I pretty much stumbled into my first job as a copywriter. Up until a few days before I sat down to write my first ad, I didn’t even know that copywriters existed.
I was working as a management trainee at an ad agency in London. That meant I was being shuffled from department to department, so I could get a rounded education in the agency business. I was 22 years old.
After a stint in the media and production departments, I was passed on to the creative department. The creative director sat me down and asked me whether I was a designer or a writer. I told him I was a writer. Sure, I had done a stint at art college, but at heart I had always liked writing best.
Since the day I wrote that first ad – for a forklift truck company – I have been writing for a living. (They stopped shuffling me around, and left me in the creative department.)
I had always loved writing, and at the age of 22 I had found a way to make money doing what I loved. Lucky me.
Today, over 30 years later, I coach a lot of freelancers who seem to be trying to do this the other way around. When I ask them why they want to be a copywriter, designer, programmer or freelancer in some other way, they usually tell me they have heard it’s a good way to make money.
I think that approach makes things a lot harder for them.
I have succeeded as a copywriter and then a web writer simply because I love to write, and I’m fascinated by business.
Back in my early twenties I would work all day, and then spend many of my evenings and weekends writing ads simply as practice. I didn’t have to. I did that because I loved what I was doing. And I became better and better at writing as a result of all those extra hours.
Freelancers receive all kinds of good advice about how to make a decent living. Goal setting. Finding a niche. Marketing. Commitment. Mental toughness. Organization.
This is all good stuff.
But it won’t help you much if you don’t love what you’re doing.
And if you do love what you are doing, all those other elements will fall into place more easily.
So before you leap into your next venture, ask yourself the question, “Do I love doing this?”
If you don’t, pause for a moment and ask yourself this question:
“If I had followed the path of what I loved to do back when I was 22, what would I be doing now?”
Whatever the answer, perhaps you could start doing that now.
When you love what you do for a living, everything changes.