Florida Attorney Finds Fulfillment — and Financial Gain — in Copywriting Career Shift
Taking risks, admittedly, isn’t easy for Candice Lazar. But you wouldn’t know it from her story.
Over and over, Candice has embraced fresh starts. She moved from her home state of Michigan for a short stint in New Zealand. She pivoted into law school after a career in video production. And when she grew restless as an attorney, she began looking for a creative outlet.
For Candice, the secret to taking risks is finding value in the experience — no matter what the outcome.
“I try to think of everything as an experiment,” she says. “I don't feel like I have a lot of pressure to uphold some sort of standard — other than doing my best — or to conform to a particular expectation. I try something, and if it sticks, I keep going, play around with it, maximize it. If not, I just move on. And remember that a failure to gain something is not the same as a loss.”
A Simple, Self-Starting Business
Candice summoned that spirit of experimentation in 2014 when, as a relatively new attorney in Miami, she felt something missing.
“I liked what I was doing, but not the minutiae, stonewalling, and technicalities of it,” she says.
All signs, it seems, pointed her in one direction. At once, a former boss needed copywriting help, and Candice spotted an online banner promoting a writing program from American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI).
Writing. Why hadn’t she thought of it before? She had learned to read at age four and won the spelling bee in 8th grade. And when writing opportunities popped up in various jobs, she jumped on them.
“I thought, ‘Of course, that’s the thing for me,’” she says. “I did a lot of writing and marketing in my old job. People would say, ‘You’re a writer. Do this.’ And I realized I should.”
Freelance copywriting would also suit her entrepreneurial spirit without high overhead. “It’s a simple, self-starting business,” she says. “I wouldn’t have to develop a product or raise money.”
A New Career — Without a Five-Figure Investment
But first, she needed to augment her skills. When a perfectly timed email arrived from AWAI, she joined the Barefoot Writer Club, giving her access to a wealth of freelance writing information, inspiration, and a community of other writers. She discovered that through AWAI, she could learn copywriting while still in her job, and without the five-figure, two-year investment of an advertising school — an option she had considered.
Soon after, she signed up for — and quickly consumed — The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, AWAI’s flagship program.
Whatever she needed, AWAI seemed to offer. When her former boss needed help with social media, she took How to Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert. In Joshua’s Boswell’s intensive, Launch Your Writer’s Life in a Day, she gained a much-needed push to begin client outreach.
“I always thought, ‘I’ll be ready to call people as soon as I do one more thing,’” she says. “But Joshua Boswell said, ‘No, you will become ready as you go.’”
Through the Direct Response Jobs website, Candice landed one of her first clients, a business coach. Though he initially just needed research, the scope expanded significantly; Candice helped him rewrite part of a 70-page e-book.
In another win, Candice earned a spot as one of Wealthy Web Writer’s Reality Bloggers, where she shared the ups and downs of growing her copywriting business over the course of two years.
Her Wealthy Web Writer membership has been very useful. “When there's a certain topic I want to learn more about, I just search for it and have a variety of articles, blogs, recorded webinars, and videos at my disposal to educate me. It's the ultimate search engine for web writers.”
She also joined Circle of Success, giving her access to any AWAI program 24/7, and she uses that huge library of resources often on her copy projects.
Candice’s Niche Switch
At the outset, Candice chose to focus on small hotels and hotel chains as her copywriting focus, tapping into previous hospitality experience. But as she researched her chosen niche, she realized the industry produced very little written content for its marketing. Instead, these businesses relied more on the word-of-mouth and social media activity of guests to do the talking for them.
While it was a setback, Candice wasn’t deterred. After conferring with a group of fellow business owners, she did something she’s done before — she switched to another path that felt more right.
“When I realized the first niche wasn’t viable, I didn’t let the fear of choosing wrong hold me back,” she says. “I added a second niche, personal development and self-help, because I’ve always read those types of books and programs.”
In the fall of 2016, Candice headed up the road from her Miami home to Delray Beach, Florida for AWAI’s annual FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. There, she found copywriting experts generous with their time and information, and a roomful of friendly copywriters who “get it.”
She also walked away immediately with $1,000 after winning one of AWAI’s Spec Challenges, where she competed against other copywriters to create copy for a specific product.
When she returned to Bootcamp in 2017, it was as a member of the Success Panel, sharing her journey to copywriting success with fellow attendees. Then, she returned to the Bootcamp stage in 2018 as the winner of the $10K Challenge, an award which goes to a copywriter who has made a big impact with copy they’ve written for an AWAI program. Her prize: a $10,000 year-long contract with AWAI.
Working for “Me”
Candice is a full-time copywriter these days working with one of the industry’s top marketers, as well as other freelance clients. She specializes in direct response, content development, and marketing consulting. The work perfectly combines creativity, writing, and marketing, making for a more fulfilling professional life.
“Copywriting is much more than a source of income for me,” she says. “I think the writer’s life provides the freedom to decide — your work, your hours, your income — while doing something you enjoy.”
“It’s different for everyone, but for me it means traveling, making my work schedule fit my husband’s so we can enjoy time off together, paying my law school loans, and investing.”
Candice’s Tips for Copywriters
- Research your niche — “A strong niche uses a lot of copy,” she says. You’ll know if your chosen niche needs heavy copy if you can find it online without looking too hard.”
- Focus on prospects who “get it” — “Don’t waste time convincing people they need a writer,” she says. “I want someone who already understands the value a writer provides and then I want to show them why I personally am a great choice.”
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