Are You Rocking the Copywriting World?
"Eventually you'll take the phrases and rhythm patterns you've copped and begin to put your own mark on them."
Steve Roller here, taking over the reins of The Writer's Life this week.
That's not a line from a famous writer. It's Eddie Van Halen talking about playing the guitar, something he's pretty good at, to say the least.
Copywriting is the same way.
You study the greats, learn the techniques, and practice, practice, practice.
Eventually, you develop your own voice and style.
But there's more to making your mark than just becoming a good writer.
You have to build a successful freelance business, and that's what this week is all about.
Today, I'm going to give you a picture of where I am now: a happy and successful freelance writer. Tomorrow, I'll tell you about where I was exactly three years ago when I was just starting out. And throughout the week, I'll show you how you can achieve the same results, or much more, in less time.
But first, let me take you back 48 years.
On three consecutive Sundays in February 1964, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and rocked the pop music world.
From that point on, the four lads from Liverpool influenced every generation of musicians that came after. They wrote and produced more Top 40 songs than any other group in history. And they established a lasting musical legacy that is still going strong almost a half-century later.
So what does this have to do with you and your copywriting career?
A lot of people think Paul, John, George, and Ringo launched their careers on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
What they don't always realize is that the preparation had been taking place for four years prior in nightclubs in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany, where they were the house band for a night club.
According to Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, the Beatles performed more than 1,200 times in those years, racking up more than 10,000 hours of playing time.
10,000 hours of "practicing" also gave them lots of time to develop their own unique style.
The Beatles were masters at their craft before most people on this side of the pond had ever heard of them.
They were also masters at strategy.
They didn't come to the States without a track record and expect to hit the big time. First, they perfected their act in small clubs in Germany. Then they returned home where they had hit records on UK radio. It was only after this success that they decided to launch their American invasion.
So, back to you and me.
Perhaps you're a beginner still in your first 1,000 hours of practice. Or maybe you've moved past that on your way to the "mastery" category.
I'm in between the two myself. I'm nowhere near a master, but I've put in about 2,500 hours of actual writing time. I've replaced my previous corporate income, and this year started off quite well. If things continue at this pace, I'll just crack the coveted six-figure mark for the first time this year.
Wherever you are, there are three things you can do to make sure that when your "Ed Sullivan moment" comes, you'll be ready to rock the world.
- Lay the foundation. Put in your time. Practice every day like the Beatles did in Hamburg before they made it big. Invest the time to learn your craft.
- Develop your own style and voice. This will come naturally the more you write.
- Create a strategy for your freelance business. After almost three years in business, I'm finally taking this seriously now. This is what we'll be focusing on this week.
Along the way, you can start getting noticed, create a hit record or two, and make a pretty good living before you actually become a copywriting rock star.
Are you with me?
Hop on the tour bus, and we'll cover some strategic moves each day this week …
Do me a favor, too. I'd love to hear where you are in your business and what you're doing to lay a strong foundation. Has anything worked particularly well so far? Any pressing challenges I can possibly help with? You can leave a short question or comment below.
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