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The LIE I Told Myself that Launched My Copywriting Career and Took Me From $0 to $362,737 in Just 36 Months
And the 5-Step Action Plan I Put in Place to Turn that Lie into Reality
I’ll Show You How to Put This Same Plan in Place TODAY to Jump-start Your Income
Dear Professional Writer,
It was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend in 2013 and I was mentally and emotionally lost.
I had just been laid off from my job as an engineer and project manager for a large defense contractor.
After an 18-year career, my wife and I had to pull our three daughters together after school and explain the situation.
It was an incredibly difficult conversation to have. And I’ll admit, as I tried to reassure them everything would be fine… my voice cracked and tears streamed down my face.
It wasn’t the pain of losing my job.
It also wasn’t the fear of not finding another one.
It was the look of uncertainty on the faces of my three girls… and the feeling that I had failed them.
I decided right then and there to never be in that position again. To never feel helpless… to never be dependent on a traditional job if there was anything in my power I could do to prevent it.
So while I started updating my resume and actively networking for a new job…
I dusted off the AWAI binder that had been sitting on my shelf for seven long years and made the decision right then and there to become a freelance copywriter.
Fortunately for my family, I found a new job rather quickly. I was working again just five weeks later.
But the best part for me personally was that I was no longer working in the defense industry, no longer working 60-70 hours per week at a job I hated, and no longer traveling frequently away from my family.
Now I had time to study the craft of copywriting and figure out how to make a side job out of it — though you’ll see in a moment it’s turned into much more than a side job!
My Path to Success Can Be Your Path
Before I tell you the rest of my story — and why I think it can help you get started as a writer — allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Jon Stoltzfus and I’ve been a working copywriter now for about 36 months.
But it’s what I’ve done in those 36 months that has the AWAI offices buzzing.
You see, the first promotion I wrote became a control. I’ve already locked down three retainer contracts in the hyper-competitive financial newsletter niche. And my writing income just topped $360,000 in less than three years as a result of those contracts.
I say this not to brag about it (though I’m definitely proud), but rather to provide hope and motivation if you’re struggling to get started.
That’s why today I want to take a couple of minutes to tell you more of my story and the most significant steps I took to put myself on this trajectory — and how YOU can use this five-point action plan to jump-start your writing career and your income.
You see, in the first nine months after deciding to be a writer, I studied multiple AWAI courses…
I reached out to several engineering contacts and picked up some small B2B writing projects…
And I continued to think about being a freelance writer.
Then I started getting the promotion information for AWAI’s 2014 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.
I knew I wanted to go. I knew I needed to go. But I also thought I wasn’t ready.
On top of that, I still wasn’t convinced copywriting could actually be a well-paying career… but I knew I had to find out once and for all.
So I did the only thing I could… I LIED to myself.
I told myself I was ready to be a professional copywriter…
I told myself I was going to hang out my shingle as a copywriter…
And I committed to being where professional copywriters go to master their craft, network with other copywriters, and land high-paying jobs from marketers.
I signed up to attend the AWAI’s 2014 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.
And it’s easily the best decision I’ve ever made.
That single decision is directly responsible for three retainer contracts and $362,737 in contracted work in just 36 months after my first Bootcamp!
Which explains why I also attended in 2015… and again this year. And why I’ll always attend every Bootcamp AWAI holds.
I’ll show you exactly how my contracts fell into place in a moment.
Now, I should clarify, those contracts didn’t just fall into my lap because I attended Bootcamp. There was a specific plan I put in place and I’m going to show you each step so you can follow the same path to a six-figure income.
I’ve come to realize that while my specific story is unique, it’s really not all that different from most freelance copywriters. We have jobs we want to leave, creativity we want to unleash, and dreams we want to achieve.
More importantly, we’re dying to start cashing checks each month for writing about topics that interest us!
But chances are, you’ve spent too much time thinking about being freelance writer and not enough time doing it.
That’s where AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair comes in.
Bootcamp is a Career Builder, Whether You’re Ready or Not
AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair is held solely to help you build your writing career!
Mark your calendars for October 18-21, 2017…
Everything from day one to day four is designed to help you learn how to become a better writer and marketer…
To help you connect with other writers…
To help you MEET marketers willing to hire freelance copywriters like you…
And to help ensure you have everything you need to succeed when you leave Florida.
To be honest, everything from TODAY until you leave Florida in October is meant to support your writer’s life. That’s because the moment you sign up, you get access to a collection of recorded webinars, reports, and bonus sessions that will help you maximize the impact Bootcamp will have on your career, including:
- Mindy McHorse on 7 Easy Things You Can Do NOW To Get Ready for Bootcamp.
- Master Copywriter Clayton Makepeace’s Beat the Blank Page Blues.
- AWAI’s 7 Daily Habits of Successful Copywriters.
- Pam Foster on How to Choose a Profitable Niche to Attract Copywriting Clients.
- Joshua Boswell on Getting the Best Return on Your Bootcamp Investment.
- Sandy Franks’ Understanding the Basics Headline Workshop.
- And the Top Takeaways from Bootcamp 2016 from Six Working Copywriters.
- Plus, your monthly issue of the Bootcamp Buzz, with updates on everything you need to know about the big event, including announcements about speakers and marketers ready to hire you.
And these are just a few of the resources you’ll get access to on your personal Bootcamp Member Page.
There’s no doubt — I wouldn’t be where I am today as a copywriter without AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.
And I’m confident that the 2017 event can have the same impact on your career as the 2014 (and 2015 and 2016) events did on mine.
But there’s one thing you have to do before you ever get to Florida.
Make a promise to yourself… even if it’s a promise built on a lie.
Even if you don’t think you’re ready to say you’re a copywriter…
And even if you don’t honestly believe you can walk away from Bootcamp with your first client (though I’ll show you why you can)…
I want you to promise that you’ll approach and prepare for Bootcamp as if it could change your life.
