Are you writing copy to follow your passion or make money? (Dilbert's creator has some advice)

12 replies
Scott Adams: How to Be Successful - WSJ.com

PS: Sorry Marc Pescetti, I'm thinking of you as I post this. I keep remembering the times when you talked about grilling entrepreneurs about their passion and being discouraged they weren't passionate enough.
#advice #copy #creator #dilbert #follow #make #money #passion #writing
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    Success caused passion more than passion caused success.
    A person who is passionate about something specific (like a particular goal)... is often really just passionate about achieving success. When he or she finally revels in some level of success, it's a platform to want and strive for more. It becomes less about a specific "thing" (or passion) and more about replicating the feeling (of success.) That keeps a person's attention open to lots of possibilities.

    Chances are that the best job for you won't become available at precisely the time you declare yourself ready. Your best bet, he explained, was to always be looking for a better deal. The better deal has its own schedule. I believe the way he explained it is that your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job.
    It's true. When you're overly goal oriented, you can end up losing out on a hundred different opportunities that would have given you success. When you're goal oriented, it becomes too much about the agenda. You end up being blinkered (having tunnel vision.)

    Whereas... people who are success-driven (or system-oriented) see opportunties everywhere (because they aren't consumed with a specific, but actually limiting goal.)

    I still think passion matters. Big time. But you can't just be passionate about a specific thingamajig...

    ...you've gotta be equally passionate about simply being successful (and helping people, entertaining them... or eliciting SOMETHING outta the masses, like a daily comic;-)

    That allows you to see far more opportunities that would have otherwise gone by the wayside.

    If your current get-rich project fails, take what you learned and try something else. Keep repeating until something lucky happens. The universe has plenty of luck to go around; you just need to keep your hand raised until it's your turn. It helps to see failure as a road and not a wall.
    When you're extremely passionate about ONE thing; a specific goal, it'll crush you - if you fail. Then what?

    Your passion has to go deeper than becoming successful with whatever you're developing right now. There's tons of opportunity out there. It's boring (and even depressing) to think your success is dependent on your next product launch (or whatever IT is.)

    Besides...

    When you're successful, you can pay for the success of your passion (and even give it away...)

    Great article Rick.

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author James Clouser
    He makes a great point: goals are OK... systems are better.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
      There was a great post a couple months back about this topic in another thread:

      Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

      Real life story re: passion.

      Ben Suarez wrote a book. Gary Halbert told him it sucked. But Ben had a great PASSION for the book and went ahead and had 1000 copies printed. Ben just knew everyone would want one.

      It was a book on tables and charts showing interest rates and such.

      He couldn't place a single copy in local bookstores on consignment. He didn't even sell one.

      Halbert said something like, "Ben if you want to make money in this industry, sell what people want. Right now, astrology is hot."

      Ben replied with disgust and hatred of the idea, "NEVER."

      Never lasted a few months when Ben's fledgling company was on the brink of bankruptcy, so he finally heeded Sir Gary's advice and started selling what people wanted...astrology.

      He hated the idea, but, not long after he started he had a BREAKTHROUGH promotion, a full page ad on the back of the Sunday comics. Thousands of dollars started rolling in within days. Tens of thousands came in in weeks.

      HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars came in once he set up his funnel and that money, all from astrology, gave Ben Suarez enough money to build his huge business to one of the biggest remote direct marketing companies in the world.

      His real passion was for building a business and making money.

      The lesson he took from this was, to sell what people want, not what he was personally passionate about. A couple of billion dollars later, he's still going strong.

      HALBERT said the only advantage he wanted was to build his hamburger stand near a starving crowd. Today, McDonalds are next to Burger King, Wendys and whole strips of fast food can be found around the country.

      Passion is great for a lifetime, doing what you love, in my opinion, it isn't necessary or even desired for a particular product.

      Finding what people are buying and creating or acquiring a complimentary product is pretty smart.

      If a copywriter has a non-refundable retainer fee, and limits the rewrites, he should be able knock these out all day long and build up some potential future business.

      Junior copywriters in agencies don't get to pick their assignments, they are given them and must do the research on their own. Many a huge business has been built from a less than well defined concept.

      Get established, then you control what you write on and for whom.

