From newbie to copybeast in 8 simple steps
This post was written by TCCS member, Angela Pickett
If I wanted a copywriting career I had to start using the resources I already had #copywriter #copybeast
After 12 months in The Clever Copywriting School, I wanted to share some thoughts on how I’ve embraced my inner copybeast.
If you’ve just joined TCCS – welcome.
But if you’re sitting on the fence then I hope what I’m about to share will convince you to sign up.
When I joined, I wasn’t even sure what a copywriter did.
A friend introduced me to another member who needed a blog post written for a client. I wrote it, got paid for it, and began my copywriting career.
Despite my interest and enthusiasm, I spent six months sitting on the sidelines. I kept using my lack of formal training as an excuse not to build my business.
I argued that I didn’t know where to start. But the truth is I was a bit scared.
But at the beginning of 2019, I decided I wanted to quit my part-time job by the end of June.
I knew that if I wanted a copywriting career I had to start using the resources I already had. This wasn’t about doing another course.
I had to start showing up instead of complaining I was a newbie with no experience. And if I was sick of writing that, imagine how everyone else felt.
So here are my tips to help you don your copybeast cape much sooner than I did.
1. Join the coffee chats and training calls
It’s scary when Kate Toon asks you to share your unique selling proposition (USP). But once I started turning up and getting involved in the conversation, I gained confidence and knowledge.
I saw that experienced members had the same fears as me.
I realised how generous everyone was in sharing their knowledge.
I now know that the more often you share your USP, the better it gets. You become more confident. Hearing it out loud helps you refine the words that might look good on the page but sound lousy when you say them.
At first, I felt like an intruder. But everyone was so welcoming. And when I eventually met some copybeasts in real life, it felt like I was meeting old friends.
2. Get a copy buddy
In my first coffee chat this year, Kate asked if anyone needed a copy buddy. I said yes, and I hit the jackpot. My copy buddy is one of the most experienced writers in the group.
At first, my chats with her were all about building my confidence and having someone to be accountable to. But I can now be a sounding board (as well as a proofreader) for her.
3. Search the group, and ask questions
There’s five years’ worth of information in the group. And because every post has a hashtag, its easy to find the right information.
There aren’t any silly questions. People are generous with their knowledge, which is amazing when you realise we’re all competitors.
But like any relationship, try not to make it one-sided. You might feel like a newbie, but unless you’ve been living under a rock you know things.
4. Make the most of the membership area
There’s so much information available to members, including masterclasses and member makeovers.
In one makeover, Kate helped a member work out how many billable hours she had available. From there, they worked out what she needed to charge to reach her income target.
But don’t use ‘catching up on training’ to stop you from starting. Schedule some time to watch a couple of videos every week.
5. Buy some templates
The templates are such a worthwhile investment.
They save you reinventing the wheel, and make you look professional.
Each template is like a mini-course.
While I was working in my day job, I’d ‘treat’ myself to a couple of new templates each week.
Search the member area and the Facebook group for suggestions about the best templates to buy first.
6. Understand your pricing
The pricing course was a game-changer for me.
It showed me how long I should be spending on copywriting projects.
More importantly, it helped me start with the right mindset about how to value my work.
It also helped me feel more comfortable with my hourly rate when I realised half of it went towards tax and expenses.
Do a search in the Facebook group on Profit First. And while you’re there, search the group for some frank discussions about money.
Finally, lowering your price to get the job harms not only you but also the community as a whole.
7. Put your hand up for jobs
There are loads of opportunities on the job board and working for other copywriters. However, there are some rules.
You don’t want to be bidding on jobs you have no expertise in. But at the same time, applying for jobs is a great experience. And using your new templates will make you look professional when you’re applying.
My first couple of jobs (including a four-month subcontracting job) came from this group.
I became a full-time copywriter a month earlier than I’d planned.
Working with more experienced copywriters is better than training.
8. Be part of the community
There aren’t too many other groups where competitors share so generously.
Find the copybeasts in your area and get along to real-life catchups.
The support from Kate and everyone in this group is amazing.
Without it, I’d still be sitting on the sidelines doubting my ability.
Share your wins and your challenges. Be vulnerable and put your pride to one side.
Chances are someone in the group will be able to answer your question, or maybe just reassure you that how you’re feeling is completely normal.
If you’re a TCCS member who’s been unsure of how to get started, I hope these tips will help.
If you’re not yet a member, I hope I’ve convinced you about the value of signing up.
Get involved, make the most of the resources on offer, and your membership will pay for itself.
Over to you
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About Angela Pickett:
Angela Pickett a Barossa-based copywriter who writes articulate, approachable, and adventurous copy to help businesses connect with their customers wherever they are in the world.