How Do You Eat an Elephant?

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time!

Have you ever heard that saying?

I use it all the time when training someone who is feeling overwhelmed about the path or challenge in front of them.

And I found myself using it quite a bit at the Web Intensive when attendees were excited about all the opportunities that were now available to them but overwhelmed about reaching their dream destination.

So today I’m going to give you seven steps to follow to help you tackle “eating that elephant,” and direct you to some resources on the AWAI website that will help you along the way.

We’ll start with the first bite …

1. Choose a place to start.

This may seem difficult, but it’s easier than you think. Because there’s no wrong answer here! AWAI has MANY opportunities that will get you to the writer’s life. And each of the opportunities has a program that will give you everything you need to get started. The key is just to choose one and get started.

If you’re having trouble with this step, read a note I wrote last month, and then add a comment to the bottom if you’d like my recommendation.

The key is to just choose one so you can get started already. You can always do more in the future, but in order to take that first “bite of the elephant,” you need to choose one and get started.

2. Make a plan.

We talk about goal setting a lot at AWAI. And for good reason …

How can you get where you’re going if you don’t know where it is you want to be and how you’ll get there?

Take the time this weekend to sit down and figure out what the writer’s life looks like to you. Answer the questions …

  • How much money do you want/need to make?
  • How much do you want to work each week?
  • Do you want to work for clients? Or write for your own business?

Then once you know where you’re going, write down the necessary steps to get there. I wrote an article that details how to create a roadmap a few months ago that you can access here.

And I also recommend you check out this article written by recent AWAI Wall of Fame inductee, Cindy Cyr. In it, she gives you the process she uses to set realistic goals and then stick to them.


I’m referring to the acronym, Follow One Course Until Successful. It’s another key to success in achieving your dream of living the writer’s life. Once you have your path established, you need to FOCUS so you keep moving forward.

After struggling for her first 11 months as a copywriter, AWAI member Rachel Karl experienced great success once she learned to FOCUS.

And to help out other AWAI members, she wrote a great article explaining her experience with becoming a successful autoresponder copywriter, and gives advice on how you can follow in her footsteps.

4. Learn your craft.

This one is probably the most obvious – but it goes back to the plan you need to make above. Now that you’ve chosen your path, what do you need to do to learn the necessary skills? Take a program? Attend Bootcamp?

Figure out the necessary steps, and then get cracking. Just remember, you’ll always continue to learn on the journey to living the writer’s life. Successful copywriters like Bob Bly, Clayton Makepeace, and Dan Kennedy will all tell you – never stop learning.

The key is to learn your craft enough to start working for clients. And then continue to improve as you go. It’s very easy to get caught up in the learning process …

Just remember there will always be one more program, book, or course you can take. Learn enough to start working, and then plan to keep learning as you go.

Because in order to live the writer’s life, you’ll need to make money! And money won’t come from taking programs … it will come from clients (or your business if you choose that route).

5. Get clients.

As Nick Usborne mentioned in his article that covered the three keys of freelance success, this can be a scary moment for new freelancers. But most make the leap and find the best strategies for marketing their services, approaching prospective clients, and landing as many of them as they can.

Just like with learning your craft, the key is to just get started. And there are loads of ways to do just that.

Check out the free getting-clients tips in AWAI’s article archive. And remember to review the Job Opportunities page that is updated every week on the AWAI site, as well as – AWAI’s job board exclusively for members. (There are almost 400 jobs in there right now!)

Note for email and autoresponder copywriters: We’ve seen a huge increase in jobs recently for these positions, so I’ve asked our jobs coordinator to compile a quick list, which I’ve included at the end of this email.

6. Grow your business.

Once you’re up and running, it’s time to grow your business to maximize the revenue you make from every client so that you’re not having to work a lot more just to make more money each year.

At this point, if you want some help, check out Nick Usborne’s Profitable Freelancing, or consider hiring a coach or mentor. (Earlier this week, I gave you some guidelines for finding a coach who will work best with you.)

The key here is to always be looking for ways to maximize the revenue you get from every hour you spend working. Remember, the writer’s life isn’t about working harder. It’s about working smarter!

7. Celebrate, celebrate, and celebrate some more!

In my opinion, it’s the best part of the process to living the writer’s life – celebrating! So as you reach milestones along the way, make sure you’re celebrating each and every one of them.

