Growing up, I wanted to become a Cricketer. I never thought I would become a Software Engineer… And becoming the highest-paid copywriter in India was something that never ever crossed my mind.
So today, when I’m working as the Highest-Paid Direct-Response Copywriter in India, it still feels like a dream.
And in this article, I will share with you my journey… My journey of how I went from wanting to become a Cricketer to doing my Engineering to finally working as the highest-paid Direct Response Copywriter in India.
Trust me, my journey so far is no less than a Bollywood blockbuster.
In the last 10 years, I been through and seen it all… Success, failure, emotionally draining moments, confusion, chaos, happiness… The last decade has been one heck of a ride for me.
And to be honest, I truly believe that to achieve anything worthwhile in life, your journey is never going to be a straight line. To achieve anything meaningful, you need to pay your dues. You will go through moments of Fear, Chaos, Confusion, Triumph, Happiness, and eventually Success if you don’t give up mid-way.
So what are you waiting for, grab a coffee or your favorite beverage, and let’s dive deep into my journey towards becoming the highest-paid direct-response copywriter in India!
My Journey To Becoming The
Highest-Paid Copywriter In India!
Cricket Has No Future – My Son Will Be An Engineer
Growing up, I was a BIG time introvert! The only way I could express myself and get any attention was when I was on the Cricket field.
I was a really good player… An all-rounder, a left-handed batsman, and a right-hand medium pacer. In fact, I was so good that I would get bored playing with kids my age. I would always play with people who were at least 6 years older than I was.
And no wonder, given my capabilities with the bat and the ball, I would always end up getting appreciated. I would get a lot of attention.
So the only thing I looked forward to in my life was the play-time.
Sadly for me, there was no IPL when I was in my 9th grade. And my parents thought, my time would be better spent studying and preparing for the boards than playing in the nets and representing my school. They felt there was no future in Cricket.
Image courtesy – India Today
As you know by this point, I was an Introvert… I couldn’t fight for my dreams. I just put my head down and accepted what they asked me to do. Just like that, I gave up on my dreams. Deep within, I was shattered… I would go sit in some corner and cry when I was alone. But there was nothing more I could do then to protect my dream.
Like most parents, my parents wanted me to study hard and become an Engineer. And to be honest, I don’t blame them. When I look at most parents even today, nothing is changed. It’s still the same. Most parents today want their children to become Engineers and then do an MBA. They think it’s the path towards a safe and secure career.
So with my dream of becoming a Cricket gone, I just spent time studying and memorizing everything to get good grades and get admission into an Engineering college.
Well, all the memorizing paid off, I got into one of the best Engineering colleges in Bangalore. I was all set to become a software Engineer. Yay!
But there was a problem.
I HATED Coding. And I Did Not Want To Do A Job.
Somewhere in the 6th semester, I realized one thing.
I HATED the idea of wearing formals and reporting to work. Not that there is something wrong with it. But it just did not feel right to me. It did not resonate with me. It wasn’t me.
You see, those 3 years of living all along in a hostel in Bangalore really helped me become Independent. I started to express myself. I became somewhat extroverted. I started to think for myself and most importantly, I started to dream again.
I dreamed of living life on my own terms… Like the cliche, no boss, not answerable to anyone.
I wanted the power and choice to do what I wanted to do.
And clearly, working in a TOP IT firm, the regular 9 to 5 wasn’t how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I wanted to explore life, make up for all the years I lost by trying to fulfill my parents’ dreams.
So although I got placed in 2 BIG IT companies in the 6th sem… I was 100% clear, I wouldn’t take up the job offer.
And this time, I was ready to fight for my dreams.
But strangely, I did not have to fight my parents. They agreed. There was no drama. They were OK with me not taking up the job offer.
And BOOM – I took the next train to Mumbai. A city I always wanted to live in…
For the next couple of years, I went into an exploration mode.
I worked as a Trainer in an English Speaking Institute for a salary of 8K.
I was simultaneously auditioning and trying my luck in Ads and Television shows.
After a few months, I joined a gym as a trainer where I made 6K per month in salary.
Oh, and in the middle of all this, I left home and rented an apartment and started living alone.
If you live in Mumbai, 6K per month is not enough money to put decent food on the table. Forget all the protein shakes etc. And my rent was 8K per month.
This is when I realized that I needed to become serious about where my life was heading. My plans of living my life on my own terms weren’t working. Every day was a fight to make ends meet.
Sometimes, I wouldn’t have the money to even pay for the bus ticket. So I would walk all the way from Lokhandwala to Versova, where I lived.
The thought of quitting it all and going back home and getting a safe job was on my mind all the time. But I did not want to give up.
So I kept searching for money-making opportunities. And one fine day, I landed on this ad that said something on the lines of – Make XYZ dollars as a Content Writer.
I immediately clicked on the ad… And I landed on another site which asked for a few dollars in exchange for giving me a list of unlimited writing gigs that paid well.
Now, I knew nothing about writing.
In fact, I sucked at grammar. And everyone back in college made fun of how I wrote and spoke.
