From $0 to $400k in 6 months – the secret ingredient

Yesterday I described to you my friend who wrote copy for 6 years (and struggled pretty badly – never making more than $70k/yr while working 50+ hours/week)… burnt out and left the copy world altogether for another 6 years (and saw massive success pivoting into software development)… then recently left tech, went back to copy, and is now seeing the greatest success of his life.

He’s generated more than $400k in his first six months back in the copy world – and tells me that every minute he’s spent writing copy since returning has felt easy.

Yet he literally hadn’t written copy at all for six years.

He hadn’t studied it, hadn’t thought about it…

He was burnt out so he just abandoned it.

So what changed?

How is he suddenly writing winner after winner – while working less hours than he has in his life?

It’s actually easy to understand if you think of it like a video game. And if you’re struggling to make the money you want to make, or find copy way more difficult to write than it should be, this may be a lesson that genuinely changes your life… so listen closely.

He started the game at Level 1.
This is where he learned how much money he could make with copy, how he could use it to sell his own products, and how it was the best path to his dream life.

So he developed pretty solid technical chops and understood the mechanics of copy inside & out…

But despite that, every time he sat down to write, he always felt insanely uncomfortable actually SELLING things to people.
That’s because, growing up, he was taught that:

  • Money was scarce.
  • People who paid extra to buy really nice things were morons or snobby rich people.
  • You always buy the cheapest version of whatever you need (paying more meant you got ripped off and you’re a sucker).
  • And anyone trying to sell you something was NOT to be trusted and likely a scammer.

    In fact, this “money is scarce and everyone’s a scammer” programming is something a LOT of us learn growing up.

    So when you go into a profession that is entirely built on SELLING PEOPLE STUFF… you’re going to be battling an insane amount of internal struggle.

    Your nervous system got programmed over your entire childhood that you are a scammer that is ripping people off if you ask them to buy something from you. So no matter how much you “understand” how to write copy, every fiber of your being is going to be resisting and screaming and whining when it comes to actually asking someone to open their wallet and give you money.

    It’s like bicycling directly into a headwind.

    You’re doing 10x the work at 1/10th the speed.

    And that’s exactly where my friend was at.

    It was bad enough that he gave up copywriting entirely and started from scratch in his early 30s with a brand new and totally unrelated profession – software development.

    That’s when he entered Level 2 of the game.
    Because within 2 years of really focusing on software development, he was already making $150k/yr – which was far more than he needed to live as a single guy.

    In fact he’d trained himself to live comfortably on $40k/yr while he was struggling with copy.

    So the influx of money was a bit shocking.

    At first he just saved all of it. Like, all of it. He was still stuck in the “money is scarce, gotta hoard as much as possible while I’ve got it” mindset.

    But slowly he started buying a few nice things he’d never buy in the past, like:

  • High end robot vacuums (“how lazy are you that you can’t just vacuum yourself!?”).
  • Or smart lights for his entire apartment (“a single smart bulb costs $60?! I can get 100 ‘dumb’ bulbs for that much!”).
  • Or the “expensive” fruit at the grocery store like blueberries (“it’s like $8 per tiny container, no way!!!”).

When he noticed that his savings were still piling up despite spending on what he used to consider unnecessary extravagances, he found his thoughts around money changing.

He stopped feeling guilty buying those “unnecessary” things.

In fact, they improved his life. A lot.

He enjoyed buying them.

And he wasn’t upset about their higher prices.

He could afford them, he liked them, so why not?

That’s when he entered Level 3 of the game.
Because within 4.5 years of his software development journey, he’d worked his way up to $300k/yr at a big tech company.

And to him – that money was astronomical.

Even if he saved & invested most of it, he still had a ton left over he could spend on whatever he wanted.

That’s when he started working out at $200/mo gyms. Never thinking twice about the cost of airfare if he wanted to fly somewhere, even if it was last minute. Setting his “not going to think about it” money threshold to $100 (meaning if something costs $100 or less, and he wants it, he doesn’t question it – he’ll just pull out his credit card). Tipping 25%-30% minimum every time.

All of it made him happy. Really happy.

He could use money as a tool to remove problems from his life – while greatly enhancing his quality of living.
And he could STILL save & invest most of it at the same time.
Money was abundant.

And it wasn’t evil like he’d been taught as a kid.

In fact it was great.

It brought joy and ease and satisfaction to his life that he’d never experienced before.

And the companies he worked for were happy to give it to him. They loved the work he did, he genuinely deserved it, and he wasn’t a snobby elitist scammer because he had it (despite what his childhood programming told him).

That’s what led him to where he’s at now: Level 4.
Because after years of working in those tech companies, and making progressively higher salaries, and slowly reprogramming (deep into his nervous system) his beliefs about money…

He no longer had any discomfort selling things to other people.

In fact, he LOVED selling – because when he deeply believes in a product, he wants the whole world to know about it.

He wants everyone else to experience the joy he experiences when he uses something amazing.

He was no longer scared of being a “scammer”.

He now saw himself as a trusted advisor – someone who could genuinely help people by selling them something that could greatly enhance their lives.

(Of course this means he can only sell things he deeply believes in – he knows he’d be failing at his role as a trusted advisor if he pointed people toward junk, the same way he’d be disappointed if someone convinced him to buy junk.)

In other words, he now believed deep in his nervous system money was abundant.

It’s everywhere.

And it’s a good thing.

These were all things he’d heard before (and I’m sure you’ve heard a million times before) but never truly believed.

But he now had years of practice that had trained his brain and nervous system to truly, deeply know it.

And that was the “missing ingredient” when he failed as a copywriter the first time.
Because the first time around, he had a massive internal block on selling stuff to people. Based on what he learned growing up, doing so would make him a scammer – and it would hurt his customers, because it’s taking a scarce resource (money) away from them. So, obviously, trying to write copy was pure torture for him.

But now, with the exact opposite beliefs wired deep into his nervous system, he uses the exact same copy skills he had before…

And now finds it almost effortless to sell amazing products to customers who’ll love them.

Which has resulted in more than $400k generated in his first six months being “back” – with his monthly revenue growing higher month after month.

And none of this is a surprise to him.

He knew it would happen this way.

When I talk to copywriters and entrepreneurs who are struggling, this is nearly always the biggest block I see in them too.
It’s not their copy skills.

Honestly, a course like CopyHour that teaches you the fundamentals will give you all the mechanics you need to start seeing massive success.

But if you have deep and flawed beliefs about money wired into your nervous system, both about how much you’re “worthy” of making and how much you’re hurting your customers by “taking away” from them, you will always struggle to be successful at selling.

There is simply no way around it.

Every fiber of your being will resist it.

And at this point, if you recognize that you’re still trapped at Level 1 of the game, the next obvious question is – how do you break out of it?
My friend’s method was definitely the “hard” way.

He restarted with a new career in his 30s.

He then spent 6 years tirelessly building that career while working at big corporations.

And there were definitely elements of luck involved.

Not all people can move up in their careers as quickly as he did – or make as much money as he did. Without those two elements, he would’ve never (inadvertently) reprogrammed his deep money beliefs.

So how can you reprogram your money beliefs… I mean deeply reprogram them like installing a new operating system on your brain and nervous system… without spending 6+ years hustling like a maniac and getting lucky?
Well, there’s a shortcut.

It costs a little bit of money. Of course, it returns a LOT more money. Like exponentially more. But there is an investment.

That’s how most things work.

You can either put in tons of time – or put in a little money to shortcut it. (I personally almost always go for the shortcut.)

I’ll talk about that shortcut tomorrow.

— Derek