Q&A With Dan Kennedy:
Must You Talk So Much About Money?

Here’s another question from an AWAI Member to Dan Kennedy. Dan thought his answer may benefit you as well. Susan B. asks Dan about his focus on the business of copywriting – and income from it. Specifically: “Must you talk so much about money?”

Dan’s response:

No, there’s no “must” involved. But it is a role I’ve grown comfortable with over many years, working with many different kinds of professionals – including copywriters, consultants, chiropractors, carpet cleaners, dentists, speakers, etc., all of whom have, as the late Foster Hibbard put it, more hang-ups about money than even about sex!

One of the great newsletter business pioneers, who taught beginners how to create “writer’s lives” for themselves, Jerry Buchanan, said that finding something you find fascinating and enjoy doing is wealth itself that few ever obtain, but that finding a means of creating your own desired income, lifestyle and security from something you find fascinating and enjoy doing is the ultimate wealth – and why settle for less than ultimate?

That made sense to me when I first read it in 1972, and it still makes sense to me today.

Joan Rivers, who I did some writing for some years back, jokes about it being only a tiny bit more work to love a rich man than a poor one. I don’t know about that, but I know it’s more work to be poor than rich (having been poor once), and I know it is only a little bit more challenging to attract, obtain, keep and satisfy good clients who can and will pay top dollar than to settle for little.

Few high achievers in any field are willing to actually speak openly and candidly about money, for a variety of reasons including risking being perceived as braggart, egotist or crass, even “dirty.”

Since I have little interest in what others think of me, especially critics, I’m happy to talk about it. To me, the reasons why some people create top incomes and lifestyles while others in the same field, often with greater education, experience or other advantages, settle for meager money and severely restricted lifestyles is endlessly fascinating.

Personally, I am both a writer and a copywriter, and I very much enjoy the work. But if I was unable to make it provide the income, lifestyle and security I wanted, I would seek some other, more financially rewarding work I could like instead.

I am very much a pragmatist. Fortunately, this field offers unlimited income opportunity, so that’s never been an issue.

I did, however, exit one business I enjoyed but that could not yield sufficient income very early in life, and returned to it much later as hobby. I also, some years ago, rather abruptly stopped speaking some 40 to 50 times a year and turned my back on a 7-figure income because I no longer enjoyed the work – and hated the travel.

Arranging your work, your income and your life to suit you is, I think, of prime importance – and well within reach of just about anybody, certainly anybody in this field, if they will take a business approach (instead of a jobs, worker-bee, servant or vendor approach) … this a key part of my upcoming Business Of Copywriting Academy.

Since most people and most professionals do not think this way, the change can quickly produce dramatic results, although it can be uncomfortable and challenging to make. I find that talking people through that change is every bit as significant as my providing of specific business strategies and practices. Money is a convenience for this discussion.

I like getting notes like the one from Cassandra in which she referred to everything we’ve been doing leading up to the Academy, and said: “I feel like I’m getting ready to be more of a businessperson instead of just a designer who does some copywriting. The books, mail, etc., putting me into a business frame of mind, and I’m more excited than I thought I would be. ‘Business’ sounds so stuffy and so much work, not like the Writer’s Life is supposed to be, but, in getting ready for the Academy, I’m starting to understand how important ‘business’ is to achieving the life I want.” There you go.

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: 5.0
Published: April 8, 2010

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)