Copywriter for Sale

After my self-imposed sabbatical from the work-a-day world I faced the facts – 1) I was running out of money and 2) It was time to get back to work and 3) I kind of missed working.

Easy, right? In fact, hardly any effort at all, because I got a call out of the blue from my former asking me back. How cool was that? I didn’t have to look, I simply needed to decide and the phone rang. The Universe was on my side, right? Not so much. Turned out things weren’t going well and they admitted that they didn’t have any busines and couldn’t really afford to pay me. Yikes!

I stewed, I was pissed, I worried. Okay, enough of that and I segued from Plan A to Plan B. – 1)updated the resume 2)networked with friends and acquaintances 3)sent out my resume til I wanted to puke 4)went on job interviews 5)played the part of the perfect candidate. How did that go? Uh….

Just when I thought all was lost, my friend asked me if I’d like to do a little copywriting job. Would I? Well, duh, yeah. I set to the task and it was fun and didn’t take too long at all. I sent it off, my head filled with dreams of doing more and making a buttload of money while doing it.

Except that, there was no other work to offer me. Sorry WC. Back to Plan B…more resume submission, more job interviews, more worry.

Then again, like magic, my friend had another project, was I interested? Oh yeah! We’re going to revamp a manufacturing website. What fun! And it was…sort of… The writing part was fun, the creative part was fun, the trying to get the client nailed down was a little like herding cats. Lots of starts and stops and after a while I couldn’t quite read the copy because I’d read it so much that nothing really got into the part of my brain that comprehends. The words melted and made pretty colors & shapes while the song MacArthur Park played a never-ending loop in my head.

I thought to myself, ‘You could do this. You can write – whether it’s boring, funny or serious – you’ve got the chops. You too, like thousands of others, can become a copywriter.’ It made sense. I could be my own boss, make money for myself, as I’d done for decades for other businesses, how hard could it be?

Off I went, searching out information, high and low. I found all manner of tips, tricks and secrets of the trade. I stumbled onto this website and this website and found great advice, lots of enthusiasm and motivation and free/cheap tools to help me on my journey of the self-employed. The more I read and researched, the more convinced I became I could really do it. The Universe was obviously holding up a sign that read, “Do this, stupid!”

I got so enthused that I decided,”I need a website!” I researched domain names, what would I call myself? Unfortunately, most of the obvious names and the names that would get picked up by the search engines were taken. Drat! How would people find me if the search engines couldn’t spider to my site? After much debate and surveying a few hundred friends, I came up with a name. Progress!

Trying to leverage what little funds I had, I opted to go for a free hosted site – I could always upgrade as my finances improved. Easy, right? Not so much. The site where I found the domain name promised a free web page, email, an evening dress and McDonald’s coupons but once I started the process I got confused. They kept asking me questions I didn’t understand, did I want this too for just another $2.99 a month? How about this for another $5.99? And shouldn’t I buy all the versions of my domain name in case I got famous and somebody tried to muscle in on my branding? Insert scream, here.

I went back to the free site that had been recommended by a friend – and where I stopped cold when I was prompted to find and buy a domain name – this time I went ahead with it. Click and the domain name was mine. Excitement coursed through my veins as I moved onto the next steps, building the website with their easy web building tools.

Apparently, I don’t have the IQ of a monkey when it comes to using easy web building wizards and tools and I ended up on a click-fest that got me nowhere and frustrated. Eventually, I sort of figured it out and started going. Then oops, what the heck was I going to say? How would I do this? No, that looks stupid. Nope, what sounded good in my head read pathetically on the page. Maybe another site that was more user friendly? Crap, another fee to transfer the domain name. Back to the original site. Damn, this doesn’t come with an email address? Should I or shouldn’t I? The hell with it!

I would share the url with you but frankly, I’m too embarrassed for anyone to see it and it could be years before I am not too embarrassed. To my horror, I found out that the site already had several hits and I cringed at the thought of people reading it. Oh well, will have to work it out…someday.

So, today is the day. I’m nearly finished with the manufacturing website job and I have to push myself out there. I need to ‘pull the trigger’ as one of the groovy copyrwriting gurus advises. I have to convince others to hire me. I have to be persuasive. I have to write to live.

