Professional copywriters: Is copywriting right for me?

19 replies
I'm hoping to gain insight from professionals for myself and for anyone else who is considering copywriting as a career.

Just for a bit of context I'm 22, live in Australia and currently work as a cook.

English was always my favorite and highest achieving subject throughout school.

I'm having massive issues with deciding what my next move will be. After having worked full time for 3 years, I want to start building a career.

I've heard and read an equal amount of uplifting stories and horror stories from people who work in the industry.

My main questions are:

-Is there any job security as a copywriter?

-Do you get to work autonomously?

-Do you feel satisified in your work?

-How did you get started?

I'm leaning towards copywriting because of my love of ads but more over, I'm the kind of person who proof reads texts (I refuse to accidentally send a love heart emoji to my boss). I'm the first person my family goes to with resumes/essays when they want their words to "sound" better.

I just need more insight into what the job is actually like from those who do it.

Thank you.
#copywriters #copywriting #professional
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Job security?

    If you want job security, you'll need a job. But then they can get rid of you at any time...I guess if Australia has laws like my home country of Canada, it's a little tougher to than in my adopted home of the US...but still, you're at someone else's whim.

    Most copywriters are terrible at these things:

    > lead generation

    > qualifying prospects

    > closing deals.

    Doesn't matter how great their writing skills are in the face of all that, does it?

    This is a business like any other.

    Look at the "horror stories" closely and you'll see one or more of those key business systems I just mentioned missing from the situation.

    You're 22. That's young. You may not like to hear it--I certainly didn't at your age--but it's true. You probably have few to zero other people depending on you for money and shelter and food. You can take risks. You have the time to spend the next few years building up your skill and reputation.

    Pick a niche. Stick to that niche. Pick a niche people are making money in, not struggling in. Make it easy for them to pay for you because of that choice. Be deliberate (most people are not.)

    You need a machine, which will be run by you at first but as fast as you can get it automated, that brings you qualified leads.

    You will get to work as autonomously as you choose clients that allow you to. In my case, just about every time. I started studying writing in college, in the mid-90s, and have written ever since regardless of what "job" I was hired to do as an employee.

    Is it satisfying? When you hit a winner, yes! I have written at length about the problems in the copywriting field, which come from both buyer and seller: neither at the low investment level are committed to sticking around very long. The first attempt by a writer is unlikely to be a home run so while the buyer gets the "new car smell" to their copy, there isn't an iterative process because the copywriter has deposited the draft and run off in search of the next paycheck.

    You need to be careful about your niche selection...positioning...how you qualify for good clients. You cannot let anyone shaking a dollar in your direction through the door.

    I run another business with a co-founder that takes up nearly all of my time. That leaves me room for one or two clients a month. I filter for people who understand marketing. If they don't have a clue about their cost of customer acquisition, lifetime value, or other key numbers, I don't let them in. If they're expecting an instant miracle, I don't let them in. If they don't have five-figure monthly cashflow, I don't let them in. I make more money from copywriting alone in one or two projects a month than ten people scrabbling around on this forum because I am so deliberate in my choices. And even if I didn't have the other business I would still be in that situation because I stick to those qualifiers.

    "You touch it, you own it." Remember that. You touch it for $500, you own it. You touch it for $5000, you own it. You touch it for $15000, you own it. The choice is yours, and it's your choice right now--not some fantasy day down the road when you've "earned it" or "deserve it" or some stupid limiting belief like that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    I'm not a "Professional Copywriter" (Just a fellow Apprentice) ... However I would begin writing Copy for People (Consider UpWork etc.) and see if it's something you find satisfying/rewarding/etc. Then build from there.

    When you get good, there's a lot of money to be made.

    Good Luck.
    : )
    Signature
    "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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  • Profile picture of the author SARubin
    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    I'm hoping to gain insight from professionals for myself and for anyone else who is considering copywriting as a career.

    Just for a bit of context I'm 22, live in Australia and currently work as a cook.

    English was always my favorite and highest achieving subject throughout school.

    I'm having massive issues with deciding what my next move will be. After having worked full time for 3 years, I want to start building a career.

    I've heard and read an equal amount of uplifting stories and horror stories from people who work in the industry.

    My main questions are:

    -Is there any job security as a copywriter?

    -Do you get to work autonomously?

    -Do you feel satisified in your work?

    -How did you get started?


