Copywriter Hannah Mang is our guest for the 117th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. We both love to travel, so we naturally wanted to talk with Hannah about how she makes her business work while traveling to interesting places around the world. But that’s not all, we also asked Hannah about:
• the accidental path she took from lawyer to copywriter
• what she did to connect with her first clients (and how that led to more)
• how she avoids the mistakes that other copywriters are making
• how she pulls the personality out of her clients
• the structure she uses for About pages and why she sometimes ignores it
• why you have to be interesting before you do anything else
• why you might want to think twice about agitating pain with your copy
• making shifts in your business and how mindset contributes
• Hanna’s tips for journaling (Rob really needed this)
• How she makes work “work” while she’s traveling
• Why speaking more than one language can help with copywriting
• The best places around the world to live and work
To listen to this episode, click the play button below, or if you prefer to read, scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:B school
Hannah on Instagram
Hannah on Facebook
The Copywriter Underground
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Rob: This podcast is sponsored by The Copywriter Underground.
Kira: It’s our new membership designed for you to help you attract more clients and hit 10K a month consistently.
Rob: For more information or to sign up, go to thecopywriterunderground.com.
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 Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the club for Episode 117 as we chat with copywriter Hannah Mang about how she became a copywriter, the importance of creating packages for clients to choose from, her career change from copywriter to business coach and mentor, and how speaking seven-and-a-half languages influences her copy.
Hannah: Hi, guys.
Kira: Great to have you here. I was telling you before we hit record that I wanted to get you on the show for a while because I watched you from afar and all your travels and stories through Instagram, so it’s nice to finally have you here.
Let’s kick this off with your story. How did you end up as a copywriter?
Hannah: Oh. Yeah, that’s actually quite a funny story.
Kira: That thing.
Hannah: I know, I know. Well, it was kind of random, looking back, but I feel it was really guided. In 2013, I joined B-School and for most people who know what that is, it’s Marie Forleo’s course on, basically, how to run an online business and I did that without even having a business idea. Back at that time, I was a law student. I was working part-time at a law firm and I just have this urge or feeling to start my own business. I wanted to be location-independent. I wanted to do my own thing, but I had no clue what I had to offer, so I joined B-School completely clueless.
Actually, what happened was that I just felt, like, ‘Okay, I need to put myself out there and just offer something.’ I had gone through coach training when I was 19 and so when I did B-School I was about 24 at the time. I figured, ‘Okay, I’m just going to offer, basically, coaching sessions for people who are just starting out and don’t know what to do.’ So, it was like we teach what we most need to learn, that type of thing.
I had just put out a post in the B-School group in the community on Facebook and I’d gotten a few responses. The first person I ever talked to, before jumping on the call with her, I, obviously, looked at her website, and I just started noticing all these things, tweaks you could make and how she could improve her sign-up rates if she just changed a couple words around and all of that.
I ended up writing all of this down and when I jumped on the call with her, it was, like, ‘Hi. I noticed all these things and I know you never asked me to do that, but are you interested in what I have to say about your website?’ Luckily, she was, so I gave her all that input. She came back to me two weeks later, ‘My sign-up rate has tripled just from implementing a few small tweaks according to what you told me,’ and, you know, take a hint.
What was most important for me, though, was that I felt like, well, it came to me very easily. It was fun, it kind of felt natural. At that time, I didn’t even know what copywriting was. I didn’t even know that was a thing. But I started doing that with more clients for free and, eventually, I realized, ‘Okay, I’m on to something.’ I didn’t even have a website, I didn’t have training or anything. I just kind of went with the flow. Long story short, just from that, I started, through word of mouth, attracting a lot of clients.
Then this lady came to me, an Australian woman, and she was, like, ‘Hey, can you write my website copy?’ I was so amazed because, like I said, I didn’t even have a website. I had never written anything for anyone, but, of course, I said yes and that was my first big paying client. I did it for like a thousand bucks or something. That is the short version of how I ended up being a copywriter.
Rob: Hannah, you talk about how word of mouth really got you started. Could we talk a little bit more about that? Because there are so many copywriters out there who get that first client and then they struggle to find the second. Or they see a little burst of activity at the very beginning of their business, but once they get through all of their network, suddenly they really struggle to find clients.
So, were there things that you were doing to help spread the word of mouth, or are there things that copywriters can do, as they get started, to make that kind of buzz happen?
Hannah: Absolutely. Yeah, that’s a great question. Looking back now, it’s been five years, more than five years since that moment. I guess, in a way, I was very blessed and lucky because I have been fully booked, basically, throughout my online business career as a copywriter. But I guess, obviously, one thing to do was just deliver great work.
