If you aspire to make a comfortable income from your writing, you’ll find inspiration in the stories of the three people we’re featuring in today’s Certified Stories article.
This group comes direct from our Certified Content Marketer page here on Copyblogger.
You know what I liked best about their answers? That they were pleasantly surprised that writers can indeed make a healthy living doing what they do best.
I love hearing stories like that — they make our efforts here at Copyblogger worthwhile.
Here’s who’s joined us today:
- Aaron Wrixon specializes in white-label writing and content marketing services for web designers and their clients. Contact Aaron
- Trudi Roth creates site copy, blog posts, video, and social media strategy that converts passive bystanders into active, engaged fans. Contact Trudi
- Carin Kilby Clark writes conversational copy and content that demonstrates authentic thought leadership and builds authority. Contact Carin
Read on as Aaron, Trudi, and Carin share their hard-earned wisdom.
What do you wish you knew about writing when you first started out?
There’s perception and then there’s reality. Sometimes we perceive our dream careers through rose-colored glasses. Once we’re in them, though, the day-to-day reality doesn’t live up to the image.
But for our three writers, reality was better than perception.
Trudi had to first lose the notion that she couldn’t make a good living as a writer:
“I believed that writing was a low-paying job and making art (which is always how I think of writing!) in general is not lucrative. Today, as a more mature person who has made her way back into the workforce … I realize that was some toxic Kool-Aid I drank in my early career. Great writing has tremendous value, period. And that’s what I’m teaching my kids, so I’m paying that wisdom forward.” – Trudi Roth
Aaron came to the same realization as Trudi. Writing can be lucrative:
“… you can see how it would be easy to convince yourself you had to settle for (writing) cheap crap and only making 15k a year. I’ve since learned that’s total nonsense. And now I’m very, very fortunate, with a great wife and family who want for nothing — and all because I found out how to tap into the high-paying jobs. So sure, I wish I had done that a lot sooner, because if I had I’d be writing to you from Fiji now. But hey, my time machine is almost finished, and when it’s finally done I’m going to go back and smack my younger self.” – Aaron Wrixon
Carin realizes now that great writing is all about the rewrite — that she didn’t have to be perfect right out of the gate:
“The ‘ugly first draft’ truly is a writer’s best friend.” – Carin Kilby Clark
What’s the one thing you did in the past year that helped build your business?
Our three writers answered this question differently — but their answers share a common theme. Over the past year, each of them made a serious commitment to their businesses.
Carin committed to putting herself out there to meet prospects in person. Here’s what worked to build her business:
“Good old-fashioned, face-to-face networking. Online is great, but there’s still a ton of value in getting out from behind the desk, shaking hands, and exchanging business cards with people.” – Carin Kilby Clark
Aaron decided — finally — to go all-in:
“I quit, finally. I’d been side-gigging for so long and I finally went full-time in March 2016. Since then I’ve matched my 2015 salary.” – Aaron Wrixon
And Trudi’s afraid you might think we put her up to this answer (but we didn’t):
“Hands down it was taking and completing Copyblogger’s Certified Content Marketer training program! I know it sounds like you guys paid me to say that, but … having a listing on the Copyblogger website as a Certified Content Marketer has brought me at least a dozen excellent repeat clients that know their stuff because they are fans of Copyblogger, too. (And my listing has only been up for a couple of months, so that’s really exciting!)” – Trudi Roth
Is there a writing tip you’d like to share with Copyblogger readers?
There’s nothing like the voice of experience, is there? Our three writers have picked up mindsets and habits that have helped them in their careers. We asked them to share what they’ve learned along the way.
“Be curious. That sounds like such a trite answer, but for me curiosity starts the whole process. It’s so tempting to hear a client say, ‘I want this many words that say this to this person,’ and answer, ‘Yes ma’am, right away ma’am.’ But it’s when you start questioning everything that good work happens. ” – Aaron Wrixon
Trudi reminds us that even the most boring topic has an angle that will make it enjoyable to write about:
“Have fun. Being a writer is being a creative person in the world, and so any topic can be engaging and exciting when you find the angles that you connect into and that make your work enjoyable.” – Trudi Roth
And Carin repeats the advice we’ve shared here many times: write — even when you don’t feel like it.
“Write every day. Especially when you don’t want to or don’t feel like it. I’ve cranked out some of my best writing on the days when I wanted to do anything but sit down at the keyboard.” – Carin Kilby Clark
What was your favorite aspect of the Certification program?
Finally, we thought you might enjoy hearing about our Certified Content Marketer training program direct from three writers who have taken the course and gone on to be certified.
