Five Action Steps to Setting Up a Blow-Out 2011

"You'll be the same person in five years
except for the books you read
and the people you associate with."

I don't know who first said that, but I was reminded of the quote almost hourly the past four days at Bootcamp. I soaked myself in the wisdom of one master or legend after another, and increased my possibility thinking ten-fold. It was like getting a PhD in copywriting and marketing packed into a four-day complete immersion.

It's an amazing experience, but I think I hit brain overload at noon Saturday. I needed Peter Fogel's comedy and the plane ride home to unwind and digest it all.

Like Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."

Well, we did some serious mind-stretching at Bootcamp, and I plan to leverage the whole experience like never before. I also want to help you leverage the experience, whether you were here or not, into your best year ever in 2011.

Oh, and just so you don't think Bootcamp is all buttoned-down business, we had our share of fun, too ... Ted Nicholas leading 400 copywriters in disco dancing to "Stayin' Alive" ... Peter Fogel mercilessly ripping on Michael Masterson with his promotion, "The Copywriter's Workout Plan" ... AWAI's own version of American Idol at karaoke night ... and of course, great conversations over cocktails each night at the bar.

The fun led to numerous moments of clarity for me during the day, like ...

"Be like Mike"

Remember the Gatorade commercials from the 90s, where kids sang about wanting to be like Michael Jordan? Heck, everyone wanted to be like Mike.

True confession time: I want to be like John Forde. Or Michael Masterson. Or Nick Usborne.

For a long time I've put these guys on a pedestal, but after hearing personal revelations from each of them, I realized -

These guys all started where I am.

I still admire them and plan to follow their career paths. But after hearing about their beginnings and professional struggles, I can now picture myself achieving some of the same big copywriting goals, too.

Re-invention and learning never end

Nick Usborne talked about it. So did Gary Hennerberg and Peter Fogel. It's an ongoing process. The quicker you can adapt, change course and move forward, the better you'll be able to thrive in the future economy and serve your clients.

It struck me after hearing their stories and many attendee's stories - re-invention is the norm, not the exception. Good thing, since I'm a 44-year old guy who's already re-invented himself a few times, and probably will many times before it's over (like Ted Nicholas, I don't plan to retire, and I plan on living to be 120.)

Re-invention goes along with a common theme from Bootcamp: Taking action. Seizing opportunities. Making it happen. And that leads me to my third "aha" moment ...

The pie is getting bigger

John Forde's pie chart slide gets the credit for triggering this one.

I used to have this crazy idea that there was only so much business out there for copywriters, and we were all competing for the same business. Once the pie was sliced and divvied up, it was gone, right?

Let me put that insane theory to rest. Copywriting opens up doors you never even thought of, and can put you in control of your own destiny. There is so much business out there, especially with the internet. The opportunities are limitless, and this is interesting - I only heard the word "recession" once in four days. Doesn't seem to be an issue with good copywriters.

Yes, the copywriting pie is getting bigger.

Your action steps to setting up a blow-out 2011

I'm giving myself one day to let all this mind-stretching stuff percolate, but starting tomorrow, here are four action steps you can take along with me:

  1. Create your roadmap to success. I've often heard Joshua talk about this. Nick Usborne said it's imperative. You have to know where you're going. Check out Rebecca's a great article on this at
  2. Follow through on spec challenges. Katie said there were over 70 this year from Job Fair! And believe me - the marketers don't get flooded with spec assignments. All it takes is one project to launch your career. And the money isn't bad either - Roy just won the $10k Challenge and Mindy and six other AWAI Spec Challenge winners each got checks from Katie for $1,000 each at the Awards Luncheon.
  3. Expect serendipity. Okay, I had to throw in an abstract one here (and use one of Gary Hennerberg's two favorite words.) Serendipity is the aptitude for making fortunate discoveries by accident, so I don't know if you can really expect serendipity. But I truly believe that some people are more inclined to make fortunate discoveries (like getting a $7,000 project from a long-lost friend on Facebook) than others. It depends on who you hang out with and how you spend your time.
  4. Find a mentor. Mark Everett Johnson had the legendary Gene Schwartz. John Forde had Bill Bonner and Michael Masterson. Peter Fogel and Joshua Boswell both had heartfelt words on Saturday for Bob Bly, who was instrumental in their early careers. If you can find a mentor, fantastic. You'll probably accelerate your career big-time. If not, consider this: AWAI can essentially be your mentor. I've found that everyone is accessible, and truly cares about your success. And finally,
  5. Act. Do something every day to move your career forward, no matter how small. Put yourself in situations where opportunities arise. As Peter Fogel said, "Fear you can overcome, regrets you have to live with."

Each day you have the opportunity to write the story that will one day be told to hundreds (or thousands) of people. Maybe even on stage at Bootcamp next year.

So what story are you writing this year?

Develop an action plan for the last 55 days of the year, and stick to it. Make plans to have a blow-out first quarter of 2011 to get the ball rolling. And make plans to be at Bootcamp with me next year. I already started writing my story, which you'll hear more about October 26-29, 2011. I hope you'll join me then for a toast to our success.

Last thing - AWAI has made a huge impact on my life for the past three years. Thanks to all the Bootcamp presenters, as well as AWAI authors and copywriters I've studied from. But special thanks from the bottom of my heart to three amazing women who make AWAI what it is - Katie, Denise and Rebecca. You embody AWAI's tagline: "Helping people develop skills to acquire financial security, independence and freedom."

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Published: November 12, 2010

4 Responses to “Five Action Steps to Setting Up a Blow-Out 2011”

  1. That quote is from Jim Rohn.

    Guest (dvannuys)

  2. Thanks - I've referenced it before, but didn't know it was Jim Rohn.

    Guest (Steve)

  3. I am working on the action plan for the rest of 2010 and sticking to it! Thanks again! Enlightening article and am expecting serendipity!


  4. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for my new mantra for 2011:

    Act. Do something every day to move your career forward, no matter how small. Put yourself in situations where opportunities arise. (Action step #5)

    Will Do :)


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