“Had I been hoodwinked?”
Picture this …
Bootcamp 2007: I was newly married. I’d quit a comfortable job in management six months before. I’d gone through every page of AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.
But I hadn’t landed a single client. My savings had dwindled and my post-wedding bills were steep.
I’d thought launching myself as a freelance writer would be a snap. I mean, how could I fail if I was doing something I loved? Especially if I worked from home, had all the time in the world to succeed, and freelance writing was in such high demand?
A big reason for attending Bootcamp that year was to make sure this gig was real. I mean … had I been hoodwinked? Was it really possible to make a living as a writer working from home on projects I chose?
It’s funny how things happen. I flew in to the West Palm Beach airport and found myself waiting for a shuttle with other travelers headed to the Delray Beach Marriott for Bootcamp. Somehow, the shuttle didn’t work out, and seven of us wound up sharing a gleaming black limousine.
Talk about setting the perfect tone for launching a lucrative new career!
Besides the thrill of riding in high style, what struck me about that limo ride was the congeniality of the group. We were strangers at the airport, but seated inside that spacious cab, we became friends. Half of the folks were still working on the Accelerated Program. One had yet to start. But all of us shared the same dream to be freelance writers and looked to Bootcamp to make that happen.
And you know what? It didn’t disappoint. Three and a half days later, I went outdoors for the first time. Despite the picturesque, on-the-beach location, I hadn’t come up for air once during the conference.
Don’t get me wrong – I adore a good beach. But what was going on indoors was far more worthwhile.
In the span of three days, I’d met the entire AWAI team. Not only were they energetic and genuine, but they also struck me as particularly invested in making sure my experience went beyond expectations. It did.
At that first Bootcamp, I ate lunch with email master Matt Furey … put faces to the names of AWAI members I’d come to know via email … marveled at Bob Bly’s down-to-earth, considerate way of answering everybody’s questions … swooned over meeting Paul Hollingshead in the flesh (after all, he wrote the letter that changed my life!).
I shook hands with marketers who wanted to meet me. I took part in a live copy review session that taught me more in 45 minutes than I’d learned on my own in months.
Best of all, I walked away with my first paid project – a spec assignment I landed with a marketer from Job Fair. It paid $500 – absolute riches.
Now let’s fast-forward to 2008 …
For me, that second year was all about connection. I’d been in the writing world long enough to know a lot of names of top copywriters. But really getting to know the folks behind those names was inspiring. You’ll find it gives your confidence a tremendous lift because you’ll have a lot in common with them.
One thing I love about Bootcamp is the way the speakers and experts mingle with attendees. They’ll chat with you and even eat with you at just about every meal. It’s nothing like other conferences I’ve been to where the top presenters retreat to their own elite circle.
One night, I went to dinner with six-figure copywriter Krista Jones. The next night, I dined with sunshiny graphic designer Lori Haller, who’d worked on a project for Oprah Winfrey.
I connected with the writing world on a deeper level at that second Bootcamp. I left with two new clients – one of whom I still write for today. That was the year I really learned to live in the moment as a writer. I talk about that more in this article.
Can’t you see this happening for you? Tell me about it.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
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