Questions and Answers from the Live Facebook Chat with AWAI’s Co-Managing Partner, Rebecca Matter

On Friday, February 21st Rebecca Matter answered reader’s freelance and copywriting questions via live chat on Facebook.

She wanted to know – what you needed most to move forward with your freelance career goals.

The response to this live event was amazing! Over 35 unique questions were asked and Rebecca answered each and every one with some top notch advice.

Weren’t able to make it to the live chat?

No worries. The full transcript from the live chat is displayed below, so that you too can benefit from these common freelance and copywriting queries.

Make sure to join us on Facebook for future chats and events.

Question #1 – I am unemployed, so money, or the LACK thereof is a major hurdle for me to overcome. I would LOVE to get started on my writing career ASAP. Will this be possible to accomplish? Don W.

Hi Don – the honest answer is yes, you can do it. But it’s going to take focus and some hard work. There’s loads of free content on the AWAI website and elsewhere. The challenge is that it’s going to take you a bit longer to sort through it all and put together a training plan that you can follow to get the skills you need.

Ideally though, once you get started, you’ll be able to invest some of your earnings into training that will then help you move faster.

The fastest path is probably going to be writing online content or newsletters. The projects are easier to land, and you can learn the skills quickly. So that’s where I would start if I were you. And I recommend picking an industry niche so you can leverage any reading/research you do across multiple projects – and quickly become an “expert” in that space. Good luck!

Question #2 – I have tried everything, but there is always a fee. I have disability issues that has limited physical work. If there is a true work at home path, I would love to know. Kathy C.

Kathy – your first sentence makes me wonder if you’ve been jumping from opportunity to opportunity, which is a common issue many people face. The key to success in this industry is focusing on one thing and seeing it through.

But yes, everything we teach at AWAI can be done from home – assuming you’re working with clients and not taking a full-time job.

As for fees, any kind of high quality, professional-grade training will have a cost associated with it. But as I explained to Don above, you can also put together your own training plan from free content available on the AWAI website. It will just take focus and a some additional hard work.

Question #3 – I am a 53 year old housewife and mother of four. I would like to learn how to make money on the web every month. Can you please show me how to do it? Maha G.

Hi Maha – the best way to make money on a monthly basis, is to either create a business with a residual income, or offer services on a monthly retainer (where you have an ongoing assignment with the same client month after month).

My best recommendation for residual income is going to be to write a money-making website. This is an information website on a specific topic, that provides the information people are looking for online. You make money through advertising and affiliate sales. There’s a bit more time involved in setting it up, but once it’s up and running just requires a little weekly upkeep.

Although as a writer, I personally love the stability retainer deals can give you. My best recommendation for retainer projects will be online content and newsletters. Both have an ongoing need month after month, the skills are easy to learn, and the assignments pay well.

You can learn more about all three of these opportunities on the AWAI website (www.awai.com) simply by putting the word in to the search box. Good luck!

Question #4 – I studied the Accelerated Six Figure Copywriting course and the companion series and I want to know how to get clients when you don't have a portfolio. I will be reviewing the course again and gather the samples that we learned throughout the course but will not be enough. Carmen V.

Hi Carmen – They actually will be enough. If you do the exercises in the Six-Figure program, you’ll have 4 good samples that you can use to land clients. I know quite a few people who built their entire copywriting business using the sample sales letter we have you write in the program.

Remember, the only reason clients ask for samples is to see how well you can write. I can get a feel for a writer just by looking at their website (also a sample), and maybe reading two samples at the most. So finish them up and get started promoting yourself!

Question #5 – How can I get clients without already having copywriting work to show? How have other people done that successfully? Connie C.

Hi Connie – just put together 3-4 writing samples that you can show a prospect – ideally similar to the projects you’re hoping to land. For example, if you want to write landing pages, emails, and newsletters, put together one sample of each project type.

All AWAl programs have exercises that can be turned into samples. So if you’re taking any of our stuff, you should be able to pull some together quickly.

