Rollercoaster Riding is a perfect metaphor for both life and business, don’t you think?
As it suggests, hopping on for the ride may just come with many ups and downs and twists and turns, it may spin your head around in circles (hopefully not like Linda Blair from The Exorcist), knock the stuffing out of you, be full of exhilaration, scare the hell out of you, fill your heart with many great and memorable moments, and sometimes might even bring huge disappointment.
But, isn’t that part of the excitement? Well, I think so!
As you read through this post, although I’m writing about my own rollercoaster ride, it’s as much about you as it is me, and it’s my hope that you’ll see my experiences as your own experiences, and that you’ll be able to apply them for your own benefit too.
As a freelance copywriter and from my life in general, I’d have to say that I’ve experienced just about all of the above events and emotions and will continue to do so, without a doubt. And you know what? You probably will too.
But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
My rollercoaster ride has made me who I am today (yeah, that’s what they all say), and I’m just beginning to understand and appreciate that every moment has been a lesson.
As a small business owner, just like you, the realisation comes that nothing is ever certain in life, or in business,
And guess what? That’s a good thing too!
Uncertainty creates many potential opportunities
Uncertainty brings about many surprises, and that makes life much more interesting, doesn’t it? If not, somewhat more challenging!
Sometimes it’s so stressful that you think, Wow, this is out of control and I’m not sure I can do this anymore,
Hey, but just as often uncertainty brings about fantastic opportunities and greatly rewarding experiences.
Prefer boredom or excitement?
Both life and business would be rather boring and unfulfilling if we take the safe route and never ride the rollercoaster, wouldn’t it?
If we choose to never step on board, we’ll likely be much safer and feel more secure, but at the same time, we’ll probably feel as though we missed out, somehow.
Some rides will go as planned and you’ll yell out, “wahoo I really loved that, let’s do that again”,
And others probably won’t, and you’ll think, “ouch that hurt, let’s just call that a oncer, shall we?”.
But you’ll never know if you fail to take that first tentative step, right?
Where it all started for me
When I began, my desire to write arose long before I became an insomniac copywriter. I had an unfulfilled need to express myself with words but had no idea where to start or how to achieve my goal.
By the way, my insomnia doesn’t stem from being a copywriter. It actually derives from a night-shift job while taking a sabbatical from copywriting some years ago. Since then, my normal sleep patterns have never returned. Mind you, there’s a big advantage in this, as I tend to write mostly while others are asleep. Ah, such peace and quiet.
At a young and tender age, my conservative family drummed into me that a safe and secure job was the most important priority in life. So, believing that, I actually started out, working in banking and finance because, it was safe and secure, and income was virtually guaranteed, but it also left me feeling stifled (aka, it was as boring as bat shit). Everything was highly regulated, and creativity was not generally encouraged, rather it was frowned upon (“no, that’s not our policy”, thank you Mr. Bank Manager).
Anyway, I gained much knowledge and learned a lot of useful skills, made many great life-long friends, but I eventually realised that it just wasn’t for me. I say, eventually! (the family was still in my head).
Once I left that world behind, I didn’t immediately start out on a copywriting career, well not directly.
Taking the alternative route
Being a big believer of alternative therapies (what? you must be crazy! …there goes that family again), I began selling medicinal herbs and herbal teas online, firstly on eBay and then later I upgraded to a full eCommerce website.
While I made a profit, it was never going to provide a great living, unless I was willing to upscale to such a degree that I’d have to risk absolutely everything (ah, no thanks). I also became allergic to the dust residue of some herbs.
Additionally, at the time, I had neither the resources nor the risk appetite, so I sold the business for what it was worth and moved on.
But I did learn many great lessons about copywriting, SEO and Content Marketing. Plus, Plus, Plus!
Keeping on Riding
Owning my online herb and tea business and becoming a freelance copywriter has been a wild ride that’s for sure, but that experience upon my journey has been invaluable. Additionally, it’s given me a much deeper empathy and understanding towards how other fledgling business operators, just like you, must feel as you start out on your own path. Walk a mile, as they say.
As it is for any new venture, stepping up to ride never takes you in the direction that you expect (oh no, really?).
