Copywriters: You’ve Been Duped

Want to develop a six-figure business using your copywriting skills?

It’s not easy or quick.

It can be fun, as long as you’re willing to roll up your sleeves first and get to work.

You’ve been sold a bill of goods by the “laptop on the beach” crowd. If you want to work only a few hours a day, then spend the rest of your day golfing, playing with your kids, or watching the sun set with a glass of wine, good luck.

You’re about 15 years too late.

That may have worked in the late 1990s when there were relatively few copywriters out there, and Internet marketing businesses were in their infancy.

That’s when a lot of the current crop of marketers selling systems and programs either broke into the business or were already making it big.

Today? Freelance copywriters and marketers are a dime a dozen. I’ll say it again…

Making good money copywriting is hard work

It does pay off, however, if…

  1. You recognize that it isn’t easy, fun, or quick
  2. You out-work your competition
  3. You separate yourself from the herd

Accept the fact that running a successful business is hard work.

Turning your Big Ideas and copywriting skills into a profitable business of any kind is NOT easy.

And I’m not going to sugarcoat it with claims of “Everyone can do it! High fees! Unlimited demand!”

Look, I’m as much of a dreamer, an optimist, and a believer in the power of the human spirit to overcome odds as anyone.

I’m a cheerleader and a champion for anyone who’s trying to improve their lot in life.

If that’s you, I’ll do whatever it takes to help you.

But I’m also a realist.

Sales skills required

Not everyone who tries is going to become a successful copywriter.

Not everyone is cut out for sales. And make no mistake – if you’re an Independent Creative (my preferred term over “freelancer”), you are in the business of selling.

Not everyone who buys a program or attends a big event (or a smallretreat for that matter) will parlay that into increased income.

This stuff is hard work.

Aspiring copywriting rock stars ask me all the time, “What’s a good short-cut? I’m willing to work, but what else can I do to move ahead of the competition faster?”

I don’t like to call them “short-cuts,” which implies “easy.”

I agree with Dan Kennedy, who wrote in The Dan Kennedy Letter this month, “Telling you something is a whole lot easier than it is, that’s usually the mark of a charlatan, a con artist, a panderer to your worst self.”

Are you open-minded about different approaches? Willing  to put them into action and work hard?

Here are four concepts that go against the grain of people telling you it’s easier than it is.

Each one can be a challenge and will take time, but if you do these things, you’ll most likely see a return on your investment:

1. Get rid of your “itch for a niche” and Take a Stand for the Brand.

Create a powerful Personal Brand, something I’ve been talking about for a while now. You can identify and declare a niche overnight.

Developing a Personal Brand, however, takes time. If you’re one of the 5% or so of Independent Creatives who actually do it, you’ll probably also eventually be in the top 5% of income earners, too.

Stay tuned as I continue to cover this topic in-depth here.

2. Don’t just tell what you can do. Show what you can do.

A Polished Portfolio is one of the best ways to do this. Average copywriters have an online portfolio tab on their website. You can easily rise above average-level status by also having a physicalportfolio. It’s the mark of a true creative professional.

3. Bypass the big clients.

Instead of groveling at the feet of big-name clients who churn through freelance copywriters left and right, focus on small and mid-sized clients that everyone isn’t going after.

I’d rather work for a no-name start-up client and help them get big than be a small cog in the machine of a giant company. Same payoff (or sometimes better), more satisfaction, and less stress.

4. Be your own client!

This is a new concept to many freelancers.

We’ve been told the path to copywriting riches is to get high-paying gigs with big companies that have big budgets. That’s certainly one way, but it’s a very crowded marketplace these days.

Why not develop your own information marketing business? As long as there’s a demand, you can use your copywriting and marketing skills to build your own business instead of someone else’s.

I’m currently doing this with three side businesses outside of the Copywriter Café.

One involves personal relationships, one is targeted to college students, and one is in the high-end luxury travel space. I’ll keep you posted as I develop each one, and I’ll be sharing lessons learned along the way.

Choose the road less traveled

Look, you can believe the claims of “It’s easy! Anyone can do it! Unlimited demand for your services!”

The problem is, when something is easy, a lot of people will soon be doing it. You’ll have a lot of competition, and fees will go down.

If you operate as a typical freelance copywriter, that is the current scenario.

My suggestion: take the road less traveled as an Independent Creative, doing things the Copywriter Café Way.

I for one am glad that it’s hard slogging. I’m glad that most copywriters aren’t choosing this path.

It means less competition for those of us who do! Let’s put in the time and work necessary to be successful.

Then you can kick back on the beach or watch the sun set with a glass of wine. Unless you’re like me and that really isn’t your scene.

There’s a fork in the road here, my friend. Go down Easy Street and stand in line with the masses, or embrace the road not taken – at least not as often.

The Copywriter Café Way has challenging uphills, indirect side paths, and rugged terrain. But you won’t be fighting the crowds…the views along the way are better…and if you need a guide, I’m here to help any time.

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me which camp you’re in, and why,here.



steve roller pic

About the author: Steve Roller

Steve Roller is a direct response copywriter, world traveler, marketing strategist, and professional speaker. He is a personal trainer to aspiring copywriting rock stars.