Another way is to offer to do work for companies for free, in exchange for a sample you can use and a testimonial. If you go this route though, please make sure you only do this until you have the samples you need. After that, you only write for money!

Question #6 – I've been a stay-at-home mom for the last 18 years, and am wondering how to prospect for clients. I have no business background or contacts. I do have a BA in Writing & Psychology, however, and have taken many of the AWAI courses. I've already cultivated all the low-hanging fruit from friends and family. So any advice you can give on how to identify a niche and prospect with limited to no industry background or experience would be incredibly helpful. Kathy E.

Hi Kathy – When picking a niche you want to pick something that you have either experience or an interest in reading/writing about – AND where money is being spent on advertising. You can quickly determine the latter simply by going to Google and researching the niche. Do you see a lot of people advertising with pay-per-click ads? When you go to those websites, do you see high quality websites? Are there a lot of companies in the space, and are they selling a variety of products and services, ranging from inexpensive to very expensive, and selling through multiple marketing channels? And finally, can you identify a good 50 companies that could be clients? If so, you’ve found a profitable niche – and you’ve put together your list of prospective clients!

Granted this is a very simplified explanation because we’re short on space and time here on FB. But we have a great program written by Pam Foster on picking a niche if you want more help. Or else Nick Usborne’s Marketing Confidence covers picking a niche, prospecting, and promoting yourself too – basically everything you need to set up and effectively market your freelance business.

Question #7 – A) If you could break the writing of a product sales page down into steps from start to finish, what would those steps be? Is there an "area" of a sales page/letter that you consider or think about first before you do the first step in writing it? B) Do you find it necessary to do certain "types" of research or information collection, for a product, before you consider to do, or even start writing, a sales page for it? If so, what would that be, and what are your preferred sources or methods of collecting that information? C) Can you effectively, or should you, outsource any portion of a sales page/letter, and be able to maintain consistency and quality? If so, what are your sources, and what would you outsource? If you outsource any portion of a sales page/letter, how would you "present" that portion of the project to your outsource writer? D) What are the dos and don'ts of protecting yourself, your work, and your client when doing a copywriting project for them? Darin W.

Hi Darin – your questions could easily take up a full webinar. But I’ll do my best to give you the short answers in this limited time. Ready? Let’s go!

A. I could do this a few different ways. But here’s one: headline, lead, sales presentation (body), offer, close, guarantee, PS, order device. There are other things within those parts, but that’s the jist.

Always come up with your big idea first. Some copywriters write the headline first, and others write it last. It’s whatever works best for you. But most of us agree you want to spend a good portion of your time on the headline – regardless of when you write it. It’s the most important piece.

B. Research is necessary – both about the product your selling, and the people you’re selling it to. How much you do depends on the product and the industry. I like to use/read the product, and spend time on forums and reading product reviews in the industry.

C. This all depends on how good of a copywriter you are, and how effectively you can edit someone else’s work. I do outsource first drafts to cubs at times, but only to writers I’ve worked with and know put out quality work. Know that editing can actually take much longer than just writing it yourself. That’s the risk you take. And in the end, you’re responsible for the final product.

D. Protect yourself by only working for companies and products you believe in, don’t plagiarize, and always provide the client with the backup materials about any claims you make. And if writing for an industry like health, find out what the rules are you need to follow before you start writing, and recommend they have someone with a legal background review the copy before mailing it. AWAI actually has a program on the legalities of copywriting if you’re interested in knowing more.

Question #8 – I'm new, but I know that I would love to write in the gardening, golf, and/or automotive niches. As for the type of writing, I keep deciding and then I read about another type that interests me and add that to the list! I guess it's easy to do that when you don't have a single client (unless you count my contributions to Barefoot Writer). Still, my main interests lie in short copy (web or mail), email, blogs, and I'd love to break into B2B, but I'm not even done with the Accelerated Program yet, so I don't know how realistic that is. I'd love to have you help me narrow my search for client possibilities that would entertain employing a "green" copywriter. Darren S.

