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Starting a Copywriting Freelance Business. How well do I sell myself?

Discussion in 'Hustles, Freelancing, Bootstrapping' started by yyes, May 24, 2018.

  1. yyes
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    yyes Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    So after weeks of debating, I decided that I will get into the freelancing copy writing business. I figured this would be the way to go instead of starting a painting business because unfortunately I dont have a lot of capital to invest with right now.

    So I figured I would follow @SinisterLex advice and just do something. Since copywriting is a skill that I will need anyway, I figured that the best thing I could do is learn a skill that will help me grow my business.

    So, I figured that the best way to start copywriting is to just write something up and share it with the community. This is literally the second piece of copy that I have written. My first piece was me trying to sell my truck on Craigslist last year.

    However, this piece is slightly different. I will be posting this piece of copy on my Upwork profile and potentially on People Per Hour. The goal here is to sell myself to potential clients. Let me know what you guys think :)

    Any honest feedback would be invaluable, especially from you copywriters out there.
     

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  2. BlakeIC
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    BlakeIC Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Niche down.

    What niche do you specialize in?

    You will struggle to get paid more than a few bucks being a jack of all trades copywriter.

    It appears you spent 90% of the time educating the customer than selling them.

    I also did not see a story in there. It doesn't need to be a long story, it can be very short.

    There is more that needs changing, but you are a beginner.

    I am tired, goodnight.
     
  3. jon.M
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    jon.M Never Stray From The Fastlane Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    If you're posting this on Upwork or PPH... think about what your ideal prospect is actually looking for. Not everyone who needs a copywriter are looking for one -- instead they look for a blog article writer, brochure writer, content creator, social media copywriter, email marketer [...]

    What qualifies you to claim 10-30 percent revenue gains if it's your second piece of copy? Did you make it up? Did you take that number from a legendary copywriter like Gary Halbert, assuming you could live up to that as well?

    Don't just throw out claims like these. You can improve it by backing it up with something.

    Okay, I just pulled that out of my ass. But you could also do something like:

    Or...
    (I understand you're new to this, without any past clients. Just trying to show the bigger picture)
    -->

    This is very content marketing-ish, which isn't bad in itself, but is just a waste of space on your profile. So instead of focusing on yourself or the prospect... you're wasting time on other freelancers?!

    Don't get me wrong. It can work to bring up the competition, but in this way it's just pointless.

    It's unnecessarily hard to read. And why do you assume that your readers are planning to leave? Writing it out makes you sound desperate. Why not just write:
    --->

    Very little of what you've previously written makes me want to choose you. You've spent all this time lecturing prospects how to choose the right freelancer, forgetting the important stuff: Your prospect and how your skills will catapult their business into the stratosphere of success.

    -->

    Okay. You care about helping the client. Great step on the way. Now try to show it instead of only saying it.

    In persuasion it's crucial to consider where you lead the reader's attention. Don't talk about you going missing in action, because then your reader's will get that thought popping up in their mind. Only paint positive pictures of yourself in people's brains.

    You guarantee results. That's very ambigious, isn't it? Do you promise a 0.01% increase in sales or 10%? How will you measure if you've succeded or if clients are entitled to a refund? Great that you're trying to make the reader feel safe, though.

    Those were some of my thoughts, and they may be unperfected since I'm short on time. I noticed that you included several techniques that are effective. That's great!
     
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  4. rollerskates
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    rollerskates Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I've been writing copy for 10 years, and I am by no means a @SinisterLex or Gary Halbert but I have a couple of tips after a quick glance:

    --Use proper spelling and punctuation.
    --Don't use words like "anyways" or "cool", unless you're marketing the next social media channel for young people or selling air conditioning.

    I am sure you will get many more tips, but truthfully, my overall impression is that I write far better copy than you just writing for my own business and no one pays me to do it. Copywriting is a field in which you have to be EXCEPTIONAL if you want to make a lot of money doing it. You need to study grammar, punctuation, psychology, Sinister Lex, Gary Halbert, and do a great deal of reading of articles like this, for example:

    https://blog.kissmetrics.com/write-copy-like-apple/
     
  5. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Wow, this is awful. If this is the competition, I feel so much better about my own copywriting ambitions.

    Line by line, I'll feed this sales letter into the shredder:

    The headline is dope, it's rad, it's bitchin, it's really sick, you be illin' yer two bucks back. I hope a bucket is available to clean up after those ill two bucks. But one thing it ain't, is properly capitalized and punctuated in standard English, from someone who wants to be paid to make the words that represent a business. Ima let you promote me, but first, Gary had the best headline of all time, of all time!

