The Hidden Secret of “Known Demand”

In the mid-1800s, A.T. Steward learned a valuable lesson that will help you live the writer’s life.

Here’s what happened …

As a young boy in Ireland, he saved up $1.50 and decided to try his hand at selling merchandise.

He spent $0.87 (half of his money) on buttons and string.

Then, he went door-to-door and tried to sell his goods.

The result?

A complete and total failure.

Instead of giving up, he said,

“I’ll find out what the housewives really want and sell that.”

He did some research and discovered a known demand.

Using the last of his money, he bought things that were really wanted. Of course, he had no difficulty at all in selling them for a profit.

He said about this experience … “I will never gamble again in business. I will first discover the demand of the market.”

Years later, his grandfather insisted that A.T. become a minister. He attended school for that purpose, until he realized he was not cut out for the “cloth.”

He decided to work with another kind of cloth … the kind women used to stay fashionably dressed.

A.T. moved to New York with some Irish-spun Belfast linens and laces (a known demand) and opened a shop on Broadway, A. T. Stewart & Co.

The rest is history.

A.T. built the largest merchant business in the world focusing on his strengths and a known demand.

Embedded in this little story is the secret to living the writer’s life.

Can you see it?

There are three major parts. These three parts make up “Step One” of my simple system to help you obtain time and money to enjoy the lifestyle of your dreams.

I call it: “Step One: Market”

What I mean by market is this … before you can become a successful copywriter, you must first know three things:

First … Your personal strengths.

A.T. focused on his abilities to sell, understand customers, and his connections with foreign fashion that were in demand.

Second … The known demand.

What do people secretly crave that they can’t get? A.T. discovered that American women wanted foreign fashions and goods at a reasonable price.

Third … The intersection between your strengths and the known demand.

A.T. had access to Belfast linens and laces and knew how to sell them.

Simple, right?

Yes! But too many copywriters fail to identify their strengths and match them up with a profitable niche.

The result?

They flop around for years wondering where the clients are.

They’re selling buttons and string to a market that doesn’t care!

The solution, of course, is to pick a niche that has a high demand for copy, right?

True enough … but, there is something most copywriting and marketing gurus aren’t telling you …

Not everyone can write for every market.

Just like A.T. Stewart was not cut out for the ministry, so you might not be cut out for health or financial copy (or, you might be … ).

The point is this …

The beginning of all great copywriting careers is to know your personal strengths and then play to those strengths.

If you don’t start off discovering your strengths – then you might spend weeks, months, and years building up your business and chasing down a niche … only to discover that either you hate it, or the clients in that niche hate your work, or both!

So, how do you discover your strengths so you can pick a profitable niche and play to your strengths?

One of the fastest and most accurate ways to do this is a little exercise that I call, “Peer Perspective.”

Here’s how it works …

First: Make a list of 20-30 people that know you well. Can be family, friends, co-workers, whatever.

Second: Write up a simple email that says something like:

“Hello Bob! I’m working on a business project and wonder if you would do me a huge favor. If you can’t, I totally understand … but if you could, I’d really appreciate it.

The favor? Just reply back to this email and tell me what you think my top strengths are. I mean, what do you think I do exceptionally well?

That’s it. You can make it long or short, but the more specific the better.

If you could get it back to me in the next few days, I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks!”

Third: Review the responses and look for patterns.

If you send out 20 emails like that, 10-15 people will reply back. Their answers will contain similarities.

Look for the patterns. These are major strengths of yours, and you should focus on using them to your advantage.

For example, if you have a strength in understanding people and inspiring them, you might consider the personal development or business opportunity niches.

Now that you have a solid foundation based on your strengths and a profitable niche, you need to move on to the next step.

The biggest challenge with marketing is …

Attention.

The attention of your audience is the hardest thing to get and most profitable to have, right?

In the next step, I’ll show you the #1 secret for grabbing and holding the attention of both your prospects and their buyers.