Darren – even this question has so many possible ways to go! You definitely need focus, and you need to get some forward momentum going. Finish the Accelerated Program – make that your first goal. Then follow the niche instructions I outlined for Kathy two questions ago. You don’t have to only focus on one niche forever, but it will help you when you’re starting out. And then once you have the first niche chosen, start marketing your services. (We actually have added a whole section to the Accelerated Program on this topic.) Don’t worry about being a “green” or newbie copywriter. No one needs to know that, and you need to think of yourself as a professional from day one. It’s the only way you’ll land quality clients and it’s important to your confidence as well.

Now if you decide to go with B2B, your next step (before defining your niche) would be to move into the High Performance program after the Accelerated one. And Steve will show you how to choose a niche in the B2B space as part of that program. Whew! Hope that helps!

Question #9 – I've recently submitted my final project (The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting) and am looking ahead to finding copywriting work. I've tried to narrow down a niche, but perhaps my lack of experience or excitement at wanting to write for others has kept me from specifying a field. I love the idea of working for a company and handling their writing needs, whatever the topic, but also have limited my choices to activities that would seem enjoyable; traveling, food/dining, family activities, photography, sports, music/entertainment. I would really appreciate any feedback. Like writing a book or any long project, getting started seems like the most difficult. Travis L.

Congratulations Travis!! That’s an awesome accomplishment and I’m so happy you followed through with submitting the final assignment. You hit the nail on the head– getting started is the biggest roadblock people face at the beginning. And it’s because they don’t know what to do next. But the answer is you need to pick a niche, put up a website and start marketing yourself in that niche. And as a reward for finishing the Six Figure program I’d like to make all that even easier on you – send me a PM and I’m going to hook you up.

Question #10 – Clayton always says that the first thing we need to do is learn our trade. I find it difficult to learn if I don't get feedback on my work. I once started a group in the forum where we wrote headlines and leads and gave each other feedback – but most people lost interest. Hmmm? I think the most important thing for me right now is to have someone who knows copy to give me some feedback. Mike L.

Hi Mike – I can certainly appreciate the need for feedback. Depending on what programs you’re taking, many are offering more and more critiques. Keep an eye out for those and jump on them when you can. Since all of AWAI’s programs are “living programs,” you get access to any new bonuses ever added free, for life. So for example we’re about to run a promotion for Copywriting 2.0 that comes with a critique. If you have that program, you’ll be able to participate. Same goes for the Companion Series, High Performance, COS, etc. But I’ll also see if I can come up with some other ideas too – thank you for the feedback!

Question #11 – For a while I thought Mark's Accelerated Six Figure program was the "price of admission" to learning this stuff, but Steve Slaunwhite's B2B stuff grabs me much more than direct sales. Thoughts on changing direction mid-stream? Matt.

Hi Matt – don’t think twice about it! The Accelerated program gives you a solid foundation in persuasive writing, and the B2B program builds on it. So you’re actually better off having started with the way you did. (Posted this answer to your question on the AWAI site too – but just in case you missed it!)

Question #12 – I am brand new to copywriting. (I've just purchased Steve's B2B program.) How do I market myself if I don't yet have any samples or clips? Should I wait for samples before putting up my website or LinkedIn page? And on LinkedIn, do I include my past work history, even if it has nothing to do with copywriting? I don't want to leave it blank. Jackie T.

Hi Jackie – In B2B samples aren’t a common request. The key is to have a well-written B2B website that demonstrates your professionalism and writing ability. There’s a great bonus on writing your website that comes with that program, and Steve is working on a new bonus now that walks you through the getting clients process. Check out the myAWAI page and you’ll find everything there. But the short answer is don’t wait, get started! And just write about your history in a way that’s relevant to your new B2B business.

Question #13 – I'm stuck trying to get my direction. I have the Accelerated Copywriting, Architecture of Persuasion, Internet Research Specialist, Money Making Websites and My Travel Programs. I started the Accelerated program then stopped as I need to get some income going so figured I'd do the Internet Research program while working on a Money Making website. My Travel Programs is for my photography, trying to get stock and some sales. Kinda overwhelmed. Any advice? Mike W.