Because it can.
It changed mine…
I walked through the doors of the Delray Beach Marriott on October 14, 2014 with only a dream of the writer’s life.
And for the next three days, I buried myself in the life of a professional copywriter.
I was captivated as Keynote Speaker Richard Armstrong dazzled the audience the first evening with his wit and storytelling.
On Thursday, I discovered the secret solution to writer’s block from rock star, million-dollar copywriter Carline Anglade-Cole.
I also introduced myself to legendary financial copywriter Clayton Makepeace Thursday afternoon… and then used what may have just been a friendly compliment to my advantage over the next few days. (I’ll tell you how in a couple of minutes!)
Friday at lunch, I soaked up two hours of wisdom from direct marketing giant Dan Kennedy about how to be successful as a copywriter and never be without clients.
And I made sure I walked into the Job Fair on Friday afternoon ready to tell every marketer hiring writers I was a professional copywriter and I was even prepared to leave with my first client.
But it was so much more than that. You see, every single contract I’ve gotten since has been a direct result of my 2014 Bootcamp trip:
- I wrote my first article series for AWAI’s B2B Writing Success after meeting Charlotte Hicks Crockett at the 2014 Job Fair.
- I won my first Spec Assignment for Eagle Financial, which landed me my first contract for a promotion and eventually my first retainer. I still write for them today.
- My early success put me in the room at the Clayton Makepeace Financial Writing Intensive in Atlanta in May 2015. It was there where I met my second client and landed another retainer agreement.
- And in perhaps one of the strangest “successes”… I turned a spec failure into another new contract simply by following the fifth step I’ll tell you about in just a moment.
Like I said, the 2014 Bootcamp has been directly responsible for more than $360,000 in contracted work.
And I owe it all to following the action plan I laid out after the lie I told myself.
It’s the exact action plan I want to share with you today, because I know the key to launching your career or propelling it even higher lies in what you get out of AWAI’s 2017 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.
The 5-Step Action Plan to Turn Bootcamp into Your Personal Career Launchpad
Once I decided to lie to myself about being a copywriter, I also decided to commit to getting everything I could out of my Bootcamp experience.
But the first step is the most important. I know that right now you’re probably on the fence about whether or not Bootcamp is right for you. And just like I was at this time three years ago, you’re probably asking yourself these questions:
- What if I haven’t finished the AWAI Accelerated Program yet?
- What if I’ve never had a client before?
- How will I know what to do?
- Am I really ready to put myself in front of marketers?
The truth is, I can’t answer any of these questions for you. All I can tell you is there’s only one way to find out if you’re ready.
Action Step 1: Leap. Jump in with Both Feet.
Remember, I already told you I needed to lie to myself about some of these questions in order to take the plunge. I did so because I knew if I kept asking questions and kept making excuses, I would never end up at Bootcamp.
And if I wouldn’t have lied to myself in order to make the leap, I’d be over $360,000 lighter than I am right now.
Here’s what I can tell you with absolute certainty.
If you don’t attend Bootcamp, you’ll miss out on 3½ days of speakers and presenters with one goal — making sure there are plenty of successful copywriters available every time a sales promotion, web page, email autoresponder, content ad, or any other persuasive piece of copy is needed.
If you don’t attend Bootcamp, you won’t be at the Friday afternoon Job Fair. And if you’re not at Job Fair, you can’t meet any of the 40+ marketers there desperate to write checks to new copywriters.
And if you don’t meet any of the marketers at Job Fair, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t put yourself into position to add a client or boost your income this year.
So leap. Take a chance. And then…
Action Step 2: Commit to Proving You’re Ready.
Once you leap and make the commitment to attend Bootcamp, it’s time to make another commitment… to yourself.
Figure out what you need to do to get yourself ready for Bootcamp.
Maybe you want to finish The Accelerated Program. Maybe you’re working through a niche program for financial, B2B, health, or the travel markets. Or maybe you’re learning how to become a web copywriter and haven’t yet focused on another niche.
Wherever you are today, commit to be further along each month between now and October. Not done, just further along.
Then commit to taking advantage of everything Bootcamp has to offer.
I already told you about some of the great resources you’ll have on your Bootcamp Member Page, but that’s not all. Because a couple of months before Bootcamp, something else will start appearing on your Member Page…
Your opportunity to put your writing in front of marketers you want to work for — no resume, no cover letter, no experience required!
Action Step 3: Commit to Doing a Spec Assignment — or a Few!
The entire experience at AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair is different from any other conference I’ve ever attended.
A big reason why is the opportunity for you to apply to as many “jobs” as you want with a process unique to copywriting — Spec Assignments.
Specs are sample writing projects supplied by marketers who want to see who can come up with new ideas and then put those ideas into clear, well-written sales copy.
Even if you think you may not be ready yet, pick at least one Spec Assignment and submit it for Bootcamp. My first Bootcamp I submitted seven specs — two for AWAI products, one for Boardroom Publishing, and the other four to financial publishing companies.
As I already told you, one of those Spec Assignments got me my first copywriting contract and my first retainer contract. And it’s done the same for many other beginning copywriters too.
The specs I submitted also included an 18-page, full-length promotion for Clayton Makepeace and Weiss Financial. And submitting it gave me an opportunity to act on — and leverage — the next step in my action plan.
Action Step 4: Engage with Your Fellow Bootcamp Attendees.
Whatever you do, don’t waste the opportunity in front of you at Bootcamp. The room is filled with nearly 500 people, including at least a hundred committed to helping you further your writing career.
Before, during, and after the sessions each day, you’ll have the chance to meet and talk with people who have been living the writer’s life for decades.
You’ll get to meet many of the AWAI folks you hear from week in and week out — Katie Yeakle, Rebecca Matter, Sandy Franks, Will Newman, and Pam Foster, to name a few.
