Earn Six-Figures Copywriting? Why I Respectfully Disagree With AWAI and Michael Masterson.
Aspiring copywriter, be warned. Dont expect to "retire this year and still make more money than most doctors." Paul Hollingshead and The American Writers & Artists Institute say you can. According to their website, all that you need to do is take Michael Mastersons Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, which teaches you to write "simple letters." Are they realistic? I say no. I have been a copywriter for over 15 years. And I made a six-figure income last year (2005). But I did not do it by working only "a few hours a day." I did not do it by writing "one, maybe two letters a month." If I worked that little I would starve. The bank would foreclose on my house. Can you really "retire from the job youre in now and earn more money than most doctors, lawyers, or other well-schooled professionals," as The American Writers & Artists Institute claims you can? I doubt it. Direct mail copywriting is a skill. Its not easy. There are no "simple secrets." You cannot learn the craft in a few months by email. I did not learn the trade by correspondence course and I know of not a single copywriter writing and earning at my level who did. They learned the hard way that writing sales letters is hard. The best in the industry earn good money but they also work very, very hard. Consider the proof. BOB BLY Author: The Copywriters Handbook Copywriter for 25 years. Earns $500,000 a year. Works 12 hours a day, five days a week. STEVE SLAUNWHITE Author: Start and Run a Copywriting Business Copywriter for 16 years. Earns six-figure income annually. Works 40 hours a week. IVAN LEVISON Copywriter for 27 years. Earns six-figure income annually. Works 40 hours a week. CLAIM #1 The American Writers & Artists Institute claims that "over the course of a year, you can easily earn anywhere from $30,000 to $240,000 in writing fees alone." REALITY I say earning a living as a copywriter is not easy. Why should anyone ever think it is? In what other career can you possibly make $240,000 a year "easily," unless you are robbing banks, dealing cocaine or running a prostitution ring? CLAIM #2 The American Writers & Artists Institute claims that you can be just like the people that "have all the free time in the world to travel . . . to spend with their kids . . . to lower their golf scores . . . to really enjoy life." REALITY As a full-time, professional copywriter, you will not have all the free time you want. Your clients deadlines will determine how much free time you have. No one is going to pay you to play with your kids or improve your golf score. CLAIM #3 The American Writers & Artists Institute claims "You Dont Need To Be A Writer To Be Successful." REALITY The only people who make a lot of money as direct response copywriters are the ones who are excellent writers. You cannot reach their status "just by learning the few powerful secrets that make them successful." CLAIM #4 Heres the promise that Paul Hollingshead, co-founder of The American Writers & Artists Institute, makes: "Ill also show you how the very first letter you write can earn you $10,000 in cash — and launch you on your brand-new writing career faster than you ever thought possible!" HERES YOUR REALITY CHECK How many people actually start out as a "brand-new" direct response copywriter with no experience, no clients, no portfolio, zero visibility in the industry and no reputation and manage to persuade their first ever client to pay them $10,000 for their first letter? Not many. When you start, you are a novice. The clients who pay that kind of money for one letter wont even talk with a novice. And the clients who will talk with a novice wont pay that kind of money. If you take Michael Mastersons Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting course through AWAI, I wish you every success. I am sure that the course is excellent and that the people who run it are ethical. But the one big check you can plan on receiving when you graduate and start out on your own is a reality check. Thats because the folks who promote lucrative business opportunities like Michael Mastersons Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting usually talk about gross income and never mention net income. They show you examples of individuals who earn $100,000 or $300,000 a year writing "simple letters." I am sure these people exist. But they are not the norm. Starting a business costs money. Operating a successful business costs money. Every well-paid, self-employed copywriter has expenses. Heres the reality. AVERAGE ANNUAL EXPENSES OF SHARPE COPY, INC. Accounting/legal fees: $2,000 Advertising: 2,912 Banking fees: 762 Membership fees: 1,000 Office supplies: 5,244 Reference materials: 500 Subcontractors: 20,000 Telephone, cell: 600 Telephone, office: 1,460 Travel: 800 Website: 4,160 TOTAL: $39,438 I earn six figures a year as a direct mail copywriter but I spend almost $40,000 a year to generate that kind of income. Thats my reality. Knowing this, should you believe that you can take a correspondence course, retire to a quaint village in Vermont, and then earn more than a doctor makes working only a few hours a day writing simple letters? If you manage to pull it off, let me know. © 2006 Sharpe Copy Inc. You may reprint this article online and in print provided the links remain live and the content remains unaltered (including the "About the Author" message). -- ABOUT THE AUTHOR Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter and lead generation specialist who helps business owners and marketing managers attract new clients using direct mail marketing. Sign up for free weekly tips like this at http://www.sharpecopy.com/newsletter