I also just genuinely care about my clients. I always put a lot of time and effort into getting to know them and building a relationship. I think that has just really helped me.
Also, I did go to some networking events, or just events. For example, I went to A-Fest. I don’t know if you guys know that. It’s an event/party type of thing hosted by Mindvalley so just hanging out there, meeting amazing people. I didn’t necessarily pitch myself. It’s just really not my style and I also was never really looking for clients like that. But just through genuinely building relationships and being curious, being interested in people and getting to know them, it has helped a lot. Eventually, I ended up working for Mindvalley for a while. It was a huge client and that was amazing and then there you have a big network. It was like a ripple effect.
I don’t know if that’s a tip at all. It’s not like I did anything in particular. I actually didn’t ask people to recommend me or anything like that. It sort of just happened organically, I would say, but, yeah, I think delivering great work is definitely a good one and just following up with people. It’s not like, ‘Okay, I sent off my sales page and we’re done.’ You can just be a friendly, nice human being and checking with people, see how it’s going, if there’s anything else that you can help them with, even if they don’t need anything else. Does that make sense?
Kira: Yeah. No, I’m wondering, too. You mention this is about five years ago when you really jumped into the space. A lot has changed in five years, too, so what are some mistakes that you see copywriters making today, especially the copywriters you’re coaching or mentoring or you just observed online? What mistakes are they making that are holding them back from building that momentum that you are able to build to be fully booked?
Hannah: I don’t even know if I know that many copywriters. But, yes, I’ve been mentoring a lot of people and from what I feel is that a lot of people, especially when they’re new, they don’t really trust them self so much. They don’t really trust their own intuition, their own style, so it’s like you end up looking outside, and you end up looking at all these other people.
Of course, naturally, you want to learn from others, and it’s also totally normal to be inspired by someone you admire in the copywriting field and this and that. But I think it’s really important that, if you want to stand out and if you want to get noticed, to really trust yourself and stay true to who you are.
That is definitely something that has served me well because, of course, there were also people that I admired, especially from the start. I have probably been publicly compared to others, and I’ve gotten some nasty comments as well, that I’m too close to this person or whatever. But at the end of the day, I always infuse a lot of my personality, at least into my own blog and all the content that I put out there for myself, and that just made me stand out. People resonate with that.
But it does take courage to do that. I’m not saying that you have to be loudest or that you have to have a crazy personality and curse a lot. It doesn’t matter. I think it’s like you just need to be in alignment with who you are and that will automatically help you stand out and attract amazing people. But when you’re always holding back a little bit, and you’re not really fully showing up as who you are, then it’s much harder to be noticed, right?
Rob: Yeah. Let’s dive into that just a little bit deeper because I think it’s really easy for people to say, ‘Hey, be true to who you are.’ But then, when we sit down to write our own websites or About Pages or even talk about ourselves, we get caught up in the thing that we should be, or we hold back. When you worked with your clients to do something like an About Page, how do you pull that true-to-yourself personality out so that you can put it on full display?
Hannah: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s not always the easiest, and it also depends a lot on the client. But the process that I’ve sort of developed for myself that I’ve found to work very well is whatever I write, I insist on having at least a one-hour call. Most of the time, it will be more, like 90 minutes, sometimes even two hours, and I just ask questions till the cows come home.
I’m sure most good copywriters will do that, but I actually ask a lot of personal questions as well. I also really listen to not just what the person says, but also how they say it. I’m interested in everything they do and their hobbies and their kids’ names and their astrological chart, whatever, really getting to know a person at a deep, deep level and then also asking them some things that they might not be proud of or guilty pleasures and stuff. I know that’s also not reinventing the wheel, but really understanding that person.
Then I think it’s important to ask them what they struggle with when they try to write their own copy because most clients will come to you because it’s hard for them, right?
Hannah: Some of them just need to outsource because they don’t have time. But most of them find it hard to bring out the best version of themselves, so asking questions like, ‘What would you like be more of or something?’ I always ask, like, ‘What do you love about yourself,’ and then you find out really interesting things. Sometimes you can see that, for example, someone loves about themselves that they’re really funny, but that’s nowhere within their brand, within their writing, and then you can integrate more of that.
But I really feel like the most important thing, actually, is the prep work and really, really getting to know the person and just asking questions, even if it makes you look weird or insane.
Kira: Yeah, I love that. Do you have a structure for your About Pages when you work with clients that helps you take all of that research from those interviews and then just kind of lay it out easily on the page?
