How I Became a Copywriter: Part One
Since Karen asked in a comment to a previous CultureFeast post, I’m going to give you the story. I worked for two years at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. It was a blessing when it started. It paid more than I had ever made before. I felt very fortunate. Over the months that followed, I grew discontent with the same old routine every day. The office was nice. I had the pleasure of working with more than 140 people during that time, and I enjoyed conversations with many of them. But the work wasn’t my thing, and it felt like a dead end.
My poor wife put up with daily complaining and venting after work. I was so upset because I felt trapped with no way out. After nearly two years, I began to feel hopeless about the future.
A family friend, Matthew Phillips, had graduated from the Art Institute of Dallas and was working as a web designer for an Internet marketing / SEO company in Dallas. We won’t mention the company’s name (but it rhymes with “Munch”) because the CEO turned out to be shady as hell. Everyone else was decent, and they all ended up going their separate ways, joining or forming other Web marketing and SEO companies in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex.
Matt knew that I graduated with a BA in English and loved to write, and he kept telling me that I should try copywriting for an SEO firm. He told me it was all fluff anyway, and that I didn’t have to be an expert to get the job done. I was intimidated by the idea, wondering how I could convince someone to take a chance on me, a guy with no professional writing experience.
Matt left that company and joined Reset Media, a small web marketing and media company in Addison. Through Matt, I met Scott Terrell, the creative director.Â He told me about several projects the company was working on that might involve quite a bit of copywriting, but he wanted to test me out on another project first. So Scott, Matt, and I met at a Starbucks in Addison and they pitched me the vision for Reset Media. The goal was to write sales sheets, white papers, and new website copy for the company. I taped the conversation so I wouldn’t miss a thing and brainstormed with them for a couple of hours about the identity and brand Reset Media would put forth.
I drove home excited, feeling for the first time that I was a part of something creative. I labored for several weeks after hours on this project. It didn’t take long to wear out, though. Working 40 hours per week at a soul-draining job and then trying to be creative for a few hours each night was difficult. My wife could see how hard it was on me, and she knew how badly I wanted this internship to work out.
One day, my wife approached me and told me that she thought it was time for me to put in my two week’s notice at Wells Fargo and pursue writing with all my energy and heart. Something inside of me leapt at those words. Something clicked into place, and I was on my way.
I worked side by side with the Reset Media guys for two months and created sales sheets, white papers, and a new website for the company (which they decided not to use – and if you see their site today, it has absolutely no search engine optimization value – not my fault). After two months of working in their office as an intern, the company fell apart. One of the two principles went his own way and half of the staff walked out. I was on my own again, with no job, no internship, and no prospects…