Let’s talk about the REALITY of copywriting.
Being a copywriter for hire, or even doing it for your own business. But mostly I’m talking about freelance copywriting.
It’s NOT about the technique – anyone can learn how to write persuasive headlines, bullets etc.
It’s NOT even about the work ethic – you can always learn to do the research and the frameworks
NO – the real difficulty is in developing “how you do the work”!
The way you approach your clients, how you go about doing the research and finding about as much as you can before you write even a single word, and most importantly…
How you relate to the person you’re writing for, how you leave your ‘normal world’ behind and completely block out every other thing that might cross your mind… and live and breathe that world you’re writing about… as long as it takes to get the job done.
How you allow yourself to be guided to do the job – instead of forcing it or muscling through it – WILL affect the ultimate quality of the outcome – and by extension your results, compensation and your reputation that gets you more lucrative jobs.
Coming back to your own actual life after immersing yourself so much is not easy either. These are the kinds of things that nobody really likes to talk about, when it comes to the profession of copywriting. You have to kind of disappear into the task and the profession, and then come back strong again.
In essence, you have to stop thinking about your business and completely about theirs. And their customers. THAT is the world you now live in until the job is fully done. And that’s not as easy as it sounds.
I remember one colleague lamenting to me once:
“…you know how people always glorify the copywriter’s life – all freedom, high pay, beaches and all… well, nobody told my wife it also means locking yourself into a bedroom with papers everywhere, scribbling through the night just so you won’t break concentration and will finish the package on time and ready to beat the control… hahah…”
That last bit was a bit of uneasy laughter, but I could relate… 🙂
This is also the reason why copywriters typically work on one big project at a time. Because you can’t switch that deep focus from project to project seven times a day. It just doesn’t work that way.
The other option is to have a bunch of people to coach, mentor and train on a continuous basis – then that deep focus is on your terms and may not even be all that deep all the time (lots of copywriters dream of ending up here, no doubt, and some do).
The middle ground though, spreading yourself thin by focusing on tons of different projects… doesn’t work all that well.
If you’re having to jump around, switch your focus and try to give each an equal share of your time and attention… it’s going to be tough.
At the height of my mad experiments, I had 17 clients on at the same time. Seventeen!
Needless to say, that had to change! Nobody could keep that up without losing sleep, health or their mind.
You HAVE to surrender to the job. Let it take over your life for as long as it’s needed.
Otherwise the dreaded deadlines and every other detail slowly kill your enthusiasm for the project.
You gotta let it take the reins and guide you as you do your very best to hang on.
In a way, freelance copywriting is like rodeo. You gaze at this behemoth, a bull of a project with fresh admiration, a mixture of fear and ambition. Once you climb on, you’re on it until the bull is tamed. Not the best metaphor maybe but you get the idea – doing copywriting at a high level requires accepting you need to Go Deep to get those deep insights that generate the results you want to see. Accept this, and you’ll do fine in this business.
PS. If you’re REALLY convinced freelance copywriting is a career choice you want to pursue – I’m prepared to help you along the way. It IS a great business to be in once you truly get the hang of it… including the BUSINESS of copywriting. If you feel the nudge… go for it!
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