Hannah: Yes and no. I do have a structure, but especially lately, I’ve also started to just mix it up a little bit because I also feel like the landscape is changing a little bit, or has been changing, over the last couple years. I think what’s really interesting, or also exciting for me to work with, are just amazing stories. So, that’s definitely something that I would recommend, that everyone ask their clients about, like, what are some fun stories, what are some very, very vulnerable stories. Or like a good question to ask also, ‘If I really knew you, I would know that,’ and just go on deeper than that.
I don’t know if I’m sort of still answering your previous question, but when you can pull out really cool stories, I found it interesting to write About Pages that start in the middle of the story. It’s very attention-grabbing. It’s very engaging, especially if it relates to the actual problem that your client is solving for their clients.
For example, I just did one, and it was about this guy, let’s say he does spiritual work. He’s a spiritual teacher and mentor, and he used to be a bassoonist in one of the world’s best orchestras. So, I started his About Page right in the middle of that moment where he said it was Christmas Eve or something and he was sitting there in this orchestra. It was like broadcasted live on international TV and he just had this epiphany of, like, ‘Oh, my God, what am I doing with my life? I’m completely not on the right path.’
This is what he helps people with, is to find their path in life, live your purpose, all that stuff, but all these we’ve heard a bazillion times. So, if you can lead with an exciting, engaging and attention-grabbing story like that, I think that’s a very interesting way to start an About Page. Then I would just go into the usual process of, ‘Okay, this is what I help you with’ and talking a little bit more about the journey, but also having it relate back to the reader, the actual client.
I always say that’s like my platinum rule for About Pages, is start with them. Unless you’re like Beyoncé or someone super-famous and well-known in all the industries already, nobody really cares about people they don’t know. If your About Page starts with, like, ‘Hi. My name is Blah-Blah and I help you do this,’ it’s, like, uh, a little bit yawn.
So, say something that’s interesting to the reader, grab their attention, speak to them. Pick them up from where they’re at and then it’s like reciprocity. Then, later on, you can talk about yourself and how you can help them, you being the client and maybe why, what qualifies them and all of that. But I really don’t think people are too interested in anyone’s credentials or no one wants to read an About Page that’s, like, ‘Oh, look at me. I’m so good at this, rah-rah-rah.’ Doesn’t really resonate.
Kira: You mention that the landscape is changing. I know you’ve been writing copy for five years, you’ve seen a lot of changes in the online marketing space. Can you talk a little bit more about how the landscape has changed and maybe something that was working before that’s no longer working and is relevant to copywriters? Because we really need to know how it’s changed in order to write effective copy.
Hannah: Totally. Yeah, that’s actually a really exciting topic for me to talk about, but it’s also my personal perception. I don’t mean to step on anybody’s toes, but I feel like the super-old school approach that can be very harsh and sort of masculine in its energy doesn’t really work that well. I’ve found, with a lot of clients, that when you sort of just throw pain points into people’s faces, it’s almost like a turn-off. Like, people can smell marketing from a mile away by now. There’s so much of it everywhere, like, we’re literally being bombarded with it, so I really feel like a more personal, more vulnerable approach just works so much better.
Of course, it depends on your industry and what you’re selling and everything, but I work with a lot of, let’s call them, solopreneurs. I also work with the huge $100-million companies, but even then, they would have one person that is leading the program that they’re selling. So, if there is that one person putting out an offer, I feel like it’s much better if this person shows up as a vulnerable leader, I feel. People don’t really want those perfect, flawless look-at-me-I’ve-done-it-all leaders anymore. Well, they can connect much more with someone who actually opens up and, again, is vulnerable and shares their own story.
I’ve written a Facebook ad a couple of weeks ago and it’s doing so well. It’s about, well, let’s say loving your own body, in a nutshell. If I would have started this with just, like, ‘Oh, do you feel uncomfortable in your body and maybe would you like to lose some weight,’ that kind of stuff. It would have been completely different. But I started it by telling the story. And of course, it always has to be true and in integrity, but I started it with … I used to hate my own body for years. I struggled with self-hatred, and just body shame, and rejection, and blah, blah, telling that story.
And in a way, this is still me speaking to the person’s pain points. But instead of this in-your-face approach, especially here, it’s kind of an intimate and an already vulnerable topic. But packaging the pain points into a story just makes it so much easier for people to hear, and then to open up and to actually listen and take action. Whereas the sort of hardcore pain point, harsh approach can be quite a turnout off, I think. I know that wasn’t the case a couple years ago. Do you know what I mean? Am I making sense?
Rob: Yeah, I think you’re making total sense, for sure. So Hannah, I want to ask you about what your business is like today. Where you’re finding clients? The kinds of clients that you’re working with? And the types of projects that you do? Will you talk a little bit about that.
