Copywriter Rick Marion joins Kira Hug and Rob Marsh for the 86th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. This one gets personal as Rick talks about how he overcame his addictions and how that relates to copywriting. We also talked about…
• how he found copywriting and persuasion though a mentor
• what his first few clients were like (where the work came from)
• how he identifies a mentor to connect (and work) with
• how he finds clients today
• what he’s doing to build the channels where clients can find him
• the two reasons he continually invests in masterminds, books, and events
• the biggest take-aways from his membership in The Think Tank
• his struggle with addiction and how he reframed the way he looked at the world
• what he is experimenting with these days
• what copywriters can do to build their authority
• why he put together a copywriter book group
• what Rick is working on in his business today
Rick is a current member of The Copywriter Think Tank and he shares a bit about his experience there. To get this one, visit iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. Or click the play button below. For a full transcript, just keep scrolling.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
The Copywriter Think Tank
The New York Event: TCCIRL
Parris’ book list (coming soon)
How to Write a Good Advertisement by Vic Schwab
Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Kira: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Rob: You’re invited to join the club for episode 86, as we chat we freelance copywriter Rick Marion about his story; dealing with addiction; how he approached copywriting; what he’s learned from the influencers in his life, and the importance of constantly learning and improving as you build your career.
Kira: Rick, welcome!
Rob: Hey Rick!
Rick: Hey; thank you guys!
Kira: So Rick, we met you through The Copywriter Think Tank, and we’ve had the privilege of getting to know you overt the past six months or so. So why don’t we start with your story, and how you became a copywriter?
Rick: Well, it was comforting; a couple of weeks ago at the New York event, someone asked how many people became copywriters by accident, and like, the whole room pretty much raised their hand. So, that was pretty comforting to know that I also kind of just fell into this. So, full-time job; like, i was working. This was about four years ago, five years ago, and I was working on my master’s degree. i was getting certifications going after my dream job. And I actually got the offer. It was more money than I asked for. Ton of vacation time…it was exactly what I was looking for in like cyber-security. And I had the start date, like, everything was lined up. And then i got a call saying they couldn’t give me the job because of foreign-national contacts that i had. Like…
Rick: It was too sensitive. Yeah, it’s the industry.
Rob: I want to know about these “foreign-national contacts”!
Rob: Like, foreign national…spy? Or drug dealer?
Kira: Are you a spy?
Rob: Yeah, what’s up? Laughs.
Rick: Laughs. No, you know what? It’s just people that travel all over the world and they travel to some countries that, you know, the U.S. doesn’t really want to get involved with. So it was enough to basically say they couldn’t offer me the job, and I was devastated.
Rick: I mean this was, like I said, like three years i was working towards this. I was working two jobs to get it, like, I was making all the connections. Going through, like, the whole interview process from like falling on my face the first interview I ever had, to like, really learning how to sell myself. And through that process, someone say that I was having a tough time, and they put me in contact with a mentor, and someone who’s now become a friend—his name’s Mark. And, he helped open my eyes to other possibilities outside of just that, like, one track that i had in mind. He made me realize I was kind of living in a bubble, and that there’s a ton more opportunities.
And so we started talking, and he kind of introduced me to the whole idea of, like, marketing concepts, and how psychology plays a role, and I was just like falling in love with this because it was right up my alley anyway. So then I started looking into, like, online business, and marketing and realized that, I actually knew something about this because I had marketed myself in the career space, and there are a lot of parallels. And so, come up to close to today, I was connected to a couple people who were already copywriters, and like, I was like, this copywriting thing makes a lot of sense, because you know, you have to be curious, and like I asked probably too many questions. Like, I love learning, you know? And there’s like all these characteristics that just really fit with being a copywriter. And so, it’s kind of like I feel into like this perfect role for my personality, and what I’ve been through, and I was connected to people who were copywriters, so they were able to kind of get me work right away. And, yeah. Here I am. Laughs.
Rob: What did those first couple of clients look like, you know? You say you got them from your contacts; what were the projects, and how did that go?
Rick: My client was technically the people that I knew in copywriting, right? So I was doing work for them. One of the project was basically an on-boarding and a sales funnel in the real estate investing industry. So, Writing the full sales funnel was about seven or eight emails, and I loved it. It was just throwing me into the fire, like, right into the market research, pulling out like testimonials from different pieces of their content online, and including them and the emails, and on the sale pages… And then i was able to present it to the person that hired me and get the feedback, and that was a huge boost of confidence too, early on, you know, for someone to say, “Yeah, this is good enough to where I would put my name on it.” Like, that mean that world to me.
