From Katie Yeakle, reporting from the lobby of The Delray Beach Marriott, aka “Bootcamp Central” …
Telling statistic: The majority of success stories you read about from AWAI are folks who’ve been to Bootcamp. 70% … yes, 70% … of our Wall of Fame Members credit coming to Bootcamp as a turning point for them.
And, for more than half of the people in the room last night as we kicked off the 2010 FastTrack to Success Copywriting Bootcamp and Job Fair, this isn’t their first Bootcamp.
The reason they come back two, three, four … even five times? It’s because of the impact Bootcamp has had on their careers each and every time they attend.
This is Marcella Allison’s 5th Bootcamp. She told me she wouldn’t miss it … that the connections she’s made at Bootcamp over the years have allowed her to pay for her son’s college education without taking out a penny in loans!
Without question … Bootcamp is a key factor in helping our members launch their careers … and then continue to take those careers to the next level.
That’s our goal for the 300 people here over these next 3 days.
And, it’s our goal for you too, if you’re reading this at home.
If you’re home, these special editions of Inside AWAI will give you solid action steps you can start implementing right away. Use them!
And, something else … and this is big …
I’m asking you today to start thinking now about attending next year’s Bootcamp … to make it a goal to be here with us … to be part of all the excitement and intensity of the Copywriting Event of the Year.
It’s going to happen Oct 26 – 29, 2011 right here in Delray Beach.
And, if you make the commitment to yourself and to us before Sunday that you’ll be part of this group next year, your registration fee is just $1,495. That’s $500 less than the regular price. And, $300 less than even the Early-Bird price that will be in effect after Sunday.
You can reserve your spot for $149 today … and then just pay $149 for the next 9 months. You’ll be paid in full by August! But, more important than that … you’ll be making an important commitment to yourself NOW … that 2011 is going to be the year you start living The Writer’s Life to the fullest.
And, now … over to our Roving Reporters for today’s updates.
From Mindy …
There’s a part of you already here, at Bootcamp. The first day of Bootcamp always has me shaking my head in wonder. Not because of the palpable energy that pervades the conference room … and not because you constantly run into living copywriting legends who write million-dollar promotions …
Nope. More than anything else, it’s because you catch glimpses of yourself in everybody here.
There’s a reason we all crave The Writer’s Life. The freedom to be in charge of your time and command your own income is too rare these days. Too many people struggle to make ends meet and live their life according to someone else’s whims.
Too many of us know people like that. They snuff out our dreams and quash our goals.
Fortunately, you won’t find any of those people at Bootcamp. This event is packed with kindred spirits who all share the same goal: Achieving freedom via The Writer’s Life.
On the surface, they seem quite different from one another. Take Mandy Marksteiner, for instance, who’s here for her first Bootcamp. Over two years ago, she made the goal to join Circle of Success and attend her first Bootcamp. Not only has she achieved that goal, but she’s due to deliver her second baby next month, proving even the busiest people can show up and profit from this lifestyle.
Or consider Ann Jordan Mills, who’s also here for her second Bootcamp. The fact that she has six grandchildren doesn’t slow her down a bit. Instead, she’s taken her personal story and combined it with copywriting strategies she picked up right here at Bootcamp. She’s used that knowledge to build her own niche-focused business which is poised to take off like gangbusters. She’s even supplementing her income with a Money-Making Website that shares her skills as a “Computer-Savvy Granny.”
Then there’s Colin Brownfield, who, just today, on the first day of Bootcamp, scored a mega-contract with a new client. How did he meet that client? It happened last year when he came to Bootcamp and struck up a conversation with someone in the bar who turned out to be a marketer.
Bottom line is, there’s a piece of all of us in everyone here. Whether you’re just starting out and it’s your goal to attend next year’s Bootcamp, or whether you’re already pulling in jobs, you’ll definitely feel at home here.
I know I do. I’ll confess, the year was starting to overwhelm me. Lovely as it is, it’s tough to work independently from home and go months without seeing another copywriter.
But being here … seeing that familiar fire in everybody’s eyes and knowing you’re not alone … it really serves as an “adrenaline shot” to propel you through the coming year.
Don’t worry — over the next few days, Roy, Steve, and I plan to share every info nugget possible, from how to get prospects to come to you to how to build a wildly profitable freelance business.
Still, the one thing we can’t bottle up and send over email is the element of personal connection. So, I strongly urge you to make the goal now to get attend Bootcamp next year. Ask anyone here and they’ll tell you it’s a decision you won’t regret.
