One of the “options” for copywriters who don’t want to limit themselves to solely writing for clients is creating and promoting their own products. And for many of the copywriters who take this path, it’s very lucrative. Our guest for the 205th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast is Justin Goff. Justin has created his own offers and in this interview he talks about how you can do the same thing. We also talked about:
• how a gambling debt he couldn’t pay led to his first online product
• his over-the-top reaction to his first ever online sale of $149
• what he learned working in the gaming niche (as a student) that still helps him today
• the one thing you need to do to be a better copywriter
• how he landed his first few clients as he got into copywriting
• the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-week that led to his first real success
• how he came up with the Big Idea that launched a 23 million dollar business
• reverse engineering a product to find your own Big Ideas
• the ins and outs of partnerships and how to make one work
• what he’s done to overcome his own money mindset issues
• the only thing that matters when it comes to dialing in a successful offer
• Justin’s advice for raising their prices—what he’s seen that almost always works
• why he believes in masterminds and what he gets from them
• the “have to apply” email trick that keeps his readers engaged and reading
• what he learned about knowing your audience from Tinder dates during quarantine
• how he guards his time to get more done
• why he bothers to dress up whenever he’s around potential partners and clients
• the future of copywriting and how to make sure you’re set up to take advantage
We say this a lot, but this is another don’t-miss episode. To hear it, click the button below. Or subscribe wherever podcasts are available. Scroll down for links and a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Patriot Greens
No B.S. Wealth Attraction by Dan Kennedy
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Rob: There’s this thing that tends to happen for a lot of copywriters, not all of us, but many, where they ultimately decide that they don’t want to work with clients anymore. And at that point, they create their own products instead of helping other people sell their products. It sounds easy, right? But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Today’s guest, on the 205th episode of The Copywriter Club podcast, is Justin Goff. Just after the worst week of his life, Justin created his first product and earned a little over 100,000 dollars in three months, and then he did it again, earning millions. If that sounds like something that you’d like to do in your own business, then this episode is for you.
Kira: We’ll share Justin’s story in just a minute but first, this episode is brought to you by the Copywriter Underground, a private membership and community designed to help you hit your business growth goals faster, whether your goal is hitting 10K a month or launching a new service or product, or even just finding your first few clients, the resources in Underground can help with accountability, support, coaching, and a path to help you get out of your own way and build momentum in your business. Find out more at thecopywriterunderground.com.
Rob: There are a lot of ways to succeed as a copywriter, working directly with clients is one and creating your own products is another. Let’s jump into our interview with Justin and hear how he has used copywriting to create his million-dollar business.
Justin Goff: I initially got into kind of making websites when I was in college, as the result of I had a $1,200 gambling debt when I was in college, I was probably 20 at the time. And so I was a really good sports better in college. I’d bet on college football games and college basketball games. I would make good money doing it. And then like a lot of kids, my age, I got really cocky and thought I was better than I was. And ended up betting a lot more money than I had. And one weekend, I basically had the weekend from hell where I lost like seven or eight of the games I’d bet on. I basically, went from being up $5,000 on this season to down $1,200. And this guy who I bet through, it was this big bookie who was like six foot eight named Gabe who weighed like 280 pounds and Gabe wanted his money two days later and I did not have that kind of money, so.
Kira: It sounds like a movie.
Justin Goff: It’s like Rounders part two. So yeah, I owed this guy a bunch of money and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to pay him. And I had this bright idea that I could make a website and sell my sports picks. I knew nothing about making a website, knew nothing about selling stuff, but I’d seen other people doing it online. I’m like, “All right, I can do this.” Long story short, basically about six months of that, just pounding my head against the wall in spamming forums and trying to figure out how to sell these picks, nothing ever worked. And then about six months later, it was around Christmas time, I remember, because I was at my parents’ house for Christmas break. And I got on my email account and I noticed I had a PayPal notification and I remember opening it up and seeing that someone had spent $149 to buy one of the pick packages I was selling. I remember just going like absolutely crazy. I was like jumping up and down, screaming and running around the room.
It’s funny because I’ve had days where I’ve done 200, $300,000 since then in sales and I still remember more about that day and that $149 sale than anything. Because that was kind of the first time that it became real to me because kind of up until then, it just seemed like this pipe dream. So that’s kind of what got me into it and I kind of weaseled my way into affiliate marketing after that and kind of learn the ropes of that.
So I did that for a few years and then basically around 2009 or so. So I was doing affiliate marketing for a bunch of poker websites and gambling sites and then all that fell apart in like, ’08, ’09 because there was a law that was passed that you couldn’t play poker online anymore in the United States. And I decided to get into fitness health, info-product stuff. I’d seen all these people make info-products and selling them. I was like, “Oh, let’s do that.”
I kind of recently had gotten into the CrossFit and paleo stuff and this was kind of before it really blown up and really gotten big. I was like, “Oh, there’s probably a big market for this, for people who don’t really understand this.” So I started creating a product around that and that’s the first time I kind of really learned about copywriting. Because I tried for about a year and a half to do this on my own, selling it with a super boring sales page that was just features and benefits and almost like an eCom style page and nobody was buying anything.
And my business partner at the time, who was the personal trainer, who was kind of the face of the product, he had been using direct response on his gym that he ran and he kept telling me about direct response and I was just very closed off to it. And finally, he gave me this big box of Dan Kennedy tapes and he’s like, “Just watch this.” He’s like, “Just watch this, I think I will change your mind.” And I finally plopped in one of his copywriting DVDs, it was like nine hours unedited Dan Kennedy. And by the end of it, I was just like, my world had kind of been shattered. I was like, “Oh my God, now I see what he meant now I understand why these ugly ass websites with yellow highlighter and 40-page sales letters work so well.” And that was kind of the first foray of the copywriting.
Kira: Okay, so I want to know Gabe, did you pay him or did you get beat up by Gabe, what happened with Gabe?
Justin Goff: No, so basically after about three days of that, I had to make an emergency decision to get a job as quick as possible. And I started valeting cars literally like two days after this and worked out a payment plan with Gabe to pay him back over the next two weeks. And no, I did not get my legs broken…
Kira: Okay. It’d be a good story though if you did, but I’m glad you didn’t. So what are some lessons from your time gambling? I didn’t realize because I hadn’t heard that part of your story before. What have you learned from gambling that has helped you in life and business?
Justin Goff: So, the interesting thing to me is actually when I got into more business stuff, the kind of rush that I got from gambling stuff was very, very similar, except it’s in a much more controlled environment now. So when I would do big media buys and spend $20,000 on an email drop and it would come back and we’d make, let’s say $30,000, I got that same kind of excitement and that same rush, but I had 10 times the control over it compared to gambling where it’s like you’re kind of just looking for these slight edges all the time.
One of the things, honestly that really turned me away from it, because I was actually pretty good at it, was the stress of it was just way too much. And in a way, your business can be the same way, especially if you get to the point where you’re just the absolute workaholic who’s working 12 hours a day and nothing else in your life matters. That’s kind of the point I got to, I treated the gambling like it was a real job. I was studying stuff and creating all these models and putting 30, 40 hours a week into it while it was like a full-time student.