      I think this sounds like some very easy money if the client meets your terms.

      gjabiz

      PS. The mistake repeated by newbs is, falling in love with your idea or product, be less passionate about it and more business/bottom line and you'll probably do better.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    I don't know about all that, Mark. Not saying you're wrong at all. I've just never thought too hard about it.

    What I have noticed is I write much better copy when I'M inspired. So I tend to always be gauging and focusing on my own level of inspiration, looking for ways to maximize it.

    - Rick Duris
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      I don't know about all that, Mark. Not saying you're wrong at all. I've just never thought too hard about it.

      What I have noticed is I write much better copy when I'M inspired. So I tend to always be gauging and focusing on my own level of inspiration, looking for ways to maximize it.

      - Rick Duris
      Inspiration is the secret sauce behind my own copywriting process.

      That's why I personally appreciate working with passionate visionaries.

      Sometimes...

      I'm writing for a great product, but the developer is kinda BLAH!

      So I take it upon myself to channel the needed passion and inspiration into the copy.

      I've said it here before (and I'll say it again):

      I almost never sit down at the computer (or iPad) - unless I feel excited and inspired to write.

      When I write from inspiration, it feels effortless.

      When I force myself to write; when I'm not crystal clear about what I want to ultimately say, I feel depleted and burn out easy.

      This conversation comes down to really understanding emotion... and how to surf it.

      Passion (and other good feeling emotions) energizes action. (Or at least it should if it's coming from a genuine place.)

      "I need to make money" comes from fear and "there's never enough," which is a horrible place to come from when writing copy (IMO.)

      Passionate entrepreneurs have more juice.

      Now...

      Whether that passion and juice can maintain itself - if immediate success isn't achieved depends upon one's own personal character.

      But passion, hope, inspiration, etc. is always more fun to play with than simply wanting to make money.

      Mark

      P.S. When I have passion, but not much motivation, there are times to just sit down and fcuking write to work through shit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Make Money Ninja
    Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

    Scott Adams: How to Be Successful - WSJ.com

    PS: Sorry Marc Pescetti, I'm thinking of you as I post this. I keep remembering the times when you talked about grilling entrepreneurs about their passion and being discouraged they weren't passionate enough.
    100% agree with everything written in this article.
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  • This is why you don't go to banks for money!

    Scott Adams is right and wrong. If you were the lending officer, you would go with the dry cleaner person as well. True.

    But business is not just about the numbers. It's passion and profit, hand-in-hand. I doubt Apple would have done as well without Steve Jobs' passion for computing, design and user experience.

    Scott said the bank would never invest in a guy who wanted to open a sporting goods store because sports is "his passion."

    But what if the guy opened up a tiny store on his own to test some ideas he had on how a sporting goods store could be much better. Let's say his research showed most of the people coming to the sporting goods store only want staple items like a sleeve of tennis balls (just go with me for a minute haha) .

    So he opens the first sporting goods store with a drive-thru, and it works like gangbusters. He's making more money every month and growth is meteoric. But he needs cash to expand.

    He comes to the bank with a proven idea that was a result of his passion for sports and the desire for a better way to shop for sporting goods. He has passion AND the numbers. That's the sweet spot.

    NOW he has a real story for a bank or other investor. He's not just a dreamer. He's a doer and a money maker.

    I remember two dudes pitching on Shark Tank: Their company, Tie Try, is the Netflix of neckties.

    Shark Tank investors say no to Mobilian Scott Tindle and Tie Try tonight on TV | al.com

    Shark Tank Success Stories: Tie Try

    It's not dissimilar to other ideas like renting wedding dresses. Not a bad idea.

    But the pitch was so boring no one got excited. Daymond is the Shark with the most experience in clothing and fashion, and he said that the business owners never shared their love for the quality and design of the ties. It was just a dull pitch. No juice. No passion.

    I believe success is largely a matter of grinding it out. Everybody wants to be the hero on game day, but few want to run the stands at 530 in the morning until their legs burn. Even then, it will be hard to get up that early unless you have a passion for the sport (product/business/project/launch/niche), and a desire to be the best you can be at it.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    As writers who need to do what's best for the sake of conversions... looking for a client who has passion in their product/service can be a 50/50.

    Have you ever had a client who THINKS they know what they are talking about?

    Who hates refunds and guarantees and believes that anything they put out there HAS to be bought?

    This same level of thinking couldn't be more annoying and destructive to conversions but they insist.