But you’ll also have a chance to meet the biggest names in copywriting.
People like Clayton Makepeace, Brian Kurtz, Dan Kennedy, Alexander Green, Paul Hollingshead, John Forde, and Ben Settle.
I made a point to introduce myself to Clayton during one of the breaks the first full day of Bootcamp. As I said, I had submitted a full promotion for his Spec Challenge, so I wanted to make sure he could put a face to the name.
To my surprise — and delight — Clayton said he recognized my name and thought the copy I submitted was “very good.”
Ringing endorsement? No.
Any truth to it or just a polite compliment? No idea.
But I didn’t care. It came from one of the greatest copywriters ever and I ran with it.
When people I met the next three days asked if I submitted any specs, I told them which ones and worked in a reference to Clayton’s comment.
And when I talked to marketers at Job Fair that Friday night, I told them I could send them a sample promotion I did on spec that Clayton Makepeace thought was “very good.”
They all accepted. I sent the spec — and for the record, it didn’t win Clayton’s Spec Challenge — to at least five other financial marketers. I can’t be sure of the impact it had, but simply having written a full promotion proved I could write copy… even though I’ve since realized many of the ways I could have improved that promotion. (I did tell you I may not have been ready.)
Bottom line, make it a priority to introduce yourself to someone new every day, especially those who could have a positive impact on your writer’s life.
Now, I have one final step in my action plan for you. And it’s one I recently confirmed can make a huge difference.
Action Step 5: Follow Through.
Let’s be completely frank here — everyone will not leave Bootcamp with a new contract in hand. But it’s the people you meet, the groundwork you lay while there, and the actions you take after you get home that play a huge role in your success.
In fact, here are the key steps to follow in those critical weeks and months after you leave Bootcamp:
- As you talk to your future clients, lay out a schedule to follow-up with them. If you submitted a Spec Assignment, ask how long they expect it will take to review them all. Ask if you can follow-up a set time in the future. And each conversation after that, set the stage for your next conversation. Start building relationships at Bootcamp.
- When you return home, send a short thank you to copywriters and marketers you hope to stay in contact with. Remember, everyone meets a lot of new people, so if there was something unique about your pitch, your spec, or something you talked about, give them a quick reminder.
- If you promised to send any samples, make sure you do it! Not doing so, or doing it late, simply sends the message you can’t be trusted to deliver what you’ve promised.
Let me give you a brief example of follow-through.
I told you I won one of seven specs I submitted. But it’s one I didn’t win that could end up having the biggest impact on my career.
I continued to follow-up with each marketer after Bootcamp, just like I laid out above. In one case, the marketer ultimately decided not to hire me to write a promotion. But he did say he really liked the idea I submitted and my writing.
So I asked if I could stay in contact and provide updates on my development as a copywriter. He agreed, and every couple of months I would send a short email to him doing just that.
It turns out the marketer I stayed in touch with recently moved on to the publishing powerhouse Agora, Inc. And when his new boss came around asking for names of new copywriters, he remembered me.
Days later, I was under contract to write a promotion. And this wasn’t just any promotion… This was for a new financial newsletter launching a brand-new franchise. And I’ve since been signed to a retainer contract to continue writing promotions for this client.
One thing is certain… I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity if I hadn’t attended the 2014 Bootcamp and followed through on the five-step action plan I just gave you.
Now it’s your turn to let Bootcamp change your life. But first, I need to tell you…
I’m NOT the Only One Who’s Been Transformed By the Power of Bootcamp…
Off the top of my head, there are three people I want to quickly tell you about…
Trust me, there are hundreds more — but these folks come to mind specifically because I’ve met them personally, know them well, and they directly relate their success to attending Bootcamp and Job Fair.
Let’s start with someone who inspires and motivates me every day — Joshua Boswell.
12 years ago, he’d been through multiple business bankruptcies and was struggling under a $200,000 mountain of debt.
He had six kids to feed… no business… no clients… and no job.
He drained his checking account and borrowed money from his in-laws to come to Bootcamp — because he knew the event had the power to make his dreams a reality.
With the skills he learned from Bootcamp — and a go get ‘em attitude at Job Fair — Joshua landed enough work over the next 11 months to earn a six-figure salary. Within less than a year, he was working with huge names like Corel and Microsoft. And he was paying off ALL his debt.
Since then, he’s been making a healthy $300,000+ annual income… and his services are constantly in demand. (And, he still routinely scoops up an average of $25,000 worth in projects from Job Fair!)
And how about Mindy McHorse? She has a story similar to Joshua’s.
She had over $80,000 in student loans from her education. While she had a cushy job in management with a salary and paid vacation, she also had a commute she hated and a boss she couldn’t stand…
One night, after yet another exhausting hour-long commute home, she found a certain letter from AWAI in her mailbox. She tossed it aside at first, but something made her pause before putting it in the trash…
Long story short, in Mindy’s first year of copywriting, she made $17,000… which isn’t bad at all… but not anywhere close to what she’d been making before.
Thankfully, she’d committed to attending Bootcamp every year…
She says it was one of the best decisions she’s ever made — sound familiar? And thanks to the high caliber education, skills, and contacts she picked up at Bootcamp… she skyrocketed her income to $100,593 by her third year as a freelance copywriter.
Finally, another writer who credits his big break to Bootcamp is Steve Coombes.
Steve was an overworked IT guy who just wanted to be a family man… to have the income and free time to spend with his wife and kids.
At Bootcamp’s 2007 Job Fair, Steve won a Spec Assignment to write for a big natural health company. He says that one of his first big projects was the same amount as he made in IT… but as a writer and on his own terms.
In 2009, when he got laid off, he was extremely happy to have more time to dedicate to his family and his copywriting career.