But I mean, the dedication definitely pays off because it helped me in that. And then it obviously helped me in copywriting as well. Because those first couple of years that I was learning to write copy, I was doing the same thing where I was just over, and over, and over, and over again writing, writing, writing, getting the reps in which it’s kind of one of those things that every copywriter, is always kind of looking for a workaround, how do I not have to write to be a good copywriter? But it’s kind of the one thing where it’s like if I could tell you one thing to be a better copywriter, it’s you need to write every single day.
Rob: So I’m curious, what’s next in the story? So you discovered Dan Kennedy, you had these first assignments and then what, how did you find additional clients at that point in your career journey?
Justin Goff: Yeah, so I’ve gone to a couple of events back then and met some people who I emailed them out of the blue and I started doing some freelance stuff. And this was at the time when freelance-wise, I was not charging very much, maybe $500-$1000, maybe 1500 bucks for a full sales page. And I helped a bunch of people get some sales pages that actually worked. And I got a little bit of experience doing that because I did it for a good number of clients at the time. So while the pay wasn’t great, the experience I got out of it really was. But then I kind of had the idea that I wanted to create my own offer. And I had been thinking of that for a while. I kind of saw that’s what I really want to do because, like I said, I saw this huge hole in the market where I thought the paleo diet could do really, really well.
And then, like I said, this is like 2009, 10 years before paleo really blew up. And I was like, “I think this could do really well.” So I created a course back then but what’s interesting, I kind of fell into this spot of being just really content. I was making decent money, I had a couple clients who I was doing miscellaneous stuff for, I had a freelance client. I actually used to be really good at SEO stuff, so I did SEO for another client. And I was kind just like content and happy and I was making however much money I was making. But then a lot of it pretty much all fell apart. So basically, within the span of a week, this was literally my week from hell. My biggest consultant-client who made up about 80%-90% of my income fired me so I was freaking out. I had no idea how I was going to make up the money to get that back.
My girlfriend at the time, who I was living with and planning on proposing to, came home from work one night and decided that she didn’t want to be with me so she broke up with me. And literally that same night after that, sorry, not she, LeBron James, this is the night he decided to go on national TV and say he was leaving Cleveland and going to Miami. And I grew up right near Cleveland so I was a huge Cavs fan. So got my heart broken twice in one night, lost all of my incomes.
Like I said, this was basically in a week span, it was actually probably a three-day span. So I was a total wreck trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life, how I was going to make money. And it was interesting because I was really, really doubting myself as an entrepreneur. I think I had maybe a month’s worth of money left. I considered moving back in with my parents I consider going and getting a real job. I had one of my aunts runs an eCom company and I talked to her about maybe going and working for her.
Yeah, I also thought about just quitting the whole thing and going off and just getting a normal job and moving in with my parents and kind of forgetting all of this, which is pretty crazy now to look back on. But basically, I kept thinking though that I had this offer and I was like, “I want to just try it, I want to test it on, get it up, run some ads to it and just test it and see if there’s anything there.” I’ve never actually done this before, I have no idea if it’s going to work. So I wrote the copy for this product, put up a VSL and this was super simple, it was a landing page, a VSL and I don’t even think I had upsells at the time. I created some Facebook ads started running into it. And interestingly, after a week of it, it started making some sales.
And I mean, I’m only spending $10 a day because I have no money at this time. And it started making some sales though, I’d make one sale for every 60 bucks I spend or something. And I was like, “Oh, if I actually dial this in and maybe get some upsells and get the average order value up, this might actually work.” And so over the course of about two months or so I really focused on dialing it in. And I went from spending 10 bucks a day, to 50 bucks a day, to 100, up to 500, to a 1000. Then eventually I literally maxed out my Facebook account where I was spending $5,000 a day.
And this thing was profitable in the front end which doesn’t happen very often. I mean, at its peak, I was spending five grand a day and I was making two grand a day profit and it was pretty cool because in that basically a three and a half months stretch I went from being a month away from being dead broke and not having any money to basically making I think it was $103,000 in profit is what I ended up making those three months.
And that offer went on to do really well that year, I think we brought in 40,000 new customers by the end of the year. It was one of the first years I think I ever made over $200,000. So it was a huge year for me. Financially, it got me out of this kind of hole that I was in, it really gave me the confidence to know that I could actually do this because, like I said, I was really doubting myself as an entrepreneur and kind of just thinking I got lucky a couple of years before this, I didn’t realize I actually did know what the hell I was doing. And when that offer kind of kicked off and started working, that was the first kind of real proof to me that I actually could do this.
Kira: I’d like to talk about the week from hell. I mean, it was just a bad time when you look back on it. Well, I guess the question is, if someone else listening is going through the week from hell, what advice would you give them based off your experience?
Justin Goff: For me, it was brutal. I was living in a $250 a month apartment, the girlfriend that I had lived with after she moved out, I helped her move everything out, there was literally nothing left in the house because pretty much everything was hers. I was sleeping on a blow-up mattress in the middle of the living room. It was basically me and my two dogs and nothing else.
So yeah, it was a pretty bad time for me. I was pretty depressed, didn’t want to hang out with anybody, just kind of shut myself in and just locked myself in my room. But one of the good things about pain is that that’s really where growth comes from. And so, I was kind of in that spot where I, like I said, didn’t really have a whole lot of options which forced me to kind of get off my ass and put out this offer that I had been pretty much procrastinating on, the offer could have been put out six months before this but I would just kind of be in content and not really pushing myself.
So there is a lot of good, like I said, that can come out of the bad spots. And truthfully, a lot of the biggest wins in my life have come right after really bad spots. I remember in 2014 when I kind of combined my Patriot Health Alliance company was my partner Allen at the time, kind of right off the bat nothing we were doing was working. I mean, we were kind of getting to a point where he was like, “We need to get something working here now or we’re going to shut this down because this was just waste of money.” And literally right after that, probably a month after that our Patriot Power Greens offer took off and that basically catapulted that business from a million-dollar business to a $23 million business in less than three years.
So that’s the one thing I would definitely say is that, like I said, the growth does come from pain. And so out of a lot of the really bad scenarios where you think this is never going to end, this can’t get any better, a lot of good stuff can come out of that. A lot of good stuff can happen to you.
Rob: I mean, it’s kind of a sliding door moment. That movie with Gwyneth Paltrow, you miss the train, you make the train and it makes all the difference. You could have been working a $60,000 corporate job to this day and not have had all of the experiences you’ve had over the last eight years. So it’s pretty amazing what-
Kira: Rob, that’s so weird. I was thinking about that movie today. I was thinking about that exact movie and how I want to watch that movie this weekend, today.
Rob: There you go.
[Movie Voice Over] Two lives, two chances and the destiny that lies behind two sliding doors.
Kira: We’re in sync.
Rob: There you go.
Rob: Yeah, it’s cool, so Justin will you talk a little bit about what you did with Patriot Greens? Because I’m really intrigued by that story, When you’ve got something that’s not working and it’s not working, you’re trying and you’re trying, and then something pops, I’m actually less intrigued by the one thing that you did that worked, but the process of trying more and more things to find the thing that would work. Will you tell us a little bit about that?
