From “I Can’t” to “I Can!” –
5 Easy Ways to Gain Confidence
As an Aspiring Copywriter
No doubt, starting out as a copywriter can be downright frightening.
And chances are you’ve had a few of these thoughts run through your head. (I know I have.) …
- “Is my work good enough?”
- “What will my client think?”
- “How on earth do I convince a client I’m worth $3,000-$5,000 for 8 pages of text!?”
- “What if I get an assignment, and my promo bombs?”
- “These top-level copywriters write so well. I’ll never get that good.”
- “Am I picking the ‘right’ big idea for this promo?”
The good news is, you can calm these fears down, and become a competent, confident copywriter in no time flat. Just follow one (or more!) of these five confidence boosters:
Confidence Booster #1 – Diligent Study and Practice
Do everything in your power to learn everything you can about copywriting and direct marketing.
Whether it’s reading a book, a program, watching DVDs, or attending a seminar, always keep learning.
In addition, practice writing copy every day. You can write about anything … an imaginary product, a product of a company whose direct-mail piece you received, or any one of the hundreds of thousands of products you can find on the Internet.
Bottom line: Knowing you’re doing everything possible to continually improve your skills and knowledge will form the rock-solid foundation of your confidence as a copywriter.
Confidence Booster #2 – Affirmations (With a Twist)
Write down a list of affirmations that directly address your fears.
- “I am a knowledgeable, masterful copywriter.”
- “I’m a self-starter.”
- “I easily find clients who want to work with me.”
- “I find it easy to focus on my writing.”
- “I do the things that make me a richer, happier copywriter.”
- “I enjoy finding new clients.”
Once you’ve got that down (start off with maybe a max of 10-15 affirmations), here’s what you’ll do …
Record yourself repeating your affirmations. Repeat each affirmation three times, spaced a few seconds apart, before moving on to the next one. If possible, have relaxing music playing in the background while you make your recording.
Once you’ve got your affirmations on tape (or CD, mp3, etc.), you’re going to listen to them every chance you get. While you sleep at night, while cleaning the house, gardening, surfing the Internet … you get the idea.
Do this and you’ll slowly start shifting the beliefs you carry about yourself that are causing the fear and anxiety. As a result, you’ll start to feel more confident and take the kinds of actions necessary for success.
I know this might sound a little “woo-woo,” but it works. Try it. In his book, Today Is Your Day to Win, author Mike Brescia credits this technique for taking him from jobless and living out of his van to becoming one of the best salesmen in the world for his industry. Today he lives the life of his dreams. It all started with his affirmation tapes.
Confidence Booster #3 – Your Own Victory Log
Think of every positive thing you’ve accomplished in your life until now. Write it down in a notebook. This is now your “Victory Log.”
Whenever you accomplish something – no matter how small – write it down. Then, at least once a week, look it over to remind yourself of everything you’ve accomplished so far.
Doing this will give you the jolt of confidence you need to keep moving toward your copywriting goals.
Confidence Booster #4 – “Theater of Your Mind” Technique
This technique was developed by self-help pioneer Dr. Maxwell Maltz and popularized in his book, Psycho-Cybernetics.
It’s so effective, top copywriters like Gary Bencivenga, Clayton Makepeace, Dan Kennedy, and Matt Furey swear by it.
In a nutshell, you make a mental movie of yourself succeeding at whatever goal it is you want to achieve. The more vivid you make the movie, the better (e.g., notice what you’re wearing, what the weather is like, etc. … and involve all of your senses).
Here’s how to do the technique:
Sit down in a comfortable chair with your legs uncrossed, touching the floor and your hands on your lap, palms down.
Take a few deep breaths to relax. Now, imagine going inside a movie theater. Make it as fantastic as you like. (It’s your personal theater, after all.)
Once you’ve taken a seat in your mental movie theater, start playing a movie about whatever action you want to feel confident about.
For example, if you’re afraid of negotiating your project fee with a client, make your movie about that. Picture yourself standing tall. Feeling comfortable while talking on the phone. Picture your client happily agreeing to your fee.
Repeat the same mental movie 3-5 times a day. Pretty soon, your mental movie will give you the confidence you need to take action.
Confidence Booster #5 – Success in Bite-Size Pieces
If you want to land a $5,000 project, but you’ve never spoken to a client, much less written anything for one, then start small to gain “little wins.”
For example, offer to write for a charity for no pay. Find local businesses and offer the same deal.
Having these little successes under your belt will give you the confidence to move to the next step up … writing small projects for a few hundred dollars. Once you’re comfortable with that, build up to charging $1,000 … and so on.
Or, let’s say you’re afraid of writing an 8-, 12-, or 16-page sales letter. What do you do?
Start by writing simple 100- to 250-word classified ads. Once you’re comfortable with those, move on to writing short 2-page inserts, etc.
No matter what size goal you have, it can be broken down into smaller, less-intimidating goals.
