It may seem counterintuitive to you, but every copywriter needs to partner with other copywriters. Maybe you're thinking, "But I compete with other copywriters for gigs!" Don't worry; there's plenty of work for all of us.
Here are two key ways that partnering with another copywriter can help you build your business and your skills.
1) Find a partner who can mentor you
A mentorship is a hierarchical partnership. You find someone who's already navigated the waters you're carefully treading. A mentor can help you avoid the snake pits and dead-ends. And he or she can show you proven ways of either managing your copywriting business or learning the skills you need to grow into a top copywriter.
Here are a few famous mentoring partnerships that helped people skyrocket their careers:
Oprah Winfrey was mentored by Barbara Walters.
Caroline Ghosn, founder and CEO of Levo League that helps women of Generation Y break into and excel in their careers, was mentored by Sheryl Sandberg.
Reshma Saujani, famous founder of the Girls Who Code organization that helps young women pursue careers in technology, was mentored by Hillary Clinton.
You can shorten your learning curve in business, copywriting, and life with a mentor. He will listen to you without reservation, she'll let you pick her brain, and they'll get you on the right path. If you believe learning is a never-ending task, mentoring offers an amazing database of knowledge and experience from a successful business person to open your mind to new possibilities and ideas.
2) Find an accountability partner
Unlike a mentor, an accountability partner isn't there to build you up and listen to you vent. She's there to kick your butt when you slack off and to push you hard to achieve your goals.
Your best friend probably can't be your accountability partner because she won't be objective enough. How would she hold you accountable? You need someone who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. An accountability partner won't worry about hurting your feelings; he'll worry more about helping you meet or exceed your goals.
Accountability partnerships are two-way streets. You must give the same level of feedback and support you're getting. It's like peer pressure, but in a good way. So it's important you and your accountability partner understand what you're trying to do and what you're both up against.
Imagine if you were writing your first how-to business book, but your accountability partner had never written one or participated in the process. You need to find someone who can relate to what you're doing on some level.
Which leads to the next question on everyone's mind…
How to find a mentor and an accountability partner
Finding both a mentor and an accountability partner can be serendipitous. Just when you're not looking for someone, you find the perfect person to help you build your business and get on the fast track to copywriting success. As corny as it sounds, you'll know who is the perfect mentor and accountability partner when you talk to them.
The key is to get out there and network. Attend marketing association meetings, chamber of commerce luncheons, copywriting conferences and seminars, or any other venue that might put you in proximity with a would-be mentor or accountability partner.
To give you some guidance, here's what to look for in a mentor:
- You need a cheerleader; someone who's in your corner when good things happen and when bad things do, too.
- You want a coach to help you solve problems and find the right solutions.
- You must choose someone who is a connector who can introduce you to others to help you grow your business.
And here's what to look for in an accountability partner:
- You need a reliable person who's easy to reach or responds quickly.
- He or she can relate to what you're trying to do on a fundamental level (it's better if she's a copywriter with complementary talents to yours).
- She'll be completely honest and open; here you don't need a cheerleader—you need a butt kicker.
Finally, with both your mentor and accountability partner, be clear about your expectations. There will be times when you need someone to just listen, while other times you need advice. Decide when and how often you'll connect, and if it will be in person, by phone, or through email.
Most importantly, make sure you realize whether you take your accountability partner's or mentor's advice, you are still 100% responsible for your choices.
You want to work with a mentor and an accountability partner who will help you expand and grow your business and your skills set. How to tell when you've chosen well is to examine how they approach their own business. Find out how they handle clients, good and bad. What books do they read? And how do they handle mistakes or negative outcomes?
Treat your mentor and accountability partner as a professional relationship and as part of your work responsibilities. It's all right if you become friends, but treat each meeting as a regular business meeting to get the most out of the partnership.
Let us know in the comments below if you have a mentor or an accountability partner. And if you do, give us your best advice on how to handle these relationships.