A. T. Stewart & Co. Hidden Secret of “Known Demand”

Joshua Boswell

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?

That, my friend, is what we’ll talk about when we return tomorrow.

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Published: November 23, 2016

5 Responses to “A. T. Stewart & Co. Hidden Secret of “Known Demand””

  1. Excellent. The article was short, clear and precise. It also tell a story which create interest.

    John C

  2. Joshua's idea of having a niche makes sense for anything you may want write about. My personal challenge is knowing what my specific strengths are. I've used them unconsciously at one time or another..... I couldn't describe them, though.......


  3. This is the kind of insight that puts things into perspective; a much needed advice for aspiring writers like me. Thank you for this.

    Guest (Sbusiso Jacob Khumalo)

  4. I thought this article was interesting. In marketing, you have to take risk and build on your strengths. You should not focuse on your weaknesses. In business, you have to be persistent and determined to be successful.

    Guest (Victor Nkamany)

  5. thank you for encouraging me to write Joshua. It is as natural for me to write as it is to speak. I hear everyday---"I can't write". That's not me. I can write about anything. If you know the vocabulary of any subject your writing sounds better. The only think holding me back as a travel writer is money to travel. I work best with a deadline, I need to get back to some type of regular life, write about normal everyday topics. I have an agent who would promote my books.

    Guest (Bella Johr)

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