Use these small goals as stepping stones to build the confidence you need to achieve your ultimate goal.
There you have it. Practice one or more of these daily, and you’ll find your confidence soaring!
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Thank you, Guillermo! Great tips I'll definitely enlist.
Jennifer F –
Great tips! Thank you for this article.
Another excellent resource for visualization and 'mental movies' is found in the work of Jose Silva. One of his older books holds some real 'gems'... "Silva Mind Control". It's definitely worth a read.
Definitely some things that can be practiced any time, and can applied universally.
Thanks for the great ideas... I think I will try them all.
Prue R –
Great tips! I read psycho-cybernetics years ago, and will return to capture the gems inside. I am a positive person, but I needed the boot to get me to really use affirmations. They do work.
These are really great tips. I use the list and post positive sayings on my walls of my office. I find a saying or idea that 'moves me', then I post it on the wall. It really works.
love the new ideas. I use mental pictures all the time, it really get me "in the zone".
Lisa R –
Excellent! Will definitely try these out. New member and looking for all the help I can get.
Much appreciated Guillermo! This is both timely AND timeLESS advice. Being a new AWAI member and a copywriter-in-training, I'm inhaling all the tips I can find, the nuts and bolts of copywriting itself, launching a freelance business, and so on. Your advice is not only practical but do-able! I particularly like the mental movie theatre piece, and will aim to incorporate it into my daily routine starting NOW. Thanks again.
Lee Nourse –
These tips are like a tidy toolbox that any writer can take anywhere! That you included all the building block essentials of success means I can pull it out at any point in my career, whenever I need a little reinforcement!
Valerie Lacey –
I had already thought of using #5 to build up my confidence and a portfolio to show potential clients.
I used these LOA ideas years ago, but somehow I let the world get in the way and take me off my positive path.
Thank you for getting the cobwebs out of my head with these Boosts of life and confidence building ideas!
Lynne Lee –
Thoroughly enjoyed all 5 tips. I look forward to using them as I start my new career as a Copywriter.
Excellent advice, and by all means as Guillermo has suggested in Booster #4, read Pscho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.
It will be exciting as I launch yet another new and rewarding career with confidence.
Bradley G –
Keeping a victory log,taking little bites, then gradually building up until you are charging enough, and applying yourself diligently and learning all you can about copywriting are the three things that most appealed to me.
I really want to become an A-1 copywriter, and have chosen Christian Writing as my niche.
I already feel something. This will make me or brake me. I hear these women trying to tell me what I can do. I have to listen and do what they say. I'm still confused on how to go about the whole process on the computer. When I get that straight things will feel more confident to learn. I think there is hope after all as I'm 73 yrs. I still see I can do this. Mavis
These are good tips. I am a fan of Dale Carnige and Zig Zigglar; these are similar to their way of approaching life. I like the mental movies and the victory log. I will put these to practice today.
If I can succeed, anybody can, so here goes the "I can!"
So many great ideas screaming at a newbie: "Do this to succeed!", no "Do this to succeed!". Think maybe I'll try to follow the Principle of One, stick with completing the Accelerated Program alone and come back to some of these further down the road - maybe - a little overwhelming figuring out how to start this journey.
Today I'll make my first entry in my Victory Log as a Copywriter. I'm still far from my first client & further still from real money. I took the Webinar this morning, read materials & articles, took abundant notes, gathered questions I have, & finally took my first baby steps toward a new path in life. About Time! One step I haven't seen mentioned, I invested my family & friends in keeping me on track, they've encouraged me for years, today they're my support group. Mom(81) said "About Time!"
Will Pieper –
Awsome! I'd loved this tips. As a beginner, I'm afraid about closing the deals. Thank you!
Thank you so much for writing this article. Not the first time I've come across this information but I think because it was written in the context of how to gain confidence as a copywriter, it is sticking this time! Already joined the Ultimate Companion Series and I'm looking forward to the live orientation.
Matthew D –
WELL THIS HAS ALREADY BEEN AN ADVENTURE...I AM STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHERE AND WHAT 'WHITE LISTING' IS AND WHERE IT TAKES PLACE ON MY COMPUTER? EVERYTHING ELSE SEEMED TO GO RATHER SMOOTHLY. I STARTED COPYWRITING AT AN EARY AGE OF 6 AND REMEBER COPYING OTHER KIDS WORK AND TURNING IT IN WHEN I NEEDED TO. I'M SURE THAT THE SCVHOOL MONITORS FROM THOSE EARLY DAYS ARE THE SAME GUYS THAT FOLLOW ME AROUND IN THAT BLACK CAR WITH 1962 LICENSE PLATES.
THANKS TO ALL DAVE
Dr Dave C –
Thanks you Guillermo for the excellent tips. When I saw the tips I said to myself this stuff is exactly what I need. It came at the right time. I shall be starting my companion series tomorrow February 3, 2017. I need useful tips that will assist me on becoming one of the most successful copywriters.