Kira: Yeah. I was going to say, like, what are some of the benefits of writing copy for other copywriters early in your career? Because I do think that’s huge and so important. What else can copywriters get out of that?
Rick: Well, the confidence is the big thing, and direct feedback. So, there’s a book called Talent is Overrated. And it talks about how you can really excel with a skill, and a couple of the points that you need to do is you need to push your mind. Like, you need to push yourself mentally in order to improve rapidly. So, getting that feedback and, you know, basically saying like, hey—this isn’t quite getting it over here, it needs to be improved—as crappy as that sounds getting, but that’s what’s needed to really improve, and to get better. And another thing is, the direct feedback—having someone who’s more experienced that can kind of see where your weaknesses are in order to tell you that this is where you need to improve. And, yeah, so it’s the basic skill development, and then coming back around again—I know I’ve said it like two of three times, but—confidence; confidence; confidence.
Rob: So if I’m a beginning copywriter, and I’m think, “Okay; I want to do what Rick just did. I want to connect with another copywriter, somebody who can feed me work,” how did you do that? How did you connect with somebody who was willing to give you the time, first of all, and second of all, willing to give you a project?
Rick: So, part of it was by chance, because I just happened to be connected with a couple people who were in copywriting. But, strategically, there are things that people can do. So, what I like to do is look at groups or circles or people that you really are attracted to, that you like. It won’t work if you don’t like the person; like don’t try to connect with someone just because, you know, they’re successful. Chuckles.
Rick: Right? You have to like them; you have to be attracted to these people for one reason or another. And if they’re at like—let’s just, for lack for a better term—an elite level, then look at who is someone that’s a couple of steps ahead of you, and a few steps below the elite level, and that’s kind of who I look at for who I can connect with and who would be willing to work with me, you know? Because I think it’s tough to, you know, someone who’s brand new asking someone like Ben Settle or whatever to feed them work, you know? It happens, but it’s not as likely. So I think looking at someone a couple steps ahead of you that you respect, and, really just starting to build a relationship with them. You know, you can pitch them, right off the bat, but you can also build a relationship, and you know, try to offer value; try to support them in what they’re doing. And that’ll show that, “Hey, this person actually thinks of things outside of just themself. Like they think about other people,” and it’s really attractive when you’re talking about working with someone else.
Kira: So Rick, how have you found clients, beyond the first few, you know, through close friendships? How have you found other clients so that you can grow your business, because most new copywriters really struggle to find those clients early on.
Rick: Yeah. And I’m no different. So, referrals—all of my clients have been through referrals. And so that’s really good, right? Because that means that people trust you enough to, you know, forward you name to someone else. And some people? They have businesses, you know, strictly off of referrals alone, but I’m finding that that’s not the business that I want. And I’m actually in transition right now to step away from the referrals and start marketing myself more through content. Like, after this call, I’m going to go through a content strategy for myself. So, most of my clients have come through referrals. I recommend start writing; start creating content yourself; and, you know, that’s a whole other discussion which we could get into but I think that’s the way to generate leads: is to show people who you are and what you can do.
Kira: Yeah, no, that’s true. I mean by best clients today are all through referrals at this point. So, I heard you say, “I want to step away from referrals”. And so, as someone who receives all my best clients from referrals, I’m not, “Why? Why would you step away from referrals. So, can you just share a little bit more about the catalyst behind that decision?
Rick: Stepping away from referrals probably isn’t the best way to phrase it.
Rick: What I mean is, “an expanding beyond referrals”, is probably the better way to put it. Yeah. And the reason behind that is, I mean, if referrals fry up, then I have no other channel to reach people, you know? And it just comes back to, you know, having multiple marketing channels really, because a referral is basically a marketing channel. A list is another marketing channel.
Kira: Okay, that makes sense. So, what are you doing today to build out those other marketing channels? What does that look like behind the scenes for you?
Rick: Oh yeah; like I said, today I’m working on my content strategy. So it’s basically writing about things that I’ve seen that have worked in my business and with my clients. Things that don’t work… It’s a lot of, just, sharing and watch I’m doing. And, that’s going to naturally attract people and business owners who, you know, have similar mindsets and philosophies, you know, and it’s just like building relationships, you know. You’re attracting the people you have similar goals. Yeah so it’s just kind of being transparent about what’s going on in life, in business and, you know, look; I’m just starting this, so I don’t claim to have all the answers. So, we’ll see! Laughs.
