“The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.” – Ayn Rand
When American Writers & Artists Inc. asked me to help develop a program to teach people copywriting, we considered lots of different names for it. I was always a little uncomfortable with what they chose – “Michael Masterson’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting” – because it contains much more than my ideas. Lots of great copywriters put their best tricks and techniques into this program, including co-founders Don Mahoney and Paul Hollingshead, the legendary Bill Bonner, superstars Bob Bly, Peter Betuel, Herschell Gordon Lewis, and others.
Because of the wealth of the contributions and the fact that the program has been assiduously updated and improved every year since it was first developed in 1997, this is – by far – the most comprehensive and authoritative learning system of its kind in the world.
It’s also very effective. Come into the AWAI headquarters here in Delray Beach and you’ll see, proudly hung on the wall, hundreds of unsolicited testimonials from people whose lives have been changed by taking this program.
A recent case in point is a guy named Joshua Boswell.
Joshua signed up for the program in April 2005 … and really got serious about it last June.
He told Katie Yeakle, Executive Director of AWAI, “While I had a strong gut feeling that I SHOULD take the program – I had PLENTY of reasons why I should not.”
Here is an insight into that fateful day, in Joshua’s words:
“You have to understand … the day I got AWAI’s ‘Retire This Year’ letter, I was totally and completely dead broke. Just a few months before, I was forced to close the doors on my company and was heavily in debt to creditors and investors. On top of that, I had never heard of Michael Masterson, Bob Bly, AWAI, or any of you folks. At one point in my search for financial freedom, I had been burned by mail-order – a fact that only fueled my fears.
“At any rate, with a very large family to feed, I simply could not afford to make a mistake. So, frankly, I was scared stiff when I used the last of our food money to order AWAI’s copywriting program.”
Joshua needn’t have worried. Copied below is an e-mail he sent to Katie Yeakle and Bob Bly, describing his quick and outrageous success:
“I did some calculating last night and realized that the grand goal of making $100,000 a year with copywriting had been achieved! Before ordering AWAI’s program, I had written a number of fundraising letters, but, honestly, I had never heard the term ‘copywriter’ prior to reading the ‘Retire This Year’ promo.
“And if the truth really be known, I didn’t make my first prospecting effort of calls and letters until August 2005, and did not make my first copywriting dollar until the middle of September 2005.
“Less than a year … what an amazing journey you people have put me on!
“With the money I have already made and the assignments I am currently working on, I have comfortably entered that elusive six-figure income bracket that so many toil and sweat and strain to achieve … and I have done it from my own home, being my own boss, and have not once sacrificed precious time with my family. It is all just like you said it could be … and would be … if I followed the program. I did follow your program, and here I am.
“But the problem now is that I can’t appear to stop the client flow.
“Yesterday, I turned down an immediate project and told a major potential client that they would just have to wait until the end of August, because I am already booked with consulting and copywriting projects. A few days before, I shunned a U.S. Senator who wanted me to do a number of letters. I told him it was because I was booked (and that was true, for the most part), but really it is because he pays way too little and is slightly annoying to work with.
“Now, I know that you both know that lovely feeling of turning down a client, but it was the first couple of big ones that I set aside … and it felt really nice to have options!
“So, I may very well be killing you both with ‘Thank Yous’ lately, but here is another one … THANK YOU!”
And the future is going to get even better for Joshua. Katie has hired him to do at least one project each month for AWAI. And the marketing people here at ETR are trying to get on his calendar.
Today’s Action Plan: I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: Become a competent copywriter for the direct-marketing industry, and you’ll be able to enjoy a six-figure income without dealing with the hassles of a nine-to-five job, a boss, or commuting to work every day.[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]