My Advice to a Copywriter Starting from Zero

A couple of days ago I got a letter from an aspiring copywriter. I sent him an email back with advice on what to do when joining the game from square one. I thought it might be helpful for others in the same situation, so reposting it here:

Hey Joe,

Thanks for your letter.

I’m not currently looking to take on any “copy cubs” (industry term for apprentices), yet there’s a lot you can do to build your skills on your own.

My advice would be to focus on breaking into the US direct response market. I wish I’d learned this sooner, as I spent years writing B2B tech copy. While you can make a good income in B2B tech, when you can write high converting copy that’s directly linked to sales you can make six figures or more.

Gary Halbert (copywriting legend) wrote an excellent article detailing steps you can take on your own to build your knowledge and skills. Set his website as a bookmark on your tablet or phone and read every letter. People paid good money to get this info when it was a print newsletter, and having it available freely online is a steal.

After you’ve done what he recommends, setup a basic website and write advertorials promoting products on Clickbank. You could also build an email list and upsell Clickbank products that way to earn a small income. Then create your own info product (it could be just a 50 page eBook or you could buy it done for you as a private label rights product = PLR) and sell it yourself. That way you’ll get some stats on conversion rates and sales to attract clients.

When you’re starting out it’s a chicken and egg scenario. How do you get clients without a portfolio? Or how do you build a portfolio without clients?

By creating your own site and running your own promos you can solve this problem.

Starting out is tough. Yet as you sent me a letter and followed up with a phone call, I believe you’ll be disciplined and strategic enough to see it through.

1 Comment. Leave new

Mike, Great response from Jay. Much of our decisions regarding our portfolio mix is based on personal risk-tolerance and experiences with various investing approaches. There is no right or wrong here but I”m happy to share with you my involvement with option-selling. I started selling options in the mid-1990s with good success that has elevated over the years. I tried other stock option strategies but kept coming back to covered call writing where I had my greatest personal success. That has led to my current portfolio mix which I”ve had now for over a decade: In the stock portion of my portfolio, I have dedicated about 90% of available cash. The remaining 10% (stock portion of my portfolio only) is in longer-term holdings (mainly tech companies). I also have a significant portion of my investment portfolio in real-estate, fixed income and cash-equivalents. I strongly believe in asset allocation but in the stock portion of this portfolio, covered call writing dominates. Alan

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