Justin Goff: Yeah, so kind of what we did when we were starting. So we had probably three or four products when we’re starting, we’re doing a lots of paid email drops, so that’s what was working for us at the time. The offers that we were doing just weren’t hitting the numbers that they needed to hit. We were trying all kinds of different copy and different angles and promoting them in bundles and promoting them solo and just it wasn’t hitting the numbers we needed. I get a lot of direct mail because I’m on a ton of different lists and I kept seeing this direct mail piece for a green supplement.
Now, to give some people some context, there’s millions of green supplements now, this is in 2014, they had not hit the internet really yet, I think Athletic Greens was maybe the only one that was really around. But there was one working in direct mail that kept getting over and over and over again, anytime I ordered something or signed up to a new list, I got this thing in the mail, it’s obviously working because they just keep sending this thing nonstop.
And I really liked the angle on it, I was like, “Well, let’s make a similar product to this, except let’s find a better hook for our audience.” Which our audience at the time was pretty much these 65-80-year-old kind of conservative health market. So people who are reading Glenn Beck’s email list and Newsmax and stuff like that was kind of our market. I was like, let’s figure out a little angle that we can do to really appeal to them.
And one of the things that was really interesting is I’m a big watcher of what’s working and what’s working for other offers. There was an offer, I think around that time, that Newsmax put out that was called the Biblical Money Code. It was one of the first ones to really tap into the fact that that audience is super, super religious. And if you could tie this way to make money in what the Bible people buy it. And that offer was just like a huge smash hit.
So I kind of thought of it would just from the perspective of the people buying it, I’m like what’s the angle that nobody’s really hit on with them yet. It was a really popular offer at that time as well that dove into Ronald Reagan and tied in Alzheimer’s disease and all kinds of stuff. It was a health promotion and that one did really well too. So I’m like, all right, they’re hitting on these popular topics that your average 65-year-old conservative person is really kind of passionate about, what’s the thing that’s not really being said. And I was like, “Nobody’s really talking about the military.” And they have such a huge affinity for the military that I feel like if the military was using some type of product they would just buy it because they have such a love for the military.
So that was kind of the idea that came to my head when I first thought of it. And so we created this Greens powder and the first thing we did was we shipped a whole container of it to my cousin who was in the coast guard at the time. And I was like, “Here, have everybody in your unit try this, we want to get some feedback from you.”
And I can’t remember how many guys, it was, I don’t know, 20 or so and they all try to send us a bunch of feedback. And the one guy who was one of the older guys in their unit, because obviously, the military is most of the young dudes, there was one guy who was pretty old. I can remember exactly what it was, but he was one of the older guys in the unit. And he mentioned it as feedback that he was keeping up with the younger guys for the first time in a while. He’s like, “I got more energy. My PT tests are doing a lot better.” And he was like, “I’m actually keeping up with and kind of beating the younger guys.”
And I remember when I read that, I was just kind of light bulb moment. I was, “Oh, that’s the hook.” This kind of secret greens drink that elite military units are using, older guys in elite military units are using to keep up with the younger guys in the unit. And it was just that one little nugget that kind of spurred the whole thing where, and I wrote the whole sales page with a lot of emotional stories about that, the emails were about that. And the first time we promoted it, actually, the first email I created and promoted did not do well. We tried it on a couple lists, did not do well. And then the next one we did, absolutely hit a home run where I think we spent like $3,000 on the email buy and we brought back $15,000 on day one.
And I remember looking at the stats, I was like, “Something’s got to be broken. This just doesn’t happen.” And then the next day we had another email buy go out where that was for $4,000. And that brought back $18,000. And I remember just thinking, “Holy (beep), we absolutely hit a home run here.” And that was kind of the thing though, that started off because we had a really good hook. It was super unique. Greens powder are everywhere now, but 2014 it was a new idea and a new product, especially to that market.
And yeah, I think just, we ramped it up from, like I said, we’re doing about a million in sales with that company and then the next year we did close to seven and then the year after that we did a really big leap up to about 23 million.
Kira: Wow, okay. So talking about the unique hook for offers and you walked through some of the process with that example, but when you’re working for clients and looking at their offers and thinking about hooks for them, and then for your other offers, is there a certain process that we could follow as copywriters for our own offers or for our client’s offers?
Justin Goff: I mean, to me the biggest thing is really truly knowing the market. So you have to know the market and you have to know the people in that market. It’s probably the biggest mistake I see copywriters make is because they’ll come up with an idea and if I’m someone who’s studied a lot of stuff in that market, I can see very quickly this is an idea that’s already been seen or not. I don’t know, if you come up with something for a turmeric product and you’re telling the story about why people in India have less brain damage because they eat all kinds of curcumin. I’ve seen that four times already, I’ve seen it over and over and over again. So, it’s not going to stick out, it’s not a unique angle.
The unique story, the unique affinity that really appeals to who the customer is, is the first thing I really think of. And you can kind of reverse engineer it. So with Patriot Power Greens one, that wasn’t a hook that was embedded within the product. Or if you were doing research on the product, you weren’t going to find that, it was one, I actually just created, because I knew it would probably work for that market, but that’s really the power of understanding your market because if you truly know what they want, what they hate and stuff like that, all the emotional stuff around that, you can kind of come up with your own hook and your own story and then do it that way instead of having to find one within the research.
Kira: Let’s talk a bit more about this whole idea of the big idea. We’ve talked about it before with Joe Schriefer way back on episode 70, as well as with others, but it’s probably worth taking a moment to point out what exactly makes a big idea. Rob, what do you think makes a big idea?
Rob: I knew you were going to ask me this. So this is something that we actually covered in a newsletter that went out to the underground this last month and talked all about the big idea. And we actually outlined, I think 13 different things that go into it. And depending on who you asked, it really depends. So if you were to ask David Ogilvy, he would say that there were five things went into a big idea. I think Todd Brown has a list of seven or eight. Our list went to 13 just because we were able to build on some of the things that they suggested. But I would say a big idea has got to be unique and that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s completely different from everything else that’s out there, but it’s something that your prospect has not ever seen before or encountered before.
It’s got to be fascinating enough to hold your attention because you’re really competing against everything, not just other sales pieces or advertisements or content, but you’re competing against people watching Netflix, you’re competing against people going to the baseball game, when we can’t go anywhere, sitting at home with a glass of wine or doing nothing. So you’re competing against all of those things.
And another thing I’ll point out among the many is that it tells a story and Justin was talking about that, if you can connect with stories, it’s a way that it holds attention, it creates curiosity. It’s a really good way to make sure that your idea is big enough to carry through an entire sales page or even through a campaign that may last for months or years.
Kira: A big idea really is something that hasn’t been seen or done before. And it’s so hard to find that and figure that out. And what really stood out to me, what Justin shared is that you need to know your market well before even coming up with the big idea before writing any copy, you have to understand your market. And I think it’s easy to think that we do. We’ve done a couple of customer interviews, maybe we’ve done our survey for our clients and so we think that we know the market well, but what was really clear to me as he talked through it is that it takes an in-depth, intimate knowledge of your market.
