TCC Podcast #194: The Anti-Copy Copy Course with Christina Torres | The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #194: The Anti-Copy Copy Course with Christina Torres

Copywriter Christina Torres is our guest for the 194th guest on The Copywriter Club Podcast. Christina is a member of The Underground and The Copywriter Think Tank so we’ve seen some of the changes she’s made to her business recently. We talked to Christina about her business and the kinds of things she does as a pocket CMO. Here’s most what we covered…

•  her story—how she became a copywriter by mistake
•  how she got permission to do the thing she really wanted to do
•  what she does in her role as a CMO in your pocket
•  how she’s worked with copywriters as a CMO to help them grow
•  some examples of her work and how she helps people get out of their own way
•  how she attracts and connects with her clients
•  why she took the time to figure out what she doesn’t like to do
•  how she found clients in the the programs she has joined
•  the importance of taking a stand in her business and making change
•  the idea of a culture and equity audit for the work she does
•  how she balances all the things competing for her time
•  the catalyst for the new program she’s launching
•  what an anti-copy course copy course would look like
•  launching even when there’s too much other stuff going on

This is a good interview you won’t want to miss. To hear it, click the play button below or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher. Or scroll down to read a full transcript and see links to what we talked about.

 

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

 

Full Transcript:

Rob:   This episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Underground, the place to connect with hundreds of smart copywriters who share ideas and strategies to help you master marketing, mindset and copywriting in your business. Learn more at TheCopywriterUnderground.com.

Kira:   What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.

Rob:   You’re invited to join the club for episode 194 as we chat with copywriter and CMO in your pocket, Christina Torres, about how her business has evolved to include much more than copywriting, what she’s done to juggle working a job while pursuing a side hustle, how copywriters can speak up and create change, and what she’s done to figure out what comes next.

Kira:   Welcome, Christina.

Christina Torres:   Hey. I’m so excited. Ah, this is like the nerdiest, surreal thing that’s ever happened and I’m just pinching myself. I’m so excited to be with my copy uncle and my copy cousin. That’s what I call Kira. You’re not my copy dad. I feel like Rob is so much cooler.

Rob:   I’m a really cool dad, I got to say. I’m not cool at all, actually. Just ask my daughters. They remind me of that, seriously, every single day; how uncool I am.

Kira:   That’s their job. Their job is to remind you of that every day. I’m glad I’m the cousin and not the mom. I feel like I can barely mom.

Christina Torres:   We’re too close in age.

Kira:   I can barely mom, parent my own children. So, I’m happy to be the cousin. Christina Torres, we have had the pleasure of hanging out with you and working with you in The Underground. And then also, more recently, in The Think Tank over the last month. But we want to really start with your story and how you became a copywriter. And then, more recently, a Pocket CMO.

Christina Torres:   Yeah, sure. I think … I was just listening to your most recent podcast and I feel like everyone says this, but of course I became a copywriter by mistake. I feel like that’s so cliché but it’s kind of true. Not really. I became a copywriter by mistake in that I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I always wanted to be a Mad Men. I was, before it was cool and before people really were like, “Ooooh.” … Before there was Casper and before there was all these cool brands, I would definitely take out my Razr Motorola phone … That probably doesn’t age me too far back … But I would take pictures of all the cute and clever ads on the subway because I was just obsessed with language and comedy and just funny things. I was always taking pictures because they would just make me giggle. And we run a lot of ads in the New York City subway.

It started there, but I didn’t know what copywriting was. I was like … I knew I was wanted to be in advertising, but that’s not what I did. I ended up in finance because it’s what my mom did. My mom was in public relations and in investor relations. And I went to school for business management. So, now I’m using my degree kind of, but I wasn’t then. And I was like, “Where can I make a quick buck and still go to school?” So, I became an administrative assistant all over finance and it just became comfortable and that’s where I got stuck.

But wherever I could write something, and there’s a lot of writing in that and a lot of using other execut- … I literally would have to use my executive’s voice. They weren’t writing emails, they weren’t writing memos. They were just like, “Can you fix this up?” Or, “Is this on tone?” And I’d just be like, “What would Susan do?” Then I would just write an email. And that was just like, “Oh, I really love this.” I was like, “What is this called? There’s a thing. What is this called?” And so, I looked it up and how I could get into advertising.

And I’ll be frank. Before I found The Copywriter Club, I was going on forums and stuff like that and people weren’t saying great things about working at advertising companies. I was like, “Maybe this isn’t it. Maybe I don’t need to work at an advertising company.” And so, I just stayed at my day job and I looked for creative spaces. I was always updating people’s resumes and always getting people jobs and so I was like, “There has to be money in this, but I don’t like resume writing.”

