Start Where You Are

It’s day two of this week’s The Writer’s Life, and I’m back with another key to starting or growing your freelance career – from the Masters.

Today’s nugget comes from Jay White, author of AWAI’s popular program, Email Copy Made Easy.

Most people know Jay as the “King of Autoresponders” …

But what they don’t know is that Jay’s foray into copywriting was fueled by frustration in the insurance industry. He wanted a change (like so many do!), so he answered an ad to write copy for radio commercials. He honed his craft and along the way developed a talent for writing short copy, especially emails. Once he went freelance, he never looked back.

The takeaway from Jay? Start where you are.

Jay found out he liked writing for a few different industries, but had an affinity for writing short email copy that got results. So that’s what he focused on.

Many people believe they could never make money writing for a niche they really love. Not true, says Jay. Tapping into an area you’re passionate about can be the shortest path to success.

His advice is to assess the areas in which you have more knowledge, more experience and more devotion than the typical person. Take some time to identify your talents, abilities and interests.

Often we sell ourselves short on both the depth and breadth of our own knowledge. Here are some tips if you get stuck:

  • Talk to family members or friends and ask them what they feel your talents are.
  • Take an online assessment by searching for “finding your strengths.”
  • Ask yourself the question, “What would I do, if money weren’t an issue?” The answer to that question will often be where your interest and experience intersect.

It’s also vital to continue to learn as much as you can about your niche, once you identify it. Get more familiar with the industry and the companies in it. Mingle with other copywriters. Go to events like AWAI’s Web Copywriting Intensive and learn from both the experts and peers.

Jay White believes that if he could do it, any of us can!

What areas are you passionate about? I’d love to know what you’re working on right now. Feel free to share in the comments section.

Join me tomorrow for the one question from Nick Usborne that, when you ask and answer it, will help you get a strong start in your freelance career or elevate it to a higher level.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: December 10, 2013

7 Responses to “Start Where You Are”

  1. Well, here's the scoop: I'm a 60 year old disabled pediatrician and Medical Anthropologist. I'm looking at a pretty dreary lifestyle after I reach 65, when my private disability insurance will stop. I have lots of experience doing lots of things, but my real expertise is in pediatrics and psychiatry. My chief weakness is that as a high-functioning autistic, I have difficulty marketing myself, as I am uncomfortable making initial contact and "selling" my services.

    Any advice?


  2. Very good question. Sounds like you have some real expertise! Tomorrow’s article will feature Nick Usborne. Nick was into making all the initial cold contacts either. So he began writing articles and posting them. After a time, potential clients started contacting him. Part of your strategy may be to “tout” your expertise so in the right place so that potential clients call on you.

    Guest (Bob Sands)

  3. I struggled to discover my niche. Took programs, studied. At last I found it! Travel. I'm wrapping up the AWAI travel program & working on three travel related spec assignments from Bootcamp at Home. I'm really enjoying the research and pulling it all together. Whether my specs will be successful remains to be seen but I'm having fun writing them and look forward to working on them every time I sit down to write. My response to Talk, Take, Ask bullets told me I'm on the right path. Thanks!


  4. Awesome post Bob! I found this very inspirational and a great reminder to keep taking action! :)

    Christina Gillick

  5. With a background in writing in marketing and communications and in education, I think those are my niches. I am interested in entertainment as well having worked in that industry.

    Guest (Tanya Adams)

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