On the 228th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, we’re joined by Eddie Biroun. Eddie is a conversion copywriter for e-comm and education brands and a forever learner of his craft. After fumbling into copywriting, he knew it was something he wanted to commit to for the long run. He became intrigued with understanding branding and what truly makes a brand stand the test of time. During our conversation, we talked about going from professional student to professional copywriter and how you can make the same leap.
We also talked about:
• why stages of awareness are important and why buzzwords don’t create a connection
• failing and how you can (and should) make it work to your advantage
• how expecting a perfect first draft is like looking for a unicorn
• going from obtaining knowledge and skills in copywriting to putting it into action
• Eddie’s process in downloading the voice of a new client and why it’s important to effective copy
• how your creative artist and managerial side have to be separate when writing the first draft
• why feedback (even negative feedback) is essential to becoming a better copywriter
• choosing projects and people who empower you and respect your craft
• how learning and improving will always be a part of copywriting and it doesn’t need to be something you learn in a day
• how having a mentor speeds up the process because direct feedback is readily available
• where to look for red flags and how using your gut can save you a lot of headaches
• why building a better relationship with your mind will help you tackle imposter syndrome when it comes up (because it does for all of us)
• why taking care of your life side of things is vital to take care of the work side of things
• how copywriters have the power to make other people’s dreams come true (we are wizards after all)
• copywriting isn’t just a flippant task, it’s the infrastructure for long-term success
• why having a morning routine will keep you focused when in the copy cave (did we mention this includes reading?)
• how to navigate through writer’s block when perfectionism or ideas need to be uncovered
Need a dose of motivation to stop going into information overload and start applying what you’re learning? This episode with Eddie might do just the trick. Hit the play button below (or read the transcript below!)
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:The Almanack of Naval
How to Create Your Copywriter Website (written by Eddie)
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Rob: Getting better at copywriting, this thing that we all do, isn’t easy. And sometimes we get stuck in a project, we get stuck getting started or we get stuck struggling to find clients. Our guest for the 228th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast is Eddie Biroun. Eddie is the kind of copywriter who hates getting stuck and he’s figured out what it takes to get moving again when he has gotten stuck. In fact, he’s made dramatic improvements over the past year or two in how fast he writes, in the quality of his writing and the kinds of clients that he’s working with. We think that you’re going to get quite a bit from the experiences that Eddie shares in this interview.
Kira: Before we share our interview with Eddie, this podcast episode is brought to you by TCC (Not) In Real Life, our event for copywriters and other smart marketers who want to learn from experts like Joanna Wiebe, Todd Brown, Jereshia Hawk, Joel Klettke, Momo Price, and so many others like them. But it’s not just about speakers and presentations and sitting through more Zoom calls because you don’t need that. TCC IRL is really famous for connecting copywriters with each other and helping you to form real relationships, even friendships, potentially partnerships with other copywriters and marketers. To learn more, visit thecopywriterclub.com/tccnirl-2021. There’s also a link to that in the show notes, if you want to check out the event page.
Rob: Let’s jump right into our interview with Eddie telling us how he became a copywriter.
Eddie Biroun: I ended up in copywriting like most people do, I fumbled my way into it. I had been doing it without even realizing I’d done it. I was doing a lot of content writing and I was just generally doing a lot of advertising work. My first very marketing job was, I had a buddy who owned all the screens at our universities, all the TV screens and he was selling ad spaces using that. So I was the guy that was just coming around, knocking on doors around local businesses saying, “Hey, you want students to come and spend money here, right? Well, we’ve got all these TVs.” It was a sales job, so it was tough, you’re not going to get paid until somebody says yes.
So what I was trying to do is sweeten the deal by offering them ad copy and graphic design. I didn’t know what the word copywriting was back then, but I just knew that words go in an advertising piece. So people like that, and I was closing deals. Eventually I got a chance to work in the newspaper world and came across the idea of content writing and saw that as very magical because local businesses like, there’s this mom and pop shop, Indian restaurant in a little tucked away part of town that was really nervous about investing in a piece with the newspaper. It was like 30,000 bucks, which was a lot of money for them. And we ran it and their phones wouldn’t stop ringing. And all of a sudden, we had just changed their lives.
They were all of a sudden booming, they were booked for the entire month. And I thought that’s crazy. We wrote a cool really… It seems like magic, we wrote this little story and it completely revolutionized their lives, and I got really intrigued by that. And I want to learn more about how to write better, how to come up with interesting hooks and stuff. And that led me into trying to do stuff on the side. I had a buddy who wanted some SEO blog posts and like a moron, I was selling them for 50 bucks a pop, but I was so intoxicated at the idea of that somebody would pay me to write them and that my writing was actually good enough to get paid for.
So I did that. And obviously you stop being intoxicated by it by the eighth time, you’re like, okay, this is a lot of work. The 50 bucks isn’t really that alluring. And then you realize you can double your rate and people will probably still come back if you’re doing a really good job. So that’s how I got started. And then I eventually started doing some sales pages and landing pages, somebody gave me an Instapage account, Unbounce account. And I just had a lot of fun bringing it to life, putting the visuals together, getting the copyright. But what happened is whenever I would start a new one, it would be a month or two later. I would go back into that account; I’d look at the page I had put together in the first place and all the numbers were at zero.
There was zero conversions and it really bothered me. I’m like, wait, what’s going on? I did such a good job, at least I thought I did a good job. I put so much hard work into it. Why is this not happening? I went down this rabbit hole of trying to figure that out. And it’s like, Oh, wait a minute. It’s this whole concept of conversion rate optimization. Wait a minute, there’s this whole universe of copywriting. Like there’s Eugene Schwartz, just a whole universe that I’m completely ignorant to. And I’m like, okay, well I got to catch myself up. I got to get up to speed with this. I would like came across this idea of copywriting, which was so foreign to me.
Honestly even now I think of copywriting, it really feels like Harry Potter, like you guys know who I am. I know who you are. We all know each other. We know what the kind of work we do, but an outsider when I try to… They’re like, what do you do? I’m like, I’m a copywriter. They don’t know what that word is. So it’s like, I’m talking to a muggle almost, they just have no concept of it.
Kira: So are you saying we’re wizards? Are we wizards now?
Eddie Biroun: I believe so, we do very unimaginable things.
Kira: You’re making us a lot cooler than I think we are. That’s great. I’ll take it, we’re wizards.
Rob: I’m not sure I will look good in the robes. Or with the beard-
Eddie Biroun: Okay, man. It’s all in the one swing man.
Eddie Biroun: Yeah. That’s how I fell into it. Just like I started with a bit of content writing and then I started doing a bit of sales pages and it just didn’t work. And I was trying to figure out why. Because I was just obsessed with the idea of how do I solve this Rubik’s cube? Because I felt like I did a good job, so why is not converting? And then I started learning about, okay, well your traffic sources matter, and the amount of things to those people, the traffic sources they had been exposed to before they even hit that page. All of these things matter, stages of awareness and all that stuff. And just like the rhetoric that you’re presenting on the page, you can’t just be frivolous, you can’t just use nice buzzwords.
You have to be very particular and very meaningful in the words you use that speaks to the person that’s going to read it. I just fell in love with it. I don’t know. I guess I’m a nerd. I just thought that stuff was really cool and I enjoyed learning it, applying it and getting results out of it. Especially from clients, when they were happy, I was happy.
