I don’t know about you, but when I started out in my own business (or even before that when I started in my first string of jobs after college), I knew very little.
Scratch that….I knew next to nothing.
Worse, I thought I was super-smart and knew all I ever needed to know.
So it took years for it even to occur to me that I didn’t know much and even more years to learn how to find, seek out and actually ask for (and/or pay for) the help I needed. (Gosh, that whole years and years thing makes me sound really old.)
When I started my own business in 2001 (after being laid off from what I thought was the best job I would ever have), I figured that I had all I needed to be wildly successful.
My ingredient list for a successful Copywriting Business was something like this:
- Know how to write….check
- I’ve earned money at some point in my life for writing….check
- Have desk…check
- Have phone….check
- Know something about the Internet….check (this was 2001)
Ok…I was good to go!
Except…well…I wasn’t good to go.
Unfortunately….yea, you guessed it….while I had the “copywriting” part down somewhat, the whole “business” part was still uncharted territory.
I’d never written a proposal or an agreement.
I’d never collected actual money myself for what I did (I’d collected a paycheck until that point).
I had no idea how to put a price tag or money amount on my time or services.
Business development? I really didn’t even know what that term meant.
And, of course, as a writer, I’d learned and told myself that I “wasn’t very good at sales.”
So I started to learn. Usually the hard way. And by “hard way,” I mean I got you-know-what over more times than I care to remember.
I made lots of mistakes.
Sometimes, I made the same mistake more than once.
Other times, I got lucky and figured stuff out sooner than later.
And pretty much every single time, I wished that I had someone who had already learned what I needed to know whom I could turn to and who could honestly, clearly and effectively tell me how to do stuff — and how not to do stuff.
I never found that person. Not back then. Today, I have some awesome mentors and peers who have answers to my every question. But back then….the pickings seemed slim.
So without really realizing what I was doing, as I built my sort-of business into a real business, I also began collecting information and building a case for what would become, I now know, my RealCopywritingBusiness program.
- Forms, templates, agreements, checklists, articles — every thing I wrote, revised, tweaked and sometimes kind-of slaved over over the years, it all now makes sense.
- All the times I detected a “red flag client,” or had to set a boundary and say “no” or explain my company payment policy (only after actually having one) — now I can pass that on.
- All of the tips, techniques, advice and, yes, expertise I’ve gained/learned/absorbed on everything from how to build a team to how to deliver a final copy document to where the best referral sources are to what books are “musts” for my shelf — why would I ever want to or need to keep that all for myself?
- And as I build a community of great copywriters who are also real business owners, I will, selfishly of course, have amazing referral opportunities as I send people seeking copywriters to those copywriters whom I know to be the best in the business.
- What is the area of your business that gives you the most stress and trouble?
- Why are you in the business you are in?
- What is your monthly/yearly financial goal — how close are you to that goal?
- What do you tell potential clients when they ask “Why should I hire you?”
- What is missing from your business or your knowledge of how to run your business?
- What has been your biggest mistake in business — and what did you learn from this mistake?
- What frustrates the heck out of you the most, RIGHT NOW, in your business?