What do Canada, Playstation2, and copywriting have in common? Today, we’re going to find out by conversing with another truly aspiring, young entrepreneur. His name is Andrew Walton and if you are a fan of Neil Patel, you might have heard of Mr. Walton as the latter used to be on the team of the former.
Andrew and I have been following each other for a while on social media, and he truly fascinated me with the value he provides on a regular basis. His unending desire to help others succeed is contagious. Without further ado, I present you Andrew Walton.
1. Hi, Andrew, it’s an immense pleasure having you in “Young Entrepreneurs Talk”. Get yourself comfy and share with us how your entrepreneurial journey started.
It’s an absolute delight to be here, Svet, thanks for having me!
My entrepreneurial journey started as a teenager with a bunch of failures with friends from school. For example, I remember when the X-Box and Playstation2 were coming out, we discovered that other people were selling email addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org” on eBay. So, we jumped on the bandwagon, created 100 or so similar addresses, and promptly got our eBay account banned.
The first serious, money-making business I started was back in 2010, writing articles on content sites where you could get a commission for Google Ads clicked on your articles. I made my first dollar while on a family vacation in Hawai’i and was immediately hooked on the whole online thing.
After that, I immediately hired other writers to scale the operation and within 6 months rewarded my cocky, overconfident self with a 3-month European vacation.
That business didn’t last, but it did give me a taste of what was possible. And I think it was a good thing to have some quick success come crashing down so early in my career. It forced me to rethink my approach and abandon this notion of “I have arrived” to focus instead on continual improvement.
But it wasn’t until 2013 that entrepreneurship became a way of life. I’d just spent 2.5 years essentially unable to speak or use my hands. I had recovered enough to look for work and was at a crossroads. I needed money badly, and I had to decide between what was safe and easy and what I dared dream was possible.
So I sold everything I owned that didn’t fit in a backpack, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and chose to sink or swim as an online entrepreneur.
2. You earn your share of scrumptious bread by writing compelling words that generate more sales for customers. Do you believe the current situation of the copywriting niche is competitive? If so, how do you stand out?
I’m thrilled you asked this, and not only because I get few opportunities to talk about scrumptious bread!
I think copywriting is a brutally hard sector within one of the toughest industries in the world. I see three (3) reasons for this:
- The word “copywriting” itself is confusing. Many people think it has something to do with protecting intellectual property, not writing words that move people to open their wallets.
- There’s no barrier to entry. Anyone with an Internet connection can call themselves a copywriter. So you have competition at all skill levels and price points.
- The competition for the best gigs is literally with the most persuasive people on the planet.
The way I deal with this is I don’t advertise myself as a copywriter but as a master of conversion, who also understands all the strategic business decisions that must be made before a word is written.
By changing a prospect’s buying criteria in this way – getting them to understand the bigger picture – I can eliminate competitors who may be more eloquent during a Skype call but unable to provide the same value my strategic approach to copy & conversion provides. At least, that’s what I strive for!
3. Do you seek your clients out or do they look for you?
There’s a good mix of both, but it’s definitely been shifting away from me doing prospecting over the last year. That’s a recent development that’s been extremely welcome, as it’s freed up a lot of time that I can now invest in other areas.
My general rule is that if you get on just one prospecting call every weekday, you should have plenty of work once you learn how to sell on the phone (and close roughly 1/5)!
At this point, most of the outreach I do isn’t with the goal of landing gigs but rather to create longer-term partnerships.
4. Andrew, with whom you’d love to collaborate? Why would your partnership be a riveting success?
I’d love to collaborate with other copywriters that are looking to do more than make their clients rich with the words they write! While there’s nothing wrong with that, I’ve had health issues result in my being unable to write for months at a time – which can be a scary thing when that’s how you make a living!
So a big part of my work these days involves taking an ownership stake in companies, meaning I also own part of the results I create.
By collaborating with other copywriters, that project portfolio could expand, and the copywriter(s) I collaborate with would also own the results of the work they do, which I think is something any freelancer should strive for.
Plus, they’d get to learn from me without having to shell out for mentoring. 🙂
5. You call Canada your homeland. Would you mind sharing with us some peculiar facts about your gigantic country?
After experiencing so many fascinating countries and cultures around the world, I think one of the most peculiar things about Canada is how young and diverse it is.
You’ve essentially got 35 million people in an area about the same size as Europe, but as if 90% of the population lived within 100 kilometers of the Mediterranean.
