How to Make 2011 Your Best Year Ever
How does one of MY ideal clients chasing me around for a day-and-a-half at Bootcamp hold the key to YOUR copywriting success in 2011? Good question! Let me explain …
I had an unexpected "a-ha" moment at this year's AWAI Bootcamp.
You see, last year I came to Bootcamp as a "fresh face." Sure, I'd started doing some work with AWAI and others so I wasn't completely new to the industry. But, I wasn't established. Heck, I even had a full-time job, and was only freelancing as a spare-time gig.
Maybe you're in the same place.
But, here's what I did last year. I made connections. Sure, I learned a lot (there are some really transformational copywriting concepts taught at Bootcamp). But, I made it a point to go out and meet people. Even though I'm an introvert and sometimes its hard being "on" all day.
And, that's what set up my revelation this year — which I'm about to share with you to skyrocket your career in 2011.
See, this year, many of those same people I met — the players in the direct-response industry (online and offline) — were back at Bootcamp again. I'd even kept in touch with many of them … so, they definitely remembered me.
And, being back for my second year meant something to them. (This was before they realized I was this year's $10K Challenge Winner — so I didn't even have that extra notoriety and credibility behind me.)
In fact, many were very interested in what I'd been doing in the last year … What successes had I had? Who was I working with? Could they see some of the copy I'd written recently?
When I talked to them about what I'd been doing, you could see their minds churning.
And, here's what happened …
A Critical Truth About Our Industry
These "industry players" started introducing me to their clients as an up-and-coming copywriter to watch (and work with)!
Before we go any further, I can hear you thinking, "But Roy, I wasn't at Bootcamp … so, how can this lead to me making 2011 my best year ever?"
I'll get to that in a minute … Just stick with me here.
Let me show you first how powerful these connections can be.
At last year's Bootcamp, I was chasing people around making connections. And, that got me somewhere — in fact, I was able to launch my freelance career and match my old income as a result of being at last year's Bootcamp.
But now this year, my connections were introducing me to their connections — which put me in a far more powerful position!
In fact, one of my connections insisted to their client that they needed to meet me. So, this client was actually looking for me for a full day-and-a-half at Bootcamp … And, by the time they finally connected with me, they had so much invested interest in connecting with me they felt like they had to hire me!
And, that's just one of many similar stories where a previous connection I'd made gave me extra leverage in meeting new connections this year. While the details are different, that same story was repeated over and over again this year.
Here's How YOU Can Use This Lesson
Okay, so this is a lesson you can use whether you were at Bootcamp or not.
Because this lesson isn't really about Bootcamp — it's about relationships and connections.
If you want to make 2011 your best year ever, it's going to take more than just hanging out your shingle as a freelance copywriter. It's going to take more than going through another copywriting program. It's going to take more than even attending events! (Even though all of these really help!)
Here's what it's going to take. It's going to take expanding your network.
Here's a little lesson I learned from perhaps the world's greatest living copywriter Gary Bencivenga, in an interview he did with System Seminar Founder Ken McCarthy.
Gary made it a point, every week, to improve himself by 1%. Not a huge challenge. Always be getting a little more knowledge or skill — every day — with the goal of improving 1%. In a year, that means you're 68% better than you are today — thanks to consistent small improvements and the power of compounding! Then, you're 181% better in 2 years. And in 5 years, you're 1,229% better than you are today! That's powerful!
Well, networking is the same way. Build the value of your network by 1% per week. In a year, your network will be 68% more valuable to you than it is today. (This was my experience compared to last year's Bootcamp!) Then, 181% more valuable in 2 years. And, 1,229% more valuable in just 5 years!
And, while going to Bootcamp and meeting people in person helps, it's not the only way to do it.
Phone calls, emails, introductions, favors, introducing friends to friends, putting yourself out there — the number of ways you can add value to your network is only limited by your imagination. You just have to proactively do something to make it happen.
So, I'm going to give you two things I want you to do every week in 2011 to make it your best year ever …
To-Do: Build Your Network
I want you to make it a point, every week, to add a new and valuable connection to your network.
Reach out to someone you might be a little nervous to reach out to, and introduce yourself. You don't have to do it by asking for anything — you could just pay them a compliment and let them know how much you appreciate them. (We all love to have our egos stroked!) I've recently touched base with more than one A-list copywriter this way … Expecting nothing besides making the contact.
Also, reach out to a potential client to put yourself on their radar. There was a potential client I reached out to a few months ago and nothing came of it. But now, after meeting with them at Bootcamp, there's a good possibility we're going to do something together in the next few months.
And finally, you can reach out to other freelancers. It never hurts to have more contact with the movers and shakers in the industry.
Use the phone, email, social networks (I like LinkedIn for this, others prefer other networks), private membership sites, and whatever it takes to reach out to these people and start a relationship.
To-Do: Keep Your Network Informed
As you build your network, be sure you're consistently touching base with them. A personal contact is far more valuable than a mass email. Drop them a line and ask them to share with you in a little success you've had. Give them an ear to brag about a success they've had. Remind them you exist. (How easily we forget what's not constantly in front of us!) And perhaps ask them to, "Let me know what I can do for you." (I love this sentence!)
This, I suppose, doesn't have to be every week for every contact. In fact, quarterly is probably often enough for many contacts, more often for those you've really made a connection with. And, if you really need it, Google "CRM" to find Customer Relationship Management tools that let you store contact information and remind you when you need to touch base with them.
Whatever it takes, stay in touch with your network to stay on their minds.
And Remember …
The point of this is not to build a mailing list of people within the industry who you can constantly bombard with self-promotion. It's to reach out and build connections and relationships with people. The work will come. (Thank your contacts when they refer work to you.) You just focus on being a human being connecting with other human beings who happen to work in the same industry with you. Be kind, caring, and truthful. You'd want the same from others.
When you do this, good things can't help but come your way …
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
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