Rob: So Eddie, when I listen to you talk about this progression in your career, it seems to me like as you needed to learn something suddenly the resources are there or you spot the opportunity. Is there something about your approach to work where you’re keeping an idea on the next thing to learn or the next thing to do or the missing piece that you need to add? Do you have a process for that or does it just happen?
Eddie Biroun: I don’t necessarily have a process for it yet, I would say it’s been forming in recent years, but before it was like… I used the word fumble, it’s very deliberate. I fumbled my way into copywriting because I didn’t really know that I was falling in the first place. And then I realized I was falling and I started falling, trying to pivot myself into the right directions of where I was falling. And that was more towards learning how to be more persuasive with my writing, which led me to copywriting. I was also really fascinated with the concept of branding, because I wanted to really understand, like why do certain brands last as long as they do versus some brands that try, but then they fizzle out after maybe a couple of months or a year.
Because that happens a lot in the local scene, businesses would just pop up and they would just vanish. And there’s lots of reasons for that, but I was interested in the deeper meaning of what does it take for a brand to last 15, 20 years? And that led me to… You’re asking me how I figured other stuff out. So my desire to understand branding led me to graphic design. So that’s why I get graphic design because they work in that brand strategy space. They come up with the logo, the color palette and all that. And I examined that a little bit, but I realized that, that’s really surface stuff. And that branding really comes back to copywriting and writing because it’s about the rhetoric.
It’s about the message. It’s about, what is it that the brand is really stand? First of all, who were they trying to help? Why are they trying to help them? And what is so compelling about the way that they’re helping them? That makes them so different from everybody else that’s probably doing that thing. That’s just a topic that I’m still studying, I was still a student of it, but I understand a lot better. And it all comes back to the word. It’s the words you choose. And we take our words for very granted. We take them for granted a lot, a lot of people in marketing, I’m sure you’ve seen it. They’re very arbitrary. I was making fun of this the other week because every January, there’s at least 12 people that use new year, new you in their ads or their emails. And I just like-
Kira: …why is that?
Eddie Biroun: Okay, we should retire that. It was probably cool when it came out 40 years ago, but it’s just as marketers, we’re supposed to stand out a little bit. We’re supposed to be compelling. It feels like it’s easy to just take the low hanging fruit. And I feel like I’ve not really answered your question, but yeah. That’s how I feel about it.
Rob: No, but Kira has raised a really good point. I was a lot cooler 40 years ago than I am today too. So maybe…
Kira: Were you? Yeah.
Rob: Yeah. I think… Well, okay. Not a lot.
Kira: So Eddie, it’s clear from even listening to your responses that you’re a student of the craft and I think more so than the average copywriter. So I guess my question is, when did you feel like you made it and I don’t mean like made it in life and all you have all the answers, but when was the moment as a copywriter where like, this is a win, I’ve got this or maybe there were multiple moments like that. Can you share a couple of those with us?
Eddie Biroun: I think it was clear to me when I made it, when I failed at something that I tried the first time, but then I made it work. And so I gave you that example of the first couple of sales pages I worked, they just didn’t convert. And I was really heartbroken about that. I literally was depressed and like, how on earth? I put so much of my heart into this. How did it not work? But I didn’t give up, I didn’t give up. I decided to go read some articles. I watched some YouTube videos. I eventually came across you guys. I decided I’m going to figure this out. I’m going to figure this out. I’m obsessed, I’m determined, I’m going to figure this out and I eventually got that page to convert.
And then I started realizing that there’re different parts to the puzzle. Sure, I might’ve written a really good page, but if we don’t have the right traffic sources, it’s not really going to matter. So now I have to figure out Facebook Ads, now I’ve got to figure out Google Ads. I have to figure out analytics and being persuasive is one thing in copy, but you also have to be persuasive visually. So I have to understand UX principles, I have to make sure the page looks good on mobile. It’s not enough to just do desktop. There’re so many things I wanted to understand to just make sure that we get the end result. And so I felt like I made it when very recently, as you know, I started working with Chris Orzechowski at his agency, which has been a phenomenal experience.
And I also got a chance to work with Angie Colee, who’s really awesome. She used to be the copy chief for him when they used to work at Jeff Walker’s team for Launch and for the product Launch for me rather. And so I had a chance to recently work with them and I would send drafts that I was really sure of. And she would be like, you need to rewrite this whole thing. And I got a little upset, but then I got excited. Because she taught me to realize that I’m trying to get the masterpiece upfront with my first draft. And that’s just the dumbest thing you could do. You’re chasing a unicorn, the first draft of anything sucks. You should get excited that your first draft got trashed because you’re actually getting closer to the masterpiece you’re chasing.
And it takes a couple of trashy things before you get to it. And that’s when I realized I’m making it because I got comfortable with the idea that not getting the first draft accepted, it wasn’t bothering me. I was actually like, okay, great. I’m getting that much closer to figuring out the exact page we need for this or the exact subject line or copy for the email. That’s when I realized I was making, because I didn’t give up and then I would send that second, third draft and she’d be like, this is perfectly spot on. And I’d be like, nice. I nailed it. That’s one example, but there are other times where I literally wrote the page and I was so sure that they were going to come back with edits and they’re like, hey man, you really knocked this out of the park.
And I’m like, okay, I guess I’m finally figuring it out. Because before all of that, to your point, it felt like I was a student. Rob even made a good point, he is like, you have to watch out not to be… Are you a professional or your professional student? And I felt like I was a professional student because sure I read some of the books. Sure I went through all these courses, but it’s one thing to wield the sword… You could wield the sword and say you’re a swordsman, but then it’s like, well, how many times did you actually strike or fight? And it’s like, why didn’t really do that? It’s like, okay, well so you’re wearing a swordsman costume, you’re not really a swordsman, you haven’t really been in the ring. You didn’t really struggle, you didn’t learn from that struggle because that’s the only way you can really get good.
It’s like to get thrown into mud, but get back up and learn how to fight smarter next time. I don’t know, that’s how I looked at it. Some of my recent experiences that happened. I got chewed up, but I went back at it and my drafts were a lot better and they did convert a lot better.
Rob: So let’s talk about that a little bit more because we’ve seen the evolution of your writing process over the last few months. I remember a conversation we had with you a couple of months ago where you were really struggling with getting things down on paper or writing fast enough in order to get the work out. Almost walk us through that process from, okay, here’s the assignment, Eddie, you’ve got a week to turn it around. What is your process and how do you get it out the door?
Eddie Biroun: It really depends on what it is I’m working on. Which I guess we could talk about later, but there’s a difference between writing a sales page and an email in terms of process. But the first thing I do is, I just try to download everything about the voice of the person that I’m writing for. So I’ll go through their Instagram, their Twitter, anything where they’ve expressed themselves. And I will literally just absorb that. So I treat it almost like being an actor, if I want to play a certain role, I want to really understand their mannerisms and the way they think and the reflexes that come from that sort of thinking. So I really steep myself and just reading their posts, but not just reading their posts, but also reading at the responses they’re getting from their audiences.
