Not a day goes by where I don’t thank my lucky stars I stumbled (literally) into this writing career we call “copywriting.”
In what other line of work can a college dropout and a self-professed “lazy guy” (with mediocre writing skills to boot) rake in $300,000 per year, working from home, just four or five hours a day, writing simple letters about interesting products to people who have already said they want them?
Crazy when you think about it.
My family is amazed by it. My friends can’t believe it. Heck, even I find myself wondering and worrying, “When’s this gravy train going to end?”
But then the reality of the business hits me and I think, “Darn right I should be paid $20,000… $50,000… even $100,000 per letter. Maybe I should be paid more!”
Copywriting is the art of persuading someone to take some sort of immediate action via the written word. Maybe it’s to volunteer for a cause… maybe it’s to order a product… maybe it’s to fill out a survey. Whatever it is, our job is to get people to take action, right then and there.
My “niche” happens to be financial publishing. So, my job is to write letters that get people to subscribe to financial news services.
So let’s say I’m asked to write a letter for a $1,000-per-year service. It takes me about two weeks to write. A few days later it gets sent out — either through the mail or instantly via e-mail — to thousands of people who have already told us they want to see these letters we’re writing.
Then you wait for the orders to start rolling in.
And the great thing about the Internet era is that many of the companies we work for have programs that let us “see” orders coming in, in real time. Talk about a rush! You log on minutes after your letter’s been e-mailed out. You see 20 orders.
“Okay, at least someone’s reading my letter,” you say. Wait 30 minutes, refresh. Fifty orders! Wait an hour, refresh again. One hundred and eighty orders! Come back three hours later… 360 orders! Wake up the next day… 520 orders!
At $1,000 per subscription, that’s half a million dollars in orders in a single day!
Then the letter runs again… this time to new lists of people. More orders roll in! Count all the stragglers and your letter has brought in over 1,000 new subscribers over the course of two weeks… at $1,000 a pop.
That’s a million dollars!
My take for writing the letter that got all those orders? I get my $10,000 fee to write it… plus $30,000 or so in royalties (money you make when a letter does well…) for a grand total of $40,000.
Not bad for a couple of weeks’ work. And are the people writing me that check happy? Of course! They’ve just brought in a million dollars!
That, in a nutshell, is how our business works. That’s why we can be paid so well. It’s because we are the “sales force.” It’s our words that drive the business… generating the sales.
It all makes for a very nice life. When you can make $25,000 to $30,000 a month, writing three or four hours a day from your home, you have a lot of choices. You can spend more time with your family. Take up fun hobbies. And travel — lots of travel. In fact, it’s a career especially suited to travel because you can actually write these letter on the go.
Of course, it’s a skill you need to learn. Not a difficult skill mind you, but there are some tricks to know. Some formulas to learn and follow. The good news is good copywriters are in more demand than ever, thanks in large part to the advent of Internet marketing — so the industry is always looking for new people.