I recently got an email from a guy called Josh. Josh is 19, based in Hobart and dreams of being a digital nomad. He thought freelance copywriting might be a good way to make that happen, so reached out to me for resources and advice. Josh also happens to be living in a homeless youth shelter.
I don’t know the details of Josh’s story, but one can only imagine. Needless to say, I was so impressed by his email. Even in the midst of a crappy situation, there he was – reaching out, opening up, taking action to create a better life. What a legend! And what an honour it was that he chose to reach out to me.
Of course, I was determined to reply with something worthy of his willpower and courage. So, I contacted all my copywriter pals and collated an awesome list of copywriting resources for newbies on a tight budget. It’s too good not to share, so you can find it at the bottom of this post.
More than that though, I wanted to put words to this encounter to remind all of us to not just dream our dreams, but chase them. If Josh can do it, what’s our excuse? And yet, I see and hear from so many aspiring copywriters and freelancers who think it’s all too hard – impossible even.
Do a survey of the freelance population, and I’d bet good money that 90% had to reach breaking point to get there. That was the case for me, my amazing friend Nat and so many copywriters in the fab Clever Copywriting group. We think we’re stuck and so we stay put in jobs we hate, just keeping our heads above water while the years slip by. Until absolute desperation – depression, anxiety, ill health, burnout, a crisis of meaning, whatever it may be – finally propels us forward. And we realise we were never stuck at all.
Call me naïve, but I truly believe the universe has your back and things always work out. You quit your job and your new business succeeds. Or maybe it doesn’t, but you find another, better job in the process. And isn’t the surprise half the fun? Danielle LaPorte says you must eliminate ‘I can’t’ from your vocabulary and instead replace it with ‘I’ll figure it out.’ She’s right. If you’re willing to take that initial leap, then keep moving forward, taking the next small step, reaching out to others for guidance (like Josh did), you can’t lose. And, despite being the oldest cliché in the book, it’s all about the journey anyway.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this year, it’s that some things you simply can’t control. Which sucks. But the things you can? Grab them by the balls and start running!
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to copywriting and career changes. Perhaps it’s going to Palestine and learning Arabic just because you want to, like my friend Marli. So brave and inspiring. Devoting hours each night on top of a full-time job to studying something you’ve always wanted to learn, like my brother-in-law Sam. Dedication goes a long way. Or experimenting with a daily art practice ‘just for fun’ which turns out to transform your entire approach to life, like my insta pal Annette. Because a niggling feeling of curiosity is often a window to a whole new chapter.
I’ll be thinking of Josh in the months and years ahead. I’d wish him luck, but I don’t think he needs it. He’s already making his own. Instead, I wish him courage to keep going. Self-awareness to call himself on excuses. And self-compassion when – like all of us – he stumbles. Most of all, I wish him an exciting, fulfilling journey.
All love, no regrets. It’s the only way to live.
Awesome, affordable resources for aspiring copywriters
The Clever Copywriting Community – the only one worth joining! 😉