Hey, great news! Your first step as a copywriter is a really easy one: Start calling yourself a copywriter.
If that makes you uncomfortable, you can refer to yourself as a copywriter-in-training. But start getting used to the idea that you are a copywriter. You are becoming someone who writes copy for a living. Live it, own it, be it.
Second, start educating yourself. Pour through our articles and Q&As on the Filthy Rich Writer blog and start asking questions! (And if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, what are you waiting for? It’s FREE!)
Be sure, too, to start looking at ads very strategically. What are they trying to say? Who are they trying to say it to? And what do they want those people to do? Do you think they were successful? Start looking at the ads you see every day with a critical eye.
Third, start pulling together pieces for your portfolio. (Eventually, you’ll need one online and in print, so try to get electronic and physical copies whenever possible.) At this point, be indiscriminate: grab samples of practically anything you’ve written at previous jobs or for friends. Obviously, you can leave out the stuff that you’re not at liberty to share, but grab everything else. Have you ever written a cover letter for a friend? Put together a poster for a company training? Written a brochure for your aunt’s travel agency? Start amassing it all; it’s a good place to start.
Fourth, start networking. Find out what kind of advertising and marketing groups meet in your city and join them. Attend their events and just get to know people. Feel free to let them know that you’re just getting started in the industry and you’re looking to learn as much as you can—you’ll be surprised at how many people will be willing to offer advice.
Fifth, feel the fear and discouragement and keep going anyway. If you happen to be one of those people who is utterly fearless about trying new things, great. It must be very nice. If, on the other hand, you are like all the rest of us and you’re a little nervous about taking on a new life direction, rest assured: this only means you’re normal. It’s not, in any way, a sign that you should give up. Absolutely everyone who has succeeded at anything (very much including myself) has started at square one and very often felt unsure and often discouraged. You’re in good company. Keep taking consistent action by learning and you’re starting the best way that you can.
Are you ready to take your first step? Let us know what you’ll tell someone new when they ask what you do in the comments below!