Rob: Rick, one of the things that I’ve noticed about you is that you seem to be a learner. You’re attracted to, you know, opportunities to learn new skills, to take on new things. After the New York event, you immediately put together a little book group to talk about the books that were recommended by Parris Lampropoulos during his talk. I’m curious; obviously as writers, a lot of us are attracted to that kind of thing. What do you get from being in mastermind groups, you know—book groups—and applying the knowledge that you’re picking up from all these different sources?
Rick: You know, I’ve read books over and over again, and every time you read a book—every time I’ve read a book—I’ve picked out something different from it, right, like we’re at different places and we see things differently, depending on where we’re coming from and where we are in life or business. So, in a group, you know, we can all hear the same thing but, someone else could have a completely different perspective that never would’ve occurred to me, and it could be like a game-changing thing, you know? It could be some kind of a copywriter principle or headlining principle that, you know, is like—wow! I’ve never realized this or I’ve never seen it like this. I think that’s one of the benefits of being in a group, learning together.
And then the other thing is, like, relationships. I mean, when you start to communicate with each other, there’s like different bonds that are going to connect through your personalities and, the first mentor that I had, I remember distinctly: he said relationships are everything. He’s done very well for himself, multiple businesses. And he said, “I could lose everything today; all of my businesses, my house, everything, and I won’t want for anything. Like, i could get it all back because of the relationships I’ve built.” And so, that’s what I see, you know. It’s kind of like a side-value if you will to actual learning and actually getting feedback on stuff in masterminds or, you know, like a book study.
Kira: Yeah. So, like we said, like, you’re in our Think Tank group; you’re in another mastermind, and when you’re thinking about whether or not to join one, what are you actually thinking through? Like, what’s the list in your head that you need to check off? What are you thinking about before actually joining a group?
Rick: The first thing I think about is who’s running the group, and what they have to offer. I would be paying them for something, so what do they have to offer? And that comes back to connections, expertise, coaching ability—or consulting ability, like some people are really good at just saying what you need. Other people are really good at helping you discover what you need for yourself, and I think it depends on where you are in life and business as to which one serves you better, but you know, not just what they’re offering, but also who they’re connected to. And it sounds shallow as I say it, you know… “Who are they connected to? Who can they connect me to?” But, you know, it’s not like I’m going to connect with them artificially and I’m expecting them to connect me with someone else. Like, all that stuff happens organically if you show up.
And for me, it happens organically if I show up and deliver value and think about people, and try to give of my time and expertise. Then those connections are possible, you know? They now expected all the time, but they’re possible. And then the other people in the group, you know? Like, chances are they’re going to be similar to, like, mindset in how we approach business because we’re all pretty much usually attracted to like-people. So there’s a good chance that if you like the person hosting a group, then you’re going to like the other members. But you can also look at their expertize: where are they coming from, and how can they add to it? And something I look at too is, do I have something to offer back? because I don’t want to be in a group where you just are taking and taking and taking, and not giving anything back.
Rob: So this question is going to sound really self-serving, but, I want to hear what you’ve taken out of our group, the Think Tank. You know, over the last six months, what have you learned? What are the takeaways, you know, as it ends in a month… What are the takeaways, and what do you walk away with?
Rick: The most obvious is being more professional in my business. The best example is with proposals. I used to use, like a Google Doc, and it was really just like barebones, kind of amateur-looking. And through the group, I saw a couple other proposals using software products like Proposify or Better Proposals, and so I, you know, I was like, “Well, let me try this.” Used it, and the client was like absolutely like impressed by it. So, you know that’s just, like leveling up professionalism, and the processes, to have this business. That’s the easy thing to put out. Something that is a little more “touchy-feely” or whatever… When I joined the Think Tank, I was kind of in a tough spot. Like, it sounds cheesy, but I was kind of in a place where I was losing myself.
And what the Think Tank did was like, they immediately saw that I have value as who I am, and that I don’t need to be someone else. And, you know, to be honest, at like thirty-eight years old, it sounds… it’s humbling to admit that, but that’s where I am. I mean, that’s the truth, so, that’s where I was. So that was huge. I mean that was really big, and coming back to my own confidence and my own personality, and embracing the fact that I liked to admit that I don’t have the answers, because I like to learn, and I like to encourage other people to learn and, you know, that may look weak, or not confident to some people, but that’s how I approach problems, is I’m more about coaching rather than like, “this is what you need to do.” So it really just helped me get the confidence and come back to, you know, who I am.
