It’s time. Time to tell you about possibly the most embarrassing mistake I’ve ever made in my career as a copywriter.
I had to let some time pass, you see, because you have to get distance from these things so the embarrassment doesn’t kill you. (It’s called dissonance, and it’s fascinating.)
Some time ago, I was working with a client on a whole bunch of stuff for her business. Email marketing, lead generation, and some print ads for a magazine.
The emails were great; she loved them and they were doing well.
But the offline lead generation… well. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Not a single lead.
And I was baffled, because sometimes you do stuff that doesn’t work – in fact, you do a lot of stuff that doesn’t work before you find out what does. But in this case, we had not one. single. lead.
And that’s just weird.
So I went back to the drawing board, looked at the hook, the offer, the call to action, typed in the URL to go and check the landing page and – oh.
The URL was wrong.
I just wanted the world to open up and swallow me whole.
Of course, my client had missed it, too… and she said as much. But it was totally my responsibility. I could have sworn I’d checked, but somehow it slipped through. Utter fail. I offered to pay for the ad, and my client was very kind about it, but still…
It caused painful dissonance for me, because my attention to detail is usually very good. Particularly for that type of thing. Yeah, I make the odd typo or whatever – we all do – but that kind of thing? I thought it’d never happen to me.
But it does. That kind of thing happens to everyone at some point or another. The point is, you learn from it. I can absolutely guarantee I’ll never make that particular mistake again (and I haven’t, since).
The dissonance that arose from it was awful. Dissonance, by the way, in case you don’t know, is that feeling of utter wrongness, that severe discomfort, when you’ve got a lot invested in something, or someone else has a lot at stake, but you realise you’ve buggered up.
You can go one of two ways to reduce it: you can admit fault and work to make it right, which is by far the best way in the end, but the most painful in the short-term… or you can take the easy way out and self-justify. Tell yourself – convince yourself – that actually you were right after all and everyone else is wrong.
This does happen: just look at all those people who are sure they were abducted by aliens. These people aren’t liars or frauds; they really believe it.
Anyway, back to my most embarrassing mistake: these things happen. We all make mistakes. The thing is to learn from them and make different mistakes. Better mistakes.
What’s your most embarrassing business mistake?
Don’t let your next mistake be not reading my book, Business For Superheroes. It’s been called “a must-read for all new business owners” and a “brilliant book, written from the trenches”. See what others have said here.
Then grab your own copy here.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
Read the book I wrote in just 12 weeks – yes, it is possible. And this one could be worth a fortune to you if you take action on what you read.