Classroom to Copy #7: Guilt, Regrets, and Freedom: A Teacher’s Honest Reflection on Switching To Copy

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In this episode, you will discover:

– My take on how an acquaintance can leverage her unique advantages as a sociology teacher to succeed in copywriting

– My answers to her 3 great (and thought-provoking) questions:

(1) How long did it take you to transition out of teaching full-time?

(2) Did you have any feelings of guilt over leaving your school and students?

(3) How can teachers navigate these emotions and reconcile their desire for a new career path with their dedication to their students’ growth and development?

– Plus: 5 practical steps for minimizing regret about leaving teaching and transitioning smoothly into copywriting

What about you? How do you think teachers can overcome guilt and find peace in pursuing a new copywriting career?


Note: this was transcribed by and may contain inaccuracies.

Tania Yeo 0:02
Hey everyone, how’s it going?

My name is Tanya and welcome back to another episode of classroom to copy.

So if you’re new here, I am a former art and literature high school teacher turned direct response financial copywriter.

Currently I am also assistant copy chief at Grant cardones shop where I write for their real estate silo and also help with all the other promotional copy and this entire podcast is about how to successfully break into the copywriting industry as a former teacher because I know how easy it is at the beginning to feel really lost and feel like you have nothing to bring to the table.

And the moment I realised that actually it’s my teaching experience that helped me break into the the industry so quickly.

You know, I was this whole time I just been using all the skills that I had as a teacher and I would like you know if you’re listening to this for you to feel less alone and you want to see what’s possible.

And today’s episode is especially dedicated to someone who has reached out with a bunch of very interesting questions.

She teaches sociology at the college level at a teaching focused university and I’m not entirely sure on the details but it sounds like she teaches teachers so that’s really trippy for me.

I’ve never met anyone in who you know in the copywriting industry or who wants to break into copywriting who is teaching at this at a tertiary level and teaching adults I’m pretty sure that’s very fascinating, and I would love to get to know this person more.

The first thing that jumps out to me immediately is that someone who you know, teaches sociology already has two great secret weapons.

They come into the copywriting industry armed with those secret weapons already.

Number one would be sociology right understanding of human behaviour at a societal level.

And number two being a teacher and being an effective communicator, someone who’s good at giving instructions, breaking things down for an audience.

Like you, you know, you you already come into this industry well prepared.

So that will be the first thing I would say.

They have three questions, and I will do my best to be succinct.

The first question was, how long did it take for you to transition out of teaching full time?

So it took me exactly a year to actually break into copywriting and but I would say I transitioned mentally out of teaching way before that.

So I was stuck in a six year contract.

I couldn’t leave.

But I also knew I wasn’t going to stay.

So technically, I’ve been preparing to leave for a few years.

And I did the mental transition manifested in the form of like saving up money.

And I would say flailing around helplessly at and wondering what my options were after those six years and so yeah, it took me exactly a year.

I left teaching in July 2021.

And then I started studying copywriting in February 2022.

Originally, my plan was to start an online tutoring business and that didn’t work out.

So copywriting was actually my backup plan.

It intrigued me because firstly, I was like why is it called copywriting and not just writing and secondly, why do people say that copywriters get paid well because you know where I’m from artists and writers don’t really get compensated very well for their craft and their creativity.

So this is like a unicorn to me and I had to crack the mystery.

So I fell down the rabbit hole.

And you know if you want to talk about like, transitioning into copywriting work I did get some work the same month I started studying copywriting because I got some advice to get paid to practice.

So I got some gigs on Upwork they were very small, but very enlightening experiences, you know, because it’s scary, but it’s also you know, a great place to learn how to start working with clients, which is a whole other side of freelancing and copywriting.

It’s entirely beyond the craft of writing itself.

Right beyond sales psychology.

And all of that.

So that was a very enlightening experience.

And I would say yes, it’s possible within the first month, you know, to already get gigs on Upwork you just got to know how to craft your proposals well and be very, very patient with the kind of clients you might get at the beginning, before you have established your credibility on the platform.

So even though I was completely new to the industry, I found a niche that fit me like a glove and like perfectly leveraged all of my, my skills, and I’ll talk about that later.

And then eventually I got to work with my dream client in the financial publishing industry in July 2022.

And let’s say yeah, I worked really hard because this is this might be one of the hardest niches in finance, I mean, in direct response copywriting, but hard work isn’t enough.

And, you know, writing by yourself isn’t enough.

Reading books about copy isn’t enough.

The only thing that helped, you know, accelerate this entire process was my community and my mentors, so people in the copy chief community who looked over my financial copy connected me with clients connected me with their colleagues referred leads to me.

That is, for me, the number one thing that you know, the accelerant that sets shit on fire.

Yeah, so I think, you know, firstly, I don’t think of the transition is only one year I think of all the six years before that, you know, in teaching that I already come equipped with, and then how do I leverage that to, you know, get what I want.

So, the second question is super interesting, because, you know, I on my own I would never have thought about it, even though yes, this is definitely something I face.

Did you have any feelings of guilt over leaving your school and students?

The answer is yes and no, because I see this as two questions.

Yes, I do have, I do feel guilty leaving my students and if any of you are listening to this, Miss yo loves you very much.

And I didn’t leave you because I didn’t.

You know, it’s not because I didn’t like you.

I love working with students.

I think kids are so much fun to hang out.


And, you know, I love hanging out with kids all day.

