Written By: Suzanne Griffin
From Dreaming of Being a Writer to Freelance Copywriting Success
Pinch me. I have become a copywriter.
This time last year, I was parading around Disney with my three boys, dreading the thought of going to work the next day.
I didn’t hate my job. I actually liked it because it introduced me to the concept of copywriting. But it took me away from my kids. I’m no helicopter mama, but I tend to dwell on how ridiculously FAST time flies.
After all, they’re only little once.
I mean, my 13-year-old is now taller than me. When did that happen? I’m missing it!
I needed a job that lets me make my hours. Where I can drive my kids to the bus stop and be here when they get home. A job that allows me to declare a “mental health day”, where I play hookie from responsibilities and school with my boys making memories at a theme park or two.
Fast forward one year later, and here I am doing what I love: writing. And not just writing, freelance copywriting.
If you would’ve told me a year ago that my current situation would include:
- A resignation letter to my former employer
- A self-designed and published website
- An LLC with my name on it
- A business checking account
- A sweet home office setup
- 500+ LinkedIn connections
- A solid business plan with direction
- Clients paying me what I’m worth
I would have given you that scrunched-up, furled-eyebrow, Elvis-lipped stare – you know the one. You’re probably doing it right now.
But that’s the truth.
And how’d I get here? How did I successfully achieve my (unknown) dream of becoming a copywriter?
Takin’ It Back – My Lifelong Love of Writing
In a small, small town in rural Connecticut sits a young toe-head little girl at a white wicker desk. She lovingly pens a thank you note to her aunt on a pink kitty-cat-shaped notecard.
While it wasn’t a nationally-acclaimed, best-selling young adult novel or John Keats’s poem, it’s the very first thing I remember writing. I recall it vividly, the feeling of pride I felt for my not-too-shabby cursive and complete sentences.
“I like writing. It makes me happy,” I thought.
I continued to practice my writing and my penmanship, proudly earning me a spot on the school’s bulletin board in third grade. I wrote poems, short stories, and even a play about recycling for my Girl Scout troop.
Most of my writing consisted of dark, sad, self-absorbed poetry about love and the unfairness of life throughout my teenage years, scribbled amidst teardrops in my journal.
You know, typical teenager stuff.
Then came my college years. At a small private business college in Rhode Island, I decided to Major in Marketing and double-minor in English and Psychology. Up until recently, I thought it was a stupid decision.
Little did I know, I would be using all three in about 18 years.
As the secretary of the drama club, my job was to take the minutes of our weekly meetings and send them out to the members and faculty advisors. Well, I took that and ran with it. Each week, I successfully turned the hum-drum, regular old meeting information into a witty, hysterical story. After all, if you want someone to read your stuff, you’ve got to appeal to your dramatic audience.
People raved about them. They told me they saved them to re-read and couldn’t wait to read next week. I remember thinking, “I really love this. I wonder if I could do something like this for a living?”
Not to brag, but I had a pretty decent non-paying copywriting gig. And I didn’t even realize it.
Maybe you’ve experienced something similar. Think about it. If you’re thinking about becoming a copywriter, chances are you’ve done your share of writing. Take a trip down memory lane and examine those times.
I bet you already have a little copywriting experience too!
Introducing: The Antagonist in My Writing Story
Then came a creative writing professor – the man who blew the wind out of my writing dream sails.
After handing in a short story, I told him my dream of becoming a published author. To this, he smugly chuckled and replied:
“Do you know how hard it is to become a published author? It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever do anything with your writing.”
It’s incredible how quickly one comment can kill a dream.
After college, I hopped from job to job. Some were great, and some were not. I scoured Monster.com (remember that?) for writing jobs. I took online writing courses.
All the while, that professor whatever-his-name-was whispering in my ear:
“You’re not qualified.”
The one constant, the person who always encouraged me in my writing, was my dad. He knew how much I loved it. He saw how it brought me to life. Whenever I wrote anything, I’d show it to him. He always pushed me to keep writing.
