1. Biography – Austin can you tell the readers a little more about you – a potted history of Austin if you will!?

I’ll boil it down to the basics.
I was born and raised in the states. After graduating college, I had no idea what to do with my life and applied for a scholarship to get a masters degree in China. Somehow I got it, so I  spent 3.5 years over there.
In that time I met my girlfriend who is Japanese. When we both finished school, we knew we didn’t want to get jobs there and live in China any longer. Since we’re not married, we also couldn’t live in America or Japan full time and still be together. So we started living abroad as a way to be together and develop our interests and passions.
Of course we have to work to survive, so we turned to the internet to figure how to work while still moving around and traveling. Eventually I landed on copywriting.
We like seeing new places, but know that we won’t be able to build a sustainable income if we move too much. So we are slow travelers, choosing to spend 3 months to a year in one place before moving on (the longer the better). Right now we’re in Thailand, heading to Malaysia next month, and from there who knows.
 
2. Copywriting – how did you get into copyrighting Austin? What type do you do?
I knew I wanted to work online but didn’t know in what capacity. Looking for ideas, I realized two things:
1) I needed to start making money quick and
2) Every business needs copywriting to sell their offers.
At first I wasn’t actually writing copy, I just wrote boring posts for SEO purposes. These were just garbage articles written for search engines, not really intended for people to actually read.
I quickly shifted to studying copywriting and looking for clients who can’t afford anyone but a newbie. I was on Upwork and did a few small jobs here and there. Eventually I got a gig with a copywriting agency. They had all the clients and used freelancers to supply the copy. That was good for me because it gave me a lot more work so I could get experience writing for many mediums and across many industries (but the pay was terrible!).
After a while of that, I realized I don’t like writing all kinds of copy for all industries. I didn’t want to be a jack of all trades, master of none. But through working with this client, I found that I enjoy writing email copy the most. So that’s my main focus now.
I actually wouldn’t say I’m just an email copywriter. I’ve put enough time and energy into learning email that it goes beyond just writing the words. So I tend to tell people I’m an email marketer now. My service does include writing the copy, but it also includes strategy and research.
Oh, and since I’ve turned to solely email, I’ve also niched my target market down to digital course and information product creators. This could also include people who run info based membership sites. I’ll continue to niche as time goes on.

3. What are the best parts of your job?

There’s a lot of cool things about copywriting.

I like learning about my clients’ business and their market. It’s cool to see how people’s pains and problems are solved by the work my clients do. So it’s really awesome to know that if I help my client make more sales, what that really means is that real people are improving their lives (assuming the client solves real problems).

I also like how the better I get, the more I can charge. There will always be more businesses in this world than there are quality copywriters. So if you work hard and apply yourself, then show clients how much more money they will make by working with you, you can basically write your own ticket.
Another thing is the potential. A lot of big name copywriters take their skills and shift it to their own business projects. So I don’t feel I have to work as a freelancer forever. I will be able to build a highly profitable business off of the business and marketing principles I learn through copywriting (finding problems, solving them, understanding the market, putting the right offer in front of them).
And, of course, copywriting is a good way to work remotely or as a digital nomad. If you make clients money, they don’t care where you live!
4. Any advice for people who want to get into the profession?
Invest in yourself with time and money. Study the greats and learn the fundamentals of direct response marketing and copywriting. Despite what people tell you, not much has changed since the invention of the internet. A lot of what people were doing offline 25, 50, 75 years ago still applies to the online world (if you have a brain and use it).
Find just a couple of big name copywriters whose work and style you resonate with, then study them like crazy. DO NOT spend all your time reading free blog posts or studying from people who have been copywriting for a couple years and think they are experts. Do some digging and learn from the greats. And go for depth in your learning, not breadth. Consider reading 10 books 10 times, not 100 books one time.
Write a lot. Don’t just copy your heroes. Learn from them, but write often enough to develop your own voice. Realize that clients pay more for people who stand out, not me-too service providers.
Consider reaching out to your network for your first few gigs. You may have to work for free or very cheap, but that could be the only way to get a few gigs under your belt. Another option is to look around in your community at small businesses that could use some help. This could work really well if in places you frequently visit where they know your face or name. Maybe their site sucks or their flyers do. Maybe their signs out front could be more persuasive. There are loads of tasks you could do and they aren’t limited to the online world. So get creative.
5. What are the worst things about copywriting?
Many businesses / clients don’t understand the value of copywriting. They just want to pay for words and don’t realize that great copy requires loads of time and research. Or they think their business and service is so great that they don’t need good copy, as if their stuff sells itself. Or they don’t realize that copy relies on understanding their market deeply and speaking to the market.
Or, they overvalue copywriting and think it will save or build a business that isn’t any good. They don’t realize they need to develop the right offer and put it in front of the right market first. Instead they want to put crappy offers in front of the wrong market, then expect copywriters to just sell with their sizzling words. Doesn’t work like that.
So, as you can probably see, the worst things about copywriting is how little most businesses know about copywriting (and even business in general!).
Another problem, it can be hard to decide who you will listen to for advice. A lot of the greats build their skills over decades of practice before teaching. And when they do teach, their products aren’t very cheap. But these days you have people who read a book last week and are now trying to sell you a $500 course. People are teaching when they have no real world experience.
Also, those first few clients can be tough. They are hard to find and you’re insecure about your work. Push through it.
Finally, it’s tough! A lot of research is involved. If you don’t like research, this may not be for you.

6. If you had to give any advice to your younger self what would it be?
Give yourself a time limit for niching down. So instead of saying that I need a lot of work and income, my first goal should be to find my niche asap. With a great niche and focus, I can increase my income much more quickly than working as a generalist. Also, don’t get scared about losing work by niching down, I’ll likely get more work when I speak to a specific market. And if I mess up with niching, I can always pivot later.
7. What is the weirdest gig you have had so far?
Most have been pretty normal to be honest. I’d say the weirdest was writing a sales page and emails for software that writes sales copy for you. As I was writing it I was thinking, “If this product is so great, why are you hiring a copywriter? Shouldn’t the software do it for you…”

That’s how it goes when getting started though. When you need money and experience, you have to take on some work even though you may not be totally into what your client does.

8. Plug yourself 

If you currently create high value digital courses or information products and need help selling them, I can help you do that through email marketing. Check out my site, austinmiller.me, to get a feel for my style, see if we could be a fit to work together, and to reach out.
But if you plan to sell crappy products that nobody wants or needs, find someone else…

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