I just kept searching and I found TCC. I don’t even know how it happened. I think it was just podcasts. I think I first found … Backtracking, I thought I was going to be a coach. There were a lot of weird pivots in my career life. I was just one of those people who were like, “I want to be this. Let’s figure out how to do it.” And I thought I was going to be a coach and I hired this lady to be my coach. And I thought I was going to be this coach for women of color and single moms. It was very multifaceted. And then I was just like, “This seems exhausting. Absolutely not.” And then she was like, “But you’re really good at writing emails.” I had a following for like a second and I was like, “Oh, maybe this copy thing is a thing.” And then I looked it up and I think I was looking up Marie Forleo and then I found Laura Belgray.

And then I heard Laura Belgray on The Copywriter Club and I was like, “This is it. This is what I want to do. I want to curse in emails, I want to be silly, I want to be myself, and I want to help other people be themselves and sell stuff. And so, I was like, “Well, I guess I … If Laura Belgray is on TCC then I need to listen to every TCC episode.” And I did. And then I got into the group and then I paid for the membership and then I just asked you all a million and one questions on hot seats and it was when I was like, “Rob, how do I get into agencies?” I will always think of Rob whenever I think of my copywriting story. And he was like, “You don’t need an agency. You can do this by yourself.” And that was all the permission I needed.

And so, I just really scrappily and probably really poorly started copywriting. And my first one … I knew I was really good at it … I forget that I have this story in my back pocket. I was actually selling a bunch of furniture and I knew who I wanted to have my furniture. I really loved it. I was moving out of my apartment to move back in with my mom so I could save money for a house and I was like, “I need someone with Brooklyn swag who is going to treat my furniture beautifully and that is going to … ” I basically put this ad on Craig’s List talking to the person who needs this furniture, the furniture who needs that person. And I can’t remember what the ad was, but someone from Project Runway called and was like, “We’d like to look at your furniture.” And I was like, “That’s not … This is a scam.”

Lo and behold, we got on the phone and some really hot production assistants came over and they bought my furniture for like $500 and I was like, “That’s exactly who I wanted to have this furniture. I have a chance. I have a shot.” Yeah. It started there and then I got a GoDaddy website and I just owned it. I just told everybody that I was a copywriter, even if I didn’t know what the hell it was.

Rob:   Christina, in addition to copywriter you also call yourself a CMO in your pocket. What else do you do besides copywriting?

Christina Torres:   What I found was because I worked with a lot of bootstrap, a lot of startup solopreneurs, copy was kind of the least of the worries. And I always found myself like, “Oh, what if you thought about this?” And, “What if you consulted this?” And, “Maybe the packages for this need to be positioned this way.” So, it kind of was like me offering a little bit more consulting than just the copy. And I was like, “Well, what if I can package this?” It’s clear that copy on its own is not what’s going to get people there and I think because I was so engrossed in digital marketing I just assumed everyone knew. I just assumed everyone followed the same gurus, that everybody has listened to TCC and they knew that copy is great but you need to really know your market.

And I found that people weren’t really doing that. They were kind of just slapping up together what they thought their audience needed as opposed to really asking them and just doing a lot of extra work they didn’t need to be. They had brilliant ideas but I just felt really horrible just being like, “Oh, yeah, yeah. Sure, sure. Just some copy. Copy will fix this.” I was like, “What else do you need?” This is what I do. Project management and support and just looking at the big picture and pulling all those launch details together is kind of what I do in my work for my teams in corporate. And so, I was like, “How can I marry the two and really support the startups and the bootstrappers?”

And that was what Pocket CMO became. The person who is in your pocket, literally, help you with the pieces of the launch. So, it’s not just the copy. Sometimes it’s product development. Sometimes it’s … It’s definitely always market research. It’s repurposing content. It’s helping people find their voice. Sometimes it’s just throwing around and kicking the wheels and checking in on ideas and having someone in your corner to say, “No, that is actually really awesome. Let’s go down this avenue.” And then, keeping people on track. If I had to put it all together, it kind of became your own pocket launch strategist; just the idea that launching doesn’t only happen a few times a year. You’re always launching something. I just called it The Pocket CMO. I don’t know any bootstrappers or startups or even people in the growth phase who can full-on afford a CMO; like a $200K CMO. So, I’m in your pocket. I’m there for you to call me and bounce some ideas around. That’s how it came about and it’s been really exciting.

Kira:   Can you talk about … I know you’ve worked with some copywriters, too, with this Pocket CMO model and you’ve helped some successful copywriters become even more successful, too. Can you just give some examples of some of the wins … Even if you can’t share the client … But some of the wins that you’ve had with those clients, whether it’s understanding their market in a deeper way or finding their voice? Just some examples that we can learn from? And maybe we can do a little bit of what you’re doing with these clients in our own businesses.

