Success Story – Beth Erickson

“There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.” – Robert Byrne

When Beth Erickson went to AWAI’s copywriting bootcamp two years ago, she, like most of the other student attendees, was struggling to get her new career started. She thought she knew what she had to do to get where she wanted to go, but it just wasn’t happening.

Beth’s “Eureka!” moment came during MMF’s presentation about his “1,000-hour program.”

He explained his theory that it takes pretty much the same amount of time — 1,000 hours — to become competent at anything you want to do. “Whether it’s a skill, such as speaking a foreign language or writing advertising copy, or a profession, such as teaching physics or practicing law,” he said, “you can get very good at the basic work by practicing it for 1,000 focused hours.”

The idea at first seemed strange to Beth, but she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. And as he provided examples from his own experience — learning Spanish, ballroom dancing, and Jiu Jitsu — his 1,000-hour concept started to sound feasible.

“You can become a competent professional copywriter in less than 1,000 hours,” MMF said. “This, I absolutely guarantee.”

Beth was hooked. She took notes on his recommended system:

1. Take a large sheet of paper. Create a grid of 1,000 boxes.

2. On the top of the chart, write — in bold letters — the task/objective that is most important to your success. Then, put the chart someplace where it will be easy for you to see it every day.

3. Every time you spend an hour doing something specific and useful to achieve your goal, cross off a box.

“After listening to MMF,” says Beth, “I went home and got one of those HUGE calendars (the ones that sit on your desk and aren’t very useful because they’re usually buried), ripped off the top page, and flipped it over.

“I sat on my kitchen floor and proceeded to use a yardstick to create a graph with 1,000 little squares. Then I tacked it to my office wall.

“Every time I spend an hour developing my writing skills, studying copywriting, or doing something that will make me better at what I want to do, I ‘X’ out one of those boxes. And guess what? My squares are filling up fast, and my income is rising.

“This year, I’ve more than doubled what I made last year as a writer.

“Just seeing that 1,000-hour chart on my wall is a constant reminder to do something productive whenever I have a little spare time on my hands. And filling those squares is far more exciting than playing a few games of computer solitaire.

“I never dreamed that such a little action could pay off so quickly. You really can achieve what you want in life. You just have to make the effort, pay attention to what you are doing, and spend the time it requires to get there.”

Editorial Note:

In Delray Beach, FL, on September 10th join MMF, Don Mahoney, Bob Bly and other master copywriters as they share powerful copywriting techniques and secrets at the 3-day Copywriting Immersion Program, AWAI’s FastTrack to Success 2003.