And even during his last days on this earth, he still encouraged me. He knew I always felt deflated from that stinking professor. But I wanted to make my dad proud. I promised him I would dedicate my first book to him.
Well, that hasn’t happened yet. But my website and business logo are dedicated to his memory and love of hummingbirds.
Time to Get Over Myself and Start Freelancing
Thankfully, my dad’s encouragement eventually trumped the negative-nelly comment from my professor. Honestly, it took way too long. But that’s neither here nor there.
Six years later, when my kids were finally all in school during the day, I desperately tried to get back into the workforce. I turned to Google and searched for things like “work from home writing jobs,” and “how to earn money writing.”
Like many other beginning freelancers, or freelance copywriters, which I wouldn’t dare call myself at the time – I got sucked into the dark world of content mills.
If you haven’t experienced a content mill for yourself, I don’t recommend giving them a try. Basically, Mr. and Mrs. McCheapo dangle tasty-looking writing jobs in your face and promise a glowing review and another shiny portfolio piece under your belt and a few bucks in your pocket.
I fell for it.
I feverishly wrote about captivating topics like VPNs versus Proxies, how to watch Game of Thrones in Canada, and Choosing the Best Bear Spray. Thousands of words for a few bucks.
But, hey, I’m building my portfolio, right?
Then I landed a regular-paying gig.
Sweet! I’m getting somewhere!
This writing job sounded more glamorous than it really was. Lucky me got to write reviews for an online sportswear review company. I got paid a whopping $30 per review. I spent hours researching and writing about each product, making my pay approximately $7 an hour.
That’s less than minimum wage.
But I’m building up my portfolio, right?
Again, with the portfolio.
So why did I think I needed a hefty, impressive portfolio? Because I was led to believe in these content mills that the more pieces I have under my belt, the more money I could earn. It didn’t matter if the pieces’ quality was stellar or not – it was quantity, not quality. And if you had both, it didn’t make a difference.
Wait – I’m a Copywriter?
After a year of what I thought to be a sweet writing gig (gag), an accomplished writer friend of mine – oh how I envied her job as an article writer in a local magazine – connected me with a friend of hers who worked at an internet marketing company. They were looking for a “Web Content Specialist.”
What is THAT?!? Me?? I’m not a specialist in anything except maybe ice cream and raising boys.
It turns out, they were impressed with my resume and my most recent review-writing job. I felt utterly unqualified during the interview, especially when the company owner, a seasoned copywriter, asked me to give an example of the passive voice.
I totally bombed on that question. (But now I get it!)
Low and behold, I got the job.
WHAT?!?! I’m getting paid almost three times what I was earning reviewing sneakers and sporting equipment! SWEET!
Enter: Mr. Imposter Syndrome.
But, wait – I can’t do this. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not a Web Content Specialist. I’m not even a freelance copywriter. I’m a freelance writer. (Seriously, I thought that.) They’re going to find me out! They’re going to fire me! Oh, heavens, what have I DONE!?!?
Here’s the thing I didn’t see at the time: an experienced copywriter hired me. He saw something in me. He saw my potential. That’s HUGE.
But I was so consumed with doubt, I didn’t see it. Sometimes, you’ve got to take a step back and acknowledge how others see you. I didn’t even see myself as a freelance “copywriter” for heaven’s sake.
I wish I had taken that step back, though. I would’ve been more excited – and gotten a lot more sleep the week before my start date.
Over the next year and a half, I learned an incredible amount about online marketing and copywriting. It was a fantastic job with an incredible group of people. They were patient with me and helped me grow beyond my expectations.
I’ll never forget that feeling when I realized: I had become a copywriter. And I loved it.
Like I said earlier, I loved my job. But when COVID hit, I realized I was needed in my first calling more – being a mom. I felt like a failure. I’d poured so much into the job I loved I’d missed out on some mommy/son time.