Mike – I have to say you’re taking too many programs at one time. It will be much easier to make real forward progress if you focus on one. So choose one path, set up your business, and just focus on that for the next few months until you’re making money. Then you can add in other things. If it were me, I’d go the copywriting route. Of everything you list above, that’s the path that has the most proven success, and the most potential in the long term.

Question #14 – A) I know AWAI suggests picking one niche, but I would like to pursue two – 1) B2B and B2C healthcare copywriting, as I have over 20 years experience in healthcare writing/communications (mostly for managed care plans); and 2)Direct-response copywriting (sales letters) for the financial services industry, which I really have no experience in. Could I make it work, especially if I set up two separate websites? B) As a healthcare communications specialist, I would often create letters and mailers that went out via traditional mail. I would, in turn, post that copy to my company's website. I explain all this to express my lack of clarity about what the website copywriting course teaches. Does it delve into the need to tweak copy intended for other media specifically for the web, oppose to the basic "copy and paste" that I'd do? Is website copy writing important to be a successful B2B writer? C) In your opinion, to be a successful B2B healthcare copywriter (for my purposes 300-400 K/year) what services should I provide? White papers, case studies, web copy, emails? Please know that I have years of experience writing for managed care companies, as well as writing health insurance and benefits copy for Fortune 500 companies. If you could provide a list of the services in demand, that would be a TREMENDOUS help to me zeroing in on the skills that I need to hone. Thank you! Faith S.

Hi Faith – A. I highly recommend you do one and then the other. And start with healthcare so you can leverage all your experience. Either way, you’ll definitely want two websites since the two niches (and clients) are so different.

B. As a copywriter you’ll often work on both projects – writing from scratch and editing something already in place. Regardless of niche. And yes, the web-writing program focuses on how copy is should be written online, knowing that the web is a completely different medium from print.

C. Since I’m not an expert in that niche, I can’t tell you anything about the specific demand. There are projects that are relevant to most B2B niches, like the ones you listed. But you should do the due diligence necessary by researching the clients you want to work for, and seeing what types of marketing materials they’re using to market their products/services. You can also reach out in our B2B group on Facebook and see if anyone is working in that space and may have more insight.

Question #15 – I have been taking courses and reading a lot for the past year. Now I know it's time to jump in the water. Taking that first step, however, is harder than I thought. Any ideas on how to get my feet wet? Scott F.

Scott – My advice is don’t worry about getting your feet wet. Just jump into the deep end. Put up a website if you don’t have one already, research the companies you want to work for, and start promoting yourself. Assuming you’ve finished any of our courses, you should have enough skills to get started. And you’ll continue to learn “on the job.” Good luck – and let me know if you run into any roadblocks along the way!

Question #16 – I am going back and forth between B2B and Web Writing. I can't decide which one to buy, but I'm choosing one this week and going for it. I want to quit my day job and write for a living. Writing is really all I've ever wanted to do. I already write fiction and will always write fiction, but I want to learn something new to focus on as well, and make good money doing it. Suggestions on which one might be the better fit for me? Karin.

Karin – Ultimately you can write web copy for the B2B market, so you can’t make a “wrong decision.” Both of those courses are top notch and give you everything you need to get started. If you’re not 100% sure that you’ll end up with B2B, I’d say start with web since you’ll be able to apply that to whatever niche you decide. Hope that helps!

Question #17 – I started the Accelerated Six Figure program, but found it too difficult to follow in the on-line book format. I was also overwhelmed by an unexpected jump in my caseload at work. I would like to try it again, but was wondering what type of changes were made to the program. I am also a little concerned about gaining clients. It seems everything I look at wants writers with copy experience. I am so ready for a change, but cannot give up my current job until I have know I there will be income in-coming! Monica S.

Monica – the main changes were re-organizing it and updating the program examples to include more recent ones, as well as web examples. We’ve also added more assignment options to allow you to work through the program faster, and enhanced the training on getting clients.. You have access to the updated version since it’s a “living program” – so go check it out on your myAWAI page. And we do offer a print version if you think you’d have an easier time going through it. But do get back into it – there’s no time like the present!

