Living the Writer's Life: Cheryl Malcham
Proof That Freelancing Can Bring Long-Term Clients and Lifelong Friends
Fed up with dead-end dabbling and ready for purpose and pay, Cheryl Malcham stumbled onto copywriting one dynamic night that changed everything. She hasn’t taken her foot off the accelerator since and has built a profitable writing career based around her interests, desires, and availability. On top of that, she’s proof that a remote copywriter can work for a client over the long term, effectively getting the best of both worlds with co-workers and colleagues but still comfortable in her own home clear across the country.
What was life like before you discovered copywriting?
I was an at-home mom and was dabbling in a lot of different things but not really making much money. Then I got that classic email from Paul Hollingshead about how he used to stock shelves in a grocery store and then became a six-figure copywriter. I was glued to this email. It was late at night, and it was like, Oh my gosh, I wonder if I could do this. At the time, I was working as an independent contractor for a financial company, and I was just chasing my tail because I wasn’t bringing in clients, and it was very frustrating. So that night, I sent them an email saying that I was hereby resigning, and right after that I ordered my first AWAI program, which is now the Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting. And then I immediately signed up for the next Bootcamp.
That first Bootcamp set everything in motion for you, correct?
I decided my goal was to finish the course by Bootcamp and then I’d go there and find some jobs. So I set my intention, and I loved the course. It just spoke to me, and I was like, yes, yes, yes! So I showed up to Bootcamp and I met you there, and Chris Allsop. I’d also come prepared with pamphlets and a handout because I knew how to market myself. My background was clinical nutrition, but I had done a little marketing, so I hit all the natural health booths that were there and left them all with samples of my work. I hadn’t done any copywriting jobs yet. The samples were just to show how I could write.
Then I literally got my first phone call within two days of being home. One of the nutritional supplement companies called me and gave me a project. Then a week later, I got a call from another one. So I actually got two leads from Bootcamp and Job Fair.
You and Chris and I went on to form an accountability group that is now 15 years old — proof that phenomenal friends are there for the taking in the copywriting world. Tell me, what did our accountability group mean for you from the beginning to where we are now?
It kept me motivated. We had similar income goals, and you met yours before I met mine, and it was like, Gosh, darn it. Mindy did it. I can do it. And also, it can feel really lonely when you’re working by yourself from home. Having friends in the industry, people to bounce ideas off of, is wonderful.
I completely agree! Now, what happened after you got those two leads following your first Bootcamp?
The one, I wrote copy for a couple of years, and as frustrating as he was at times, he really, really helped me refine my style. He was getting copy from me dirt cheap, but he was a good mentor, and he taught me a lot about the industry. And so I’m really grateful for that. Then I just started branching out. I probably added about another half dozen companies to my workload over the next two years. And then in 2009, I was invited by a friend of mine to write some sample copy for Mercola.com for Dr. Mercola, and that worked out really well. I’m still there, 14 years later, still their primary copywriter for sales copy. I really love working for that company because it’s on my terms and they take really good care of me, and I just love the products that I write copy for.
It’s worth pointing out that you live in Washington state and the whole Mercola team is in Florida, so location is a non-issue. Tell me, what do you do outside of writing?
Oh, gosh, I love to read, and I love the outdoors. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s really an outdoorsy type of place, and I can get grumpy if I don’t get outside enough. My kids are grown and out of the house now, but I enjoy spending time with family.
Cheryl's Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.
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