And if you’d like my help celebrating … and it should be known I’m an excellent celebrator … definitely drop me a note on Facebook, or post a comment on one of my posts online.

I LOVE to help you celebrate, as does the rest of the AWAI team.

In fact, it’s one of my favorite things!

Just remember, when the path in front of you looks overwhelming, don’t try to approach the entire thing at once. Instead, figure out what your next step is, and then take that step forward …

And start eating that elephant one bite at a time.


Direct Response Copywriter Wanted
As the Direct Response Copywriter, you will create cutting-edge customer acquisition methods and use copy and design to get consumers and existing customers to call, click and ultimately convert. Use emails and other forms of copywriting to increase conversion rates of customers. You’ll also develop and write a wide variety of communications copy including video scripts, website and blog content, direct mail, and e-mail. Your key role in this position will be to support sales team in assisting in the creation of persuasive follow up autoresponder series to get prospects back and buying. Ready for the challenge?Apply now.

Senior Copywriter with Email Writing Responsibilities
The Sr. Copywriter will deliver a new service offer for small businesses by focusing on the written content for their websites. You’ll be responsible for capturing new learning, hitting productivity targets and leaving a lasting positive impression with the customer. You’ll also be involved in email marketing, direct mail campaigns, blog posts, etc. Apply now!

Email Campaign Copywriter
Do you want to create and execute trial and lead generation email campaigns responsible for millions of dollars in revenue? As the Banking Market marketing manager, you will be in complete control of the all of the company's new acquisition initiatives, primarily through online and email channels. You’ll create marketing copy for e-marketing campaigns. Interested? Apply today!

Copywriter Involved in Email Blasts
The many responsibilities of the Copywriter require creativity, versatility and the ability to handle everything from product descriptions, print pieces, online (website, landing pages, email blasts and online banners) and more. That means knowing how to dial up our brand voice when writing for more attention-getting pieces or dial it down for more straightforward product descriptions. Being versatile also requires the ability to move quickly and comfortably between multiple projects. Are you ready for the challenge?Apply here.

Creative Copywriter to Send Email Blasts & More
The self-supporting College of Continuing and Professional Education at CSULB is looking for a dynamic, experienced, and creative Copywriter. This position will create brand-aligned copy for our various outreach efforts, with particular emphasis on our website and web-based communications. Writing and editing responsibilities include marketing and catalog copy, Facebook posts, other editorial content, "email blasts" as well as the creation of semester-based campaign copy. Will pay $3500 to $5200 per month! Apply now.

Senior Copywriter Experienced in Email Marketing Needed
If you are a bright marketer with a penchant for words, you are needed as the voice of the brand. You will become a key member of the Creative Team by writing exceptional advertising and marketing copy that produces tangible business results. You’ll write website content, landing pages, emails, banner ads, newsletter articles, print ads, direct mail postcards, letters, and event materials that are used for marketing, advertising, and sales. If you have experience working with marketing automation or email marketing solutions, then apply here.

Copywriter Wanted for Email Campaigns & More
As the Copywriter, you’ll collaborate on the development of interactive solutions and effective results for the website. You’ll be responsible for understanding the overall business, brand and marketing objectives, and proactively contributing to its evolution and success. You’ll develop writing and messaging skills relative to product descriptions, email campaigns, headlines and other media. Sound like a good fit? Apply today!

Write Email Scripts
In this role, you’ll be responsible for authoring marketing copy; including but not limited to product descriptions for both catalog and web presentations, sell sheets, advertising, regional marketing, sales support, landing pages, and email scripts. If you’re up for the challenge, apply now!

Seeking Copywriter Who Understands Client Needs
The Responsys Creative Services copy team provides concept development and copywriting services for leading brands in retail, travel, finance and beyond. As their copywriter, you’ll collaborate with creative team members to determine theconceptual and copy direction of email campaigns. If you understand client needs and can successfully produce email campaigns based on client briefs, then apply today.

Digital Copywriter Needed for Health Agency
As a digital copywriter for an agency with a focus on pharmaceutical and healthcare, you should have experience in both health and digital copywriting. You should keep up with industry best practices and reference the latest marketplace trends. You’ll write, edit, and proofread daily content in compelling terms (web, email, social network copy). Apply now for this copywriting opportunity.

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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Published: March 25, 2011

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