Many people remember feeling panic at being laid off during the 2008 banking crisis, but not Jen Adams. Instead, she was relieved.
She’d landed in Corporate America after several years of teaching English overseas, including in Japan and China, which fueled her passion for travel. Yet the whole time, she felt pressure from the lawyers, accountants, and bankers in her family to get what they considered a real job.
Once back in the States, Jen finished a human resources graduate program and landed a great position with Bank of America. Her family approved.
“Unfortunately, by day two, I knew I’d made a terrible, terrible mistake,” Jen says.
The Golden Handcuffs Come Off
Though she loved human resources, Jen quickly figured out she did not like working in a large corporate environment. However, the pay and benefits were excellent, along with the promise of weeks of paid vacation and federal holidays. Those perks became golden handcuffs that were tough to break free from even as Jen discovered she was always working, constantly under pressure, and rarely able to slip away from the office for more than a few days at a time.
Looking for a way out, Jen circled back to a career option she had explored while teaching overseas – copywriting. A promotion for the American Writers and Artists Institute’s (AWAI) The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting (now The Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting) program had come across her desk between teaching stints.
“I knew I wanted to live abroad and travel more. So, I was always looking for something viable, something outside of the traditional work world,” Jen says. “I loved how AWAI featured writers who were traveling, which was very important to me. Their case studies made this wonderful escape hatch seem feasible. I signed up right away and took The Accelerated Program with me to Asia. I only put it aside because I thought I was ‘going corporate’ instead.”
Then, unhappy in her bank job, Jen decided to use what she had learned in The Accelerated Program. She started taking a few projects from online freelancing platforms.
“I was doing entrepreneurship programs and other things on the side because I knew the corporate environment wasn’t a good fit for me. I just hadn’t figured out how – or when – I would be able to leave,” Jen says.
She didn’t have to. Jen was laid off when the banking crisis hit.
Investing in Herself Pays Off — Literally
Jen’s layoff effectively launched her new copywriting career. Within six months, she was making $1,000 a week writing content for clients on the web.
“And I have never, ever looked back,” Jen says. She’s been a full-time copywriter ever since.
Almost immediately, copywriting gave her the freedom she’d been craving. With all of her work based online and clients that didn’t care where she lived, she started a bucket list of countries to visit: Ecuador, Argentina, Italy. She gave up her North Carolina apartment and headed overseas: first stop, Ecuador.
If her family didn’t understand her previous choice to be a traveling English teacher, they really weren’t sure about this freelance career. Ecuador? Did she really have a job… writing? She did, of course, and one that gave her the finances, freedom and flexibility to feed her travel desires.
There was even a heart-shaped cherry on top. Within Jen’s first three weeks in Ecuador, she met a fellow American, Ben, whom she would later marry.
“If not for copywriting, I wouldn’t have been there to meet him,” Jen says.
Bootcamp Opens Up Additional Opportunities
After a few years, though still happy with copywriting, Jen was increasingly aware that she didn’t have a big network of fellow writers. For help, she made the commitment to head to Florida to attend AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. It gave her the opportunity to learn from more advanced copywriters and business-building coaches to take her skills to the next level.
Jen has since attended multiple live AWAI events and Bootcamps, including once with a toddler and an infant in tow. Bootcamp has allowed her to continue investing in her education and make valuable connections.
“It’s important to be with other writers and expand your network. Seeing how others are doing things can smooth your path to success, and give you a major confidence boost about your choice to become a writer,” Jen says. “It helps you see this as a real job, and see how you, too, can do this.”
Circle of Success Delivers Her Dream Life
When Jen heard about AWAI’s Circle of Success(COS), she knew that COS would help her income make the leap she needed.
“I didn’t have a formal mentor or guidance of any kind, and I really didn’t have a career action plan,” she says. “I felt like COS was going to help me with those things, and it did. It was a big investment in my career, but I’ve gotten it back 20 times over.”
Today, Jen writes mostly emails and sales letters, primarily through a group of agencies. For a time, she worked in-house for AWAI, and now, still works with AWAI as the director of The Professional Writers’ Alliance.
On the home front, she and her husband knew they didn’t want daycare for their two boys. With the income and flexibility Jen has from copywriting, they don’t have to, and Jen enjoys spending a lot of time with her kids.
She can be present for other things too, such as when her husband’s parents began having health issues. Jen and her family quickly relocated to Lansing, Michigan and now live just a few minutes away from her in-laws.
“I can take my computer and work around their medical appointments and caretaking arrangements,” Jen says. “Copywriting is the most accommodating career choice I could’ve made. With anything that’s happened in my life – traveling to Ecuador to stay with my now-husband, being present for our kids, moving near our aging parents – copywriting allows me the freedom to travel and be there for the people I love when it matters.”
She also no longer has to explain that freedom and flexibility. After bringing her family — parents, in-laws, hubby, and kids — along to Florida for a long weekend (Jen paid!) for an AWAI event, they get it now. And they approve.
What does the future hold for Jen? Argentina and Italy, we hope.
Jen’s Tips for Copywriters
- Just get started – Figure out the business part as you go along. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect.
- Embrace trial and error – There are many types of writing projects, some of which you may enjoy more than others. Simply try different types of writing.
- Go after what you want – Pitch that client. Take the class. Whatever it is, just go for it.
Ready to pursue the writer’s life?
Learn more about the program that launched Jen’s career, The Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting.
“Copywriting is the most accommodating career choice I could’ve made. With anything that’s happened in my life – traveling to Ecuador to stay with my now-husband, being present for our kids, moving near our aging parents – copywriting allows me the freedom to travel and be there for the people I love when it matters.”
Teaching English overseas, corporate banker
She landed projects from online freelancing platforms
- The Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting
- FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair
- Circle of Success (COS)