Hiring a Coach or Mentor

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo

I’d like for you to take a minute and think back over the years …

Think about someone who influenced or inspired you to do something greater than you ever thought possible. And then gave you the tools and worked with you to help you achieve it.

It may have been an athletic coach when growing up … possibly a parent … a former boss … a colleague …

But looking back, there’s most likely someone who helped you aim higher than you would have done on your own.

And depending on where you are in your writing career, you may be contemplating hiring someone to fill that role for you today.

Coaches, mentors, and apprenticeships – there were lots of questions that came up during my one-on-one meetings with the attendees of the Web Intensive earlier this year.

(If you missed my note yesterday, this week I’m sharing with you some of the questions or challenges I heard most often during my meetings with attendees, since you may have the same ones. Yesterday we talked about getting it all done.)

I met with people who were considering hiring a coach … people who were already working with one but thinking about finding a new one … people who were looking more for a mentor relationship … and even someone who wanted to seek out an apprenticeship working for a big-name copywriter.

So if you’ve been thinking about getting into one of these relationships too, I’m going to help you find one that’s a good fit for you.

Because just like every other relationship in life, not all coaches are right for every person … and vice versa.

Regardless of what anyone else tries to tell you – I know from experience!

But first let me explain the difference between some of the lingo …

I’m actually going to work backwards with these relationships, starting with the rarest, and ending up with the most common.

First up, the apprenticeship …

Apprenticeships are often offered by very successful and popular copywriters who are looking for some help with their workload. Rather than only taking on what they can handle personally, they take on a group of apprentices to do some of the heavy lifting for them, under their close supervision.

This relationship is extremely valuable to the apprentices because they get to learn from someone who is experienced writing the type of copy they hope to one day specialize in, as well as work on writing for big-name clients on projects they may not have been able to land by themselves.

On the flipside, the relationship is equally as valuable to the master copywriter because he or she can take on more work from their high-paying clients than they’d ever be able to handle by themselves.

In this relationship, the apprentice is sometimes paid a small amount for the work they’ve done rather than paying the “teacher” or the master copywriter. However, I have seen apprenticeships where the apprentice actually pays the copywriter for the chance to work alongside him or her and learn directly from the master. So the fee arrangement will depend on the person you’re working under.

Next up is the mentor relationship …

Unlike coaching, which is much more structured (as we’ll discuss in a minute), the mentor relationship is typically more free form. A writer will hire a mentor to make sure they’re setting their goals properly, have someone to hold them accountable, and have access to someone whenever they need advice or direction.

And while coaches will also do many of these things too, the mentor relationship is an ongoing, call-as-needed arrangement.

Typically, writers seek out mentors after they’ve already started their business and have a little experience under their belt. Or after they’ve worked with a coach and just need someone to keep them on the right path.

Fees for a mentor range greatly – from a few hundred dollars a month to tens of thousands of dollars to a percentage of your revenue.

But since working by oneself can be challenging for some people, hiring a mentor can be very valuable to writers looking to stay on track and continue building their business.

And finally, the coaching relationship …

This is the most common relationship aspiring and successful writers will seek out. And that’s probably why almost every expert or guru out there offers a coaching program of some sort.

And just like with all of these relationships – every coach is different.

Some are good and highly effective, while others are bad and a waste of time and money. And at the same time, some of the best coaches in the world will be good for your particular situation and personality, while others won’t be as good a fit.

So finding the right coach takes time and due diligence on your part.

To make that easier on you, I’ve gone ahead and written an entire article on finding the right coach.

Just know that the right coach can help you get to the next level in your career. Whether it’s choosing a niche, launching your business, growing your business, or improving your writing, hiring a coach can be a great investment.

In fact, I wish every writer could afford to work with one.

And I’m speaking from firsthand experience …

Last year I needed some help focusing my professional life, followed by some direction on how to move forward.

I hired Nick Usborne for three months (twice actually), and can say it was one of the smartest investments I’ve ever made in myself.

In fact, I was able to make over 10 times a return on that investment within the first year alone. And that number is still climbing.

But I know the reason that coaching relationship was effective was because, along with being an excellent coach, he was the right coach for me.

So before you jump in, read my article and go through the steps to explore your own options.

And if you have any questions about hiring a coach, mentor, or finding an apprenticeship, feel free to post them here. While I won’t be able to comment on every coach out there, I do know a lot of good ones, and have lots of experience with the process, both firsthand and from countless AWAI members.

Tomorrow we’ll be discussing the question I not only received a lot at the Web Intensive, but via email and on Facebook every week as well …

“With so many great opportunities, what’s the fastest way to start making a living as a writer?”

Talk to you then!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: March 22, 2011

7 Responses to “Hiring a Coach or Mentor”

  1. I am interest in the apprenticeship … to start on a new business as a Case- Study copywriter.

    RomanMarch 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm

  2. I am interested in finding a mentor!

    RogerMarch 23, 2011 at 8:23 am

  3. I'm interested in finding a coach to accelerate a business in either auto responder copywriting or b2b copywriting. I'm uncertain which field would have the greater potential for me.

    Bert BarerMarch 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

  4. Rebecca,

    Because I can't currently afford to hire a coach or mentor, I have joined the Professional Writer's Alliance and I am going to buy Jay White's Auto-Responder course, which offers a type of apprenticeship.

    I'm hoping these moves will help me get focused. I am attracted to Jay's offer because it appears to provide a quicker way to get started in the field and help in getting clients as well.

    My time is so limited--and I know that's not unique--but I have decided I really need some "hand-holding" to get the confidence I need to pursue my dreams.

    Do you think I'm having a pipe-dream here, since I haven't taken the Accelerated Copywriting course first?

    Karen PeckhamMarch 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm

  5. My interests are in writing for Non-profit organizations, Christian Market copywriting, writing my Life Story as one book or a series of books.

    I would really like to have Joshua Boswell as my coach. He is not free

    Wayne E BeachyDecember 15, 2015 at 9:44 am

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