21-Year-Old Victoria Ade-samuel on Breaking into FinPub as an International Copywriter

Nov 04, 2023

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Want to break into the U.S. financial publishing industry but not sure where to start as an international copywriter? 

Meet Victoria Ade-samuel, a fresh chemical engineering graduate and financial copywriter from Nigeria! 

Since we’re both international copywriters (I’m from Singapore), I was curious about her journey and decided to interview her. 

Join us as she shares her amazing story of studying copywriting from scratch while juggling university, getting her first financial copywriting client, persisting in the face of rejection, and her latest win – becoming a copywriter for Wealthpress.

TANIA YEO: Could you share a bit about your background?

VICTORIA ADE-SAMUEL: My background… nothing special there. Grew up with zero hobbies (lol) I’d always just stay indoors and do what “most” Nigerian parents wanted their kids to do: Read for school, do assignments etc. 

I studied Chemical engineering… graduated this year actually…

TANIA: Wow! Congratulations. How do you feel switching from this subject to copywriting now? Do you feel there’s any skill crossover from chemical engineering to copywriting?

VICTORIA: Thanks!

I think the bulk of my research skills – which I’m still building – came from me writing my final year thesis…

Also, I already knew that if I wanted to “make it” as a chemical engineer, I’ll have to further my education: do an MSc. and even a PhD and a whole lot of other things I just wasn’t interested in anymore – again thanks to covid + lecturers’ strike (From Tania: Victoria explains more about the strike in the next question)

So – to your question – I feel like I’ve found a career in copywriting… one that would have taken me years to build in the engineering world.

TANIA: How did you discover financial copywriting?

VICTORIA: 2020…

Covid happened + our university lecturers went on strike… 

I was bored and broke…lol

And I didn’t see myself picking up any book relating to chemical Engineering to read for any reason… 

I was already losing interest anyway – no thanks to the previous industrial actions (strike) by the lecturers… 

So I reached out to a friend and told him I wanted something to do to make money…

I remember he simply said …

“Learn copywriting”

And he sent me the link to buy a copywriting course…

Even though it was a “general” copywriting course, it had this huge folder of over 300 financial swipes.

I just didn’t see myself studying those… so I overlooked it and chose to focus on other niches. (Well, look at me now. Lol)

TANIA: What were your first impressions of copywriting?

VICTORIA: My first impressions: When I read the sales letter for the course … I was intrigued! 

I had never heard about copywriting before that time, so the idea of writing marketing materials for foreign companies sounded exciting to me.

TANIA: What drew you to financial copywriting?

VICTORIA: I was juggling between pursuing a chemical engineering degree – graduating with a good grade –  and copywriting, so I could barely give both my best shot…

But in July of 2022, I dm’ed my copywriting coach at the time and I remember asking him why everyone (Nigerians in particular) ran away from the financial niche… 

His response?

TANIA: What he said about copywriting being a white-dominated industry – did you feel afraid too?

VICTORIA: No, I didn’t feel afraid at all… and I really don’t know why…lol.

My fear was more about Nigeria’s bad rep (scam & all) being a stumbling block for me – clients not wanting to hire me because of what they’ve heard/seen/experienced with other Nigerians in the past.

For some reason, the only part that stuck to my brain from the whole conversation was “Nigerians are lazy”… lol

(Btw, He’s also Nigerian)

Especially considering that I had run away from it myself before…

I was determined to disclaim his claim ^^

That was really what drew me to financial copywriting…

Also, I’d heard about how financial was one of the highest paying copywriting niches so a second reason is that I wanted to play in the big leagues.

TANIA: Besides the income potential, is there something about financial copy that attracted you? For example, health pays pretty well too – why pick financial over health?

VICTORIA: There’s the part of my wanting to prove the guy wrong^^

But the thing about financial copy that attracted me was the “difficulty” part… hearing about how it’s hard to write and also break into…

Oh, there’s also the part of me wanting to be unique… I had not seen any female financial copywriter from Nigeria who’s broken into the financial industry successfully… (maybe there are, I really don’t know)

I remember saying to myself: “What if I become the first?”

So it wasn’t really about financial copy for me at first, it was about doing something different.

TANIA: How did you study financial copywriting? 

VICTORIA: I hand-copied one lift everyday for 3 months, read a number of promos… and tried writing lifts for the promos I wrote… 

I wasn’t satisfied so I searched google for anything and everything related to financial copywriting till I found Kyle Milligan’s Youtube channel and a free course by Jake Hoffberg…

Finally, I got to know about the World of Financial Copywriting (WoFC) through Joshua Lee Henry.