Christina Torres:   Yeah. I mean I’ll shout it out. I love her. So, Samar. I work with Samar and we have made huge strides in visibility. And I think that’s absolutely one of the things that I love about working with copywriters, in general, because we really actually understand the market. We really understand the value we’re bringing but there’s something about coming from the forefront that is kind of scary and we’re not sure if that’s what people need or what people want. There was a few things that she was hoping to launch that she thought would be nice to launch and we were just like, “Nope. We have to do these things.” Making sure that she was having a way bigger social media presence, which she was worried about.

She’s been on the podcast and she’s talked about some of the struggles she’s had with be visibly Muslim. And those are for the exact reasons we need to be visible because you’re probably not the only copywriter who feels this way. And people think you’re a pretty big deal. I know me even pitching her … I pitched her in DMs, in a Facebook group. She said she needed an OBM. I was like, “I don’t think you need an OBM the way you think you do. I’m starting this package, what if it looked like this?” And she was like, “That’s exactly what I need. Someone who can do the nitty gritty because I just want to work with clients. I don’t want to worry about the marketing stuff. I don’t want to worry about that. I understand how it works but it’s not something I would do for myself if left to my own devices.”

We got her more visible. We launched her beta course, which was like, “Hey, that’d be so cool if you do it,” and then she was like, “Let’s do it.” And then it was like, “Oh, no. Things have come up,” because things in life just come up. And she was like, “Let’s not do it.” And I said, “Nope. That’s what you hired me for.” So, we literally did a real bootstrap launch, a lazy launch, but it didn’t feel that lazy when you’re the only one doing it. I put together the sales page, we bounced all the emails off each other, pretty much went of the emails, and we just launched it.

And it was … In a three week launch … Honestly, it was a three week launch with just emails, some Facebook posts. And she has a lot of people on her side and I think that’s something we don’t think about is our partners who are in this with us and who will share and champion us. And we love them and it went from what the heck are we doing? To a pretty, I would say … We’re not giving away the numbers … A five-figure launch. And we’re in the middle of it. We’re running the course. People are getting a lot of value. It’s been really fun. It’s taught me a lot.

I think one thing I can say to any copywriter is if you can just try it and just put yourself out there, getting paid to learn is the most beautiful-est thing ever. You know that your idea is working. You know that people see value in what you’re doing. If you just do the work and you can make people trust you … That’s part of it, right? If you just do the work, people will trust that you could do it for them. They just want to know that someone is going to do it for them and someone is willing to do it for them. I’m a huge proponent of that and it turned out great.

And we just signed a huge person now. It’s a little nerve racking to work with copywriters that you think are your heroes, but they’re human. And they are dropping the ball on a few things and they maybe are insecure about some stuff. And if you can see the unicorn in them that they can’t see, I think that brings a lot of value. That’s definitely been working for me.

Another example is … They’re not a copywriter but they are definitely a content creator and doing something huge in the yoga space. They were averaging a very low three-figure sign ups every day. It’s like, “People love you. Why don’t you just go live?” And it was just a simple suggestion like that and then vamping up their emails. And then they had four-figure days. Sometimes maybe I just help people get out of their own way and then I write their copy, if I had to say that. Those are some of the wins in a short amount of time that have been really exciting. And I’m glad I made that pivot because I don’t know what I would have been doing during this time.

Rob:   Yeah, those are some pretty cool clients and a big deal. How do you connect with your clients? And how do you attract them to the packages that you offer?

Christina Torres:   I’m a huge fan of sliding into people’s DMs. Email is cool but I’ll never know if they’re going to open the email and I don’t like the anticipation. I get into my own head so I’ve never really been a good cold email pitcher, even though maybe DMs are that; they’re short bursts. But what I do, typically, is … A, it starts off with being a huge fan of them anyway. I think people can feel that enthusiasm. When I heard Samar’s podcast, I was like, “Yes. That’s the person I want to help. That’s the person I want to learn from. She’s so inspiring. I see what she does in TCC, always helping people. And in other groups because we’re in copywriter groups. That’s who I want to work with.”

Of course, there’s some flattery. I literally listened to her podcast maybe three times because there was so many good nuggets. But she did list her problems. She did say what she was thinking about doing next. Sometimes that’s not always the case. Sometimes you can’t scroll someone’s Instagram. But sometimes you have a … When you’re such a huge fan of someone, you have a vision for them you would fight for them to be. That’s basically what I do. I’d be like, “Hey, I’ve seen this. I really love your stuff.” Kind of colloquial, maybe throw in some tidbit only their true followers would know. And then pitch them. “Hey, I think I can help you with these things.”

