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It's a long slog to the top (or is it?)

This morning was one of the first mornings in a while where there hasn't been snow or ice on the roads preventing me from getting my workout done first thing. It was a "no excuses" kind of morning...so I hit the gym to squeeze in some cardio and strength training. As I slogged along for what felt like an eternity on the StairMaster (reminding me that I haven't been getting enough cardio lately), I thought about some of the many conversations with copywriters and business owners I'd had the day before...

I'd been invited to speak at Copy Accelerator at one of the member-only roundtables yesterday via Zoom...and then I popped in last night for the cocktail party via AirMeet. (By the way, AirMeet is a super-cool platform for these kinds of virtual events where you can hop from room to room and talk with small groups of people at a time). So as I slogged along on the seemingly endless StairMaster this morning, I reflected on the many conversations...the questions and "pain points" I heard...and the advice I doled out... And I thought I'd share some of it here. So let's get started! (Side note: In my Improv group meet-up right before the cocktail party, in the "good/bad/worst advice" game we played I nicknamed myself "Good Advice Gal"...and I continued on in that role at the party, though it's much more funny if doing Improv to be the one giving out the WORST advice for a particular situation.) One pain point I heard last night was about what a long slog it is to go from "newbie" copywriter to "A-Lister". But there are countless ways to shorten your climb to the top. For one, you can learn all you can from those who've actually DONE it themselves. Back when I was starting out, I couldn't find a single A-Lister who was teaching folks how to write copy via courses or mentoring. On occasion though, I could get someone like David Deutsch, Bob Bly, or Don Hauptmann (who wrote a famous ad with the headline "Speak Spanish Like a Diplomat") to put their eyes on my copy...and later ply them with gift baskets and gratitude. The handful of times that I was fortunate enough to get feedback on my copy early on from these more experienced copywriters proved extremely valuable, and greatly accelerated my career. But other things greatly sped things along. For one, I'd worked as a marketer for 13 years, in direct marketing roles at Blue Cross Blue Shield and then Phillips Publishing...where I launched and ran their Healthy Directions supplement biz. Understanding marketing and working in-house with profit/loss responsibility gave me a huge edge as a copywriter...not to mention all the brilliant people I got to work with in those in-house roles. It was an amazing training ground. So one way to shortcut your "climb" is to get an in-house role at a direct marketing company, especially one where you can wear several hats OR become a specialist in an in-demand area of copywriting--say emails or funnels. The key is to get to understand the strategy, not just how to write copy. One of my past mentees decided to take an in-house job as a copywriter with a major publisher and stayed there just over a year. He now runs his OWN publishing and supplement business. But he never would have done it so fast without putting in his time and getting "paid to learn". Another way is to work with a mentor or more experienced copywriter to review your copy and provide feedback. Like I said, the few occasions I got this kind of feedback early on proved extremely valuable. If you can find a top copywriter who offers this kind of one-to-one review service, definitely take advantage of it if you've got the cash. (Note: I no longer do "one-off" copy reviews except with my current or past mentees, and I'm not taking on new ones at this time.) In one of the cocktail party "rooms" last night, I heard one copywriter say, "I'm thinking of going into debt to work with a high-priced copy mentor for one-on-one mentoring...it'll be worth it, right?" In general I think it's a bad idea to go into significant debt (I think this guy was looking at $30k+) hoping it's going to pay off. So in the group I offered up another option to consider... Find yourself a "copy buddy"! Hey, it worked for Parris Lampropoulus and David Deutsch when they were starting out. They both would review each other's long-form copy and give each other feedback. They subsequently had a "gentleman's agreement" that neither one would go up against one of the other's controls if offered the opportunity (and I suspect they still honor that to this day.) They were both dedicated to studying and improving and getting better at their craft. And they helped accelerate each other's learning curves as well. And it didn't cost them $30k+. Heck, it cost them nothing! So think about other copywriters you know who are around your same level, and who are just as dedicated and motivated as you are to keep getting GOOD at copy. If you're at Copy Accelerator right now, or in their mastermind or someone else's, maybe your perfect "copy buddy" match is waiting for you to discover them! That's all I've got today, but I'll be back at you tomorrow with some more "pain points" I've been hearing and the advice I gave out. Hope you found this valuable. Yours for smarter marketing, Kim a.k.a. "Good Advice Gal" P.S. Several of my past mentees have greatly sped up their climbs to the top by doing some of the things I just shared with you: investing in mentoring and/or masterminds, working in-house at a fast-growing company, and building relationships with other copywriters so they could grow together. One of them has put together his own program that could be a game-changer if you want to learn how to write high-performing email copy or use it for your business. Keep an eye out for details on Friday. And I'll be back at you tomorrow with advice on prospecting, retainers, and making yourself more attractive to clients by saying "no". So stay tuned!

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