Introducing: Steve Roller, copywriter and marketing guy
Once a month, I take a brief detour from web copywriting, direct response and marketing advice, and give you a glimpse into my personal life.
Well, a lot of my clients and prospective clients have never met me in person. Some would prefer to keep it that way, but others want to know more.
They want to know a little more about the person behind the keyboard, cranking out web copy and print materials that sell.
Why I’m a copywriter
In July of 2004, three big loves of my life (besides my wife and four kids) converged to create the career I had been waiting for.
I love to write, I love to sell, and I love to travel, and each one plays a part in my life as a copywriter.
Steve Roller, writer
I’ve loved writing ever since my 4th grade teacher (Ms. Biwer, if you’re out there – thank you!) pulled me out of class to compliment me on my writing journal.
Later, it continued with a travel journal as I backpacked across Europe in my early 20’s.
Most recently, it popped up as I started my first book, an inspirational biography of sorts. The Great American novel is still rolling around in my head, while I pursue my copywriting passion.
Steve Roller, salesperson
Copywriting is selling with words, online or in print. You simply have to know how to sell to be an effective copywriter.
Thankfully, I learned how to sell long before becoming a copywriter. You could call it a baptism by fire!
In the summer of 1986, after my freshman year at UW-Madison, I had the wonderfully crazy job of selling educational books door-to-door, 81 hours a week, on straight commission, 1500 miles from home.
You can’t help but learn how to sell in that situation. You learn how to read people quickly, how to figure out their wants and needs and hopes and fears, and how to quickly grab their attention.
You learn what motivates people to buy, and you expertly lead them to that decision.
Over the next five years I mastered the art of selling. I loved the feeling of improving people’s lives because our paths crossed and I communicated effectively.
I’m still selling everyday with the words I craft, and I still get stoked about a successful campaign that brings in a lot of new customers.
Steve Roller, traveler
Selling skills and writing skills (and a love of those things) make sense for a successful copywriter. But traveling?
Let me explain.
My career has mostly been in direct sales. I’ve sold educational books door-to-door in 5 different states back East. I’ve sold legal publications to high-powered attorneys in Minneapolis. And I’ve been in fundraising sales, helping schools and non-profit organizations in the Madison, Wisconsin, area raise well over $1 million in profits.
Great jobs, all of them. But they all required me to physically be there in person, making presentations face-to-face (I figure I’ve made over 25,000 such sales presentations.) If I wasn’t on selling appointments, I wasn’t making money.
My wanderlust is too strong to be physically confined to one place.
When I found out I could use writing and selling skills as a copywriter, and indulge my passion for traveling at the same time, I leapt at the chance!
Most recently, I spent 17 days in Istanbul, Turkey, and Lagos and Benin City, Nigeria. As a copywriter, my “office” was under the coconut palms and avocado trees, soaking up the 90 degree sunshine. I spent 17 days relaxing, writing a few hours a day, and making money while I was on vacation.
I’ve been to all 50 states, 30 countries, and 5 continents so far. I have big travel plans for the future, and they all involve copywriting on the move!
Writing, selling, and traveling. A melding of three of my favorite things into my perfect career – copywriting. And being a copywriter gives me flexibility and time to spend with my two great loves – my wife and kids.
That’s what really counts.