And with no boss or commute to hold him back, his success just kept growing. Not only does he routinely make six-figures these days… at the 2014 Bootcamp, he walked away with a check for $10,000 honoring his excellent skills.
Steve’s advice for your best, fastest success:
“Don’t procrastinate. Whatever you’re pursuing — do it now! Start working right away to change your life… because it’s real. Copywriting is real, and it works!”
You’ll get to meet MANY successful copywriters like these when you come to Bootcamp.
At this point you may be wondering, “What if I’m a TOTAL newbie? How can Bootcamp transform me into a working copywriter?”
It all starts with an education from THE copywriting masters… the people you’ve read about in your programs and copywriting books, in the flesh.
The Top Copywriters of Our Industry Are on Deck to Teach You EVERYTHING You Need to Know to Land Your First Client
Here’s the crazy part. Even though Job Fair is my favorite part of Bootcamp… it’s only a few hours out of the whole 3½ day event!
The majority of your time will be spent with some of the world’s greatest copywriters… some who rarely travel or share their knowledge publicly… and they’re going to take the stage to give you the education of a lifetime.
In short, it’s a crash course in copywriting from the people who made copywriting what it is today.
You’ll not only get a “basic” education — like how to write compelling headlines that force your prospect to sit down and pay attention… or how to use emotion in your writing — but you’ll also get a “30,000-foot overview” of what it means to be a freelance copywriter and the places your career can go.
You’ll learn how to land clients, market yourself, and how to handle any challenges you might come up against.
Like I said, it’s a crash course! It’s not called “Bootcamp” for nothing.
You may not be familiar with some of these names yet, but I can tell you they are living legends in the direct-response marketing industry.
Each writer has decades of experience under his or her belt… and is responsible for millions (if not billions) of dollars of sales in their particular niche.
Here’s a sampling of the caliber of speakers who will be speaking at Bootcamp this year…
Bob Bly is a copywriter and consultant with more than 38 years of experience in Business-to-Business, high-tech, industrial, and direct marketing.
He’s written copy for over 100 clients, including Network Solutions, ITT Fluid Technology, Medical Economics, Intuit, Business & Legal Reports, and Brooklyn Union Gas… and has won numerous industry awards.
Bob’s articles have appeared in numerous publications, such as DM News, Writer’s Digest, Amtrak Express, Cosmopolitan, Inside Direct Mail, and Bits & Pieces for Salespeople. And with over 90 books to his credit, in addition to his client work, he’s remained prolific throughout his distinguished career.
A master of getting clients and business-building, Bob is extremely generous in sharing his expertise with aspiring copywriters, marketers, and entrepreneurs. To date, he has hired at least a dozen AWAI members to help him in his own publishing ventures.
Bootcamp attendees have consistently rated Bob among the best speakers every year he’s presented, as he’s offered entertaining and informative presentations on many different aspects of direct marketing.
Clayton Makepeace is a 44-year direct-response veteran who’s written multimillion-dollar controls for some of the biggest names in the industry. When he speaks, copywriters and marketers listen!
In a typical month, his web-based and email campaigns compel between 60,000 and 90,000 investors to register for and attend online video briefings — with gross sales of as much as $3.6 million in a weekend following these briefings… $5 million in a few weeks… and a staggering $16 million in a single month! All told, his copy has generated well over $1.5 BILLION in sales.
He’s widely regarded as the world’s “highest-paid copywriter” and has received lavish praise from legends in the industry, including Brian Kurtz, Tom Phillips, Gary Bencivenga, Bob Bly, and Drayton Bird.
“Bootcamp has become the seminal event of the year for copywriters.
Not just beginners or intermediate writers, but also for many of the world’s most successful writers.
And not just for writers, but also for the people who HIRE writers.
If you’re serious about your career, you would rather chew off your own arm than miss Bootcamp.”
— Clayton Makepeace
Mike Palmer is head copywriter for Stansberry Research, and was named AWAI 2009 Copywriter of the Year. He’s also the co-author of Copy Logic! The New Science of Producing Breakthrough Copy (Without Criticism!), along with Mark Ford (written under his pen name, Michael Masterson).
Mike has helped build Stansberry Research into one of the biggest financial newsletter publishers in the world today. Since 2002, they’ve mailed over 26 million promos he wrote. Mike’s print and online copy has brought in over 400,000 paid subscribers.
Mike’s most successful promotion to date is The Secret Currency, which has brought in 79,000 subscribers and a total gross revenue of $5.2 million.
As the writers he has trained are quick to point out, “Those numbers show what Mike is directly responsible for. But, he’s also built our copywriting team. He’s trained and mentored about a dozen copywriters. So, he is indirectly responsible for a lot more than just what the numbers above show.”
Nick Usborne is a master online copywriter and site optimization expert with 35 years of experience in the marketing industry.
The first 15 years were devoted to writing direct mail, and the past 19 years have been focused on writing for the Web.
As a copywriter, consultant, and trainer, Nick has worked with hundreds of companies, including Disney, The New York Times, John Deere, Reuters, Citibank, and Encyclopedia Britannica.
He is a widely read columnist, and also the author of the critically acclaimed book on writing for the Web, Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy, published by McGraw-Hill.
“I’m a big fan of using the Web and social media to build my freelance business. It’s what I’ve been doing for almost 20 years now. But if I do the math — and I have — I’ve built more business relationships, picked up more clients, and made more money through the one-on-one contacts I have made at live events. It’s always been this way for me, and it’s still just as true each time I go to Bootcamp. I meet people face-to-face, develop new relationships and attract more work. And it’s not just because I’m a speaker. I see it happening for attendees all the time. The point being, a thousand ‘virtual’ connections will rarely deliver as much value to your business as a single face-to-face encounter with a prospective client or partner.”
— Nick Usborne
Carline Anglade-Cole is a copywriter and consultant and owner of Cole Marketing Solutions.