Until then, I’d love to hear from you. Do you have insights on discovering your strengths and choosing a profitable niche? Tell us about it here.

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Published: September 15, 2015

17 Responses to “The Hidden Secret of “Known Demand””

  1. Hello Joshua, It is an awesome story about that boy!
    Thank you for your advice.
    At this moment I work hard to set up my website after learning from Nick (Making Money Website).
    Today it would be 8 weeks that he is coaching us live. I am very excited about it.
    I am a BABY in this new business but I promise to follow the leaders' advice and learn to move forward.
    God Bless.
    Jennie ( member of PWA, ITWPA, Barefoot Writer Club)

    jennieSeptember 15, 2015 at 10:12 am

  2. Hi Joshua, I loved the story and it is so true about focusing on what people really want.
    After speaking to several people, I think my strengths are inspiring, leading and developing healthy lifestyles for people over the age of 50. Personal development and health for baby boomers look to be my niche. Any suggestions on finding the best market?
    Julie

    Julie LSeptember 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm

  3. Hello, Disc'd. AWAI Aug-immed contact. called friend, DC ass'n VP, re benefit professional copywriter. She fwd; Ex VP verified. 7-10 days contact; next rec'd invite fdr/pres prom DC investor ass'n, re mtg--read exactly as AWAI format. Ask again AWAI answer emails, phoned/emails re HELP! TOO much info. Where to begin? "Of the Cloth"copywriter? Yes! What First? URGENT your call; advise time /day.
    Thank you. --Nathan Rogow

    Guest (Nathan Rogow)September 15, 2015 at 2:39 pm

  4. Great article about knowing your strengths!

    Guest (Michael Dunn)September 15, 2015 at 3:51 pm

  5. Thanks Joshua!
    Encouraging to know that it is possible to make the leap to copy writing.
    As a young man, I worked in retail, commission retail. Every month managers reset the board. At the end of the month, the same names headed the sales list. Every month... So, I watched to see what made them so much better. What I found surprised me. Smarter, more eloquent? On the contrary. They were a mishmash of ordinary people, with one thing in common, consistency. They used methods over, and over again.
    I've moved on to the financial services, where I see a similar pattern. Top performers are disciplined and consistent.
    No doubt consistency was important in AT Stewart's success story, delivering a quality product over, and over again.
    Cheers!

    Guest (Wendell)September 15, 2015 at 4:23 pm

  6. What an inspiring story! I'm a new member of AWAI & Barefoot writers club. I hope to become a successful writer & celebrate my success stories by learning from seasoned writers like you and others. Your story & the illustration drawn was truly an eye opener. Lots of lessons to learn. Eagerly awaiting the remaining steps.
    Getting people to tell you your strengths is a good way of discovering what you are passionate about. In addition to that, listing down the areas where your friends; family and other associates frequently send you an SOS when they need help can also help give one an idea where one's strength lies. Thanks so much Joshua for a good work! Eagerly awaiting the B2B webinar.

    Sekina T OkonuSeptember 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

  7. I AM NOT A HOUSEWIFE! I go the college FULL TIME Monday-Friday and I work week ends plus I must study. I cannot commit myself to this full time, I will try it "maybe." I will watch this young man tomorrow evening and see if I like what he says.
    It is just I don't have much if any time to spare.
    We'll see, I sure do hope so.
    Gina Neely

    Guest (Gina)September 15, 2015 at 4:51 pm

  8. The story about AT was very inspiring and I really liked your suggestions about how to find the "inner niche" within you. I have a couple of websites that I write on, so I am always busy writing. I would love to find out what my "inner niche" is, so that maybe I could just write for a living instead of doing that in my spare time only. thank you very much!