    I'm leaning towards copywriting because of my love of ads but more over, I'm the kind of person who proof reads texts (I refuse to accidentally send a love heart emoji to my boss). I'm the first person my family goes to with resumes/essays when they want their words to "sound" better.

    I just need more insight into what the job is actually like from those who do it.

    Thank you.

    -Is there any job security as a copywriter?

    Yes, and No.

    There's no real "job security" in anything. (just ask any of the corporate drones who thought they had job security with a big company... until one day they didn't, and they got let go)

    But, there is a certain sense of security knowing you can take your skills with you, and create opportunities for yourself wherever you go.

    And there will always be a need for anyone who can sell, no matter what the medium. (be it the written word, face-to-face... or any other medium)

    So as far as that goes... yeah, I guess there's a certain amount of job security.



    -Do you get to work autonomously?

    Yes, and No

    Much of my work is done solo. But I still need to collaborate with the others who are involved with the bigger marketing picture.

    So, unless you're selling your own products, by yourself. (In which case you can do as much, or as little as you'd like, whenever you want.) Otherwise it's a combination of autonomy, and answering to team mates.

    And then there's the client, who usually has the ultimate say.



    -Do you feel satisfied in your work?

    Yes, and No

    When something I work on gets good results, I can feel a range of emotions from satisfied... to elated.

    But when a promotion bombs... I tend to feel like crap. Although, that does give me the opportunity to study the results, and figure out how to improve it next time. (So that's a silver lining)

    Overall though, there's nothing I'd rather be doing with my life at this time.



    -How did you get started?

    I personally got started writing sales copy for my own businesses (about 25+ years ago).

    Over the last quarter of a century, I've spent many thousands of dollars, and many thousands of hours, learning everything I could about human nature (as it relates to marketing).

    The truth is... As far back as I can remember, I was always fascinated with what made people choose one product, or one company, over another. So I guess you could say I've been a faithful student of human nature for most of my life.

    Eventually, it led me to where I am today. And (a little more than a decade ago) I started writing sales copy for other businesses.



    I just need more insight into what the job is actually like from those who do it.

    Well, like any job, it depends on your own personal point of view. You may love it... or you may hate it.

    But as far as I'm concerned... I have the greatest frickin' job in the world!

    I get to use my creativity, and my analytical mind, to help small business owners improve their advertising and marketing.

    Which, in turn, allows them to bring more of their products and services to more people who can benefit from them.

    And that, in turn, helps improve the lives of their customers...

    And, it also helps make the business more profitable. Which keeps the cash flowing, and improves the lives of the business owner, the employees, and all the vendors who sell products and services to that business.

    AND, to top it all off, I get paid to do it!... So everybody wins!!

    HOW GREAT IS THAT !!!???

    (But that's just my own personal take on it. Your results may vary)



    To wrap this up, I'll leave you with one final thought...

    If this is something you feel drawn to, then give it a shot (like the wise man, Wayne Gretzky, once said... "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take")

    So take your shot. Just don't half ass it. Give it your all, and make a serious attempt at becoming great.

    And if it turns out you don't like it... then you're 22 years old. And you have plenty of time left to try something else.


    All the best to you,
    SAR
    Signature
    "It all boils down to psychology, and numbers"
    SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Advertising and Marketing Aficionado
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    I'm hoping to gain insight from professionals for myself and for anyone else who is considering copywriting as a career.

    Just for a bit of context I'm 22, live in Australia and currently work as a cook.

    English was always my favorite and highest achieving subject throughout school.

    I'm having massive issues with deciding what my next move will be. After having worked full time for 3 years, I want to start building a career.

    I've heard and read an equal amount of uplifting stories and horror stories from people who work in the industry.

    My main questions are:

    -Is there any job security as a copywriter?

    -Do you get to work autonomously?

    -Do you feel satisified in your work?

    -How did you get started?

    I'm leaning towards copywriting because of my love of ads but more over, I'm the kind of person who proof reads texts (I refuse to accidentally send a love heart emoji to my boss). I'm the first person my family goes to with resumes/essays when they want their words to "sound" better.

    I just need more insight into what the job is actually like from those who do it.

    Thank you.
    My opinion on best job securtiy, start your own business. My first retirement was at 22, I didn't work for need for almost 4 years, because I saved and invested my US NAVY paychecks for 4 years.

    You're young, I'm going to give you some different kind of advice...whether copywriting is going to be your thing or not, it is a worthwhile skill to acquire, especially if you are in business and selling your own products.