I’m trying to understand that dynamic, the relationship they have as a brand. And I really just absorb all that and I don’t always get a week. Sometimes I only have a day or two and that’s fine. I’ll make it happen. But I really first try to absorb the material and I try to go to sleep if I can go to sleep, if I can just have a chance to go to sleep or go take a driver, if there’s enough distance between actually writing and studying the material. I try to enjoy that because I need the material to just go into my brain and embed itself. So then I don’t have to think about it. It almost just becomes a part of me. Then when that happens, the ideas write themselves in my head.
Chuck Palahniuk the author of Fight Club talks about the difference between typing and writing. He says that when he’s at the computer, he’s typing, he’s not writing the writing happens when he’s at the gym or when he’s taking a walk, it’s all happening in his brain. And I really relate to that. So when I’m sitting down to write, I already know what I’m going to say. So usually the trick is just to get the first draft out. I struggled for a long time, because what I was trying to do is I was trying to write and edit simultaneously and that just doesn’t work. And it’s also really not effective. You have to look at yourself as two people. There’s the creative artist that just wants to express itself. It doesn’t want to be concerned with mistakes, but then you have this managerial side, that’s like, well, that’s going to look stupid.
You’re going to make us look like idiots. We shouldn’t do that. And so you have to recognize that those two halves need to be kept separate while you’re writing. So what I try to do is I keep the manager out of the room for the first draft. I just vomit draft. I’m like, I’m going to write ridiculousness. I’m going to write as much as I need to. It doesn’t matter if there’re typos, it doesn’t matter how silly it is. The whole point is to express yourself and to get the clay out. And I think of it in terms of getting clay out. Because once I have enough clay, I can get the creative guy out of the room and bring the manager in and then I can start sculpting. That’s when the editing happens. Okay. Does the rhetoric make sense? Are there objections?
Am I really touching on all the important like hesitations or objections? Am I talking about the right pain points? Did I get that part right? Okay, great. I’m going to walk away a little bit then come back and then Okay. Do I sound like the person? Okay, can I pepper in their personality? I’m not a very big emoji guy, but some people are. So it has to sound like them. Because that’s part of being persuasive. It has to feel like it’s really the person talking. It’s not enough the argument is valid. It has to actually sound like it’s coming from their heart. So that’s also part of being persuasive and that’s the process I take. So vomit draft one. Two, does the rhetoric make sense? Am I hitting all the right points? Okay, great. That’s two. Three, does it sound like it’s really coming from the person? And that’s the process I take.
Kira: So to go back to what we were talking about, being a student versus actually doing. What advice would you have for copywriters who are listening, who are maybe where you were a couple of years ago where they’re hooked and obsessed with copywriting. They’re studying, they’re taking courses, reading the right books. But they’re missing that the action piece that you were talking about, where they’re in the ring and they’re actually working with projects. And so they’re caught up in the studying side of it. What did you do to get out of that? And what did you do to hustle and get clients and even line up this opportunity with Chris O? I know you were doing many different things, but what actually works when you’re in that stage and trying to move from the student to the actual practitioner, what could work?
Eddie Biroun: So yeah, it’s a tricky question because it’s something I think about a lot. So one of the reasons I’m very excited about working with Chris is because when I was working with my local client who I’ve had for maybe a couple of years now as a retainer, I would send drafts and then they would just be like, Hey, this is great. Thanks. And I was not satisfied with that because I’m pretty sure there needs to be improvement. I realized that I’m not sure that all clients have the perspective or the operating system, if you will, to recognize good copy. And I was a little worried about that as a newcomer, I’m like, how do I know that I’m writing actually good copy? What’s the standard here? So I almost felt like I needed some sort of apprenticeship to know for sure that I’m good.
And that’s why, when I got a chance to work for Chris and Angie, I was like, they’re going to challenge me. They’re going to tell me my copy isn’t great. And that’s when I’m going to actually get better because my worry was that if I start signing different clients and I sent copy and they’re like, it’s great. They might just be arbitrarily saying that it, copy can seemingly seem good, but it might not necessarily be on the dot persuasive and really prime for conversions. So I guess my advice to anyone that’s up and coming, who was like me back when I was starting, where they want to get into this line of work, but they’re also lacking in the education or knowledge is to first learn the ideas, learn the techniques, read the greats.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Breakthrough Advertising, I know it’s over a 100 bucks, but that’s like the Bible, get that book and read it and know it. You’ve got The Copywriter Club, you’ve got Copy Hackers. There’s a tremendous amount of resources that will immediately inform you how to write good copy. But that’s just the knowledge, like I said, it’s one thing to know the knowledge, but it’s another to actually wield it and strike. You have to get in the trenches, you got to write, you got to have someone putting money on the table and expecting you to deliver, that risk factor needs to be in place and you need to stress and you need to doubt yourself when you’re behind that keyboard at 12 in the morning. That experience has to happen for you to start becoming a copy writer.
You have to struggle but find a way to get past a struggle. I don’t know if that’s really a clear way to explain it, but just take on the work. I don’t think you should necessarily just take on any work. I think you should take work that you can be excited about and that you can be proud of by the end of it. Like something that you can really show off and be like, you know what? I might’ve agonized on this, but this became a really compelling piece. It’s really converting. It’s making a lot of money for my client. Now, the next time I do it, I’m going to be a lot faster because I went through it the first… The first time, it was always a little slower, but you get better just because you don’t fall for the same pitfalls.
So my advice is find a project. It doesn’t necessarily have to pay a lot. I know that’s important sometimes to try… Find a project that really excites you. And you’re really about what that brand is trying to do, have fun, find the fun in a project and just give it your all. That will not only inspire you, but it’ll inspire your clients and inspire the people that read that page in terms of their audience and it’ll will empower you. And then you’ll just use that energy in the next couple of projects, that’s my advice to anyone who’s in that situation.
Rob: So Eddie, let’s talk about where your business is today. You mentioned that you’ve done work for Chris and with Angie also your other ongoing retainer client that you were working with for a while, but tell us what kinds of work do you do today? What are you charging for those kinds of projects? What does that all look like?
Eddie Biroun: It’s really case by case. Chris has an agency and my local client is also an agency, so the rates are a little lower because obviously they sign a certain package with whoever they’re sitting with and I get a certain cut for just doing the work. Obviously if I work directly with clients, it’s a bit different, but it really depends. It depends on what it is we’re trying to do. I could just tell you like, an email will cost you this much, but my experience has been that every time I sit with someone, their needs are very, very different and it’s hard to just box a certain price. I could say a sales page costs 2000, but that would be foolish because is it just like a sales page that’s maybe four pages long is in a Google Docs?
Or is it like a monumental masterpiece like some of the stuff Copy Hackers uses to sell their courses? Obviously 2,000 would be a ridiculous price for that. I would say it really depends, but like… Yeah, it really depends. I know it’s not the answer you’re looking for, but I really depends on the person I’m sitting with. I can’t just spitball a random number like that.
Rob: You’re right. I am disappointed. You have to admit it’s not the answer I was looking for.
Kira: Rob will survive.
Eddie Biroun: I’ll be 5K and up.
Rob: There you go.
