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I was recently contacted by a financial advisor who was interested in leaving the world of finance behind and becoming a full time copywriter. Below are our emails back-and-forth, which you may find helpful if you too are considering a writing career. – Susan Greene
I am sincerely impressed by you. You are living the life I aspire to lead.
I’m a twenty-something who currently works as a financial advisor and each day I brainstorm how to break out from that cycle. I love the prospecting aspect of the job. It’s just the lack of creative freedom that cripples me.
I believe copywriting could be my ticket out. For months I’ve been learning the skills necessary to be successful.
Up until yesterday though, I didn’t know what to write about. I was doing yoga and meditating constantly in an effort to find clarity. The answers are often right under our nose I guess.
I’m quitting my successful career in an attempt to write about yoga and meditation and for my freedom. Am I crazy? Do I have any chance of success in this market?
I have a love for people, and a proven ability to inspire. Yoga saved my life in a lot of ways. I think I have a perspective that’s very unique to this industry, but could also help a lot of people as well. How can I share my experience and gain copywriting experience?
I know I must come off as naive asking for help in this fashion. I don’t know what else to do. You appear to me as the most successful replication of what I want to do. Can’t hurt to ask for a tip from the expert.
Thank you for your time.
It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for the kind words about my work. I very much enjoy what I do.
You mentioned that you enjoy the prospecting aspect of your job as a financial advisor. That’s interesting because that’s the part most people dislike. If you’re a guy who doesn’t mind making cold calls and can handle rejection, you must have good selling skills, which is awesome no matter what career path you take.
I realize it’s the lack of creative freedom that you feel is lacking from your current job. Are there ways to introduce creativity to your work? Write creative prospecting letters. Start a financial advisory blog or a blog about some other niche that excites you (yoga?). Write articles for financial websites and magazines. Create a Facebook page and write daily posts.
I don’t want to rain on your parade, but if you leave your job as a financial advisor to write full time, I doubt you’ll make nearly as much money, at least in the early years while you build up your portfolio. I realize you’d like to follow your dreams. But you have to be practical too. We all have bills to pay.
Why not keep the day job and treat copywriting as a hobby, creative outlet or side hustle? If you’re successful and making enough money to feel comfortable, then quit your day job.
Bear in mind that don’t only need to cover your salary; you’ll also need to pay for your own benefits. That includes health insurance (which is much more expensive than the small copay you probably pay now), 401K with no employer match, disability and life insurance, no paid holidays or vacation days, etc.
You mentioned that you thought you’d like to write about yoga and meditation. That’s fine. Those are legitimate topics. But who is going to pay you to write about them?
If you’re thinking yoga studios or yoga equipment manufacturers will hire you to write for them, keep in mind that they’re going to specify what they want you to write. Rather than waxing poetic about the history of yoga or the different types of yoga, they’re more likely to ask you to write website copy, brochures, ads, etc. that will help sell their products or services. That may not be what you have in mind as a writer. And most yoga studios are struggling to survive these days in a post-Covid world. Even those that do well are unlikely to have big marketing budgets.
Also, you mention that for months you’ve been “learning the skills to be successful” as a copywriter. While that may sound like a long time to you as a twenty-something, the copywriters you’re going up against for paid writing jobs likely have years of experience. In my case, it’s actually decades (because I’m old).
If you’re thinking that you’ll write books and sell them, who is going to pay to read them? How will you promote the books so people know they exist?
You asked if you have any chance of success in this market. I’m sure you do. There’s always room in any field for exceptionally talented people willing to work hard. But more people, that opportunity is limited.
With the pandemic, the depressed economy and the ever-growing decline in print publications, there are more full-time copywriters out of work than ever before. And most of them have become freelance copywriters struggling to make a buck. They’re driving down prices and turning every job into a bidding war, not so much for me because I’m established and have built up a steady clientele, but for anyone new, that’s a tough hill to climb.
Just take a good look at your financial situation and be realistic in your expectations before you leap into the copywriting water with both feet. Good luck!
You don’t realize how appreciative I am for that response. Or maybe you do.
Thank you for taking the time to give your honest feedback to a complete stranger. Your advice was insightful.
I’m not surprised the yoga industry undervalues the power of copywriting. I think it’s intelligent of you to deter me from quitting his job to chase a nonexistent market. That’s the right advice to give. Unfortunately, I’m not always the best listener.
Maybe yoga is not the niche for me right now, but neither is continuing a career in apathy. I’d rather give 100% of my effort to this and fail than 10% to my job and be comfortable. I’m capable of more. I’ll land on my feet.
I’m going to reach out to my contacts in an attempt to gain experience. I’ll do side hustles and whatever else is necessary for minimal pay. I’m not trying to convince you that I’ll be successful; that’d be a pointless endeavor.
What I am trying to do is thank you for explaining the risks of this business in an authentic way. I think you’re spot on, but I’m going to try anyways.
Thank you again for your time.
All the best,
I’m a bit surprised by your last note. It has me wondering why you contacted me at all.
It’s clear that you’d already made up your mind before we spoke and whatever I said was not going to change it. Even though you’ve been gracious and appreciative, I feel like I was wasting my time trying to help you.
If you were only looking for me to give you “permission” to quit your job or to reassure you to continue on the path you’ve already chosen, I’m not able to do that for the reasons I outlined above.
Kurt, I hope I hear from you again down the road a year or two. I’ll be very curious to see how you’ve made out.