    Do you like to cook? Are you any good at it? There are 101 cooking niches out there, each with all kinds of product opportunities, and with each one comes the chance to test and perfect your writing skills, by creating products and selling them.

    You have a starving crowd, so to speak, in food preparation. Everyone eats. Cookbooks and recipe books are EVERGREEN sellers.

    It would be the easiest way for you to begin and find out if writing copy to sell something is a career you want to pursue, again, a very handy skill to have in life, especially if you want to have your own business.

    And owning a business, is better than most jobs, as far as security is concerned.

    Give yourself some time, and since you are already doing something, working as a cook, look for opportunities to create your own products and start to sell them. Every year a new thing comes up with diets, for health, weight loss, heart health, for diabetics, for vegans, join the parade and put your skills to use, by creating a simple product, maybe a recipe booklet, and trying to sell that.

    Write a promotion for your booklet, now you need to get some eyeballs, some traffic. If you sell a vegan recipe booklet, you don't need the people who buy Omaha Steaks coming to your site, right?

    So you learn by doing that your COPY must match your TARGET audience. Where are they at? How do your reach them? Then once they hit your copy, what are the statistics?

    How many people buy, or take the action you want them to take, could be a sign up for something.

    If you want to learn copywriting and at the same time test it out and see if it fits as a career possibility, why not start writing for yourself, something simple.

    Get to understand the PROCESS of selling. Copy has to be seen, to be read or heard or watched. Which means traffic from somewhere.

    So you have a before and after process taking place, but you want to start with your COPY.

    Example, you have cooked for people with diabetes AND diverticulosis. Very picky eaters, by necessity. Your booklet gives a week of menus for these people. But before you write the booklet, you write your ad.

    By writing your promotion first, it makes you learn the steps of copywriting.

    A-Target market, who are they, where are they, how do you get them to come to your ad
    B- Once at your COPY how do you grab their attention? How do you keep it?
    C- What exactly do you want them to do? Why should they? What is in it for them?
    D- Consider whether it is a one off, one time offer, or a front end to build your business.

    But start by writing a letter to your Uncle Bud. He is a diabetic with diverticulosis.

    Dear Uncle Bud,

    Mom said you are having trouble finding things to eat. You know I work as a cook at Benitos, and there is a fellow cook there who has the same thing you do and he has created some great meals.

    I thought of you as he was showing me some of his menus.

    Blah, blah, blah.

    NOW, you create a great booklet which will fulfill everything you just wrote in your copy. Then find the Facebook groups, the forums, the lists which may be out there...and either run a few ads OR do a Joint Venture with one of the places/people you find.

    The way for you to know if copywriting is a good career match for you is by DOING it, and while you learn, you might as well try to make some money, and maybe even you can begin to build a business which will sustain you much longer than any job you could ever have.

    Good luck.

    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
      P.S.
      Here are some "Old Shcool" Books reccomeded by one of the World's most successful Direct Marketers. (Go through them, study them, and you will be a better Copywrtier.)

      https://www.thegaryhalbertletter.com...experience.htm

      HTH

      P.P.S
      Take it one step at a time. People have given you some good advice ... However you don't have to "master" everything to get started. Like I said, do some Gigs and see if it's something for you.
      Signature
      "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Brody,

    Good for you. Diving into your career at 22. Hats off buddy.

    As for the first 3 questions, here's the rub: you answer them, yourself, because you decide the answers based on your passion for copywriting. Experienced pros suggest how to start but:

    - you decide on your job security, by being so in love with copy that it flows out of your ears, you practice writing hours and hours daily, then, you'll land jobs and of course, because change is the one constant in life, you'll land jobs after other jobs vanish. When you practice like a machine, in any niche, you'll be so good at what you do that jobs keep flowing in.

    - autonomy depends on the jobs you take; your call

    - This more than any question is 100% reliant on you. Some folks will feel satisfied because they chose copy to follow their passion, others not satisfied because they wanted a paycheck. Your individual passion for copy answers your question.

    Happy Career Hunting

    Ryan
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    Ryan Biddulph, Blogger, Author, World Traveling Digital Nomad
    If you want to become a full time blogger you can buy my eBook here
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    I'm leaning towards copywriting because of my love of ads but more over, I'm the kind of person who proof reads texts (I refuse to accidentally send a love heart emoji to my boss). I'm the first person my family goes to with resumes/essays when they want their words to "sound" better.
    It sounds to me like you may have a misconception about copywriting.

