Getting to Know Amy
As a copywriter and marketing consultant for nonprofit organizations, I appreciate the connection between concepts like:
Following best business practices and making mission-driven decisions
Serving the needs of the community and requiring money to do it
Needing to be both story- and numbers- oriented
Growing up as the daughter of a watercolor artist and an actuary, I took for granted the connection between creativity and analytics. While my parents appeared to be “opposites”, I knew better. Mom ran her own business, selling her art and Dad did more than crunch numbers – he managed people.
In my copywriting business, I serve the needs of my clients by producing writing that generates results – that is, money. While my words reflect stories, calls to action, and other persuasive elements, I know that for you as the client, it’s about the bottom line. Because if you don’t raise the funds you need with the copy you use, you’ll have to close your doors. It’s that simple.
Let me introduce myself to you with a couple of stories that illustrate who I am.
Life Will Throw You, But You Can Recover
I screamed and took in a mouth full of dirt when I hit the ground.
My horse, Chinook, had just thrown me off. While I wasn’t in too much pain (and later confirmed I hadn’t been injured), I was shaken by the incident.
It’s common advice to tell people, “when you fall off the horse, just get back on.” That’s not just a metaphor for navigating life’s difficulties. It’s solid advice for when you literally fall off a horse.
Only I didn’t get back on. For months, I was too afraid to ride my own, beloved Chinook. To be fair, I was twelve years old – just a small kid who’d fallen off a mammal who literally weighed a ton. My confidence was shaken, and for a while, I didn’t think I’d ever get on a horse again.
I still went to the barn and exercised Chinook, brushed him, shoveled manure. (The smell is still so therapeutic to me, to this day.) But I didn’t put the saddle on him. I didn’t ride him.
He was a good horse – that was the only time he’d thrown me off. He’d been spooked by another horse in the arena with us. He hadn’t even bucked me off, not really, just a “crow hop”, I was told. Still, it was enough to send me flying.
There’s a popular song that says, “you only get one shot.” Well, I was lucky. We kept Chinook and eventually, I mustered up the nerve to get back in the saddle, literally. I took riding lessons to increase my confidence and even won the fourth place ribbon in a Western Pleasure show!
I learned that even when life “throws you,” and even if it takes a little while, you can get up, dust yourself off, and recover. Life has since thrown me in other ways, but I’ve learned to take it in stride and persevere, and that has made all the difference.
Sometimes, It’s the Fourth Time That’s the Charm
I got up and took my poem to the front of the room – where the microphone was.
“This is my fourth college in two years; I’ve got to make this work,” I thought.
To add to the pressure I felt, I’d invited my parents and brother to this open mic night, which I’d seen advertised on a poster outside my dorm earlier that week. They were very supportive, and I wanted them to know that I’d made the right decision in choosing my fourth and final school (even if I wasn’t sure yet).
I’d read my poetry to a group before, but that was in a classroom setting. This was different. I didn’t know anyone in the room except my own family. But it was the beginning of a new school year, and that gave me courage – it was the perfect moment to introduce myself to Bellarmine University.
I stood in front of the microphone, took a deep breath, and smiled at the crowd of a few dozen students and faculty that looked back at me. Then I began to read: “Words flow through my head . . .” and they flowed out of my mouth in spite of the stage fright that ruled my brain. I didn’t just read the poem, I performed it. I read it with feeling, because I felt passionate about what I’d written, and I wanted the audience to really get to know me in the few short moments that I’d be on stage.
When I got to the end of the poem, I paused, breathed again (for the first time since I’d started reading?), and looked around. The room burst into applause – an amazing response for someone who’d felt like the “new girl at school” a moment before.
My mom would say later, “they flocked to you.” And it was true – I stepped away from the microphone and found myself surrounded by a sea of what would become very close friends and colleagues in the years to come.
The lesson: stand up, speak even if your voice is shaking, take the risk. Passion and community go hand in hand. Find your people, and make a bigger impact than you could ever make on your own.
It’s been years since I’ve performed at an open mic night, but I remember that event often and approach all opportunities in life with the willingness to show up, give it my all, and reap the rewards.
Amy currently works as a freelance copywriter, specializing in nonprofit direct response packages and marketing consultancy.
For more information, Amy can be reached directly at (502) 592-1022 or Amy@AmyHartsough.com.