Sure, there’ll be ups and downs, your stomach will be in your mouth (hopefully no vomit…whoops, I just stepped over the line, didn’t I?), your head will spin out of control (I refer you back to our friend Linda), you’ll need to learn how to cope with each barrel roll and twist and turn (stop it , you’re scaring me!),
And like me, you’ll likely make a lot of mistakes (shush, don’t tell anyone).
One of the biggest lessons I’ve definitely learned is that it’s not always easy going. Actually, it can be really bloody difficult.
Sometimes I wanted to get off when it all got too hard. And I did, at times (ya big sook).
Most Importantly though is this. If you have the stomach to go just one more ride, most likely you’ll come out the right way up.
Riding my ups and downs (don’t be rude, this is a family show)
Here are just a few of the lessons and experiences my rollercoaster journey of discovery has taught me (oh, I’m starting to sound like a guru…well you’re not, so stop it , be serious and just get on with it):
Just beginning to enjoy the ride
Even though I’ve been copywriting now for quite a few years, one of the best things that I’ve discovered is that my journey as a copywriter has only really just begun.
Each day I learn new skills, and that’s because I’m open to it, to be a better copywriter, at any opportunity.
I’m more skilled as a copywriter than I was 5 years, 2 years, or 1 year ago. I’m even better than I was last month. My learning is never-ending.
And when we look for ways to improve, sometimes the universe responds kindly and other times, not so much. But if you look hard enough and believe that good things will come to you, you can find good people whose predominant purpose is to help others, just like me and you. Well, that’s comforting!
My firm belief is to pay that positivity forward whenever I’m able.
Finding the right people to hold your hand
Just a few of the great people who have each helped me in many different ways:
So, how is your own rollercoaster ride treating you? Have you stepped on yet?
Are you up for an exhilarating challenge?
Do you feel like taking a little risk, perhaps?
Huh, huh, do ya?
If you're ready to take that first step, but you don’t know where to start, or you just want someone to hold your hand as you ride, then you can find me right here!
Or, if you want to see more about me, or read my other blogs, give it a big ol’ click here.
Catch you on the ride.
Bye for Now (but not for ever, I hope).
As I write this morning, sleep eludes me. It’s dark outside and the clock on my computer reminds me it is only 4.04 AM. Damn that clock!
Today’s post is about writing with the senses.
When we write with our senses in mind, it helps us to evoke emotions in our readers and it brings us closer to them.
This approach enables us to tap into their consciousness, so they are able to imagine how things feel, smell, taste, look and sound as we write for them.
From the opening few sentences of this post, you as the reader can place yourself within the scene and hold a clear mental picture in your mind, as though you are actually there experiencing yourself.
You can empathise with the fogginess from lack of sleep, imagine a comfy warm bed, visualise the darkness outside, the computer and the time on its clock. You can feel the coolness of the air, the warmth of the heat pack, the smell of fresh coffee and the sound of fingers tapping away on the keyboard.
When you employ the use of all 5 senses you gain the ability to put your reader exactly where you want them to be, so they experience the situation as if they are right there, right now, as they read your words.
Before we get to how this can work for your business copy, let’s have a look at some other examples, which I've broken into parts.
Lately, over the last 3 or 4 months I’ve become an avid baker of Sourdough Bread;
In a few minutes I’ll turn on the oven to 210 degrees Celsius, the perfect temperate for bread with a crispy outer crust and soft inner texture. I’ll place a pizza stone on the middle tray and an empty baking tray directly underneath in readiness to bake a fresh loaf of tastiness.
We can see the actions of turning the oven dial to the correct heat setting, placing of the pizza stone and baking tray into the oven, and imagine a crispy crust and moist inner loaf.
The oven light clicks off announcing it has reached its correct temperature.
We hear the click of the oven light, feel the burst of hot air and instinctive reaction to close the eyes as the oven door is opened. We picture the actions of placing the dough and pouring of boiling water, the sizzle of steam and moist air as the water hits the hot pan. And finally, the light thud as the oven door closes.
Our sensory memories flood our minds with the aroma of fresh bread baking and the anticipation of sinking our teeth into the first bite of warm bread and butter.
And, while the bread is baking;
It’s now 5.20 AM, and I hear the shuffling footsteps of my wife Mariella’s slippers on the timber floorboards, as she drags herself from her warm bed towards the kitchen for her shot of morning coffee.