    Copywriting is a different kind of writing from the norm. It's purpose is to persuade... a lot different from writing an essay or proofreading an email.

    To write a successful sales piece, you need a good understanding of...
    1. Research (driving emotion, features and benefits, differentiation, etc)
    2. Persuasion (curiosity, scarcity, instant gratification, etc)
    3. Components (headline, bullets, offer, etc)
    4. Writing (clarity, conversational, mental imagery, etc)
    5. Graphics (sub-heads, layout, photos, etc)
    As you can see, writing ability is only part of it.

    Get a coach early on. If you go in any other direction to learn, you'll slow your progress considerably.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Thomas Sumod
    From what you have said I understand that English is your favorite subject and you have a passion for writing. If you check out any freelance copy writing website, you can see that so many are making a full time income from this niche. Since you are passionate about reading and writing, I think you have the potential to become a copy writer. And always remember that an expert in anything was once a beginner. You may go ahead and give it a try and you will learn how to succeed in copy writing.
    Good luck.
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  • security......that has gone. You make money for a while..hopefully enough and evolve, move on ,retire.

    NOTHING lasts for-ever.
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  • Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    I'm hoping to gain insight from professionals for myself and for anyone else who is considering copywriting as a career.

    Just for a bit of context I'm 22, live in Australia and currently work as a cook.

    English was always my favorite and highest achieving subject throughout school.

    I'm having massive issues with deciding what my next move will be. After having worked full time for 3 years, I want to start building a career.

    I've heard and read an equal amount of uplifting stories and horror stories from people who work in the industry.
    Whether your story is uplifting or a horror story depends on you. Most horror stories in the content writing/copywriting field come from people that would not have been successful working for themselves in any capacity.

    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    My main questions are:
    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    -Is there any job security as a copywriter?
    Depends on what you consider job security. Do you like the idea of a boss that can fire you at any moment? That's what you get with a regular job and what you get working for someone else.

    When you become a writer and you work for yourself, the job security comes with your ability to find clients and do the work. Nobody can fire you and if you lose a client, you can find another to replace it.

    With a job, if you lose it, now you have to replace your entire income. As a writer, you can handle multiple clients and if you lose one, you still have an income from the others.

    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    -Do you get to work autonomously?
    This all depends on you and how you do about it.

    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    -Do you feel satisified in your work?
    Again, depends on you. If you love to write and you love the freedom of working for yourself, yes, you will feel satisfied.

    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post

    -How did you get started?
    I started right here in the WF. I am not a copywriter, but a freelance writer for other types of content. I started at a much lower rate than I should have, but I was new and had no idea. After getting my start in the WF and learning so much from others here, I more than tripled my rate and move outside the forum to find higher paying clients.

    Originally Posted by Brody Butler View Post


    I'm leaning towards copywriting because of my love of ads but more over, I'm the kind of person who proof reads texts (I refuse to accidentally send a love heart emoji to my boss). I'm the first person my family goes to with resumes/essays when they want their words to "sound" better.

    I just need more insight into what the job is actually like from those who do it.

    Thank you.
    Maybe you're onto something there. Maybe you should be proofing/writing resumes and other types of content, along with doing copywriting. You don't have to just do one thing. You can be a freelance writer offering multiple types of content. Then, after you figure out what you like best, you can specialize.

    Hope you find success!

    Benjamin Ehinger
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    • Profile picture of the author Memelia
      Hi there! I'm new too, would love to hear more about your experience. Would it be wise to not specialize in the beginning? I hear different takes on it!
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  • Profile picture of the author nickclocks
    Well, copywriting is for everybody. Besides, you don't need a degree or some fancy shit to become a copywriter.

    You can go to sites like Upwork or Fiverr to get started or you can start your very own blog & start writing. You don't need some fancy shit to become a good copywriter.

    In fact, some of the best "copywriting course" are just a big waste of money, copywriting is a skill that is learned & developed in time.

    About job security, you don't need to worry about it, if you're good enough, you'll be just fine.

    Yes, of course you can work autonomously as a copywriter if you write for your own blog or work as a freelance copywriter.
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  • Profile picture of the author ThaGar
    At the end of the day it all boils down to getting the right training all round. You simply can't just learn to write copy and expect to make a killing. You must also learn how to get leads and close them.

    Another key issue is, you must be very picky about what jobs you take on..Don't just take on everything that comes your way - don't undersell yourself or else you will be miserable.
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  • Profile picture of the author jarredmarketing
    It's better to ask yourself. Is it really right for you?

