We all start knowing nothing: A copywriter’s journey

Copywriter, Belinda Weaver, stands next to the words "We all start knowing nothing a copywriter's journey."

Everyone has an origin story.

The story that explains how you got started on the path you’re walking now and why you started walking in the first place. 

You’ve probably churned this story out at least once or twice already. It graces your “About Me” page, and it’s the go-to icebreaker for every podcast you’ve guested on.

So tell me, how did you get started?

Maybe the pandemic pulled the rug out from under your feet, launching you into this new venture. Or perhaps your journey has more of a “meandering creek” vibe—like mine.

I hit the workforce with an IT Bachelor’s degree in hand, a “meh” sort of passion for tech, and a bank account that didn’t complain.

And then—dun-dun-dun—10 years of life happened.

This is when we cue up Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey with a video montage of me bouncing around corporate jobs, going back to school to study marketing, and scoring a job as a “Jill-of-All-Trades” Marketing Manager for a software firm.

Closer to job love, but still no fireworks. 🎇

Enter my crossroads moment. 

My husband and I were talking about making a human child together, so starting a better job meant kissing maternity benefits goodbye. Or I could tank my ambition and get a part-time job close to home and a hypothetical baby. 

It was a big, fat, adulting-level dilemma.

That’s when I discovered copywriting. I was at a one-day conference listening to a speaker share headline formulas when she started talking about becoming a freelance copywriter.

Cue montage 2.0: High Hopes by Panic! At The Disco plays over my transition from cube-dweller to queen of my freelance domain.

  • I took an online copywriting course while I collected my full-time wage. 
  • I jumped into a mentoring program, which accelerated my understanding of what it meant to be a freelancer.
  • I planned my exit from the cube farm, setting specific milestones I would meet. 

I had never been so interested in work before! 

I was still working full time when I got my first copywriting project, and I remember the sweatiness of it all. How much should I charge? How long could I keep my colleagues out of the boardroom while I took the brief? How long should it take me to write? Is what I’m writing any good? 

I had no idea.

It was exhilarating. And terrifying.

So was the second project and the third, but project by project, I built on my ability to write and my capacity to deliver work in a way that felt and looked professional. 

Fast-forward 13 years. Now, I can write a killer sales page while sleepwalking. I mentor copywriters, doling out the wisdom I’ve gathered over years of trial, error and fabulous wins.

But here’s the kicker: Before that fateful conference, I didn’t even know the word “copywriting”.

So, if you’re glancing enviously at others, hit pause. I guarantee they just have more hours at the keyboard. They learned—and so can you.

Everyone starts knowing nothing.

Forget those “zero-to-hero-in-six-seconds” narratives. Most stories are crafted one word, one project, one client at a time. 

Just like yours will be.

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