The Business Stuff No One In Business Ever Told Me

Allison Nazarian Allison Nazarian, The Life of Allison

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.
If you are a copywriter (or a wanna-be) or a freelance writer (or a wanna-be) or a solo-anything or work-at-home anything, join us here.  (Questions? Not sure if the program is a good fit for you? Email me at RealCopywritingBusiness at gmail dot com or call me directly).
And while you are at it….think about these questions and let me know your answers :
  • 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?