Why Self-Reliance is Overrated in Copywriting Success


Will Newman

Self-reliance is overrated!

Don't get me wrong. Being self-reliant can be important in achieving copywriting success.

But it can go too far.

Let me use my own life to explain.

My sister and I were raised by a strong-willed, dedicated, self-reliant single mother. She had to be.

My father provided little support for us. So, when my mother was 50 years old — I was nine — my mother went out and found work. Not an easy job for a woman her age in those years.

She taught my sister and me the value of relying on oneself. It's a lesson I learned too well. During my professional life as a biochemist and later as a teacher, I felt I had to know everything I needed to know to succeed at my work.

This meant I felt if I turned to others for help, I was showing weakness.

But this over-active self-reliance took its toll.

I’ve spoken about my first foray into copywriting, and you may remember I mentioned I received The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting when it first came out. I also told you it sat in the box on the floor in my living room for over a year before I looked at it seriously.

Why would I do that?

As I look back on my foolishness in waiting to use this valuable resource, my sense of self-reliance was the culprit. I was reluctant to turn to The Accelerated Program to help improve my skills. I felt by then, I should know everything I needed. But once I did look at it, The Accelerated Program propelled me into a successful copywriting career.

I learned my lesson with that foolishness.

Since then, I’ve learned the importance of accepting guidance from people who are experts in their field.

The first copywriting expert I learned from was John Forde. He taught me the importance of getting to “know the prospect intimately” so I could write effective copy.

The next expert who had a huge impact on my copywriting success was the late Don Mahoney. He coached me on an early assignment. As with all beginning copywriters, I wanted him to love it. But he made suggestions which I followed, pushing down that self-reliant streak I felt popping up.

How did the copy do? It did so well, the client had to add an additional call center to handle the calls.

I’m still relying on experts.

In writing these essays over the years, I rely greatly on my own research. But when it comes to areas I have little expertise in, I know I need to turn to experts who know more than I do.

I wouldn’t have done this 20 years ago when I was stuck in my self-reliance mode. But now, it's a whole different story.

I readily turn to experts in niches that are somewhat foreign to me like content marketing, social media, or Business-to-Business.

I've learned a ton from experts like Nick Usborne, Gordon Graham, Ilise Benun, Ben Settle, and Steve Slaunwhite.

For example, Steve's been irreplaceable in helping me understand B2B copywriting so I can pass that information on to you and know I'm accurate in what I tell you.

So, my advice to you is, don’t make my mistake in being too self-reliant. Don't ever hesitate to call on experts when you need to learn something important in your quest for the writer's life.

Does the story of my own foolish self-reliance ring a bell with you? Comment below to let us know if it has. Or tell us how turning to others has helped your quest for success.

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Published: February 1, 2017

10 Responses to “Why Self-Reliance is Overrated in Copywriting Success”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing some of yourself. I am waiting to receive my purchased information. The encouragement I get from everyone at AWAI is invaluable to me. I look forward to getting my feet wet.
    Johnnie Mills Phoenix AZ

    Guest (Jjohmnie)February 1, 2017 at 3:33 pm

  2. I love it when you speak from the heart!

    Guest (Vic)February 1, 2017 at 4:23 pm

  3. Dear Will Newman Self-Reliance has been the past ,help from writer of AWAI has made You One of the Best Writer.

    DarrickFebruary 1, 2017 at 6:38 pm

  4. Funny how we act so independent, as we can do it ourselves. The truth is everything we know someone else already knew. Sure there are inventions but someone gets you to that point. We have so much available to us that we don't have to start from square one. We all need each other and why not use what is given to us and just improve on it. Less energy we waste the better use of our resources. In turn we can pay it forward.

    Guest (Mary Stephenson)February 1, 2017 at 6:50 pm

  5. This self-reliant is exactly who I am. I was taught that I should take time to figure things out before asking for help, because I tend to ask for help too soon. Thanks for the encouraging word.

    ValrieFebruary 1, 2017 at 7:12 pm

  6. Your writing inspires me.
    I had humble beginnings, but my mother always urged my brothers and me to finish college. Out of the four or us, three graduated from college. One with a B.S., myself with a M.A. and my youngest brother with a P.H. degree.
    And here I am now learning something new again. At my age, most people are idling the years away. I believe the mind must stay active!

    Guest (Beverly Mendenhall)February 1, 2017 at 8:31 pm

  7. Hello Will, Your article surely hits home with me! I've decided to quit putting off what I have always wanted to do...WRITE for a living! I'm not looking for any sympathy here, but I'm on Disability & I order a course whenever I can squeeze out the extra money. I want to have a career so badly that I can literally taste it! Thanks for the articles you write, they're informative & help keep me encouraged! Keep on writing to me, before you know it I'll have my Web Writing business up & running!

    Terry BurnsFebruary 2, 2017 at 12:40 am

  8. Amazing that tomorrow never seems to get here. Circumstances took over my life right after signing up for the program, including homeless. All the printouts are still untouched in a file box. Best of intentions, no execution. Am forgiving myself and beginning again.

    Guest (Ms Terry)February 2, 2017 at 2:17 am

  9. Part of my "self reliant" streak is that I want enough info to assess claims. So I get mail almost daily about how AWAI can make me a successful writer, and no piece has ever indicated success rates: This percent of grads earn six figures; this percent earn five figures; this percent earn four figures for one year then quit; this percent pay their fees but never get a client. AWAI has found a new big data guru who has better targeted my writing goals. When will you target my questions?

    Guest (CarrieB)February 8, 2017 at 10:17 am


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