Don't try to become a copywriter––
- if you're not ready to put in it 10,000 hours
- if you lack imagination and you're a boring person
- if you're unable to understand the basics of human nature
Hi, my name is Vlad Kowsky and I'm the reason your mom always buys those useless stuff on TV shopping.
Ok if you're here, you probably want to become a copywriter.
But let me tell you 2 things:
- It's far from an easy thing.
- Are you really ready to put in the right amount of effort? If not please go back to your slave-job.
Still here, good.
I just wanted to make sure you were motivated enough to go on this path.
Why should you become a copywriter
Tons of guys regularly reach out to me and ask:
How can I become a copywriter like you? I have no experience yet.
I can understand why they come to the conclusion they want to become a copywriter:
It's tempting to be paid $10k for a single sales page––I get it.
But this should not be the reason why you should become a copywriter.
All my friend copywriters are rich, it's true.
But that's not the underlying reason why they do it.
Before I tell you why they really do it, let me recap some of the few privileges copywriters enjoy:
- Work from everywhere. This is truly great, especially when you love traveling all the time like me. But more pragmatically: in those covid times, it's good to be able to work from home with just an Internet connection.
- Make a lot of money. Most of you wanna become copywriters for this reason. If you're one of the top copywriters, you will. But don't forget: 50% of copywriters are making $50k a year... There is no room for half-copywriters.
- Stand the test of time. This one is the real thing. If you become a copywriter, your skills won't become obsolete in 10 years. Not even in a 100 years. No, copywriters skills rely on deep, ancient human psychology. The ability to talk to our reptilian brain and influence our decisions. And trust me, our reptilian brain is far from going away. Neither are copywriters. If you don't believe me, study the religious books: they're filled with copywriting nuggets. I'm only a step to say that the guy who wrote those books was a great copywriter 😉
Those are for me the 3 main advantages to become a copywriter.
But remember: that should not be the reason why you want to be a copywriter. Those are just the nice consequences that come with this wonderful métier.
Trust me on this one, I have no way to prove you I'm right:
If you wanna succeed as a copywriter, you have to truly be passionate about it.
You must be the kind of person that spends hours dissecting a sales page you found in your spam folder.
You must be the kind of person that reads and analyzes the old direct mail ads to understand the psychological triggers that were at work.
You must be the kind of person that loves and needs to write every, every single day of his boring life.
Ok if I've done my job properly, half of you should have left us now.
This job is not for everybody anyway.
I will tell you a secret: I didn't write every day at the beginning, it came with time.
So remember this: becoming a copywriter is not an event, it's a process. You won't wake up one morning as a copywriter. But every more word you put on a page will make you progress toward your goal.
That's why I'll detail in the next section how you should organize yourself to tend to your ultimate goal: becoming a decent copywriter.
Take your training seriously
It's all about training.
If you don't train, you cannot pretend to become a copywriter.
I don't believe in miracles, only in enough hard-work.
What I'm about to reveal is not specific to copywriting at all. It would be true as well for someone desiring to become a great pianist.
Practice every day
It's truly the basics of any apprentissage, but you'll be surprised how much so few are really putting what they "learn" in practice.
They often just watch videos everyday without writing any words.
Be honest: when was the last time you wrote a 2000 words copy? (and that's not even a long copy, but that's another debate)
And did you even write 10 sales pages in your whole copywriting career?
See, most of you are wondering how to become a copywriter but you don't even write anything.
So my number 1 advice would be: write a sales page every week.
If you do, you'll see great results. And most importantly: you'll develop a much higher comprehension of copywriting than just reading books.
But don't get me wrong.
Theory is important too
My junior copywriters sometimes ask me what I think of copywriter X or copywriter Y.
But when I look at their work, I'm often disappointed.
Those guys are web entrepreneurs that didn't take copywriting seriously:
- They wrote a sales page to sell their product (be it digital or physical), but they never wonder what their audience really needs.