Hannah: Yes, of course. So I guess I’m still in the transition period. How I started the transition is I just decided that I actually really enjoy teaching, and I love having conversations with people and supporting them in that way. So, that was kind of like what moved me to offer that as well. And then really, the first thing I did was, I just sent two emails to my list, and I said that I’m opening up one-on-one spots, which I haven’t done in a very long time, and that was true, and I offered a three-month coaching program, one-on-one. Well, I wanted to sell three, ended up getting four people, which is amazing. So that was quite easy, but that’s because I already had a list and I already had a community.
But I have to say, I wasn’t so sure if anyone was going to take me up on that. Because in my head I was ‘just the copywriter,’ So I didn’t actually know if people would trust me with more than that. But then again, I went through coach training when I was 19, and I’ve been working with so many people over the last five years. And that’s the beauty about copywriting as well. It goes so deep into somebody else’s business, that you learn so much, and especially working with big companies. We’ve done a lot of debt close to like $4 million, and then I do small launches with the entrepreneur next door. So, I’ve seen so many different ways to do business and to launch and to build funnels and all of that.
That was just a mindset shift that I had to make, that yes, I am qualified to do that and to go to a bit of a higher level. And now, I’m actually going to do a webinar. I love doing webinars. I guess I didn’t give myself permission to do a lot of them over the last year’s also because I’m kind of always busy with client work so I have to start saying no to some writing clients, but I can focus more on that.
So, I’m just going to do some webinars. I have to get over myself and start doing some Facebook Lives and put myself out there more to get some new clients just for, basically coaching. And I also really, really want to do like a live group program. And then in the future, I haven’t told anyone this, well, just my friends, I would really love to do retreats because I travel so much anyways and I get to see so much of the world which is amazing. I would love to share that with others. So, far I’ve only spoken at other people’s retreats but I would just love to create one of my own.
And for writing clients, I know it is not going to be the most satisfying answer but at this point, I really don’t have to do anything to get them, honestly. I know it’s not like, ‘Oh my God amazing to pan out,’ but it’s like, ‘This is the truth.’ I’m at a point where I’ve built my business and my reputation so that I can be fully booked with writing clients just through word of mouth really.
Kira: Sounds like you’re in the transition really from the copywriting client work to really moving potentially fully into the coaching teaching space. And you’re kind of in the middle right now, is that right?
Hannah: That is absolutely correct.
Kira: But I love your point about copywriters. We learn so much, I think it’s easy to forget as copywriters and to think, ‘Oh, we just write words and sometimes they sell things.’ But we get to see behind, look under the hood of these huge businesses, smaller businesses, to see what’s working, what’s not. And those skills and the expertise, we can turn into something else along the way. And I think it’s easy to forget that we have that expertise beyond just the copywriting.
So, I love to hear just more about how you’ve been able to make this mindset shift, especially since you’re in it right now. You clearly have worked and shifted your mindset to get to this point where you’re coaching and mentoring now, but it sounds like you’re still working on it even to just kind of jump into the webinar space and then eventually get to hosting retreats. Is there anything you’re actively doing or working on to help you along the way? Because I know it’s not easy to make those shifts?
Hannah: Yes, that’s a great question. Well, I think you’re never really there. We’re always a work in progress, but it’s amazing if we at least have the awareness to say, ‘Okay, my mindset is holding me back.’ And especially like Facebook Lives for me is such a weird thing. It’s like, get over it already. Like, ‘Why aren’t you doing it?’ It’s so ridiculous. Because for me, I actually love it. I love doing webinars, I love talking, I’m not that nervous. I feel like you can just put me in front of an audience and I can talk for days, that’s really not my problem. But there’s still something, it’s just like, ‘Why am I not doing it?’ I have all these excuses that come up in my head, it’s just major, major resistance.
So one of my tools and maybe that’s helpful for a lot of people on this podcast, because we’re all writers, is my journal. Everybody who knows me knows, I’m the journaling freak, I really suck at being consistent with anything except the journaling. It’s my daily practice, it grounds me, helps me to get focused. I can do like a brain dump in the morning, get everything out of my head. So, it’s kind of like a cleanse and a release. And I can also use it to support myself in making those mindset shifts.
I can write down good things, obviously, can write down gratitude, I can remind myself of successes and things I’ve done well, because it’s easy to sit there and think like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t do it. Who am I to do this? And who is even going to want to listen to me talk for 60 minutes or something.’ And then I feel like it really helps to just write down, you know, successes, things you’ve done well. We need to remind ourselves of that. It’s so easy to forget. And it can be like, ‘Okay.’ Well, I’ve already done webinars where I had like 300 people sign up, the first time, even though I had no idea what I was doing. And it went well, and people even bought stuff you know like, ‘Great, okay, so I can do it again.’
