Copywriter Brittany McBean is our guest for the 193rd episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. We wanted to talk to Brittany after we heard about the success she had when she completed the “Find a Client in 3 Weeks or Less” Challenge we offered in The Copywriter Underground this past April. In addition to that, Brittany shared her path to copywriting and the nuts-and-bolts of creating a paid workshop for your list. Here’s what we covered in this interview:
• going from acting in musical theater to network marketing to copywriter
• the on-the-job training she gave herself when she landed her first project
• what she learned as a signer, dancer and actor that makes her a better copywriter
• how she approaches marketing for herself so it doesn’t feel spammy
• her advice for people who are using Facebook to go live with video
• Brittany’s experience with the Find a Client Challenge in The Copywriter Underground
• the three different kinds of clients you need in your business
• what surprised her most about the challenge… and why she did it anyway
• how you can replicate the momentum Brittany built during the challenge
• what it takes to create and run a masterclass and the supporting materials
• the financial results she got by finishing the Challenge and how she used the money
• what she’s going to do next with her workshops and business
• her adoption journey and how she worked through the difficulties of the process
• her struggle with anxiety and working and the results of dealing with it
• her approach to talking about hard things and helping our clients do it too
• what she’s excited about doing next in her business
This is a great discussion about how much you can create in a short time—and a lot more. To hear what Brittany had to share, scroll down and click the play button. Or scroll a little farther to read a full transcript. Better yet, subscribe on your favorite podcast app and never miss an episode.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Brenda McGowan
The Project Plan Trello Board
Sara Heselin Woods
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Kira: This episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Underground, the place to find more than 20 templates, dozens of presentations on topics like copywriting and marketing your business, a community of successful writers who share ideas and leads, and The Copywriter Club newsletter mailed directly to your home every month. Learn more at thecopywriterunderground.com.
Rob: 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 193 as we chat with copywriter, Brittany McBean about why she became a copywriter, what her business looks like today, her experience with the find a client in three weeks challenge in The Copywriter Underground, and what she’s done recently to think bigger about her business and clients. Welcome Brittany.
Rob: Hey Brittany.
Brittany McBean: Hi, thanks. I just had some free time and thought I’d help you guys out and just … No, I’m just kidding. My palms are sweaty and I’m really honored and excited to be here.
Rob: This is really good.
Kira: Yeah. We’re so excited to talk to you. And this initially started around a challenge that we offered in The Underground in April. And it was how to book a client in three weeks challenge, although it had like a snazzier name and it was the first challenge we ever did in the underground. And it was quite intense because I don’t think I knew what I was doing when I was throwing out these challenges.
And you were one of the few people, there were a couple who completed every single challenge that we threw out there, which is 12 in depth challenges. And you did all of them. And then you had a really great story too about the impact on your business. So I know we’re going to talk about that today and then a whole lot of other things like your success that you’ve had over the last year in your business. But let’s start with your story. How did you end up as a copywriter?
Brittany McBean: Yeah. Sometimes I’m not even sure if we’re being honest. I hear there are two paths and one was incredibly nonlinear, and this was not their background, or they were in a marketing agency and they saw who made the most money and they went and did that. So I’m more of the nonlinear path. So, my degree is in musical theater. That’s what I went to school for. I always say that I have a degree in singing a high C and kicking my face.
And I love that. That was my passion for a very long time. I acted professionally after that for about three years, just in different theaters, around the country, professional theaters and some touring. And I just got exhausted. Burnout is going to kind of be a theme throughout this, but I loved it. But it is really hard, like always traveling in a van or a bus or getting paid $250 a week and having to have another job and rehearsing for eight hours a day and doing a show at night or two shows a day, all that stuff. I loved it.
But I also knew that I wanted a family more than anything else. And I was going to move to New York and do the New York thing. And I had a boyfriend in Richmond, Virginia, and I came here instead and then left him immediately and stayed in Richmond. And I loved it here. And I started working for a regional theater in their education department and writing curriculum and creating programs and all of that stuff.
And then ended up leaving that job. It just was not a great fit. I nannied for a while after that because I’ve always loved kids and families. And while I was nannying, I was feeling very creatively bored and I had a lot more to offer. Even though that work was like exhausting and fulfilling, I just wanted to do something. And this was back in 2014 when there was not a lot of network marketing on the internet like it is now.
Nobody was popping into my DMs asking me to do a group or a party or anything like that. And a friend of mine was doing network marketing. I liked her a lot. I respected her. I was like, “This looks fun and different.” So long story short, I did network marketing for five years and I was pretty successful. I got to like the 0.08% of my company. And I had a large team of women. And about a couple of years in, I was looking at my leaders who are telling us to do this stuff that just felt really gross and spammy.
And I was like, “No, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it my way.” And so I started finding a way of marketing on social media and sharing myself and my story in a way that sold products. And I did a lot of teaching and then reverse engineered that and taught that to my team. And what’s been really cool and really interesting is looking at a lot of the trainings that I did and that over the years really align with all the things that I’m learning now.
There are just a lot more smarter people who put better words to them, but it’s really like validating to be like my instinct was really good. So I’ll fast forward even more. I quit nannying and went full time with my network marketing business, ended up getting really, really, really burnt out. Like just really burnt out and really over it. And I was looking for something different. I started doing some social media management and realized I hated that, like I hated that.