We hear the distinctive sound and accompanying vibration of shuffling slippers on wooden floorboards, we see a struggling writer staring blankly at the screen awaiting inspiration, the sound of pouring water and aroma of fresh coffee.
We imagine the colours of early dawn out the window, as they slowly appear through the trees.
We hear the joyful laugh of the kookaburra in the distance.
Did you find yourself being drawn into any of these stories?
Be a Storyteller.
OK, so if you’re not a copywriter or a world-famous author writing your next best seller, you can still be a storyteller.
As a storyteller, whether you are writing a blog post, a novel, a newsletter, or a product description, when you create a mental picture in your readers mind you transcend them into a different world.
Research suggests, that when writing with the senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and sound, the brain responds the same way as if we are actually experiencing the senses in real life.
The same applies when we use all the senses with business writing, as we are inviting our readers into our world.
The reader can imagine using our products and services, or how it would be working with us. We may even increase their desire to buy our products and services, or to work with us.
Now, wouldn’t that be great?
Unlock the Senses with Imagery to write for business.
OK, next up, we are going to see how this writing style would look when we use the senses while copywriting for business.
Incidentally, I searched the internet, high and low for other business examples.
Among prestige car manufacturers like Ferrari and Aston Martin, French and Italian fashion designers like Chanel and Versace, and many more world renowned and respected businesses, thinking that surely these companies would write with passion and exhilaration.
However, I was greatly surprised that they didn’t, and sadly disappointed, that they too have lost the ability to draw the reader into their world.
Therefore, as a result of not finding anything useful, I am unashamedly borrowing a reference from a passionate copywriter I know, Henneke @ Enchanting Marketing.
Henneke is simply amazing the way she writes, and continually has me hanging on every word whenever I read one of her posts. I’m always anticipating the very next one she writes.
In a recent post, Henneke chose a similar example as the one below, from U.S based fashion retailer The J Peterman Company. When they write their product descriptions it’s with a unique difference, as they are extremely talented at, and unafraid of taking you to another place and time.
With so few words, they paint a vivid picture in your mind’s eye.
Here is one of them.
You can just imagine a handsome young gentleman striding into an upper-class establishment with his head held high, full of confidence. The heads turn, whispers abound, and the old money looking down their noses at this chap in his pinstriped blazer, as he passes by.
Conrad Edward, a businessman of highly distinguished reputation, eying him up and down, certain that he must have met the young gentleman before.
Lord Ashley is obviously convinced the young gentleman fits in perfectly and looks the part, so he asks him the question about the FTSE.
And Lord Northampton, a round faced overweight, red nosed old fellow turns his head in total disbelief at the young chap’s instant acceptance into the aristocracy ranks, without a hint of a question.
We’ll that’s how I picture the scene.
You may see something entirely different, but that’s the magic of the human imagination, isn’t it?
An Extract from their "Our Story Page":
The J. Peterman Company represents an aspirational lifestyle. Our selections enable our customers to feel transported to a world full of travel, adventure, and romance; a world where the uncommon journey creates the memories we cherish most. The company’s history is rooted in this aspiration and we try to live up to it every single day.
Even their Story Page oozes of romance and sophistication, transporting us to another world as we begin to dream of travelling to some far-off undiscovered destination.
How does this writing style sit with you?
Do you think that it would suit your business niche?
In my humble opinion, I think it doesn’t matter if you sell 4-wheel drives, trendy clothes, run a busy restaurant or a bespoke travel agency, specialising in destinations off the beaten track.
I think all niche types can benefit from writing copy using all the senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound.
The J. Peterman Company proves that! The product description in this case is for a jacket, for goodness sake!
But look what they did with it!
I passionately believe that writing with the senses is an art form, lost from yester year, and that we need to bring back some romance into our lives, even if it’s just a smidge.
In these times, we are far too busy focusing on the quick sale.
We are told by marketing guru’s that we must attract our readers attention quickly before they lose interest.
But, wouldn’t you hold your audience’s attention longer, if you could transport them into another time and place, when they use your products and services?
I certainly think so!
Do you want help with creating sensory content for your niche?
I’m here, if and when you need me.
You just need to ask!