Or just use the journal to get into a dialogue with yourself. Write down the fears that are holding you back, that are keeping you stuck, get really, really honest with yourself. For me, it’s like my little google tool and it just helps me a lot to get over myself.
Kira: Hey, we’re just jumping into the show today to tell you a little bit more about The Copywriter Underground. Rob, what do you like best about this membership?
Rob: So, this membership community is full of copywriters that are investing in their businesses and taking what they do seriously. Everything is focused around three ideas, copywriting and getting better at the craft that we all do, marketing and getting in front of the right customers that you can charge more and earn more, and also mindsets. So, it can get out of your head and focus on the things that will help you be successful at what we do.
There’s a private Facebook group for the members of the community, and we also send out a monthly newsletter that’s full of advice, again, on those three areas; copywriting, marketing, and mindset. Things that you can mark up and tear out, put them in your file, save them for whatever, and it’s not going to get lost in your email inbox. Kira, what do you like about The Copywriter Underground?
Kira: So, I love the monthly Hot Seat calls where our members have a chance to sit in the hot seat, and ask a big question or get ideas or talk through a challenge in their business because we all learn from those situations. And then I also feel like the templates we include in the membership are valuable because who wants to reinvent the wheel. And Rob and I ended up sharing a lot of the templates and resources we use in our own businesses. So, I would definitely want to grab those.
Rob: So, if you are interested in joining a community of copywriters that are investing in the business and in themselves and trying to do more, get more clients, earn more money consistently, go to the copywriterunderground.com, to learn more. Now, back to the program.
Rob: So, Hannah somebody wants to start journaling. What are some things that they could do? So, full disclosure here. I think I’m a terrible journaler, and I think that I could probably benefit from this. But I imagine myself sitting down and my journals could be something like, ‘Dear Diary, I had x for breakfast, the mailman didn’t bring anything today,’ sort of useless. So, what are some tips for getting started as a journaler and using that to really be effective in moving ourselves forward?
Hannah: How about you have to submit your journal entries to me every day, Rob, so, I can read them.
Rob: Yeah, that’s going to make it so much worse. It’s like, ‘Dear Diary, Kira was mean to me, again, today.’
Hannah: Oh, my God, I love that. But you know what, I get this quite a lot. And a journal doesn’t necessarily mean a diary. And if you want to go on and be like, ‘Hey, Dear Diary, today, I bought myself flowers,’ that’s cool and you can do that. But, for example, so this is a really deep personal look into my diary, and it changes all the time. But I start every day, I write down the date, and then draw a little heart, I don’t know why. And then I write every day, the same thing, I expect miracles. That’s kind of like my thing. I have that tattooed.
Rob: I like that.
Hannah: Thanks. It’s my only tattoo that I have, it’s on my ankle. But it says, ‘Expect miracles’ because I think that’s a good way to look at life, and it’s a good way to start the day. So, you can have a little sort of anchor or a sentence or something that just makes you feel good. I like to journal in the morning, so it’s a great opportunity to make a conscious choice of how do I want to start my day.
And then, like I said, there’s many things you can do. You can just do a brain dump, you can write down anything, even if it’s like, ‘Just made eggs, I don’t know what to say, this is stupid, blah! Blah! Blah!’ You can do that if you want to. But then you can also support yourself a little bit more. I think gratitude is always such a good thing. For example, this morning, I was having a bit of a hard time. I was like, ‘Okay, oh, yeah,’ actually said, ‘Oh, I’m so grateful that I have this exciting podcast interview today.’ And then I was like, ‘Yeah, what else? I don’t know.’ So I don’t force myself.
So, then I was like, ‘Okay.’ Actually, I’m reeling my head about this webinar, because I’m going to do a webinar. And then I just start writing down my thoughts. I was like, ‘Well, maybe it’s stupid to do Facebook ads that lead to the webinar, maybe I should have PDF first, because I think it’s cheaper, hm, I don’t know, going to to talk to my Facebook ads person.’ And then somewhere in the middle, it stops, that wasn’t such a glamorous journal entry, admittedly.
But, it’s also nice if you’re the kind of person who wants to do affirmations, or get into doing affirmations, and you feel weird saying them out loud or whatever, but you do want to reprogram your subconscious mind, because that’s the sucker that runs you. Write them down. Like for me, it’s nice, I like to write it down. Sometimes write about money or something. Or, I have one that’s kind of it is safe for me to be focused and grounded, because I’m all over the place. And I feel like a lot of creative people can be very scattered. Even if you work for a lot of different clients, and you have to wear so many different hats in your own business, and maybe you can relate, and you’re like me, and it’s hard to get focused and grounded, but you also really need it because you’re running a business and you need to be a little bit discipline. So, I just say that to myself.