Now, this isn’t to say working moms are failures. This is ME. I am blessed to have a husband with a secured, decent-paying job. I have the luxury of choosing to work. Working moms are my heroes. I mean that. I don’t know how they do it.
I started thinking…
“Maybe I could learn how to become a copywriter for myself,”
Professor whats-his-name, whispering to my subconscious, “No, you can’t. You’re unqualified.”
My father believed in me. My fellow thespians believed in me. My husband believed in me. My friends believed in me. My seasoned-copywriter-of-a-boss believed in me.
Why couldn’t I believe in me?
The Day Sarah Found Me
I’d worked at an internet marketing company for long enough to know that the almighty Google is always watching us. I’d been researching starting my own copywriting business for a few days when Sarah Turner’s Instagram ad spoke directly to my writer’s soul.
Yes! I want to learn how to write my way to freedom. Sign me up!
My first introduction to how Sarah empowers people to become copywriters were the four free intro videos to her course, Write Your Way To Freedom (WYWTF).
After spending just a few minutes each day, making my way through the intro videos, I thought, “She gets it. There’s a LOT of information out there. It‘s overwhelming.”
I’ll level with you – I’m a pretty compulsive person when it comes to buying things. When my husband and I were house shopping, I liked all of them. Car shopping? Same thing.
I desperately wanted to become a copywriter, but I wanted to be sure this was the right thing for me. I Googled and Googled, trying to find a flaw in Sarah’s course – but everything I found was positive.
My search resulted in testimonial after testimonial from WYWTF students. So many of them knew nothing about freelance copywriting when they signed up. Yet here they were, months later making thousands of dollars a month.
Oh, hello again, Mr. Imposter Syndrome.
Should I really invest money into something I’m totally unqualified to do?
What if I try and I fail?
I’m not a copywriter. I’m just a writer….-ish.
I can’t do this – can I?
I’m not entirely sure what made me finally commit. Maybe it was the hours of deliberation. Maybe it was the lack of negative feedback about the course. Maybe it was my drive to ultimately prove to my college professor – and myself – that yes, YES! I can do something with my writing. I can become a “real” copywriter. I can achieve success as a business owner. I can do this.
So I did it. I invested in myself. I threw off the shackles of self-doubt and purchased the Write Your Way to Freedom course at the end of June 2020. What better time to do that than in the middle of a pandemic?
That’s when the magic began to happen.
WOAH. That Is a LOT of Information
I knew I’d made the right choice when I began watching the videos in the course. The very first video features Sarah advising me on how to complete the course without getting overwhelmed. She eased my mind and told me she specifically the course to prevent overwhelming the student.
I was hungry to learn from Sarah and the group of students in the private Facebook group. I was eager to dig in deep and complete the course as quickly as possible.
Then I went to the office supply store to print everything out.
450-ish pages?!?!?!? WHAT?!?!?
Panic. What have I DONE!?!?! I can’t do this!!??!!??
I sat in my car in the parking lot, staring at the stack of printouts lying on the passenger seat. Each module’s printouts taunted me to the point of complete overwhelm.
Then, no joke, I said to the stack, “Sarah promised me I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. The course is just very thorough. We’re in this together, printouts. We got this.”
I came home with my giant stack of module workbooks and my new binders and dividers and assembled my how-to-become-a-copywriter Bible.
Okay, that’s not so bad. The modules aren’t overwhelming this way, just like Sarah promised.
WOAH. There Are a LOT of People in This Boat
One of the first modules features Sarah explaining how to get the most out of the goldmine of knowledge that is the private WYWTF Facebook group. There are some pretty awesome people in this group. To be honest, all of them are awesome.
All 1800+ of them.
Say WHAT?! That’s a lot of WYWTF’ers. That’s a lot of people gunning to become a copywriter.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting that many. And it’s growing every day! I’m not gonna lie, my old friend, Mr. Imposter Syndrome, started to creep back into my mind.
