Hopefully you read my Introduction and you know what’s going on. If you haven’t the short of it is, I am trying to start a web based career, and I am letting you in on all of my secrets as I go.
Ok, so here we go. I have no secrets. I also have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve read some books and I’m taking some online courses, both of which we will get into later, and everything else is seat of my pants business planning. Which isn’t to say that I don’t have a plan. I think I have a great vision, but I’m sure everyone thinks that their idea is just the best idea ever conceived. I also have no idea how to get to the end goal. I know exactly where I want to be, but I don’t have a GPS, or even a map, and I keep getting lost along the way. It’s like following the yellow brick road, only a tornado has come through and scattered the bricks all over, and I’m hopscotching across the path with no idea if I’m going the right way or taking the steps in the correct order. But I guess that’s the joy of this Blog. You may learn what to do, and what not to do. You may also be thoroughly entertained as I fall flat on my ass. Together we will learn what works and what doesn’t.
As I said I have a great plan, at least what I believe to be a great plan. I’m not going to tell you what it is. Well, not yet anyway. I’m sure there are many of you reading this that have already been through what I’m going through, and already tried what I’m going to try. And, well…I just don’t want you spoiling the surprise just yet. I don’t want to know how, or why my plan is going to fail. If I fail I want it to be under my own doubts and fears, and not the ones you give me.
Fear. There it is. “We cannot fail what we never begin.” I know that feeling all too well. I have lived a large chunk of my life under that maxim. This is it, this is where I look fear straight in the eye… then go cower in a corner. Because this shit is terrifying (I can’t reread this sentence without hearing Negan say it). I’m trying to reorganize and rearrange my whole life, and for what, just to pursue a dream I didn’t even know I had till a few months ago. I have always wanted to write. I used to make my friends read snippets of paragraphs I had written, but fear always knew better. Some people say it’s “the inner critic” but I don’t really see it that way. It’s not another voice inside my head telling me what a failure I am, cause fuck that guy. I know, somewhere, that that guy is full of shit. And even though I know this, my own fear has me staring at the floor agreeing with him. Fear of failure, even worse the fear of success, that’s a big one. Fear that even if you succeed that you can’t ever really succeed because you’ll just screw it up anyway and lose everything. If it were just the critic, I think I would be ok, but it’s not. It’s really hard to fight off the critic, and myself, being the type of guy who has punched himself in the face while drunk, I can speak from experience.
I have always wanted to write, and just a few months ago I discovered, quite by accident, copywriting. Well, I guess not by accident. It was an ad on an email for a mailing list I signed up for. The Writer Magazine, if you are at all interested in creative writing, which I am, I highly recommend it. And the angels sang, AAAHHH, I didn’t know this was a thing. Looking back now, I don’t know how I didn’t know. It seems quite obvious. Someone has to write this stuff. I want to write, and I want to help people. And there it is. I want to write copy for local charities and non-profits. I’ve had some experience working with a group or two over the last few years. Not writing for them, more manual labor kind of stuff. The people I worked with were so selfless. I want to be much more like them. However, most of them were retired, and I still need to make a living, and don’t forget, I want to write.
So I started reading articles, and signing up for mailing lists. I started buying the books that professional copywriters recommended. I even signed up for a copywriting course. A good majority of these articles said one of the best ways to get started is to make a website and write a blog. This way you can get samples of your writing out there, and give people a way to contact you, and hire you.
I can see the wheels turning. I know what you are thinking. “I thought you were going to teach us, and show us the way. Why didn’t you tell us what courses? Why didn’t you tell us the name of the books, or link the articles?”
For multiple reasons actually. One, because this is a business, and a business is intended to make money. As I said, I have no intention of trying to sell you anything of my own creation, at this point. I do intend on advertising. I don’t want to just throw up random ads on my page. It may come to that but I’m trying to avoid it. I do however want to use affiliate ads (I will tell you the difference and why I think one is better than the other). Two, I haven’t finished reading the books, or taking the course. I don’t know if they are worth the money spent on them. I don’t want you running out and signing up for courses or buying books because “The Ragged Writer said they were good”, until I can in fact say if they are good. Three, it is only 4 days past New Years, and I don’t plan on going live till March. I have every intention of coming back and adding some links, if I can figure out how, and listing some book titles. I’m incredibly sorry if that didn’t happen. If this line is still in the post, I guess I didn’t make it back. Trying to start a business while still working a fulltime job can be exhausting.
So, Ads. There are 2 main types of ads. There are algorithm generated random ads, I’m sure that’s not the technical name, like Google Ad Sense. Those are the ads that are on the side of most websites. What ads you personally see depend on googles translation of your internet usage. We can all go to the same page at the same time and see different ads. You can sign up for this through google, and you make a little bit every time someone clicks on the ad. This is call Pay Per Click, or PPC. It’s usually a few cents a click and you need high traffic to make much money from it. The other is Cost Per Impression, CPI or CPM which is Cost Per Mille. Mille is Latin for thousand, so it would be Cost Per Thousand Impressions. An impression is someone just seeing the ad. So basically you get paid for every 1000 people that see it. You need extremely high traffic, or many of these per page to make real money this way.
The other one is Affiliate Ads, which I plan on utilizing the most. An Affiliate Ad is a link to whatever is being advertised, like a book, or another copywriting website. When you follow that link, the advertiser gets a percentage of any money spent there.
The advantage of Affiliate Ads, I believe, is that I can advertise only things that I believe in and have used. Only books that I have read and believe contains relevant information. This will allow you, the reader, to just jump to a site to purchase the item being discussed. I’m not saying that you should buy everything I talk about, I’m just trying to live up to my promise of telling you exactly what I had to do to get to this point. There will be times that I tell you about a book I bought that it turns out didn’t help me with my current objectives. The idea is get us all up in running, if this is what you want to do, with as little money risked as possible. I’ve seen copywriting courses listed for thousands of dollars. Maybe those courses make you a copywriting God, maybe they are complete scams. It doesn’t make that much of a difference to me, because I don’t have that kind of money to invest. I mentioned that I have enrolled in a course, it wasn’t thousands of dollars, and I jumped in on a sale day around the beginning of December, but it was still a pretty substantial cost to me. I’m not going to talk about that until I finish it. I don’t want anyone mistaking a casual mention for an endorsement then running out and spending their hard earned money on a course that may or may not turn out to be worth it.
Remember, I am learning this as I go, just like you. If you are already well versed in the things I am discussing, please, do not hesitate to send me a message if I have made mistakes. I hope to make this a journey of mutual discovery.
We come this far and not even touched on the topic I had in mind when I sat down to write this morning. I believe that topic will be a whole post on its own so I guess we will pick up there.
This post was written long before the home page. I apologize if some things don’t make sense, however I felt the story flowed better with those parts in, and if you didn’t visit the home page, then you will never know the difference.