And so when I think of that, I’m like, “Okay, well maybe that’s where most of us struggle because oftentimes if we’re working on a project with a client and it’s only a month long or even two months long we do surface level research and we don’t have that really close understanding and in-depth understanding of the market.” And so what really reminded me of was back in TCC IRL 2018, back in the day, in downtown Manhattan and Chinatown, I remember, one of our mentors, Brian Kurtz stood up and talked about how he thought that the future of copywriting involved working really closely with your clients. I mean, even in-house potentially, but having maybe fewer clients and working with them for longer periods of time and going more in depth with them.
And I don’t remember what your reaction was, but I know at the time my reaction was, no way I want to work with clients for a month and then I want to say, “See you later.” And I don’t want to see them again, even if they’re cool, I’m in and out. I want to do my job. I don’t want to work long-term because that’s why we left our job. That’s what we got out of corporate America or wherever we came from. And so why would I want to work closely with any type of client and have more of an employee role long-term?
But now a couple of years later, it only took me a couple years later to understand what Brian was really saying that in order to come up with these really brilliant big ideas, sometimes it does take maybe even a longer term relationship with clients. And so I am personally looking at my relationship with my copywriting clients in a different way where I’m setting up offers now, where I work with them long-term to have a deeper understanding of their market so that I can come up with better ideas and better hooks because at least for me, I’ve struggled to find them in short periods of time. So I think Brian was right maybe, even though I was definitely adamant that he wasn’t right at the time.
Rob: If Brian’s listening to this, he’ll be smiling right now. Let me add one other thing that I think Justin did really well with his big idea and that is that it connected with his customer’s pain. The pain of this older guy trying to keep up with the younger guy, there’s a pride factor there, but it’s something that’s deeply felt and emotional, and obviously, that big idea had that going for it. And I think a lot of the ideas that we need to come up with for our clients, they need to tap into that pain, that problem that we’re trying to solve and then ultimately our solution will fix for them. And so, again, the idea that Justin had was phenomenal. Okay, so let’s go back to our discussion with Justin and talk about one of the smartest decisions he ever made in his business.
So Justin, one of the things that I think is unique about this story, or at least your experience with Patriot Greens is that you are a partner in the company and a lot of copywriters don’t actually take the opportunity to become a partner, or to partner with somebody who has a product. Will you tell us a little bit about how that came about and ultimately the result is you sold off your partnership, but how did you forge that in the first place?
Justin Goff: Yeah, so I started the company actually with a partner, his name is Brandon Kelly. He’s a really good media buyer who had a lot of success in the survival space and me and him started it. We grew up to that first kind of million. And then after about a year my future partner, Allen Baylor came to me and said he wanted to… he actually wanted to buy the company and he wanted me to come work for him. And I remember laughing and I was really, really put off by the email and I was pretty pissed off. I remember just being like, “(beep) I’m not going to work for you.”
But three days later I remember thinking, I was like, “Why don’t I just partner with Allen?” Because Allen, we had known each other for a couple of years. And I knew he had a lot of success scaling businesses already. I was like, “Well, why don’t I chat with him about being partners?” And so we chatted for a little bit. And he was, “Okay.” He’s like, “Yeah, I think that will work.” We basically worked out an agreement where I forgot our exact percentages. He got a little more of the company than I did since he was fronting a bunch of the money.
But yeah, that’s kind of how it started. And the cool thing there is, and I learned a lot about partnerships through this. So me and Brandon we’re actually not good partners in the sense that neither of us knew anything about operations and growing a company. So I was really good at marketing and copy, Brandon was really good at traffic, which are two skills you need, but you also need someone who’s really damn good at operations, and actually infrastructure and all that kind of stuff, which is what Allen brought to the table and the spades.
Allen had previous success scale on an offer that had done, I think, 300,000 customers in a year. So he knew what the hell he was doing. And he had a real legit infrastructure and a team around him already which we used for those companies. So that was a huge thing for me, just kind of seeing all that goes into scaling, because I’d done this probably three times previously where I’d scale a company to a million buck, two million bucks or something. I would just hit this wall because I had no idea what to do next.
I had no idea how to hire people nor did I actually want to hire anyone. I realized I was just really good at making sales, but I wasn’t actually any good at running a business, but that partnership really allowed me to do that. And it’s something I actually encourage a lot of copywriters to do once you get to a certain level, if you’re really good at writing and copying and creating products and doing the marketing angle, there’s a lot of people out there that you can find who are really good at the other parts that your strengths and your weaknesses will mesh really well together. And that’s probably the best way outside of royalties to really make a lot more money without doing more work.
Kira: Okay, so this is, I mean more of a selfish question because Rob and I are partners. So what advice do you have for business partners to, I mean, you mentioned what you should look for, but once you’re in a partnership, what advice do you have from your experience with Brandon and with Allen to make it work, to make it successful so that you can grow, I mean, grow even close to the point that you made it with $23 million.
Justin Goff: Yeah, so, I mean, a couple of things I look for in partners now would be, the first one is, A, you just have to get along, if you’re on two totally different wavelengths in terms of how you handle problems and issues, I could never work with someone who is texting me at 11 o’clock at night that this needs to be done, and this needs to be done and we’ve got to have this ready by… that’s just not how I work and that would be kind of doomed from the get go.
I also, I would have a really hard time working with anyone who is a control freak and can’t kind of let things go because if you’re the ultimate perfectionist and you have to have control of everything and you can’t give and take on certain things that partnership is never going to work. I mean, I’ve luckily had really good partners for most of my career. My first one with the personal trainer was probably the worst one I had because as that partnership went farther and farther, I kind of realized he had really bad beliefs about money and about selling that he did not want to, he thought having upsells on an offer was scammy and we can’t be doing that and he thought that selling other products to customers once they were on our email list wasn’t appropriate because they already have had all the stuff they needed in the original product, stuff like that, you’re not going to be able to overcome.
Because, I mean, if he has a fundamental belief that selling more products or putting upsells on the offer is bad, that’s an essential part of growing a direct response business. So, I mean, yeah, a couple things to touch on, like I said, really, how I get along, how well you guys can give and take. Another thing I’ve noticed. So Stefan Georgi is my partner now with Copy Accelerator. We actually have a really interesting dynamic because I am much more pessimistic about things and Stefan is very optimistic and it actually works very, very well because Stefan will see the good in everything. And I kind of see the exact opposite and I’m like, “Here’s the nine ways that it could go wrong.”
And it’s actually very eye opening for both of us because he’ll bring up something and I’ll be like, “Well, here, what about this, this and this?” And he’s like, “Oh, I didn’t even think of that.” And I’ll bring up something and he’s like, “Yeah, but last time it made this amount of sales. I think this time we’ll make this, this and this.” And we just look at things completely differently. And I kind of look at it now as I kind of played defense and Stefan kind of plays offense with the business where he’s always come up with bigger ideas to push things forward. And I’m kind of more Mr. Gloom of kind of, “All right, here’s the, like I said, the four or five things that could go wrong with this, let’s address these and try to figure it out and add that in.”
