In the past, as a direct response copywriter I used to worry almost every day.
- What if my client does not like my work?
- What if it bombs?
- What if I’ve missed some errors there?
- What if I could have done a better job?
- What if I don’t get paid?
For this reason, I have grey hair. I’m 27.
For all intents and purposes, my intentions were good. I expected a lot from me. I have an A type personality and I’m not patient with other people’s mistake … especially mine.
However, eventually I’ve discovered that worrying about the results that your work produces is the most useless and soul destroying activity you can engage in. Why?
Think about it for a second. I post this. Can I force you to read it? To like it? To comment on it? No. I don’t control this. This is not Orwell’s 1984. I don’t have a mind controlling device. All I can do is do my best. Is to write, post and see what happens.
And so is with most copywriting projects.
You don’t get to control the results. Copywriting is a game of probabilities. You get to employ as many tools as you can in that moment to boost the chance of something working but you can’t force it to work.
The only thing you really have control on is the time you invest. You work harder, there’s a better chance it will work. That’s all. I can’t control my clients nor the marketplace. I can’t control trends. I can’t control the competition. Even trying to do so is futile.
The only thing I can control as a copywriter is how much effort I put in, how many hours I work. I can also control how much I study my craft and how much I refine my skills.
There are 100 factors that go into the success or failure of a promotion. There are only a few that you can touch in any way. So why should you worry about factors outside your control?
If you’re a copywriter and you’re afraid of the feedback you’re going to get, why worry? That person gives the feedback and that’s 100% independent of you. You can deliver the work and if the work is not suitable, you can invest more work to make it better.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re afraid that your project is not going to sell, why worry? You can test. That’s absolutely the only thing you can do. If it works, it works. If not, you try again.
Once I have finally understood this principle, my life became easy. I’ve understood that there are many strings being pulled around me and while I wish I could control them, I can not. I can only focus on what is within my own area of control and to some extent, area of influence.
I can’t determine what will be my next month’s income – but I have control over how many hours I invest. I can’t determine if I’ll be sick or healthy but I can determine how much I run in any given week. I can’t change if people buy or not, but I can definitely improve my skills by learning from the masters.
The field of copywriting can lead to neurosis with ease. This is because while programming, as an example, is more or less a science and you know there is a best way to make something happen, as a copywriter you don’t. There are many moving pieces.
Ignore them. If you focus on them, you won’t change anything. Ignore them and put that time and energy into working harder and into working smarter. One gram of tangible effort is better than a ton of potential effort that you have no control over.
The game is the same for everyone. At the end of the day, no matter the external factors, your own effort and your own skill are going to create outcomes or not.