I’m scanning the waves...
That one looks good (but what if the surfers at the front think I’m stupid and I fall?)
That one right there also looks good (but there’s a guy on the beach and he is TOTALLY staring at me, thinking what an idiot I am).
And that one looks good (but…)
BUT has been my entire life story.
But - but - but - but.
What if, what if, what if.
And now - more than ever - I'm starting to feel that familiar 'impostor syndrome' feeling creep back in.
Because I just started surfing and I'm not that good.
I can't really catch 'green waves' (which are basically those big waves at the back with no foam).
I can't position my feet on the board properly yet.
And the other day I fell flat on my face in front of an ENTIRE line-up - in front of at least 10 pro surfers.
And I felt really stupid.
Not gonna lie, I wanted to give up. Walk out the water and never surf again. Because this shit is hard. It's not easy. And I feel like I'm failing no matter what I do.
I had the same feeling earlier this week.
I got a bunch of hate comments on Instagram about my GEN-Z copywriting community. That I was a fraud. Or a scammer (I mean, really?) That I did 'nothing' for the community.
It was a load of BS and I knew it. I know how hard I work. I know how much value my 30 members get from what I'm doing.
But it still hurt.
At that point, I had two options.
1) Give up. Remain in my lil comfortable spot - a spot where I don't put myself out there. A spot where I'm quiet and not loud or proud about what I'm creating. A spot that limits the community to just a few members. I never grow.
2) Keep going. Keep doing. So what if a few trolls spew their hate on me? It's gonna happen a lot. Am I really just going to stop whenever someone - especially someone who probably hates their own life - comes at me with mean words? In five years' time, those comments will mean absolutely nothing to me and I'll probably take this community to AMAZING heights.
It's a no-brainer.
I'm going with two.
It's the same with surfing.
There are some days I wake up and think, 'ughhhh. Not today. I don't feel like being humiliated or falling off my board yet again."
But I haul my ass up and get out there and do it, even though it's reallllllly uncomfortable.
Your copywriting journey needs discomfort to grow
Look, I know it's not easy at the start.
People might doubt you and your writing ability.
Companies might not value you - they might think they can take advantage of you because you're young (prove them wrong).
You won't get every gig you apply to - you will be rejected once, twice, or three times.
You will make a mistake.
And sometimes you'll have to do things that feel UBER uncomfortable to progress to the next level.
Things like moving from junior to senior (even when you don't feel ready).
Telling your boss or your internship you're gonna quit (because you're not being appreciated or paid your worth).
Shedding that 'junior' copywriter mentality - because writing talent has nothing to do with age or years of experience.
Sending in an application that you totally don't feel qualified to apply for.
Putting out a piece of writing you've done - a blog, a poem, an ad, an email - and showing it off to the entire world even in the face of fear or rejection.
Making the switch to freelance - even if the road ahead looks super blurry and you feel like you're making it up as you go along (trust me, we all are).
All those things kinda suck in the short term.
They make you feel weird. Uncomfortable. They get your heartbeat going a bit. They make you look inside yourself and scrutinise every lil thing about you.
But you will come out the other side all the better for it.
You'll be stronger.
Able to take on other challenges that life throws at you with ease.
Most of all, you'll have tried.
Even if it doesn't go well the first time (or the 13th time) or you don't get the response you wanted, at least you did it.
You're moving forward - even if you're 'failing' forward.'
The majority of people stay in their bubble - they don't move out of it. They stay put. They don't progress because they're scared.
Do you really want to live like that?
Or be the person that takes on everything and every small dream they have and at least tries?
At some point, you'll hit a breakthrough.
A magic moment where things DO align.
Where do you achieve that goal you've got in your head.
But you'll only get there by pushing yourself outside of that fluffy comfort zone.
Need some perspective?
Started copywriting at 17.
I'm now freelancing, travelling around Portugal, and I'm at a place in my career where I feel valued and appreciated - finally.
Did it come in a year?
More like 4 years.
Here's my CV of rejections and letdowns and disappointments:
Left uni without a degree
Spent at least a year running in circles and not knowing WTF I was doing with my life
Got turned down from at least 30 copywriting gigs
Got emailed by an employer about a spelling mistake in a job application (yeah, I didn't get the job)
Attended shitty 6 am copywriting meetings for a company that worked in Dubai (we all gotta start somewhere, right?)
Got paid £30 for £1000 words (and I did like 10 blogs for these people!)
Accepted a job that paid me below minimum wage (I didn't know my worth at the time)
Got told numerous times that I was a junior and that I'd have to wait at least 5 years before becoming a 'freelance' copywriter
Got worked into the ground and worked overtime (without being paid) for the same copywriting job in Dubai
Got scammed by an employer who wasn't really an employer at all - didn't get paid on time either.
Was told by 'certain' family members that I probably wouldn't go that far without a degree and that I was basically doomed
That's a pretty exhaustive list, right?
I've made A LOT of 'mistakes.'
Well, that's what most people would call them - I just call them 'learnings.'
Because they all got me to where I am today and none of this would have been as rewarding if it had been handed to me on a silver platter.
So, enjoy the process. Dig deep into your journey. Find your 'mountain' in copywriting (whether that's going freelance so you can travel, increasing your salary, or even landing your first-ever gig) and RUN towards it.
Push into the wave of discomfort.