Question #18 – I am currently in the Accelerated Copywriting Program with the weekly webinars. I am new to this type of writing, but have written extensively for business and myself. Here are my questions: How do I find my niche? I have been unemployed for a number of years, but writing plays and novels. Do you recommend setting up an Elance profile and trying to get clients that way? Valerie S.

Valerie – My advice is to get through the Companion Series, and then tackle picking your niche. We have loads of content on this site, and I also recommend Pam Foster’s “How to Pick a Niche” program. At this point I wouldn’t recommend setting up an elance profile. I’d rather you spend your time practicing your craft, and then going after clients that fit your niche once you’ve decided. “See” you next week in class!

Question #19 – My niche is the golf world which is economically stressed. I'm specializing in web content. I have done some Case Studies and find the process to be both interesting and gratifying. How do we best tap into the huge demand we hear exists in B2B? Job boards seem largely to reflect low quality prospects. Robert W.

The best way is to research companies in the industry, learn where the “money exchanges hands,” and then start there. Whether it’s web copy or specific B2B projects, you’ll have the best luck if you position yourself where the money is. When it comes to B2B, I’d avoid the job boards. It’s better to market yourself directly, and have them also come to you by participating in conversations taking place on sites like LinkedIn. Hope that helps – feel free to circle back if you need more! Or join us on the B2B Copywriters group here on Facebook.

Question #20 – A) I have two areas I need help with, First is deciding on my area. I want to do copywriting, but I think I am a still a little fuzzy on where to go from there. Do I need to narrow down from there? If so what kind of choices are there? Right now I think I am better at writing short copy rather than long. Although I have never really written a anything really long. I know you have covered this, but if you can touch on what to do after we decided in copywriting. B) I also have the problem as Mike L. Having someone who is experienced in copywriting give me feedback. I am currently developing a serious of letters for my husband laws firm, so they can send them out at various times to clients and also to people who have meet with my husband but choose not to use his services (estate planning) Have someone who knows copywriting critique my letters would be a great, great help. C) Ok I am listening to your webinar 5 proven strategies for landing a client. When you talked about your love of researching stuff for kids, it hit me that I am like that with personal development. I read everything I can on it. I am on several email lists, all my books that I buy are on this subject. Here is my question, this is a very broad topic and I have no copywriting experience, do I need to narrow down my interest? How do I break into this area? Denise M.

Denise – Wow this is a lot! Here we go …

A. There are two things you’ll want to decide: 1. Your niche, which is the industry you want to write for – like alternative health, financial, self help, etc. And then 2. Your offerings, which will be the projects you want to write – like web copy, emails, etc. So for example, I could say I’m an online copywriter working in the self improvement industry, specializing in emails, website copy, and online content. Hope that helps! If you need more, search “niche” on this website and you’ll find a lot of content that should help you. Or you can circle back with more questions and I’ll be happy to answer them too. B. See my previous answer to Mike – as it’s relevant to you too. I’ll see what I can do about putting together more critiquing opportunities for copywriters. The challenge is that what one person deems as “good copy,” may not work for another client. Ultimately the market tells you if the copy is good enough by either buying or not. But I’ll see what I can do about giving members more feedback since clearly that’s something you want! C. Sounds like you found your niche! You can narrow it down further, but you don’t have to. Just start researching the companies you’d like to write for, and see what they’re doing to promote their products. Then acquire those skills and get marketing! Not only is there a ton of money in that niche, but as a copywriter you do a lot of reading – which you already love to do. And for those of you who would like to watch the getting clients webinar she’s referring to, you can access it here (I’ve opened it up so you don’t have to be a member for the next few days to access it):

http://www.wealthywebwriter.com/ … /getting-clients … /

Question #21 – Time and feedback are the two biggest things for me. I have so many ideas and paths I want to pursue, but I am leery of getting too many projects going and getting in over my head (I still work a full-time job). I think having a been-there-done-that one on one mentor who has already overcome my challenges and can give me feedback would be extremely beneficial. Alyssa.