Uduak Udo –
Thanks for your tips, Guillermo. I am a mental health therapist who for years has used variations of your confidence boosters with my clients. They work! I look forward to jumping into the Companion Series tomorrow.
Lisa Bjornstad –
I stand in awe of all the new information I am learning. Hard when you have chosen a path, later in life....feeling the un-comfort of a new beginning. But excited by the path it will forge, and the new relationships and connections it will bring to me and my life where ever I decide to take it. Thank you for this amazing opportunity, may you carry me when I cannot, and help me make the path easier as I follow in your footsteps of success!
Just starting this course signifies a major change in my life! This advice from Guillermo gives me the nudge I need. I now believe I have the confidence to become a Copywriter specializing in the B2B niche. I had to take time from the course to write this note to you all!! Thanks AWAI for giving me the much needed direction!!!--Terry L. Burns
Terry Burns –
I too, have read Pscho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz years ago and will have to dig it out to re-read. I started this copywriting ten years ago and never quite got into it -- what a shame as I look back now. I would have been so far ahead of where I am now. But, better late then never and I will hold true to finishing and being an excellent copywriter.
It's taken me over three years to get serious about this. I've been nibbling at the Accelerated Copywriting course for a long time. But in the last two weeks, my focus has shifted from my successful, yet time-glut Real Estate biz, to my keen interest in this. It's a real turning point and I'm going all out. Earnest effort, focused action, quality results, and the mindset to continuously learn and improve my craft. Couple that with AWAI's educational resources, and I can really envision success.
Great ideas! Neatly packaged! Easy to implement, so I will. Thanks Guillermo.
Brian Lamsee –
I really like the victory log tips, confidence boost.
Guest (eric) –
I am so stoked to be here! Writing has been a lifelong dream of mine and I am super excited to begin this new journey in my life! Thank you all for doing what you do!
I have many great suscesses in my life,Iwent to Law school at the University of Alabama at 44yrs old graduated in the 90s. HAD A 20 YEAR CAREER IN LAW ENFORCEMENT.retired without injury.I look foward to another great suscess as a copy writer with a great group of people yeaching me all the right steps ai cant fail.
All I can say is "WOW"! This is an exciting new world and I can't wait to be a part of it. I am transitioning from a health field to professional copywriting after considering other career interests. Darn those red herrings! ! I love the program and all the positivity. Just watched the orientation and have set my work routine. Thank you for this great opportunity! Lovin' It 8-D
I believe in AWAI. Their teaching methods, their constant encouragement and the honest, kind voice of people like Katie Yaekle make this real and inviting. One must only take a step and exert the effort. Dreams of fascinating work are destined to come true.
Julia Zakrewsky –
I am so dogged by lack of self-confidence that I have no option but to try and put all these suggestions into practice. I should be more positive as I was successful putting Shakti Gawaine's Creative Visualization into practice. I was astonished and overwhelmed when it worked.
I recommend it as an additional source for inspiration.
Brilliance comes from at first a beginning.
It's the little things...there's nothing bigger
Life is like the seasons if you are experiencing winter...fear not as spring is around the corner
Tommy Lentsch –
I am 68 yo. I decided over 2 years ago as a serial entrepreneur that I needed a change (from working for $15/hr in retail). But how?
I decided on marketing because I wanted to help others and have the opportunity at a good income. But the tech end of marketing stumped me.
I found 2 sites: AWAI was one. I started to learn about copywriting. I got an offer to apprentice with a copywriter.
I now know what I want, where I am going, and how to get there. AWAI training. Thankyou. I will get there
JD Adams –
Wow! Great post. And that's a great story, JD Adams. I'm happy for you. It's definitely inspiring, not only to me, but to anyone - that you're courageously moving forward, choosing to change and grow as a person, no matter your age.
This is all Great Advice and very helpful to me. I'm sure that a lot of others will find it very helpful.
Thanks for sharing!
Sean Van Zant –
I started law school at 35 years of age, and have practiced until last year when a health issue made me decide I needed to do something else (that and the pandemic). I had looked at this course approximately 3 years ago. I have now decided that this is where I need to be and I thank you for your support.
Thanks, Guillermo, for these confidence-building tips in your article! I've already started a victory journal, and now I can reflect upon and remind myself just how far I've come and also look forward to what's ahead. I may refer to this article a lot during this journey to better, stronger self-confidence. Thanks again!
Thanks for your movie theater suggestions. It triggered a memory of what I used to do when I worked for the airlines (21 years/4 airlines)answering passenger complaint letters. To offset, the crazy and often profane account of the incident that allegedly occurred, I started collecting all the good letters I received, and kept them in a file. Every once in a while, I'd consult my file and get an immediate boost on a good reason to reply to the passenger. I loved the movie theater idea and plan on using it in the future. Thanks for a great tip!
Cheryl King –