Funny story… I pitched him with a lift and a space ad I’d written for Money & Markets and he told me something along the lines of…

The samples were good… I had talent but I needed more guidance… I told him I couldn’t afford WoFC but I’ll definitely get in at some point.

PS: I was still in the university while doing all of this…

TANIA: A lot of people tell themselves “I can’t afford it” and stop there with their training. Did you reinvest the money you earned from the previous gigs to join WoFC?

VICTORIA: Yes, the pay from the gig I got early this year… I kind of just said “If I perish, I perish” on this one because paying that fee forced me to put in my best…

It pushed me to the point where I said “It’s either financial copywriting works or it works.” There’s no second option.

TANIA: Do you have any tips for other students or people with full-time jobs on juggling the thing you want to leave behind and the new thing aka copywriting? 

VICTORIA: It’s hard, the only reason I didn’t give up was because I’d decided that I wasn’t going to leave copywriting – even though I took a break from it a few times to focus on school – BUT I needed to still give school my best shot (talk about wanting it all eh…?) I think the best tip I can think of right now is…

One of the two things you’re juggling right now has to be more important than the other in the long run

Once you’ve established which one is, be sure to not give that up …

Even if you have to take breaks from it or sneak in time to do it so you can attend to the most urgent – in my case, chemical engineering was more urgent because of exams, tests, projects, etc…

But I didn’t see myself doing it after school (the long run I’m talking about). It’s something you have to figure out tbh

TANIA: What has your journey of working with financial copywriting clients been like? 

VICTORIA: Before I started learning/handcopying lifts in the financial niche, I’d created a list of about 20+ finpubs (agora, non-agora, and independent publishers included)… and got on their email list…

So when it was time to start pitching, I just got their email addresses and cold mailed them (I can’t even count how many cold emails I sent…haha)

I also sent messages via Linkedin to publishers as well.

TANIA: I don’t know about you – I did the same and faced tons of rejection. Did you go through that too and how did you keep going?

VICTORIA: Oh yes, I did face a ton of rejections… I have copy buddies that I look up to – Nigerian copywriters who have done well for themselves in other niches… They were my moral support…

When the rejections got to me, I’d just send them a message and they’d encourage me.

I got hired for a one-time gig at a finpub late last year… that was my first gig ever – since I got into financial copywriting… It was a gig to write a few emails.

Then early this year, I got hired by an independent publisher, the role didn’t last because the company had to shut down… although I was paid for the services I delivered for the period I spent there.

Now that I was back in the pool of “job-hunters”, I pitched Joshua Lee Henry again and that’s when he told me they were reopening the WoFC and asked if I was interested.

And that’s how I got into the Copy Chief forum this year.

TANIA: How did you feel getting your first gigs in finpub?

VICTORIA: This question… lol

I felt really proud… the last time I’d felt that much pride was probably when I won a scholarship back in my second year…

I think it was the same feeling… PURE JOY!

TANIA: Could you share more about your current role at Wealthpress? How did you land this role and are you enjoying it? 

VICTORIA: Wealthpress is a BLESSING! ha!

How I got the role?

I wrote a new headline and lead for moneymap press and sent them over to the publisher (Rob Braddock)…

He told me to write another one for another promo moneymap was currently running – at that time – and he’ll send it over to the copywriter who wrote the promo.

I had zero idea that Rob and Scott (the guy who wrote the promo I was writing a new lead for) were friends with Jimmy Parent.

Long story short, after a few conversations with Scott, I got an email from him one day telling me he had sent an email connecting me to the copy chief at Wealthpress (they’re now called the tradingpub by the way)

I got on a call with the copy chief, did a spec assignment – he liked it… and I got hired.

Right now, I’m currently undergoing training with them – the goal is for me to start writing long form by January – but for now, I write emails only.

The team here is supportive… My copy chief has been on vacation since I resumed but the associate copy chief has always cheered me on from day one.

He even remembered that I’d pitched him sometime in the past… lol

TANIA: Congratulations! That sounds like such a satisfying full circle.

VICTORIA: THANKS! I really love it here tbh.

PS: update My copy chief is back now so training is in full gear for me.

I’m like the youngest there (I think they’ve figured that out)

TANIA: What is the #1 advice you would give a fellow ‘international’ copywriter who’d like to break into the American financial publishing industry? 

VICTORIA: It took me 12 months+ to find my footing as a financial copywriter, if I can do it, then you can too – if you’re willing to put in the work, that is.

Also, if you can… pay for quality mentorships (I’m 99.89% sure I would have never gotten into Wealthpress without the Copy Chief forum

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