Alyssa – The best thing you can do right now is just pick one path, put together a plan, and get started. Be as specific as possible when making your plan, and when planning each day. I literally write out the things I will do the next day on a post-it note every night, to ensure I’m being realistic and that I never come to my desk without a plan. As for a mentor, I recommend reaching out to the AWAI members either on Facebook or on the groupsite. There are loads of people who are more than happy to give you feedback, and share their experience with you. AWAI has the most helpful group of members on the planet!

Question #22 – A) Is it even possible to make decent money as a "general" copywriter in this day and age? B) Do you have any advice on the best way to go about selecting a niche? We hear a lot about following your passions, hobbies, etc., but is doing so necessarily financially viable? Ray B.

Hi Ray – it’s definitely possible to make decent money as a generalist. But it’s not the easiest way to work as a copywriter, so I’m not sure why anyone would choose that path. It’s a lot easier to land clients, command higher fees, and work efficiently when you specialize in a particular night. But you're right, choosing a niche on your passions/hobbies alone is not the right approach. You need to make sure money is being spent on marketing.

Here's the down and dirty “how to choose a niche” I outlined earlier for someone else: When picking a niche you want to pick something that you have either experience or an interest in reading/writing about – AND where money is being spent on advertising. You can quickly determine the latter simply by going to Google and researching the niche. Do you see a lot of people advertising with pay-per-click ads? When you go to those websites, do you see high quality websites? Are there a lot of companies in the space, and are they selling a variety of products and services, ranging from inexpensive to very expensive, and selling through multiple marketing channels? And finally, can you identify a good 50 companies that could be clients? If so, you’ve found a profitable niche – and you’ve put together your list of prospective clients!

Granted this is a very simplified explanation because we’re short on space and time here on FB. But AWAI has a great program written by Pam Foster on picking a niche if you want more help. Or else Nick Usborne’s Marketing Confidence covers picking a niche, prospecting, and promoting yourself too – basically everything you need to set up and effectively market your freelance business.

Question #23 A) If I propose to a new client that I get a percentage of their profit from the sales that my copy generates, what is a fair % for a first time copywriter to ask for? B) How do I keep them honest when there is no way I can verify how much their sales are? C) If I make a lead generation site for real estate firms, and propose that I get a commission for every property sold, how do I keep myself in the middle of the deal? The same goes for tour/vacation operators without a formal affiliate program? D) And, would you recommend making micro niche websites to sell various products from Amazon and earn an affiliate commission, just to practice my copywriting? Joe G.

Hi Joe – A. Commissions and royalties will vary from industry to industry, and company to company. There’s no set rate. I’ve seen them range from 2% to 10% of net (gross minus refunds) as well as total gross sales.

B. Some clients will provide you with a sales report. But if you have to worry about whether or not they’re being honest, it’s probably not the right client to work for.

C. I’m not familiar enough with that industry to give you advice on that question. I recommend you connect with people on LinkedIn and see what others do.

D. It depends on how much free time you have. I think it’s a good way to practice writing to sell for sure, and you can actually turn around and use those sites to promote yourself to prospective clients in that industry. But if you’re limited on time, it may make sense to dedicate your time on learning the skills and building your business (marketing yourself). Only you can answer this one for sure.

Question #24 – My question is about choosing a niche. So far, things I'm most interested in, I don't see in Google Search, Ad Clicks and other tools of "The Niche" program, as being very profitable. My interests: K-12 online Education, human interest stories about organizations and people doing good in the world,science and innovation. Should I just choose one area and target all my homework for the Companion copywriting class to it? Thanks so much for your input! Jenny.

Jenny – if you’re unable to identify companies in a space, you haven’t yet found a niche. Money has to be exchanging hands, and companies need to be spending money on marketing to bring in new customers in order for there to be a big enough opportunity. So for example, K-12 online education. Are there companies who sell to people who home school? Think beyond your interests, and try and think about companies who are selling to people with similar interests. And yes, it’s a great idea to go ahead and choose one niche, and start focusing your writing in that area. That way you’ll be able to use the assignments as samples once you’re ready to get started. “See” you next Thursday in class!

