It’s Sink or Swim Time

By Brenda Sanchez | June 1, 2020

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Interesting Times 2020 Challenge Winners

Interesting times? To say the least…

We go through our lives, blissfully unaware such a sinister menace even existed out there, and then, BAM! Of course we weren’t personally prepared! And now what??

Like most of the workforce today, I am sidelined at home — waiting for the restrictions to be lifted and to be called back to my “regular” job.

The irony is, haven’t we all always dreamt of this moment (minus the pandemic part)? Having all of this “free time” we always talk about? You know, the “if I never had to work again, I would…” sentence we’ve all uttered? And what was your answer?

Mine included:

  • Finish all my AWAI classes
  • Launch my Freelance Copywriting Career
  • Do yoga every day
  • Volunteer
  • Learn Spanish
  • Eat healthily
  • Perfect my golf game

Those types of things, right? And in lieu of having all that “disposable time”, I have just been doing what I could — when I could — like everyone else.

But… am I doing any of it now that I can? No. I’m not.

I have been staring at my iPad most days, processing all the bad news and feeling terrified. Not because I’m afraid I’m going to get the virus, but because I now have no excuse to not finally launch my copywriting career.

You may be thinking, “Whoa! There’s a pandemic out there — that’s a GREAT excuse not to throw yourself into the deep end. Companies are laying people off, not hiring!”

But really, it’s not a good reason — because every industry out there still needs to communicate with their base. It may seem like the wrong time to be job-hunting, but how can we use that to our advantage in this field? What do people NEED right now from a copywriter?

The answer that struck me was pretty simple… clients need the same thing they needed before COVID-19 came into our lives. They Need Help.  Just wordsmithed a little differently for a bit…

It seems the questions to be asking any new or existing customer now has to be “How can I help you today? How can we shift gears with your messages to give information that makes the most sense in today’s environment? What can we offer your customers that they would consider valuable now or may help them get through this difficult time?”

I am not an established copywriter… I just set up my website… I’m still taking lots of AWAI courses. I recently sent a few cold-call emails… applied for some positions that caught my eye on the job boards. And I’ve only tentatively stuck my big toe in the pool of prospective clients I’d like to work for… but that just hasn’t been enough.

Why? Because I haven’t fully committed to giving the effort 100%. I haven’t made it MY JOB.

You see, I do tend to procrastinate. I always “get it done”, but I do often wait until the last minute. (Perfect example? This essay. I guarantee I’ll finish it and get it turned in with little time left to spare.) Something about that pressure of a deadline looming just forces me into action. And that’s when I realized I had a new deadline – my Starting my Copywriting Career deadline. And this is it:

Things Will Get Back to Normal and You Don’t Know How Soon That May Happen.

Once I realized that I knew I had to have a serious talk with myself and lay down the law once and for all. So, I sat down with myself last night and said, “Brenda, you have this gift of TIME and OPPORTUNITY to get your butt in gear. You can’t squander this. You may never have the chance again.”

When you think about it, it sort of is the perfect time to say, “What the heck? Why not?” Because really… who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow? If there’s one thing I’m acutely aware of, now more than ever, it’s that things can change in an instant.

Based on that, I had to ask myself, “Is doing what it takes to launch your new career all that scary anymore?” And my answer was, “No, not really.”

Wayne Gretzky put it perfectly when he said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” That’s the hat-trick I needed to accomplish… closing my eyes, holding my nose, and jumping in.

So that is what I decided to do… commit to taking the plunge.

Starting today, I am officially “going to my copywriting job”! Establishing a routine. Keeping a schedule. Eliminating distractions. Setting goals with self-imposed deadlines! Making these steps into daily habits that I can manage and maintain.

Today I invite my fellow rookie copywriters to do the same — even now when times seem so uncertain. Take this unfortunate situation and make the best of it while you can! Be Brave. TRY. Get wet.

We’re not swimming alone. We have all these fabulous resources of AWAI and PWA to rely on and refer to. But most importantly, we have them there to throw out a life preserver if our heads start to go under.

Let’s jump into the deep end and not be afraid the water is too deep. Let’s dive into this vast ocean of opportunity with all these great writers who make a living doing what they love.

I’m done treading water and hoping for the best. Are you?

Let’s get out there and let’s make waves!

This article is part the series: Interesting Times 2020 Challenge Winners