Um, this is only this course. There are so many more people out there trying to become a copywriter. How can I compete?
But, as Sarah will tell you, it’s not a competition. Along with any other successful copywriter, she will adamantly tell you there is plenty of need for copywriting out there. There’s room for everybody at this exceptionally-large table.
So move over, Ms. Overwhelm. Get outta here, Mr. Imposter Syndrome. You’re not welcome here. My new team of 1800+ copywriting buddies and I have got this under control.
WOAH. The Support Is Unbelievable
One thing’s for sure: if you want to become a copywriter, you’re going to need a support system. Well, I guess you don’t need one, but I certainly do. The Facebook group I mentioned is a huge source of support. Sarah lays down the ground rules early on in the course, explaining that this group is a place of encouragement, not ridicule.
I’ve never felt like I was being judged in this group, no matter how “stupid” my question. Every post is met with a patient, helpful, and courteous response by fellow Freedomers. We truly have each others’ backs. It’s astonishing and humbling to be part of such an encouraging group.
It’s not just that, though. Sarah herself is exceptionally personable. Before I even spent any money on the course, she emailed me. Sure, it was probably an email sent to everyone who had shown interest in WYWTF. But in it, she asked me to email her back with my goals, hopes, dreams, and any questions I had.
Yeah, like Sarah herself is actually going to answer.
Um, yeah, she totally did. And she was kind, personable, and not pushy in any way whatsoever.
Sarah also interacts regularly within the Facebook group. She’s not some unseen God-like executive sitting piously in her oversized leather chair with zero time for us little peons.
She’s a real person. And a super nice one too.
Having a freelance writing career takes a lot of hard work, and Sarah is busy writing copy for her clients, let alone running the show for us students. She hosts weekly Q&A Live videos and answers any question we throw at her with care and poise. She’s also always adding content to the course and the Facebook group.
WOAH. There Is SO.MUCH.VALUE.
As I worked my way through the course I couldn’t help but think: “Why isn’t EVERYONE who wants to become a copywriter doing this?”
Seriously. When I signed up for Write Your Way to Freedom, I had no idea just how much it would help me. I mean, I knew it would help me, but I figured it’d be like:
Do A, B, and C. Good luck.
Uh, no. I’m happy to report I was 100% undeniably DEAD WRONG.
Let me tell you: if I’ve learned anything about this course, it’s that every single part of it has exceeded my expectations.
WOAH. I’m Actually Doing This.
While completing the course, I read one of the many books Sarah recommended called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. What an incredible book to help strengthen my mindset! I’m convinced it helped keep my caboose from going off the rails. There’s a lot to do, but with the Slight Edge frame of mind, any step forward is a step forward, no matter how small.
The weeks rolled by as I chipped away at the course, me checking off little boxes as I went – small slight edge successes.
I settled on a niche when I had NO idea what it’d be at first.
I designed and published a website.
I amassed 500+ connections on LinkedIn.
I designed a freebie.
I’ve written quality portfolio pieces.
I set up Google Analytics.
I completed course challenges.
I obtained an LLC.
I opened a business checking account.
I got my first client.
I get paid what I’m worth.
I’ve become my own boss.
And it’s only been two months. I’ve done it. I’ve become a copywriter.
Take THAT, professor.
Are you ready to become a copywriter, Write Your Way to Freedom, and Master Your Mindset?
There’s plenty of room at the Freedomer table for you, and we can’t wait to meet ya!
I’m Ready to Master my Mindset
Written By Bio: Suzanne Griffin is a mental health copywriter and entrepreneurial champion. She specializes in crafting engaging, compassionate, and informative copy focused on helping others. When she’s not feverishly researching and writing, she’s on stage teaching Jazzercise or grocery shopping. (She has three boys – that’s a lot of food.) You can see what she’s up to and connect with her on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.