Kira: So Eddie, I feel like I have to ask you because you’re working for a couple of different agencies and I know we’re working on a couple of projects. I feel like you’re doing something really great in those relationships where you’re stepping into someone else’s business where they’re the face of the business and their reputation’s on the line. And they really depend on the copywriters on their team. And clearly, you figured out how to make that work with Chris and Angie, I’ve worked with you and your wonderful to work with. So can you give any advice to other copywriters who do want to step into a role like that and work with either other copywriters who are a couple steps ahead or for an agency, the best way to even approach it and what you have to do? What’s most critical to maintaining that relationship? Because, we all know, there are plenty of junior copywriters who come and go and don’t quite match the needs of the micro agency or the copywriter.
Eddie Biroun: You have to decide, you have to make a commitment to yourself. I’ve made a commitment to myself that I want to really be a copywriter and I want to be good at it. And I want to at least do it for 10, 15, 20 years. I’m not just looking to… I know that some people try it and it’s not really their thing. And that’s fine. But I really like the craft and I love what I do, and it’s not easy, but I’m very proud of it, at the end of the day I’m really glad I do it. So that’s the first thing you got to figure out Like, is this a flavor thing? You just trying this out, are you just trying to see if this is for you?
That’s the first thing, but otherwise, if you’re sure about it, like the way I am a little bit, then the move would be to go work at an agency, but more importantly, try to work with an agency where the people that are at the head positions are copywriters. Because there’s a difference between working at an agency where the people who are at the top are copywriters versus an agency where it’s just marketing people. And I’ve been in both of those, and you don’t necessarily get the appreciation or respect or support when you’re working in a general marketing agency. They just look at you as a production monkey. And that’s really obvious with the way they’re trying to hire you. I’ll give you an example. I’m not going to use names obviously, but they were like, Hey, we need you to optimize our emails. And here’s a mock e-commerce store. And it was a mock e-commerce store for bug protein. So it was you could buy a kilo of worms and stuff. I was gagging. Because I’m one of those guys who can’t-
Kira: Oh, we buy that stuff all the time. We buy that stuff all the time.
Hey, I’m super happy for you. I’ll send you the link, but I was just like, this is so awful. And it’s like, why would you? And I felt like they were just trying to see how badly I wanted a job and whatever I filled it in and they liked it, but they were like, you need to do three more interviews after, I’m like, okay. How much words does it really take to hire a copywriter? And it’s like, they kept rescheduling me. And I just felt completely disrespected. I’m a human being at the end of the day. I get it, you want to make sure you’re hiring the right person. But this seems a little unreasonable.
Whereas I’m not saying that everyone runs their agency like Chris, but he had an appreciation for copywriting, and he sees the value in it. There’s a lot of copywriters who are starting their agencies, there’s Joel Klettke with Case Study Buddy. I know there’s Eman Zabi with Terrain. I don’t know if that’s really an agency. I know she has an agency, but I feel like you want to be around people who have been doing copywriting for all, because they’ll see themselves in you as they were from years ago. And they’ll lend a better hand to you and you need a hand, it’s rough because you’re trying to get good at this thing.
And you’re also trying to get paid at the same time, but you can only get paid if you’re good, it’s a double whammy. And if you’re able to just be with people who can see that and understand that and have enough compassion, that’s a great place to be. Now, in terms of how to approach that, my advice is just to approach the way I’ve been doing it. I’m just going to be a student of this forever. I don’t think I’m ever done. I was just going to keep reading and keep absorbing until it’s like muscle memory and determination. I might not be the greatest copywriter, but I’m very obsessed with delivering a good job and yeah, for better or worse, that might not be the greatest for my own personal life.
But again, like I said, at the very beginning of the question, you have to make that decision, are you doing this to feel things out? Or are you very about it? And I’ve decided I’m about it. So I’m going to make this happen. I’m going to become a great copywriter. I’m going to work with people. I’m going to get better at it. So, yeah, that’s my response to that.
Kira: Let’s stop for a moment and go a little deeper on a couple of things Eddie mentioned. We talked a lot about being a student of the craft. What stood out to you the most Rob, as we were talking about the craft of copywriting with Eddie?
Rob: So I like this idea of being the student of the craft, and building our skillsets and really diving into it. I think it’s maybe the kind of idea that just gets me thinking about, okay, if I’m going to continue being a student of the craft, if I’m going to continue learning, what are the things that I need to be doing differently or in addition to? And it seems like with copywriting, there’s always something to learn. There are new ways to use our copy. There are new ideas to incorporate in our copy. There are persuasion techniques that we can try out. There are different clients that require different approaches. And so there’s just always something to learn. And I really like Eddie’s approach, how he’s looking for the next book to read. He’s looking for the next thing to learn, the next mentor to work with and just always getting better. And so I just think it’s a good thing to point out that this is a thing that we’re all dealing with and we can literally be students of the craft of copywriting for decades as we continue to improve and get better.
Kira: Yeah. But I think it’s also a double edged sword when you are a student of the craft. I think it’s… And this is what I love about Eddie, that’s how he views himself. And I love his level of commitment. Eddie, we said it in the interview, he brings this intensity to everything he does as a copywriter and he’s committed. He even said in the conversation that he’s dedicated to copywriting for the next 20 years potentially. I don’t think a lot of copywriters see it that way as this long-term commitment in the way that he does. So it makes his commitment to the craft, a no brainer. And I think it can also decrease the overwhelm because I feel like so many copywriters we talked to feel overwhelmed by everything. They feel like they have to learn tomorrow and that’s why they take all the courses and then don’t actually complete them.
But I think if you look at it like Eddie and you see it as a 20 year career path or more, it takes that pressure off where you can learn a little bit each day, but you don’t feel like you have to learn everything in a week. And so I think that’s really powerful, but I think what we talked about with Eddie is the flip side of that is just that you can get caught as a professional student and not actually a professional copywriter. And I know that’s what Eddie has wrestled with and he’s come out on the other side as a true professional by the actions he’s taken. But a lot of copywriters, newer copywriters do get stuck in the professional student cycle where they just feel like they can’t actually do the work until they learn all the things and so they get stuck there.
Rob: Yeah. I think that’s where another thing that Eddie mentioned, talked about and how he started getting mentoring from you and me, from Chris, from other people that he’s working with. And that is one way that you can actually speed up that learning process, because your mentor, somebody who’s critiquing your copy, somebody who’s pointing out what could be better or what’s wrong, actually speeds up that process. So obviously as we’re beginning our careers, we say, Oh, I realized that I don’t know this thing about say persuasion or I don’t how to write a sales page. And so you can find the book, you can find the blog posts, you can find the course about that stuff, but being in a project where you’re assigned that kind of thing and get direct feedback from a mentor, the way he has is just a great way to speed up that learning process. And again, being a student of the craft.
Kira: Yeah. And looking for those opportunities, especially in those copywriting micro agencies, like the one that Chris runs, there are so many different copywriters that have their smaller teams, but steady work and overflow, and they need junior copywriters and they don’t want to pull in a new junior copywriter for each project. They want to have a consistency. And so those opportunities are definitely available for copywriters that want to build the confidence and can deliver consistently the way that Eddie does. So I think it’s paid off for him and it could be something that other copywriters look out for.
Rob: Yeah. One other thing that Eddie talked about, it’s just getting that first draft done that first draft out. As I was thinking about it most of my first drafts also aren’t that great, I have to rewrite it and rework it, you see some of my first drafts and you rewrite some of those drafts too.