I think once you realize that you can solve a problem and … What is the saying? You sell them what they want and then give them what they need. That’s huge. It’s not like a bait and switch. It is. Sometimes you need to be like, “Well, I want to be on more podcasts.” “Cool. I can get you on more podcasts but what you need is a content strategy.” I would say that’s my huge advice is being a huge fan first and never thinking you can’t give them any value. And then finding where you can and just pitching it. You never know. You never know.

I think people are waiting, honestly, for someone to say, “Hey, I can help you with something.” And if you really feel like you can solve that problem with all the knowledge you have and maybe you don’t have … I’m not saying to go out there and fake it ’til you make it, but don’t let imposter syndrome get the best of you. Throw it out there and see what people are going to grab it. And thus far, it’s really worked for me. And never take no for an answer. I always followed up with people, too. That’s just been a huge lift for me is just being a huge fan of whoever I work with. And it actually makes working with people so much easier.

Kira:   In addition to sliding into people’s DMs, which you’ve done well and you handled that well, and then the follow up, which is key, what else have you done, even over the last year, year and a half that’s helped you grow your business and up-level in some ways? Because from an outside perspective looking, I’ve seen you grow and I know you have more clients than you can handle at times. It’s just a lot. You’ve attracted so many great clients. What else have you done along the way?

Christina Torres:   I’d say along the way, getting really focused on what I don’t like doing and what I do like doing. I realize maybe web copy is not … Even though I get it. I do, I really do … It’s not my favorite thing to write. It takes super long. Knowing what I do like and what I don’t like. Engaging with people and being in programs like The Think Tank, I think most of my clients, at the end of the day, have come from the places that I frequent and the communities that I hang out in. I don’t think I intentionally ever joined something with the idea of like, “That person’s going to be my next client.” But when you show up in those groups and you show up for yourself and you’re just always wanting to over-deliver, even for the people in the group, they’ve naturally become relationships.

My old business coach, I just finished a Master Mind with her. And this week, actually, I’m teaching copy in her group. I didn’t intentionally do that and I know that’s probably what you should be doing, but that’s also helped in clients. I wish copywriters would be more excited about Instagram because a lot of that has happened there. Commenting and engaging with them, sharing people’s services, singing people’s praises. Whenever you talk about content or using other people for examples and just be like. “Hey.” Connecting people. That’s really been … Just forging relationships, if you wanted to give it an umbrella. It’s really just forging relationships and showing up in those groups and being active. Those investments have paid off for me.

Maybe half of the time I don’t think I even finish the course, the Master Mind, because I think, like many people, you can get a little course fatigue. They’re long. It’s been the community parts of the courses that have had the largest ROI for me. I think not being afraid to invest in myself and invest in others has really, really paid off. I mean, me taking a yoga class and being excited for it, that cost me $25 and then saying, “These are all the great things I think I could do.” Well, that landed me a $8,000 project. That’s a great ROI. And so, not being afraid to do that.

I also don’t think I get as hung up on people being so big. That’s just because I don’t know, honestly. I think I come in with a little bit of like, “You’re just a human.” But that’s been really helpful, too. Now, when I’m in that group, not being so starstruck by the Kiras and the Robs and the Laura Belgrays and be like, “Hey, I need help with stuff and I’d like to help you with things.” Those are just … I’d say relationship building has been a huge ROI. I would love to say that my digital marketing is on point, but that’s something I’m working on. I’m definitely the cobbler’s son. I don’t have enough time, I feel like, to do some of my digital marketing and so there’s a team coming hopefully. We just hired someone. Yeah, relationship building and investing in others.

And taking a stand, which I would say is the third one. I think it’s really trending now that people are taking stands in their businesses. For me, there was no differentiation. I had no choice. There’s people who I want to work with. There’s people who I want to help. And those people that I want to work with and help look like me, have the same anxieties and hang-ups that I do, and they’re who I want to help. So, taking a stand in my business and saying, “No, these are the people I want to work with. These are the people I want to uplift and these are the issues where I stand and I will not falter.” Whether or not I attract those people has really, really been helpful. People have come on to my website and been like, “Whoa. That was a lot and I’d love to work with you and see what that looks like.” Even if they’re not quite sure what I do, taking a stand has also really helped.

Rob:   Can we dive into that just a little bit? What you mean by taking a stand and how other copywriters can use their voices in order to create change in their worlds, whatever that change they feel like they need to make is?

