I Never Made It to Madison Avenue
While I was in college in New Orleans, I dreamed of being a copywriter for one of the big ad agencies on Madison Avenue in New York City, but somehow that didn’t really happen.
Upon graduating Tulane, I managed to secure a job as a media assistant for a big ad agency in New York. At night, I took courses on how to be a copywriter.
During my time there, I was itching to move out of the city, so I moved to Dallas, Texas where I had friends and classmates from Tulane living there.
While I was there, I put aside my dreams to become a copywriter because I enrolled in a school for computer animation—which was really starting to get hot.
After graduating, I managed to secure a few jobs as an exhibit designer where I used my talents in 3D animation. During that time, I moonlighted creating websites for various businesses.
While creating websites, I flexed my writing muscle quite a bit because my clients didn’t know what to say. I had to say it for them! During that time, I devoured numerous books about sales copywriting and online marketing.
After six years of living in Texas, I moved back to Connecticut to be closer to my family. While in Connecticut, I started freelancing my web design services. I got quite a lot of business, but I was still itching to be a copywriter on Madison Avenue, so I took some evening classes.
And then I discovered something…I hated it.
Yes, that’s right.
I hated the copywriting. Well, at least I hated the type of copywriting we were being taught in class. Actually, we weren’t being taught copywriting in its truest sense. We were being taught to think and come up with ideas.
And that’s exactly what I wanted to do! When I was in college eight years prior, I had dreams of sitting on sofas and coming up with clever ideas. However, I found out that I hated sitting around and coming up with stupid and clever ideas.
So, I just focused on my web design freelance business. And I learned a lot about online marketing. I had to promote my own businesses and play a role in promoting the businesses of my clients.
After many years of creating websites and learning a lot about online marketing, I decided that my talents would best be served focusing on direct marketing—which I found to love immensely.
Online marketing and direct response copywriting is very challenging. It makes a lot more sense to me than the brand copywriting and the kind of marketing that’s done on Madison Avenue.
So, here I am. In Fairfield, Connecticut writing sales copy and helping my client with their online marketing.
How I got here
To use a book publishing metaphor, I struggled in my career because I was too focused on the front and back covers rather than the pages in between.
I was always looking for the glamour job—thinking that was a good way to make money. But the problem was the glamour job industry (i.e. advertising, TV, movies, etc.) is filled with people willing to work for nothing just to get their foot in the door.
When I worked for a big ad agency in New York City right after college, I was swept up by the two-hour lunches at five-star restaurants with the major magazine publishers.
And before that, I was star-struck when I was a production assistant on a movie starring Wesley Snipes and Theresa Randle. (Carrying his luggage and his $2,000 in cash through the streets of New York City isn’t as glamorous as it sounds).
Those were exhilarating experiences, but both offered very low pay and long hours.
Realizing that advertising and movies weren’t going to get me the riches I desired, I continued to pursue other ways of making a living.
However, I was subconsciously still drawn to glamour jobs. I dug myself deeper into a hole by getting employed as a tradeshow exhibit designer, a web designer, a graphic designer and finally a computer animator. These jobs are all glamorous in their own way, but they didn’t make a lot of money for me.
Today, I see that writing sales copy and creating sales funnels (i.e. non-glamour jobs) can have a bigger impact on my clients’ sales and profits.
Writing sales copy really is a non-glamour job because no one wants to admit that they read sales copy, In fact, people’s eyes roll right off their heads when I tell them that I am a direct response copywriter.
And most people are totally unaware that they are going through a sales funnel to pull out their wallets or get themselves on a list, so no one off the street says, “Great sales funnel, Ash!”
I now know that my internet marketing skills and my sales copywriting can make a bigger impact for speakers, coaches and authors rather than creating a pretty image for their books, products or websites. And I get paid a lot more in the process because the work I do is valued more.
Rather than slapping a pretty picture on a website or book, I create sales copy, develop sales funnels and drive traffic to make for a more profitable business for my clients.
Don’t get me wrong: I still believe in good design and how it is important to get people excited. I also understand how design and the written word must work together to make a product sales. And this is how I differ from other direct response copywriters.
Contact Ash Waechter for more information about selling your books and products on your website