Kira: They are awful. Yeah, they are awful.
Rob: So let me ask you this, do all first drafts suck or is it possible to write a first draft that’s actually pretty good?
Kira: You and I have talked to copywriters, for some reason, Emma Siemasko is coming to mind. I don’t know why, but I feel like Emma could write a great first draft and I know there are copywriters who can just bang it out and they have speed and they can create something really great on a first draft. I am not like that. I’m more like Eddie, so that’s why I get the struggle. I start editing while I’m writing. And so I start to wear those two hats that he mentioned. So I really have to work and think like Eddie and just be the creator and stop editing to get that messy first draft out. But that’s always a struggle for me. I don’t think it’s a struggle for everyone.
Rob: Yeah. When I’m writing first draft, I often find that I get really repetitive or I’ll come back and I’ll say the same things over and over and having to go back and clean that up and tighten it up is always really helpful. And then of course, when we’re writing things together, you’re always really good at adding in the humor because I’m humorless. So you’re always good at adding in the fun stuff. One more thing that I think is worth pointing out, Eddie talked about this experience with the client where he’s not getting the feedback or the yes or whatever. And I just thought this might be a good time just to stop really quickly and mention some of the red flags that we see. We’ve talked about this in the Underground before and shared some of that stuff there, but there are red flags that happen in that process before you start a project that can often just give you the signal that this is not a client that you want to work with.
Even if you are desperate for money, even if you’re desperate for work, sometimes these clients are not worth it and not getting information from them or changing of scope even before the project starts is one of those red flags that just it screams, look out, this project may go off the rails. What are the red flags do you see in some of your… Well, I know you work with better clients that don’t really have that many red flags, but you’ve seen red flags in the past.
Kira: Oh yeah. Not too long ago. I remember I was sharing with you, there was one prospect who reached out and was way too flattering of me, just was very, not just nice, but just like, you’re so talented, blah, blah, blah. I have to work with you. And that was a red flag. Because there was a lot of desperation in the email and it wasn’t a good desperation. It was like, I want you to feel bad for me and take on this project because I’m in a desperate situation. And that definitely was a red flag and it turned out once I had the sales call, this particular prospect wanted me to take the project and not get paid right away and set up some backend deal. It wasn’t going in a good direction, but it started off with a lot of buttering me up in a lot of flattery. And so now I’m very skeptical if anyone’s nice to me. Because I’m like, what are you trying to get? What are you trying to get from me?
Rob: I’m trying to figure out why not getting paid is a red flag. What? Who thinks that’s a good idea?
Kira: Yeah. Why could that possibly be a good idea? But it’s amazing how he even… I talked to this prospect six months ago and I’ve been on plenty of sales calls, I’ve seen red flags, yellow flags, but I was getting pulled into it a little bit where I felt indebted to this person who was trying really hard and really nice too, really nice and dedicated to the business and really desperate for help. And I got pulled in until I realized it was just too many red flags. Another one is that they’ve worked with a lot of other copywriters, especially when it’s copywriters you know, and you know they’re really talented. And for some reason it didn’t work out with these other copywriters who I trust. And so I immediately go to them to find out the full scoop, which is why it’s helpful to have a community of copywriters, So you can vet these prospects. What about other red flags for you, Rob?
Rob: Things like timeline. People who need something turned around really fast in a week or two or a really big one is people who have a hard time giving you information about the project or the business. They can’t connect you with former clients that can talk about their experiences, no testimonials. So those kinds of things that I usually ask about at the beginning of a project are all red flags that this project may be more difficult moving forward. There are a lot of different things that can signal a red flag. And I think really the important thing isn’t necessarily what is the red flag, but it’s recognizing the voice inside your gut that says, wait a second, something’s off here. And there’s a little bit of a talent, it takes time to develop that because the first time you’ll want to ignore it because you see the money or you need the project or whatever, but after doing it two or three times, you start to realize that, that sinking feeling at the beginning of a project is the signal that you really should be working on something else and not with this particular client.
Kira: Yeah. That’s very true there, you can feel the anxiety before you even book the project. So it’s there. Sometimes we trick ourselves into believing that it’s not what we think it is and we shouldn’t pay attention to it.
Rob: So let’s go back to our interview with Eddie and talk just a little bit more about mentoring and the imposter complex.
So Eddie, you’ve talked a little bit about some of the people you’ve worked with, you’ve been mentored by really, as you think about the mentors that you’ve worked with, what are some of the top lessons that you’ve taken away from those experiences as you’ve gotten feedback from people like Chris, Angie, Kira, others.
Eddie Biroun: Yeah. So let me go through… Well, first of all, it’s you guys because I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys. I’m not just saying that because I’m on your podcast. Honestly, you guys were-
Kira: We made you say that. We make people say that.
Eddie Biroun: Yeah. No. I’m being real sincere. I literally was just lost and I may have said this to you guys during our coaching calls, but I’d read some blog posts on how to be a copywriter, but then I was trying to find a community and there’s a lot of them, but some of them were abrasive and mean. They have Facebook groups, but you couldn’t join unless you submitted a piece of copy. And they’re like, we don’t want amateurs and wannabes here. And I’m like, okay, well I’m one of those. But you guys didn’t really do that. And the accelerator was starting back in 20… I’m going to say 2019, Fall 2019, yeah. And I asked in one of the threads, should I do this?
Because I’ve done copywriting, but I never officially considered myself and some guy was like, bro, you’ve been doing it for three years just because you didn’t know, it doesn’t mean to do it. You are a copywriter and silly and as ‘woo-wooish’ as that sounds, it inspired me. And it gave me actually enough belief in myself and I decided I’m going to jump on the accelerator and I’m going to do this. You guys were just so awesome to me, I was such a goofball, I didn’t know anything. And I’m sure you could sense it, but you guys got actually gave me the time of day and told me to keep trying. That was really powerful. I may not have expressed that enough, just from times we talk to each other, but that really kept me going.
You just made me realize that it’s okay to not be a genius. That’s basically been the lesson I’ve learned across talking to you, Rob. I also got coached by Abbey Woodcock, she’s a super awesome person. I have a bit of an accountability group with Patti Haus and Christine Laureano, Bree Weber has been really… I could go down the whole list and obviously Chris, Angie, I’ve also worked with Robert Lucas. Everyone’s been really phenomenal to me. They made me realize you’re not a hack. You’re not a fraud. And your spirit of trying to make it work compensates for the fact that maybe you don’t have the seven, eight years of experience as some of us do.
And like, yeah, because it’s easy to give up when you don’t think you’re good. Right. And I definitely wanted to, but again, you guys were just so encouraging that I kept going and because I kept going, I got better. So yeah, that’s been the big lesson. Imposter syndrome, that’s a feeling a lot of people experienced, not just in copywriting, it’s freelancing in all. And you guys and everyone in the copywriting space has really done an excellent, sorry. I totally forgot to mention Linda Perry, she’s been the best at this. Made me realize that, that’s just a very normal dynamic in a craft that requires a bit of creativity and that you just need to learn to have a better relationship with it. It’s never going to go away. Even after eight years you could be a top copywriter, like Joel Klettke and you can still have moments of doubt where you’re like, I just don’t think that headline is right. And it’s like those demons never go away, but you just have to learn to have a better relationship with it.