    Guest (Kenneth)September 15, 2015 at 5:03 pm

  9. What an inspiring story! I'm a new member of AWAI & Barefoot writers club. I hope to become a successful writer & celebrate my success stories by learning from seasoned writers like you and others. Your story & the illustration drawn was truly an eye opener. Lots of lessons to learn. Eagerly awaiting the remaining steps.
    Getting people to tell you your strengths is a good way of discovering what you are passionate about. In addition to that, listing down the areas where your friends; family and other associates frequently send you an SOS when they need help can also help give one an idea where one's strength lies. Thanks so much Joshua for a good work! Eagerly awaiting the B2B webinar.

    Sekina T OkonuSeptember 15, 2015 at 5:41 pm

  10. Hi, Your advice is really valuable and one who takes it will be benefited. One should know what he can do and should proceed in that direction. everyone can not do everything. But my friends, if you have the gut and want to proceed in those areas which do not concern you, with your hard work, knowledge and training you can win over those also. So test the things and proceed. You will sure be successful.

    Guest (Mahesh seelvi)September 16, 2015 at 2:00 am

  11. I have always felt that my biggest strength is the English language. But I think it a stellar idea to ask the people I know to tell me what my strengths are! Their responses may surprise me!
    In that vein, I will choose my niche. But during college, I have always felt that writing college papers were my strength: the research, comparing notes, using references, etc. That is why I feel that writing white papers may be where my future lies! But I will certainly seek out my family/friends' opinions!

    RockyBalladSeptember 16, 2015 at 5:15 am

  12. A way I found that works for me is saying, "If I got paid $1 for every time I _______ed ______, I'd be rich!" Although those blanks tend to be filled with silly stuff for me, (watched Netflix, talked about Disney/Harry Potter, drooled over chocolate, etc) it helps me realize what areas I am PERSONALLY confident in discussing or sharing expertise. Mahalo for the article! :D

    JerriFuiSeptember 16, 2015 at 9:09 am

  13. This story really made me think about myself. I know I am a great organizer, I am good at listening to people and helping them find solutions to problems, I am an avid reader-books are a passion of mine, as are animals. I think B2B or non-profit organizations could be a good start. I think I might know more after the webinar tonight about B2B writing, looking forward to it.

    Guest (Guest Cindy)September 16, 2015 at 10:37 am

  14. It pays to look at feedback's extremes whence the dumbbell -- not bell curve -- is spiked; e.g., my strengths are most appreciated by the ones too literally by themselves to contest what I have to offer and the ones SO onboard that autonomy's never a problem. It's who's in between for whom my ointment's most flied. Once, when first published in ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, they found out that I had just won an affordable housing competition. That ne'er THIS twain could meet duly earmarked my strength's extremes.

    Guest (Chris Morris)September 16, 2015 at 11:55 am

  15. That's a great story! I enjoyed your lesson so much. I am a new a copy writer of AWAI & Barefoot writer's club. The lesson was straight forward , interesting, precise and very informative. Very easy to crisp too. Your teaching really gets me more focused and attracts my attention.

    I like your lessons and teachings. And I am very interested in learning more about your copy writing style. I am looking forward to be a successful copywriter in future.

    I think getting people to tell us about our strengths is a good thing, as it helps us to know ourselves more and better.

    My personal strengths are caring for people, encouraging people/inspiring people and understanding people.

    Thank you for everything!

    Esther O AsieduSeptember 17, 2015 at 1:30 am

  16. to all you .you have give me the will to go this is me. and my son you give me power to keep goin.and i keep telling me ican do this becoue my baby and need this so plase dont give up on thanks for all you all have i will be a write annie

    Guest (annie)September 17, 2015 at 2:09 pm

  17. Hello, I set a goal 11 months ago when I started weightlifting to build a physique I wanted and to lose weight. I've lost 11 pounds in 11 months and now weigh 129 pounds plus I'm still putting on muscle...all this at age 48! My niche would be to inspire and coach people in their fitness goals and I can talk to anybody so shyness is not an option. I am organized and extremely good at event planning also and have a gazillion hobbies, so I think there are lots of markets for me.

    Guest (Jodi Hauman)September 17, 2015 at 7:36 pm


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