So I thought, “Okay, I’m good at this. I’m going to do social media coaching.” And I did social media coaching and I was only coaching people on messaging. They were like, “How many times a day should I post?” And I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to email you that, don’t worry about that. Let’s talk about like your brand and what makes you,” you and all of the stuff that I learned by showing up on social media, sharing my story, and making an income by teaching and educating.
But while I was doing the social media coaching, a project came across my desk basically, and it was supposed to just be social media. And I looked at her whole brand and she had really, really big goals and a ton of content out there. And it was not up to the level of, I guess, where she was in her career and where she wanted to go. And I just kind of was like, “I don’t know how to write a website, but I honestly think I could be helpful.
I really think I could do this and I could do it well.” I don’t do things that I don’t really think I can do well, but the problem with that is like, I think I can do anything so that doesn’t always work well. But I just was looking at her emails and her website. And I just felt like, “I think I know what you’re saying. And I think I know what people want to hear. And I think I can help you say it.”
But I was really nervous to take a copywriting project, especially it was a big one and I had never done it before. So I had a friend, Brenda McGowan, she’s a great copywriter. She’s an email copywriter and Instagram strategist, and we were friends and we’re talking and I just said, “Hey, if I take on this copywriting project, can I hire you to mentor me and just check all of my work and help me know what I don’t know?
Because I want to deliver a great product.” This client, I didn’t feel good about taking money for something I’d never done before without having someone helped me. So I brought her on and in the middle of this project, I’m literally like Brenda would say, “Okay, find three people to interview.” And I would Google, “Why would a copywriter need to interview?” It was pretty on the job training.
And then I just really, really, really loved it and started telling everybody that I could write their emails and their websites. And I think in the last year, I’ve written four websites, three different welcome series, 20 different sales emails, and four or five sales pages. And I feel like I could have done more, but we can talk about that later.
Rob: Yeah. It feels like you’ve come a long way and accomplish a lot in the, I guess, it’s just over a year that you’ve called yourself a copywriter, but obviously you’ve been doing a lot of marketing throughout your career. I want to go all the way back to your experience in musical theater. First of all, what’s your favorite musical?
Brittany McBean: Oh, this is such a tricky question because I’m a cheese ball. So, I actually love the musical Parade by Jason Robert Brown. Have you ever heard of it?
Rob: I think I’ve heard of it, but it’s not like one of the most familiar ones. Everybody’s heard of Les Mis and Phantom. Okay. So I’m just curious about that, but tell me what you learned from being in musical theater and in writing and creating and performing that you think is directly applicable to copywriting.
Brittany McBean: Yeah. So I thought I’ve always been a singer and a dancer and an actor last. So when I went to college, I thought I was going to school to be a singer and a dancer. And I did minor in dance and I was dance captain for most shows. So it just kind of means you’re like head dancer and you get to be bossy, which I always love. But when I got to school, they were like, “No, no, no, no, no. You are an actor first and foremost, you develop that muscle.
And then the singing and the dancing and everything is secondary to telling a story.” Because everything we did and my professors were so passionate and so amazing. It was like, we’re telling a story and you have two hours to tell, not just this important chunk of these characters lives, but to communicate the whole breadth of their life before they stepped on stage and give people everything they need to know to understand this person.
So there was a lot of studying, like when you were creating a character as, “Okay, what is this person’s posture? Like literally, how do they look? Do they kind of like pop their hip out, is one shoulder down or their shoulders rollover? Is their head always to the side? How do they carry their hands? Do they make a certain gesture? Are they always flicking their hands? Are they always rubbing their shirt? Do they have a voice that is different? What is their costumes?”
So just kind of like these basic things to start to construct this person and then everything down to their life experience. And I think as actors, we kind of got trained to become obsessed with observing. If I’m at a coffee shop, just watch someone and like, what are they thinking? Why do I know that that’s what they’re thinking? What is their body language doing? I would watch people in cars at a traffic light, like, “Oh, they’re fighting right now. Why do I know that they’re fighting if I can’t hear them?”
And all that’s nonverbal. But I do think this habit of reading a play, whether it’s a musical or a play, and trying to decipher everything that makes this person who they are and then bring that to life. So much of that goes into what I’m writing for a client and figuring out who they are and how to bring them to life. And then also when I’m writing to an audience, like what do you need to see to understand who this person is? So, yeah, I think that’s helped a lot.
Kira: You mentioned that you found a way of marketing on social media that didn’t feel gross or spammy and network marketing. And because I’ve been following you on Instagram for a while, I love the way that you show up and share stories and share your message. So can you just talk a little bit about how you approach it with your own brand and then also how you approach it with your clients?
Brittany McBean: Gosh, and this is something I’m still figuring out. So ask me in a year and I’d probably have really different. But one thing I noticed in network marketing, a big part of the poll was like, “Hey, it’s so easy. Your leader will teach you how to do it.” And I had never really had a hands-on leader. So I kind of had to create everything myself, but what a lot of people did was they would copy and paste somebody else’s post or somebody else’s message.
And I tried that and then I was like, “I don’t use these words. I don’t talk like that. Like I curse a lot. I’m really snarky. This is not me.” It just felt really weird. None of my friends texted me being like, “Really Brittany, you sound like an idiot. That’s not you.” So that kind of helped me start to figure out, “Okay, what do I actually sound listening to myself? And then what does that look like in writing?” and then teaching my team to do the same.