Rob: So you mentioned the bad money mindset that your first partner had. And I think I know enough about you to know that you’ve gone through sort of a transformation when it comes to money mindset yourself. Will you tell us a little bit about that?
Justin Goff: Yeah, so there’s been a lot of work for me. So I grew up in a pretty blue collar, middle class family in Ohio, I grew up in a little town called Sandusky, that’s right outside Cleveland. We’re pretty much a farm town, blue collar. My dad worked in a factory that makes rubber conveyor belting. My mom was a waitress and a preschool teacher for most of my upbringing.
So by the time I was like, I don’t know, 17, 18, I had real ingrained beliefs that rich people are assholes, that money makes you a bad person. I had beliefs that selling was scammy. I mean, all the kind of terrible things that hold you back and making more… I remember when I graduated high school thinking if I could make $50,000, I would be absolutely set. I thought that was so much money because in my little town, if you made $50,000, you were doing really damn well.
And then I kind of got out in the real world and around more successful people and kind of realized that actually it wasn’t reality one bit. And like I said, a lot of the beliefs that my parents had about money really changed when I started hanging around people with money. So the thought that rich people are assholes that changed very quick for me when I was around a bunch of internet marketers and stuff like that who were making really good money. And I realized they were actually way cooler and way more generous than the majority of people that I grew up with who were the ones calling them the assholes. So kind of just being immersed in that environment definitely changed a lot for me.
And then I did a lot of work on it too. Dan Kennedy’s book Wealth Attraction for Entrepreneurs was a huge, huge help to me. He kind of got me out of a lot of the mindsets about selling and making too much money, kind of taking more than your fair share of the pie. Things like that, that really do hold you back because it’s kind of driving around with the emergency brake on your car.
No matter what you’re doing correctly, business-wise or let’s say putting out offers and stuff like that, you can’t really get the full function of it because you’re always sabotaging yourself in all of these kind of sneaky ways. It’s pretty hard to see unless you’re aware of it but once you’re aware of it, it’s kind of eye opening to see how often you’re really screwing yourself over.
Kira: I have lots of questions about money mindset and money. What surprises you the most today about having worked on your money mindset, being in this different mental space and even spending time with people who are at a similar place who are making good money, have you been surprised by anything? Other than what you shared already that a lot of these entrepreneurs you’re hanging out with are actually really good people and generous, what else has surprised you as you’ve reached this different milestone in your business?
Justin Goff: Probably the most interesting thing for me is that your new reality changes very quickly. So when I was starting, I remember the first time I hit six figures thinking that was such a huge deal. I mean, I was making twice the amount of money as my parents and I just couldn’t believe it. Now, I make a lot more than that. If I made $100,000 now, instead of being elated, I’d be pretty pissed off. So I mean, your regards for what’s normal changes very quickly. The other thing that’s really different to me now is just how much more comfortable I am with money now, whereas I was just a lot more tight with it before where I always worried about it, always thinking about it. When you’re kind of scraping by and struggling to make ends meet every month, money is the most important thing in the world.
Because you get a flat tire when you’re broke, it could literally ruin your whole month and you’re not going to be able to pay for it, and then you’re not going to be able to drive anywhere and it’s this huge deal. I get a flat tire now, yeah, it’s an inconvenience but the tow truck guy comes, and fixes it, and I pay him, and that’s that. But when you’re literally living by survival mechanisms on the money you make, it definitely changes things.
So once you do start to have a little more kind of room to breathe, you definitely just get a lot more loose about it, and you’re not so tight, and not so worried about it, which actually helps more money come to you. That was one thing I realized before is that, I was actually a really bad receiver of money and I’ve noticed there’s a lot of people who make a lot of money, they’re really good receivers of money. So I would just do little things to kind of sabotage people giving me money.
So I’ll give you a good example, man, this was probably seven years ago. I had a roommate where she got behind to paying her rent and I was just paying it for her. And then I remember, basically, it got to the point where she owed like $7,000 and she didn’t make very much money. And I remember her trying to pay it to me and I was actually making pretty decent money at the time, and I kind of was just like, “Whatever.” I actually felt bad about taking the money from her, even though she owed her share of the rent and even though that would have been perfectly normal for me to take the money, I was a really bad receiver of money at the time. And a lot of that comes down to self-worth and all kinds of issues that dig pretty deep. But just being a good receiver of money, being open to receiving money when someone wants to give it to you, is one of the things that has really changed for me that’s made a big difference.
Kira: Okay, so for the copywriter who is listening to this conversation and thinks running a million-dollar company sounds impossible and they think you’re a unicorn and this can never happen to them, what advice would you give them outside of? I mean, you’ve shared some advice like getting that book, the Dan Kennedy book, Wealth Attraction For Entrepreneurs, being a better receiver of money, but what else would you say to them or suggest to them?
Justin Goff: Well, I mean, everybody starts somewhere, and you have to be okay with just getting started. So I mean, one of the biggest mistakes, let’s say you’re going from a copywriter to, you want to create your own offers or you want to create your own business, one of the biggest problems you see is people are just taking way too long in the kind of learning, studying, getting started phase. They’ll do that for like two years and then they’re like, “Okay, now I have enough information to know how to do this.” And the reality is, you can read all the books and buy all the courses you want about how to create an offer and start a business, but the thing that’s really going to teach you the most is actually creating your sales page, and running ads to it, and just seeing how it does, because that’s really where you learn the most.
I have a couple of friends right now that are doing this. He asked me for some feedback on kind of getting his offer going and what I thought he should do. And I literally was just like, nothing else matters right now except get your offer up and get it tested. And we’ll just see from there, then we’ll start tweaking and see if we can get it dialed in. It might not work, it might fail and maybe go back to the drawing board with different copy or, a different product, or whatever.
But if you just constantly are in the information gathering mode, thinking like, “I’m not ready yet,” or, “I’ll start once I have this knowledge,” or, “I’ll start once I have this amount of money,” that’s kind of the bad spot to be in because it just is really just straight procrastination, is really what it is because you’re afraid to make mistakes, you’re afraid to kind of put stuff out there and see how it does, which I can totally relate to. I mean, I have the same issues on stuff, not as bad as I used to, but I do have to remind myself it’s all about just getting it out there, and getting it tested, and let’s see what the data says, and then knowing kind of assess from there.
Rob: All we’re talking about money, Justin, maybe we can talk a little bit about pricing or how copywriters can raise their prices. I know you work with a lot of copywriters who probably, chronically, undercharge for what they do. We see this all the time in our group as well. What’s your best advice for copywriters who want to raise the prices but maybe aren’t quite sure how to go about it?
Justin Goff: That’s going to be a three-day…
Rob: Yeah, we could do a workshop about this whole thing, right?