Christina Torres:   Yeah. When I first started copywriting, I didn’t see a lot of multicultural copywriting. And what I mean by that is I didn’t see a lot of copy that infused … Whether it be women of color, people of color, Latinx, I didn’t see a lot of copy that represented us. It all seemed very blanketed. And when I did see it, it wasn’t from the solopreneurs or it wasn’t from the communities whose cultures those belong to. I would look at a large corporation and they would use a lot of African American vernacular Ebonics. So ones you see like, “Yas Girl,” and some of those cultural tones. And I was like, “Why are they … Wait, wait. We have to get some of that power back because if they’re willing to use that to market to us, then you need to be willing to use that to market to your people.” And that’s because we’ve worked in spaces where we had to code switch, we’d have to acclimate to the cultures which are in those corporations if we come from those backgrounds.

If you worked at an agency, they were probably very … Predominantly white, predominantly male. There would be some borrowed interest, but it was in the interest of selling from the big guys to our cultures. It’s like, “Well, why can’t we take that back? Why can’t there be …” I didn’t see a lot of copy, and that’s what really excited me about Laura Belgray’s writing; that it was very colloquial and although she wasn’t a woman of color, it gave me the permission, I felt, to write the way I wanted to write and to infuse my culture and help other people to infuse their culture in their writing, too. It was something I just couldn’t falter on.

It’s always been something that’s been in my eye and has been in my heart that I’m just like, “Well, why can’t we market for us by us?” I think there’s nothing wrong with that. I understand we want everyone to buy our stuff but even in the world of marketing, that’s just not how it works. You have someone who you should … That one reader, that one person who should be buying your stuff and why can’t that one reader or one person look and talk and go through the things that you go through? And that means your copy and your messaging would have to reflect that. And if you believe in inclusivity, then your copy and your messaging also has to.

Yeah, it’s been a privilege, at least for me, to say that I’ve never had an issue or have had anyone step on my toes about that. It also weeds out who are not going to work with me. I’m probably not going to have any overt racists want to work with me because it’s very clear for who I’m doing this work for. So, that weeds that out, I guess. But, yeah. For me, I couldn’t separate my business. Who I am as a person is my business. I am my business. I guess that’s changing a whole lot now.

Kira:   Yeah. As copywriters, business owners are taking a stand, whether it’s something that they’ve been doing for a while or some of them are newer to that and doing it for the first time, do you have any advice about how to approach it? What not to do? Like, “Don’t do this. Don’t make this mistake,” that you’ve seen repeatedly? What to do, what not to do around sharing your voice and your message and taking a stand.

Christina Torres:   I think when you take a stand with anything, you also have to think about your why, your what, your who, of course, and then it’s like how does this benefit the person as well? Taking a stand for something is great, but why does it matter so much to you? What does it do for the community who’s coming to your page or the community who’s coming to you if those are not your cultures? I’ll be frank just because I’m deemed a person of color, all of a sudden I know all the things about … And I’m not saying that people do … Everyone thinks that. But all of a sudden I now have to be the expert on what that means.

Well, I actually had someone … I actually hired someone when I was doing my website and when I was writing the copy for my website to do an equity audit or a culture audit because a lot of the copy I write does have a lot of African American vernacular Ebonics. That’s because I live in Brooklyn, New York. English is my first language. I’ve only lived in Black and Brown communities but I’m not super entrenched in the Latino community. I don’t even speak Spanish. And to be quite frank, that’s many of the millennial experiences here in America. If you were born here between a certain time, maybe you speak Spanish if your family did but you go to school, you’re around other English-speaking people. It becomes really quickly not your primary language. Not for everyone, but for me.

I very much, feeling as the other, gravitated to the African American culture here. I was like … I wanted to make it very clear as someone who is white presenting, white passing … If you looked at me, especially now that we’re in quarantine I have no … There’s no melanin happening right now. So, I wanted to make it clear. I didn’t want to offend the people I planned on serving and so I had someone come and say, “Is this problematic? This is who I’m trying to serve. This is how I openly identify.”

And I think it’s easier for me to say that because as person who is a mixed-race Hispanic, I had to do the work to find out who I was. I had to do the work to understand why I look this way, where my family comes from. I was just very curious and it’s something that’s always been a driving source in my life, just knowing who I am and understanding other people as a … I guess I’m an empath. It was something I needed to do for myself and it’s someone I brought in knowing that that could be rubbed the wrong or that could be taken the wrong way or that I could possibly be appropriating someone’s culture without meaning to. I wanted to make sure that the very people who I planned on serving were comfortable with my messaging, that it made sense, so I reached out to McKenzie Mack. She does equity and culture audits for copy and I’ve learned a lot from her.

