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The Blog

Jan

25

So, Who’s This Steve Roller Copywriting Guy Anyway?


Introducing: Steve Roller, copywriter and marketing guy

Steve Roller

Steve Roller

Once a month, I take a brief detour from web copywriting, direct response and marketing advice, and give you a glimpse into my personal life.

Why?

Well, a lot of my clients and prospective clients have never met me in person.  Some would prefer to keep it that way, but others want to know more.

They want to know a little more about the person behind the keyboard, cranking out web copy and print materials that sell.

Why I’m a copywriter

In July of 2004, three big loves of my life (besides my wife and four kids) converged to create the career I had been waiting for.

I love to write, I love to sell, and I love to travel, and each one plays a part in my life as a copywriter.

Steve Roller, writer

I’ve loved writing ever since my 4th grade teacher (Ms. Biwer, if you’re out there – thank you!) pulled me out of class to compliment me on my writing journal.

Later, it continued with a travel journal as I backpacked across Europe in my early 20’s.

Most recently, it popped up as I started my first book, an inspirational biography of sorts.  The Great American novel is still rolling around in my head, while I pursue my copywriting passion.

Steve Roller, salesperson

Copywriting is selling with words, online or in print.  You simply have to know how to sell to be an effective copywriter.

Thankfully, I learned how to sell long before becoming a copywriter.  You could call it a baptism by fire!

In the summer of 1986, after my freshman year at UW-Madison, I had the wonderfully crazy job of selling educational books door-to-door, 81 hours a week, on straight commission, 1500 miles from home.

You can’t help but learn how to sell in that situation.  You learn how to read people quickly, how to figure out their wants and needs and hopes and fears, and how to quickly grab their attention.

You learn what motivates people to buy, and you expertly lead them to that decision.

Over the next five years I mastered the art of selling.   I loved the feeling of improving people’s lives because our paths crossed and I communicated effectively.

I’m still selling everyday with the words I craft, and I still get stoked about a successful campaign that brings in a lot of new customers.

Steve Roller, traveler

Selling skills and writing skills (and a love of those things) make sense for a successful copywriter.  But traveling?

Let me explain.

My career has mostly been in direct sales.  I’ve sold educational books door-to-door in 5 different states back East.  I’ve sold legal publications to high-powered attorneys in Minneapolis.  And I’ve been in fundraising sales, helping schools and non-profit organizations in the Madison, Wisconsin, area raise well over $1 million in profits.

Great jobs, all of them.  But they all required me to physically be there in person, making presentations face-to-face (I figure I’ve made over 25,000 such sales presentations.)  If I wasn’t on selling appointments, I wasn’t making money.

My wanderlust is too strong to be physically confined to one place.

When I found out I could use writing and selling skills as a copywriter, and indulge my passion for traveling at the same time, I leapt at the chance!

Copywriting freedom

Most recently, I spent 17 days in Istanbul, Turkey, and Lagos and Benin City, Nigeria.  As a copywriter, my “office” was under the coconut palms and avocado trees, soaking up the 90 degree sunshine.  I spent 17 days relaxing, writing a few hours a day, and making money while I was on vacation.

I’ve been to all 50 states, 28 countries, and 5 continents so far.  I have big travel plans for the future, and they all involve copywriting on the move!

Writing, selling, and traveling.  A melding of three of my favorite things into my perfect career – copywriting.  And being a copywriter gives me flexibility and time to spend with my two great loves – my wife and kids.

That’s what really counts.


Comments

  1. Hi Steve,
    I commented on your AWAI article “Are You a Good Fit”. I’m from Brazil, remember me? On that comment, I asked if you could help evaluating my copy, you said to contact you privately. That was 4 days ago, but I’m pretty busy in my 9-5 boring work.
    I have my copy ready and want to know how can I send it to you? Right here, in the message space?
    I know you are a busy man and I truly appreciate any help and advice.
    Thank’s a lot,
    Frederico DE Paola.
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    • Frederico,

      You can send it to me at steve@copywritercafe.com.

      Connect with me on Facebook, too, at https://www.facebook.com/rockinroller and I’ll add you to my Copywriter Cafe group. It’s a lively, friendly group of writers who are always willing to help each other out with ideas, tips, advice, feedback, and encouragement.

      Besides the copy evaluation, let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

      Thanks.

  2. Steve,

    What a great glimpse and synopsis of the ingredients for your copywriting career. As I continue to learn and grow as a copywriter, I aspire to learn from those like you who pave the way and lend a helping hand while forging ahead.

    Thank you Steve for your candor, warm spirit and blazing example of a rock-star copywriter.

    All the best!

    Hugs!

    • Thanks, Megan, I appreciate the comments! Let me know if I can ever be of help.

  3. Hi Steve,

    Liked your article and how you combined different components. I worked for Harcourt College Publishers in the market research dept. before they were bought out in 2001 so we have something of the same background.

    Any tips on moving into the big time with Fortune 500 companies? I am full-time with my business now which is good but trying to get better gigs. How to convince a company to try me instead of a large agency to do their work? What has been your experience with that?

    Best,
    Jennifer H.

    • Jennifer,

      I haven’t had much experience with Fortune 500 companies. I find they either have in-house copywriters or a big ad agency on retainer. Medium-sized companies with a marketing director are good prospects, however. Often the marketing people are overworked, and their in-house team can’t possibly specialize in all areas, so they hire freelancers. Be easy to work with, meet deadlines, and be willing to take on rush projects and you’ll increase your chances.

      Contact me sometime if you’d like more details or direction. Best wishes in the meantime.

  4. Hi Steve,

    Pretty cool learning more about you and your WHY’s. Life of a Travel writer sounds exotic and fun:-)Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks, Rose! I am enjoying life and work intertwined. Glad to connect with you.

  5. Joel Childers

    Steve,

    Congrats on your success! I am a member of AWAI and much like you are still wondering if ‘this copywriting thing” is possible. But it seems as though it is by your own personal testimony.

    • Joel, it definitely is possible, but not easy. Let me know if I can ever be of help. Best wishes to you.

  6. You inspire me!

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