Are You Struggling With This?

It was a beautiful Friday afternoon in early March. One of those days that are best enjoyed outside, taking a walk, going on a hike, or reading a book on the patio.

Me? I was in my home office, cracking open the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting program for the first time.

It had been sitting in a box for almost a week. And I was dying to dive into the material. I had a feeling this program would change my life.

I was right.

That afternoon in March 2003 marked a turning point in my career. Not so much because the program was so amazing (it was). But because it gave me the hope and encouragement I needed to pursue a solo business.

I needed something to push me forward. And this program filled that need very nicely.

Over the next three years, I became an in-demand B2B copywriter in the software industry. I worked my business during nights and weekends while keeping the safety of my paycheck.

I learned a ton about the enterprise software business (just one of many niches in B2B). I wrote dozens of white papers, case studies, articles, brochures and other marketing pieces for midsize and large software companies. I found the topics fascinating!

Best of all, my clients loved my writing. They kept hiring me to do as much work as I could handle. A couple of them even put me on a monthly retainer!

Within 18 months, I was earning $2,000 to $3,000 part time, while I still had my day job.

And by May of 2006, I had replaced my six-figure paycheck with copywriting income. So I turned in my resignation.

I'll never forget what my boss told me that day: "I envy you, Ed. I wish I were in a position to go out on my own. I'd do it in a heartbeat!" Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn't it?

Well … it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. My journey had been filled with struggle and uncertainty.

My biggest challenge: landing copywriting clients.

As an 11-year sales veteran, drumming up business was a challenge I was very familiar with.

But this was different. Because I had a personal stake in the success of this venture.

In this video, I'll share my story. I'll tell you about how I went from selling fire hydrants to selling servers. And how that eventually led me to the world of copywriting.

I'll explain why I struggled for so long. How I got stuck in the mud (literally). How I ended up embarrassing myself in front of a good friend's dad …

And how I eventually developed a simple system for finding and landing great clients.

Play Video

You'll also find a full transcript here, if you prefer reading to watching a video.

Go ahead and post your comments and questions below. And feel free to share this link with others who may find this training series useful.

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Published: March 4, 2013

57 Responses to “Are You Struggling With This?”

  1. This is all really interesting to me.

    Julie Ann

  2. Hi Ed,

    What a fantastic video you have produced!

    For most new copywriters, including myself, I believe the BIGGEST challenge to launch a successful career is to find quality clients and land projects.

    Finding inspiration or releasing creativity to craft a text will be the "easy" part.

    I can't wait to know more about your e-mail prospecting system :) Despite it is a necessary component of the writer's life, selling or marketing is something I am currently reluctant about.

    Guest (Yan Fortin)

  3. Hi Ed,

    Yep, I've tried your method. And I'm glad it's wroking for you. It's not really working for me.What am I doing wrong?

    Copywriter

  4. It's the "Tools du Jour", Ed. Hands down.

    Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Google+. Meetup. I'm all for supplying killer content in an attempt to position myself as "top of mind" to potential clients. But how much of me can I "virtually" spread around?

    I like your approach much better -- email. It's simple. It's easy. It's effective but non-confrontational. And if you get rejected, you just move on without any face-to-face letdown or a pound of your flesh being extracted. Great job, Ed!!!

    RNin2013

  5. Every time I hear about ways to develop my business, I almost want to cry. You want to SELL me a system! Although I would love to purchase your advice, and find a system that works, I'm on Social Security. I make less than $1000 a month. I need an income FIRST!

    But if you're like EVERY SINGLE ONE of the people I've listened to so far (AWAI and others), you will brush me off as if I'm no more than a bothersome fly because I am not yet in a position to buy another thing.

    I used every penny of my savings to buy this course. I also sell articles that I've written, but that income goes for groceries. Nothing I've done yet has gotten me past basic survival.

    Unlike most in my situation, I sincerely believe that this financial condition is temporary. I WILL make an income, but probably without your help.

    Regardless of the price, I doubt I can use your product to learn how to use your email system, because you just want to SELL it to me. You really aren't interested in help

    Guest (Patricia)

  6. Hi Ed, I give you a lot of credit for going through those experiences. Selling (anything) has never been one of my stong points. I find myself getting very passive in those situations. It would be great to have a method of selling that suits my personality, gets the job done without being pushy, and most especially, actually has a good chance of succeeding.

