Eliminate the "What-Ifs"

Steve Roller here, your guest editor of The Writer's Life this week.

When I jumped into the writer's life three years ago, I desperately wanted three things: time freedom, a portable business, and a high income.

I'm happy to report that I've gotten two out of three so far. I'm still working on the third (my definition of high income is pretty high).

I've also discovered some side benefits of working as a freelancer that we don't often talk about.

This week, I want to whet your appetite for the writer's life even more by divulging some of those deeper "hidden" benefits. I'm going to bare my soul a bit and show you that the writer's life is not only real, but it's also probably under-promised here at AWAI (a good technique in selling, as you know).

Stay tuned all week, and you'll also get some practical advice on taking your writing business to the next level, wherever you are now.

But first, let me give you the quick back story …

For many years before I became a writer, I had a nagging suspicion that something was missing from my life. I felt like I wasn't fully using all my talents. It seemed like if I could just find the right career fit, I would bust out of the land of mediocrity.

Can you relate?

Don't get me wrong. I considered myself successful. I had a challenging and rewarding sales job, regular vacations, decent income that went up each year, and managers who helped me grow.

I could have easily stayed in that position, done the same thing year after year, and been very comfortable.

Yet even when I was earning decent commission checks and incentive trips, the "what-ifs" always crept in …

What if I didn't have to be stuck in this rigid schedule?

What if I didn't have to wait 15 or 20 years to pursue my dream of traveling?

What if I could use my creative talents to not only make a lot of money, but to also do good in the world and make a difference?

What if I didn't have to answer to a manager or corporate agenda?

What if I could pursue projects that fed my spirit (along with my bank account, of course)?

What if I could live life on my terms?

I first bought the Accelerated Program in 2004 and went through it diligently, but never had time outside of my job to go after clients.

It wasn't until four years later that my "what-ifs" finally outweighed my content with the status quo. While listening to Gary Hennerberg speak at Bootcamp in 2008, I made up my mind to pursue the writer's life with gusto and get rid of those lingering questions for good. Five months later, I left my job and never looked back.

What about you?

Do you have some "what-ifs" that are bubbling to the surface? Have you read about the promises of the writer's life – the freedom to what do what you want with your day, the ability to live where and how you want, the potential to make a lot of money doing something you love – but haven't quite reeled them in yet?

I'd love to hear from you.

What is the main benefit that you're seeking from the writer's life? Have you claimed it yet or are you still in pursuit? Or tell me about one of your strongest "what-ifs." Is it motivating you to succeed as a writer?

Is there anything I can do to help your progress? Leave me a note in the comment section below and I'll be sure to respond.

Follow along with my series this week, and I'll show you how you can succeed as a freelancer no matter what the economy is doing. We'll take a look at how you can create positive change in the world and why hanging around other writers can enrich your life.

I'll also explain how you can make this shift and bury your "what-ifs" once and for all. The first couple of steps are outlined in my article "Thrive in the Brand-New World."

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Published: May 14, 2012

23 Responses to “Eliminate the "What-Ifs"”

  1. What if i can find a way to get North American clients and do their copywriting even though I live abroad? Any suggestions?

    Guest (tricia)May 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

  2. My what if is that what if I take the course with AWAI and still do not get any clients. I have no expertise to offer anyone. I would have wasted my money.

    Guest (Christine Cassello)May 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm

  3. My main reason to go after the writer's life is so I can work from wherever I happen to be. I have aging parents in Alabama and a daughter (and hopefully one day grandchildren!) in Colorado. I'm tired of the 9-5 and working to make money for someone else. I just finished the Companion Series and am working my way through the Fundraising curriculum. I already have some projects to write for my current employer, a foundation. So I'll soon have some samples and some analytics for my portfolio.

    RhondaMay 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

  4. Hi Ruth here and I'm just starting on the accelerated copywriting programme. My problem is that our family is currently flat broke and I mean to the point of being unable to buy milk and bread until our next payday. So I cannot afford things like the Circle of Success and other programmes. I am glad I had some free cash to do the programme I am doing. So what? I need for me to start actually copywriting for money as soon as possible. Am I going to find that as I go through the programme? Or am I expecting to wait until I finish? Am I only going to get extra help and direction to potential clients if I invest in other programmes? It's to give me some time frame to work with and to give me an idea of how intensively I need to move through the learning.

    Guest (Ruth Sandiford Phelan)May 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm

  5. Thanks for the invitation Steve. I am working my way slowly through the Accellerated program hoping to find a niche that finally fits all of me. Time will tell but so far I am very encouraged. This type of reinforcement just hones my focus. Thanks!

    Guest (Joey)May 15, 2012 at 7:04 am

  6. Hi Steve, Your letter was just what I needed today! I'm the Review Editor/Writer for a national magazine, a contributing writer/photographer for a regional newspaper, teach many piano students each week, and write book reviews for a magazine and a review-for-fee service. I work incessantly and haven't had a vacation in years. I need to drop something and start to build residual (and portable) income, and I'm going nuts with the non-stop deadlines. Can you advise?


    Guest (Kris)May 15, 2012 at 8:26 am

  7. Steve,

    Your desire to help others reflects the fact that you have a generous spirit.

    So thank you for writing this piece: your writing is soul-stirring and uplifting and gives one hope.

    I think the most important thing to remember is the power of networking.

    What some ace copywriters have found out is that clients are out there but you have to get to know them personally.

    A lof of deals have been clinced at the golf club and backyard barbecues instead of the corporate suite. Cheers.

    Archan MehtaMay 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

  8. Steve, I attended the last Boot Camp. Met two ladies on the taxi in. We are great mentors to each other. Email weekly or more often. Has kept me afloat. I have my Mind Map on my wall keeping my goal in front of me. I WILL be beyond the "what ifs" this time next year. Someone said "This time next year you will wish you had started today". I am determined to make this my life's dream and my life. Thank you for your words. (I enjoyed a table with you and your son at Boot Camp, and next year we will know each other!)

    donnainmontanaMay 16, 2012 at 12:13 am

  9. My time is limited, with a full-time job and evening classes. I live outside of the US and wonder if I would land clients as well.

    Guest (Karen)May 16, 2012 at 10:00 am

  10. Hi Steve,

    I've been loving your emails this week!
    I relate very closely to your story. I've purchased both the Accelerated and Masters Programs and have been reviewing the materials ... they are fantastic.

    I have always loved to write and, in my 15+ year career in the nonprofit and corporate sectors, I've done a lot of writing. In various positions I've served as a magazine/newsletter editor, written dozens of fundraising appeal letters, wrote copy for a new website, and I've been the copywriter for e-newsletters, annual reports, press releases, strategic plans, reports, etc.

    In addition, I'm skilled with creating high-impact, effective resumes/job search materials.

    I've just resigned from my full-time position as CEO of a nonprofit so that I can focus on launching my new copywriting business. I'm currently planning to offer services in three niches that I'm passionate about ... nonprofits, small businesses and job search materials.

    I know that becoming very speciali

    Guest (Jen)May 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

  11. Great article Steve. I too can relate to that feeling. And to those that say "what if I do this and don't get any clients" --if you are determined to do this and take action by persistently contacting prospective clients, you will find clients. There are floods of them out there. EVERY company that exists needs copy. Think about that.There is no shortage and plenty of demand. The only thing that will stop you from getting clients is you.

    Cindy CyrJune 2, 2012 at 6:23 am

  12. Hi Steve,

    In one of your articles, you mentioned a 17 month roadmap to success to Irene regarding newsletter. Would you please send me the roadmap also. I think I need a map!

    Guest (Trish)March 31, 2015 at 12:55 pm

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