Because I was telling them, like, “If you show up sounding like me, you’re going to look really weird and you’re going to be getting these weird texts from your friends. So what is it that makes you you and how do we put that in writing?” And then honestly, the other thing that was absolutely pivotal, I didn’t consider myself a sales person and like everybody else, that stereotype and that fear of being salesy was real.
And so I didn’t feel good just like holding up a picture of a product and posting a selfie, but it did feel really good teaching. And so, I was selling skincare and makeup and I went live on Facebook, if not every day, especially before I was a mom, multiple times a week and just taught, literally just showed up and said, “This is how you do this. This is where you put this.” And I would teach very specific things and really granular things.
And I never had to promote a product because they were seeing it in real time. I did promote, and I didn’t realize that like I had no vocabulary for this, but I was doing promotions. I had a Facebook group where I did like a week-long theme basically. And I don’t know how to describe, I’m not going to spend a lot of time. But I would do promotions and then I would kind of prelaunch and I had no vocabulary for any of this.
So a lot of it was like looking at what worked and reverse engineering it and then teaching it to the women who were looking up to me to help them make money. And I think that’s come a lot into play with my clients. Like what do they need to know, understand, and believe? How can we teach them so that we don’t have to convince them that the value is there because you’ve already given them so many wins?
The trust is already there because you are the person that they follow to learn this thing. So when you have a paid offering, why would they not pay you? But yeah, like I said, I still think I’m a little bit of examining and reverse engineering and still figuring out what works and why so that I can duplicate it and help other people do the same, hopefully.
Rob: So I didn’t expect to be talking about Facebook Live, but since you brought it up, as somebody who’s gone on Facebook Live quite a bit, what do you see people doing wrong when they use Facebook Live to either teach or to sell as you see what other people are doing on Facebook?
Brittany McBean: That’s a good question. And social media moves so fast. I have not been in this game for a little while now, so it might even be different. But one of the things, like when people got on and were really awkward and we’re like, “I’m just going to wait a little bit and I’m going to talk and I’ll wait for people to pop on.” You don’t start from a place of confidence, one, and then everybody watching the replay has to watch you pick your nose for five minutes before all your best friends are on.
So that was one thing that, like I would get on and talk to no one, like I was talking to a room of 50 and then in five minutes, 50, 100 people would be on. But I think just like … and that’s something that I learned in theater too. Like whether there’s a house of 1200 or a house of 50, you do the same show even when the energy isn’t there to play off of. So I think that was one thing.
Not necessarily performing, but being on and being a little bit bigger, having some energy and personality, it makes a really big difference. And then just showing personality and not thinking that anything is too small to teach and whatever it is that you know, there’s somebody out there that doesn’t know that thing that wants to know that thing. So I don’t know. I don’t know if that was really clear, but I think those were some things that helped me do it confidently every single day.
Rob: No, I think that’s great. A good advice.
Kira: Yeah. And that just reminds me, I feel like Rob and I are the worst at starting a Facebook Live. So if you have any tips for us, Brittany, because every time we start a Facebook Live, we’re like, “Oh, are we live yet? Are we? Wait. Oh, I think we are.” [crosstalk 00:16:09].
Brittany McBean: No, I love it. And it’s really different. You’re in, especially in the underground, it’s like a warm audience of people that know you, love you, trust you. Like, “We’re going to watch you fiddle for five minutes because you’re our buddies, you’re our friends.”
Rob: Well, I hope you don’t fiddle for five minutes. That’d be awful. I can handle 10 seconds of are we live yet?
Brittany McBean: Yeah, yeah. 10 seconds. But like, we’ll watch you, we’re friends, we’re hanging out. That’s really different than going live on … I see it on my personal wall, which is against Facebook rules, but it was really lucrative. That’s what I did. So yeah. It’s different.
Kira: Okay. So let’s go back to the challenge that we hosted in the underground membership in April. We don’t need to kind of share every single challenge, but I just would like to hear from you what your experience was like working through those individual challenge worksheets that we created. And if there was one that worked well for you that you could share and other copywriters listening could implement as well.
Brittany McBean: Yeah. I had a couple of big takeaways and I will say one of them was that a lot of the things, not a lot, maybe 50, 60% of the things you were sharing were things that I was either already doing or had just started doing in my business. So I do think that that made it a little bit easier for me to complete, but it also was really validating. Like Kira and Rob are saying this is what I should spend my time on, this is what I’m spending my timeline. And it was what I was already doing.
So it just gave me like that confidence to continue doing some of those things. There were a couple of really big aha moments. Like day one actually was about your ideal client and I teach ideal client all day long. I can talk to my clients and my audience in my Instagram. And this is how you write to an ideal client. And then when you guys started asking us, I thought I had done my work for my business. And I hadn’t because you had this really brilliant, is it okay if I give away a little like the secrets?
Kira: Yeah. Give all of it away.
Brittany McBean: The three tiers that you had I thought were so great because you had a quintessential client, which is like your dream celebrity client you’re not going to hit on this year, but we need to know where we’re going. These are your celebrities. And then your dream clients, which were people you really want to work with. You’re probably pretty close. It might be a stretch to pitch them. But this is really doable.