Kira: Okay: “losing yourself.” I do want to hear more about losing yourself. Just…talk more about that. What happened, and what did that actually look like in your business and life?
Rick: Well, the short of it is, when we follow people who have like a lot of success? Like, there’s a couple different ways to approach and to learn from them. And I was looking at it the wrong way, like, i was struggling. And this was a little over a year ago. I was struggling; I wasn’t seeing the success that I wanted, and I felt like maybe there was something wrong with me. And I, you know, would look to some people that I was following you had that success and instead of modeling what they were doing, I felt like I needed to be somebody else to be successful in this area, you know, having a holy mindset for so long, this was new. And, so that’s what I started to do. I start to, like, think that, you know what? Maybe just the philosophy of life that I live by, which is being open-minded and understanding and, like I said, not admitting that i don’t have all the answers? Maybe that’s just not what successful people do, and if I want to be successful, I need to change that. So that’s what I started to do. And, fortunately, it didn’t last very long, because I felt very incongruent. It felt…it felt wrong. Chuckles. And so, yeah, and then again, that’s when I kind of met up with you guys in the Think Tank and helped me come back to who I am, and the value that I offer as myself.
Rob: So this is going to go back quite a ways, but while we’re getting personal, I want to talk about your struggles with addiction. You’ve shared that you’ve had this in the past, and I know a lot of times this isn’t talked about by people and so, some people suffer with it thinking they’re doing it on their own, or there’s no way out, so I wonder, Rick, if you’d share a little bit about your story with addiction, and the things that you did, the people that helped you overcome that issue.
Rick: Oddly enough, I can tie it to copywriting, too. So, in my late teens, early twenties, I made a lot of bad choices; went down a lot of really dark paths, and towards the end of that journey, i can remember: I convinced—manipulated—my mom to give me some money. I told her that I was going to die, if I didn’t have it, because of withdrawals. Being the good, supportive mom that she is—she didn’t know any better—she gave me the money, and I couldn’t even look at her eyes when I took it. But then i was driving into Baltimore City, and I just kind of looked up and, I was like, “God, what did I do to deserve this life? Why have You dealt me this hand?” And, you know, I didn’t get an answer; He didn’t respond. Chuckles.
But I kept going and I ended up that night in a dark, dingy bathroom doing what I was doing. And, like, the lights were cut off in the room. And my mom texted me. I don’t remember if it was a text or a page at the time, but she messaged me, and I realized like, what am I doing in this room? And it was kind of an out-of-body experience, like, I could see myself from a couple feet away in this bathroom. I just asked myself, “Like, what am I doing here?” So, you know, nothing like drastically changed then, but soon after, I made it to a rehab facility. And, I didn’t want to be there, but I got the first glimpse of hope in a long time. So I was in the facility, and people were coming over who were in my shoes she weeks before, and they were smiling. Like, they were happy; they were talking to the staff—the staff that I hated, laughs. They were talking to them, and then they would come over and actually talk to me. And, ask how I was doing, and realizing that they were where I was just a few weeks before, it made all the difference. Like, that connection was just instant.
So, I sort of go into therapy in this place, and a therapist named Rob, also had a history of addiction, so again, there was that instant bond, instant connection, between me and him, because he knew how I felt. And he listened. He had asked me questions, and was really compassionate, and helped break down these walls that I had built up for so long to protect myself. And, for the first time, I started to believe something different, you know? Like, I realize that I talked to myself really, really poorly. I mean I’ve called myself a piece of crap, like all the time in my head, you know? It’s self-talk, you know? Now we call it self-talk; then, I didn’t know what it was. But he helped me reframe how I speak to myself, the language that I use, and really how I see the world and my believes in general, and continue to do that ever since then, for about fifteen years.