    If I didn't want to generate more money, I'd not be in the market for a copywriter.
    Without knowing anything about my business, customers, or products, you can predict the increase in sales? How does your psychic prediction service work? Does your crystal ball work on stocks and bonds too?
    Why should I trust your opinions about what to look for in a copywriter?
    People who write payed might not get paid well as writers.
    You say I should hire someone who asks about my specific goals, researched my company and did due diligence before approaching... UNLIKE what you did with this very letter.
    Its another secret that professional writers might know how to punctuate It's.
    Furthermore, the fact that projects can be billed as projects rather than hourly, is hardly a well-hidden secret these days.
    I wasn't about to leave but thanks for the reminder that this is a good time to do so.
    Actually, I did want to invest in a freelancer because I am in a predicament. If I had time and skill to do my own copywriting, I'd not be looking for a freelancer to help me out of my predicament.
    Why should I care about your opinion of what hourly rate I will find cool to pay?
    What should I give a damn about your fantasy of what a freelancer might want to buy personally with the money they make from freelancing?
    Why should I be interested in hiring someone who doesn't even know me, but complains that I rush and pressure my vendors?
    How do you know the potential of my project that you at first said was a 10-30% increase and now you somehow know is thousands of dollars?
    I'd rather accept a "let's talk" invitation from a professional writer who can properly punctuate let's.
    How do you know you're more expensive than your peers who can find their way around a dictionary?
    You might not go MIA, but the period at the end of your promise already has.
    It's not my job to know who else offers a guarantee for their work. On a gig platform, that's essentially everyone because I could file a customer complaint against any of them. This is not a differentiating factor.
    • I'd rather buy my bullet points from someone who doesn't leave loose bullets on the floor. That could be very dangerous.
    What I have to lose right, is that "what do you have to lose, right" is both incorrectly punctuated and an appropriate note inviting a buddy to have a beer, but not respectful to potential clients.

    I would have a very hard time believing that the author of this sales pitch has ever read even a single book about copywriting.
    Awful!
     
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  6. yyes
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    yyes Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Thank you all for the feedback on this. Some of it is harsh, but who cares. I'm trying to get better and the only way is to have feedback from all of you.

    So thank you to @Late Bloomer , @rollerskates ,@jon.M , and @BlakeIC.

    At this point I have read the most famous copy books out there. I am in the process of starting the AWAI program along with Sinnister's udemy course.

    But besides this, whats the best and quickest way that I can make strides?

    I imagine practice, practice, practice?
     
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  7. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Great response with a positive attitude about learning and feedback!

    Find something you can buy for cheap, even if it's just random underpriced cheap stuff on Craigslist you can pile up in the garage until you can flip it for a little profit. Or find something that you can get a chance to sell on behalf of someone else. Maybe there's a local little hometown shop with good products and bad marketing, who'd be willing to let you give a try to helping them increase sales... for free, with a good testimonial from them IF you can help them. Write promotional copy. Send it out. Track how much of it leads to sales.
     
  8. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Pig Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    This isn't the "hundredaire replace my shitty income lane" It's the MILLIONAIRE fastlane. You aren't starting a business... Freelancing is maybe one step above MLM.

    Don't be ok with anything less than COMPLETE perfection. Build something that matters. Leave copywriting for your employees.
     
  9. Tommo
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    Tommo Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Upwork flipping would be better for you than actual Copywriting. There's a recent thread about it's ethics, have a read.
     
  10. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Pig Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Another thing that would lead me to advise you not to quit your day job.
     
  11. DannyD
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    DannyD Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I have to agree with Kak. Don't do freelancing and get stuck in the "freelancer trap"

    I did that and while it's cooler than a 9-5 since I get to work from home (and travel around if I wish), it's not a real business (unless maybe you build a service business around it)

    It's still time for money and you might end up spending more time than you expected on freelancing (on top of the work - keeping your client pipeline full, etc.), leaving you little time or energy (mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical but for me mostly mental, emotional, and spiritual because I don't give a sh*t about the stuff I'm writing about) for something that will make money for you when you sleep.

    If I had to do it again...

    Stick with my day job where I was working maybe 2 hours a day max (lots of downtime to build something)
    Or get a job in an industry that you want to learn about and build a business in (e.g. I think getting into virtual reality VR right now would be great - there will be opportunities that we can't even imagine yet as the field and tech continues to develop)

    But hindsight is 20/20 and I had to leave my situation at the time (hopefully you can benefit from what I've learned)
     
  12. JByers210
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    JByers210 entrepreneur in the making Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I love your posts. This doesn't have to do with freelancing....but I'd get irritated at first seeing you always trash Amazon and saying it's thinking inside the box...but you're 100% right.

