B2B Copywriting is Open to All
Let me first say that although there is an intended target audience for this article, everyone can benefit from reading it.
Several years back, I was in the AWAI B2B Copywriting Groupsite forum, and I read a post that ripped my heart out.
I was reading a thread about being “email only” with clients. I had a gut feeling as I read it, and as I continued to read, I found out I was right.
The individual had a very specific reason for wanting to be email exclusive. It was the first reply that made me feel uneasy. Although the person was friendly, their main message was to “get over it” by not being such a recluse and getting on the phone.
Some people actually gave some very thoughtful and insightful ideas, but they all missed the mark, because midway through the thread, the “email only” person came out and said he was profoundly deaf.
I wanted to reach out personally, but I couldn’t, since this member had left the forum and his profile was gone. It crushed me because I have the same disability.
So today I write this article, because I care. I wanted to help then, but didn’t have all the right answers. The person left the group and cancelled his membership … disappeared. I even searched further and tried to find him elsewhere online, but couldn’t.
To this day, no matter how much I write about this, it still upsets me, but today I hope to make a difference by providing quality information for all — and a very important message for the deaf and hard-of-hearing writers out there. It can be done and I will show you the way.
It's All the Same
I don’t care if you are: able to hear, deaf, blind, deaf-blind, in a wheelchair, deaf and in a wheelchair, or even if you have a horn growing out of your head. Anyone can build a freelance B2B copywriting business. Because at the core level, the same rules apply to all of us.
Because it’s business. And that means that at the core level of building, running, and maintaining a business the main points are the same for everyone across the board. In short, here’s what you need to do:
If you haven’t yet, get your business set up. Make an action plan, get a website, and start building a list of prospects to contact.
Commit to learning the key skills you need to be successful. Don’t simply absorb the knowledge you acquire, use it.
This next step can apply to all, but here I say it specifically to deaf and hard-of-hearing writers … there are many apps, tools, and technologies appearing daily to assist your business needs and special needs.
One that I am quite fond of is “dictate” built in on the iPad and iPhone. It is intended for taking notes via speech to text, but we can use it as a speech-to-text tool that can cover our hearing loss for interviews and the like. There are also phones you can purchase with text captions on a screen such as this one.
If step #3 doesn’t work for you, another option is to get into copywriter groups and forums online and find a copywriter who will be your “ears” for interviews and such.
You can go with a hearing friend or family member, but it helps to have someone who is copywriting and marketing savvy as your ears. You can pay them for their time, and it will be an additional income stream for them, so it is a win-win situation. Thirty to forty dollars per hour is an accepted industry standard. If someone does something extra for you, a bonus would be appropriate.
- Even hearing abled writers may want to hire a helper because it frees up their time to focus on writing. The more you can write, the more you make. Note that Bob Bly does this.
This is tricky, because there is no one answer for this. So I am going to tell you what works for me, and then you can adapt it to suit your situation.
- If you are just getting started, offer to work for free or a low fee to develop a few samples. In the process you’ll learn how to get a prospect’s attention and convert them into a client. Once you have your two to three samples, then you can move on to bigger and better clients.
- If you have some experience and samples, then search the Internet for likely prospects within your niche. Find the marketing manager’s name and contact info by searching Google or LinkedIn. Send an email or direct mail letter and start making contact. For more on marketing yourself, see this article.
- Contact a B2B list broker and get a list of marketing manager names, email addresses, and postal mail addresses. Then begin contacting and converting them into clients. I don’t do cold calls, but if you are a deaf or hard-of-hearing writer with a hearing friend, contact, or family member who can call on your behalf and close the deal, then you can use that option as well.
Running Your B2B Copywriting Business
This is the same for all, but … for those of us who have hearing loss, profound deafness, or any other physical challenge or disability, it can lead to a big old “I can’t do this” feeling. In addition, we all know of those times when we have the feeling of being lesser, un-abled, and maybe even not good enough. Those without disabilities have these feelings, too, but when it comes from your physical challenge or disability, it stings even more.
But it can be done!
I know, because I am doing it. You can, too.
The three main activities we all must do are:
- Marketing — Find what methods suit you best and then keep using them. Don’t stop marketing or your pipeline of client projects will run dry.
- Growing — Get clients. Treat them well and you’ll find they do the same in return.
- Managing — In addition to getting clients and doing the projects, manage your business like a business. Set aside a specific time for invoicing, marketing, studying, and all the other tasks of your copywriting business.
Furthermore, learn by doing. Read books, blogs, and so on to find out how to improve. Get an FM mic or loop for your hearing aids, see about getting CART access, or (if you can sign) get a sign language interpreter and attend a seminar.
You can (and should) connect with other deaf, blind, or otherwise challenged copywriters, as well as those who aren’t challenged — this is part of your networking. Also, connect and communicate on the forums and chats. Find out what others do for their success, then implement and succeed.
My Message to You
This is not only my message to you, but also a strong reminder to myself. Anyone can do this; your only limits are the ones you put on yourself.
In many cases having a disability will mean that you have to hustle harder. That’s fine, because you already know how to do that just from making adjustments to manage day-to-day living. Now apply it to the area of running your B2B copywriting business.
Know this: Some people will dance around a bit and then in the end not work with you because of your disability or challenge. DO NOT let that destroy you. It’s sad but true — that’s just the real world. So know it, be aware of it, roll on when it happens, and focus on the good people who will work with you regardless. This is another good reason to have a hearing copywriter on your side to be your ears and handle talk time.
I am doing it, so YOU can, too.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
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