I also worked in a diversity and inclusion space in finance for a little bit, so it was something I was hyper-aware of because of where I had worked before. But it was something I just really wanted to make sure that I wasn’t driving anyone away. And I guess when you think that way … It’s people who think that way usually don’t need it. But I was like, “No, I just want to make sure that the people that I’m actually looking to serve feel welcomed here. And I don’t want them to feel that I’m appropriating or taking away from their cultures or using their cultures to sell to them. I want them to feel really welcomed here and that they have a voice and that they have permission to use their voices.”

Yeah. I hope that answers the question. That was a little deep.

Rob:   Yeah. We could go deeper, too, I think, but we’re going to run out of time if we do that. Can I change the subject just a little bit?

Christina Torres:   Yeah.

Rob:   I know you have worked a job while you have built your copywriting business on the side. And maybe we should actually treat it like the reverse; like you’ve been building your copywriting business and working a job on the side. How do you balance that? And how do you make that work in a day when you’re also a mom and you’ve got all of this other stuff going on in your life? Maybe a lot of people would look at you and say, “Hey, she’s done this really well.” What’s your secret?

Christina Torres:   My secret is to get a job that doesn’t demand too much of your time. I actually started this copy thing … I would say lots of coffee. That definitely helps. But I actually started the copy thing when I worked at an organization that was super high performing. They literally suck the life out of you. And I was just like, “If I’m going to make this work, A, I still need to make ends meet. I don’t think I’m confident enough to just go out into the world.” I also live in New York City, the most expensive place. I think there’s just hustle that’s bred into us. But I was like, “I need to, A, find a job that I can give the minimum amount but still have the maximum salary,” if that makes sense. I needed healthcare, too.

I had made a leap into a smaller firm. People can take this as you will, but find a job if you need to. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. There’s a lot of things that I take from my corporate setting and my corporate mindset into my work, like organization and being thorough and things of that nature. But finding a job that you can do the bare minimum for but still have the maximum ROI … And by ROI, I mean salary … There’s nothing wrong with that, especially now. I’m grateful, especially when everyone’s home. I have a paycheck that comes to me that I have to do the very least for. It’s still work, but it’s not a full work day. So, that’s kind of how I balanced it and I just told myself that I had to. This is where we’re at. And with each client, raising my rates exponentially.

I think this time two years ago I was probably like $400 a project, which I quickly realized was painful. No one feels motivated to do a 40+ hour job for $400. But each project, I just keep raising it and keep raising it and keep raising it. Balancing it? I don’t know if you want to call it balancing. They were kind of coinciding. I’ve done full-on conference calls from my job. I’ve done full-on podcast recordings from my job. There was a time I had my own podcast, so my podcast studio was the conference room after hours. I think if you find the will, you’ll find the way.

I remember listening to Nat Paul’s podcast on here and I was just like, “Yeah, that guy gets it.” When you have a family, when you have a lot of responsibilities, if you can find a way to package things … And I guess we’ll lead into that … That’s something that I’m trying to change. I’m noticing that, especially during quarantine time, 12-hour days while raising a family … Before quarantine, I was living a really cushy life. Like, lunch came to me. I had fridge full of Coke Zero and coconut water and Perrier. That is not the case now. I probably eat boiled eggs more than I want to because it’s all I have time for now. I’m also watching my son at the same time. It was a totally different world, so I’m very grateful for that corporate space and having that place where I can keep my mind clear and balance the world. It’s a lot easier than you think.

I mean, if you can do your biz work on your work work time, do it. Be respectful. I’m not saying take call … I’ve never taken a call at a desk, but I’ve been on a Hot Seat at my desk. I’ve been on a Hot Seat on TCC on my desk before, I’m not going to lie. And I think nowadays you actually could be more transparent about that. I think back in the day you couldn’t. I don’t know what back in the day means. I’m so old. But I don’t think you could be transparent about all the side things now. I think now people expect that more, honestly. People understand that people are side hustling, people have other side passions. Sometimes they realize that that brings a lot to the table.

I’ve actually mentioned to my boss that I do copywriting. And now, if I need to … There’s a pro and con because if something needs to be written it’s given to me. But I think people want to know more now that you have other passions and that you can maybe bring some of that into their space. You may be surprised how honest you can be about juggling the two, but I would just tread lightly about doing your work there. You still need to get your work done at your day job. That’s a given. If they’ve got the resources, why not? Why not do it? And if you feel like you are in a safe place to be honest about it … That might not be everywhere, but I’ve found it took a lot of weight off my shoulders instead of creeping in the shadows about what I’m doing because that’s kind of what I did for a while. Like, “What are you doing, Christina Torres? Why are you here? It’s eight PM.” “Ummmm …”