So, coming into copywriting, like, people talk about what’s my unique angle, how does my story fit into it, like…there are threads throughout our lives that we can connect to what you’re doing now, and Jody Mayberry, he’s a friend and he was coaching at Ray Edwards’ live event last year, Copywriting Academy. And in just fifteen minutes, he helped me like put some of this together, and it’s made such a huge different, because I feel like I’m actually doing something that I believe in, and that I can in turn help other people, you know, through copy because there’s like so many parallels between that process of addiction to recovery, you know? The empathy that I felt from other people and from Ron the therapist, like…that’s what we do in copy when we’re telling our story, or when we’re telling our clients’ story. So there’s a lot of parallels and it’s really cool to be able to use that now for one, to make money, and two, to continue like improving people’s lives and helping people.
Kira: Okay, so, you’re mentioning the parallels. Is it a process, like, to take you from addiction to recovery? And like you said, to change the way you think is so hard. So, while someone listening may not have dealt with addiction, so many of us are dealing with imposter complex and just not feeling good about ourselves, especially as business owners, and even as writers. So, is that process something that you could share with us?
Rick: Well I’ll talk about the first few steps, is first identifying it, right? And none of this is really probably new, but I’ll go through it anyway. So, identifying the problem. Like, recognizing that if you have imposter syndrome, that’s what it is. It’s not that you’re not good enough or that you don’t have what it takes. It’s that there’s self-talk that is basically convincing yourself that you’re not as good as you really are. So first is identifying it. The second part is having the hope that something is different. Like, I’m kind of going through the steps in recovery, and comparing it to how it can be applied to us as writers or in our business. So the second step is about getting that hope, right? So, in order to get hope, you got to have other people who have gone through what you’ve gone through. So, that’s where community comes in, and it’s huge, and that’s—I mean you guys have been, like, it’s been phenomenal to see the group grow up to over seven thousand people, and so supportive, because I know it’s helping people, and that’s exactly what’s needed, is a sense of community of people to give you that hope that, hey, you know what? Whether it’s addiction or some other personal problem, that you can get over this. Other people have gotten over this. Or if it’s in business and copywriting. Like, look, okay. You may not have the confidence now, but you know, you’re working on it. You’re working the skills. You have good copy here, it’s just a process to build that confidence and get over this. And that’s kind of where the work begins. It gets… I don’t know if I can draw direct parallels right now off the cuff, but, that’s kind of the beginning process I think.
Rob: Yeah, wow. I’m not even sure where to go… Half of me wants to wrap the interview, because that’s like some really powerful stuff.
Kira: But we will not wrap the interview! Laughs.
Kira: No, I think the process is something that’s really helpful, and so, just to pivot a bit, because we’ve mentioned you’re a learner, and you’re curious, and that’s what we—that’s what we like about you—what are experimenting with right now in your business? Because I think you’re in this interesting stage where like, you’re not afraid to experiment and try new things, like you said, with not relying completely on referrals and building out this content plan, and continuing to challenge yourself. So, business-wise, what does that look like right now? What are you experimenting with?
Rob: I just put something out on Facebook a couple days ago. And like, before business, I felt that I had done a lot of work on myself, like self-improvement, and worked through a lot of issues, so to speak. And since getting into the business, it has showed me so much more area to grow, so much more opportunity for growth. So, you know, I haven’t marketing myself really at all. So on Facebook, I thought, “You know what? I just want to see if anybody would be interested in group coaching,” right? Business owners who can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars for someone to write their copy and do their research for them. I know there’s a need for it, but I don’t know if people on Facebook—the people that I’m friends with—if I’ve marketed enough, when I know I haven’t, but I still wanted to see the response. And it was scary, like, I was fearful to put this offer out there for group coaching. And I didn’t expect anyone to take it. But I remember hitting publish, and I went downstairs and I told my wife, and she was like, “Well, how do you feel about it?” And I was like, “I feel really uncomfortable about it!” Because…
Rick: You know, it’s like these fears of rejection and like all that stuff comes back! But I knew I needed to get uncomfortable, and I knew that I need to just get over it. So, not expecting anything, I put it out there anyway. And, it helps me get okay with testing, because that’s really what it is. Like, there’s this tendency to take everything personal, but really, if we take a step back, we’re just testing stuff, you know? And if it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t mean that we are, like, not good people, or we don’t have skills, or…you know? It just means that, for some reason, this test didn’t work; now let’s look at the causes behind it. You know? And, I love Bryan Kurtz with his 40-40-20 that he talks about, you know—it’s the market, the offer, and 20% being the messaging. And so for me, it was like, clear: I don’t market here. So—laughs—my market may not even be here, and the offer doesn’t connect because, if they don’t who I am or what I’m doing, why would they want something from me all of the sudden? But the whole point of it really was to just get uncomfortable, so, I think that’s huge for people to do. Anytime I’ve done it, it’s been fearful, but it leads to, like, so much freedom, and so much momentum to move forward.