Kira: Yeah. Well, let’s talk about the imposter complex a little bit more. I think we’ve talked around it around certain issues of like feeling like you’re not writing fast enough, but let’s talk about it because is something that pops up for so many of us and clearly you have found coaches and support and that has been really helpful for you. So we’ve covered that, but I’m just wondering, how else you have been able to cope with the imposter complex and deal with the mindset shifts that are needed to grow quickly as you’ve been on the path to grow fast? How do you deal with it on a personal level when you’re not working? What advice do you have for other copywriters who are just maybe beyond the imposter complex? They’re just burnt out too, because I know you’ve worked many hours and hit burn out a couple of times too. So I am asking you a bunch of questions, but what do you think about all that?
Eddie Biroun: It’s tricky because if you’re first embarking on this journey, it’s like by default, your sense is like, I have to just learn everything and get good, really fast. That’s how I felt back when I started with you guys. I was like, I want… You want to get paid and you want to get paid well, but the only way that can happen is if you’re good. So you’re in this weird cycle where you have to learn all the knowledge and then you have to also be able to prove it and then also get the gigs that’ll pay. Then you’re just in this weird wishy-washy space where you have to be good right away. But it’s hard because the experience is really where you get good.
So in terms of like impossible the syndrome, you’re going to feel that no matter what, the second year behind the keyboard and somebody’s paying you and they’re putting a lot of faith in you and there’s risk, you’re going to feel pressure and you’re going to be like, do I have what it takes? And your brain is just going to remind you of all the reasons why you’re not because you’re new and all that stuff. But the way to beat that is to just realize that everyone was where you were at some point. Joanna Wiebe, Kira Hug, Rob Marsh, they were all at some point where you are and look where they are now. It’s possible, dude. And you are just the latest iteration of that execution of that destiny. Yeah.
It’s going to maybe not be the smoothest experience, but as long as you want it, as long as you keep putting in the work, as long as you want to keep getting smart, you’ll get there like everybody else has. And you have to just love yourself enough to accept the fact that you’re not a genius. That’s what I had to do. I kept thinking you’re trying to build up your confidence because you want to be confident in front of your clients, but then when it comes time to execute, you’re thinking about all the reasons why you’re actually not a genius or like a lie I just started. So you’re playing tricks with yourself. And so I feel like it’s ego, it’s a lot of ego. So the way I try to regulate it is I try to meditate honestly.
That’s why like the Justin Blackman podcast, you guys did not too long ago really spoke to me. He was talking about that a lot. And that’s why I signed up to Linda Perry’s mindset’s for a bit and did some meditation. I’m not in the group anymore, but I do that very actively now, especially with COVID, you’re boxed in your own little house and all that. I’ve been doing a lot of meditation, because your ego is actually a lot of the source for your writer’s block. I see this a lot in copywriter circles, like on LinkedIn where they’re like the cure to writer’s block is more research. I, 1000% disagree with that. I’ve had tons of research done and actually all that did was paralyze me because I kept thinking about all the options I have.
And do I really have the right headline? That doesn’t necessarily cure writer’s block. I think writer’s block sometimes comes from the fact that you think you need to be really perfect right up front. And that’s just not possible. Like I said, the first draft is never good. That’s why you just have to get over the fact that the first couple are going to suck and that’s okay. Because once you get a couple of them out of the way, you’re that much closer to the better one, the perfect one that you’re chasing. So my advice to anyone that’s struggling with imposter syndrome burnout is, don’t burn out because you have to take care of yourself. Everything’s connected, being a good copywriter isn’t just about knowing the techniques. It’s also being able to put yourself in the right state of mind to write well, and that means sleeping, getting the eight hours, eating well, because you can know all the awesome things that Breakthrough Advertising teaches you, but if you’re fighting with yourself in terms of your weight gain and you’re irritated by your mood.
It’s like, those are all distractions interfering with your ability to perform in the craft of copywriting. So I look at it as being an athlete. You have to take care of the life side of things for the work side of things to really work. And this idea that you can sacrifice all of your life to just commit to the work it’s just disillusion that’s reinforced from years of people just working all the time and having sacrificing graininess as a valuable thing that has to be done to make big things happen.
Rob: Yeah. I agree. You mentioned taking a nap earlier and I thought, yeah, I want to add that to my process as well and nap on every project that feels pretty good. So Eddie, as you’ve worked through this stuff, you’ve built your skillset, you’ve up-leveled your clients and worked with some really cool people. You’ve worked through some of this mindset stuff. What are you most proud of that you’ve done in your business?
Eddie Biroun: The reactions I get from clients, honestly. Sometimes I go to bed thinking, I did all this work, does it even matter? And then I’ll literally wake up and go on Slack and it’ll be like, dude, you’re kicking. Thank you so much. And it’s like, that just feels awesome. I know that’s a silly woo-woo thing to say, but literally that drives me. Because at the end of the day, we’re relational creatures and yeah, it’s all business marketing, but I’m in the business of working with other people and making their dreams come true. And I somehow have this weird, super power of copywriting that does that really effectively. I know you scoffed at the idea of me referring to us as magicians, but it’s I think it really is that… I think what we’re doing is really powerful.
And again, if you’re a newcomer, you should recognize that because your clients might not see that, and they might dismiss you and think your work is worthless or not as worth what you think it is. And that’s an easy trap to fall on in, if you’re new, you listen to them. You’re like, okay, yeah, I can take it down a couple of thousands, but it’s like, no, you shouldn’t do that. If you’re writing a sales page for someone, if you’re writing a pillar post, blog post, if you’re setting up their welcome sequence, you’re setting up an infrastructure for long term. And that’s going to really revolutionize that person’s life and business. You’re not just doing this flippant transient marketing gig. It’s like, you’re really building something that’s going to last and really change lives. And you should recognize and be proud of that. Maybe I’m kissing my own ass a little bit. Sure. But I don’t think so. I think what we’re doing is really awesome and we should be proud of it.
Kira: I agree. And I did not scoff at the wizard idea. I would be cool having a beard and a wand.
Rob: I don’t think you want a beard. That doesn’t work for me, Kira. Sorry.
Eddie Biroun: I have learnt it’s not that bad.
Kira: In a future life. Okay. So I wanted to ask about your schedule because you mentioned meditation. So it got me thinking, I wonder what Eddie’s day is like, we get to see you here and there, but what is your day really like? So I want to know all the details of a typical day. I know there are no typical days, but what time do you wake up? Do you meditate first thing in the morning? What are you eating? How many naps are you taking? All the details.
Eddie Biroun: First thing I wake up is I have a playlist for meditation and I just do that for an hour until I’m really focused on my breathing. Because it takes a while, the first 30 minutes, you’re trying to get the monkey mind in place. So it really takes a good 45 minutes to an hour. And that’s important. Because if I can focus on my breathing, I’m going to be able to focus on my copy down later in the day, like I said, it’s all connected. So I do that. I get out of bed. I clean the house a bit. I take my-
Kira: Sorry. What time is this? I need it a time of day.
Eddie Biroun: This is seven, 7:30. I know it’s not that awesome 4:00 a.m. that people like to strive for, but I’m getting there.
Rob: There’s nothing about 4:00 a.m. that is awesome. Maybe 5:00 a.m. but 4:00 a.m. is significantly less than awesome.
