrived home to a big pile of mail.

As she flipped through all the various pieces, one bold headline caught her attention:

“Retire This Year!”

She says it struck her like a lightning bolt. She sat down at her kitchen table and started skimming the cover and inside pages. Then she started reading the body text and sidebars.

Pam says “I started to cry as I saw myself in every one of those words. Yes, I was frustrated with my day job. Yes, I wanted to be my own boss and live a flexible lifestyle. Yes, I wanted a lucrative and fulfilling career as a copywriter. Yes, I was someone who could definitely make this transition”.

She adds that it spoke directly to her as if Paul Hollingshead (the writer) had been walking alongside her for years and feeling her pain.

She continues … “I put the mailing aside and just sat in my chair, dazed and excited, with my pulse racing.

Could I REALLY leave that corporate life behind and enjoy a much happier lifestyle?

Were the promises in that letter something I could believe in?”

The answers turned out to be a resounding “yes.”

This July it will be two years since Pam said goodbye to her old corporate cubicle job and began working full-time as a freelance copywriter. “I have so much more peace and time to think. I didn’t realize how distracting the cubicle environment was until I left it behind. I love the balance of networking, attending client meetings, and spending productive time at home. It’s fantastic.,” say Pam. And, even better – she’s making more than ever before  … on track to earn $120,000 this year.

Do you have a defining copywriting moment?

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: July 14, 2008

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