And then the anchor clients, which were, these were the people that when I’m running out of work or when I’m just ready for that next project, I can go back to them. I know that this is a yes. And so, that was really interesting to me because I realize that I knew who I wanted to work for. I didn’t know who they were. I didn’t have specific names. I knew the kind of person. I had a very clear picture in my head of that person that you write down your ideal client worksheet.
But I was like, “I am not actually following these real people.” So I love that opportunity to be like, “Okay, if I’m picking 10 of anybody who dream like never going to happen, not in a million years, who would that be? Who do I want to work for? I actually just signed a contract with one of them. And I really think that the success Gods got really confused.
I told Kira, I’m still waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out and tell me I’m punked. But that happened. And I just really appreciated like having to put literal names and faces to these people. And then I also realized I didn’t have a ton of anchor clients because a lot of the people I’ve worked for who I love and would do anything for, they come back, like, “Yes, we’re doing it.”
I want to still work bigger and do more and work with bigger budgets and bigger projects since I was like, “I would work for them in a heartbeat because I love these humans.” I kind of don’t want to stay here. I want to do more and bigger. So that was really, really helpful. And yeah, like with everything that I was already doing, you guys validated that I was doing that by putting in the challenge.
But then you asked like five levels deeper, which really challenged me to like how to put the pedal to the metal and so are you actually doing this in your business? Or are you just like saying this is the thing you’re doing and checking it off because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do? So I loved it.
Rob: Was there anything in the challenges that you did that was a surprise or totally new and unexpected?
Brittany McBean: Okay. So one, there was something that I took liberties because I’m a rebel and you guys had in there too. Basically warming us up and preparing us to pitch clients and I’ve never pitched before and I was a little stubborn and I said, “I’m not going to go knocking down people’s doors and asking, you should do this, everyone should do this. I have too much pride. I should have done this. So I took that challenge and I was like, “Oh great. Well …”
And also, “Okay, so this is important too.” The challenge started right around when COVID and quarantine got really serious. And a lot of the proposals I had out that felt like sure things, almost all of them came back to me and said, “Hey, I can’t wait to work with you, but I need to hold off just a minute and see what this is going to do to my business.”
And I was like, yeah, “I understand, please take care of yourself. I’m here when you need me. I totally understand that.” But I couldn’t just not have a paycheck for a month. I have a very hungry child. And so I just said, “Okay, I’m going to create some digital education. And I can talk about how I picked what to teach.” Because there was a specific reason behind it, but I basically was like, “I’m going to do a workshop for my community.
I’m going to charge for it. I’m going to make it like six times the value, charge one six of it. And just try to be helpful to people who might be scared right now.” So I thought about a current problem people are having where I knew there was a hole in the market and I taught that workshop. And I actually added on a second workshop as an upsell. So I did two workshops in two weeks. Don’t do that. Would never recommend it.
And they were each two hours long and they were like really in depth, they’re both paid. And so my pitch, I cheated and I was like, “I’m not doing a pitch, but I am going to take this exercise and figure out how I’m positioning this workshop. What’s my pitch for this workshop? And how can I kind of prelaunch it a little bit last minute and really get this so that people see the value.” So if you want to kick me off because I cheated on that one, you can, but that was kind of an exciting way to twist that one a little bit.
Kira: Yeah. And I want to hear more about how you structure those workshops and what that looked like. But I think going just back to the challenge one last time, what would you say is your advice based off that experience in April, which was a hard month when, you’re right, COVID hit and it was really hard for a lot of people and they were losing clients. What gave you that momentum and what could copywriters listening do?
Yes, they could jump into the underground and access all of those challenges in the worksheets, but what else could they do in their business to get that momentum that you built? Is it like just taking an hour every day to do something? Or how can they kind of replicate the type of momentum that you built in your business?
Brittany McBean: Yeah. Honestly, I work really well under pressure, I thrive under pressure. And so, when everybody kind of ghosted and I was like, “Hey, I love you. Feel free to ghost, take care of yourself,” I just thought I’m creating my own way. I could waste weeks trying to find the work or I can just create work that I know my audience needs, that I know that they would benefit from, that I know they can afford, and I’m going to do this better than anyone has ever done it.
I’m going to get amazing testimonials. I’m going to deliver a bajillion times the value, and I’m just going to do this. And so, that was really, I hate this word, but it was kind of empowering and maybe that’s what that big old pivot looks like that everybody was talking about in April. But I just said like, “I’m going to create my own work because I know how to teach, I know how to like communicate, and I know how to figure out what people don’t know and how two teach them what they need to know to do this really well.” So, I don’t know. I just did my own thing and then I tried to make it amazing.
Rob: Yeah. And let’s talk about the actual workshops that you ran. Can you break it down even just the steps that it took to implement it? Because we hear a lot of copywriters talking about running workshops and even selling masterclasses and it can be daunting when you do it for the first time. So can you just break it down for us? How could we implement something similar?
Brittany McBean: Yeah. It was really daunting. And then once I did it, I was like, “Oh, let’s go make a course. I can do this.” And you know what I was thinking, I don’t know if this would be helpful or if it’s even allowed, but maybe I could share a Trello board or like a project plan that could maybe kind of help people put more structure around it. But yeah, really quick.