With only 10-20% of the history of city-dwelling civilization as Europe, you can be hard-pressed to find buildings over 100 years old.
Demographically, few Canadians don’t have at least one living relative who immigrated to the country. Or at the very least a child of such a relative.
Oh, and our national animal is the beaver. Now there’s a peculiar critter for you.
- Besides English, I know you speak Russian. What about other languages?
Language fascinates me, and I’ve dabbled in a great many with varying degrees of success.
The 3rd language I’d claim functional fluency in is French, but I don’t actively keep it up so it takes me a while to bring it back when I need it. But I read Game Of Thrones in French so it definitely makes the cut.
Other than that, I have meaningful experience with Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, German, and Indonesian – but none of those has passed a “survival” level of speaking.
I don’t count languages I can understand a good amount of just by luck, such as Ukranian, which is so similar to Russian. I’ve actually been able to provide meaningful marketing feedback to a client operating in the language, or Italian, which shares enough vocabulary with other Romance languages to make a decent percentage of the language intelligible.
- If it was possible, what advice would you give to your 20-year old self?
First: Take care of your body. On one hand, it’s the simplest advice in the world. On the other, I lost about half my twenties to health issues that I believe I could have prevented with better self-care.
Second: Business and life are mostly about helping others. It doesn’t matter what resources you do or do not have. You could need money, education, contacts, skills, whatever. There’s always someone out there who has what you need. If you can help THAT person, you can get whatever you want in life and feel good about it.
- Unwinding is of crucial importance for our well-being. How do you relax?
I’m with you 100% there! I actually made a list of 30 or so “break” activities I can use to unwind. But by far the most effective things for me are movement and music! Running, lifting weights, swimming, biking, dancing, snowboarding, team sports – I don’t discriminate so long as it’s intense.
And I love jazz music and find that playing some of my favorite tenor saxophone solos really helps me unwind.
- Have you had any regrets in your life up until this very moment?
There are a number of things that, upon reflection, I consider poor decisions even based on the experience and information I had at the time. That said, I don’t let mistakes eat at me and drain my energy. We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it to build a better future.
For example: I would have loved to finish my degree in jazz performance (guitar). I dropped out due to a hand injury that prevented me from playing. But had I done that, I wouldn’t have started traveling, wouldn’t have met my wife, wouldn’t have started copywriting, and wouldn’t be the person I am today. So ultimately, I can’t have regrets about it!
- More and more people are becoming freelancers and engaging in entrepreneurial activities. However, beginnings are quite hard. Any piece of advice for those who rebel against the “status quo”?
Absolutely! When you’re just getting started the only thing that matters is how fast you can bring in revenue. If that means your 8-hour work day is spent finding prospects and getting on the phone to close deals, that’s EXACTLY what you should be doing.
Things like social media marketing, blogging, branding, web design, product creation are luxuries for people who are already making money. And they’re all important, but if you are worried about how you’re going to feed your family and pay the rent next month, business is going to be an unforgiving, painful experience.
Nobody deserves that. Take care of the revenue first, and you’ll make the rest work.
The next thing is to make the client experience unforgettable in the best possible way. Once you’ve learned how to GET clients, learn to keep them coming back by crushing their wildest expectations. This will massively free your time as eventually, you won’t have to search for new gigs!
Most entrepreneurs are good at either selling or delivering services. Being able to do both is a rare trait that’ll make business easy, lucrative, and fun in the long run.
And perhaps most of all, enjoy the process. Chances are you became an entrepreneur because you didn’t want a typical 9-to-5 job, and life is equally “too short” for a business you hate as it is for a job you hate. Find a way to love what you do ~80% of the time. Do that, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how everything else turns out.
Now, these are some massive chunks of invaluable advice. For his less than three decades on our drop-dead gorgeous planet, Andrew Walton has been through more exciting, exhilarating, and life-changing experiences than most people ever do in their lives. And the fact that he shares an admirable share of those speaks volumes about his humble yet fascinating personality.
If you’d like to stay tuned to Andrew Walton’s unadulterated charm, packed-with-value posts and videos, and entrepreneurial journey, you should definitely join his Facebook Group. I am a proud member of it, and I can easily say it’s one of the most engaged groups about marketing nowadays.
Thank you, Andrew, for the pleasure of conversing with you. May I wish you sound health, fruitful business relationships, and unforgettable trips around the globe!
Fancy reading about more young entrepreneurs who challenge the status quo every day? You can derive solid advice from them here.
If you are a young entrepreneur and you’d love to share your adventures, drop me a message.