    Do you have the right set of skills? Every job has its own pros and cons.

    Copy writing is perfect for people who have great sense of creativity. In terms of job security, majority thinks that it's just a thing of the past.
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Frankly, I am a little concerned about your first question:

    -Is there any job security as a copywriter?
    At 22, that was the last thing on my mind. At 32, it was the last thing on my mind. At 42, it was the last thing on my mind. At 52, well, you get the idea.

    I have never had any job security and yet here I am, comfortably semi-retired, having created a living on my own all those years and now having the lifestyle of my dreams.

    Even now I know that if some disaster were to happen to me (like both my houses being swept away in floods, maybe), as long as I still had my mental health I could still generate a living and rebuild.

    So to me, that is much better than job security.

    Marcia Yudkin
    Signature
    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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    • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
      Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

      Frankly, I am a little concerned about your first question:

      At 22, that was the last thing on my mind. At 32, it was the last thing on my mind. At 42, it was the last thing on my mind. At 52, well, you get the idea.

      I have never had any job security and yet here I am, comfortably semi-retired, having created a living on my own all those years and now having the lifestyle of my dreams.

      Even now I know that if some disaster were to happen to me (like both my houses being swept away in floods, maybe), as long as I still had my mental health I could still generate a living and rebuild.

      So to me, that is much better than job security.

      Marcia Yudkin
      I guess the whole deal 'bout pathways into the fyooture is how so mucha the story is conjured outta air.

      Less'n the Cosmos goes weirsdily curveball on evrywan, prolly the Sun gonna put in an appearance tamara.

      But plenty other stuff is less certain.

      If an a priori kinda sun is 100%, likely Moi checkin' in on my email is mebbe 99%.

      Almost certainly ima do that, but if a (frankly) once-in-a-lifetime RHINO CRISIS cracks off in my apartment c/o a buncha leathery horn-beests escapin' from the zoo an' gowin' on the rampage, mebbe that might constitute a 100% Diminisherizin' distraction to my theoretical 100% email check.

      An' the odds kinda roll down from here.

      To like the 0% chance Alex Cohen gonna respond to this post with an enthoosiastic ...

      Hey Princess! I've always admired your incisive commentary on every aspect of copywriting smarts, but I've been too afraid to admit it until now! First thing tomorrow, I'm making a beeline to my local tattoo parlor and having a BALESTRA EYE done on BOTH OF MY BUTT CHEEKS!

      Point is, when the odds are MORE OR LESS CERTAIN either way, we kinda boobsie along immune to most kindsa persuasion.

      Sun ALWAYS rises ... an' sweetiepoppet Alex AIN'T NEVAH GONNA SAY THAT.

      Between these exotically fixed landmarks, all kindsa uncertainty prevails -- an' all kindsa answers become VALUABLE.

      That's when writin' stuff out becomes more like DEFININ' THE NEBULOUS & offerin' a way outta the paralyzin' void that simultaneously pulls in THE STORY SO FAR an' LEVELS IT UP.

      Sun gonna rise tamara, an' we all gotta pull on our boots an' tan along till we drop.

      Whether that is a GRIM NECESSITY or a WONDERFUL OPPORTOONITY depends on yr POV.

      I guess as a copywriter ima wanna shift the horizon always from the former to the latter, whether ima pitchin' hot noo tech to hipsters or reinforced bras to gals lost out to gravity mebbe 1986.
      Signature

      Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    So Princess Balestra, I guess your point is that I do have job security in the same way that the sun is going to come up tomorrow?

    The way the question was asked, though, it seemed to be based on the illusion of job security when one has a traditional job. I don't have job security in that sense, and in fact, a former classmate of mine who has a job as a Washington DC lawyer always marvels that I've done amazingly well for myself, every time we talk. In his mind, too, I have made a living throughout my adult years without any rug under my feet.

    Marcia Yudkin
    Signature
    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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  • Profile picture of the author poweredspeaker
    Yes surely this will suits you. The one thing you should know before starting this is, writing a good content. This is the important thing here.
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  • Profile picture of the author jessicamorgan
    Its good that you are looking forward to build your career as a copywriter. However, just having English your favorite subject at school or being the first person to be approached for resume/essay writing isn't enough. If you're interested in copywriting, you need to start learning it. Its way too different from traditional writing. Job security and satisfaction depends on the place you choose to work. My friend works at Content Development Pros and he loves his job.
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