Or then, like I said, I think a really beautiful and actually very valuable thing to do is write down a couple things that you did well. It could be the same as your gratitude. But if you actually write down something that you did well, it kind of like creates more of that. And even if it’s just like, ‘I don’t know, my hair looks nice today,’ or, ‘Yea, I worked out,’ or, ‘I don’t know, didn’t drink that beer,’ something that you did well, just to give yourself some love, we could all use that.
Kira: Kirsty Fanton talked about journaling and how that’s helped her, and I think it was Episode 106 or I’m just making up that number. But in Kirsty’s interview and how it’s really helped her along the way. So, I think it’s something that I need to work on as well. Rob, I think we should both commit to doing it, and we don’t have to share the journal entries but we should both commit to doing it every day, right?
Rob: The secret is that I don’t really journal but I definitely write down some things every morning to track certain things. I always track what exercise I did. I track some of the stuff that I read in the mornings, I make some notes. Every day I write down one thing that I’m grateful for. So, in some ways that’s journaling, but I could probably take it to a whole other level like what you’re talking about Hannah and really trying to use that as creative time to create product ideas or to think through the things that I’m doing in a more thoughtful way. I’m not sure that I really journal the way journaling is done, I just track some behaviors that I have every day. So, maybe I need to start.
Hannah: You’re doing it, I think you do.
Rob: I could probably get over with that.
Kira: Yeah. I think I put too much pressure on myself because I want to write down everything that’s happening in my life so I can remember it because I’m sure that I’m going to lose my memory by the age of 70. So, I think I put too much pressure on myself to make it into something bigger. But, Hannah what you’re saying is basically like, ‘Don’t judge it, just do it, just see what comes out and don’t judge the words that you’re writing.’
So, all right I want to pivot and talk about travel because that’s what originally attracted me to your Instagram feed and just following your travels from afar. So, how have you structured your business so that you can travel? And specifically thinking about any copywriters that are listening and want to travel more? What can we do to do more of that?
Hannah: Yes, great question. Great topic. Well, I really don’t have like a, ‘This is the answer,’ but it definitely is possible to travel full-time and run a successful business. I’ve been doing it for more than four years, because I think it’s easy to look at Instagram and see all the cool digital nomad people, and they post their fancy pictures and maybe, ‘Oh-
Kira: You’ve got great pictures, by the way. They are so great.
Hannah: Thanks. I’m one of those annoying people.
Kira: Who are those people.
Hannah: No. But then there’s this guy, I forgot his name, he’s like, ‘I was in the pool with the laptop,’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, okay dude,’ but seriously, but bless him. My point is, a lot of people make it look very, very easy and very glamorous and you know, ‘Oh, yay, the jet set live,’ but what I found to be true after doing this for four years, is that if this is something that you want, then you need to be willing to basically have twice the discipline sometimes. Because it’s going to be so tempting like whatever. You’re in Bali, and everyone’s going to the beach party, but you have stuff to write, what are you going to choose?’
So, I feel like it takes twice the discipline because you have to be aware of the fact that you’re going to have to say no to certain things, even though it’s so tempting and it’s so amazing and you only want to travel. But sometimes you just have to lock yourself up in a room, turn on the a/c, close the blinds, and just put in the work. And I know, definitely, that’s been kind of challenging for me. And then of course, if you have a lot of client calls, you need to know where your people are at, right? For me, it doesn’t even matter because I literally have people spread out all across the globe. So, getting on calls basically from morning to evening, I could potentially have calls.
But there’s certain destinations where it’s just a little bit harder to talk to people. Like I spent a month in New Zealand, it was really annoying. Because I always had to either get up really early or stay up very late because I have a lot of people, in the U.S. for example, and the time zones don’t match. Stuff like that, you just need to take it into consideration. And if you’re running group programs, for example, like I made that mistake last year. I launched a course in like February, I think, a week or so before I went to Thailand. And then, you know, it’s possible. But when you’re traveling around and the internet is not as reliable, it can be harder to do your webinars. It can be harder to host bigger group calls and sessions and all of that.
But honestly, when you have writing clients and you just need to be creative and you just need to have some peace and quiet and get some stuff done, it’s so possible and it’s so easy. I mean, I don’t know how most people write. For me, the only thing is like if there’s too much noise or talking, like basically words distract me from writing. So I can’t stay at a hostel and sleep in the dorm. I need to have quiet space, semi-good internet to do the writing only. And really, that’s all I need. So I didn’t even have to have any amazing systems or structures in place. Especially, at the time where I was writing for my clients, I just had to have the discipline to say no to certain things and stick to my writing schedule, make sure I show up. I deliver on time, I deliver great work. And that’s basically it.