How the experts really start projects. One of the best things about Bootcamp is getting to connect with the big-name copywriters we all hear about. I did that today when I sat down for the Circle of Success Master Class with Jen Stevens, John Forde, and Will Newman.
Not only did these heavy-hitters share real samples and flops from their own portfolios, they went one step further to talk about how they get past that problem we all know and dread: Writer’s Block.
You know the feeling. It’s almost as if a blinking cursor on a blank screen ramps up anxiety with every tiny flash.
John Forde shared a fitting quote for this problem: “Writing is easy. You just sit down and stare at a blank page till little drops of blood start forming on your forehead.”
Lucky for all of us, the three gurus also shared their solutions to Writer’s Block — along with details about their own struggles.
Jen Stevens used to welcome distractions when she faced the blank screen. She’d have the laundry done and folded before she ever got any words on the screen.
Then, at last year’s Bootcamp, she picked up a new approach that works well for her that may work for you too. Instead of leaving her desk at the drop of a pin when she’s struggling to start a letter, she pulls out a reference sheet that sums up all the different kinds of leads and what goes into them. When she sits down to write, she considers what type of lead is most appropriate for her project. Weighing all the options upfront gives her enough of a launching point to take off and go.
John Forde has a different approach. Since laundry isn’t his thing, he winds up facing the blank screen with “a quiet sort of desperation.”
His secret rescue lies in note-taking. John prefers taking loads of notes on index cards just to get his mind wrapped around a project. That way, he can take the stack of cards and rearrange it in different orders as he tries to work out where and how to start.
Finally, Will Newman takes another course. He too relates to the panic that comes with not knowing what to write, but he quells it by doing a lot of research and printing it. The deeper he digs into his research the more he’s able to think up Big Ideas.
From there, Will puts a lot of effort into “Prospect Awareness,” which is a way to measure how conscious a prospect is of his need to buy something. The prospect awareness level combined with his pages of research usually give him enough material to at least get started.
Personally, I’ve always taken the research approach when I’m desperate for ideas. There may be something, though, to starting with lead types like Jen or prospect awareness like Will. I’m going to try them.
The little things in life matter. That was just a small part of Michael Masterson’s Special Theory of Wealth presentation last night. And it really hit home with me. He challenged us: How do we spend the first 60 minutes of the day? What do we do with our vacation time? What books do we read? What are our first thoughts upon waking every morning?
More than anything, though, Michael’s keynote presentation got me thinking seriously about what’s been holding me back from creating true wealth.
In fact, it opened my mind to getting the most out of this Bootcamp experience. Whether you’re here, doing the Home-Study, or planning to be here next year, there are three things you can do immediately to start down your own road to wealth:
- Become laser-focused on the idea of creating wealth. If becoming wealthy is one of your goals, don’t let numerous other secondary goals get in the way.
- Ask yourself the five questions above whenever you have a chance.
- Practice being pro-active in potential wealth situations.
The great thing is, Michael’s wealth formula applies to you, me, and, everyone. Your background and education don’t matter. It’s not easy in the beginning, but at some point it becomes automatic.
KC and the Sunshine Band and copywriting fame. After the Wall of Fame networking dinner, Pam Foster, Gary Hennerberg and their karaoke band took to the stage. They took some liberties with the old 70s song “Get Down Tonight” to illustrate a point:
The Writer’s Life rocks!
It was only four short years ago that Pam came to her first Bootcamp. Now she’s a Wall of Fame member and a $10k Challenge winner, and has a web copywriting career that’s exploding.
Sean McCool was at Bootcamp two years ago and landed a prime gig with Stansberry & Associates in Baltimore, Maryland. His former colleague at Stansberry, Jason, tells me that Sean recently became a freelancer, and has more business than he can handle (always a good problem to have).
It struck me as I watched the slides during dinner of AWAI’s Wall of Fame members – there’s nothing extraordinary about any of these people. Cassandra Lee, Ed Gandia, Malcolm Smith and many others – sure, they’re great copywriters. But they didn’t start out that way. They started out exactly where you are.
It’s a Wall of Fame, not a Hall of Fame (like the one in Cooperstown and Canton.) AWAI’s Wall of Fame is for mere mortals who decided to work hard, apply themselves, and give it a shot. Something you can do.
But talking to Wall of Famers, a common thread seems to come up: They all made a conscious decision to make it happen. According to Katie in her opening address, 70% of Wall of Fame members attribute Bootcamp as the turning point in their career.
The theme for the 2010 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair is “Making It Happen.”
I’ll leave you with one thought for the day: When you decide to Make It Happen, it’s amazing how things start falling into place.
Hoping to see you on the Wall of Fame next year.
