Get Your B2B Freelance Copywriting Career Moving Forward Today
Starting a business is hard work. At times, it seems akin to Sisyphus, the Greek condemned in the underworld to push a boulder up a hill, only to see it roll down … where he has to trudge after it and push it up again … only to see it roll down … endlessly.
Except it’s not Sisyphean (try working that word into your next case study). Every victory you achieve, no matter how small, is a step toward your intended success. Even your failures should be leading you to your goals.
You could take my path, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
I’ve been interested in copywriting since I somehow received that “Can You Write a Letter Like This?” mail piece, 13 or 14 years ago.
At the time, I was teaching middle and high school English (hence the Greek myth reference). Throughout over 15 years of teaching, I’ve had some excellent, enjoyable students and wonderful experiences, but the bad days kept outnumbering the good ones as the years rolled on.
I kept telling myself I’d get out of teaching before long and start copywriting. But inertia has a way of making you feel safe and warm, even if you are miserable. So I dithered and played and made excuses.
Within a changing (read hostile) political climate, reduced funding, standardized testing mania, apathetic parents, and undisciplined students, I could see the dark at the end of the tunnel. Last June, I was laid off. Again. Permanently.
Around 13 years ago, I purchased The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, The Masters Program, Résumé Writing, and others, over the years … And I completed anywhere from 50% to 100% of the course (your results may vary).
In 2012, I purchased (yet again) another AWAI program: Writing Case Studies. Earlier attempts at starting a writing business foundered, for a variety of reasons, one being the writing genres hadn’t resonated with me. Long-form writing didn’t appeal to me (I hated grading research papers, much less writing them). Sales copy left me chilly. I had written and been published, but I was essentially from the Punk Rock School of Writing (there are no long punk rock songs). I published short stories, essays, poems, one-act plays, book reviews, and blog posts, but most of those were relatively short (unlike this paragraph).
The case study description clicked for me, which is why I bought it.
Case studies are short and tell a story. (Yes, I know sales copy frequently tells stories. You tell your story, I’ll tell mine.) Even better, someone else told the story, I just had to shape it. I was certain I’d write case studies, but when? I had been pushing that teaching boulder up that hill so long, I couldn’t break that inertia.
When I received my layoff notice in May 2013, I resolved to go to AWAI’s B2B Intensive in Chicago in July. I had money saved to finish my master’s degree and the gathering was only a 4.25-hour drive away.
The Intensive was better than I thought. I learned more than I could hope to contain and I received confirmation that I could do B2B writing. (I knew I could before I went there, but that inner critic can be savage.)
And, I finally started my copywriting business last September.
I thought that getting clients and building a lucrative business would be a relatively rapid event. Reality laughs at naiveté. Of course, Sisyphus probably fantasized that one day the boulder would hold fast at the top of that hill, that he wouldn’t hear that familiar accelerating rumble anymore.
Fast forward: I’m still pushing that boulder uphill, but now, I’ve got a website, business cards, and three clients to my name. One of those clients wants me to do a third case study for them.
Three clients do not stop me from struggling with that rock, but it’s a bit lighter now. And someday, I won’t have to keep pushing, it’ll roll of its own accord and I can walk away to my keyboard. Five more (steady and regular) clients are all it should take. I’ve got samples, I’ve faced rejection (heck, let me show you the rejection letters for my children’s story), and I’m still open for business.
Perhaps you, too, are in a similar situation. You’re stuck doing something that at one time you enjoyed, but for whatever reason it has become a drudgery, an interminable push and strain. I can’t tell you the best way to transition your life into writing full-time, but I can tell you that if you take no action (I’m talking beyond buying courses), you will keep pushing that boulder and it will never change.
Sisyphus was condemned by the gods, but are you? What’s stopping you from creating samples? Designing the content for your website? Writing a newsletter for your friend’s tree-trimming business?
Stop struggling with that rock and start writing. Once you gain real momentum, it won’t seem like a struggle anymore.
This article, Get Your B2B Freelance Copywriting Career Moving Forward Today, was originally published by B2B Writing Success.
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