Whenever You Start Thinking,
“I’ll Never Be Able to …” –
Remember the True Secret to Success …

As you travel the path of becoming a freelance copywriter, chances are there’ll be times when you’ll think to yourself, “I’ll never be able to …”

For example, at some point, you might have thoughts like:

  • “I’ll never be able to write as well as some of those ‘A-level’ copywriters …”
  • “I’ll never be able to market myself …”
  • “I’ll never be able to make my own website …”
  • “I’ll never be able to make a great living as a copywriter …”

This is perfectly normal. I’ve experienced some of these negative thoughts. So have many of the successful copywriters I’ve interviewed in the past.

Behind all these thoughts is a belief that you lack something … whether that’s ability, know-how, or some type of God-given talent.

Let’s look a little closer at what is going on behind these beliefs …

At the root of “I’ll never be able to make my own website” lies the false belief that you have to have some technical know-how. But, the truth is … you don’t. You just have to know where to go to get an easy-to-follow plan.

Below “I’ll never be able to market myself …” is the belief that you’re too shy and lack the gift of gab and self-promotion, like other more successful copywriters. Again … there are plenty of ways to market yourself that don’t require you to put yourself “out there” any more than you’re comfortable doing.

The key to getting past negative thoughts like these so you can move forward toward your goals is to realize how those at the top really attained success.

For example, let’s take a look at the thought of “I’ll never write as well as some of the ‘A-level’ copywriters.”

Behind this thought is the belief that these top-level copywriters have some sort of special gift or knack for copywriting that you’ll never have.

But here’s the thing …

When you look at a great piece of copy, you see only the finished product. You don’t see all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making it shine.

That’s why, all too often, it’s easy to think that these top pros never write anything that stinks. And that what got them to the top is strictly pure talent.

But, that’s simply not true.

I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

In The Adweek Copywriting Handbook, legendary ad man Joe Sugarman (of BluBlocker sunglasses fame) offers his perspective:

“Another fact to realize about writing copy is that the first draft of an ad is often terrible, and the real skill in copywriting is taking that rough draft and polishing it … I often pointed out to my students that if everybody in the class were given the assignment of writing a draft of an ad for a product, the first draft of my ad would quite likely be terrible compared to everybody else’s …

I look over my very first JS&A direct-response ads and can’t believe I wrote them. They were horrible. But I matured and I learned with each ad I wrote … Sheer volume and experience will do wonders. As they say to anybody wanting to make it to Carnegie Hall, ‘Practice, practice, practice.’”

Joe Sugarman hits on a key point … and at the same time reveals how everyone who’s become successful got there: a good helping of practice and hard work.

And when you combine practice, hard work, and a little guidance from someone who’s already attained the success you want, you’ve got the recipe for monumental success – which on the surface may appear as purely talent or genius.

In his book, Talent Is Overrated, Geoff Colvin blows the lid off the idea that innate genius is what separates world-class performers from everybody else.

He goes on to explain how talent isn’t necessarily what got world-class performers like Tiger Woods, Warren Buffet, and Wolfgang Mozart to their level of success.

Instead it was hard work, practice, and mentoring.

At the tender age of three, Tiger Woods’ father started teaching him golf. The reason Tiger is now the world’s best is simply because he’s put in more practice time and hard work than anyone else.

Another great example Colvin gives is Wolfgang Mozart. Although hailed as a musical genius, most people don’t know the back story …

Mozart’s dad Leopold was already a famous performer and composer. He started Mozart on an intense training program in composition and performing at age three. Mozart’s first masterpiece (Piano Concerto No. 9) was composed at the age of 21. By that age, the “child prodigy” had been through 18 years of intense, expert training … practice … and hard work.

Lucky for you, as an aspiring copywriter, you don’t need to turn back the clock to when you were three years old and start practicing to get good.

It’s not necessary. Making a great living as a freelancer requires practice and hard work, to be sure. But not the years of insanely working it would take to become a world-class piano virtuoso or top-ranked PGA golfer.

AWAI member Joshua Boswell is a great example. He was over $200,000 in debt and flat broke when he started AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. As soon as he received the program, he put the success formula to work: he studied, practiced, and worked relentlessly to develop the skill of copywriting.

Then he found himself a mentor. Someone who could give him guidance along the way. That mentor was Bob Bly.

In just under a year from the day he got the copywriting program, Joshua had deposited over $100,000 in copywriting fees into his bank account.

So, he certainly didn’t have to start at age three. But with a hard work, practice, and guidance, Joshua reached his goal. Today, Joshua has surpassed that and earns well over $300,000.

The results speak for themselves.

As you can see, talent isn’t necessarily as important as it might seem to be. So, whenever you start thinking, “I’ll never be able to …” – remember the true secret to success …

It’s not God-given talent, or some innate natural ability that you’re lacking to get the job done. No matter who you are, or what your situation is, all you need is hard work, practice, and a good mentor who can guide you along the way.

Bottom line: You can be successful as a copywriter. You’ve already got the first two requirements – a willingness to practice and work hard.

What you’re missing, and oftentimes is a little tough to find, is a mentor. Someone who is willing to both motivate and guide you. And that’s where Joshua can help.

You see, every Monday through his podcasts, Joshua reveals his best-kept secrets to finding clients … promoting your services … and making your dream a reality. It’s called Monday Morning Jumpstart.

Here’s what some of your peers are saying:

“First off, a big thank you for your Monday Morning Jumpstarts! I think it’s great how you’re giving back to those of us who haven’t yet made the ‘big time,’ and I listen to you every week.” – Lois P., Chatham, NJ

“Some Mondays I just feel like crying – tears of joy! You’re really trying to help us, not continually asking us to pay more to get ‘the rest of the story.’ I feel a great deal of loyalty toward you for that alone.” – Shirley M., Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“Let me thank you for MMJ! I finally feel like I can ‘do this thing’ … copywriting! Whew, the demons are starting to vanish and I’m developing a game plan to grow my business!” – Maurine S., Houston, TX

“It feels like a big knot of stress was relieved from my shoulders and my brain. Never thought the day would come when I looked forward to Mondays! Have a great rest of the week and thanks again, Joshua.” – Loreen J., Green Bay, WI

The best part is, you can join Joshua’s program for as little as 52-cents a day on the yearly plan.

This is where the rubber meets the road.

If you’re dead serious about your copywriting success … and you’re willing to put in the hard work and practice … Joshua will give you the rest.

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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Average: 3.5
Published: June 8, 2009

3 Responses to “Whenever You Start Thinking, “I’ll Never Be Able to …” – Remember the True Secret to Success …”

  1. This is a very good article,it shows us examples of successful people who put in the work, & are experiencing the results.I would point out one thing that may move all of our success level up a notch & closer to our goals, is watching what we say, & thus believe! I challenge all of us to simply remove the words " I can't...I'll never..I'm no good at..." etc.FROM OUR VOCABULARY !! The Good book says the power of Life and Death are in the tongue.Don't destroy what you have started! Keep on typing!

    Dougcopy-part-time writer--full-time payJune 15, 2009 at 7:50 am

  2. I think this article is right on about the source of success. It's hard work that's behind not only the mastery of knowledge or a skill, but also behind mastery of one's habits and attitudes. That fact of life is a fortunate and optimistic one.

    Barb TFebruary 3, 2017 at 4:51 am

  3. Inspirational! This is exactly how I feel sometimes. The doubt kicks in real fast, and I have to push myself forward. Thank you for your encouraging words.

    Nessa DFebruary 11, 2018 at 7:58 pm


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