A Life of Intrigue and Wealth

Do you remember dreaming as a kid of what you would be when you grew up?

I do.

While other kids talked about being a policeman, a teacher or a firefighter, I had delusions of being a Major League baseball player. Oh, yeah! I seriously thought I'd get that far.

Big house, fast cars, and admirers everywhere – I'd be livin' large!

Those hopes got dashed when I failed to make my high school baseball team.

Fortunately, I had a backup plan. Big Ten university education. A fantastic summer internship. Sales experience. And a good job with a New York City publishing company right out of the gate. Life was good.

But as much as I enjoyed my work and made decent money, I didn't feel like I had found my true "calling." In fact, I tried to avoid the question that inevitably came up in every casual conversation and at every social function:

"So … what do you do?"

What I really wanted to tell people was something like, "National Geographic Traveler is sending me to Borneo next month to do a piece on the oldest rainforest in the world," or, "My publisher just sent me an advance for my third crime series novel."

Now that would be cool, right? I'd be the most popular guy at cocktail parties for sure.

Instead, my "elevator pitch" was, "I'm in direct sales. I sell legal publications to lawyers in those big office buildings downtown." Typical response: "Oh." End of conversation.

Years later, when I stumbled upon the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, two things happened.

I immediately realized that I had found my true calling, even if I didn't know how to get it or how long it would take. And I also realized that one day I would have a great answer to that question I avoided.

These days, I look forward to: "So … what do you do?" I absolutely love being able to say, "I'm a writer!" (Less confusing than saying "copywriter.")

Maybe it's just me, but my reply always leads to further conversation. Of course, that's the point.

If you frame it properly, people are genuinely fascinated by the idea that you craft messages that help businesses make money.

And I can tell you this. You just might be the first person they've ever met who makes a living as a writer! You'll blow them away!

It gets even better when you tell them you're also writing a book or writing a travel article for a major publication. (I'll keep you posted on those developments, and I'm still working on the Borneo thing.)

Are you an aspiring writer? Or already working as a part-time or full-time writer? Here are three things you can do now to move forward and start developing this abstract idea of "intrigue" when people ask what you do:

  • Craft your 30-second elevator pitch. Here's a simple 3-part formula I got from Bob Bly: First, identify the pain or need your service addresses. Second, describe your service, beginning with the words "What I do." Third, explain why your service is valuable by describing the benefits it delivers, starting with the words "So that."
  • Try to narrow your focus early in your writing career. Specialists attract clients easier and make more money than generalists.
  • Build a website that gets results.

I was late to the table on all three of these things. Big mistake. The sooner you can tackle them, the better.

So … what do you want to be when you grow up?

If you're still smitten with this idea of being a writer, in my opinion, there's only one place to start in 2011: web copywriting.

I had the privilege of meeting the master, Nick Usborne, at the Web Copywriting Intensive in San Diego this past February.

You won't have to take four days, fly out to the West Coast, and book a hotel, though. Much easier: get Nick's Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts.

An added bonus: when people ask you what you do, and you tell them you're a web copywriter, you'll spark a good conversation and generate some serious intrigue.

Now, the key is parlaying that intrigue into prestige, opportunity, and probably most important to you – money! (The second part of the "intrigue and wealth" topic.)

Those are the subjects of the next three days, so stay tuned …

In the meantime, get started with those action items I listed above, and if you have any questions or comments for me, post them below.

The Digital Copywriter's Handbook

The Digital Copywriter's Handbook

Learn how to become an in-demand online copywriter for companies big and small. Online copywriting expert Nick Usborne shows you how to write web copy that converts. Learn More »

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Published: April 19, 2011

4 Responses to “A Life of Intrigue and Wealth”

  1. To whom it may concern, I am a Spanish teacher of 37 years. I am completely bilingual. The hispanic is the fastets growing segment of the US population. Can you please help me find the business market that needs things in two languages. I am fluent in both educated Spanish and "street language". I know how to express things in Spanish to get people interested.
    Thank you for your help. Michael Lynch

    Guest (Michael Lynch)

  2. Steve,

    Thanks for writing this piece.

    In the food chain, it seems kids are taught only to be doctors, lawyers, engineer, teachers, etc.

    We seldom hear young kids say, "I want to be a copywriter like Bob Bly or Michael Masterson when I grow up."

    That's a shame, really, because these masters earn much more money than working professionals in conventional jobs.

    Here's another thing: they earn six figures or more working freelance out of their home offices.

    There are options out there we are not even aware of. Cheers.

    Archan Mehta

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