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Four Critical Techniques To Increase Productivity as a Freelance Copywriter:

- by Jason Hart

To be successful at anything you need to develop a set of two core principles.  These governing principles are essential to becoming a successful freelance copywriter.

The first principle is that of constant and never-ending improvement (CANI).  It is very easy to get caught up in your goals and desired end-outcomes…to the point of becoming overwhelmed. CANI offers a solution and a point of reference to focus your attention on. If all you did was to improve one tiny aspect of your copywriting skills every single day, you would achieve mastery in uncommon time.

Tony Robbins once said, “We only learn our limits by going beyond them.” CANI! is a principle designed to encourage you to make small incremental improvements as you move along the path to copywriting mastery daily…and in doing so, you will be forced to find a way to go beyond your current set of self-imposed limitations.

The second principle is to improve your productivity.  When productivity is maximized more work is done in less time and profitability increases.  As a freelance copywriter, the faster you can craft high-quality copy for your clients the greater your success and the greater your increase in profitability.

Are you one who is always working and seeing little in the way of actual accomplishment?  If so then by the following these 4 critical techniques you will be able to get your career back on track and maximize productivity.

  1. How to write copy like Larry Bird —Larry bird was one of the greatest basketball players ever to grace the court.  All during his career — even at the peak of his career — Larry practiced constantly. Larry Bird practiced hours a day. He frequently would shoot in the Boston Garden before or after games alone in the dark. He was dedicated to getting better and being the best he could be. If you want to be a great copywriter practice like Larry Bird, you must put in the time writing, writing, writing.  Bird practiced so much that playing basketball become second nature to him.If you are not working on a current project for a client or you haven’t yet landed your first copy writing gig, the best thing you can do is to utilize one of the most successful training systems of all time by taking successful sales letters and writing them out by hand.  You can also take a sales letter that you thing can be improved upon and re-write it. You might even go ahead ad send it off as a spec to the very company that you received it from, who knows they may like your work and hand you a project.If you commit to practicing copywriting the way Larry Bird practiced basketball — over and over again — you will do more to increase your copywriting skills, abilities and confidence than anything else you could do.  Writing will become second nature — you will be able to wrote more effectively, efficiently and profitably.
  2. Copywriting Success = Organization —Productivity is killed by a lack of organization.  Do you spend inordinate amounts of time looking for stuff that should be readily available?  Do you find yourself saying “I know its here, somewhere.  Where is it?”This prevailing problem dramatically affects your productivity.  Your work environment and the way your organize files on your had drive should be set up in such a manner that; first of all makes sense to you and secondly that enables you to quickly and easily lay your hands on what ever it is that you need at the precise moment when you need it.Client files need to be organized.  When you are handed an assignment by a client treat it like gold.  Get everything you need relating to the project and organize it all in a systematic way that enables you to quickly get your hands on what you need when you need it.One system is to have a three folder system for each client. One folder for research that you do on the project.  One folder for the material that the client provides you about the project.  And, finally, a folder for miscellaneous items related to the project.  You could then keep all three folders in an expanding folder labeled with the clients name and the project.  Of course this would depend on the nature and size of the project.  Obviously if you are working on a small project, say a squeeze page, than you probably would not need as extensive a project folder.What you want to avoid though is the habit of becoming too organized.  Organization is a tool to aid in productivity when it becomes and obsession it defeats the purpose.  You don’t want to be so organized with printed computer color coded labels for your folders that you end up spending more time staying organized than you do actually moving the projects forward.  The main focus of your organizing efforts should be greater productivity not a feature spread in home business magazine.

    If you have been at this for awhile you my have an office or work space that needs some serious organization. Don’t put it off take the time right away to get all past and present projects organized in a manner that makes sense for you.  You will be amazed at the immediate increase in productivity.

    Now let’s take a look at you computer files…

    Do you save everything to “My Documents?”  If you do it doesn’t take very long before it becomes almost impossible to find anything.  If you use the “My Documents” folder then set up a sub-folder for “Copywriting.” Inside that sub-folder create individual folders for everything related to copywriting.  Set up a folder for your clients and maybe one for potential clients and then inside of those establish individual folders for each client.

    Did you know that you can store your digital documents where ever you would like.  It’s a good idea to move your “Documents” folder to a separate partition on your hard drive or a separate drive entirely.  Why would you want to do this?  Because if you ever have to reformat and reinstall your operating system you do not want to lose all your hard work.  The steps involved in accomplishing this important task are beyond the scope of this article but I would encourage you to look into it by a simple search for the steps on Google.

  3. Eliminate the Habit of Piling “Stuff” Up —Do you have stacks of papers lying around your work area?  Are the books you plan on reading or started and then put down and just haven’t been able to get back to yet lying about your work environment?  Does “stuff” just pile up everywhere?  I know, I’ve been there and it eventually impacts your productivity.It is fundamentally important to keep the work area of your life free from any self-inflicted distractions that these piles create.  Get control of this productivity land mine by asking yourself these core questions:
  • Do I need to act on this? (If you do then do it NOW!)
  • Do I need this, is there a benefit for me and will I be utilizing it in the next 3 months? (“I might find a need for this someday” doesn’t count.)
  • If I pitch it out can I readily and easily get it back if I find that I do need it? (If not then do not toss it — but only if you can zero in on a specific situation where you would need it.)
  • What is the worst that could happen if I toss it? (For instance are there legal and tax implications associated with it.)

4.  Productivity is Destroyed by Perfection —We all want our copy to be absolutely perfect, however if you insist on constantly revising your copy as you go along you actually place a stumbling block on your road to perfection.  Here is what I mean, strong, compelling copy is
never the result of a first draft…it is the result of numerous revisions.By constantly revising and improving your copy as you go along you
end up on a tread mill, running in place, working hard but never getting anywhere.Adopt a philosophy of Ready, Fire, Aim.  Don’t wait
until the copy is perfect before you submit it to your client.  You need their valuable feedback in order to shape it up through revisions
into the high-quality copy they hired you to produce.

    This also relates to obtaining clients and promoting your career.  I like the old Nike ad…”Just Do It.”

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