Hey I received this question recently, “Where did your interest for marketing and advertising first begin?” In fact, I get it quite a lot, so I thought I’d share the answer with you here…
While working at the Tandy Electronics Advertising Department for 7 years, I was fairly happy. I knew there was a lot I liked about writing copy. But I wasnâ€™t â€œpumpedâ€ about it. I just knew that someday in someway it would be a really valuable skill to have.
I worked in other places too. Like for a leading real estate agent in Paddington, Sydney for instance. I would go around to the houses that were for sale and take notes, then go back to the office to write the copy to sell that house. I liked that a lot. Showed me how to use my skills for a totally different product.
Actually I think the owner was the biggest inspiration, John McGrath. A self-made millionaire in his own right, his positive attitude was infectious. Anyway, after they sacked me, I was once again looking for a job.
Yes, unfortunately that job didnâ€™t work out. I really liked it. But writing for 14 sales agents was near impossible. They each had their own likes and dislikes for how their copy was written. I thought I was getting the hang of it. But they exercised their right to â€œlet me goâ€ within the first 3 months of employment. Thanks very much.
I hated that feeling of being sacked, laid off or whatever you want to call it. That feeling became the seed of me wanting to start my own business, because I never wanted to feel that way again, or be at the mercy of someone else for my employment.
The next day, I walked into an advertising agency near where I lived in Penrith. I was actually feeling quite confident from that previous real estate job, because Iâ€™d challenged myself to do something different, to step out of my comfort zone.
I said to the manager:
â€œIâ€™m Brett McFall. Iâ€™m a copywriter. Iâ€™ve just been sacked. And Iâ€™d like to write for your agency. What Iâ€™d like to suggest is that you try me out for 4 days and if you like what I do then we can talk, and if not Iâ€™ll go on my way with no head feelings.â€
Well would you believe I got the job! In fact, they laid off the other copywriter and I took his place. I felt terrible. If only Iâ€™d thought to mention to him that all he had to do was go to another agency, ask to work for them for 4 days without pay, etc (just like I did!).
Now, while at this agency, I discovered a guy called, Jay Abraham. He was being marketed in Australia at the time as the worldâ€™s best and highest paid marketing consultant. I bought one of his courses, and in it I circled a small paragraph where he mentioned that copywriters could earn 10 times their regular wage if they changed HOW they worked.
He suggested working for results, not a fee. Meaning, you only get paid if the ad you write for your client works. If it does, you get paid a slice of the profits, or at least a very high fee. That concept blew my mind. I already knew by that stage I could write a decent ad â€“ Iâ€™d written nearly 6,500 of them by then (3 ads a day over 9 years really adds up!).
And so it was then that I realised if I did this properly I could in fact have my own business. One that I could run from home. And thatâ€™s when my interest really peaked. Iâ€™d finally discovered a way to do what I loved and get paid a great wage too. Because up till then my salary was really quite terrible. But I loved what I did so much, I hung in there.
Very glad that I did too. Because getting those skills over the 13 years I was employed really set me up to have the amazing lifestyle that I do today.
Iâ€™d always believed it could happen. I just didnâ€™t know how. By the time Iâ€™d finished working for someone else, Iâ€™d racked up over 10,000 adverts for 153 different industries.
Thanks to the insight of Jay Abraham, I was given freedom. (Little did I realise that within a matter of years I’d soon be a business partner with Jay – but that’s another story…)