Trudi appreciated one particular piece of course content — and saw one sign that this course was the right one for her.
“There are a lot of great resources you get from the Certification program, but I have to say that the one that made it well-worth the price of admission to me is the workbook, ‘Using Empathy & Experience Maps to Develop a Killer Content Strategy.’ … it is really genius when it comes to developing helpful, engaging content that speaks to my clients’ core audiences. Copyblogger … makes me feel so supported and confident that my work as a kick-ass content marketer will continue even as the digital landscape changes. Being in the Authority program gives me access to awesome continuing education. Also, I like that Sonia has pink hair. It’s a sign to us all that we’re in the right place.” – Trudi Roth
Carin liked the professional preparation the Certification program offers:
“My favorite aspect of the Certification program is the education around the professional writer’s mindset, marketing yourself as a writer, and becoming an indispensable resource for your clients.” – Carin Kilby Clark
And Aaron? Well, Aaron plans an addition on his house …
“I get a whole lot of emails that start with ‘Hey, I found you on the Copyblogger site.’ When I build an addition on my house, I’m going to call it the Copyblogger Wing.” – Aaron Wrixon
Writers: Are you looking for proven ways to position yourself for greater success?
Our Certified Content Marketer training is a powerful tool that helps you learn new writing strategies and position your business for greater success.
We reopen the program periodically — and only for a limited-time — so add your email address below to be the first to hear when new students can join. 🙂
Reader Comments (13)
You know, i’ve been wading through uncertainty for a little while now: how do I market myself, how do I pitch to clients, what if i’m not good enough. So it’s definitely good to hear from certified writers, and comments like Carin’s about the ugly first draft are a good reminder to keep at it.
I joined Authority not too long ago, which was pretty scary because of the investment. Education isn’t one-size-fits-all, but i’m finding Copyblogger to be a pretty snug fit at the moment. It’s helped me find the structure I needed to approach freelancing, content strategy and copywriting more confidently.
I just wanted to express my gratitude.
Pamela Wilson says
I loved that comment from Carin, too. And the idea that sometimes your best work happens on days when you really don’t feel like writing. 🙂
Thanks for your comment, Melissa!
Carin Kilby Clark says
Melissa, thanks so much for your comment. 🙂
Michael LaRocca says
I’ve done the “book as business card” bit, and certainly it can work if the book’s on the right topic. But my shortest book, perhaps more properly called a booklet, took me two days to write and is outselling my other sixteen combined. Some topics are more popular than others. So can a writer earn an income writing? Of course. Can the writer earn that income without doing some sort of research into the business aspects of it? Not likely.
I have made it one of my goals to join Authority. In time. In time. . ..
I’ve been reading so much lately about the Certified Content Marketer training program, and I’m chomping at the bit! Can someone please email and let me know when I can sign up? I’m ready!
Pamela Wilson says
I’m so happy to hear that, Pat. 🙂
The program will open very soon. It’s eight modules total, and they were created by none other than Brian Clark and Sonia Simone. The modules are delivered over four weeks.
At the end of the four weeks, you have the opportunity to apply to have your content reviewed by the Copyblogger editorial team. We are going to “fast track” the first applications that come in, so the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can get through the material and send in your application.
People on the official Certification interest list will find out when the program opens a couple of days before everyone else. If you’re not already on the list, add your name at the top of this page, and watch your inbox!
Thanks, Pamela! I am on the list. I’m an Authority member, and I’ve been following Brian and Sonia for some time. That’s why I’m so excited. I’ll keep checking my email. Thanks again.
Anh Nguyen says
Awesome insights, guys!
I can certainly relate to Carin’s “write everyday” even when you don’t feel like it. I’ve also found that discipline is the key to success.
I’d like to know more about CopyBlogger’s Certified Content Marketer training program, is it only written for hired writers? I’m an independent blogger, would it still be a beneficial course to me?
Thanks for putting this together, Pamela. 🙂
Pamela Wilson says
Thanks for your interest!
The course is for people who are writing professionally — either as freelancers or within an organization. It includes writing advice and career/business building guidance that’s tailored toward people who are making a living with their writing.
I definitely picked up a bunch of great writing tips from this. Thank you so much for sharing.
Anna Ross says
I’ll have to look into the Certified Content Marketer training program. Thank you.
shaun f says
This is a great article and read, thanks so much for sharing some quality.
That’s one thing at first I struggles with on my blog, not really knowing how to write properly or for the audience.
But as I got better at it, I think I do well now 🙂
Thanks shaun 🙂
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