Follow One Course Until Successful

Direction of movement. 3D image.

There are a lot of great tools you can use to productively get through each day to help you take those small steps to achieving your goals. And, most of them work — if applied.

But, before you can figure out all those little things you need to be doing, you have to get a grip on the bigger picture. Like, what the heck are you doing?

What I’m talking about is this …

Are you a business-to-business copywriter or a business-to-consumer copywriter? Either way, do you specialize in web copy, video scripts, white paper reports, case studies, or autoresponders?

Or, are you a long-copy specialist, like Dan Kennedy? Do you get a thrill out of writing a 30-page sales letter that takes a few weeks to write but brings in some big money for yourself and your clients?

You see, if you don’t nail down the bigger picture of exactly what it is you’re doing, it’s easy to get distracted. And, this can lead to some struggle as a copywriter.

If you’re like I was during my first year as a copywriter, you may not know what you want to specialize in. That’s okay. I’d like to offer a solution I’ve found extremely helpful.

It’s the acronym, F-O-C-U-S: Follow One Course Until Successful.

While many copywriters leave the gate with a specific niche and specialty already in mind, others have to get their feet wet in a variety of projects before knowing what they like and don’t like.

For me, I don’t necessarily have one niche I specialize in. After working on many different and varied projects for my first 11 months as a copywriter, I realized short copy was my forte. More specifically, I discovered I had a knack for writing emails, website copy, and social media blurbs.

So, what did I do? I focused!! I spent three more months learning everything there was to learn about those areas. But, while I was in the process of learning, I never stopped marketing myself.

My marketing plan included creating samples, and an informational kit about myself and my services with a strong call-to-action. It also included ensuring my blog articles and social media posts were in conjunction with the services I provide.

Then I made a list of all the clients I had worked for in the past year and reached out to them offering special big discounts on specific services.

For prospective clients, I would put my newly-learned persuasive writing skills to use by sending a brief email to either the owner or the Director of Marketing introducing myself and my services and asking if I could send them my informational kit to keep on hand in case a need for hiring a freelancer ever arose. If they said “yes,” I would send a PDF version via email and a hard copy in the mail — always stating I’d be following up on “X” date. Then, I followed up on “X” date.

Most importantly, I believed in myself and my ability to get any client I set out to get. And, I decided for every one company who didn’t need my services, there were 100s more out there that did. Because it’s the truth. There’s more work out there than all of us copywriters combined can handle — and don’t ever believe differently.

All of a sudden, I started getting more work. It was like magic, and now I’m known as the “go-to” gal for the areas I chose.

But really, it’s not magic. It’s about having mental clarity about what you want and just going for it. Once you can do that, things begin to fall into place.

Here are a few things you can do right now, today, to F-O-C-U-S …

  1. Look over some recent projects you’ve done and analyze which ones were the easiest for you. If you are just starting out and don’t have any projects under your belt, take a look at projects you gravitate towards. Is it easy for you to crank out several pages of sales copy? Do you love writing email autoresponders? Or, does the thought of getting technical and writing a brochure on marine propulsion systems excite you? Choose one or two areas you really like and can see yourself doing every day.
  2. Create a few samples in your chosen specialty or niche that you can show to new clients or gather up some samples from past projects you’ve done.
  3. Begin to market your services in the area(s) you chose above. This can include creating your website, starting a blog and writing several blog posts on the subject with helpful tips prospective clients can use, buying a small list of 500 companies in your region and sending them a direct mail sales letter, using social media to create a buzz about your services — or all of the above.
  4. Do something each day to move in the direction of specializing in the area of your choice. (This is where your daily planning and productivity tools can come into play.) It can be as simple as researching a few companies you’d really like to work with and sending an email, a letter, or making a phone call. Or, perhaps it’s following up with someone. Whatever it is, do several things each day to move yourself in the direction of being the “go-to” copywriter in your field.
  5. As you begin to get your name out there, don’t be afraid to ask new clients if they know of anyone else who could use your services. Gather contact information or ask if they wouldn’t mind making an introduction. Networking can be scary at first, but the more you broaden your contact-base, the more you increase your likelihood of never chasing after clients again. I’ve picked up several new clients just from asking existing clients. Best time to ask? When you close the deal. That’s when a new client is excited about you. It’s what a lot of people call the “Honeymoon Stage.”
  6. If you want to speed this entire process up, gain as much knowledge in as short amount of time as possible in your chosen area of specialty, AND have the opportunity to pick up several new clients (all in one weekend), then I highly recommend going to AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. I’ve had a LOT of help getting to where I am now thanks to the experts and materials they’ve published through AWAI. Problem is, my success took months to accomplish because I didn’t have them all in one room at one time … At Bootcamp, I could’ve accomplished all of that (and more) in just three short days.

Before you know it, you’ll be known as the “go-to” copywriter for several different companies, and chasing after new clients will be a thing of the past!

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Rachel Karl

Rarely gloats about her celebrity clients or the fact that she was instrumental in using copywriting and affiliate management skills to help several online marketers and entrepreneurs earn multi 6-and-7-figures over the last several years. Often brags about co-producing 5 highly successful telesummits - 4 in 2011 with Jeneth Blackert, helping Jeneth grow her subscriber base and the size of her wallet, and her very own telesummit in 2012: Operation BIG Life, guests included Lisa Cherney, Jeneth Blackert, Sage Lavine, Kelly O'Neil, Christina Hills, Dean Hunt, Vicki Irvin and more. Does not regret leaving her “secure” 9-5 j-o-b in 2009 for a career as a copywriter and social media marketer and would like to remind everyone that it is totally possible to do what you love and make great money doing it! Donates copywriting and social media services to various human rights groups to atone for bad deeds ;-)

6 Comments

  • Hey Rachel,

    Thanks for some great marketing ideas. And your focus on defining who we really are as copywriters (or want to be), is so appropriate.

    Keep it up!

    Mark

  • Thanks for the tips Rachel, especially FOCUS. It really resonates with me as I find myself drawn in so many different directions. As I’m still working full time, it’s important for me to keep my freelance time focused and on target, which is difficult to do with so many resources out there. But I’m making a concerted effort to keep myself on track, and follow through on the things I’ve started.

    • Agreed, Julia! As freelancers I think we are so susceptible to the “bright shiny object” syndrome, so while it’s challenging, it’s vital that we maintain focus. Sometimes we get pulled off track by life events or things out of our control, but the important thing is to get back on as soon as possible.

  • Rachel, this is one of the more helpful articles I have read to date. Or maybe I’m just in a much different place to “hear” it for what it is. Either way, thanks, your personal strategies to market yourself are exactly what I needed to hear today!

    Jerry

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