After 12 years in the direct-mail industry working at Phillips Publishing Inc., Carline launched Cole Marketing Solutions, Inc. When she began her solo copywriting freelance career in 1999 — her goal was simple: Make a decent income and have the flexibility and time to raise her four kids with her firefighter husband, Mickey.
Along the way, she managed to create multi-year controls for leading clients in the health industry, including: Health Resources, True Health, Healthy Directions, Boardroom, Biscayne Labs, and NeoGenis… got a shot at launching Oprah’s “O Magazine” in the direct-mail arena… and was honored as AWAI’s 2015 Copywriter of Year — the “Academy Awards” of the direct-mail industry!
“Two big hurdles most aspiring copywriters face:
- Getting known in the industry!
- Finding clients who want to pay!
Bootcamp is the only place I know where you can talk with… hang out with… and NETWORK with real working copywriters in your industry. That connection alone is PRICELESS — but…
… Bootcamp also brings the clients to you! You get face-to-face time with the movers and shakers in the direct mail biz! You get to know them — and more importantly — they’ve got REAL job assignments they can offer you on the spot! That opportunity alone can launch your career!
So, if you’re serious — REALLY serious about turning your copywriting dreams into reality — get your butt to Bootcamp!”
— Carline Anglade-Cole
Steve Slaunwhite is an award-winning marketing consultant who loves to teach as much as he loves to consult. His specialty is helping small business owners and people in professional practice get more clients, more easily. He does that through his consulting and copywriting services, his workshops and keynotes, and his many books. He’s been a Business-to-Business (B2B) expert for more than 15 years.
Steve is also a respected copywriting trainer. In addition to leading workshops for AWAI, he has taught marketers at such leading companies as Sage Software, The Scheduling Institute, and the Canadian Postal Service how to write effective marketing copy, quickly and easily.
“I’ve personally met attendees who were complete newbies to copywriting and then, years later, met them again and they were highly-successful copywriters. That speaks volumes for the Bootcamp. It’s transformative. There’s no other event that even comes close to it in the industry.”
— Steve Slaunwhite
Richard Armstrong is one of the leading freelance copywriters working today. He specializes in writing copy for publishing, membership, and fundraising efforts. His client roster includes some of the most iconic names in direct marketing: Boardroom, Rodale, Reader’s Digest, and many others.
Richard has won many of the most prestigious awards the copywriting and direct-marketing industries offer, including the Caples Award (more than once)… the Maxwell Sackheim Award for a “distinctive achievement in direct marketing”… the Echo Award… the MAXI Award… the 1989 Speechwriter’s Newsletter Award for “Best Speech of the Year”… and the AWAI 2012 Copywriter of the Year.
Richard’s articles have appeared in National Review, Washingtonian Magazine, Advertising Age, and many other publications throughout his long and storied career.
Ann Handley is a pioneer in digital marketing and a Co-Founder of ClickZ.com, which was one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.
She speaks and writes about how you can rethink the way your business markets. Cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in Social Media and recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers, Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a training and education company with the largest community of marketers in its category.
Ann is a monthly columnist for Entrepreneur magazine, a member of the LinkedIn Influencer program, and the co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (Wiley 2011). Her most recent book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content (Wiley, 2014) is a Wall Street Journal bestseller.
Brian Clark is founder of Rainmaker Digital [formally Copyblogger Media], a serial entrepreneur, and a recovering attorney.
Brian built three successful offline businesses using online marketing techniques before moving to a completely online business model. The result of that move — Rainmaker Digital — is an innovative company that provides the advice and solutions that empower people to successfully grow their businesses through social media and online marketing
Advertising Age ranks Copyblogger as a top marketing blog in its Power150 list. The Guardian named Copyblogger one of the world’s 50 most powerful blogs. He was ranked #3 of the 100 Most Influential Online Marketers of 2009. Dun & Bradstreet says Brian Clark is one of the most influential people in small business on Twitter.
Ilise Benun is an author, consultant, national speaker, and co-founder of Marketing-Mentor.com. If you’ve ever struggled with landing great clients, writing winning proposals, or getting your pricing right, you’ll definitely want to hear what Ilise has to say! She’s been self-employed for all but 3 years of her working life, and enjoys helping freelancers and creative professionals thrive when it comes to promoting their services.
Throughout her 25+ year career, Ilise has conducted workshops and given presentations for national and international trade organizations, including — the American Marketing Association, International Association of Business Leaders, and the Business Marketing Association.
She has developed several courses and programs on freelancing, marketing, and pricing, including her latest, AWAI’s Simplest Guide to Pricing Copy Projects.
She has authored numerous books and electronic marketing tools, such as Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive; The Art of Self Promotion; and co-authored Public Relations for Dummies, 2nd Edition with Eric Yaverbaum and Bob Bly. Her work has been featured in national publications such as The New York Times, Inc. Magazine, The Washington Post, and more.
“I can’t wait to be back at Bootcamp this year! It’s always such an inspiring event with the feel of a homecoming!”
— Ilise Benun
Jedd Canty is the owner of Canty Ventures, an angel investing company that backs start-ups and entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to take risks. In addition, Jedd is the Copy Chief for Money Morning & Money Map Press.
In a previous life, Jedd was an advertising executive at one of the largest agencies in the United States, as well as a marketing executive for an online custom diet provider that was traded on the NASDAQ.
Ted Capshaw is a student. A student of life, people, and business.
Prior to becoming an executive/life coach, Ted served as a Chief Learning Officer at several companies. He also was the Chief Operating Officer of a well-known nonprofit organization in Baltimore.
Today, and for the last 6 years, Ted spends the majority of his time coaching individuals and teams in such areas as communication, personal development, building trust, operating more effectively and efficiently, while daring people to live a more balanced and meaningful life.
Ted is known for his very real and hard-hitting insights that he delivers with an unwavering intent to assist and promote change.
