Stimulate Your Own Economy

Steve Roller here, back with more about the side benefits of the writer's life.

Yesterday, we talked about using your "what-ifs" to propel you to action. If you missed it, my article "Thrive in the Brand-New World" offered four tips for getting started.

It also offered the first "side benefit" of the week: the idea that as you become an expert at something, you'll naturally attract people looking for your advice.

Today, I want to talk about two more benefits that you don't often hear about. I guarantee you'll enjoy them fully when you commit to becoming a copywriter.

But first, let me take you back to 1986 during my sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. A mentor told me, "If you can learn how to sell yourself and your ideas, you'll always be able to get work."

He was talking about direct sales, but the same could be said about direct-response copywriting.

Think about it. No matter what direction you go, once you know how to write persuasively, you will always be able to create income.

Yes, even in a recession.

In fact, in an economy like we have now, your persuasive talents will stand out even more. Copywriters are catalysts of change.

We make things happen.

Let me give you a quick example. A few years ago, my wife, Emida, decided to use her degrees in fine arts and art education to get a teaching job. She had two things going against her. The last time she taught was 16 years earlier. And with a competitive market, 49 teachers applied for the one open position in our hometown.

In spite of those obstacles, she landed the position. Her interviewing skills sealed it, but she gave me the credit for getting her in the door (they only interviewed four). I wrote her a well-constructed cover letter that set her apart from the other 48 applicants.

More recently, I used my copywriting skills to help her again. When she decided to go back to her mural-painting business full time, she needed to build up business quickly. I wrote a two-page sales letter that she sent to 23 area builders participating in the upcoming Parade of Homes.

The letter explained how a unique mural could make their house stand out among the other 22 houses. It incorporated elements of a classic direct-response letter: a headline that grabbed them, a story lead, a big promise, testimonials and credentials, an emotional close, and a clear call to action.

It worked. She got two projects directly from the letter, which turned into two more projects from referrals.

When you have the ability to write copy, you are in the driver's seat. You create your own opportunities.

I've done it myself a few times when I needed to jump-start my copywriting business to get some quick cash flow. Just last week, I sent off a brief email to update clients about a new service I offer. It brought in a new project right away and another potential one.

That’s the first benefit: learn to write copy, and you have a lifelong skill that will always keep money coming your way if you apply it. You create your own destiny.

The second benefit I want to share with you today is what I call the "iron sharpens iron" effect. It's a little more abstract, but here's what I mean:

When you immerse yourself in the writer's life, you'll start hanging around sharp, like-minded go-getters. And, as my college mentor also told me, "You become like the people you hang around with the most."

I'm a better person for the professional relationships and friends I've developed as a copywriter mostly through AWAI. I'm thankful for the influence AWAI Wall of Fame members Cindy Cyr, Kelvin Parker, Sean McCool, and many others have had on my career so far.

Here's your chance to give a shout-out to someone who may be reading this (and if they're not a subscriber, forward it on to them and make their day!). Tell me about someone who's had an impact on your career, influenced you to become a writer, or gone out of their way to help you in some way. Leave a note about it in the comment section.

Continue to seek out people who will help you "sharpen your iron," and remember that you're building a skill that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

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 »


Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: May 15, 2012

3 Responses to “Stimulate Your Own Economy”

  1. Steve,

    Thank you, once again, for a brilliant article.

    As usual, you have written straight from the heart. I like the fact that you are careful to include personal examples to help illustrate your articles.

    Invariably, your own personality shines out in your writing--a good thing.

    Since you asked, literature has been a strong influence in my life.

    Great works by literary artists and their masterpieces have always moved me.

    Literature acts like a catalyst: it is a beacon of hope for us.

    Archan MehtaMay 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm

  2. And now, Steve, you're motivating me. Thanks for a look inside your writer's life.

    Sean McCoolMay 16, 2012 at 7:38 am


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)