But thankfully, my wife, Sandhya Valecha, co-founder of ‘The Marketing Nerdz’, who I was dating back then was a published journalist and a columnist. So I knew she could write. And she could teach me how to write.
And if I got these content writing projects, we could both make money in dollars and she could quit her job and we could both spend more time together.
She liked my idea… And I started looking for Freelance Content Writing Jobs.
After a few weeks of trial and error and wasting some money here and there, we finally found – Freelancer.com.
The 1st Freelance Content Writing Project!
And after applying for a few days on Freelancer.com, I finally got our first freelance content writing project. Now although it was a very low paying project. Just $1. It was the start of the dream.
From there, all I did was apply on new projects and Sandy did the actual writing for the first few months till I got better at writing. And slowly, I started writing for clients too. My writing was getting better. Things were moving slow, we were working10-12 hours a day… But by this point, we were able to take care of our monthly expenses.
We kept doing this for almost 18 months. But by this point, we were starting to get frustrated with the little money we were making and the number of hours we were working.
Getting a job seemed like a better option. We would both make more money and wouldn’t have to work so long and deal with all the deadlines and pressure of writing for almost 12 hours a day.
Again, the thought of quitting and giving up started crossing my mind.
There were times when we would fall short of cash to pay our monthly bills because we wouldn’t find new clients that month. We just did not know what to do. We spoke about quitting so many times…
But deep down, that little voice always told me that no matter what, you will find your way. Don’t give up on your dreams. Not now.
So I kept looking, and one fine day, while I was searching for a new freelance content writing project, I came across a writing project which said – Copywriter wanted. And the pay for that project was about $350 for 5 emails.
My eyes popped out when I read the amount this client was willing to pay.
I had never heard about copywriting before. I did not know what was copywriting. Because all we had done up to this point was content writing. Write articles, blogs, etc. So I immediately started my research on Copywriting.
I searched for – What is copywriting?
This is what I found – Copywriting is the art and science of selling products/services with the power of written words.
But here is something that caught my attention.
How much do copywriters make?
When I read the answer… I was SHOCKED.
I found that copywriters make anywhere from $200 to $1000 to write email copies. Clients pay copywriters $10000 to $30000 to write sales copies. And the top copywriters in the world make 6 figures ($100K) plus to write a single sales copy along with royalties.
I was completely blown away with the kind of money copywriting projects paid.
I thought to myself, here we were. Slogging and working up to 12 hours a day making a few hundred dollars a month. And there are people called copywriters making $100K or more every year writing copies. We need to learn copywriting.
This is when Sandy and I started learning copywriting.
Enter Craig: How to Charge More & Get High Paying Freelance Content Writing Clients
While we were learning copywriting, around the same time we decided to hire our first business mentor, Craig. I had been following Craig for a while and knew that he could help us charge more money for our content writing services.
In just a few weeks of working with Craig, we were able to increase our rates. We increased our rates from $1 to $5 to $25 and so on… In fact, I recorded a complete podcast on how we increased our rates for our content writing services. You can listen to the podcast here.
So you see, working with Craig really paid off.
Now, we were working less and making more money than ever before. I moved into a nicer and better apartment in Mumbai. Things were finally starting to look good.
I was slowly but surely moving towards the life I had always dreamed about.
With the number of clients now growing, a few months down the line, Sandy and I started our new company.
Contentorial – A Content Writing And Marketing Agency.
We hired a few writers to write all the content. While we focused on growing our content marketing agency and learning copywriting.
For the next 15-odd months, Sandy and I religiously invested at least a couple of hours every day learning how to write high converting sales letters.
We practiced writing every form of copy, be it:
– Long-form sales letters
– Email sales copies
– Landing page copies
– And on and on.
At this point, I had no idea that in just the next couple of years, I would become the highest-paid copywriter in India. Heck, forget the highest-paid, I was yet to find our first copywriting client.
First Freelance Copywriting Client – The 1st Step Towards
Becoming The Highest Paid Copywriter In India!
Then out of nowhere, a client that we wrote content and articles for in the past, emailed us asking if we would write a sales copy for his SEO agency. He said, his budget was $1000.
This was it. It was the BIG moment we were waiting for.
You know, up to this point, we were still not confident if we were ready to take the jump into the world of copywriting. We were doing great with our Content Writing Agency.
But we knew, if we wanted to make the BIG money, our focus should be on Copywriting projects.
And when this client reached out to us, we immediately said, YES!
Although, the payment of $1000 was low considering it was a long-form sales page and from what we knew, most copywriters charged anywhere from $10000 to $250000 to write a sales page… We were happy to take up the project for JUST $1000 because we wanted that confidence, the initial boost, the validation that we could write a good sales copy.
Excited, we started working on the sales copy.
If I remember correctly, we sent the final version of the long-form sales copy to this client 2 weeks after we started working on it.
The moment we hit the send button, we were anxiously and nervously waiting to hear from him. We had butterflies in our stomach.
And after a few hours, we finally received his email.
Sandy read the email and we both JUMPED and DANCED with happiness.
He said, “I’m impressed. This is great guys.”