That’s how I balanced it and it’s just because I have to. I have a goal, I have a dream, I have bills to pay. Just because I needed to, I balanced it. But that would be my advice. It’s totally doable. I just wish I didn’t have to context switch. So, if you could get a job doing something related or at least close enough, I think that’s super helpful. I wish I would have thought about that. But then maybe it is a nice break to do some mindless work that doesn’t suck all your creativity away. So, the takeaway from that is get a job with the minimum amount of work today and the highest amount of pay and then slowly slip in that you’re a lot more awesome than they thought and this is what you got going on, if you can trust them and you feel comfortable. I think it helps a lot when you’re like, “Oh, what are you doing?” “Oh, there’s nothing going on so I’m writing some copy.”

Kira:   Yeah. Okay, Christina Torres, I want to make sure we have to talk about your latest, newest project. It’s very exciting and so, let’s dive into that and talk about what the catalyst was for this new project that you’re creating/launching over the next few weeks.

Christina Torres:   Yeah.

Kira:   And also, what is it? Tell us all about it.

Christina Torres:   Yeah. I had already, at the start of the pandemic and everything that’s going on in the news now with George Floyd and everyone just … Either allyship or not so much allyship coming to the forefront with people of color, but especially Black people. And I had already started unwinding from social media. I was like, “I need a break. It’s very distracting.” I was having conversations … Trying to be in every place and everywhere having these conversations about the treatment of POCs and a lot of things coming out to the forefront around people of color. I had caught … I don’t know if you know or this audience know Rachel Rogers. She’s one of the few pretty big … And there’s a lot but I think people who are visibly business coaches.

And she had called out recently something that happened in B School group. And it was a gut reaction to a conversation that clearly no one was comfortable having in there and they closed the comments and she just was like, “Well, if you benefit from taking people, especially Black women but people of color’s money, then you need to open up your spaces to talk about these things.” And she went on this rant and I couldn’t believe it because the very thing I had detracted myself from doing within my own business, which was appropriating people’s cultures, not having a safe space for people I worked with … But I was doing it on a very small scale. I was doing it one-on-one. I’m working with people and doing that one-on-one. And when she had mentioned that, I was like, “Wow.”

Copy Cure had just launched and I was just like, “Well, if that’s what’s going on there, then shoot, I have enough knowledge, I have enough under my belt. I probably paid thousands of dollars, a good amount, for my own copy education. And what’s stopping me from creating that chorus and scaling that knowledge? Literally giving people like the Netflix password to my copy brain.” And it started off as a joke. I was actually … I posted something about using Cosmo to write copy. And then when I saw her using their headlines, using how they framed some of their editorial stuff, looking at … You can learn a lot from your market just from a four dollar magazine. And I made a post about it and someone was like, “That’d be an awesome course. I totally forgot about magazines doing that.”

And then Rachel had made that post and Instagram Stories calling out that whole situation; POCs not having a space or a community that was safe to learn those things. And I was like, “You know what? Yeah. I don’t think I’ve seen too many copy courses for people who look like the clients I’m serving, so why can’t I create that? And why can’t I bring in the people who I serve or who I’ve actually invested in to help me with some of my things come on and be guest experts and do that for them?” I was like, “I’m going to launch my own Anti Copy Course Copy Course.” And that’s literally come together over the past few weeks and people have been all up in my DMs. I remember when I first said it they were like, “Hey, I will definitely lend some of my guest expertness …” If that’s a word. “What do you need? What do you need? Here’s this. This was my launch. This is this.” And I was like, “Okay, well this is happening.”

And then I was like, “Everyone hold the phone. Kira, I’m doing this thing. What do I do? How do I do it? Is it feasible. This is my timeline.” And God bless Kira and the Think Tank for being like, “Yeah, it’s totally possible. Here are the things. Let’s map it out. Let’s do it.” Yeah, that was the catalyst. It came out of … Sometimes good things come out of rage. Sometimes good things come out of uncomfortable. And I’m super excited to get it out. And the beta is probably going to launch … Hoping to launch the week of independence, so it’s going to be like Copy Independence Day. Yeah, we’re still in the phase of figuring out exactly what people need. I have some ideas.

The wait list for that will be open in the next couple days, but I’m really excited about it. And I’m super scared. I think what’s fueling it is that there’s a bigger purpose, right? That’s probably the beauty that’s come out of all this mess is that there’s a lot more Black and Brown brilliance that’s coming to the forefront and we’re all leaning on each other and we’re not scared to be siloed anymore. And we’re realizing that we do need communities where we do feel safe and do feel heard. And why can’t we create those communities? Why are we waiting for other people to create those communities for us? We can do that. We have the tools. It’s there. We spent all this money investing and learning those things, now we just need to do it for each other and invite other people in, too, so they can also see what awesome things we have and what inclusivity and allyship looks like, too. I’m really excited about it.

