Freelance Copywriters: 4 Traits that Will Set You Apart

Ever since I got into copywriting, I’ve wondered why some freelance copywriters go on to succeed right out of the gate. While others spin their wheels and go nowhere.

I wanted to find the answer, in large part, for myself. Especially after I’d been in this industry for a few years.

I can’t tell you how many times it felt as though I was going, going, going — and not getting any closer to my freelancing goals.

Then, I’d read about someone who had recently found copywriting. Within a year or so, they’d already blown past me!

Were they more talented? Smarter? More sociable? Better connected?

I wanted to know the answer. And finally, after all these years, I’ve finally found it.

You see, I recently had the great privilege of working with Clayton Makepeace. In case you don’t know, he’s one of the highest-paid freelance copywriters in the world (he’s earned millions throughout his career). And, he’s a heck of a teacher.

He’s taught a good number of folks. Many of them have gone on to become copywriting legends in their own right.

In working with Clayton for this project, I had plenty of opportunities to talk to him and read a lot of his work. As a result, I found the answer to my question.

So why do some freelance copywriters succeed like crazy, while others work so hard, but hardly seem to move forward?

The short answer: The successful ones have four invisible success “factors.”

I say “invisible” because you don’t see them on the surface.

For example, Clayton knows more about copywriting and direct-marketing than probably 99% of the folks in our industry.

On the surface, this should be reason enough to justify his success.

But, I disagree. I think he’s as successful as he is because he’s cultivated these four success factors within himself.

These success factors are character traits. They’re also things that influence what you feel, what you believe, and how you act.

And, in addition to having writing skills and industry knowledge, they’re what give you that extra “push.”

They’re the reason why folks can accomplish the seemingly impossible, and live the writer’s life within a year or less of setting the goal to do so.

Every day, for the rest of this week, I’ll tell you what each of these “invisible” success factors is and show you how to apply them to your own writing career.

Tomorrow, I’ll share the first one — the very same one Clayton first developed — that will propel you to success and help you conquer any obstacle.

In the meantime … have you ever felt what I did? Wondered how those “other” folks achieved success so quickly and seemed to blow right past you?

I’d love to hear your comments and stories here.

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: 4.7
Published: July 15, 2013

9 Responses to “Freelance Copywriters: 4 Traits that Will Set You Apart”

  1. I'm definitely curious what these 4 factors, or personality traits, are!

    Sarah Dizney July 15, 2013 at 11:32 am

  2. I was one of those copywriters blessed to have worked with Clayton Makepeace. And you're right. He's a wonderful teacher. Working with him was a defining experience in my life. I think there are many factors that make Clayton the amazing copywriter that he is. For me, the greatest one is his uncanny grasp of what makes people tick. He knows how to push just the right emotional hot buttons to get the sale. It's instinctive for him - but not so much for the rest of us!

    Guest (Deanna Blanchard)July 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm

  3. I'm looking forward to reading about these factors/traits, also. I've been spinning my wheels but think I'm just afraid to "make the leap!" Hope these will give me that little nudge to move in the right direction
    !

    Dawn BaumanJuly 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm

  4. That's an interesting thought....On the surface one would think that maybe they just worked harder, or maybe they are more talented, educated or gifted, any one of those are sure to bring success, but I will tell you this, I work very hard and I do not quit, so when I finally figure out what it took to "blow by the others", I will remember this and have to get back to you with details of experience!

    John DeProspoJuly 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm

  5. You have grabbed my attention G. I can't wait to read what the four traits are. I feel like I've been spinning a little myself these last few years.

    And I'm ready for a breakthrough. So I guess I'll be tuning in for the rest of the week to find out.

    Guest (Michelle Sears)July 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm

  6. i've order so much product from AWAI but now my budget has dried up & still at ground zero & i followed thru with training. i'm promised huge money if i follow thru and i have: post cards, sales letters, emails solicitations, utube copywriting tips, blogging, press release, my own website with video and samples etc, but no dice. and all i get is more sales stuff i have to purchase. i couldnt even buy the Christian product from AWAI a couple of weeks ago i needed to. outta money in iowa.

    Guest (jd stegall)July 15, 2013 at 5:22 pm

  7. Guillermo...I'm betting this will be a series to remember! Just hope I possess (or can adopt) the "4 traits" you're about to reveal.

    Alan SteacyJuly 15, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  8. Thanks Guillermo. I will be watching for your next post. I'm new here! Just joined AWAI. Looking forward to learning the secrets. I have been a working journalist since I was 19. (That was 25 years ago!) But I'm ready for a new challenge, and hope to find a niche that suits my interests and passions.

    NiteOwlNicJuly 16, 2013 at 2:18 am

  9. who are these freelance copywriters who supposedly succeed right out of the gate and blow by the others? where can we see their work? If Guillermo is an example of a copywriter, I dearly hope someone is copyediting his work. Punctuation, correct grammar and skilled writing in general are hallmarks of a true professional. I don't see it here.

    Guest (Roxcy)July 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm


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)