So I joined Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy last year, and that was one of the best investments I ever made in my business because a lot of my clients came from that Facebook group because they are my ideal clients and it was content that I wanted to learn. And she has an exclusive Facebook group or a private Facebook group for her paid offerings. But when we got to module one or even before module one, it’s kind of just the list building work that you need to do to build an audience, to launch your product too.
And Amy teaches list building and she teaches it so well. And she’s so smart and so brilliant. And even these people who had her this building course and had the digital course academy were popping up in the Facebook group going, “How do I make a lead magnet? This is my idea of a lead magnet. What do you guys think? These are my three titles, these are my three topics. I’m in this industry. What would you download as a lead magnet?
I have three lead magnets and none of them are working. What did you do that made yours work?” So I was just like, “This is something we need to like right click on and really zoom in on and I can teach this.” So I just thought, okay, what entrepreneurs are missing is not just a list growing lead magnet, they’re struggling to grow their list, but then how do they also connect the lead magnet to the profit so that we’re not just list building for list building sake?
So I just came up with this workshop. I’m going to teach you how to do your profit or your list building profit, generating lead magnet, positioned it just literally taking swipes from that Facebook group. And I basically just told people I was doing it before I could get afraid and try to perfect it and then never do it. I wrote a sales page in 24 hours, which is easier when it’s my own voice, my own product. And it was only $97.
I just picked a bunch of bonuses that I knew people would really love. I hadn’t created them. It was going to be a lot of work, but I just thought if I write these down, I have to do them. So I did that. And then I had just created my own quiz to grow my list. And I was like, “Well, I’m not a quiz expert, but this was easier than I thought it would be. And I think I can teach people to do this. And maybe people love learning from someone who’s just two steps ahead of them because it feels doable.”
So I tack that on as a lead magnet, put up the sales page, wrote some emails, some of them I wrote the day that they went out. And I think I made $1,500 on that that was not expecting to make. And that’s not like a six-figure launch, but I was really proud of myself and I proved to myself, “Oh, you have something people want, you can put really good education out there.” And so, just actually implementing it, sorry, I talk a lot, so feel free to cut me off.
But I made slides, I just kind of figured out, “Okay, what are like the four steps?” Like step one is the market research. And then we figure out like what offer we’re connecting it to. And then we figure out the content and this is kind of how you can write your content. And I tried to give them like what I do best, this is how you write a good headline.
This is where you get your copy from you do it from, you do it from your research and this is what makes a good lead magnet. These are the kinds of things you want to stay away from. And so, I broke it down into steps, kind of like a framework, which is something Rob teaches in the underground and what you guys included in the challenge. And then I just turned those steps into slides.
And the slides took me forever. I think I had 109 of them because I didn’t want to forget anything and I didn’t want to be reading from a script. I don’t do that well. So I basically put the script on the sides. But I thought that if I do that, then people have the entire workshop. So did the slide, sent out all the emails, made sure people knew when and where and how to show up. And it was just on Zoom. I recorded it.
This was like the poor man’s launch. Afterwards, I literally put all of the bonuses that I forced myself to create because they were on the sales page, the workshop recording because I had a Q andA at the end that was really valuable. It was like a 90 minute workshop with the 30 minute Q anda. So, bonuses, workshops, slides. I think that was it. And I put it in a Google Drive folder and I just sent it to those people.
And I thank them profusely for trusting me during a really scary time. And I sent out a survey afterwards to get some testimonials. So, that’s what I did.
Rob: You made roughly $1,500. How much did you sell the workshop for?
Brittany McBean: $97 for the full one, and then $50 for the … or sorry, 97 for the lead magnet. And then because I had never taught list or quiz building before, I’d only done mine and I thought that it would just be a fun add on, I did a $50 for that. And one thing that was really encouraging to me and really lit a fire under my butt is that we had someone and this is not a brag. This is like important to me.
We had someone in our community who was living in their home with their children at that time who the person is very meaningful to us. And I was just like, “Hey, I have 1500 in my PayPal,” and that feels really weird to say out loud. But also I do think that for a lot of people, spontaneous generosity is a reason to make money. And that made me want to make more so that I can do that when it comes up.
Rob: Yeah. A lot of the things I love about this is, first of all, you went through and you did the work, you did the challenge. You put it together, you did the outreach, you made money on it. You made more than a year’s worth of investment in the underground, but you’re right. Making money in order to enable the good things that you want to do in life, that’s one of the best reasons to do it.
So I love hearing about the success that you had as you went through all of the work that had to be done. And I’m guessing that if others want to jump in and do that same kind of work, that they will see similar results, maybe even better results.
Brittany McBean: Yeah. And just to be super clear, I have a crazy small email list. I think when I launched that, I had maybe 500 people on it, which also I hate when people are like, “I have a really small email list. It’s only 20,000.” And you’re like, “Cool.” So I know that for some, that sounds like a lot and that actually feels like a lot to me, but-
Kira: 500 is a lot. Yeah, it’s a lot.
Rob: You put 500 people in a room, that’s a pretty good size room.
Brittany McBean: It is. And I feel really honored. My unsubscribe rate is really low. And my open rate is really high. I felt really, really, really good about my email list. And I felt really good that in a list of 500, the very first email I sent out just telling people, “Hey, I’m doing this thing for $100 in the middle of an economic crisis.” I had four signups in the first hour. And then of course everything was like really slow after that. But it just felt really good to feel like these are my people, I’m doing something that they need, this is good.