Bootcamp also features long-standing, highly acclaimed Bootcamp favorites and master instructors, including John Forde, Jennifer Stevens, Will Newman, Pam Foster, Lori Haller, Joshua Boswell, Katie Yeakle, and Rebecca Matter.
Each of our speakers brings something special to the event for you — and because this event is unlike any other in our industry, they understand that Bootcamp is not just a presentation platform. Our speakers always come ready, willing, and able to help you make a leap forward with your copywriting plans. They are open and available to you throughout the event — not just in their session — and many of them can be found sharing tips and advice nonstop from the first day of Bootcamp to the last.
And remember, these are the “A-listers” who spoke at last year's event. This year's speakers will blow you away. As an early registrant, you'll be the first to hear who they are and the secrets they'll be sharing in October.
The point of this list is not to intimidate you. (I hope it excites you!) The purpose is to show you two things:
- Even the superstars of the direct-response industry get excited about Bootcamp. If it weren’t legitimately THE event for copywriters, these writers would be at home, churning out their million-dollar copy instead!
- You’ll be getting a top-notch education from some of the brightest marketing minds today. All of their best writing tips… effective copy strategies… and business insights they can share, they will. (And most importantly, you’ll feel prepared and confident to walk into Job Fair and say, “I can do the job!”)
Even though Bootcamp is the fastest way to get you from where you are to where you want to be — and the learning is intense — it’s not all hard work.
There’s plenty of fun and relaxing built-in, too!
For example, on the first night of Bootcamp, you can attend the Wall of Fame Networking Dinner, where you can meet and greet with fellow attendees, AWAI team members, and speakers in a casual atmosphere.
Then there’s the “Morning Appetizers” sessions during breakfast, where you get to learn about the variety of writing niches out there — like natural health, finance, B2B, travel, and more — from some of the top experts in those niches.
At Bootcamp 2015, we even had a carnival-themed party, complete with a cotton candy machine, games, and entertainers. At 2016, we had a ‘Hoedown’ with plenty of music and dancing. In fact, AWAI even brought in an expert dancer who taught everyone how to line dance.
Finally, the last afternoon is always the Awards Luncheon where we all celebrate success! It’s here that Rebecca and Katie announce the Copywriter of the Year, hand out signed checks for AWAI’s Spec Challenge winners, and announce the BIG one… the winner of the $10K Challenge.
Guess who it was this year?!!
At Bootcamp, the Energy is Contagious…
When you walk into the Marriott Lobby, a rush of energy sweeps over you.
But it’s more than just excitement…
It’s the feeling of being on the verge of changing your life for the better.
It’s the anticipation of the unknown.
There’s something about being around hundreds of other people who understand your excitement, your dreams, and your fears…
And who truly want to see you succeed as much as they want success for themselves.
There’s something about the supportive atmosphere that’s contagious.
It’s the sudden realization that everything you’ve read about… all the stories you’ve read and voices you’ve heard on the phone or webinars… all of it is real.
Who knows? At any minute, your first client could walk around the corner, see your nametag, and take you to lunch to talk shop.
Or maybe you sit next to Paul Hollingshead or Mark Ford during the opening sessions, and they impart some golden nugget of wisdom that changes the course of your career forever.
It’s Bootcamp — anything is possible!
But… you have to be there to find out.
It’s not my place to tell you whether 2017 is your year for Bootcamp success. You’ll have to make that decision for yourself.
However, I CAN share some of the breakthroughs that AWAI members have had from past years… people exactly like you, in the same place, wondering if copywriting is for them…
And if they “have what it takes” to make it work.
But, they jumped into the deep end, feet first, and found out for themselves that the answer is a resounding, champagne-popping, “Yes!”
Bootcamp Will Answer ALL the Questions You Have About Copywriting… And It Can Easily Be the Launching Pad for a Long, Lucrative Career You Love
Are you wondering if you can REALLY do “this copywriting thing”?
Bootcamp helped Maria Wright answer that question…
“I can absolutely do this!” she wrote. “I came away with a focused niche, personal encouragement from the experts, and made valuable writer friends.”
Joanne French had a similar response: “My mind is going to explode! I learned so much. My biggest takeaway is I CAN DO THIS AND SUCCEED. Looking forward to kicking some copywriting butt next year!”
“With the help of others and AWAI resources, I CAN DO THIS!” LaDeana Wilke said.
“I’m ready!” wrote Karen Gorzynski.
And, Donna Annis said, “I can do this! I’m going to burn my ships of fear and uncertainty. This is doable and MY TIME IS NOW!”
But, is Bootcamp the place to do it?
Let Donna Kaluzniak answer that one for you:
“Nowhere else can you get the most up-to-date, relevant, and inspirational information, with all the top copywriters in one place! Thanks to AWAI and all the presenters for being so open and accessible.”
Can I really get my big start at Bootcamp?
Phyllis C. Whitney answers:
“I have narrowed down my niche to B2B. I know that is huge and has a bazillion sub-niches within, but I’m going to start using the company I work with full-time as an accountant… the owner has decided to make me their ‘in-house’ copywriter. He’s got me working on a lead-generation package! Thank you, AWAI, for the great start. He knows I’m a beginner with so much more to learn, but he likes my work! (Again, thank you AWAI and Circle of Success!)”
And what’s the number one thing I need to know in order to succeed?
I’ll let these Bootcamp attendees share what they discovered:
- “Take action… do!” said Tom Hewlett.
- “Just do it — NO FEAR!” wrote Rick Hartman.
- And Jerry L. Nelson said, “All I have to do is get off my butt and DO IT — because I can DO it!”
- “Get over my fear and just do it! Meeting REAL copywriters with REAL incomes was the best motivation,” said Erin Kienzle.
- Jason Channell agreed: “Action! Take action! One other thing — I can do this and be successful as a copywriter!”
