What they say is true: Cultivating the right habits can have a major impact on your success. After all, what we do every day determines what we become. So what habits do successful copywriters cultivate? Read on…
Today’s question comes from Sienna H. who asks, “I really want to make copywriting work for me. I feel like I’m on the right path (thanks to the Academy!) but are there any tasks or tips I should start doing to help ensure I do well?”
As many business and success gurus will tell you, the fastest way to succeed is to study the things successful people do, and then do those same things. So, in the spirit of taking that advice, here are six activities that successful copywriters. perform regularly and without hesitation. (And these are aside from being excellent at writing copy. I think that’s a given, don’t you?)
1. They bill right away.
This sounds like an easy one, right? And yet, you’d be surprised at how many creative drag their feet about sending out invoices! The most successful copywriters (and, not coincidentally, those who are most on top of their finances) make a point of sending out their invoices as soon as the client has given final approval on a project.
They have a Word doc template that they use, and they’ve kept careful track of hours (if necessary), so they’re ready to just pop in the relevant details and send the invoice out immediately. Don’t fall into the “Phew! The project’s done. I’ll send the invoice later…” trap. Make it a habit to send out your invoice as soon as the project is completed.
2. They populate their portfolios right away.
Hey, you know those people who send their invoices right away? Well, as soon as they send those off, they take the files of the project they’ve finished and 1) upload them to their portfolio site, and 2) print them for their print portfolio.
You may have heard me mention it before, but we creative are notoriously bad about being in lazy in regards to our portfolios. Far too many of us wait until we have a new job or project prospect and then have to spend a whole weekend updating our portfolios and making them presentable. Do not be this person.
Be the successful one! As soon as you’ve turned in your invoice, set aside a half hour and put the project on your portfolio site and in your print portfolio. Or, if your client isn’t making the project public yet, put a reminder in your calendar to update the your online and print portfolios once the project is out in the world. Believe me, you’ll be a much happier person this way.
3. They attend one industry event a month.
Now wait, before you groan at me about “networking,” let me explain that I’m defining “industry event” as socializing with people in the advertising/marketing industry.
That could very well mean attending an event that your local advertising association is putting on, but that could also mean meeting up for drinks with ex-coworkers from a project or job past. In either case, the point is to get yourself out there and get some face time with other people—you know, remind them that you exist.
When you’re front of mind for people, it’s that much easier for them to recommend you when work comes up at their office or at the offices of their contacts. Start putting at least one event on your calendar each month.
4. They follow recruiters on social media.
This is an important step in taking control of your own success. Recruiters can be fantastic, but many of them can also be a little…haphazard about keeping in touch with their large pool of contacts. Now, many recruiters will get in touch with some contacts directly, but will also post about openings they need to fill on their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
So, of course, you want to follow those accounts and check them regularly! Being successful is not about being passive; you can’t wait for work to come to you. (Well, you can, but you just won’t have much income.) This is a great and easy way to keep on top of opportunities.
5. They hit their deadlines. Always.
Sure, sometimes there are crazy tight deadlines. And, sure, sometimes emergencies come up. But that’s what all-nighters are for and, in the very worst of scenarios, trusted copywriter friends (to whom you can farm out work) are for.
As a professional, you absolutely must, must, must hit your deadlines. There is no faster way to lose clients and kill your career than by missing deadlines. When you’re working with a client and you’re agreeing on a date, make sure you’ve got some wiggle room in case of emergencies. And when you’re on the job, talk to your boss about how to prioritize your tasks to make sure you can get the most important work done.
Deadlines are not suggested due dates, they are the dates on which you must—and on which you will—deliver.
6. They cut themselves some slack.
I know; this sounds a little bit like I’m contradicting myself after my last point. But successful copywriters know when they need to hold themselves accountable (deadlines) and when they need to be gentle with themselves.
Especially as creatives, it’s very easy to let burnout sneak up on us. We push continually, full steam ahead for weeks or even months and then suddenly, we sit down at our computer and we just…can’t. It’s terrible and it’s frightening. And the best way to prevent it is to give yourself some time off when you can take it—both throughout the day and throughout the year.
Successful copywriters, too, know that they can’t control everything and can’t make everything perfect. They do their best, but sometimes some clients are just difficult. And they do their best, but sometimes some campaigns just don’t work. And they do their best, but sometimes work isn’t fun. Successful copywriters know that it’s not up to them to carry the world on their shoulders and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches—and get a few margaritas after work.
Your turn! Have you noticed any other traits successful copywriters have in common? Let us know in the comments below!