Eddie Biroun: Yeah. So I do get up at that hour. I do not go on the computer whatsoever. I don’t have anything on my phone. I have Instagram, but I’ve muted a lot of people. So I really just get stuff that’s about getting up and just being motivated. I check on other people’s pages from time. I just don’t have their feed coming in. Which is part of my routine actually. I have a lot of distraction blockers. I have a News Feed Eradicator for YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. So I can go on those pages. I just won’t see something being thrown at me. So I won’t get sucked in. So if you’re not seeing me in The Copywriter Club Underground, it’s not because I’m a jerk. It’s just I only see stuff when I go on my other laptop where those extensions aren’t installed and then I see a thread and I’m like, Oh cool.
Kira: You’ve muted, Rob and Kira and all the social media channel.
Rob: Not a bad idea.
Kira: I would do it.
Eddie Biroun: Well, first of all, Rob doesn’t even follow me back. So I can’t even mute him in the first place, but-
Rob: Wait, what channel are we talking about that I don’t follow you back?
Eddie Biroun: We’re talking about Instagram.
Rob: I don’t follow anybody on Instagram. I think I might even be sent to private, which is maybe not the best thing.
Kira: That’s really going to help our business grow.
Eddie Biroun: Yeah. So I start my morning with that meditation. I don’t get into work stuff or my computer right away. I just take care of the house. It’s just part of something that got built into me from my upbringing. And I take my vitamins, I try to get a glass of water and lots of coffee. And thanks to Rob, I developed this habit of reading every day. So I read 30 minutes to an hour and it’s usually it’s two books. I just want to read more and I do that because it really inspired me. Sometimes you just read a good book and it just uplifts you, and it’s like for the rest of the day, I have this crazy energy that I can put into my work. So then once that’s all ready, then obviously showered. I’m ready. I’m caffeinated. Get on my computer, look at Slack. Okay.
And I already have a to-do list from last night. So I already know exactly what it is I need to act on. And I usually just go through my emails, read some stuff and then get to writing some copy. And so when I started writing copy, the first thing I’ll do is sometimes I’ll take a piece of blue sheet with a Sharpie and I’ll just write by hand. And then once that’s done, I’ll open up a notepad and just type for a good hour. And I’ll say the most crazy, ridiculous shit that I can because I want my creativity to not be restricted. So I’ll just say stupid things that I would not be able to say real life and just get it all in that draft. And once that muscle has been stretched out, if you will, then I get to my other copy, the stuff that I have to do for clients, because then I’m not going to hold myself back as I would.
That’s how I do it. And usually there’d be some gym in the evening, but that’s not really around with the lockdown in my part of the world. But otherwise that’s my routine. I just do that and then I call it a day and I chill out for an hour and go back to the bed.
Kira: I got to interrupt to ask how many cups of coffee?
Eddie Biroun: In the morning, it’s always two espressos, but by the end of the day, it’s five.
Kira: Okay. All right.
Rob: Yeah. You’re not playing around. So Eddie, I think you said my favorite thing that’s ever been said on the podcast and that is that I’m the reason that you have a reading habit. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me, but-
Kira: Rob, that’s the reason I have a reading habit too. You’re making us all read more books.
Eddie Biroun: One of the best things that happened to me. I thank you so much, man.
Rob: Now these are the two favorite things that have been said on the podcast. But I’m curious, so what have you been reading lately? Maybe in the last few months or so what’s been the most impactful thing that you’ve read?
Eddie Biroun: Honestly, I’ve been reading The Almanack of Naval Ravikant. That’s been a really phenomenal book. Oh my God.
Rob: Yeah. His stuff is just… I don’t even know how I would read a book by him or the collection of the stuff by him because it’s like every paragraph you have to stop and figure out how it fits in with everything else that you know, that guy is so smart.
Eddie Biroun: We did a gift exchange for the think tank and Sarah Vartanian, awesome Launch copywriter. She sent me Superfans. So I was reading that a little bit, Superfans by Pat Flynn. And I was also rereading Damn Good Advice by George Lois, who’s like the actual Don Draper. So he’s one of those advertisers from the 50s and he’s the inventor of the Big Ideas. So I like to revisit his book just because I’m very, very intrigued by the way he thought about things. And I still think a lot of it holds true now, even today.
Kira: So Eddie, at this point in your business, what are you most excited about? What are you excited about building next or focused on next, over the next let’s say three to six months?
Eddie Biroun: I’m very appreciative and excited about the work I’m doing with Orzy Media. I’ve been doing a lot of funnels for that company. It’s been really cool because he works alongside Mike Rinard, who’s a really well-known Facebook expert. He does a lot of the Facebook ads for Copy Chief for Kevin Rogers. I’ve just been getting really good at designing Facebook ads and leading it to a certain offer, like in terms of a sales page and converting that and then trying to figure out how to get the average order value up in terms of, how do we get it’s such that people buy the main offer, but they also buy the order bump then also the upsell and how do we optimize it so that we’re in a situation where we’re not really spending on the ads, we’re actually making profits?
So once we’re in that sweet spot where we’re spending all this money on ads, but we’re actually getting a bit of a return. Okay, great. We can now scale because we know that we’re not going to lose money doing this. That’s actually something that really excites me. And then the next thing we’re going to be trying to do is SEO. I know I did a blog post for you guys, that big blog post for how to write a site for your first copywriter website. And if you guys are looking to do more of that, that’d be exciting. But I know Chris wants to do that. He wants to have some more SEO blog posts to boost up the agency and stuff. And I’m really excited about being part of that and letting that grow. Obviously at the end of the day, this is stuff that I get to learn and I get to get good at. And then what’s exciting for me is being able to do it for myself someday.
I don’t know if I can do it in Q1, but I’m also not too upset about it. I know that I should probably be a bit more visible and people should see me more…I’m not that sad about the fact that it’s not happening. It’ll happen on its own. Right now I’m just having a good time getting really good at stuff, getting results. And I think the work will speak for itself and eventually I’ll be able to do all this stuff for myself and not second guess myself as much.
Rob: So as you’re mentioning the work that you’re doing on funnels, do you have just one or two quick secrets that we can borrow to improve our own AOV in the work that we’re doing?
Eddie Biroun: If we’re talking about specifically sending cold traffic from Facebook ads, it’s really weird. Because I had no idea about this until from the work I did recently, but as copywriters we’re very obsessed with the word you, and that’s like, it’s a magical word because it speaks to the reader, but Facebook apparently does not like that very much. So when you run your Facebook ads, they don’t like the fact that you’re being so call-out ish. So you have to relent back and you can get mad about that. Or you could just see it as a restriction, that’ll make you a better copywriter. And so I choose the latter. And so what was surprising is that you actually have to make it as clear and as you-less as possible with your sales page, that it leads to because apparently Facebook can deem that as compliant or not.
And then maybe throttle your results. So you can do that little a bit later in the page or in your copy, but upfront, apparently that’s no bueno. So that’s the advice again, if you’re trying to set up a page and part of your strategy is to send traffic through Facebook ads, be a little careful about being clever and using the word you, your best bet is just be clear and try to talk about something like a story that happened with you and a client versus trying to talk directly to the reader upfront.