    Obviously you're not saying that you can't do it and still make money or that it can't even be one of your many channels... but it is definitely the most generic idea right now an entrepreneur can have lol. "I'm going to start an Amazon biz"

    I know a guy who doesn't care for adding value or anything, he's spent years trying to make tons of money with dropshipping. Never has. So this year I have been around him a few times and heard him say multiple times, "Yeah I'm going to find a product to sell on Amazon" and "Passive income would really be nice"...this guy represents the money-chasing hoard MJ talks about and the generic ideas that you're against.

    You challenged the way I thought and I'm thankful for it. My next venture I'm about to work on once I have the funds to make it happen is a product that solves a need...but I'm hardly thinking about Amazon.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  13. Roz
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    Roz Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    100% Yes. Practice and test your copy in the freelance markets.

    Read again what @Kak and @DannyD posted.

    Never make freelancing your business model to become rich. Instead, use the money you earn in freelancing to fund your CENTS focused business.

    Also, approach learning and writing copy from the angle of

    helping business owners to make more sales


    instead of

    Let's make some quick cash.
     
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  14. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hahaha!!

    The one exception would be if he has the potential interest, desire, and drive to become a damn good kick-ass copywriter. If he could, that would be a useful Slowlane skill to pick up some spending money in the short term, and a great powerful form of leverage for his own business.
     
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  15. yyes
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    yyes Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Correct. This is one of the reasons that I am taking this path. I just feel that writing copy is a great skill to have in general. I dont plan to do this freelancing for the rest of my life but it would be great if I could do something to just get started.

    However, I dont understand why it couldnt be a fastlane business. From my understanding this is how copywriting can work:
    1. I write a copy letter for a business and create a website for them.
    2. They pay me 1000 dollars a month to maintain that website.
    3. They pay me royalties, maybe 2-5 percent per sale.
    4. They pay me royalties, maybe 100 dollars per new customer.
    If I could get 10-20 clients to do this, and I can charge them 1k a month plus royalties, this to me is not a bad thing. lol.

    As of now, my copy sucks ass. I posted my copy on reddit and got grilled. So my next steps are the following.

    My dad has a Landscaping business. He has had it for 10 years and has never really grown it. I plan to do the following:
    1. Learn how to code based off this Gold thread here GOLD! - How to Learn Code, Start a Web Company, $15k+ per month within 9 months
    2. Sign up for Copyhour course. Supposedly one of the best courses one can take for copywriting.
    3. Finish reading @Andy Black posts about how to promote your local business through adwords.
    4. Help my dad out by building him a website, and writing copy for him so he can grow his business.
    If this proves successful, I plan on helping local businesses with copywriting and building websites and helping them grow their businesses.

    Thats the plan atleast.
     
  16. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I think that's a solid plan. Advertising agencies, web design shops, marketing consultancies etc. can be very profitable Fastlane businesses.

    I don't see why you need the coding classes. Unless you're fascinated by software and you've always wanted to write code, you can be the Get Clients And Make Sales Guy, and hire coders.

    Look up the dirty jobs thread in the Gold section. Some awesome ideas there for success blueprints you can offer for your Dad. Get his phone ringing off the hook so that he needs to add more teams to send out to do all the work! Succeed at that, and then your sales letter will be easy to write:

    Dear Plumber,

    At yyes & son, we added 150 clients and over $500,000 to our bottom line in the last two years because of my sales techniques. I don't want to give away my methods to other landscapers, but they will work for other types of hands-on service businesses and I'm looking for ONE plumber in the West Metro area who would like this kind of business growth in their own shop... with no money out of pocket to get started, until AFTER I've increased your profits. (I'll get a percentage of the business GROWTH I can create for you.) I'll call your office Wednesday to see if this might be for you, or if I should check with your competition instead.

    yyes Jr.

    Andy's lead gen could be another great way to go. No brilliant copy is needed, just the right Adwords plan and budget.
     
  17. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Pig Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    The way I see it... you are at a crossroad. You can take advice from people that may or may not have spun their wheels on sh*t that didn’t matter and shortcut your progress. Or you can trust your less experienced gut and potentially progress nowhere in the next 3-5 years.

    Think hard about this.

    No matter how you spin my words into making this a good idea, it’s not. I think it’s a waste of the most valuable asset you have on this earth. Your time.
     
  18. yyes
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    yyes Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    But you arent stating why its a bad idea. And unless im misunderstanding, your train of thought seems to go against what many of the top contributors on this forum suggest people to do.
     
  19. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    You don’t need to “learn” copy, code or even AdWords and local lead gen.

