Compton Man Catapults Himself Across the Country and into a Higher Income Bracket with Freelance Copywriting

“I was just sick of it!” says Derek Coleman. “Commuting 1½ — 3 hours daily, making minimum wage, working with teens and significantly younger bosses … I felt too old to work those kinds of jobs, but those were easy jobs to get and I’d gotten comfortable with that.”

Derek had spent more than a decade moving from one low-paying job to another. He enjoyed working with people and helping his customers solve problems, and he took pride in becoming a subject matter expert with each new opportunity.

But he was rarely offered full-time hours, which usually meant no benefits. Sometimes his scheduled shift was only as long as his commute time, which exasperated him. Other times, he worked an incredibly long shift on top of the long commute, and he felt like a zombie by the time he got home.

Derek remembers anger welling up in the pit of his stomach. Missing out on too many life moments wreaked emotional havoc on him. He knew that people were making more money with less worry and stress, and he wanted to level up, but he didn’t know how.

“I realized that I needed to learn a new skill, because up until this point, I was working jobs for people who don’t have skills.”

So, when he started a new job at Metro PCS, he spent every spare moment researching what he could do to make money online.

The Accidental Answer: Copywriting

Derek poured himself into learning about various skills that he could monetize, as well as learning financial literacy. The more he learned, the more excited he got, and decided that creating an online course in financial literacy was the opportunity he needed to focus on. He wanted to help others with what he was learning.

He soon discovered that creating an online course required many skills — he had to learn Facebook ads, how to shoot video from his phone, how to create a membership site, and more. But somehow, he missed out on the marketing piece, and four months later and $1800 poorer, he had made no money with his new course.

Frustrated, he Googled, “Why can’t I sell my online course?” He clicked on the first blog post that came up, and the first point was, “Your copy didn’t resonate.”

Confused, he Googled, “What is copy?”. Again, he clicked on the first blog post, which pointed him to five different copywriting training programs, including one from American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI). He checked out the other options for copywriting programs, but decided AWAI had the best value for the price. And once he read the online sales letter, he was sold.

He went all in with The Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting. He even quit his job. And for the first 30 days, he treated The Accelerated Program like his full-time job, studying 8-12 hours a day to learn the craft.

“My income was reset to zero. I had to learn this skill quickly. I didn’t have time for friends or partying and no time for hesitation or second-guessing,” laughs Derek.

Financial Freedom in the Follow-Up

Though Derek initially learned copywriting for his online course, he decided that he would like to work for other businesses as well. At the conclusion of The Accelerated Program, Derek turned his attention to prospecting for clients. In the beginning, all his outreach efforts were cold contacts — emails, LinkedIn connections, and direct messages. He found it challenging and felt like he wasn’t getting anywhere.

“I ditched it for a while,” he admits.

But true to his nature, he recommitted and totally immersed himself. His new strategic plan included being intentional with his outreach, building a larger network, and growing a following on LinkedIn.

It was a beautiful day when Derek got his first client from a Facebook marketing group. He scored a gig writing three product descriptions for an e-commerce company for $700.

“It was a rush of excitement,” he says, “like all of my hard work had paid off.”

Derek started to dream bigger. He landed a couple more clients — then a couple more on retainer.

“All of my clients came from cold outreach for a while,” Derek says. “My goal was to stay on their radar. I was always working on 5-10 prospects at a time.”

But now Derek doesn’t go searching for clients. His content marketing does all the work, and they find him. He credits AWAI’s B2B Copywriting Mastery program for teaching him how to speak to a modern B2B audience. That enabled him to land a seven-figure B2B lead generation agency as a client.

Finally Fulfilled

These days, Derek runs like a well-oiled machine. He works his daily to-do list which includes adding 20 new people on social media, writing a social media post, engaging with 20 people on social media, offering tips, and offering more info with a 30-minute call. Then he tackles his client work for the day. This daily formula has worked well for him and he’s discovered a love for helping other writers and coaching them to success.

“I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for AWAI,” he says. “My friends and family can’t get me to shut up about it.”

With freelance flexibility (achieved in a mere nine months from the time he started The Accelerated Program), Derek moved to Rockford, IL to be with his girlfriend. He sometimes feels “anti-social” since he works from home, but he emphasizes how much happier and more confident he feels about being able to “make it” financially. He’s earning three times his previous income in only 25-30 hours a week. And the stress has melted away.

“I moved out of Compton, California using the skills I learned from AWAI. Before, I was a broke, 30-year-old sign flipper for Metro PCS. I had no skills to monetize. But AWAI’s programs work. I even made $13,000 one month.”

Derek’s Tips for Copywriters

  • Invest in courses and programs — He calls them “business shortcuts.” You can learn a lot more in a much shorter time period with a dedicated course.
  • Prioritize one project type — You don’t have to know it all to get started. Master a skill and start prospecting for clients. You can continue to learn along the way.
  • Tell everyone what you do — A mentor told Derek, “You can’t be rich AND anonymous.” You have to be willing to put yourself out there.
  • Go for retainers — Try to turn every one-off project into ongoing work for income stability.

Ready to pursue the writer’s life?

Learn more about the program that launched Derek’s career, The Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting.

Derek Coleman
Case Study:
Derek Coleman
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I moved out of Compton, California using the skills I learned from AWAI. Before, I was a broke, 30-year-old sign flipper for Metro PCS. I had no skills to monetize. But AWAI’s programs work. I even made $13,000 one month.

Derek Coleman
Rockford, IL
Former Career:
Cashier, warehouse associate, sign flipper, and more
How he got his first client:
Derek landed his first client by commenting in a paid Facebook group for marketers.

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