Kira: So if you, well, when you do similar, whether it’s one workshop or it’s your course, what will you do more of? What will you change? What would you recommend to someone who’s about to do this as well?
Brittany McBean: That’s a really good question. So I was almost hesitant to do this because I thought if I do this workshop, does this have to be the thing I’m known for? If I put this out there, do I now become the lead magnet list builder person? Which isn’t who I am. It was just a need that I felt I could meet. And so I actually think that that was really good to just do something even if it’s not my one thing or the thing I am the most amazing at, just something that was a problem I could meet right now.
And I knew that people were all of a sudden taking $100 of their business online. And we know that that like your email list makes a big difference. So I thought this is a problem that people are having right now. So one thing I want to remember is like, just do something. It doesn’t have to be the thing that you want to be known for or your niche. Just do something if you think you can do it well.
I asked people, what would you have me do differently? What didn’t work? I just asked three questions on the survey. It was really simple, but I did say like, “What didn’t work? What should I do differently next time?” And they were unhelpful because they said nothing. I was like, “Okay guys. I was not perfect. I need you to tell me something here.”
Some people did recommend or did ask to have like a follow up or a Facebook group, or maybe even like a project plan where we kind of checked in and worked together, which I love the idea of that, it’s just that my experience is people don’t actually follow through with follow up. And so I just wanted to pack as much value into that two hours and I kind of shamed them. I didn’t really.
But in the emails I was like, “You paid for this, just show up for it. You’re getting free group coaching at the end, just show up.” And everybody did, every single person that bought it showed up. I don’t know. Everybody was asking for kind of some continued support, but is that what they think they want? Whenever I’ve done that even with my packages, clients haven’t really taken advantage of it. So I don’t know. I do love the idea of having a private community in the Facebook group. So those are just kind of my afterthoughts.
Rob: Yeah. I was going to ask you what comes next and maybe they’re telling you the thing that comes next. But are you going to run the workshops again or come up with new workshops? How do you take this strategy and make it work for your business in different ways?
Brittany McBean: Yeah. So, I would love to, they’re kind of in like the dream very soon goal card on Trello, but I would love to take maybe the … I don’t know, everybody loved the quiz one, even though I felt like the meat was in the lead magnet, but I think quizzes just feel a little more like mystical and hard. So maybe take one of them and do kind of an evergreen funnel and tack it on to welcome series.
I would love to take the bonuses that I did that I think we’re really valuable and I spent time on them and put them in a digital shop. I really want to have like an online shop on my websites so that people who maybe aren’t ready for one on one services or just need a little help can go there. So I would like to repurpose these. I literally only worked on these for two weeks and put my husband through toddler hell, because I was like, “Okay, you’re tapping in, I’ve got to do this.”
So I didn’t want those two weeks to just be left there. So I do want to repurpose them. And I really, really, really do want to create a course. That’s something I’m really passionate about. I love teaching. I love digital education. I love the idea of having some, it’s not passive income. It’s never passive income, but just a different stream of revenue. And I don’t know what that course would be. So I think that’s something I would really like to figure out.
Kira: Let’s talk about the hard stuff. And maybe this is where the burnout comes up that you mentioned earlier. But you’ve had a lot of wins this past year since you stepped in and put your copywriter hat on and launched that business. And even more recently, you’ve had wins. Can you share some of the struggles you’ve had at least over the last year in your copywriting business?
Brittany McBean: Oh yeah. So one thing that I haven’t talked about a ton, but I also have no problem talking about it. So I’m going to rewind a little bit and some of my story’s a bit of a bummer and we’re definitely not going to stay there. But in 2017, right when I quit nannying and started doing network marketing full time, we were trying to start a family and get pregnant.
Actually in 2016, we spent the whole year trying to or me trying to get pregnant. And after 13 months and it wasn’t happening, we went to doctors, all that stuff. And then just randomly, after 13 months, I did get pregnant. I had three pregnancies back to back in seven months. They all ended in miscarriages, so trigger warning, sorry, friends. That led us to adoption, which was beautiful and right for our family and our family could not be any happier.
And so that really informed a lot of my story, my values, that taught me how to talk about hard things on social media, and we can talk about this. I don’t know if it fits well here, but I was learning a lot about open adoption and about transracial adoption. My daughter is black and I’m very, very white. And our adoption agency did a beautiful job making sure that we were as equipped as we could be to really honor our child’s culture and heritage.
And then also know where we never fit that and how to have that in her life. And I just kind of became really passionate about talking about open adoption and transracial adoption, and it felt really necessary. Transracial adoptees, which just means they are adopted outside of the race, they have a suicide rate that’s four times higher than that of other adoptees. And so I just kind of had this urgency of like, “This is my daughter’s life.
And if I can teach people how to talk about adoption, how to view adoption, how do view open adoption, like open adoption is proven to be healthier and I guess just more formative for the child. And I just thought maybe I can make this world a little better for my daughter. So I started doing all that stuff. Is kind of beside the point. But so the beginning of last year, I started copywriting and it was really hard for me.
The writing wasn’t the hard part, but working was hard. I was exhausted. I’m a work at home mom. I don’t work full time. I don’t have childcare. I work at the YMCA. I drop her off in daycare. I go there for two hours. I work at nap time and I just thought that’s why I was so tired, but I had the hardest time focusing and the hardest time writing. And I was really, really, really, really struggling. I was just exhausted to a point that felt like something was wrong.