His email gave us all the confidence we needed. And it was only a matter of time that I was destined to become the highest-paid copywriter in India.
We Were Ready To Get New Freelance Copywriting Projects and Clients.
We were on cloud 9.
In the next few weeks, we got a couple of new clients for Email Copywriting and writing a long-form sales copy for a fitness product.
In just the next few months, our revenue grew tremendously.
While the content writing agency was doing well, Sandy and I were now working on multiple Freelance copywriting projects.
Life looked good.
It was around this time that I got a new car and moved into an even BIGGER and Nicer house in Versova, Mumbai.
Till just a few years back, I was traveling in buses and we were struggling to make ends meet. And here we were, living the life of our dreams. Working for ourselves, making way more money than we would have had we taken up the corporate jobs.
Life looked good until this happened.
We Got Paid $10K For A Webinar Copywriting Project!
While we continued to gradually increase our copywriting fees, something BIG happened towards the end of 2015.
Nathan, one of our clients wanted us to write his Webinar Script. Up to that point, Sandy and I were charging about $4000 to write a webinar script. We knew it was low. The top copywriters in the US were charging anywhere from $10K to $20K to write a webinar script.
But we were scared to ask for a higher fee… We did not want to risk losing the client by asking for a higher fee. But when Nathan reached out to us, we decided that it was time to ask for what we deserve. It was time to join the league of Top and High Paid Copywriters.
If we lost his project, it’s was alright. We were making good money, so it was not like our life depended on it.
So Sandy sent an email to Nathan and quoted $10K for the project.
And in just a couple of minutes, Nathan sent an email saying – “DONE! Let’s do this!”
WHAT? Did he really say, YES!
We couldn’t believe it.
We were getting paid $10K to write a webinar script.
It was what the top copywriters in the US charged.
I did not know of any copywriter in India who charged anywhere close to $10K.
It was during this moment that I told Sandy, “We have officially entered the BIG League. We are officially the highest-paid direct-response copywriters in India”.
The feeling was unbelievable.
Just a few years back… I had read that copywriters get paid $10000 to write a single webinar script.
And here I’m getting paid $10K to write a webinar script.
Man, that moment. It was like the world had stopped. It just felt unreal.
Sandy and I pinched each other… Was this happening for real?
It was time for us to celebrate by going for a drive to Bandstand.
Fast-Forward to Today!
It’s been almost 5 years since we got paid the first $10K for a copywriting project back in 2015.
In the last 5 years, we’ve worked with a lot of Freelance Copywriting Clients from all over the world, especially: US, Australia, Canada, & UK.
We’ve written all kinds of direct-response copies, right from Sales letters, to Email copies, and everything in between.
In the last 5 years, we’ve made a great living writing as copywriters. And I can proudly say that “I’m the highest-paid online copywriter in India”.
It’s just been one heck of a ride.
I still feel it’s a dream.
I still find it difficult to BELIEVE that an average software engineer like me – who couldn’t write a single sentence in English without making mistakes… Someone who was made fun of for his writing… Is making way more money writing than all my Engineering class-mates including the ones that laughed at my writing.
I still can’t BELIEVE that a software Engineer like me can become the highest-paid direct-response copywriter in India.
And more than the money, learning copywriting gave me the choice and the freedom to live life on my own terms.
Today, I have the FREEDOM to travel where I want… I can work when I want…
I have the Personal and Financial FREEDOM to do what I want…
And all of this is thanks to learning the ART of Copywriting.
Well, this was a little bit about my journey from software engineering to becoming the highest-paid direct response copywriter in India.
I know this was long, but I’m a copywriter, so what do you expect, eh? 😉
Where do I go from here?
While I love writing copies, over the last few years, Sandy and I are personally writing only for a select few clients… Clients who can afford to pay $5000 per month for Email Copies.
Our focus has been on training our in-house writers so we could scale our agency and help more clients with copies that convert.
Also, a large majority of our time is now focused on growing the other businesses that we are passionate about.
In about a couple of years, my plan is to completely stop writing for clients and I’ll only be writing for TMN and my other businesses.
If you have been thinking about getting into copywriting, don’t waste your time thinking. Just jump into it. It’s a really rewarding career.
But here is something you should remember. As with anything worthy in life… And as you read in my journey, becoming successful at anything in life is NEVER a straight line. There will be periods of uncertainty, fear, chaos, etc that you may encounter when you transition into this new career.
If you are not Committed.
You are bound to FAIL at anything you choose in life. The odds are stacked against you.
You would give up at the first instance of those DARK moments, the time when your mind says – QUIT. Give up.
So remember this, if I can become the highest-paid direct-response copywriter of India. Anyone can become successful at this. All you need to do is start with a commitment to yourself that you will not give up.
And trust me, when you do that – you will find the way.
If you want to learn copywriting, check out my 11 Week Online Copywriting Certification Course. It’s the best place to start your journey in the world of copywriting.
Also, here is another article that will help you start your journey in the world of Copywriting – How to become a good copywriting – A step by step plan.
And if you have any questions, send me a DM on Instagram.