Question #25 – I live in Zimbabwe. Would this limit me in any way in terms of copywriting and is your organization targeted specifically at the American market? Belinda.

Hi Belinda, it doesn’t matter where you live, as long as you can do the work and meet your deadlines. AWAI has people from all over the world who are running successful freelance writing businesses – writing for companies in the US and other countries as well. And I personally work with at least 3 copywriters I can think of offhand who do not live in the US.

Question #26 – Are there links to newsletters that need copy? Or is it just potluck and searching the net in some content areas? Jerry J.

Most newsletters (and websites for that matter) will have asubmission guidelines, or instructions on how to submit content. So it's best to research the newsletters in your industry and reach out directly to find out the process for submitting ideas. And then make sure you follow them to a "t." Some editors will throw out submissions simply because the writer couldn't be bothered to follow directions.

Question #27 – Personal Development is an area I would like to write for. My Big goal to is to write for Bob Proctor, Vic Johnson and a couple of others. Do you have any suggestions on how I would get started? Denise M.

Just like in any other niche – it all starts with the skills first. So go to their websites and see what kinds of copy they're using to promote their products and services (emails, landing pages, video scripts, etc.) And then acquire the skills that those projects require. From there you'll put up a website promoting yourself as an expert writer in that space and then reach out to them. If the thought of marketing yourself makes you nervous, I highly recommend Nick Usborne's Marketing Confidence program. He walks you through how to properly set up and market your business step-by-step, so you know what to do each step of the way. Good luck!

Question #28 – Hi Rebecca, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. I have been working from home as a medical transcriptionist for the past nine years. My job is slowly being outsourced and I would love to make copyrighting my new career. At this point I can only concentrate on it over the weekends due to work and feel like they always have to review what I have already done before I can proceed forward each week. Do have any advice on how I can manage my copyrighting time better so I can get the most out of the course. I really want to succeed in this and in getting overwhelmed. Also how soon to we have to pick a niche? Sandra B.

Hi Sandra – when time is limited, it's important to have a very structured plan to follow so that you know what you need to do next. What I would recommend is plan out how you'll get through the program, with the time you have each day. Literally writeout homework assignments for yourself (read pages X-XX, etc.). I never leave my desk without writing out a post-it note of the next day's "must do's." That way I'm always 100% focused when I sit down to work, and never waste any time. And don't worry about picking a niche until you're done with the program – just start giving it some thought. Staying focused, and having a plan, will stop you from feeling overwhelmed.

Question #29 – Hey Rebecca, In the past low self-confidence has made me sabotage my writing and opportunities. My self-confidence is so much higher now I'm closing jobs and getting clients. I'm not afraid anymore to reach out and market my services. Do you have any advice on how to get writing jobs with bigger companies like Call to Freedom, Agora or AWAI? Michelle D.

I think you answered your own question – reach out to them! You know you've got what it takes now, so let them know what you can do for them. In addition, if you can make it to Bootcamp, they'll all be at the Job Fair. Which can be a less intimidatingway to make the introduction. AND a lot of them are active on social media and on their own websites. Get involved in the conversation and start demonstrating your expertise and writing skills. That way when you reach out, they already know your name.

Question #30 – I have to say I have always been intrigued by your program, but is it for real? Chris B.

Assuming you're talking about the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, I can say without hesitation, yes. It's for real. We've been around since 1997, have turned out hundreds of success copywriters, and some of the largest direct-response companies in the world even use it to train their in-house copywriting teams. But I always tell people to do their own due diligence and talk to people who have taken the program – there are loads of our members on Facebook who are more than willing to share their experience. Mindy McHorse, Christina Gillick, Rosalie Rae Robinson, Jim Wright are AWAI members who come to mind as I'm typing this!

Question #31 – I have struggled with choosing a business name. I know a lot of people use their name but my last name gets misspelled all the time so I am concerned about using it. Yet I haven't been able to come up with something else that I really like that the web domain name isn't already taken. Should I just go with my name as a solo freelancer? Dawn T.

