English Degree Holder Creates a Life of Financial Freedom

Like most people, Michele Peterson had a deep desire for fulfillment in her career.

“I’ve always wanted to find a career that I could love doing long-term, and that could provide the ongoing challenge and diversity that I needed,” Michele says.

With an English degree in hand, Michele worked as a newspaper copy editor, but it didn’t pay well and career advancement meant overnight hours.

Trying sales and telemarketing, she realized she never wanted to make another cold call again.

“I kept advancing from job to job — and was successful at each of them — but never felt like I had found ‘my thing,’ Michele says. I always wanted more, even when I didn’t know what it might look like.”

The Letter that Seals a New Career

While searching for her career’s holy grail, Michele joined her mother-in-law’s cleaning business to help modernize the office system. But soon, she was wearing many hats, including a marketing hat.

Michele subscribed to multiple writers’ magazines, including the American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI) mailer. One day, she received a letter asking an intriguing question, ‘Can You Write a Letter Like This One?’ She answered with a resounding “yes.”

Realizing that it might be her golden ticket to finding the career fulfillment she desired, Michele purchased The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting (now The Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting) and immediately threw herself into studying, soaking up the content. She was hooked!

She was impressed and inspired by the content of the Accelerated Program, and the expert support system. The instructors were often A-list copywriters and good teachers — two different skills that rarely go hand in hand.

“Sometimes experts are great at what they do, but they’re not always great at sharing that expertise and teaching others. “AWAI has both! Experts and great teachers who are accessible. I wanted to learn from them,” Michele says.

Eager to apply her skills, Michele revamped the family business’ website, developed their newsletter, and wrote various other marketing pieces. But beyond that, the Accelerated Program allowed her to see the possibilities of a career as a copywriter.

“I finally found that concrete thing I could do with my English degree. Copywriting married writing with the sales experience I developed over the years. It just seemed like it was meant for me,” Michele says.

Forging Ahead with Confidence

With a strong “why” to create the life of freedom and flexibility as her motivation, Michele has taken steps to make the writer’s life happen.

She landed her first clients by reaching out to other local service businesses. She wrote website and email copy for a pool service company, a gardener, and a plumber.

Soon, she was the go-to copywriter for local service companies. Eventually, she turned the family business into one of her clients.

But Michele remained skeptical. Could she really succeed on her own? The imposter syndrome was creeping in and she needed to overcome it.

With AWAI by her side, she decided to go all in. “This is going to be my launch,” Michele says.

She attended AWAI’s Web Intensive live event. Her goal was to be one of the winners of a pitching challenge, walking away with a $1,500 paycheck and with AWAI as her client. And she did it! She got the check, and AWAI’s President, Rebecca Matter, was so impressed with an email Michele wrote in her voice that she invited her to do more projects.

It was the validation and reassurance Michele needed to solidify her decision to pursue freelance copywriting full-time. During her 5-hour drive back home, she was beaming with confidence and excitement for the future. “It was the turning point and the confidence builder I needed,” she recalls.

Turning Up the Volume with Circle of Success

To continue building her skills, joining AWAI’s Circle of Success was a no-brainer, giving her unlimited access to all programs.

The timing was perfect, too. One day, a wine promoter importing products from a little-known region of France contacted Michele to write a press release introducing it to wine enthusiasts in America. Although Michele had never written a press release before, she agreed to do one without hesitation, knowing she had immediate access to the training through COS. 

"It was empowering to know that I could say 'yes' to just about anything regarding clients and their requests," Michele says.

The Perfect Fit

With the help of AWAI programs, Michele successfully launched her freelance copywriting career, but something was still missing — the ideal client.

"I fell into the local service businesses niche by default, but I wanted to write for the wine industry," Michele says.

But most wineries either partnered with a few marketing agencies or were big enough to have copywriters on staff.

Then came a breakthrough. Michele has always been a huge fan of Dan Kennedy, a direct response marketing specialist. So, when AWAI offered DanKennedy's Writing for Info-Marketers Training and Certification Program, she immediately signed up.

"I fell in love with info-marketing and sales funnels. Short form content and email are my jam. I could write them all day long," Michele says.

She started networking locally and developed a relationship with a web designer who sent referrals her way.

"Networking was a huge part of how I started, maintained, and continued," Michele says.

Now, Michele writes engaging web and sales copy for info-marketers, but she continues to help local businesses with their marketing messaging, and social media strategy. She is a contributing author for AWAI, one of her biggest retainer clients. “I like the variety. I get bored if I'm doing the same thing too much,” Michele says.

In Full Control

Copywriting allowed Michele to finally find that ‘thing’ to do with her English degree. But it did much more than that. It gave her complete control of her income earning potential and her schedule, ultimately, her destiny.

That flexibility proved invaluable when Michele’s grandmother, who she was very close to, was in the hospital before passing.

“I was able to take that graveyard shift and be there for her while still doing client work in the middle of the night from my laptop. I could not have done it with any other job,” Michele says.

The writer’s life allowed Michele to gain full control over her time.

“I can now do whatever I want, whenever I want. I love walking my dogs in the middle of the day. The flexibility is great.”

But what’s even more incredible is the ability to direct her future — having a full-time income on her terms and the freedom to choose clients.

“I am in full control of the direction I take in the future. Having that control and power over your own destiny is amazing,” Michele says.

With the skills Michele acquired from AWAI, the sky’s the limit.

Michele’s Tips for Copywriters

  • You need one thing to get started – “You don’t have to know everything to get started. You just need that one skill, and you’ll learn as you go,” Michele says.
  • Take action – Action helped Michele build confidence – even a small action like drafting an email she hasn’t sent yet.
  • You are ready before you think you are ready – Starting before she was ready helped Michele get past the fear holding her back and succeed faster.

Ready to pursue the writer’s life?

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

Case Study:
Michele Peterson
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With copywriting, I finally found that concrete thing I could do with my English degree. I am in full control of the direction I take in the future. Having that control and power over your own destiny is amazing.

Michele Peterson
Fresno, California
Former Career:
Managing editor, sales, customer service, small business general manager
How she got her first client:
She offered copywriting services to local service businesses that she had connections with.
Top AWAI Programs:

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