    Yeah yeah yeah, you probably think I'm bad at looking for my 'ideal' client. Sure. But these passionate people are what make that article true.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Originally Posted by DavidG View Post

      As writers who need to do what's best for the sake of conversions... looking for a client who has passion in their product/service can be a 50/50.

      Have you ever had a client who THINKS they know what they are talking about?

      Who hates refunds and guarantees and believes that anything they put out there HAS to be bought?

      This same level of thinking couldn't be more annoying and destructive to conversions but they insist.

      Yeah yeah yeah, you probably think I'm bad at looking for my 'ideal' client. Sure. But these passionate people are what make that article true.
      Personally, I've never seen an ideal client.

      But I'm absolutely positive a Client who's passionate about their business is more valuable (more inspiring) to a copywriter than one who isn't.

      Done right, all you have to do is translate and channel that passion into words. At their best, all you need is to hit the record button.

      As for their opinions about what needs to be done? Well, that's open for discussion, isn't it?

      But I'd never in a million years hold lack of passion against a businessperson. Depending on the project, I can get inspired in other ways.

      - Rick Duris
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    This is something I was just explaining to a client a few days ago.

    He told me that he was starting a new business in a niche he loved to death... and I actually told him NOT to do it, for 2 reasons.

    Even though he was highly passionate about it, I wasn't sure a lot of other people were.

    So, from a business standpoint, I wasn't sure if this niche and his passion would be a winner.

    It doesn't matter how passionate you are, if it's not a money making niche, you're in for a long ride.

    If your passion is knitting with Alpaca fur, yet not many other people enjoy it, you'll have a hard time making a go at it.

    But there's another reason I'm not that keen on mixing business with pleasure.

    I did it for years... working the fitness niche and building several businesses.

    Sure, they were successful... but I soon found myself not loving the fitness aspect of it anymore.

    When I sold my business and had a lot of time on my hands, I decided to start a few businesses in niches I loved.

    2 of my passions were football and mixed martial arts, so I developed niche sites
    built around those 2.

    But here's the problem. The longer I kept at it, and viewed them as "work", I stopped enjoying them as passions and hobbies.

    I was working on them so much... I started NOT liking the actual games and fights.

    I started viewing the games and fights as "work" and no longer my own personal fun hobby that was just "mine"... and something I could just relax and watch.

    Nope, they were now tied to "work" and business... and my mind would start racing towards new ways to monetize the sites.

    This took away some of my love and passion for 2 things i had been so passionate about.

    So now, when people ask me if they should build a biz around their huge passions... I tell them I'm not crazy about it.

    I wouldn't do anything that is your true passion and love... just let that be and enjoy it
    outside of work you'll be happier, trust me.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    So Shawn, how do people usually take your advice?

    I rarely offer advice like this. Solicited or unsolicited.

    I've been proved wrong so many times it's laughable.

    Somebody will come to me for copy for let's say opening a new umbrella repair shop. They're excited! "It's the only one in the country, Rick! We're gonna be rich!"

    And I'm like thinking to myself "Sheesh, whata loser."

    Next thing you know, they're franchising the thing around the country. And then when they're cashing in, they make some throwaway comment like "Rick, I was gonna give you one of my franchises, but you didn't seem interested at the time."

    Such is life...

    Today, I'm reluctant to pee on someone's parade.

    - Rick Duris
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Honestly, Rick, I rarely offer it, unless specifically asked by the client for it.

    They'll ask something like... "so, here's what I'm thinking of doing, what do you think?"

    And then, I'll only relay what I feel, based on my own personal experience... and tell them that is exactly that, my personal experience and nothing more.

    I won't sh*t on someone's parade if it's a great idea, they're passionate about it, AND it's in a market I think has a good shot.

    I'll usually just use a few tools and see if it has a good chance... based on supply and demand.

    but if they're going into a good market and they're passionate, I won't tell them NOT to.

    that idea of mixing business with pleasure, that's just my own thoughts and 2 cents, based on what's happened to me in the past. I will never tell someone to not do something if they're passionate about it.

    Of course, it's all in how you "Frame it" and obviously, these are people I have a pretty good relationship with, and they'll ask me because they trust my advice.

    But yeah, I actually don't give out any advice except on those occasions where I have a very close relationship with the client and they're asking me for my own opinions.
    Happens once out of every 100 clients or so.
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