Why Do Some Copywriters Get Rich, While Others Don’t? It’s Not Talent

Will Newman

Yesterday I told you about copywriters I’m eager to catch up with when I go to Bootcamp this October.

Mike Palmer is one of those copywriters I’ll be looking for. If you aren’t familiar with his name, he’s the copywriting genius for powerhouse financial publisher, Stansberry Research and Associates. Mike wrote the famous End of America promo, which broke all kinds of records.

But what’s particularly endearing about Mike is that he’s always so free with his time, sharing ideas, strategies, and advice with anyone who snags him in the hallway.

I’m looking forward to seeing his presentation this year. I don’t know what it is yet, but that doesn’t matter. I’ve never walked away from his presentations without a ton of notes and ideas.

For example, at a previous Bootcamp, Mike gave a presentation that could mean the difference in your being a so-so, “C-Level” copywriter and a highly paid, “A-level” Master Copywriter.

His presentation: “Why Do Some Copywriters Get Rich, While Others Don’t? It’s not talent. It’s not luck. And it’s not how hard you work.”

It’s not about talent or hard work

Throughout Mike’s presentation, he stressed success in any creative endeavor is not about how talented you are or how hard you work.

Success, he said, is about working efficiently. And having the discipline to put efficiency to work for you.

He focused on three key strategies for working efficiently, which he stressed every successful copywriter employs in one form or the other.

1. Get your most important work done early in the day

Are you a morning person? Or a night person?

It doesn’t matter. Your time of greatest efficiency and creativity is early in the day.

If you’re an early riser like Mark Ford and Mike Palmer, that might mean your best time to write might be five or six in the morning.

If you’re a night person, that might mean taking an hour or so in the morning to come up to speed.

But start your creative work early in the day while you brain is fresh and ready to let loose of creative ideas that got stored during your sleep.

So, you’ve started your workday early. But what about that discipline thing Mike talks about?

2. Turn off email … Twitter … Facebook … the whole shebang

Email is a crucial tool for us copywriters. But during your writing time, it’s a distraction, nothing else. Same with all social media.

Email and social media are far more than distractions. They’re traps.

The trap starts with “Oh, just let me check for 10 minutes. No more.”

You know how this goes. Those 10 minutes turn into two hours. You’re no longer working at your peak creativity time. Instead, you’re playing catch up.

I check email first thing in the morning. I don’t read any except work-related emails.

Save the rest for later in the day … after you’ve done your most creative writing.

What does Mike suggest for using your creative time most efficiently?

3. Use Gene Schwartz’s 33‐minute trick

Gene Schwartz was the Master Copywriter of masters, writing classic direct-marketing copy over 60 years ago. He made millions of dollars when a million dollars was a tremendous amount of money.

Mike urged us to use Schwartz’s 33-minute strategy.

When Schwartz was ready to write, he set a kitchen timer to 33-minutes. During then, he did nothing but write. No phone calls. No getting up for coffee. No talking to anyone. He wrote.

When the timer went off, Schwartz would stop. Then he’d get the coffee. Or talk to associates. Or whatever. After a few minutes, he’d be back at his desk, timer set, and writing for 33 minutes more.

He kept this schedule going for two or three hours. It doesn’t seem like much time, but his success speaks volumes.

Schwartz’s schedule is legendary in the copywriting world. Because it works! It worked for Schwartz. It works for Mike Palmer. Every successful copywriter I know uses some variation of it.

So, there you have it. Mike Palmer’s three simple strategies for getting the most out of the time you write. And for reaching copywriting success faster.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Mike’s strategies. Tell us by commenting below.

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Published: May 10, 2017

7 Responses to “Why Do Some Copywriters Get Rich, While Others Don’t? It’s Not Talent”

  1. I love this method, I am an early bird so doing things in the am is perfect. I also like setting the timer and shutting off Facebook.

    John A Vales

  2. Hi Will, these three strategies are good to know when you lose track of writing. The one I like is the clock. It lets you know if you are writing, or your mind is elsewhere.

    Guest (Darrick)

  3. I certainly agree that there need not be any distractions when a writer is at his or her best writing. No doubt about it. I have been practicing this for years. However, I certainly not yet made my millions as a result of it. Not even close.

    I am glad to be a member of AWAI, but many programs to subscribe to are too rich for my blood.


    H. James Hulton III The Write Stuff North Wales, PA 19454

    The Write Stuff

  4. I like that idea shutting off all outside sources of distraction to concentrate on just writing for short periods. I am going to implement this into my writing. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Guest (Rick Hamilton)

  5. In a nutshell, 'focus' on writing - early in the morning - in small chunks of 33 minutes. Quite a commonsense approach.

    I have read somewhere that our mind has a natural ability to focus on something for 40 minutes at a stretch. After that, it becomes harder.

    I would certainly love follow this. Thanks for the reminder.

    Guest (Susheel)

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