… I think you get the picture!
As I said, these are just a handful of the thousands of testimonials AWAI has received over the years.
And if you have additional questions that aren’t answered during sessions, all you have to do is ask! The AWAI team, speakers, and experienced copywriters abound while you’re on the ground in Delray Beach.
The answers are yours… just raise your hand and ask for help.
PLUS — Walk Away with the Ultimate Confidence Booster: A Paycheck with Your Name on It!
Every year, Bootcamp attendees walk away with checks in hand. And at least a handful of them are signed by Katie Yeakle, AWAI’s Executive Director.
You see, AWAI isn’t just your training partner, they’re also a marketer and your biggest cheerleader.
So every year, AWAI offers a half-dozen Spec Challenges where you get the chance to write about one of their products and land a lucrative writing project…
And if they like what they see, they’ll call you up on stage at Bootcamp… hand you a check… and hire you on the spot!
But AWAI’s not the only company that gives Bootcamp attendees the chance to show their stuff and win a paying assignment…
The companies who attend Job Fair looking for their next star copywriter offer Spec Assignments too.
And when you register today, you’ll have the first shot at the dozens of Spec Assignments they offer.
Some of these specs are actually due before Bootcamp — yet another reason to get dedicated and get started early.
I’ll say it again: this is YOUR decision. While I wish I could make it for you, it’s up to you to take action.
But I CAN make the decision as easy and risk-free as possible for you.
A full price ticket to Bootcamp and Job Fair is $2,495.
Your Satisfaction is 100% Guaranteed
One other thing I’ve found out about AWAI is that they’re the most flexible, generous, and customer-centric company I’ve ever worked with.
That means you have NOTHING to lose by signing up today.
You have plenty of time to go through your bonuses and be absolutely certain this is the event for you.
If something comes up, you have until September 18, 2017 to get 100% of your money back.
And, after that, the special Live Event Guarantee kicks in:
Register today. Come to the first day of Bootcamp. If you are not completely satisfied with what you experience, simply tell us before the last session of day one. We will prepare a refund for your entire registration fee (minus the $300 processing fee). No questions asked. Enjoy the rest of your time as a mini-vacation.
That’s right. Attend the first full day of Bootcamp, and if you don’t agree that an entire 3½ days of learning at that caliber is worth the investment you made in your registration fee…
And you don’t think these masters can teach you the simple techniques and formulas you need to get started on the road to copywriting greatness…
All you have to do is let Denise, Rebecca, Katie, or one of the friendly Member Services team know, and you’ll get a refund.
No quibbles, no questions asked.
And you can spend the rest of your time in Florida, relaxing on the beach, confident that you made the right decision to find out if copywriting is right for you.
Plus, Get Help Choosing Your Niche (And Much, Much More!)
I don’t want to give all the surprises away… but there are TONS more bonuses coming your way, like…
The Bootcamp Success Stories Series. Once you register, you’ll hear from recently-successful AWAI members who seized the Bootcamp opportunity and ran with it.
Each of them became successful quickly and now are working, well-paid copywriters in demand in their particular niche. I’m talking about people like Guillermo Rubio, Julie Hassett, and many more. In these exclusive videos, they’ll give you their best tips and how-to’s for making the most of your time at Bootcamp… and much more!
The Bootcamp Buzz newsletter. Every month, AWAI’s Director of Copywriting Training, Pam Foster will be popping into your email inbox with updates about the speaker lineup, agenda, hotels and travel info, new Spec Assignments, and new companies that are coming to Job Fair.
You’ll also get the Bootcamp Bonus Reports Pack, which includes valuable kick-starter bonus reports:
- A Brief Intro to Spec Assignments — discover all the insider’s info you need to know about completing Spec Assignments quickly and professionally…
- The 7 Daily Habits of Successful Copywriters — put these habits into place today, and you’ll have a surefire route to faster success.
- Niche Marketing: The Proven Method for Making More Money — get a bird’s-eye view of the most in-demand niche markets…
This year, AWAI is repeating their popular Niche breakfasts at Bootcamp, but with a big new twist. Lori Haller, Denise Ford, and Pam Foster will be giving you extra niche help before, during, and after the event with the following opportunities. (Sign up for the 2017 AWAI Bootcamp Waitlist today so you can take advantage of all these events!)
- 3 FREE Pre-Bootcamp Niche Webinars
Before you arrive at Bootcamp, you’ll be able to participate in online webinars to learn:
- What a niche is, and some of today’s hottest niche industries
- How to identify a great niche industry for you
- How other copywriters arrived at their niches, and what it’s meant to them
- Bootcamp Breakfasts
Each morning at Bootcamp, you can join Pam, Lori, and some special guests for breakfast and get a taste of what it’s like to work in a niche industry. You’ll have a chance to ask anything about choosing a niche, plus you’ll meet copywriters who made the leap in a variety of industries.
- “Everybody’s Niche-able” Evening Session
On Thursday evening during Bootcamp, you can join Pam for a live, interactive niche challenge. She’ll invite people who are stuck — who just can’t decide on a good niche or who feel they don’t qualify for any niche — and together everyone will help shine a light on this decision for them. It’s sure to be a lively session that may just create a “niche epiphany” for you.
- After Bootcamp
You’ll have the opportunity to reconvene for a follow-up webinar to make sure you’re on your way to immersing yourself in the niche of your choice and connecting with prospective clients. This will give you a chance to ask anything after you’ve absorbed all the other niche activities, gone back home, and possibly come up with one or two more questions before deciding on your choice.
If you signup for the 2017 AWAI Bootcamp Waitlist now… you’ll receive details on all of these activities, including webinar dates and times.
With all of these special “niche” activities before, during, and after Bootcamp, Pam and the AWAI team will help you discover your personal passions… and help you turn those into a profitable niche that you love!