Rob: Will you tell us a little bit about what that offer is, and the process you went through to develop it?
Rick: Yeah. The offer was just six weeks, and it’s a loose offer, but what i had in mind was just six weeks to take people—take small business owners—who can’t afford to pay someone to write their copy, to guide them, to coach them, through the same process that I got through with clients. So, like the market research, you know, doing interviews, and then taking that and finding like how that business is unique, how they’re unique, and the offer that they can provide, and then how to convey a message for that. And then, to use all of that in whatever copy they may need which is typically “home” page, “about” page, maybe a “products” page, and then an email on-boarding sequence. And so, you know, it kind of was going to depend on the business wonders. You know, if they all had one common problem, then we would focus on that. And that’s the benefit of group coaching, is it’s flexible. So that was the offer.
Kira: So maybe i missed it but, did you share the results? Did people jump on the offer? Did you hear crickets? What happened?
Rick: No, I didn’t want to share the results…
Rick: …but now I have to! Laughs
Kira: I know! I was like, did I miss that…?
Rick: No, I didn’t share the results, because there were none. Yeah, it was crickets. And like I said, there’s no reason to believe that people would really jump on it, because I don’t put myself again, which again, comes back to my focus for today—transitioning into marketing myself, because that’s what I’ve been missing, you know? A list, my own channel, to reach people and to communicate and to serve people, and then, you know, so then when they need services, to buy products and services.
Kira: Okay. So, I know we kind of abuse the term “authority”, and it’s just thrown around so loosely now, but it sounds like a lot of what you’re trying to create now by putting yourself out there is to build your own authority. So the next time you put this offer out there and experiment, then maybe you get a couple of people. And so many of us are seeking that authority. What are some of the ways that copywriters are gaining that authority really well? Like, what are three ways that we can do it from your observations?
Rick: The clients that you work with, right? Highlighting clients that have authority. So basically, it’s borrowing their authority, right? So, for example, I wrote for Susan Evans, at a live event that her and Larry Winget put on last year. I did an email launch with them. And so, of course, that is something that I want to highlight because it’s borrowing the authority from your clients. So that’s one way. Another way is to connect with people who have authority, and you know, maybe other copywriters. And, again, come back to building the relationships, and then have them, kind of, put you on their shoulders, because you highlight them; because you talk them up with, you know, their programs. I mean, and like, authentically, not like just blowing smoke, but you know, like you guys with the Think Tank. I mean, this is all like…hopefully you can tell, like raw, honest benefits that you guys have given me through the Think Tank. So, highlight that. Like, give credit where it’s due to people, and then there’s an opportunity maybe that they can put you on their shoulders. And then, the other thing is, what I’m doing now is to publish content. Like, I’ve heard it said over and over: “Content is king.” I’ve heard it for too long, that I haven’t taken action on it! But content is king, and you know, people listen to people who talk. Laughs.
Rick: So, it’s that simple. If you don’t talk—if you don’t put yourself out there—there’s no one to listen to you, and I’m speaking to myself as I say this. So, in order for people to listen, you got to put it out there, and so, put it out there, and share your experiences about what works, what doesn’t, you know? Dare I say, offer value. You know, the—another overused term, but it’s true, you know? Deliver value with what you present and what you write about.
Rob: So we talked about how you recently just started a book group. I want to hear more about that, you know. What was the catalyst, and what have you seen so far in just the first week or so of putting that group together?
Rick: Yeah. So, origin of the group: after the event, Agora was doing like a happy hour, and I was talking to some people in New York after the event, during this happy hour. And I saw Parris Lampropoulos sitting on a couch, by himself. And I thought, you know, “What the heck? Let’s go see how he’s doing”, right? Like, he has this like air of mystery about him, and…
Rob: Yeah, no doubt.
Kira: He does, yes.
Rick: And it was true, like seeing him in person, too; I’m like, “That must be Parris”. And I had no idea if it was him, but I was like, “That must be him.” So there are like all these jokes about, like, “Parris didn’t wake up to hear my presentation,” or, “He doesn’t wake up early”, or whatever. So, as odd as it sounds, I asked him. Like you know, I introduced myself, and made sure he didn’t, like, want to be left alone, and I was like, “So what time do you wake up?” And he gave me like this Robert De Niro-like frown-smile, and kind of shrugged his shoulders, and he said, “Whenever the hell i want to.”