Justin Goff: Yeah, but it kind of ties back to what we were just talking about with… so you can tell someone to just simply raise their prices, but you guys know this as well as I do, there’s a lot more under that that’s at work, there’s all kinds of self-worth, and feeling defective, and feeling like I don’t deserve this, all kinds of stuff like that, that really prevents copywriters from doing it. The one thing I’ve seen though that really does help people get over that is really being around other copywriters who are doing it. So if you’re just starting out and you’re charging, I don’t know, $500 for a sales page, when you start hanging around people that charge $5,000, $10,000, 25,000, it truly does change what you think is possible and you start to see how much you’re really underpricing yourself.
So to me, it’s wherever you can find that group, whether it’s a Facebook group, whether it’s at an event, whatever it is, seeing the real-world examples over and over of copywriters who are actually charging what they’re worth, I think is one of the best things you can do. We see it all the time. Like at our last Copy Accelerator event in Vegas that you guys were at, there was a couple of newer copywriters there who mentioned that to me where they said their minds were just shattered about what was possible with copywriting, because they thought maybe I could make three grand a month or four grand a month doing this. And then they’ve talked to multiple people there that are making 20 grand a month, 30 grand a month. And they said just what they thought was possible with copywriting was just absolutely blown away. But that’s really the power of kind of being immersed in that and being around the people that are actually doing it at the level that you want to do it at.
Rob: So yeah, while we’re talking about getting around other people, I know that you’re a big believer in masterminds. You guys, you and Stefan, have your own mastermind. You and I met at Brian Kurtz’s mastermind. Aside from just being exposed to what other people are doing, why do you continue to invest in masterminds and even run your own?
Justin Goff: So mine, usually multiple things, A, it’s connections, B, it’s learning new kind of tactical things, and then, C, it really is kind of the mindset type stuff where I remember the first time I was around, there’s a guy, Jeff Siegel who runs a program that was called The Diet Solution back in the day, I don’t know what they call it now. I remember going to one of the first Traffic & Conversion Summits which was in Austin back in the day, and I met Jeff, and this was at a time where I think I was, maybe, I don’t know, maybe making like 30, 40 grand a year as a copywriter or something like that, and I met Jeff and they were running The Diet Solution Program.
I remember him mentioning something about, they were doing $20,000 a day in sales and my mind was just absolutely shattered, I could not believe it. And now, I look back and I’m like, “Oh.” When Patriot Health Alliance was kicking full steam, we were doing $75,000 a day, and it just kind of blew past this 20,000 that I thought was so insane.
So, I mean, yeah, that’s probably the big thing I would say, being around the people, that push. I’m at a spot too with a lot of my businesses where literally I could be at a mastermind, I don’t know, two or three times a year, and if I just get one idea out of it, it makes it worth it for the whole year. So yeah, I mean, I’m a big fan of learning from people that are smarter than me, learning from people that are smarter than me in very niche disciplines. I’m really good at copying, putting offers together on cold traffic and I’m good at email. I’m not terrible at webinars, but I know nothing about webinars. So getting to learn from someone about webinars is a huge perk for me. So yeah, for me, it’s really just this constant learning because if you ever get to the point where you kind of think everything, that’s actually really a bad spot to be in because you’re either being naïve or you’re just really kind of being closed off to the fact that you’d still be learning more.
Kira: We’ve talked a lot about offers, and the hook, and your offer that turned into your business, so do you feel like copywriters should consider creating their own offers? Do you feel like that’s a good path for half of copywriters or all copywriters to consider that maybe a lot of us aren’t considering right now?
Justin Goff: Yeah, so, I think it really depends on the copywriter. So I tend to put copywriters in two categories. There’s a lot of copywriters I know who are just very happy and content simply writing copy for clients, they’re not entrepreneurs at heart, they really have no interest in running a business, and they’re happy if they can make whatever, 100 grand a year, 200 grand a year, 300 grand, whatever it is, writing copy, working with clients, kind of choosing their own hours and they’re perfectly happy with that. Other copywriters are kind of on the other spectrum which I would consider myself one of those, Stefan’s one of those, where we’re more entrepreneurial at heart. So I’m sure the person who hired Stefan back in 2014 and he’s just like cranking out winning copy after winning copy probably saw very quickly that this is not a guy who I’m going to be able to hold onto for four years and have him keep writing copy for me, he’s going to leave at some point.
And I think a lot of copywriters who are like that, who are just very entrepreneurial at heart, you’re just not going to be happy writing copy for someone else for the rest of your life. At some point, you’re going to be like, “Okay, I want to put on my on offer, I want to see if I can do my own thing.” And if you’re that type of person, 100%, you should definitely try it. Even if it’s on, like I said, a super small scale where you just put something up on ClickFunnels, and you get your upsells up, and you create the product and you just test, I don’t know, 300 bucks with traffic on Facebook. And I think the entrepreneurial-driven copywriters, if they don’t get to scratch that itch, they’re going to be pretty disappointed.
Rob: We’re going to break in one more time to share a couple of more thoughts. And one of the things that really sticks out to me here is this idea of creating your own offers. It’s something that Kira and I have done in The Copywriter Club and it’s something that I think that more copywriters need to have on their radars. And when I say this, one of the things that we see a lot of copywriters doing with their products is they think, “Okay, I’m a copywriter, I’m going to take my copywriter things and sell to other copywriters.” And that is certainly a viable business, we obviously do that with The Copywriter Club. But one place where I see more people succeeding is when they take that copywriting knowledge and they apply it into a niche.
So for instance, who was on the podcast, I can’t remember the number now, so we’ll have to look it up, but he has a product that he’s created that sells email templates to people in the roofing industry and he makes a lot of money doing that. And it’s to an audience that he’s not competing with a lot of other copywriters in that space. And a lot of roofers aren’t thinking, “Oh, I’m going to sell my copywriting templates to my competition here.” So it’s a way where you can take your knowledge, and apply it in a niche, and be almost competition free.
And so, if you’re listening to this and thinking, “Okay, I’m going to come up with my own product,” I would challenge you to think, okay, what can you do with the knowledge that you have, with the templates that you have, with the experience that you have, and what can you build to apply that into a niche that’s maybe outside of this small marketing copywriting space that allows you to really own the space and have an offer that nobody else is going to be competing with.
Kira: I think what really resonated, maybe even the most, for me, in the interview was hearing Justin talk about partnerships and probably resonated because you and I are in a business partnership. So I paid close attention and have lots of questions for Justin in that section. But I do think that Justin’s level of humility, and sharing what his strengths are, and even just flat out telling us, “I know I’m good at sales, but I am not great at running a business.”
And I think the important thing for any type of partnership, whether it’s 50-50 in a business, or it’s co-hosting a podcast, or it’s running a webinar together, whatever you can do in that collaboration and partnership with another business person, it’s important to have that humility to know what your weaknesses are and what your strengths are. And so I think it just kind of goes back to how important that is in business, to not be afraid of your weaknesses, and I think that’s just really important for our humanity, and then also in business, to have that level of awareness.
And clearly, it’s paid off for Justin with a couple of the partnerships he talked about and his current partnership with Stefan that is really solid, and financially rewarding, and rewarding in multiple ways. But it started with that awareness of like, “Here’s what I’m good at, here’s what I’m not good at. Here’s what I’ll tolerate, here’s what I won’t tolerate.” And so, for anyone listening who’s interested in a partnership, it might be definitely worth running through that and having that awareness before you start that conversation with anybody.
