Creating A Practical Portfolio

Filed in Copywriting | Marketing | Micro Business Leave a comment

Let’s look at building a portfolio in a different way, today.

I was introduced to copywriting in college by a friend of mine.  He made very good money doing what he loved and tried his best to get me into the profession.  I did do copywriting, but it was almost always as an employee of a radio or television station or the occasional newspaper.

As an inducement, he showed me his very first portfolio.  It was made up of the sales pieces he used to build his initial clientele.  Each entry included the original copy, how it was presented and the hard numbers to prove the results of the campaigns.

His first client was a clothing store.  He created an after-hours, invitation-only event to introduce new inventory.  He got the owner to agree to pay him a ten percent commission on gross sales provided he attend the event in-person.  The store owner was thrilled with the $30,000 in sales it produced and continued a semi-annual event for several years.

His reputation grew slowly and steadily after that, resulting in a total of six clients.  After the first event, he started charging a flat rate, but got the store owners to agree to share the financial results.

The idea behind his portfolio was simple.  He wanted to build Trust With Verification by providing hard numbers that proved the value of his work in a practical, measurable way.

In the short-term he was able, through the events he produced for himself and others, start to make a very comfortable living.

In the long-term, he was able to justify asking for higher front-end rates and back-end residuals.

Copyright © 2016, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

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Writing Books Is Not Easy

Filed in Editors Notes Leave a comment

I have a confession.  I have been working on a book for the past two years.  It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I’m used to stories writing themselves, more or less.

I research a story idea, collect all the information, put it on 3×5 cards and then sit down and pound the keys.  Poof!  Eight-hundred words (more or less) and its done.  I go on to something else.

Books don’t cooperate with that style of writing.  They require thought, lots of planning and time.  Lots and lots of time.  I’m not sure I like the idea of writing books.

My current solution is this Blog. I’ve figured out that, if I write some columns for the next year or so, I just might come up with enough material for a book or two.  I’m not making a conscious effort to write a book, so maybe I can sneak up it and write it by default.

I’ve had columnist friends write books this way and they turned out OK.  I don’t know that they made much money, but at least the damned thing got written and published.

Maybe my problem is my feeling that some aspect of writing needs to be enjoyable.  I’m sitting at my computer enjoying the green of the Evergreens outside my window.  At the moment (mid-January in Seattle) it’s raining.  As I write this column I can take a moment or two to absorb the calm and quiet outside my window.

When I tried writing the book, however, it became a chore and made me feel less warm and fuzzy.

Even when I got stuck in a television newsroom I managed to sneak over to a window and breathe in the scenery.  It made running up against the deadlines less stressful, at least for a while.

Maybe the fact that a book has no deadline is part of the issue.  I know how long it takes to write five hundred to eight hundred words.  I don’t know how long it takes to write a 30,000-word book.  Maybe by the end of this year I might have a clue.

I want to write an Evergreen-type book with techniques, processes and concepts that span the generations.  My thinking is that there are business models that are similar, generation to generation.  All that changes, for the most part, are the technologies and the expectations they create.  Finding those consistent concepts will be one of the objectives for the rest of 2016.

Over the course of this year, I intend to write two hundred and fifty 500-word columns.  That turns out to be something in the neighborhood of 125,000 words.  I figure there might be a book or two in their somewhere.

Why all this effort?  I am not the type to retire.  I’ve tried it several times and it hasn’t worked.  Getting up in the morning and looking forward to a challenge is essential for my mental and emotional health.  I need to look forward to a challenge at the start of the day and look back at the day with a sense of accomplishment.

Fortunately, I am physically healthy.  I walk at least an hour a day, motivated mainly by the desired to pet the neighborhood dogs and tease them into believing I have treats.  I bring this up because writing, for the most part, is a sit-down job.  I figure I can keep working on something as long as I can get to the computer and type.

Who knows, after this year, I might have three or four books in publication.  I might even be able to make a living on their royalties.

I still have to write 500-words a day.  If I keep at this, maybe I can take my daily walks on my fingertips if my legs give out.

Copyright © 2016, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

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