And I went to a doctor and we did all of the functional medicine stuff. And then she said, “Hey, I’m going to write you some medicine.” And so I started taking antianxiety medication and antidepressants, and that was a game changer. I feel like I can work again. So I feel like I have this whole new, that’s been like maybe six months, but this whole new renewed sense of energy and passion.
So that’s not super duplicatable, like go out and get some psych drugs. But that was really, really, really meaningful and really necessary. And I had no idea that I was anxious or depressed as a result of the miscarriages that happened three years ago. So that made a really big difference for me.
Rob: Yeah. And this may not be a question that applies to everyone and thanks for sharing that because that obviously all of us go through hardships, but those sound like particularly hard hardships. But there are others that go through things as well. And if somebody’s struggling short of saying, “Hey, you’ve got to get on meds or whatever,” are there strategies or things that you would recommend having gone through it yourself that could get them started on the path to finding a solution that will work for them?
Brittany McBean: Man, I’m so hesitant to dull out advice.
Rob: I don’t blame you for that either because it’s a really rocky place, especially when it comes to anxiety and depression and all of the things that can really hold us back or hold us down that oftentimes we’re not even aware that it’s happening.
Brittany McBean: Yeah. And that was it. I just assumed, “Okay. I became a mom, we’re tired.” I would tell people like, “I’m so exhausted. I literally can’t keep my eyes up. I fall asleep in the middle of the day, but I’m a mom,” And they’re like, “Oh, she doesn’t sleep?” I’m like, “No, she sleeps great.” And so I had really accepted, like, this was my new normal. I’ve always been like my friends in college called me a Chihuahua, because I never stopped talking.
I had so much energy. I’ve always been like ambitious and I can do something, whatever it is, I can do it. And I’m going to make something better. I’m going to improve. I’m going to do and do and do. And all of a sudden, I couldn’t do. And I just kind of thought, “This is just life as a mom. This is life as a work at home mom.” And it wasn’t until after the fact that I was like, “I recognize myself again. And my husband recognizes me again.”
And so I don’t know. I don’t know if I have any advice, but I do think like really examining if you are yourself and then just trying to make really small underwhelming changes, because the last thing you need when you’re feeling anxious is a big life change. So I cut out gluten for a week and that took a little while, just little, little things that … I tried going to bed 15 minutes earlier. But yeah, just stuff that didn’t feel overwhelming that I could kind of be a little more generous with myself.
Kira: You mentioned talking about hard things and how that became a way that you approached maybe business or life. Those weren’t your exact words, but can you talk a little bit about that and how we as copywriters, communication experts can do a better job of talking about hard things when it comes to our own business and our own message and the values that we carry? And then as an add on question to that, how can we help our clients do that too?
Brittany McBean: Yeah. This is something I actually I’m learning and I’ve learned. So I feel really passionate about again, just turning around two steps back and saying, “Hey, I think that this is a good thing. Why don’t we do this together?” Because when I first started sharing, I just share openly about my miscarriages after the fact, and not like in real time and then started sharing about what I was learning about open adoption, the adoption process, transracial adoption, and how adoption can be really unethical and really harmful and all of this stuff.
I just thought this is really important. And I, myself am very prone to black and white, like right or wrong dualistic thinking. I used to argue all the time with anybody who had listened to me and it was super energizing, but it was never productive, never led to change, never led to relationship building. My husband is a mental health professional. He’s also a pastor.
He works for a recovery ministry, which is basically a church for people recovering from substance use disorder, a lot of trauma abuse, that kind of stuff. And he’s also getting his degree as a counselor and he’s a really good listener. And he taught me that change only happens when people feel heard and they feel safe, not when they’re being yelled at and when they’re being shamed.
And so being in a recovery community that is so good at change and so good at not bringing shame or at least not puffing up the shame that’s already in the room as a change agent, being a part of that community gave me so many life skills, watching my husband have really hard conversations that sometimes he didn’t agree with just to make someone feel heard.
Being in therapy myself and hearing my therapist hear me and realizing like how this feels. And so I just kind of realize as much as I love yelling into the void, no one changes when they’re being screamed at and when they’re being shamed, people change when they feel heard and they feel safe. So it kind of started as a defense mechanism. Because I was really afraid that someone would say something that was hurtful to me about infertility or miscarriages or even adoption.
So I kind of was like, “Hey, if I can get out in front of this and tell you what to say and tell you how to be helpful, then that’s really good.” And what I learned is just assuming good intent and coming from a place of we and us and teaching. And I try really, really hard not to be the person who’s like, “I’m an expert at this. I have this all figured out.”
I’m in some transracial adoption Facebook groups where some phenomenal black women do some heavy, heavy lifting to give our kids a better life and make sure that we are doing our job. Sara Heselin Woods is one of them and I just want to say her name because she does this out like a career level and she doesn’t get paid. And that doesn’t make me an expert on activism or anti-racism or blackness or whiteness or transracial adoption.
But it does mean that I have learned a lot, especially the community or the conversation we’re currently having. This is something Sara has been teaching us for years. And so it feels really important. This feels like my daughter’s life. And the stakes could not be higher for me. And so, if I scream at someone about their white privilege, just for example, and maybe that’s a little triggering and please, if I say something wrong, like I’m not above humiliation or correction because we’re all still learning.