Rob: Yeah, when he talked about the offense defense frame for a partnership, that makes a lot of sense because if you are able to partner up with somebody who can do the things that you’re not good at, who can watch the bottom line if you’re a spender, or who can think more creatively if you’re more into operations and execution, or however those things need to line up it can be really helpful. You don’t want somebody who’s a mirror image of yourself, even though that might be a fun person to sit around with and talk to, maybe not the best person to go into business with.
Kira: Right, and then he talked about an optimist versus a pessimist in a partnership. And I was trying to think there, I was like, “I wonder between the two of us, who is the optimist and who is the pessimist?” I think I know.
Rob: I think I’m an optimist, but I also think you’re pretty optimistic and forward-thinking, so maybe we don’t have enough pessimism in our business.
Kira: We need to bring on a third partner. Okay, so before we jump right back into the interview, let’s just wrap up and talk about the two types of copywriters that Justin shared with us. It’s something that we haven’t talked about in depth on the podcast. And this might not be the right wording, but the first category are copywriters who are really happy to write copy for their clients, and to grow the services side of their business, and maybe hit six figures, maybe grow to a couple 100K, and run a business and provide that copy for their clients, and that’s great. And then there’s this other category of copywriters who have more of the entrepreneurial itch and yes, they’re writing copy for clients and it’s part of what they do, but they’re also really excited about creating other products, and scaling their business, and tapping more into that entrepreneurial spirit that they have.
And so, he grouped all copywriters into one category or the other, which I thought was really interesting. And part of it too, is just a reminder that if you’re in one category or the other, there’s not a right or wrong. And I think what I’ve seen with a lot of copywriters in our community is it’s almost like they beat themselves up because they’re in one category and not the other. So I think part of it’s just understanding that it’s okay if you’re on more the entrepreneurial side to have that awareness that that will affect the type of business model that you build, and the type of growth strategies, and the types of what you’re focused on, and your vision.
And then, if you’re more focused on the copywriting, and providing a service for your clients and staying more lean, and not really tapping into that entrepreneurial side of the business, that’s also okay. And it’s great to think about how you can challenge and grow in that dynamic without forcing yourself to try to fit into someone else’s business model. And so, I think he just said it really elegantly and we can all just kind of, again, just have that awareness of maybe where we fit in, and that it’s okay, and that it could actually help us figure out how best to grow based on that knowledge.
Rob: Yeah, I think it’s smart to think about those two categories. Although, I have to say, I have a really hard time fitting myself into one or the other because I really like the idea of helping other people grow their businesses, I like solving those creative challenges in the marketing strategy side and at the same time, I want to build my own business in some ways. I remember Sam woods, our friend, tell us one time that he thinks of himself as being entrepreneurial but not necessarily an entrepreneur, not necessarily wanting to take on all of the risks of starting a business or whatever, but that he thinks as a business starter would think when it comes to marketing strategy and I kind of think of myself the same way. And so, even though I know that there’s these two groups, I kind of want to fit into both, I want to sort of stand between them and have a foot in each camp.
Kira: Yeah, and I mean, there’s a lot of gray area in there. And I think just understanding In there and I think just understanding those two, maybe it’s a spectrum and understanding maybe where you are on that spectrum of how far you lean into the entrepreneurial space because there definitely are extremes there. I think what we’re doing with The Copywriter Club and then also growing our own copywriting businesses and having those services probably is somewhere in the middle too. But I know there were times where I felt like, “Oh, if I’m building my own business with The Copywriter Club, then I’m not copywriter enough because I don’t have dozens of copywriting clients.” And it’s just not the case, it just depends on where you are in your business journey and what you’re focused on at the time. Okay, let’s go back and wrap up the interview, starting with a question about how Justin keeps people so engaged with email.
Rob: We had Stefan on the podcast a couple of months ago and I asked him a similar question because you too do something very similar with your email list and that is you can’t just join your list, you’ve got to actually apply and be accepted. Can you talk a little bit about why you do that and what that’s allowed you to do in your business.
Justin Goff: Sure, by the way, Stefan stole that from me.
Rob: I was wondering who did it first? I think it’s a fantastic idea, but yeah, I didn’t know who originated it.
Justin Goff: Yeah, so, it honestly didn’t even start as a marketing angle, so basically after I sold my company in 2017, I took about a year off, I did not do anything, I didn’t work, I just basically traveled and kind of decompressed and got out of my workaholic mode which was really nice. And then sometime in early 2018, I had always kind of wanted to write about marketing and copy because I’m such a copy nerd and marketing nerd. And I was going to start writing a blog about it and I was like, “Nobody really kind of reads blogs anymore.” So I emailed probably 150 of my friends who were all offer owners and copywriters and stuff. And I was like, “Hey, I think I’m going to start an email list and I’m going to talk about marketing and copy every single day, if you want to be on the list just reply yes to this I’ll put you on it.”
So I sent that out, I think everyone I sent to said, yeah, they want to be on the list. So the email list started super small, I think it was 150 people when I started and then everything I would write a lot of people, if they were the business owner there’d be forwarded onto their copywriters and some of their immediate buyers and stuff like that. And then a lot of those people would start responding to the emails. They’d be like, “Hey, how can I join this list?”
And honestly, I had no way to join it and then I decided, I was like, “Well, why don’t I make it a little more exclusive?” Because I actually want to interact with people on the email list so if people respond and stuff, I actually respond back. And the only way I saw being able to do that though, was if I actually filtered who’s on the list because I’m like, “I don’t want to spend a bunch of time responding to people who don’t really understand this and who have no clue about marketing and copy and who aren’t going to take it seriously.”
So yeah, that was kind of the idea behind it. It was literally just a way to get people on the list who I actually want on the list. And I’m kind of a big fan of that having a small but loyal following, especially in a space like ours, where you can do high ticket stuff, you don’t need an email list of 100,000 people, my email list is literally 2000 people which is pretty damn small but it’s also 2000 people that, I don’t know, maybe 75% of them are the exact target market I want to be talking to. It’s high-end direct response business owners, it’s good freelance copywriters, that’s exactly who I want to talk to. And if I can have a list of 2000 people that are the exact people I want to talk to, I mean, that’s way better than having 100,000 kind of random leads.
Kira: Okay, I want to ask you about Tinder because I saw on your website that you’ve learned marketing lessons from Tinder and it caught my attention. So can you talk to us about that?
Justin Goff: So my buddy Joe, who’s a little younger than me was telling me he was going on all these Tinder dates during the quarantine. And I remember being kind of shocked, I was surprised, I was like, “People are actually still doing that?” I just kind of assumed Tinder would take a backseat. And he’s like, “Oh no.” And I asked him, I was like, “Do you have to message them and kind of prepare them for the… I’m assuming you have to address the elephant in the room that we’re not really supposed to be going anywhere.” And he’s like, “No, that hasn’t come up at all.” And I’m like, “Really?” He’s like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “Well, how many of these have you gone on?” He’s like, “I don’t know, four or five.” I was like, “That’s never come up.” He’s like, “It just kind of it was before the whole quarantine is I’ll pick them up or they’ll come over or whatever.”