    “We can’t invoice for input.” (Blaise Brosnan)

    We can only invoice for results, and for your dad that means phone calls that turn into new clients and more revenue.

    Focus on making your dad’s phone ring and not on “learning” stuff?

    Focus on generating him more revenue and not on “building stuff”.

    Figure out how to generate leads for one local service business and then figure out how to scale?

    I personally like freelancing because it’s a great way to get started. You get paid by business owners to solve their problems. If you’re smart you keep your eyes peeled for problems that keep cropping up. Then you figure out how to move beyond freelancing so you’re earning money from repeatable processes rather than the hours you put in.

    The smart freelancer starts building systems that earn money, rather than another job.

    I’ve come the freelancing route. I think it has three phases of learn a skill, sell that skill, and then scale that skill.

    I also think freelancing is a good way to engage the market in hand-to-hand combat.

    I like the sliding scale I’ve paraphrased from a Tropical MBA episode, where we move from Employee to Freelancer to Agency Owner (bespoke services) to Agency Owner (productised services) to Platform/SaaS.

    Personally, I’ve zero interest in building an agency, and have my eyes set on the Platform/SaaS level.

    Start as a freelancer by all means, but just remember this line I recently read from Dan Norris:

    “If your only way to grow your business is to increase prices then you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re a consultant.”

    Slide along that scale as soon as you can if you want to get beyond freelancing.


    I’ve spent longer than I’ve needed on the left of that sliding scale. I’m one of those that needs to burn himself on the stove to realise it’s hot.

    There’s no reason you need to spend as long if you start with a vision of moving beyond freelancing. See freelancing as an early stepping stone?

    HTH
     
  20. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    The TL;DR version of what I wrote... dammit...
     
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  21. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Teamwork! He made the headline, you made the sales letter ;)
     
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  22. jramos02
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    jramos02 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    A lot of golden nuggets in this thread so far.

    Question for the general group - wouldn't copywriting still be a worthy skill to have? Seems like Copywriting, Marketing, and potentially Selling are skills that are very helpful in the entrepreneur world.

    Or would those skills be better to outsource if they aren't your strength?
     
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  23. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Pig Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Skill (as in spend a weekend reading cashvertising)? Yes! Sure!!

    “Develop” the skill over several years as you build up money to start a real business? No. That is an epic distraction.

    What comes next? Developing some other random skill for a few more years? WTF?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  24. rogue synthetic
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    rogue synthetic * Not actually Rutger Hauer Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    If you go over to Upwork and search "copywriting" in the posted jobs, you'll get a mixture of everything from writing landing pages and email campaigns right on down the scale to the "need you to write fifty 500 word blog posts" with a budget of $20.

    I think a lot of people get into copy with visions of being Gary Halbert or Dan Kennedy.

    Six months later after fighting 100 other people to get another job writing blog posts about a topic you don't care about, and you're wondering just when that life on the Thai beach is supposed to happen.

    What I think a lot of people aren't getting is that Gary Halbert and Dan Kennedy spent years (decades) learning how to sell, how to promote, how to find and solve problems, doing basically everything but writing.

    Just this morning I was reading through one of Halbert's old newsletters where I found this appropriate little gem:

    I make a big deal out of being the world's best copywriter. I think it must be true... because... it says so right in my newsletter. But, all joking aside, here's what I really do have over other copywriters: I don't concentrate on the writing much at all. Almost anybody can write real good (I know, Miss Books, that's not the proper way to say it) if they will dedicate just a few months to learn how to do it. But, that's not what you really need to know. What you really need to know...

    Are The Secrets That
    Make People Buy!

    There's a good point here for anyone willing to listen to it.

    @Kak and @Andy Black aren't saying what they're saying just for the hell of it. If you want to be a big-time copywriter, you need to think about just what that is going to involve. That doesn't just mean what skills you are learning. It also means your whole approach to doing business, what you expect out of it, and whether you've got a different (better) plan than grinding on Upwork.

    When the OP tells us he wants to write, and then goes on about "just" learning how to code, and generate leads, and a whole list of other things people build whole brands out of by themselves, that's not looking too good for his chances.
     
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  25. jramos02
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    jramos02 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    My copy of cashvertising actually just shipped. Should be here by June 7th :). Pretty pumped to give it a read.

    This is very valuable. Thank you. That is something that I, myself, need to learn to do a bit more. Sell. Not just myself, but also whatever I create. I am trying to decide if learning copywriting will help with that - and so far @SinisterLex 's thread has been helpful with understanding that mindset of selling the experience/solving the user's problem and pain point.
     
    Late Bloomer likes this.

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