Big Ideas

5 things prosperous copywriters do all day

By 07/02/2013March 13th, 20144 Comments

Steve Roller, prosperous copywriter trainer

One of my favorite blog posts ever appeared exactly eight years ago in the Daily Reckoning, titled, “The Three Things Rich People Do All Day.”

In the piece, Chris Mayer concludes that reading, conversing with people who know what you’d like to know, and thinking are the three things rich people do all day.

After hanging out with some pretty high achievers the last couple years, and aspiring to be one of the wealthy myself, I have to agree with him.

On the ride home from my Ultimate Writing Retreat™ in Chicago nine days ago, I came up with my own list of 5 things that prosperous copywriters do all day:

1. Read. Read classic copywriting books by Eugene Schwartz, David Ogilvy, and Claude Hopkins. Read contemporary classics by Dan Kennedy, Clayton Makepeace, Gary Halbert, and John Carlton.

Read the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and your local paper (if you have local clients.) Read classic literature by Hemingway and Hugo, as well as airport paperbacks by John Grisham and Stephen King. Read!

2. Think. You simply have to spend time deep thinking about Big Ideas. How else are you going to come up with a new angle for a client promotion? It’s not all nose-to-the-grindstone, furious writing time that accomplishes that.

Or think about Big Ideas for your own business.

How are you going to convince your prospects to do business with you instead of the dozens of other copywriters who are just as good as you, in the same niche? How can you provide more value while working faster and making sure your clients get a good return on investment? What is your Big “off the chart” Idea that could send your business soaring?

3. Talk to interesting people.

I spent 67 hours recently hanging out with some very interesting people in Chicago. We coined at least three new terms that you’ll probably be hearing about in the next few months. We launched two new businesses, re-launched two more, and came up with strategy that could turn two of them into million-dollar businesses.

When I’m in my office, I probably spend two hours a day on average conversing with copywriters who are trying to get to the next level. I ask  questions to get them thinking in a different way. I challenge them. I offer critiques if they ask. I give offbeat advice.

Once in a while, I inspire someone to go out and do really big things. Very rewarding, all of it. I benefit from these conversations, too.

Be selective about the company you keep, and spend the time in meaningful discussions.

4. Write stuff that other people will pay you for. Ask yourself at every turn, “Is this making me money?” or “Is it leading me quickly to a place where I’ll make money doing it?”

If you’re writing a special report that prospects will download to get on your mailing list, which you’ll then use to market your other services to them, the answer is “yes.” Writing an article for “exposure” and the promise of possible work down the road? Your call, but I’d say “no.”

5. Write things that build your own business. One of the “eureka” moments at the Chicago retreat was that you don’t have to figure out how to write copy for clients. Create a business around something you love, and write all the marketing copy for it.

When you’re writing copy for your own high-end luxury watch tours to Basel, Switzerland, or for helping CEOs become insanely great at presentation skills, things get pretty fun! Think of copywriting as a means to an end.

If you were a fly on the wall of my office, those are the five things you’d find me doing every day. Reading, thinking, talking to interesting people, writing stuff that people pay me for, and writing to build my own business.

Do you have any others you’d add to the list? Any you’d take off this list? Where can you do all five of these at once, in a three-day intensive writing experience like you’ve never seen before? Asheville, North Carolina, of course. July 17-20.

It’ll be another one for the ages:

Hope to see you there. I have a few ideas of what we’ll talk about.

the copywriter's life

the copywriter’s life




Steve Roller

Author Steve Roller

I'm a business coach, author, copywriter, world traveler (33 countries on five continents so far), and professional speaker. In addition to helping companies get more customers and make more money, I help other writers create profitable businesses. I offer one-on-one coaching, professional copy critiques, and live, in-person business-building workshops. When I'm not writing, coaching, or speaking, I enjoy nothing more than hanging out with my wife and four kids and planning my next adventure.

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Read, think, talk, write. I think I can remember that, although it’s about to go onto a post-it stuck to my computer 🙂 Struggling a bit with the ‘talk’ part in my city. Find myself in conversations with too many people who are stuck in ‘small’ thinking and not-so-smart business practices. Will keep trying to find people who are up for something bigger and brighter 🙂

    Have just been mulling over an offer to write articles for exposure, so helpful to hear your take on that. It’s where I was leaning (i.e., not doing it), so will follow my gut.

    So thanks for a great one, Steve!

    • Steve Roller says:

      Thanks, Julie. I like simple things like this, I’ve been getting too clogged up lately with formulas, strategies, and best practices. Regarding conversations, I try to avoid small thinkers at all costs. If you pay attention, you realize most people fall into that camp, not the big idea people I seek out. Of course, the Copywriter Cafe is a great source of good conversations, which you can often take offline one-on-one. Best wishes.

  • Great post, Steve! I have a question about #3…

    How do you define “talking” to interesting folks? Are you meaning only in person or by phone? Email? And here’s the crux of my question–does this include social media? I think #3 is fantastic, and want to do it daily, and I find Google+ to be an effective way of reaching some very “interesting” people and “talking” to them these days. But, if this isn’t really effective, then I don’t want to spend too much time there.

    Just curious how important you think the means of “talking” is here. I think your answer will help us all decide how and where we spend our time. Look forward to your answer, Steve. Thanks!

    • Steve Roller says:

      Matt, I think “talking” to interesting people (who know what you’d like to know – an important distinction) can be in person, on the phone, by email, or through social media. I also find that order to be most effective – in person is best and preferable, social media least. BUT, you can leverage your time by talking to a lot of people at once through social media. Start the conversation there, but when you have a strong connection with someone, take it offline to the phone whenever possible, or in person for coffee or lunch.

      Now, some people, like Bob Bly or Dan Kennedy, would tell you not to waste time with anyone who’s not a client. They’d tell you to only spend your time on paying projects. They’d also tell you, like Bob Bly did last week, to avoid social media all together. I guess that works if you’ve built a reputation for 30 years where people come to you and get on your 6-month waiting list.

      Since I’m not quite at that point yet, I do social media big-time, and I enjoy conversations with lots of people every week, as long as we keep tight boundaries on discussions, keeping them focused on business related issues.

      I like to get to know someone in the beginning, and I’ll ask a lot of questions even if it’s personal and not business stuff. But after that, I’m not a fan of small talk. Anything about the weather bores me to death, and I put the kibosh on sports, politics, or religion conversations if I’m working. I just don’t have time to sit around all day talking about those topics. If it’s something that’s going to help me make more money or help my client make more money, it’s fair territory.

      So, overall, limit your “talking” to people with whom you can have a mutually beneficial business relationship with. You’re helping each other with good ideas.

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