So I definitely felt guilty especially leave it you know, the ones that have kind of grown up with me I felt guilty leaving in the middle of their development in the middle of their journey but then I’ve always felt guilty about their development and their journey even as a teacher, because, you know, we know so much about what goes on in our students lives, and yet we forget our sphere of influence is limited to what happens within the school.

In the classroom.

So there are things you know, that will happen, circumstances beyond my control, and I’ve struggled to separate that from my own sphere of influence, which is you know, within the classroom itself.

How can I emotionally support this kid?

How can I make this learning experience as fun as possible?

And to this day, I don’t think I’ve ever reconciled that guilt and about not being able to influence much outside of the classroom and in the school.

That’s it I don’t have any feelings of guilt about leaving my school.

I have very supportive colleagues.

You know, I love the school I worked at

Tania Yeo 9:59
and I think maybe I didn’t I don’t feel as guilty because I left a lot of resources, materials, processes and systems behind, you know, I made sure to prepare my colleagues help them out.

As much as possible make sure I was leaving everything in good hands.

answered as many questions as I could make sure that all the affairs are in order.

Like I was dying, so um, no, I don’t feel bad about leaving the school itself.

What about leaving?

So this is not part of the question, but I definitely don’t feel guilty about leaving what I regard to be a very broken education system.

I don’t feel any guilt about that at all.

Because that’s a whole other thing to get into.

I will always be on the side of my students and what they need.

And I don’t think I was part of a system that was cognizant of what students actually needed.

So that was an interesting question.

Yeah, I miss my students every day.

I the small things that and the big things that we will laugh about, or sometimes cry about in the classroom are amongst the best moments of my teaching career.

All right, and then the final question, do you have any regrets about the career switch?

No, not at all.

Not at all.

I mean, just to take stock of everything that’s happened.

You know, my this, this career has allowed me to travel the world to have my own hours to work from home.

To be present for moments that matter a lot to me.

Which is you know, having time for family.

And by that I mean being having time to you know, connect with my loved ones back in Singapore and people around the world.

And my cats here, my my little family here with my partner and beyond that, I don’t have any regrets about becoming a copywriter because I think I’ve found what’s the perfect fit for me for now, which is, you know, being able to leverage all the skills in terms of like writing creative thinking, artistic thinking, which means, you know, having like, crazy ideas, and, you know, those just kind of fit very seamlessly into copywriting.

I’ve also found a niche that aligns very well with my thinking style.

Which is, you know, financial copywriting.

I recently attended an event where I got to watch a bunch of you know, financial analysts just throw big investing ideas around the room.

And it provided so much inspiration for me because, you know, the third thing that ensures that I have no regrets about this career switch.

Is that there’s just so much overlap in this career.

And my personal interests, which is storytelling, connecting with the big picture connecting with big ideas, especially ideas that you know, affect the entire world.

Um, and in this case, it just so happens to be you know, telling stories about finance and investing, which to someone who’s on the outside and hasn’t seen, you know, video sales letter from the financial publishing industry, they might find this odd, but we can take into account like how much this engages me as a visual artists when you know, I have to visualise how video sales letter will be filmed, kind of like a scriptwriter, or a director.

When I take into account the stories I get to tell and all the reading and research I get to do.

And then there’s at the heart of it all.

You know, yeah, we’re here to sell.

I see also, as we’re here to help by connecting the human condition, which is, you know, maybe super pretentious, but look at the things I used to teach in high school.

It was art and literature.

That is just basically the repository of our entire mess of a human condition.

So no, I don’t have any regrets because this has fit me like a glove.

And I’m perfectly fine with it, not fitting one day.

This is just the journey that I’m on right now.

And yeah, there are no regrets.

That said, I think there are some practical things.

So I’m trying to get back down to earth right now.

There are some practical things that you can do to minimise the regrets, right about a career switch.

(1) I mean, number one, the really great thing that you’re doing right now is to reach out and talk to people who have done it.

And I will connect you with, you know, the other teachers that I’ve spoken to or will be speaking to, and I will just say talk to as many of us as possible because you know, all of our paths and careers are different, slightly different, even though we were teachers.

And another way to minimise that regret.

(2) I mean, this is similar, but just being part of a community where, you know, I’m part of the copy CI forum, I get to, even if I don’t have much to say at the beginning, I’m always like reading about other people’s experiences, and just having that collective experience to draw from can set you up very well and minimise the mistakes, you know, from the beginning.

(3) The third thing, which a lot of people don’t talk about, but I’ve been trying to talk about more with people I invite on this show is and which we’ve also been talking about in copy chief, you create that financial runway where you feel financially secure enough to make that leap into copywriting because…

(4) Which leads to a fourth thing as a few of my friends, especially former teachers and I have observed it’s very difficult to study copywriting it’s a very intense craft is very difficult to do that, find clients and hold on to your full time teaching job, you know, all at once.

So having that financial runway, too, you know, and committing to it and not looking back, you know?

(5) And number five like i i took a bet on myself and I invested in myself.

And I don’t think you know, when you make that kind of decision that you it’s, it’s just you can’t regret it.

I can’t because, you know, I still take you know, I’m still taking a bet on myself and I still believe that I have a lot more to offer.

So yeah, I hope that answers your question and I’m I would love more questions because they’re very interesting.

And I love having these conversations with teachers.

So send more of them my way.

And I hope that this was useful to you.

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