Kira:   Let’s just tell … I know you’re working through what the content is, exactly, but who is it for and what is the promise, too, as it is now, knowing that you’re still working through market research and figuring that out?

Christina Torres:   Yeah. The Anti Copy Course Copy Course is not something that’s going to take 12 weeks or six months. You’re going to come to this course and you’re just going to launch your ish already. The idea is in four weeks, whatever you’re working on … Let’s say it’s web copy. Let’s say … It’s mostly either going to be web copy or launch copy. I’m still trying to nail that down. But what I’m bringing to the table is that we’re going to work through headlines and taglines. There’s going to be some get ish done days where as a workshop, we’re going to work through … You can get some coffee for peaking. One of the modules is going to be about equity copy. It’s a no brainer for me. I want someone to come in and teach people how to make their copy more equitable and more inclusive because it’s not just for POCs. It’s definitely for allies, but they’re the group I’m targeting.

Basically, yeah. Either write your whole launch or write your whole web copy, letting the waitlist decide what they need, in four weeks. It’s just going to be able nailing your voice. There’s going to be a module about nailing your voice. There’s going to be a module about finding VOC data in the things that already exist and the things that you’re doing. Repurposing some of the sticky copy or the things that you have in your arsenal already, whether it’s discovery call, sales call. Maybe it’s your Instagram. Just the idea that your copy and your voice already exists. It’s there. And this is how I do it, this is how copywriters do it, and now you can do it, too. And you can do it serving the people you want.

It’s going to be maybe junior copywriters. It’s definitely going to be service providers. Anyone who just wants to nail copy and not drop thousands of dollars on a copy course and go through 17,000 modules to figure it out, because that’s not how I learn. And it will be more community-based. So, we can run ideas by each other, we can look at each other’s copy. You’re not learning in a silo. And also, you feel really comfortable sharing your type of copy. That’s something that’s always given me pause. I’ve always worked in a silo where I haven’t really gotten my copy critiqued because I’d get things like, “Oh, what if corporate investors are not really going to resonate with this copy?” I’m like, “Well, it’s not for them.”

So, feel like you’re in a safe space to get your copy critiqued and not worry like, “Oh man, this is going to make this dude uncomfortable.” Or, “Are they going to get it? Are they going to understand my audience?” Well, if you have a group of people who work with the same people as you, who have the same experiences as you, then you feel a lot safer to share that type of copy. That’s what it looks like right now.

Rob:   And if I’m intrigued by the description, if I’m thinking, “Hey, yeah. This sounds good to me,” where would I go to get more information about this?

Christina Torres:   Instagram, right now, would probably be the best bet because it’s going to live in my bio. There’s going to be a wait list. You’re going to hop on my wait list. You’ll get a couple of emails. You’re going to have fun in there. And then I’ll launch the date from there. You can go to RunAndTellThat.co and you can sign up for the wait list. Or you can go to my Instagram, which is super hard to say. You should put it in the show notes. I got to change it. It’s @Chris … So, C-H-R-I-S-T-O-R-R-I-N-E-S-A on Instagram. And it will be in my bio. That’s where it’s going to live right now.

This isn’t such an amazing launch, but that’s also why I’m doing it; to prove that you don’t need the Amy Porterfield’s of launch to do this. A, I don’t have the team to do that, but you can. You can just slide in people’s DMs. You can just post it on your wait list. You can partner with people who are already in your community to funnel into those things. So, it’s going to be a super lazy launch but that’s the beauty of it and that’s why I want to do it, too; to show people that you can launch with what you got.

Kira:   And you can do it while you’re working at a job and managing multiple clients and you have … Right? During COVID and with kids at home.

Christina Torres:   And laundry.

Kira:   Yeah.

Christina Torres:   I did laundry right before this.

Kira:   Yeah. All the reasons we say, “Oh, I can’t do it now. There’s too much going on.” And that’s all legit, but you’re doing it anyway, so I think it’s fun to … Will it be fun to watch how this pulls together and for people to support you? I know I’m signing up already, so I’m on the waitlist or I will be on the waitlist once I find the link and all that.

All right, I know we’re out of time Christina, but thank you so much for coming in here and just sharing more about your business and your launch and your story. And need to chat more on the next episode, so thank you, Christina.

Christina Torres:   Ah, thank you. Thank you for riding with my tangents. It’s going to be an interesting podcast.

Rob:   You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available at iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit TheCopywriterClub.com. We’ll see you next episode.

 

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