Rob: So Hannah, in addition to all of this travel, you also speak, I think, seven and a half languages? Does that give you an advantage as a copywriter? Does it help you see language in a different way?
Hannah: That’s an interesting question. It actually does. I mean, I do most of my work in English, but I actually made a decision, I don’t like writing in German. So I only wrote four others and English. But I do a lot of consulting and support in German. I’ve also done some in some other languages. But I’m not like fluent in all of those, right? So, it is very interesting because English is not my first language. That’s actually something that really held me back in the beginning as a copywriter, because I thought, ‘whose going to want to pay me money to write stuff in English when they’re native speakers and I’m not?’ Until I figured out nobody cared, as long as the copy was good.
But definitely, like it’s so interesting, separate with German, a lot of people in the German speaking industry, they come to me and they’re just like, ‘Man, you know, German is so hard, everything sounds so lame. An English is so much more dynamic and fresh.’ And it is very, very different. Like if I were to translate, whatever, a sales page from English to German, you couldn’t use it like that. You know what I mean? Like languages are so completely different, has a different feel to it when you say something in German. And you actually need to really, really adapt. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Rob: No, it totally makes sense. And I think that’s maybe why I’m asking, because it seems like being able to look at language from a different perspective might spur ideas or help you frame things in different ways, that those of us who really only speak one language or maybe two, really don’t get that kind of perspective that you might have.
Hannah: Yeah, no, it totally does. But honestly, often, it’s like in a painful way where you’re like trying to say something in one language and you’re like, ‘Oh man, I wish I could just say it in that language because it sounds so much better or it feels so much better or something like that.’ But I guess that’s just because German is my first language.
Kira: So I want to ask you more questions about traveling. And I don’t know if there’s a typical month, but even if you look at the past month or the month ahead, how do you kind of stage your month so you’re traveling? Is it just like one destination to the next destination? Or do you go back to a home base for three weeks and travel for a week? What does that usually look like for you?
Hannah: Yeah, that’s an interesting question too. And that’s also changed a lot over the years. Because at first, I started my business while I was still studying law. And I did finish my Master’s degree, but at the same time as I started really going full-time in my business, so I was just so ready to get out, right? So I just went crazy. I sold my car, I rented out my place, packed my life into two suitcases and I took off. And at that time, I was a little bit insane. I was going from places to places all the time. Like I had so many flights, I had so many frequent flyer miles. It was insane.
But it was fun, it was exciting, and amazing. But it was really hard to get focused on grounded, right? It’s something I already mentioned before. And all the crazy travel didn’t really make it easier, right? So, I guess I’ve calmed down a bit over the years. So I’m not like constantly moving around anymore. I actually now really prefer to go somewhere and kind of set up camp for a while.
Like this year, for example, I started my year in Costa Rica. I went there last December, spent New Year’s Eve, blah, blah, blah. And I actually do have a home base in Vienna again, which I didn’t have for almost two years. But then I got injured in New Zealand, and then I realized it really sucks if you can’t walk and you’re sleeping on a couch somewhere. So I was like, ‘Nah, screw it. I’m renting a place and I’m willing to pay them.’ And of course, you know, my business, the year after that, I had already had six figures and everything, so I was like, ‘Okay, I can afford that. And I’m willing to pay money just to have the security of a home base that I can come back to if I wanted to.’ Wherever I am in the world, within whatever, sleep in my own bed. So that gives me peace of mind.
So I was in Costa Rica, then I came to Vienna for a little bit. Then I went to Brazil for like two, three months. Then I came back, then I went to Croatia for like a month. Now I’m here in Europe, now I just did a few small Europe trips. I don’t know, went to Budapest, actually went back to Croatia. And now I’m trying to decide where to go for winter because I hate it and I just cannot stand the cold. So I don’t know why I’ve been so stuck. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to go to Bali,’ then I was like, ‘Nah, Mexico. Maybe Guatemala, what about Hawaii?’ Like it’s a luxury problem but it can get very overwhelming if you can go anywhere in the world, you know what I mean? Like I’m trying to decide that.
But I definitely have found it much more beneficial to not move around so much. I had times when within one month, I would go from LA to France back to Vienna then to Sweden, then to Croatia, then back to Vienna, to New Zealand, and then all the way back again to LA. Like it’s too much, you know?
Rob: So of all of the places that you’ve been, Hannah, this is probably an impossible question to answer, but what is your favorite? And what is also the best place to set up camp and work?
