Considering a new career is a lot like trying to find a place to live in a new town. You don’t know the areas, you don’t know who to trust and you don’t even really know what questions to ask. Well, that’s where I come in. Today, we’re going to start a three-part series to debunk a lot of the myths you may be hearing (or fearing) about copywriting.
As usual, our post today is inspired by a reader question. Adam R. wrote in to say, “Everyone has an opinion about copywriting and it seems like they’re all different. What’s the real deal?” And, of course, Adam’s not the only one to write in with concerns or questions. There is a lot of information out there circulating, and a lot of it is just plain wrong.
So, to start getting down to the truth, here’s the first of a three-part series, entitled 9 Myths About Copywriting!
Myth 1: If you can write, you can write copy.
Yeeeeeah, unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Like absolutely any other profession, you need to master the skills in order to success. After all, just because you’re good at slicing things doesn’t mean you can be a vascular surgeon, right?
Some people try to jump into copywriting, assuming that because they see ads all the time and because they’re good writers, that they’ll be good and successful copywriters. With the right training, this could very well be true! But without the right training, it’s certainly not.
Myth 2: It’s hard to find work.
“There’s just no work out there!” This is 100% absolutely not true. There is plenty of work for copywriters out there. Check your job listings, look on freelance boards or just survey some small business owners. There is plenty of work to be had. Maybe it’s not falling into your lap, but it’s out there.
What you may have trouble with is making sure your skills and your portfolio are strong enough to nab you a job. (So, of course, if people don’t have the skills and the portfolio, they can’t find work.) We discussed skills above, and you can find some notes on portfolios here.
Myth 3: It’s easy to find work.
Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy. At least, not at first. There is, don’t get me wrong, plenty of work out there. But you have to be willing to hustle to get it. Don’t assume that just because you put up a website, clients will come banging down your door.
You’ve got to go out there and find the work. And you have to be willing to compromise. If your dream is to work at home whenever you feel like it, well, sometimes you’ll luck out and get clients that will let you do that. But sometimes you’ll get work from agencies or companies that want you to come into the office and work with them from 9-to-5. And if you’re flexible and say, “You bet! I’ll see you Monday!”, you’ll be much more likely to find work and be recommended.
But you don’t get to fall back to myth #2 and say “There’s nothing out there!” until you’ve been in touch with everyone you know, gotten listed with every recruiter, perfected your online portfolio and pounded the pavement around every small business, big business or non-profit in your area.
It’s not going to be “easy” to find work…until it is. Chances are, once you get the ball rolling, once you really put yourself out there and exhaust all of your resources, you’ll start getting calls from people you never expected. Sometimes you’ll be rolling in clients. And sometimes you won’t. Sometimes copywriting is only half your job: the other half is prospecting for work. It’s not easy, but there is work to be had. Somewhere. From someone.
Believe me. Because I’ve been there.
And, in the meantime, it’s your turn! What other things have you heard about copywriting that have turned out to be wrong, wrong, wrong? Let us know in the comments below!