From Roy …
It's real. Bootcamp has started. I remember last year at this time it was when the shock really hit me. This copywriting thing – the "write a simple letter, earn six figures" industry – actually exists.
Of course that was one big part of my journey from skeptic to believer to living proof. But I'll tell you what. It's just as exciting this year meeting first-time Bootcamp attendees who are having that experience for the first time now.
When you actually meet real people like you who are doing this – that's when you start to realize that it's not only real but it's probably something you can do too. You could make a living working where you want, when you want, and with whom you want – living The Writer's Life.
For many people that's the biggest takeaway of Bootcamp. And the lesson started last night and will continue through Saturday afternoon.
Bigger than any strategy or technique that you'll learn and apply eventually is that first lesson of "It's real, and this is something I can do."
I remember calling my wife on Saturday afternoon last year and telling her that I was finally ready to quit my job and pursue full-time copywriting. It was just a matter of coming up with a plan. Then in 3 months, 3 days of getting home from Bootcamp … I did it. I quit my job and became a full-time freelancer. And it's been an upward path ever since.
For me it took coming to Bootcamp to finally internalize the "it's real" lesson. For you maybe it's just reading the stories of all the people who've been successful with AWAI's programs – then trying them yourself.
But if you want the biggest takeaway everybody at Bootcamp is getting this week, here it is. When you're here in Delray Beach sitting in the sessions or in the lobby at the Marriott, you don't have to go 10 feet before you run into someone who is living proof that The Writer's Life … It's real.
As we were all meeting up for Bootcamp again this year, I remembered another important lesson I got from last year. And really, while this lesson applies to coming to Bootcamp, it also applies to the rest of your copywriting career.
So before we get into all the meat of Bootcamp that we're getting over the next few days, I wanted to share this lesson with you.
Stand tall, straighten your shoulders, take a deep breath, and just do it.
There are far too many people who are timid, slouching on the inside (if not on the outside, too), and frankly scared to live large. So they show up but don't make an impact … Instead of projecting the confidence that attracts clients, builds their career, and gives them all the freedom and benefits of The Writer's Life …
I've been that way. Didn't want to seem too big for my britches. Didn't want to be seen as a braggart. But really those were just excuses masking my own lack of self-confidence.
Then I learned to love myself. To have confidence in myself. And to put my neck out. Because until you do – you won't have successes or failures. And luckily, your successes are far more memorable than your failures.
Here's how to apply this.
If you're reading this at Bootcamp, remember this week to stand a little taller, straighten your shoulders, breathe deeply often … And just do it. Be yourself. And be confident in that. Engage with people. Be excited. Live large.
If you're not at Bootcamp, the same thing applies at home.
If you're working for someone else and looking to make the leap, put a plan into action and make it happen. Then when you go in to your boss's office to quit your job, stand tall, straighten your shoulders, breathe deeply … And just do it.
And if you are a full-time freelancer, your clients subconsciously see this when you meet them in person, hear it on the phone, and can even read it in your emails. So no matter how you're communicating with them, make sure you're doing it standing tall, with shoulders straight, breathing deeply … And just doing it! Confidence breeds success, and the success you have will breed more confidence.
Michael Masterson made a similar point in his keynote speech tonight when he told about one of his business idols, Henry Flagler (partner of John D Rockefeller and one of the original Florida real estate tycoons). He said Flagler's life story reads as a series of stories showing that every chance he had to do something more, he did it. He stood tall, straightened his shoulders, took a deep breath, and did what he had to do to get ahead and reach his goals.
This lesson is probably the biggest differentiators between the superstars I meet at Bootcamp, and the "hope to be" copywriters. Of course, by Saturday many "hope to be" copywriters will learn this lesson and see themselves transformed. Why don't you try it for yourself?
Stand tall, straighten your shoulders, take a deep breath, and just do it.
I'm excited for what you'll achieve.
REMINDER: Make your plans now to join us for next year’s FastTrack to Success Copywriting and Bootcamp at the lowest price possible. Make the commitment to yourself to make 2011 YOUR year!!
As Executive Director of AWAI, Katie Yeakle has been helping people live the writer’s life since 1997.
“AWAI is built on a big promise … that we can teach you a new skill that can lead to increased income … independence from the 9-to-5 grind … and the freedom to live and work where you choose.
“All of us at AWAI stand behind that promise. In fact, that’s how we measure our success – by how many people we help reinvent their lives.
“Follow our proven advice, and you can be among the many successes we’re so proud of.”
- Have a question or comment for me or any of us at AWAI? Send it here: AskKatie@awaionline.com
- Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/katieyeakle