But if I scream at someone about their white privilege, then we’re just going to be miming each other back and forth. But if I can say to someone in this current conversation, and again, I am speaking as a white person to white people, I am not coming from a place of the grief and trauma that the black community are experiencing right now. But if I can say, “Hey, I hear that you’ve never felt privileged before, because life has always been really hard for you and finances have always been really hard for you.
And it’s really hard to understand how you could have privilege. That must be really scary and confusing right now.” And when they feel heard, then they can start to listen about what that word really means. And so, I kind of want to set that there and also just say that every market that we’re in is super saturated. And I think that’s a really, really, really good thing because it gives our clients the ability to spend their money with their values.
And so if I’m not letting other people know what my values are and letting them align theirs with mine and just like the core three, we don’t have to agree on everything. But then I don’t want to take someone’s money who hates me or who I don’t respect or we’re going to get into a shouting match in social media while I’m writing their website.
I want people to say, “Hey, this woman is for me or she’s not. And there’s somebody else.” So I do feel passionate about saying, “This is what I believe and what I stand for.” And copywriters, maybe therapists are the only other people, but copywriters have the unique gift and skill set of extracting a message that someone is trying to communicate and then putting it into the words that the audience can hear.
That is our super power, is kind of being that, I don’t know, in one hand out the other basically, like understanding and then amplifying and we’re good storytellers and we’re good communicators, and we know how to use the words that people need to hear to understand our message. And I honestly just think that we have a responsibility to do that and not doing that is also a message. And I kind of think that’s a problem.
Rob: Yeah. I agree with everything you’re saying here, and there’s a massive copywriting lesson when we talk about how do we affect change, because what we do in our sales messages and emails even in content that we create, if we’re trying to shame someone or if we’re trying to bully them into change, or even sometimes we talk about agitating pain and we can even go too far when we do that so that it becomes manipulative.
And so I just 100% sign on to what you’re saying from a social standpoint as well as what we do for our clients.
Brittany McBean: Yeah. I think people are willing to listen when they feel heard and they don’t feel talked down to. I even had someone working in my home. They’re like helping me install something. And they made a pretty problematic comment about Nora’s hair, Nora is my daughter. They didn’t mean anything harmful, but it was problematic. And I, because I knew them and loved them, I was just like, “There’s a lot of culture behind this hair.
And it’s in braids and beads and twists and rows and locks, not just because of culture, but because it helps protect her curly hair.” And we just had this conversation where they’re like, “I always thought it was just a style. I didn’t realize it had a purpose.” And just even doing that broke down a little bit of a barrier of understanding her experience or what her experience would be rather than seeing her as other.
It was just, this is how she takes care of her hair. And I’m probably saying all of the wrong and problematic things right now. Anyone can blast me in any comments, but coming from like a place of like we and us, and we’re learning together, we’re growing together, you’re safe here. I’m not going to judge you when you get it wrong. And then also of course, coupling that with just a complete and utter intolerance for hate, and that’s a fine line. And I think people have to use their discretion there.
Kira: All right Brittany, I know we are running out of time here. So I guess my final question for you is, what is next for you? You mentioned, of course, we talked a little bit about launching courses next. I know you just had a win that we talked about briefly, but you had a big win where you just landed a dream client. Can you just kind of talk about what you’re excited about doing next as far as your offers and who you’re working with and what you’re going to be doing over the next few months?
Brittany McBean: Yeah. I’m almost nervous to put this on a recording because I really still think it’s like a scam and I’m being pumped. But I don’t know. Maybe he confused my name with someone else, but Rick Mulready reached out for some website copy and I just signed a contract with him, which Kira has been his copywriter in the past. I look up to you so, so much. I want to be when I grow up.
So to be writing for someone who has been your client feels really ridiculous and like there was a mistake. So, that is really exciting. And honestly, I just want to keep writing and keep learning, like digging into the underground which by the way, if you’re listening to this and you haven’t given Kira and Rob your money, you need to. Stop eating real food and give it to them.
Because you have access two copywriters who know what they’re talking about and you can submit something you’ve written and Kira or Rob can reply personally and say, “This is really good, or this is really bad.” Or, “Here’s what we do about this problem.” So give them all your money. But I’m excited about like just really continuing to do better and better and better work and continuing to find what I love and what I’m passionate about.
And it is a big goal for me to get some digital education up in the next year. I just honestly don’t know what that would be yet. So I feel like the more work I do, the more I will figure out what is both needed and what I can teach the best.
Rob: Brittany, you and I share a goal in that I want to be Kira when I grow up as well.
Brittany McBean: Who doesn’t?
Rob: So, we have that in common. Exactly. If somebody’s been listening to this and wants to connect with you, maybe grow your email list just a little bit bigger than its size that it is today, Brittany, where should they go to learn more about you?
Brittany McBean: Brittanymcbean.com/copyclub.
Rob: Thank you so much for showing up on the podcast and sharing, not just what you’re doing with copywriting and your career and what you’ve grown, but also really sharing your vulnerability and what you have done as you’ve gone through the adoption process. We appreciate that.
Brittany McBean: Yeah. Thanks for letting me talk at you for an hour. It was just an honor to be invited. So I’m really grateful.
Rob: You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira and Rob. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive available in 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.