How to “make it” online

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I received an email from a subscriber in Australia yesterday with a common theme.

It opens like this…

“My question is, how did you find the transition from being a comedian to a copywriter? Was it a hard period for you and your family? Did you learn all the copywriting skills before you made the switch? I have no business background whatsoever, but am passionate about business and being a business owner… and online business doesn’t require as much capital, so I have chosen this path.”

Let’s break it down:

“How did you find the transition from being a comedian to a copywriter?”

Awkward. Especially at first, when I started tending bar at a tavern in Chicago where a lot of my comic friends would come to drink after their shows.

It felt very strange to be serving them instead of trading war stories of the evening’s shows. But when you know it’s time to change (it was past time for me to get off the road), you muscle through the weird feelings and keep charging toward new frontiers.

Amazing adventures you can’t imagine lie ahead. You have to keep faith, especially when the only direction you’re moving is away from something.

Who knew there was this thing called direct response copywriting and I would be any good at it, and find a way to build a business around it.

I sure didn’t.

And I’m sure glad I didn’t give up before I got here.

Life is full of bizarre twists and turns. Ending actions that don’t serve you is just important as starting new ones. Listen to your instincts, have faith in yourself and always stay in motion.

“Was it a hard period for you and your family?”

Let’s see…

My wife had just given birth to our second child. We lived in a tiny house with one bathroom and the company I was employed with was crumbling before my eyes.

I would work 8 hours there, come home, eat dinner, play with the kids for an hour and then head to the back porch (steam room in summer, ice box in winter) and type my fingers off trying to get good at copywriting. I was pulling a decent-sized salary at my day job and needed to replace every bit of it to keep up with the demands of our growing family.

When I finally got the courage up to step off the sinking ship and go full time as a freelancer, it was as if Murphy himself came down from a black cloud and bestowed his law upon me.

The only two clients I had on the books cancelled and I was stuck.

No income. No prospects and very few contacts. But that pressure is a blessing. You hustle best when it feels like life is on the line.

I created my first lead magnet, started blogging and invested my last few hundred bucks in a business coach.

Clients came in slow at first, but word of mouth spreads fast in this biz. Soon I was booking out 3-4 months in advance. When prospects were saying the price was right but they just couldn’t wait that long I knew it was time to raise the price and shorten the schedule.

Things you can’t learn until you experience them.

When you’re the most scared, double down the bets you place on yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to come along and give it to you. You’ve got to go out and take what’s yours.

“Did you learn all the copywriting skills before you made the switch?”

No such thing as learning all the copywriting skills. Get as good enough to feel confident and then get going.

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, but you’ll be learning forever, so no point in waiting on some invisible anointing to take place.

Grant yourself permission to be an expert and you are one.

“I have no business background whatsoever, but am passionate about business and being a business owner… and online business doesn’t require as much capital, so I have chosen this path.”

Good for you, man. Keep working hard and asking lots of questions, just like you’re doing now.

The capital you’ll invest is in learning the skills you need to get results.

Along with that is the learning about yourself that takes place along the way.

It will be a different you who cashes the big checks. Decide what that person needs to look, feel and act like and become him.

You’re going to do great things.

Kevin

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Kevin Rogers
Kevin Rogers
Kevin Rogers is a stand up comic turned copywriter and now a copy chief. Kevin is also a best-selling author of The 60-Second Sales Hook. He created Copy Chief to bridge the gap between biz owners eager to improve their sales conversions and copywriters eager to show off their hard-won copy chops.
Showing 7 comments
  • Ken Barrett
    Reply

    So that day when the clouds part, the sun shines on my computer and a voice says “You are now a Copywriter. The world will bow at your feet and bestow riches.” is not going to happen?

    Well there goes that excuse to get started.

    What a way to start the week.

    But what if there was a mystical place where I could hone my craft in the presence of a group of peers intent on support and development…….

  • Kevin Rogers
    Reply

    Yes, Ken… what if there was? And what if there were a way you could explore this mystical place for 7 days for only $1? Nah. Too good to be true. But it’s worth a shot when you visit copychief.com/special 🙂

  • Colin
    Reply

    Great wisdom to remember.
    “When you’re the most scared, double down the bets you place on yourself.”

    • Kevin Rogers
      Reply

      Excellent insights, Colin. I love those life after death stories. Hadn’t heard the “feel nothing” take. What a miserable existence.

      Recently, in our quiet neighborhood, a woman smashed her car into a light pole and took out a neighbors mailbox. I passed the homeowner in his yard assessing the damage and pulled over to inquire and offer help. He was completely unfazed by it.

      He said, “I lost my wife last year. It’s pretty hard to get upset about anything after that.”

      “Sort of puts things in perspective, I suppose.” I said.

      “Yeah,” he replied. “Too bad it took me 72 years to figure that out.”

      That was the entire conversation. I knew exactly what he meant and it really hit home.

  • Mia Sherwood Landau
    Reply

    This is cool, Kevin. I honestly think it’s our Murphy Moments that make the hard work look easier by contrast. OK, I’d rather put cursor to page and just do it, rather than rotting away, worrying about doing it perfectly and contemplating my many imperfections. Yikes! Where’s my mouse!

  • Lawrence Heath
    Reply

    Thanks, I know I will be back to read this post several times in the days head.
    Lawrence
    http://www.FireOfCoals.com

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