By Lynn Swayze
If you're a new copywriter struggling to get the kind of data and results you need to feel confident in your work and have data to land bigger projects, then I suggest you read this post closely, because it may very well save your bacon.
These lessons took me THREE YEARS and a lot of pain to learn.
I ate eggs for Thanksgiving learning these lessons.
I went homeless learning these lessons.
I lost my car learning these lessons.
And after all that, I finally did what I needed to do to learn these lessons and finally make the changes necessary to stop repeating dumb mistakes.
And now, I want to avoid that scenario for YOU.
I will expound on each in a moment.
But first, let me explain what will happen if you don't follow this advice.
If you don't follow at least one of the 3 action items above, you likely won't ever be a working copywriter. Or you'll struggle forever.
You'll struggle for money, putting you in a desperate situation.
Being desperate, you'll lower your fees.
Your lowered fees will attract newbie entrepreneurs who:
1. Don't have a proven offer and already winning control.
2. Hire copywriters as their "lucky magic foot", as if a copy/funnel by itself will solve all the financial problems someone has.
3. Don't have a robust traffic source yet they can tap into
4. Don't have split testing and data tracking in place.
5. Don't have the patience to look at the long-term strategy, rather than short-term "hacks" and "systems"
6. Don't have a big enough budget to see results (money for ads, money for funnels, money for copy, etc), and thus are looking for shoestring, half-assed "fixes" to their marketing problems
Sometimes, these newbie entrepreneurs don't even have testimonials or case studies ... making your job even harder.
Note, these aren't BAD PEOPLE. They're just not ready to benefit from YOUR HELP without you giving them a lot of training and mindset shifts.
They don't know what they don't know, and that hurts everyone. And if you don't know either, it's like the blind leading the blind down a cobblestone road. At some point, you WILL trip. Hard.
And when you do work for these newbie entrepreneurs, you're not likely to get results for them.
Which will mean, NO REFERRALS.
Which might mean REFUNDS.
Which will definitely mean FEELING LIKE A SHIT COPYWRITER.
And at the rates you charged, you may very well have written shit, rushed copy.
But maybe not...
Maybe it would have worked marvelously, if only they had traffic.
Or maybe it would have worked better, if only they had testimonials, a proven offer, and a compelling story.
Or maybe it would have still bombed, because you don't know what you're doing.
But how the heck would you know?
And you, being still in a scarcity-fueled and desperate state, probably pick door #3, that you're a shit-show.
And so what do you do?
In all likelihood, you're going to lower your fees again (or feel like crap for "taking advantage" of people), and continue the cycle until you give up.
You can follow the "Three Commitments" I'm going to explain below.
So, let's look at those three commitments:
A copywriting mentor is an INVALUABLE resource and career-booster. A mentor will help you avoid common newbie mistakes, point you in the direction of good training, review your copy, and even connect you with good-fit projects that fit your skillset.
A copywriting mentor will also give you solid advice on clients, pricing, and positioning, so you avoid career-ending mistakes like the ones I just described.
Every successful working copywriter I know recommends hiring a mentor. It's what I wish I'd done years ago. And it's what I now recommend to everyone.
If you can, hire one. If you can't, see if you can't find one for free. (I'm beta testing a mentoring program now, if you're interested.) If you can't do that, crowdsource it with something like Copy Chief or Cult of Copy or something similar. Or build a group of working copywriters, or join one.
But for the love of everything good and holy in this world, FIND SOMEONE.
Which brings me to #2.
It doesn't matter how much copy I write. Every time I release copy, I get nervous jitters. That is, unless it's been vetted and worked on with the help of more experienced copywriters who can say, "The argument is weak here, boost it by adding... " or, "Maybe a promise headline would be stronger here," or, "You forgot to add some takeaway selling near the end."
If you commit to only running copy that's been vetted, you'll do better in the long run.
Of course, if you have #1 and #2 in place, it's less likely you're going to end up in this scenario. But in case you don't, then AT LEAST stick to this one.
If you can help it, only write for clients who can actually USE your copy.
That is, clients who...
You will avoid painful, career-ending situations by either a) only working with people who are in a position to profit from your copy, or b) do a HELL of a lot of expectation-setting and education on the front-end before you hire someone, and set up very very clear expectations when you on-board and while you work together.
Or c) hiring a mentor or crowd-sourcing mentorship with your copy review group.
A mentor of some kind will help you by saying, "Oh, that's not a good client. Move on to the next prospect" and thereby save you this heartache and self-doubt.
A client who has no traffic, doesn't have a proven offer, and is using up the last of their marketing budget by hiring you likely won't see results with JUST COPY. They need so much tweaking in every area of their business.
They just don't have enough success components.
So yeah, they may hire you. They may even pay a LOT of money to hire you. That doesn't guarantee results.
And when they don't get results, do you know what you won't have that's even MORE valuable?
1. You won't have built a relationship that'll lead to further work, because you're embarrassed and ashamed at the lack of results, they're pissed off at the lack of results, and they now have no budget for future work.
2. You won't have the data you need to feel confidence in your skills and sell yourself to others. This by itself can be a career-killer.
3. You won't get the referrals you need to break into bigger markets with bigger budgets. This too can be a career-killer, because one big key to copywriting success is in who you know.
4. You won't get the testimonial/case study you need to "stack the deck" in your favor.
5. You won't learn lessons you need to learn about conversions, traffic, big ideas, etc.... lessons that are necessary to "LEVEL UP" both your skills and the results you get clients.
So when you keep these things in mind, you can see how working with the wrong client is more detrimental to YOU than to them in many ways.
THEY are out money. It sucks, but it's replaceable and their business doesn't depend on the same data.
YOU are out so much more - work with this client, work with other clients, future income, referrals, testimonials, lessons, and relationships. You've also damaged your reputation and your self-worth.
So if you remember ANYTHING of what I've suggested here, please at least remember this last piece of advice.
Now go thee forth and prosper! 🙂
And if you'd like to be one of the 3 I'm beta testing with my copywriting mentoring program, send me a PM or email email@example.com. One spot is already filled.
Here's to your health, wealth, and abundance,
Direct Response Copywriter Lynn Swayze has specialized in Consultant Marketing and Information Marketing since she jumped on the scene in 2014. She's worked with big names like Agora, Kevin Rogers, John Bowen, Mike Weiss, Jason Hanson, and more. She works as CMO to IDRM LLP and is a staff copywriter at several organizations.
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