There's no right answer to that question – there are pros and cons to both. But honestly, in the end, it doesn't really matter what your domain is. As long as the content on the site is well written and does a good job at selling your services. Either way I'd grab your name if it's available. That way if someone does search for you they'll be able to find you easily. Don't let something like a domain name hold you back from moving forward. It's a roadblock lots of writers put up!

Questions #32 – How do I market myself as a serious B2B copywriter in the tech industry when all my other experience is. . . as an administrative assistant? I spent 8 years in IT, loved it, would like to be a copywriter for it. But I can't get past explaining that my "other life" has been administrative. . . a "secretary." I've taken a number of courses, I'm just having that one roadblock--marketing myself so I don't look like a moron. Amy O.

Why are you explaining your experience at all? "I'm a B2B copywriter specializing in high tech companies. Along with 8 years in the IT industry, I write white papers, case studies, and video scripts that help companies …" Don't focus on the past, focus on the now. What can you do for me now? And what did your experience in IT teach you that you can apply to your new career? No matter what seat you hold in a company, you're exposed to many facets of the business. Sell yourself! And if you're having trouble, get someone else to do it for you. Often times we have a lot of trouble promoting ourselves, but others can do it with ease.

Question #33 – I am a freelance writer who would like to break into health writing for the U.S market. I do not live in the USA. Once I do the AWAI health writing course, how do I get American companies to hire me? Any suggestions in terms of logistics? Thanks, Patricia.

Hi Patricia – it doesn't matter where you live, and really shouldn't come up. As long as you can do the work and meet the deadlines, that's all we marketers care about. So sell companies on what you can do for them. Remember too, most of the interactions you'll have will be online. There are times I work with a copywriter on an entire project from beginning to end without ever picking up a phone. Although with Skype and FaceTime, even if you do have to speak to clients in another country you can do it easily and inexpensively.

Question #34 – I am almost through Part 2 of the Accelerated Copywriting course, and I'm enjoying the glimmers of possibilities I'm starting to recognize! What are your thought about the importance of websites and writing Web copy? I have never dabbled with website creation and feel rather inexperienced with Internet technology (creating blogs, social media in general, creating / maintaining websites, etc); how can I expose myself to the information I need to learn these skills? Stephanie M.

Hi Stephanie – I think everyone should learn how to write copy for the web. And the reason is most companies you'll be working for will do a % of their marketing online (if not all). So without knowing how to write for the web, you'd be leaving money on the table. And don't worry about the technical stuff. You won't ever have to do anything technical unless you want to. Granted it's nice to understand a bit about what's going on, but you'll get the exposure you need by working with clients on projects. As far as how to learn web-writing, I highly recommend Copywriting 2.0 by Nick Usborne. It's THE program on the topic. Good luck!

Question #35 – As I am basically changing course from being a software engineer to being a copywriter, do I evolve the same LinkedIn page I have had so far? As I am interested in B2B and will be staying with my background for starters, I feel the answer is yes. But thinking ahead for the future, if I were to add financial copy to my efforts, would it be a detriment to show so much of engineering background? Is there any situation where it is advisable to start a new LinkedIn profile? Venkat R.

I'd evolve your current profile – especially because you may be connected to people who will either become future clients or lead you to future clients. And then when you transition into financial, make the decision at that time. The only time I advise people to create a new profile is when they're trying to remain under the radar of their current employer, or when they had a very strong name for themselves in the space they're leaving.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: March 19, 2014

1 Response to “Questions and Answers from the Live Facebook Chat with AWAI’s Co-Managing Partner, Rebecca Matter”

  1. Thank you for posting this! Some of these questions and answers were spot on what I wanted to know.

    I was able to FINALLY pick my niche this past weekend. I felt giddy as soon as I wrote it down and wondered why I didn't think of it sooner.

    I'm building my client spreadsheet and already have over 150 companies I want to dig into and determine if they trully fit my niche, services, and are ideal clients.

    Thanks again!

    SwissMarch 26, 2014 at 11:54 am


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