Maybe a job isn’t such a bad idea after all….

So, anybody out there want a slightly used, will-work-for-food copywriter? Do you think I could list myself on Ebay?

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18 thoughts on “Copywriter for Sale

  1. Hi WC,

    You should pay attention to our ads πŸ˜‰ AN Hosting is $4.95 a month with all sorts of tools for site building and several hundred email accounts. Oh, and we get a nice fat commission if you click through from our blog. Still, if you need help with the web page, search engine optimization, and such, or even just a honest and heartless opinion, just say the word.

    Plus, in an effort to make you feel better in comparison, I’ve had to chase off two separate groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses, throw myself bodily into a fight between our dogs and some stray that wondered into the yard to keep them from killing the poor thing, and have been so distracted by the frequent snow showers (our first this winter) that my productivity for the day is hovering around the zero mark. It is, by the way, most remarkable that we’re getting snow as the high yesterday was over 70.

    Much good luck,
    the Grit

    Hey Grit,
    Okay, I just went there and checked but I only found one for $7.95 a month, sad as it may be, don’t have the budget for right now – although it looks pretty good and hopefully in the future, I’ll head over there. I’d be more than happy for you to get a big fat commission – consider it my contribution to the annual barbecue. πŸ˜‰

    I’d love a hand and I thank you for the offer but I’m just too embarrassed, truly for anyone to see it right now. Let me mull it over and maybe give you a holler over the weekend, otay?

    LOL – you always have such interesting experiences on the farm, doncha? πŸ™‚
    WC

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  2. Can’t help you much right now, but as mentioned, you’ll be the first to know once I figure things out and spare you the frustration of ‘how on earth does this work’?
    Planning on setting up first sites beginning of April.

    Okay, sweetie, keep me posted. And good luck with the launches.
    A

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  3. Duh – we all know you can write. πŸ˜‰ So you just need a boost of self confidence to get yourself going. I’m thinking back to all your great posts, your wonderful wit and your ability to interface so seamlessly with so many different types of bloggers that you’ve encountered. Maybe you need to do this – take a little head trip like I described, and also remind yourself that there are people out there with less skill than you and THEY are getting jobs. But your jobs are out there too! So now get to work, little WC! It is there for you. Just grab it! πŸ™‚

    Aw Teens,
    You’re such a good cheerleader, you make me feel good. Thanks for that. I don’t think it’s a question of whether or not I can write – I know I can – I may not be Hemingway, but I have my moments… It’s more a matter of finding my way in this particular maze – with the lovely added pressure of having to survive.

    I just spent the last two hours, collecting listings wanting writers for all sorts of things – and they’ll be hearing from me soon. I guess it’s just a numbers game and so off I go.

    Annie

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  4. I haven’t even read this post yet (I will, but not tonight).
    Just wanted to say that I love the fact that you never rest on your laurels.
    Basically, you have a previous post that is doing quite well in terms of readership yet you move on. I’m so impressed.
    You’re awesome.
    ~m

    ps. thought you had nothing to say? πŸ˜‰

    Thanks, dunno what to say here…lately I have stuff to say but that could change at any moment – know what I mean? πŸ˜†
    A

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  5. Okay, yeah, you’re singing my tune girlie. Every flippin’ note. I feel you and if you get any bites by posting yourself on eBay, let me know so I can do the same.

    Freelancing is such a frustrating position, especially starting out or during dry spells. Me, I’m beginning to fight the urge to panic. Ugh.

    Prayers for you and me and paying jobs. Amen.

    Amen, sistah! Can I (we) get a witness? The worst part of it is that I’m so stuck on making it happen that I get virtually nothing else done. I know that isn’t healthy – and I think if I could just let go a little things would go better. I don’t know, I feel like a kid with a water pistol, shooting at anything that moves. Oy!
    A

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  6. Woman, free advertisement on your blog and you’re not going to post the URL? *tsk tsk* I would have never thought of you as the type to get embarrassed over your own work. You’ll have more people looking at it if you share it with the blogosphere . . . is any of this helping? Probably not, but dangit, you ought to not be embarrassed over it . Just like everything else Ive seen from you, I’m sure it’s wonderful.