Hannah: Such a hard question. Well, for me personally, I’m a beach girl. I love the heat, I love the ocean, I love the jungle. So I just love Costa Rica. And I also love Spanish, so Costa Rica, there’s a reason why there’s so many people from all over the world that go to Costa Rica, because it’s a Latin-American country but it’s pretty safe. It’s like 90% coast. It’s so beautiful. You have amazing sunsets, awesome food, nice people. You can surf, you can hike, you can do yoga. You know, there’s that community of expats there. It’s a really, really great place, but it’s also a little bit more expensive.
One of my other favorite countries is actually Columbia. Colombia is much cheaper. It’s the most bio-diverse country, maybe, or in the top three. It doesn’t matter. The friendliest people in the world. And Medellin is like a big hub for digital nomads, you know, the internet is good. It is quite safe-ish. You know, if you follow certain rules, if you’re kind of like street smart. It’s such a beautiful country, it has the mountains, it has the beach and the coast, the Caribbean coast is insane. And the culture, it has really rich culture. You can dance salsa, you can go to coffee farms. I really, really love Columbia and it’s a great place to stay for a while if you don’t have a huge budget and if you also want to connect with some other digital nomads. And kind of be a part of that global community. It’s great.
Rob: So maybe we do our next retreat in Columbia, Kira.
Kira: Yeah. I don’t know, I’m drawn to Costa Rica, definitely. So this is very tempting. Okay, so, you mentioned on your website that you have a vision board. What is currently on your vision board that you’re willing to share with us?
Hannah: You ask all the good questions.
Well, I actually am creating a new vision board because I looked at mine and I was like, ‘Well, I have almost all of that except a check.’ Yeah, except like a boho beach wedding didn’t happen yet. And I’m not driving an Escalade, but that’s okay. So, it’s actually a really great question. I was thinking about that the other day. I was like, ‘Well, what are my next goals?’ And I really thought about it in relation to my ‘why’? It’s like why do I want to go to that next level and teach at a higher level and to a bigger audience and all of that? And I guess what I would have to put on my vision board, like materially speaking right now, is that I really want to buy a house for my mom. Because my mom has worked her entire life to pay everything for me. She loves gardening and that’s all she ever wanted, is a piece of land to call her own, where she can grow food and veg, and cook chutneys, and whatever.
But yeah, she’s not working anymore and that’s kind of like a big vision of mine, to just buy a house for my mom and give back to her in that way.
Rob: So what’s next for you, Hannah, in what you’re doing in your career? What’s the next big thing?
Hannah: Another great question. I’m like, ‘Uh.’ Well, honestly, I have to come out of the spiritual closet a little bit. Because over the years I’ve learned so much. And I feel like I really have an opportunity to integrate some of those … I don’t even like the word spiritual, but some conscious and aware concepts and ideas of like how the universe works and things that just have made my life so much better and easier. How I feel about myself, my relationships with others, and of course, in business and also financially. And I feel like with my background, even like all the way back as a lawyer, which gave me a very sort of analytical brain and my personality and everything that I’ve experienced and seen over the years, I feel like I could really help people understand some of those concepts and just present them in kind of like a tangible, fun way. Integrate them into business, but I’ve been having lot of resistance. So that’s why I said I need to come out of the closet a little bit.
I mean, it’s scary, you know. People are judgie and all of that. But I know it’s not a reason to not do it and it won’t hold me back. So I’ve been working on that a little bit. And the second big thing that I want to integrate is travel. Right? Like it’s so obvious. I was like, ‘Why am I not doing that?’ So I would really, or I will, start. I just want to build a community, you know, of people who are also interested in traveling or who are already are digital nomads and kind of like bring those people together a little bit. When I said that I want to do retreats, I’m thinking about those people and just like getting a bunch of really cool human beings together in one of the amazing places in the world, working together and creating amazing things, helping, supporting each other. I think that’s one of the best feelings in the world. So I guess fingers crossed, that’s where I’m going.
Kira: Great. Well let us know when you’ve lined up your retreat locations and dates so we can sign up. And hopefully you can make it to New York in March for our event, if you are able to fly here.
So if anyone wants to find you in the meantime, ask you questions or just reach out to you, where should they go?
Hannah: Yeah. I was ‘afraid’ you were going to ask that, because I took my website down because it’s old and I’m doing everything new. But I guess the best way to connect with me is Instagram. So I’m @Hannahlisamang, just my name all together. And the same on Facebook, so that’s where I’m at. Instagram is full of fancy travel pics and kind of like follow me wherever I am in this planet. And I always love to meet up with cool people, you know?
Kira: Sounds great. Thank you so much, Hannah, for your time and for sharing so much with us.
Rob: Thanks Hannah.
Hannah: Thank you guys.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast of Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity from Lightest Boy Alive, available on iTunes. If you like what you heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing on iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community visit the CopywriterClub.com.
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