Don’t Delay — Seats Are Selling Out FAST!
You have a unique opportunity right now, to invest in yourself… invest in your career… invest in your future…
And to guarantee your seat at what has become one of THE direct marketing events to attend… and an enormous gathering of “newbies,” intermediate, advanced, and “A-list” copywriters…
AND do it now while seats are still available!
When you register now, you’ll…
- You’ll lock-in a seat for yourself at Bootcamp… and guarantee yourself an immersive, top-notch learning experience from some of the brightest, most celebrated minds in the direct-response industry…
- You’ll be able to start working on Spec Assignments the moment they come up…
- You’ll be automatically registered to receive the Bootcamp Buzz newsletter, where you’ll get valuable information about the event… Updates about the speaker lineup, agenda, hotels and travel info, new Spec Assignments, and new companies that are coming to Job Fair.
- You’ll get instant access to the Bootcamp Bonus Reports Pack, which will help you complete Spec Assignments like a pro, nail down the seven daily habits of successful copywriters, start narrowing down a niche for faster profitability, sell yourself with confidence, and much more!
- And much, much, MUCH more!
And of course, if something comes up between now and September 18th and you just can’t make it, all it takes is a 5-minute phone call to Member Services and every penny you’ve paid will be promptly refunded.
Registering for Bootcamp is like pressing a big, magic GO button.
Once you do, it’s like telling the Universe you’re ready to become a copywriter. It motivates you to learn all you can. You can start following my five-step action plan. And, you start setting goals to become successful.
With your registration today, you’ll have all the tools you need to get primed and ready to launch your career into the stratosphere.
I believe Bootcamp 2017 is going to be the BEST Bootcamp ever.
AWAI says that every year… and it’s always been true.
Copywriter and Marketing Strategist
P.S. I know I’ve shared a number of attendee testimonials…
But what about what the seasoned copywriters… the people who have 20, 30, 40 years of experience? What do they have to say?
Have a look:
“It was great to finally see for myself exactly why these Bootcamps are so successful. The obvious thought that went into it, the attention to detail, the enthusiasm, and the genuine caring about the participants’ experience were all extraordinary.
“I can’t recall that I’ve ever seen participants so uniformly satisfied — and enthused.
“I wish I had had something like this when I was starting out. Just the Job Fair alone would have been well worth the price of admission — to be able to go into a huge room filled with eager-to-hire representatives from major mailers. Wow.”
— David Deutsch
“A-list” Copywriter for Boardroom (and many others)
“I love AWAI. I buy all their programs. I subscribe to their magazine. And the lineup of great copywriters, industry leaders, and up-and-coming superstars of tomorrow that you have here is so impressive… I thought about bringing an autograph book with me!
“This is probably the greatest collection of copywriters in one room since David Ogilvy dined alone.”
— Richard Armstrong
AWAI’s 2012 Copywriter of the Year
“I’ve been to AWAI’s Bootcamp for the past several years and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Every year, I learn more than the year before. I meet new contacts and greet old friends. But most of all, each year, Bootcamp becomes the launching pad for new projects, new clients, and most of all, better copy… Thank you again for an outstanding conference with more high-quality content than I could keep up with!”
— Marcella Allison
“A-list” Copywriter for Boardroom
“I enjoy coming back to Bootcamp each year not only because it’s enjoyable to chat with some of the world’s most successful and well-respected copywriters but because I always learn something I can take back to my desk with me and apply immediately. This is a program that works for writers at all levels I think, delivering equal parts inspiration, philosophy, and practical advice. It’s like taking a little dose of copywriting juju—I always leave excited to sit down to my next project because I know it’ll be charmed.”
— Jen Stevens
“Giving, sharing and life changing connections… All of these things are what AWAI Bootcamp means to me each year.
The experts of our industry take the time to give you the tools of success. They are right there by your side, every step of the way.
I am honored to be a part of this amazing journey. I love watching as attendees make choices and move forward with a very solid plan for success!”
— Lori Haller
“I can’t wait to be back at Bootcamp this year! It’s always such an inspiring event with the feel of a homecoming!”
— Ilise Benun
“Bootcamp is an environment of inspiration and encouragement coupled with the brass tacks of building a business out of a dream. If you really want to become a professional writer this is the place to get started or to renew one's self. The people, the information, and the networking are part of what makes Bootcamp invaluable.”
— Annette Annechild
“I don’t like leaving my ‘cave’ — what I call my home town — in the mountains of northern California. I only enjoy leave for two reasons: To visit family and to go to Bootcamp. (And family, not so much.) I’d rather they visit me!)
I love Bootcamp because after attending 10 times and after 20 years of copywriting, I always learn something new. Always! Like last year Mike Palmer’s presentation about the secret psychology of successful copywriting was a real eye-opener for me. (And I’ve already written about it twice in the articles I write for AWAI.) Or Carline Angled-Cole’s presentation on the Big Idea. She’s not only a hugely successful copywriter, she’s an entertaining and personable presenter.
But what I love most about Bootcamp are the people. I love being able to chat with members at Bootcamp. I love knowing that my words may encourage them. Or concepts we discuss may help clear up uncertainties. Or… well, leaving my cave is made worthwhile by the spending time with old friends and new at Bootcamp.”
— Will Newman
“This will be my 12th Bootcamp attendance! I can’t imagine NOT being at Bootcamp. It’s the one place each year for copywriters at all levels to connect with fellow copywriters, amazing speakers, the AWAI staff, and most importantly, potential clients at the Job Fair. To me, it’s one big colleague reunion where we support each other, learn the latest insights and get to hang out with others who get what we do!”
— Pam Foster
Director of Copywriting Training, AWAI
American Writers & Artists Institute
220 George Bush Blvd, Suite D
Delray Beach, FL 33444
(561) 278-5557 or (866) 879-2924