Before AWAI’s Bootcamp last year, I was still struggling with knocking down some of my barriers to success.
I was worried I wasn’t cut out to be a copywriter. I was afraid of failure – and success. I was terrified to market myself. I thought I might get a big client, mess up the entire project, and be blacklisted forever.
I was a mess.
Luckily for me, I attended Bootcamp, and many of the presentations helped me get over these fears. Little by little, my barriers came down.
One of those presentations was Nick Usborne’s. And today, I want to share some of the things he told us that helped me realize I can live the writer’s life. Maybe by hearing these things, you’ll realize it, too.
Here are the three stories Nick told that eliminated my barriers.
1. You don’t need to be the best.
A lot of freelancers are afraid they’re not ready yet or not qualified enough or they don’t have enough to offer.
Nick told a story about a researcher who studied experts – particularly their predictions about what the future would bring.
He found 834 people: financial experts and political pundits. Then he followed them for several years and collated over 300,000 different judgments they made about the outcome of certain circumstances: what would happen the following week, the price of oil in three years, etc.
At the end of his research, he determined a monkey could have made better predictions with a dartboard. Some experts, the ones you never hear of and who work diligently, did slightly better than the monkey. The experts who were worse than a monkey were the people you see on TV and on the front page of magazines.
So Nick says, “When you worry about expertise, just pause and take a breath and think, ‘You know what? They truly don’t know more than I do.’”
If you take a couple of AWAI courses, and especially if you attend an AWAI Bootcamp, you already have a comparative advantage. Then to learn the three things you need to succeed as a copywriter, check out this article.
2. Clients like to hear from you via email.
If you’re like me, cold calling is terrifying. I was relieved to hear Nick share some research results where the question was asked to client companies, “How do you like to receive a first contact from a copywriter?”
Most of the respondents said they would like to hear first from prospective copywriters by email.
I’m sure that’s not the case for all clients, but it does remove some of the cold calling – and marketing – pressure.
3. Be friendly, approachable, and empathetic.
Another story Nick shared was about medical experts who had been researching why people choose a particular doctor over others. They determined it’s three A’s: “Affinity, Availability, Ability.”
Affinity asks whether the doctor seems friendly, approachable, empathetic, and genuinely caring. Availability takes into account how long you have to wait to see the doctor. Ability measures their skill as a doctor.
The results of the research were that ability was the least important. Availability was in the middle. And the most important thing when choosing a doctor was affability or affinity.
I’m sure this doesn’t translate directly to copywriting. But it does seem that the highest-paid copywriters are also the most friendly and approachable.
Now, if I have any doubts about my ability, I remind myself of the results of this research. I also take a deep breath, smile, and remember I have a team of people at AWAI if a client should come up with something I can’t handle.
What about you? Do these results surprise you? Or have you heard something that helps you overcome doubt? Comment below to join the discussion …
Thanks for your insight and nice to see you on FaceBook. I am at the beginning of a major transition in my life, where I have recently changed my own internal label. I used to be a Construction Manager, who wrote effective e-mails. I have been a Restaurant Manager, who wrote humorous radio commercials. I have been the Owner of a small photo studio with a Hispanic clientele, who solved problems for customers by writing “killer letters” to their antagonists.
My wife, an amazing artist, had been challenging me for several years to write a motivational story for children, using her characters as an inspiration. Last month, I accepted the challenge. I wrote a short lesson on “The Golden Rule”, then shifted gears, put on my best Dr. Seuss and converted it to rhyme. In a couple of hours I had a funny, inspirational story that will make kids laugh, make parents smile and teach a great lesson. Connie’s illustrations, by the way, are adorable.
With the first short book in the bag, I wrote another and another. Several weeks later, I now have twelve completed and Connie will have her pen and brush jammin’ for weeks to complete the illustrations. The exciting part is that I now wake up at 4:00 am to start writing. I write more on my lunch breaks and rush home to write some more, til bed time. I’m possessed.
The other part of my passion has come together with my ability to write letters that convince evil doers to repent, apologize and do better next time. I happen to be an English speaking, Irish looking Gringo that happens to speak fluent Spanish. For years I have enjoyed the stunned double takes from people who hear me “Blabbing” in conversational Español. I get at least on good laugh per day, just by approaching someone needing help with an English based challenge and watching their eyes light up. “The Gringo speaks Spanish”.
I launched a web site I call “Ayudame Gringo” (Help me Gringo). I offer my writing services to anyone with a problem or a challenge that could be solved, if only they could communicate in perfect, persuasive English. The response has been wonderful. I have addressed letters, in the name of my new friends, to Landlords, concerning a disruptive neighbor. One individual had a problem with an insensitive teacher at her child’s school. Another needed a resume written to advance their personal career. One other, had an issue with a doctor that left her feeling frustrated and helpless.
In all cases, the antagonist received our letters gracefully, accepted our complaints, understood the problem and agreed to a solution. I always enjoy the humorous side of all connections. To summarize the response to our Gringo Letters, each individual responded with: “I’m sorry”. “I had no idea”. “Here’s what I can do to resolve the problem…”. AND BY THE WAY, “That was an excellent letter.” Bingo! Touch Down!
The final example that leads me to this career changing decision, is an experience I had in an interview, many years ago. The CEO of a company called me in to his office and said, “I had several excellent candidates for this position, all well qualified, with identical experience. Do you know why I’m giving you the job?” He held up a piece of paper and pointed to the follow-up letter I had written, following the most recent interview. “Excellent Letter. You are my new world traveling Construction Manager”. I got the job, but more importantly……He loved the Letter! Boo-Yaah!
That, Christina, is the reason I woke up at 4:00 am to write an extremely long note (again). Official notice, I have joined AWAI, I am studying my options, but most importantly, I am no longer a salesman who writes, too much. I am a Writer, who knows about construction, restaurants, retail, Spanish culture, problem solving and Dr. Seuss.
Time now to go to the other job, but I’ll be back to write on my lunch hour and look forward to read more of your experiences when I return home.
Thanks for what you do,