    Oh…it’s a mess. I wrongly believed that it would be similar to putting up a blog – which I felt I do pretty well. Surprise, not so much. I never realized just how wonderful the wordpress software was until I tried to use ‘user friendly’ web building tools. Gag me. I’ll figure it out – I always do – but the learning curve is making me nuts right now. When I do, yes of course I’ll post the link. Although, what y’all would want to go there for, I’ll never know. πŸ™‚
    A

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  7. Good luck. Good things.

    People really appreciate your work.
    If you get a good client they’ll give you lots to do.
    You can work when you want to not when people tell you to.
    You can earn a reasonable amount of money!

    Bad things.

    A lot of the first year is spent shaking down, ie sorting the good, appreciative, useful clients from the plonkers who are going spend three days haggling with you over the price of a Β£40 press release every single time! Don’t be afraid to cut your losses.

    Handy hint.

    A great deal of the skill is convincing people who wouldn’t know good copy if it bit them on the bottom that yours is. They are always the hardest to convince because since they don’t know what’s good and what’s not, they are never confident that anything they’ve been given measures up. Often you will be writing for a friend and mentor to whom they are going to be showing your work than them.

    As I said… good luck!

    Cheers

    BC

    Hey BC!
    Good points all and thanks for the vote of confidence. Though that last sentence confused me some, I think I get what you mean. I suppose it is true of any business that you have the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s all part of the learning curve and sometimes it’s just hard to be willing to go through the fire to get to the other side. While I can be quite patient, when I feel unpatient it is my undoing.

    Have been doing the ‘throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks’ approach – it may be time to refine my approach? πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  8. hey, it’s a tough racket being a hack, isn’t it? i should know. it’s like piece-ing together a quilt, only you’re never finished. hand-to-mouth for writers; it’s how it’s always been (artists, too). good luck and cheers.

    Oh (S)wine, you make me laugh. Thanks, I needed that. Yeah…ah…hack – we be hacks and stuff? Hand to mouth – a-yup – all the scary stuff and yet…we still do it. We must be crazy.
    WC

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  9. I have web-space, paid for already, with plenty of overhead, no ads, all the big beautiful features, etc…

    You can start there, no charge until you see how this works out for you.

    I can set you up with a database, content manager, ftp account, etc.

    Also, as an aspiring sometimes web designer who is his own worst critic: I promise not to laugh, no matter how bad your design looks right now.

    BTW, check out http://www.opensourcecms.com/ and if you see something you like there, I can install it for you in your own little corner so you don’t need to deal with any of the technical backend stuff if you don’t prefer that.

    Also, you don’t need to transfer the domain unless your free host is not playing nice. They should allow you to point your domain anywhere, even somewhere besides their own servers.

    Hey Matt,
    email on the way.
    Thanks,
    Annie

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  10. I wish you the best of luck with this.
    Be reckless, be creative and learn to always think outside the box.
    As you said, you have the chops.
    No doubt in my mind that you will do quite well.
    Ask and the universe will ultimately provide answers . . .

    good luck, kiddo
    ~m

    Hey Kiddo,
    you know how much I want this to work, not just for myself but for others – fingers crossed. I have been asking the universe many questions of late and am trying to patiently wait for the answers – so far, still waiting.

    Annie

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  11. Congratulations WC! How exciting for you.

    Remember we all have to start at the beginning and no one is born fully developed. Little steps add up to miles.

    πŸ™‚

    (but it’s true!)

    Hi Vi!
    Yes, baby steps – it’s true it does work. But like Bob Dylan once said, “I have a headful of ideas that are driving me insane…” Know what I mean? πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  12. I know this is a serious matter – you need $$$ – I get that, but your description of pulling a web-site together was so vivid I literally snorted out loud. That’s too good.

    I’d be happy to consign ya on ebay. πŸ˜€

    Hey Free,
    Glad you got a laugh – we all need to laugh, right? πŸ˜‰

    Consign me on ebay? How much do you think people would bid for me? πŸ˜‰
    A

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  13. The more traffic you have, the higher it gets on the search engine list.
    And yes, constructing a website is not easy, but you do have blog friends that have done it and can lead you in the right direction πŸ˜‰

    Oh yeah, good point. Although, it’d probably be pretty boring to anyone not needing a copywriter. Maybe not, you never know.