    ScottF

  7. Mareting is my biggest problem. I'm an introvert and don't like selling. I've learned marketing copywriting isn't like selling widgets where you can run an ad in the newspaper. I have a big concern with e-mail marketing. I do not want to spam nor do I want to be seen as a spammer.
    I need to quit the dead-end job working few hours a week, but I don't want another job. I need to get customers and make a living at what I do best: Write.

    Flying Writer

  8. Hello Ed:

    I look forward to hearing how I can save time by e-mail prospecting. The best prospecting method that has worked for me is cold calling a targeted market. However, if your method can reduce the amount of cold calls-then it is worth learning about it.

    Kennard Brown

  9. Dear Ed, That was great! I am brand new to the six figure copywriting course. I have some clients I write articles for each but building my business has been slow.

    Thanks for the insight into email marketing. I have to admit that's how I learned about AWAI. It makes perfect sense. I'm on the edge of my seat.

    Thank you

    Guest (Rita)

  10. Ed, I too had a similar "marketing class" experience and went to grad school to avoid sales. I ended up having to sell my legal services later anyway. For the last 15 years I've owned an IT staffing firm with 7 salespeople doing cold calling, canvassing, and anything related to prospecting. As CEO, I receive dozens of email solicitations, but have never found one compelling enough to make a buying decision. I'm anxious to hear more from you how email prospecting has worked for you. Andrew

    Andrew Marquardt

  11. Ed:
    I am eagerly awaiting the rest of this weeks material.

    You hit it for me with the "tool du jour"

    Guest (Jim Clark)

  12. Looking forward to your next training video. Email marketing? First you need to find the email addresses of your potential clients. Then you need to write each email individually (you can use a template but you need to add "that personal touch" to each piece. Is this anything close to what you do? I guess any form of prospecting is time-intensive.

    Guest (Francis A)

  13. You hit the nail on the head, Ed...and wrote a neat VSL as well...simple, witty, and to the point. I think a lot of writers probably feel like a fish out of water when it comes to sales...like, what do I do next? Looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say this week!

    MariaN

  14. Ed,

    You have a casual, engaging persona. Forget the graphics and text and just talk into the camera. You're good at it.

    Cheers. Fred.

    Guest (Fred Hamann)

  15. Ed, Thanks for your honesty in your earlier struggles. I'm looking to transition from my teaching position into writing full-time as soon as I find some modicum of success. Having no marketing experience to speak of, I find fear and laziness to be my sins of this transition. I look forward to seeing your system on how to market myself in a relatively painless way that should lead to landing some gigs.

    Pax

    Scot Martin

  16. I've been looking at copywriting for some time, and plan to start learning in earnest once I finish a very time consuming class I'm in right now. I'm confident I can do the work but the hurdle I see is knowing where to start to find clients. I don't even know who to cold call (if that was the answer). I know I can write good copy, what I don't know is who to contact to sell my services even with your much easier Email Prospecting solution.

    Michael Holley

  17. Thanks Ed - great content - looking forward to the next video.

    I am really curious to see how you manage to break through the email inbox clutter and also how your approach allows you to choose your targets easily and quickly.

    Guest (sam)

  18. An inspiring story! Thanks for sharing it. I look forward to the next installment

    Roberto

  19. Hey ed great post. I have a question. How were you able to write case studies while holding down a full time job?

    I'd like to do case studies but I can't see how, unless you can get the participants to conduct interviews during the evening.

    Thanks

    Keith

    ksmiley

  20. Hi Ed,

    Was really inspired by what you had to say and look forward to the next installment. Thank you.

    I was wondering whether(or how)you see blogging fitting into the 'landing prospects' scenario. Do you think that for coaches and authors it can be regarded as a cousin of email marketing?

    Guest (JAN WEEL)

  21. Ed: Your story about making a pact never to sell really resonated with me. As kids my classmates and I were forced by our school to sell greeting cards door to door. The Worst! Swore I'd never sell anything again. Now here I am learning "Cause Marking" for An April business start-up. I had not quite figured out how to immediately land all the clients I'd need. As such, I am anxiously anticipating your techniques and insights. Jeff Osler

    JSO2000

  22. Any advice on getting potential clients' attention without having "official qualifications," i.e. a degree? I am a senior in high school, but the only way to get someone's interest so far seems to be having a history of happy clients.

