Building a Network Will Jumpstart Your Success

Sandy Franks

Bootcamp has officially started today. Attendees are checking in, picking up their swag bags, and getting their nametags. I’ve already met a handful of attendees and most have commented on how they are anxiously awaiting Bob Bly’s keynote speech.

Bob is going to share with us what he’s learned in his three plus decades of being an accomplished copywriter. He’s written for over 100 clients, been named Copywriter of the Year by AWAI, and received a lifetime achievement award in marketing from Early to Rise.

He’s appeared on dozens of TV and radio shows including MoneyTalk 1350, CBS Hard Copy, and CNBC. If that’s not impressive enough, he’s written over 80 books, including my favorite, The Complete Idiot's Guide To Direct Marketing.

I don’t know everything he’ll be sharing with us today in his keynote speech, but I’d be willing to bet that some time during his hour talk, more than once, he’ll mention the people he’s met and worked with throughout his career.

The truth is, almost every successful writer you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting has built their careers not only on their ability to write, but to interact with people.

It is indeed people – your connections, your network of contacts – that can make or break your career. For example, many years ago, Agora hired a marketing consultant who had been the driving force behind the then very popular financial newsletter Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and quite honestly a little intimidated by this man. He stood about six feet tall, had a deep voice and didn’t mince words. When he came to list selection, offers, numbers, and negotiating deals, he knew his stuff.

As it turns out my nervousness was unwarranted. We got along well. He taught me some things I didn’t know about list testing and I taught him things about editorial. He appreciated working with me so much that he actually helped me negotiate a more comprehensive compensation package. In many ways, he became one of my mentors.

I still have his name in my Rolodex and every now and then we check in to see how each other are doing. About five years ago, he called and asked me if I would be interested in taking over a top publishing position with another firm. I declined because I still very much enjoyed working at Agora.

I’m telling you this not to brag, but to show you the importance of making and keeping connections. That’s why I’m urging AWAI members I meet at Bootcamp over the next few days to use this time as an opportunity to network … to make connections … to find people who can serve as mentors.

One of the perfect places to do this is the meet-n-greet during Job Fair. Even if you don’t land an assignment right away from the companies participating in Job Fair, don’t give up.

You don’t know when they will need you. It may be a few weeks, a few months, or, as it was in my case, a few years, but I promise you it’s worth the wait.

If you’ve had a similar experience as I did, I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to drop me a line below and share your story.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how facts — well-researched facts — will make your writing stand out and get you noticed by clients in a BIG way.

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Published: October 14, 2015

5 Responses to “Building a Network Will Jumpstart Your Success”

  1. I have gone to these job fairs for some time looking for a job in the field of training, and nothing happened and here I'm having even a harder time getting a job. I just lost one and was only there a month through a job fair. I need to work, because I'm trying to get my wife and daughter home from Nigeria (are actual American's). I am having hard times just like everyone else, and the job fairs don't tell everything!

    Guest (RodsJobFairEx)

  2. Sandy,


    I am almost finished with the "Accelrtator Course" and Nick's "Confidence Course" and I can WRITE, but because I am just barely surviving down here in Ecuador on my $1527 SS check I can't even afford the BOOTCAMP tapes---at half price, let alone attend.

    Everyone keeps saying how important BOOTCAMP is to successfully starting my copywritng career---well what about beginners like me. Have I no chance for success because I can't afford it or are you all just hyping this event just to make another big sale for good old AWAI.

    Just wondering, Scott Crosby

    Guest (Scott Crosby )

  3. Hi Sandy,

    I'm originally from the Baltimore area and am still around these parts. I keep seeing Agora copywriting positions open all the time. I would love to connect to you sometime and get your insight on getting my foot in the door there and being successful at Agora if you're willing to help. Hopefully you're open to networking with this young lad and helping me get started.


    Dom J Jones


  4. I, for one, can attest to the importance of networking. A few years ago, I met an assistant director of a government agency I currently work for. I described my ambition to advance my career and the steps that I had lined up to take care of that.
    I didn't think any more of it, when, six months later I received a phone call from a facility out-of-state asking if I was interested in a position (a promotion) and that I came highly recommended by this assistant director. So networking does work!


  5. This comment is in response to Scott Crosby's comment above - - Sometimes, if you want something bad enough you will find a way to get it. If you want to attend Bootcamp (or at least get the recordings at the much more affordable price), one suggestion is for you to find a part-time job and save the money. Have a yard sale, or bake sale. Just like you must be creative in your copywriting skills, you must be creative in your ideas to make that extra money.
    I hope this was helpful.


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