    And who might these people be who could lead me in the right direction? hmmm???? πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  14. I know it’s scary, but it’s also very exciting!!!!!
    This is the first step in doing what you love and by golly, you deserve it.
    I can’t wait to see what comes your way because I know that you’re going to succeed.
    Very proud of you for putting yourself out there like that.
    YAY! for Annie. (Brief bout of mental jumping up and down)
    kim

    Thank you for that little dance. LOL. Exciting..I dunno, I’ll have to keep you posted on that. Thanks, hon.
    Annie

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  15. How scary! Change brings about much anxiety, that’s normal. As you grow and get more familiar you will fall in love with building your webpage – it’s gonna rock! I’m really proud of you for stepping off on your own! You CAN do it.

    Hey Bella,
    Yeah scary for sure. Though I think I may get the hang of it. Isn’t that the way it always goes? You are all stressed about something until you learn it and then it seems like you always knew it. I know I’ll get there – but oy, the pain right now. πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  16. When you think about whether a job would be better, think of:

    1. Annoying coworkers who ask you “Did you see Two and a Half Men (or insert other TV show title) last night?” after you’ve told them numerous times “I don’t watch TV. Ever.”
    2. Bosses who know less than you do but think they know more.
    3. Commutes! Being stuck in traffic!
    4. Getting up EVERY SINGLE DAY and dragging your buns to the SAME OLD PLACE for YEARS ON END…
    5. Budget cutbacks that end up with your workload being doubled.
    6. Need I go on?

    Good luck in your new venture! I’m excited for you. Maybe someday I will be brave enough to go out on my own too. And the above list will be just a bad dream.

    Good list, Sandra!
    I may paste it on my wall. You know, if you wanted to break out you could start out on the side and work from there. There are so many opportunities out there that you never know what you can do until you try.

    Also too, I may end up getting a job and then work the copywriter thing on the side until I get established. I’m considering it – even though it may take a lot of work to try and do it on the side, removing the stress of having to come up with an income would offer me the time to set it up right.

    WC

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  17. *nods* I can relate in a different way. As a book author how in the world do I get people to buy one of my books? With thousands to choose from and a million blurbs, why would MINE get their attention?
    And websites? OMG!!! Don’t go there. I had GoDaddy for about a year–a do it yourself website. Then, a fellow author with code savvy spiffed it up and made it purty. But don’t ask ME how. I’m clueless.
    The whole “web presence” thing has been a series of up, downs and head bangs on the keyboard.
    You can do this. You’ve got the goods for it.
    And if that thing on EBAY works, let me know.

    Hey Jen,
    I’m curious, did you ever get the answers to those questions? If so, what were they? Where did they come from? LOL – can you tell I have a book I want to get published?

    I’ll keep you posted on the eBay angle. πŸ˜‰
    WC
    \

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  18. Your description is so vivid! I love the way you paint the picture for us.

    I lsughed so loudly I had the crew coming wanting to know what was so funny with your statement”Apparently, I don’t have the IQ of a monkey when it comes to using easy web building wizards and tools and I ended up on a click-fest that got me nowhere and frustrated.” IAROFL! That is so how I feel! We laugh at things we can relate to. Plus I don’t have a lot of patience and get all ticked and want a cigarette and chips and chocolate too, so I just quit and go on to other things. No persistence with me, I am done right there. I can’t get stuff figured out for the sidebar so how is that for a monkey’s IQ? LOL! With that said, It does not take a rocket scientist to see that you are pretty high on the IQ point system.

    I may have missed it somewhere but have you ever submitted short stories to magazines? They are missing out if you have not done so. There are a few blogs that I love to visit for their sheer writing skill in telling a story and you are definitely right up there at the top keeping us entertained and enthralled.

    Keep submitting those stories if you have, somebody is waiting for you. I can see it now, someday you will be famous and we can all say ‘we remember when’ when we visit your future website!

    Love and hugs
    Angie

    Hey Ange,
    LOL – yeah, it gets a little hairy, doesn’t it? I think we aren’t technological creatures by nature. We just have something to say and want to say it, dang it. I’m back in the trenches again today. Everything I write just lays there like terminal patient with a 1% chance of survival. Yikes!
    xo,
    Annie

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