The Hidden Danger of "Go Big or Go Home"
By Steve Maurer
When you start a new project or business, it's easy to get excited.
People know you're up to something. The gleam in your eye is a dead giveaway. You have a little more spring to your step. You sit a little straighter, stand a little taller, and you quit staring at the ground while you walk.
You've found a way to make your dreams come true, and the whole world looks brighter. You're ready to get moving fast and hard. Ready to make it happen.
This time, it's gonna work! This is the one!
So you throw your fist in the air and declare to your family, your friends … the whole world … that you are ready to …
Go Big or Go Home!
I know the feeling.
It's exhilarating, and you feel so alive! Nothing can stop you as you dig in and push toward your goals. It's a battle cry I've heard many new copywriters shout, either audibly or in print.
I've said it myself!
Yes, I've raised my hand in the air, thrown out my chest, and declared my intention to anyone who'd listen.
Then … reality set in.
That's the hidden danger of "Go Big or Go Home."
What happens if you don't "go big" right away?
What if you stumble right out of the starting gate? What if you fall on your face with your first try? And the second. And the third …
Do you go home? It's tempting. I know.
I hope you don't. I hope you stay in the game. I hope you get back up, shake off the dust, and start again. And again, if necessary. If you stay in the game, it's possible to win. If you go home …
it will never happen.
Remember that it's a journey, not a destination
I know that sounds cliché.
I've often said that clichés become clichés because there is a grain of truth in them.
This is no different.
If you're going to build a successful copywriting business, you've got to prepare for the long haul. You need to develop the mental toughness to do what it takes, no matter what.
I've had a good degree of success. But, it didn't always come easily. I'm sure that if you ask any successful copywriter, he or she would tell you the same.
Even those "overnight wonders."
You've got to put in the effort consistently. When you resolve to do that, things begin to happen. When you push forward, no matter what, you get results.
Let me explain.
Last year, I broke into the five-figure bracket with my writing business. And I still have a full-time job. But, that income came from very humble beginnings.
And a will to succeed.
My hours at work got cut from 48 to 40 per week. All overtime was gone, save a little now and then.
So, the quest began.
I looked for other ways to earn money and found an ad on Craigslist. I signed up and began writing for money. I'd always like to write, and here was a chance to make it pay.
My first paid gig garnered a whopping five bucks … after six hours of research. In 2010, I brought in an amazing $250 for three months of work. For the next two years, after writing around 400 articles each year, I made about $2,000/year.
Many nights I finished up, shut down my computer, and banged my head against the desk (not too hard, though). I yelled at myself, "What in the world are you doing? You lost almost $10,000, and this is the best you can do?"
Then, something happened to change all that.
A road map makes the journey easier
Sometime in the last quarter of 2012 — September or October, I think — I discovered AWAI.
Or maybe they found me.
Either way, it doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter because I finally had a road map to get where I wanted to be. More importantly, I had travel guides to help me.
At the end of that year, I still made only $2,000. But the next year, it doubled.
And the next year, too.
Last year, it more than doubled, kicking me into that five-figure bracket. Sure, it was at the lower end. But it was a long way from that first five-dollar article.
The $2,000 years required immense effort, to the tune of 400 articles or more. But the five-figure year took less than 30 gigs. Can you see the difference that finding a road map and a guide makes? I made more money, yet did less work.
What if I had quit during those frustrating, low-paying years? Where would I be today?
Probably working a second, dead-end job, with even less time to spend with my family.
So, finding a road map to success, with mentors to guide you, helps you achieve your goals. Both will show you what to do to get where you want to be.
But there's another essential part of the journey, as well.
Travel companions make the journey enjoyable
Sometimes we like to think of ourselves as solitary figures.
You work alone, like a monk scribbling text with quill and ink under the light of a flickering candle.
You are a rock. You are an island.
The truth is that, deep down inside, we all have a herd mentality. We enjoy the company of others. Whether we like to admit it or not, we crave camaraderie. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
You see, we all need someone who believes in us, even when we can't seem to believe in ourselves. My wife is my biggest believer and support.
Remember when I was banging my head on the desk, frustrated. She put the padding on the desk, figuratively, to help ease my pain. I still was frustrated at times. But she believed and supported me, no matter what.
And it hurt less.
I'm in a peer group where we review each other's copy, share our successes, and provide support in the tough times. I highly recommend you find such a group. It will carry you across the rocky roads, through the barren lands.
The group will believe … in you.
Start … then do what it takes to Go Big
I started small. And I didn't win every time. In fact, I've probably lost more than I've won. But really, I didn't lose … I learned.
So, don't "Go Big or Go Home."
Stay in the game, no matter what happens at first. Believe in yourself. Find others who believe in you. Learn all you can, and …
Enjoy the journey!
This article, The Hidden Danger of "Go Big or Go Home", was originally published by B2B Writing Success.
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Thanks Steve, great article. I've been trying this out for almost 2 years now. I''m still in the learning stage. I still have my day job. I do have time to devote to my study for copywriting. I'm enjoying the trip. I soon will have to make the plunge. But for now its all about studying. F. David