Kira: All right. Very cool. And Eddie, I know we’re at the end of our time together, but I just want to thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your path to get here and all the mindset shifts along the way. And I think what I admire the most about you is that you are so committed to being a great copywriter. And even when you joined the Think Tank, that was what you said. I think even in your application, it was like it’s do or die. I’m doing this, it’s going to happen. And it was just the most hardcore application we received. And I just think-
Eddie Biroun: I’m a very intense person. I’m sorry.
Kira: You’re an intense person and that’s what is great about you. And so I think it’s just been really fun to dive in a little bit deeper today. So thanks for doing that with us.
Eddie Biroun: Thank you. Yeah, I know I’m a weirdo. I’m sorry, is just who I am. I’m trying to be honest about it.
Kira: Yeah. Well TCC likes weirdos. So you’re in good company.
Rob: So that’s the end of our interview with Eddie Biroun. Before we wrap up, though, there are a couple of more things that I think we should touch on starting with what Eddie was talking about with the imposter complex. And I think this is a really good point to mention that we have a previous podcast episode. In fact, we’ve talked about this on several episodes, but if you struggle with the imposter complex you should really go back and listen to episode 47. I’m pretty sure it’s episode 47 with Tanya Geisler. She talks all about the imposter complex of the 12 ways that it shows up in our business, it is a really, really good interview. And it’s the kind of thing that can give you a little bit more perspective on why it happens and what’s to do as it starts to show up in your business.
Rob: And then I guess along with the imposter complex, Eddie mentioned writer’s block. And so a question for you Kira, do you ever suffer from writer’s block? When the words don’t come, how do you get restarted?
Kira: Yeah, I’m a big believer in what Seth Godin says about writer’s block just about it not being an issue, just being an issue in our head. And so I struggle to write a first draft at times because I hate it, but I just will keep at it. I’m more of a slow writer, so I’ll just rewrite it 20 times until I’m happy with it. So I don’t really struggle with writer’s block. It’s more of a perfectionist issue that I struggle with and needing to learn when to let go and just publish. But I think it goes back to what Eddie was saying about your state of mind and how you need to have a really healthy state of mind as a writer. And I love that he shared his morning routine and how he meditates and his creative writing time.
And I think Eddie’s been very disciplined in that and it’s helping him. And so I think that state of mind is really critical for what we do as writers to maybe help you overcome the writer’s block, if that is something you struggle with. And then also just a state of mind as a business person and as a thought leader, and we’re all business people thought leaders, some of us are also community leaders, community organizers, and even to do that well and to show up for your clients you have to have a really healthy state of mind too. So he’s right in that sense that I think we should be talking more about that. I know we talk a lot about mindset, but just what are those things we can do that we can control so that we have a healthy state of mind and can sit down and write and not get stuck by the resistance and feel like writer’s block is preventing us from completing our work? But Rob, do you deal with writer’s block? I feel like you don’t.
So there are definitely times when I have a hard time getting started and usually that’s because I haven’t done enough research or I’m just not really clear on what I want to say. And so when I have that happen, I just start to bullet things out. I want to talk about this thing and I want to say this thing. And it’s almost a way of building a really loose outline for the ideas that I want to cover. And it helps me almost uncover the things that I don’t know yet that I need to know more about. So as I’m bulleting out, say a sales page I might think of a point that I need to go find a testimonial for, or that I need to find some way to back it up with proof or whatever.
And so just by starting to bullet things out, if I don’t have a headline or a hook already, I just move on from that and start working on like, what is the message of the whole sales page? And then I’ll come back to the other stuff. But occasionally, it just kind of flows. And I know what I want to say from the beginning, almost from the headline on and when that happens, it’s a good day.
Yeah. And we actually talk a lot about different creative exercises to help you overcome writer’s block in the Underground with Justin Blackman every week on Tuesdays, he comes in and for a Creative Juice Box session where we do a bunch of fun writing and creative exercises to help trigger a lot more headline ideas, creative ideas, if you do get stuck. So if you do feel like you get stuck, it might be worth jumping into the Underground and participating in the Creative Juice Box with us.
Yeah. One other thing that I think we should just not touch on from what Eddie was talking about is his reading habit. And he was kind enough to credit me with helping him get that started or whatever, but this is definitely something that I believe in. I think it goes back to something that I read, it might’ve been a Brian Tracy book or something like that, but he pointed out that if you spend 20 to 30 minutes a day reading a book, then you will read somewhere between one and two books a month. And over the course of a year to 18 months, you read 18 to 20, 24 books somewhere in that range. And that is about what you would read if you were in a PhD program. And so if you’re wise and choosing the kinds of books that you’re reading, maybe you’re focused on copywriter, maybe you’re focused on entrepreneurship or business, or client acquisition or sales or something, by focusing your reading in certain areas, you can basically earn yourself a PhD in that topic about every year and a half or so.
And if over a 10 or 20 or 30 years, like Eddie’s thinking about his career, that’s a lot of PhDs, that’s a lot of knowledge and that’s a lot of stuff that you can then bring to your work as a copywriter. And it doesn’t have to all be business focused. Of course, there are times for reading fiction and poetry and other things too. There are skills that have been learned from that, but having a daily reading habit, I think is critical in improving what we do as copywriters.
Agreed. I try to read a new book every week. I feel like that’s a rhythm I can keep up with and maintain. I know Reese Witherspoon talks about how she reads a book a day, which is pretty intense. I can’t do that. So I’m not at that level, but I do try to, at least if I can hit a book a week, I feel really good about myself. And I’m very happy with the progress. And if I miss it, then I don’t beat myself up. I just jump back in with it the next book.
Yeah. It’s a good habit.
All right. Well Rob, do you think you go a couple books a week or what does it usually add up to on average per month for you?
Well, I can tell you the number from last year and if I include the books that I listened to, in addition to the books that I read last year, I was pretty close to 120 books. Most of those are listening to not actually read with notes, whatever. And it’s a really good mix of fiction and business. I listen to most fiction. I hardly read any more fiction. I just think it’s easier to consume those stories through audio. But if it’s a book that I really want to think about and connect with other things that I’ve read, usually I’m turning the pages, I’m underlining things, that kind of thing. So I don’t know what that works out to maybe a book every three or four days, something close to that. But again, that’s a really broad mix of what I read.
Impressive. All right. Well, we want to thank Eddie for joining us this week to talk about his business. If you want to connect with Eddie, you can find him on Twitter, on Instagram, where Rob, apparently doesn’t follow him back. Rob, you need to get on that and you can follow Eddie on LinkedIn, or if you want to connect with him personally, or hire him to work with you, send him an email at email@example.com. I have worked with Eddie personally. I work with him on projects now, and he’s an incredible collaborator. So I highly encourage you to outreach out if you need a copywriter to work with.
And that’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Our intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter, David Muntner. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcasts and leave your review of the show. Reviews, help other copywriters find the program so they can get better at this thing, we all do also. And to get your ticket to TCC Not In Real Life, our event go to thecopywriterclub.com/tccirl-1 you’ll find a link to that in the show notes for this episode. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.
Copywriters coming together to help the world write better copy and make more money. Kira and Rob’s Copywriters Club can make you lots of money. Listen to the Kira and Rob’s Copywriters Club can make you lots of money as long as you listen through the whole damn episode.