Rick: It was like…it was perfect. Like, it just solidified the caricature I had of him—laughs—based on that mystery and everything. But no; we started talking and, you know… And that led into a discussion about freedom, so I asked him about his books. And I said, “Are they in any kind of order?” And he said, “Yeah, they are in order.” You know, he recommends you going through them from the top down. And he said, “You know what you should do? You should have a book club. And go through this with other people…”
Rick: So that, you know, you keep each other accountable, and you discuss the things that you learn. I was like, you know what? Chances are, Parris knows what he’s talking about, and I’m going to go through these books anyway, so why not see if other people want to go through with them and, you know, I know how hard it is to stay accountable when you have a million things going on, and something passive like reading or studying can easily get put on the backburner. So yeah—so I just put it out there to the group of people that went to New York, and, like, over a dozen people were interested. I think there’s like fifteen or sixteen people now, and we’re still in the beginning stages of figuring out how we want to structure it either through Zoom calls… Because it’s difficult to get so many people together with like every different time zone in the world. So it may end up just being like a forum kind of discussion, but either way, I mean, we’re going to keep each other accountable, and go through this list of books. And I already started to first book. I think it’s How to Write a Good Advertisement. And, I’m like, “Where has this book been?” It’s so powerful. So, it just gives credit to, you know, listening to people who have tried and true like experience, and they’ve done the work. So, just tell me what to do! Laughs.
Kira: So that’s really cool, because I didn’t know that was the origin story of this book club, and I also want to be in it, if it’s not too late. I want to jump in there. So, my question for you is, do you think copywriters need to think bigger about what we do, in our business? And why?
Rick: That’s a really good question, because when you introduced me as “freelancer”, like, I…
Kira: Oh did we? Laughs.
Rick: No, no, that’s fine. But what I’m recognizing is that I didn’t like the term, you know what I mean? And there’s nothing wrong if someone does like that. Just for me, it just…I don’t know. It just has this negative reputation, you know? Maybe that’s just the circles I’m in, but, I do think that, you know, I think it’s a missed opportunity. I think that, copywriters; we’re so ingrained in people’s businesses that to not offer something else either with the copy or as a side—as another product, like consulting services—I definitely think that that is something that any copywriter with experience can start to go into. And consulting might not be the best thing for you. I actually don’t know if it’s the best thing for me, but another avenue is marketing coaching, right? Like, it doesn’t have to be telling someone what they need to do in their business. It could be helping them get clarity in their business, in their marketing. So I think that’s another opportunity? So, did that answer…laughs…the question?
Rob: It must. It must’ve answered the question. Yeah, so.
Kira: Sorry. Yes it does.
Rob: Laughs. So, I’m curious Rick: what are you struggling with in your business today? What are you working on, and, you know, tell us what’s going on?
Rick: It’s time, you know? And again, it comes back to—sound like a broken record, here—it comes back to making that transition from expanding beyond the referral work to creating my own content, creating my own channels. So, it really comes down to time. Confidence is always something that comes and goes still for me. You know, I remember hearing Annie Woodcock mention that with her level off experience. And, when she said that, on every project, I think she said like, she wonders why they’re even paying her, or something. And I’m like, “Oh, thank you for saying that, because I feel the same way, you know. At some point in the project, it’s like, what am I even doing here?
Rick: So yeah, confidence is always something that kind of ebbs and flows at this point. And, there’s so many avenues to go. There’s so many options when it comes to marketing and, like, niching, and that can get overwhelming. So, always seeking more clarity is something that I find that I’m trying to do and I’m in a place right now where that’s something I’m trying to do, is to get more clarity on my next steps.
Kira: Well, Rick, if someone listening wants to get in touch with you or find you, reach out to you, where can they go?
Rick: Yeah, rickmarion.com. And if you’re interested in kind of creating your own content and creating another marketing channel, and you want to see how my journey goes and, you know, maybe you can learn from it, I’ll have an opt-in there.
Kira: Yeah! It can be like, following your experiment; living vicariously through you. It’s a great idea. So thank you Rick for your time, and sharing your story, and getting very personal and vulnerable with us today.
Rob: Absolutely, yeah. I can’t wait to see where your business goes from here, Rick.
Rick: Thank you guys very much.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available 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.