Tips for finding a copywriting mentor

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The best thing you can do – and potentially the worst thing to do – when starting out as a copywriter is to look for a mentor or coach.

When I first started out almost ten years ago I was part of Michel Fortin’s Copywriting Board, where I served as a moderator. I received a ton of invaluable informal mentoring there. It was a free resource. Today you can find such online forums on Facebook or there are a number of paid forums. But back then the Copywriting Board was the place to go.

I approached an email copywriter there who offered paid training. To receive this training for free he gave me the opportunity to do some grunt work for him. He had a bunch of articles he wanted me to add keywords to and upload to his various mini sites so he could get Adsense revenue. It was tedious work, which is why he hated doing it, so it relieved a pain point for him. In exchange I received his training for free. He also was available by email anytime if I had questions and he sent referrals to me, one of which became a lucrative client, which got me established as a copywriter.

This training was valuable to me precisely because I didn’t pay for it. I had to be scrappy and humble enough to do grunt work. These are the same qualities needed to be a successful freelance copywriter. Because I didn’t pay for the training I didn’t fall into the trap of holding this copywriter responsible for my success. This is the biggest danger of paying for a mentor: it is a certainty that you will, at least subconsciously, hold that mentor responsible for your success and seek his or her approval and permission.

I recommend that you only pay for expensive mentoring if there is a guarantee that he or she will refer paying clients to you. But even then you should proceed cautiously. The experience of learning on your own and networking informally with fellow copywriters is very valuable. There are also many affordable courses and resources out there, such as my own.

Above all, proceed with your work with the intent of making a positive difference in the world and encourage your fellow copywriters along the way.

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