I love to travel, but man, I’ve been on the road A LOT lately.
I’ve been on the road, on the rails, in the air and under the sea.
(All without sitting behind the wheel once…
20 years later, I still haven’t finished those driving lessons I got for my 18th birthday. What an ungrateful SOB!)
See, this year I’ve been regularly challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and make change happen…
That’s culminated in a busy-as-all-hell October.
And yesterday the travel, the air-con, the public transport germ-fest, the late nights, the jet-lag and the must-keep-going adrenaline all caught up with me, and I came down with a cold that knocked me out for the whole afternoon.
(Classic case of ‘man-flu’ I guess! I’m better now.)
But amidst all the changes in my life and business, I keep surprising myself with a sudden realisation:
“Hang on, I’m actually doing this. And it’s working out.”
Change is like everything else – it gets easier the more you do it
So I challenged myself to get my arse on a damn plane for the first time in 20 months (I hate flying)… and it worked out fine.
(In fact, for about… ooh, ten minutes in the middle of one of those 9 hour flights, I actually enjoyed myself.)
I challenged myself to go to a conference hosted and attended by my copywriting peers… and I had a blast.
(For a conference full of self-diagnosed ‘introverted writer types’ there sure was a lot of extrovert behaviour going on in that hotel.)
I challenged myself to leave London after 16 years and move to a new city in a new country where I don’t speak the language… and so far, so good.
I’m actually writing this from my new apartment here in Berlin, just days hours after moving in.
I’ve got windows open as despite its chilly rep, it’s not freezing here (yet)…
…I can see trees and sky, and yesterday I tried out a decent new co-working space.
Sure, I speak only around 35 words of German-glish, people keep serving my lattes in a glass (STOP IT) and this morning there was a leaf-blowing vehicle rumbling around outside my place that sounded like a tank coming down the strasse, but so far…
Pretty, pretty güt.
It took 12 hours to get here with most of my life packed into 1 suitcase and 2 hefty bags, as I took 3 trains first class (when I travel I like to relax – see below – and yes, flying still sucks) all the way from London via Brussels, Cologne and finally Berlin.
First class legroom all the way on the Deutsche Bahn! Screw you Ryanair…
This was a big change that had to happen…
One I just couldn’t ignore.
Acting on it was kinda scary, but already I’m feeling the benefits…
Working on a client project this week, I could sense different perspectives coming up immediately as a result of the change in scenery…
I’m excited about the possibilities of living in a new city for the first time in many years…
And as for my travel earlier in the month, that was pretty great too…
I was in sticky St Petersburg, Florida for the first ever Copy Chief Live conference.
Quick fun video recap:
(Yep, that’s Your Faithful Correspondent in the bright pink shirt at the beginning. Well, you gotta stand out somehow in a room full of 150 intimidatingly-talented peers, right?)
Ditching The Comfort Zone For Copy Chief Live
This was where members of Kevin Rogers’ Copy Chief community and some big-name copywriters (Clayton flippin’ Makepeace!), marketers (Todd bloomin’ Brown!) and publishers (Agora feckin’ Financial!) got together for 3 days of top-notch presentations, networking, roundtables and uh, let’s be honest: FUNTIMES.
I finally got to hang with some of the people I’ve been working and chatting with online for years, which was brilliant.
I was a founder member of Copy Chief when the doors opened 3 years ago, and it’s been a valuable resource ever since.
Knowledge was shared, connections were made, insights were gained…
There was also singing, comedy, drinking, even a wedding (congrats Abbey & KC!)…
I was one of a privileged few – ok, along with 99 others – to witness copywriting legends like John Carlton, Parris Lampropoulos, David Deutsch and K-Rog himself kick out the jams to cover the Rolling Stones and more at the Copy Chief All-Star Jam held in a sweat-soaked comedy & cabaret club.
Look how happy John Carlton looks belting out Honky Tonk Women with that axe in his hand! (I told him so, too.) And how about Kevin’s ‘Bald Mick Jagger’ impression?
Here’s the thing though:
At the next day’s session, Kevin recalled how Parris had to be forcibly dragged out of his own comfort zone to play guitar on stage for the first time in years, and how he’d cursed Kevin’s guts for months for putting him on the live music bill…
…but also how the first thing Parris said to him when he got off stage was:
“Thanks for making me do that.”
Even millionaire hot-shot copywriters with decades of industry experience behind them need shaking up once in a while.
If it works for them, it can work for you too…
Everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone sometimes, even those who already enjoy fame and fortune.
Change can be shit-scary when it’s in front of you, but ultimately it’s essential to a fulfilled life.
(And much less scary once you’ve taken the necessary steps in a new direction.)
That’s something I saw again and again from meeting inspiring people at the conference:
From the singing copywriter who crossed the US to relocate to Florida in pursuit of a new solo career, leaving behind her cushy but unfulfilling job as a copy chief in California…
To the beginner freelancer who used his storytelling skills to create his first-ever product helping others conquer their social anxiety, and who just had his first $10k month in sales…
And the musician who ditched his client-work overload in the wake of a family tragedy that needed 100% of his attention – and is now re-launching his copy career with renewed energy in search of his own personal bliss.
They all embraced change, putting their fears aside to dive in head first
There’s no shame in fearing change. But that’s no good reason to run from it.
So it’s in that spirit that I’ve committed to spend the next few months getting to know a new city, and making it my new home…
It’s also why I’ve chosen to work on bigger projects with a much smaller number of clients – but will be spending more time with those businesses to really make an impact on their sales copy, and how they communicate with their audience.
And it’s why I’ll be digging deeper into the survey-based research processes and segmented sales funnels I’ve spent the past year studying and refining, to create more customized services that will bring biz-owners and entrepreneurs closer than ever to their ideal customers…
Space will have to be made for this extra focus, and I’ll have to sacrifice some things I’ve come to rely on to make this change.
It needs to be done.
When you think about it, change is the essence of entrepreneurialism…
It’s often scary, and usually a journey into the unknown.
But it’s crucial to growth, to the evolution of your business…
A desire to explore change is what drives split-testing, it’s what creates new opportunities and forges new connections with people who matter.
Change is something an entrepreneur needs to embrace, ultimately.
And when you feel the urge to make a significant change, it becomes almost impossible to ignore.
You either act on it or you live to wonder:
So I took the plunge. You can too.
Go for it.
PS – is your biz based in Berlin, or do you know one that is?
I’m offering discounted consultations and copy optimizations to Berlin startups, small biz and entrepreneurs who want to communicate better and convert more, especially in the English-speaking market.
It’s my way of getting to know people around town while sharing what I do with companies who could use an injection of copy fuel.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to know more.