The International Copywriters Association

ICA Getting Started Part 3

If you stumbled on this page by accident, start with part 1, and continue from there. Here's the link:

How many clients do you want? Would just one make you happy? (even if it wasn't enough to pay the bills?).

As soon as you have paying clients, you're in business. To get even one means there's a possibility you will get as many as you need to build a full time business.

This is another PREMISE: "If I can get just one client, then I can get more.". A premise shows you the way ahead (from one to many). You need to KNOW this in your heart and mind, and the only way to do that is to go ahead and get your first client (easy, right?).

So here's another premise to help you with that: "If copywriters can get clients, then we need to know how they do it, and if we discovered that, then we could get them too.".

First Clients

This suggests to us the next step, which is to ask the question "how did they get their first client?".

Do you see how premises work? We break down the logic. We do this using a technique called FIRST PRINCIPLES.

First principles answer the hardest of questions, and since questions are at the forefront of copywriting (without questions we get nowhere), it makes sense to use them to discover whatever it is we need to know. Including how to get our first client.

This is part of the MINDSET of a professional copywriter. The ability to ask the right questions. And the good news is, it's dead easy.

First Principles

First principles follow the most common pattern of life: CAUSE and EFFECT. The question we use to discover any cause is to ask HOW? (this is why 'How To...' articles score so highly in search engine results).

The problem for most of us is not going deep enough. We stop at the first effect and blame the first thing we see as the cause. We only go one layer deep - we ask a single HOW question. Eg:

Q: "How do I get clients?"

A: "You go out and find them."

You can see why that fails.

Using first principles, we're going to get to the root of it by asking HOW multiple times:

Q: "How do I do that?"

A: "Start by identifying who it is you want as a client."

And deeper:

Q: "How do I do that?"

A: "Ask yourself who you want to have as a client, what sort of personality are you looking for, what particular industry are you interested in, are you looking for rich clients or poor clients, are you looking for bosses or employees, who is the decision maker, that sort of thing."

Q: "How do I do that?"

A: "Ask yourself what you're interested in. That's a great place to start because you'll be starting from your own personal experience (and not from someone else's)".

There's another premise here: "If I start with something I already know something about, then I'm more likely to be seen as an expert.".


Why does being seen as an expert matter? We all know why of course, people trust experts more than amateurs. If people want something done well, they would rather have it done by an expert (even if it means paying more).

This answers another question about getting clients. It's called POSITIONING, and if you don't have it, you'll get nowhere.

To continue the quest to find clients, click part 4 below.

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International Copywriters Association

PS. The idea of this mini-series is to get you a high-level view of the copywriting world (not just the words). The more it can be demystified, the greater your confidence will be.

The principles I'm talking about here including the concept of FIRST PRINCIPLES go back thousands of years to Aristotle. They never change. They are true. And that's why we use them.

When we know what we're doing, why we're doing it, and how to do it, our prospective clients take notice and hire us. The ICA is here to help you in all aspects of that endeavour.