- They have a vague idea of who they're selling to and what they are really selling.
- They don't even know the degree of awareness of their audience.
- They put a timer because everyone does and it works; but do they really know why it works?
You see they're probably able to sell their stuff by copying what they see around.
So they think they are copywriters.
And they are.
A pro copywriter would at least double their revenue. With the same audience. Just by reworking their sales page.
That's what you should aim for too: make your clients earn 10 times what they pay you.
So what's the difference between those bad copywriters and a pro copywriter?
Probably that a pro copywriter has a strong understanding of the theory behind the techniques he uses.
And that would be my second advice to you: make sure to understand why the techniques you use are working.
You should never use a technique without knowing precisely which part of your audience brain you're scratching.
This is fundamental.
You should be able to justify every word you put in your copy.
I will tell you my secret to recognize a great copy: you cannot change or remove any word without hurting the selling effect.
Trust me is very, very rare.
And to do so, you must write with a surgical precision.
What I would suggest is to read the best books about copywriting at least 3 times each so you have a decent grasp on the theory behind copywriting.
So let's recap what we've seen so far:
- Write every day
- Write a full copy every week
- Read the best copywriting books
That's a great routine.
But some of you might already be at this stage...
...still struggling to sign their first copywriting contract?
The next section is for you.
How to land your first job?
That's one of the most common question we get asked:
The answer will surprise you:
Put yourself in your client's shoes: why on earth would you pay someone that has no experience?
Why would you risk your money if you have no assurance you'll make profit? (yeah sending leads on a page costs money)
This is a vicious circle: you have no experience, so you have no opportunity, so you have no experience.
You need to break this circle.
But before I tell you how, let me tell you what you should not do:
- Put yourself on UpWork or Fiverr
- Work for a corporation as copywriter
- Write for any niche
- Be needy
Ok, I just listed here the main advice you can find on the web.
I don't have time to detail here the reason why those are actually bad advice.
But you can check this other post that explains them and goes thoroughly into the process of getting you first copywriting job landed.
Just remember this one advice instead:
You should not dispose of yourself as a commodity on marketplaces like Fiverr.
Instead you should focus on growing your personal brand.
Before we end this great article, I promised I would tell you how to break the vicious circle of finding your first job.
What you need to do is get your first copywriting job done no matter what.
Not really helpful you're probably thinking.
Let me explain.
In this vicious circle, no one will hire you if you have no experience.
You can't change that. That's deeply rooted in our reptilian brain.
So what you need to do is actually get this first experience by any possible means.
I know 2 ways of doing this:
- Create a business and copywrite for yourself. It's not easy but if you can do that, you'll have actual data on how much your copy converts. And it'd better convert since you'll be risking your own money at sending traffic on your page.
- Don't get paid for your first job. Yeah you heard me right. If no one wants to hire you, it's because they have no proof you're a good copywriter. But if you offer to work for them for free... It changes everything! It shows you're pretty confident in your skills since you'll only get royalties. They will only risk their money at sending traffic to a copy that may convert very badly. So actually that's a cheap way to test your first copies at client expenses. Didn't say anything 😉
Specialize in a one single niche.
Because personas will be radically different in a market vs another.
It takes time to actually understand the psychological specificity of a persona... and also a lot of money.
Indeed you need to incrementally test things until you reach a decent conversion rate.
So I would say: once you think you can reproduce a decent conversion rate on a specific niche, stick to it until your reputation is done.
Once people will talk about you "how great of a copywriter you are", then you can try yourself to another niche.
But the error many beginners do is that they butterfly from a niche to another and never become a good copywriter in any of them.
Hope this article was a great starting point on your way to become a great copywriter.
You now know why you should (or not) pursue on the copywriter path, how to train and actually become a good copywriter and finally probably the reason you came here first:
How to get your first copywriting client when you have no experience?
If I could bring value to you in any way, please share this article to your mate copywriters.