Should copywriters do trial jobs?

Every now and again I get asked about this:

The answer is yes and no and it really depends on who you’re dealing with. You see, a lot of people use, “Trial jobs” as a way to get work done for nothing. If you ask ten prospective writers for a blog post, you could end up with five great posts (And do it without having to pay a cent for them.)

In many cases this is obviously what’s being done.

On the other hand, I landed some of my biggest clients by doing trial jobs.

Sometimes the client has no malicious intent and simply wants to know what you’re capable of.

Many times it’s a test to see if you’re willing to follow instructions.

So what it really comes down to is experience and being able to sniff out shady people.

It’s also about the job. Depending on what’s being offered it might be worth your while to make an effort. After all, you really have nothing to lose but your time. If you don’t get the job you can chalk it down to experience. That being said, make sure you don’t spend too much time on the task. Anything that takes more than an hour or two isn’t worth it.

If you’re still uncertain ask them to pay a nominal fee upfront.

This will help to weed out people who aren’t serious.

The best thing you can do is avoid putting yourself in this position.

You want to be getting so many offers you can pick and choose the best ones.

You also want such a good reputation that no would dare ask you to do trial work.

(It also helps if you skip clients altogether and focus on selling your own products.)


Alastair Walton


One of my favorite movies is film called Layer Cake.

It stars future James Bond Daniel Craig as a London based criminal who wants to retire.

The name of this film basically refers to his place in the criminal hierarchy.

And the fact that over time you move up or down in that world

(Or up the layer cake as they say in the film.)

I don’t want to reveal the plot but basically he’s betrayed by the people he works for and set up to be arrested. After a number of twists and turns he finds himself in the clear and ready to sail off into the sunset. But before this can happen he’s given a lecture by a senior mob boss.

Part of the lecture involves this quote.

“You’re born, you take s**t. You get out into the world, you take more s**t. You climb a little higher, you take less s**t. Till one day you’re up in the rarefied atmosphere and you’ve forgotten what s**t even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake son.”

Any time I’m struggling I think back to these words.

The fact is that business can sometimes seem impossibly difficult.

As if you’re hopelessly spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.

The whole thing can seem heartbreaking.

But the fact is that if you put in the work you’ll get there.

You’ll slowly move up the layer cake one way or the other…

…until finally one day you reach the top.

Believe me it’s not impossible.

Get the message?


Alastair Walton


One of the best lessons I ever learnt was this:

“Money is attracted to speed.”

What does this mean?

Basically the faster you move the faster you’ll make money. The easiest way to implement this is in your communication. Any message or email should be replied to immediately. The faster you reply the faster you can get the ball rolling. In the past I used to take hours or even days to get back to people.

Then I realized how amateurish and unprofessional this looked…

…and started to reply back straight away.

When I did this my success rate dramatically increased.

You see, here’s what you need to realize:

Most people are highly impatient and want immediate replies. Attention is fleeting and if you wait even an hour it might be too late. This goes double for people who want to get started now. Take too long and someone else will end up taking your place.

Bottom line:

Get into the habit of doing things NOW and you’ll always be ahead of the next person.

If you wait and put things off you’ll never get anywhere and that’s a fact.

The faster you move the better you’ll do.

Money is attracted to speed.

So work fast and get PAID.


Alastair Walton


Here’s something I learnt from (Believe it or not) Donald Trump.

You see, a while back I read an article about negotiation.

This article mentioned that one of DTs negotiation tactics is to always ask for MORE.

He always asks for more than he actually needs because that gives him leeway to go down.

Not only is this a useful negotiation tactic it’s something you should always do.

Whenever a client asks what your fee is always ask for a little more.

A lot of the time your price (Even if you think it’s a lot) will actually seem cheap to the client. In that case they will be more than happy to pay what you want. In the past I never had the confidence to do this. And that probably cost me a lot of money. But then I got wise, and started adding on $50, $100 EVEN $200 to my price.

And you know what?

To my shock most clients would say YES.

Do likewise and you’ll earn more money.


Alastair Walton


Should you have a website?

Believe it or not this is something that a lot of copywriters are unsure about.

Most don’t want a website because they think it’s pointless. Otherwise they think it’s expensive or takes too much time and effort to maintain or they have no idea how to set one up.

When I first started out I felt this exact same way. But what you have to realize is that all of these reasons are basically excuses…

…and that it’s absolutely vital that you have your own website.

You see, what you need to realize is that your site is a type of, “Digital business card.”

You want to give it to every single potential client that you interact with.

The reason why is because you’re more than likely not going to sell your service at the first point of contact. Clients need to get warmed up first. You have to build up trust, develop a relationship and establish yourself as an authority before they will do business with you. A website allows you to do all this and more.

The most important thing on your site is a blog.

Other than that you need an about me page.

This is basically a sales page where you want to sell them on hiring you.

(Don’t forget to include a picture of yourself so they know what you look like.)

Before taking off, one more thing:

You should also set up an email list as soon as possible.

When you do this create some type of free report that you can give them for signing up.

Bottom line, a personal website will help you get more clients.

If you don’t have one what are you waiting for?


Alastair Walton


Want to know one of the best ways to save time…

…and maximize your writing efforts?

Of course your do.

You see, when I first started learning how to write copy I was extremely diligent.

I studied everything I could get my hands on.

This included going to the magazine rack every time I went grocery shopping.

I would stand there and study the headlines used on various magazine covers.

Soon I noticed that they wrote about the same topics over and over again.

It was always stuff like:

“21 ways to get bigger biceps in two weeks.”

“Easy tricks to save money at the bank.”

“5 must know hairstyles for Summer.”

Later on I read a book by a well-known old school copywriter. This person confirmed what I had long suspected. Which was that most of these magazines simply recycled their content. The reason why they do this is simple:

First, there are only a limited number of topics you can write about in any market.

Two, most people never notice it.

This is something you should start doing as well.

You should be able to recycle everything that you write. For example, blogs posts can later be turned into eBooks or video scripts, sales letters can be broken down and repurposed as emails. Even your tweets can be expanded into articles. Bottom line: NEVER write anything that you won’t be able to use again some place in the future. This is one of the easiest ways to get maximum mileage out of anything you create.

It’s also one of the best ways to save time…

…and get to the top faster than you ever dreamed possible.


Alastair Walton