All You Need Is Love
Steve Roller here.
This week in The Writer's Life, we're talking about building a profitable freelance business.
Have you ever heard the adage "Do what you love and the money will follow"?
Most people immediately dismiss this concept, saying it's a sure route to poverty.
I would offer this advice (which also happens to be a great success strategy, as you’ll find out further down): "Throw some passion and love into what you do, and things will start to happen."
The first thing you need to love is the craft of writing itself.
Let me go back briefly to where I was three years ago when my journey began. With a dangerous mix of naiveté and enthusiasm, I left my corporate job in March 2009 and jumped into the freelance world.
I didn't hate my job or my boss, and I wasn't struggling financially. In fact, I gave up a secure position with good pay and benefits.
I wasn't so much running away from something as I was running to writing.
Specifically, persuasive writing. That's the kind that will eventually pay you big bucks.
You could say I was head over heels with the idea of becoming a copywriter! Just like the first time I set eyes on my wife, when I started studying the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, I was smitten. Really. I knew this was what I wanted to do in some way or another.
And like any good long-term relationship, I made a commitment to make it work.
I diligently pored through the Accelerated Program, did all the exercises, and when I finished, tried to write every day.
Sometimes I copied successful sales letters from the Hall of Fame book, which ingrained the style and rhythm of copywriting into my brain. Other times, I rewrote something I had gotten in the mail or in my email box.
This is one of the early exercises in the Accelerated Program – writing out successful letters by hand. Paul Hollingshead calls it "the secret of copywriting osmosis," and says that when you do it right, " … amazing things begin to happen. All the good habits of copywriting miraculously appear in you. The secret of good copywriting is forever tattooed on the walls of your brain. You begin to think and act like a copywriter."
It worked for me.
I also promoted my services to friends for a reasonable fee. An insurance agent got a new brochure. A sales trainer got some fresh website copy. And I got practice.
Writing every day has never been a chore. It's something I thoroughly enjoy to this day and always will.
The second thing you need to love is your clients.
Don't just serve your clients, but love them and have a strong desire to give them value.
This is where you need to throw some passion into what you do.
It helps if you love your niche, of course. More than that, you have to love your prospects and clients and what you can do for them.
In other words, love the idea that you can help them grow and become successful themselves. Part of every freelancer's USP, tagline, or elevator speech should simply be, "I help businesses grow."
A quick example: I helped an online fitness marketer with an informational product that was on the verge of dying. We breathed new life into it with a new online video script that had passion. It was a product to help runners avoid injuries, and being a runner myself, I felt a strong connection to it. I really wanted to help the client, and I wasn't overly concerned with how much I was making from it.
In the end, the client was thrilled, and I ended up getting more work from her.
If you're just starting out, don't worry. We'll cover getting clients this week, too.
The third thing you need to love is what your writing is going to do for you.
Here's what I mean: I think you'll have a much better chance at building a profitable freelance business if you have a purpose beyond the goal of getting wealthy.
It's a lot more fun and inspiring if you're working for something besides just a six-figure (or more) income.
Me? I love to travel, and copywriting has already opened doors of opportunity to travel extensively. I'm able to take my business with me wherever I go. Over the last two years, I've worked from portable offices in Istanbul, Nigeria, and Ecuador. I've also written while on vacation or on business in D.C., Boston, San Diego, and of course, Delray Beach, Florida – AWAI’s hometown.
I write so I can travel.
And in honor of Valentine's Day today, I'll say with unabashed emotion, I write because I'm still head over heels in love with my wife 19 years after we first met. My freelance business is helping me create a better lifestyle for her, for us, and that's the real reason I write.
What about you? What do you love about writing? Why are you creating a freelance business, in addition to the money? If you don't mind sharing, let me know in the comment section.
Now, to see the connection between all this sappy "love" stuff and the practical applications that will help your business grow, check out my article "How to Romance Your Clients for a Long-Term Relationship."
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 »