    In other words, a bit of a catch-22: To find work, one must have had work in the past.

    Advice?

    Thanks, Danny

    Guest (Danny)

  23. My biggest marketing problem is cold calling.

    Guest (John)

  24. Great article, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's behind the curtain! Tina

    Tina

  25. Ed,

    Thanks for the tips. I look forward to hearing about the "tool du jour" today.

    Glad to hear about your success! It sounds well deserved.

    Rick

    Rick B

  26. Hi Ed,

    Love the warm email prospecting concept, but have found it difficult to implement without a long track record of success and big name clients to point to.

    Hope you'll show some examples of how to overcome these obstacles.

    CopyEngineer

  27. Hi Ed, Thanks! I have recently come to the conclusion that I need to use email to reach out to my huge list of prospects, but am in delay mode trying to figure out the best 'approaches'. So I'm really looking forward to the rest of your articles!

    Guest (Karen)

  28. Your professor was correct. Regardless of the position, we are all "selling" to get ahead.
    I can totally relate to your experience though. I have been in insurance sales for 29 years. It use to be if you were a trusted advisor, you could count on repeat business and referrals. Not any more, as the industry has so polluted itself with the word "cheap insurance", that's all that matters...and too many ways to market today.

    looking forward to your next installments!
    Don

    Guest (Don)

  29. Good Lord!!! I felt like you were reading a script about my fears and failures in selling - I hate selling!

    And, talk about timely... after several months of being "clientless", I am now excited again about the possibility of landing that first one.

    I can hardly wait for the next installment. Many thanks, Dennis!!

    DennisR

  30. Ed, The whole Idea of copywriting is new to me but I see the potential value in it. As a songwriter I have lots of writing experience so I like the idea of 'getting paid', and I look forward to your posts. I have not taken the SFI copywriting course yet but the plan is there to do so. It is a bit discouraging though that every post I read trys to sell me something else I 'need'. I have read your responses to the commentors of the day and I both need and appreciate your candor, and I am great at 'giving back' to a resource. Any mentoring will be appreciated beyond your ken.
    "Give a man a fish..." This one will not only fish; he will feed others.
    Thanks again for the encouragement.
    Reg.

    R C Keown

  31. Thanks Ed, I cfelonly wait for the next video..I am a little worried about not finding clients after the program is done. I really want to mske this wk.

    Guest (sayyah hartbey)

  32. I can't sell anything and need to have a way to get this going. So maybe your program will work for me.

    Guest (John )

  33. Hi Ed, I also purchased the copy writing program along with the catalog program around 2007. I hit it hard and heavy for a year and nothing. I've tried on and off again through the next years. What really rubs me raw is that there's always another program that I need to buy to help me get the existing program off the ground. It seems like an endless purchasing event. Then I had an accident and became disabled and believe you me...I need to write now more than ever. I liken copy writing to a closed community, but I want the key to the front door so my career can begin. Learn, push, achieve, thats always been my mantra. It hasn't worked with copy writing yet, I stress yet. Any advice?

    Guest (Charles T)

  34. Good video. Can't wait to see how to actually implement. My problem...I'm pretty sure I'm A.D.D, and impatient (but working on it!) I've been in the networking field for over 20 years, but what I love is animals and kids (espcially the kid sports). How much of that is out there for writing opportunities?

    Guest (Laurie)

  35. I'm just getting started in copywriting with the AWAI live companion series, finishing up 3/21 with final project due 4/21.

    My biggest concern as I near the end of the course (besides getting the final project done)is finding clients.

    So, my question is, will starting your program while still finishing the Accelerated Program be an exercise in futility, or could it work? I hate to miss out, but have limited time to work on extra projects. Could timing of live segments be a problem? Thank you.

    Guest (Fran)

  36. Ed, I've been in the networking field for over 20 years, but what I love is animals and kids (espcially the kid sports). How much of that is out there for writing opportunities?
    I've also joined Linked In, which I saw in another of your articles, but it links me with all networking type people. How do I switch fields?

    Thanks!

    Laurie L


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