I remember just being shocked. And I wrote in my email, I was like, “Well, this is kind of a good reminder, that kind of goes on in marketing that what you think and what your customer things are not always the same.” Because from my perspective there’s no way in hell I’d go over to somebody’s house like a month ago, especially some random person I didn’t even know, yet it was happening left and right according to Joe. So yeah, I thought that was a really good example of the great marketing lesson that you are not your customer and just because you would act a certain way doesn’t mean that everybody else is going to act that way.
Kira: Justin, can you talk to us about where you spend most of your time today? Because you’ve mentioned the accelerator was Stefan and then your business that you’ve sold, that’s out of the picture maybe and then your copywriting work. How do you do it all and what does a typical day look like, as much as you can have a typical day?
Justin Goff: Sure, so my morning is probably my most productive… not probably it is, my most productive time and it’s kind of the time I guard, I don’t know, like a Rottweiler. Basically, from about 7:30 in the morning until about 10:00 AM, I write my email to my list which is my most important thing I can do each day. And then I’ll do one other big task, which is either writing copy or something with lead gen or basically something around one of those two things. Like I said, I guard that time because I’ve realized from experience from just trial and error that’s my most productive time. I know I’m really bad actually in the afternoon so anywhere from noon until three in the afternoon is actually when I usually I do calls, I’ll do podcasts like this, I’ll go run errands, I’ll go to the park, I’ll work out, stuff like that.
I’ve realized my focus in the afternoon is not as good. So I try to get about 80% of the big kind of needle mover things that I have to do for the day, try and get those done in the morning. But yeah, most of my stuff right now is very Copy Accelerator focused. I have a couple of new products coming out later this year that I can’t quite reveal yet but those are in the works, but yeah, I mean, really it’s a focus on Copy Accelerator helping our members and then really just trying to move the needle forward on growing my list and kind of getting my name and my brand out there.
Rob: Yeah, speaking of getting your name out there, when I met you in person, I noticed you were wearing a blue suit and white shirt and we saw you at your event in Las Vegas and you showed up in a blue suit, white shirt, and most people don’t dress up for events these days. First of all, how many suits do you own? And second of all, why? Why do you show up in a suit when you’re out in public?
Kira: The blue suit, yeah and not just any suit, it’s the blue suit.
Justin Goff: The blue suit, I probably own, I don’t know, eight suits at this point, three of which are blue. So interestingly, this is actually really funny because everybody kind of knows me as the guy who wears suits and blazers now. Maybe, I don’t know, I would say five years ago, I was probably one of the slobbiest looking people you would have ever seen at an event. I was the dude at events who wore the same clothes I wear to the gym.
Kira: I can’t imagine, I can’t believe this, I can’t believe it.
Justin Goff: Yeah, it was really, really bad. So basically, I would wear gym shorts and I might get in a shirt that I’d worked out in for six years and I would wear them to events because I was like, “Oh yeah, this what you do? You’re an internet marketer, you got the freedom, you can work wherever you want.” It took me a couple of years and then I remember it was probably sometime in 2016, ’17, I actually kind of got into fashion and style. I actually had two friends of mine, they were fashion designers when I lived in Ohio and I remember I invited them over to kind of go through my closet, my wardrobe and pick out stuff for me. And they taught me everything about colors and layering and how to wear clothes. And I realized that I dressed terribly and all of a sudden I started dressing a lot better, but then for the business thing, it’s interesting because I was obviously always younger.
I started in this business when I was probably like 22 which it’s kind of hard to get people to take you seriously when you’re that young. And I noticed when I started dressing better, that changed dramatically. And I also heard a story from Dan Kennedy that actually did the same thing for me. So basically, Dan was telling this story about when he used to speak from the stage, he would actually split test his outfits to see which ones would help him sell better. And one of the things he would split testing was whether he should wear a tie or whether they should not wear a tie. And he basically said after split testing it three times, he consistently sold 15% less when he did not wear a tie.
And I remember that being like a big light bulb moment for me, I’m like, “Wow if tie versus no tie makes that big of a difference, what the hell is the difference between me wearing gym shorts versus me wearing a suit and a blazer.” So that was one of the big things that really changed my mind on dressing up at events. And it’s actually one of the things I’d tell a lot of copywriters is that one of the best ways to be taken seriously at an event is by being pretty well dressed.
This is not a big issue for women because women are not idiots like men and women would not show up to an event wearing the same shit they wear to a gym. Men are idiots, we don’t think the same way. But yeah, a lot of guys I’ll tell them, it’s not that hard, get a cheap blazer, wear a tee-shirt or a dress shirt under it and when you’re talking to a business owner as a copywriter, they instantly take you way more seriously than someone else there who’s wearing a tee-shirt with a logo on it.
Kira: Yeah, I have to dress up at events. I just have to, I just feel better when I’m there and I’m dressed professionally and I match the brand and I don’t dress that at home but at events just makes me feel more confident.
Rob: You don’t wear a pink suit around the house Kira, that’s hard to believe.
Justin Goff: Yeah, you’re quite the fashionista Kira.
Kira: The pink suit only comes out at special events. So my last question for you, Justin, is we’ve asked this before, but what does the future of copywriting look like to you?
Justin Goff: Ooh, so I mean the big thing I see is copywriters moving a little more in the direction of not just being a copywriter but also being a conversion specialist because even a lot of really good copywriters who kind of grew up in the direct mail era and are just great at writing copy. A lot of them really don’t understand a lot of this stuff online in terms of conversions. So they don’t understand upsells and checkout pages and how to increase the average order value and stuff like that. And that to me really is where, if you’re a copywriter, you can not only get big wins for clients but you can make a lot more money and really differentiate yourself from everyone else.
Because that’s what provides the ROI for the client. I mean, if you can boost their average order value by 10 bucks, they’re going to love you. And I mean, you really kind of separate yourself because, like I said, a lot of copywriters can’t do it and I’m even including a lot of the really damn good copywriters. What they know is a copy, they know how to write a sales page and they know how to write a video sales letter, whatever, but they don’t really understand all of the kind of conversion stuff that goes into truly scaling an offer. And that’s a big area where if you got to immerse yourself in that you can make a lot of money being able to do that for companies.
Rob: There was a lot of good stuff in this episode and we may need to do a follow-up episode just to cover what we didn’t get to as far as upsells and scaling offers, that’s stuff that Justin has spoken to our round table group about in the past and it’s one of his superpowers. And so at some point, we may have to have Justin back on it to talk about that because a lot of copywriters don’t think about scaling and upsells. So Kira, was there anything else that stood out to you from this interview with Justin?
Kira: Yeah, there was, thanks for asking Rob. One part of it was that he mentioned the most important thing that he does every day is writing to his list and he does it in the morning because that’s his best writing time. And it really grabbed me when I heard it because it’s so easy for us as copywriters to get confused about what the most important thing is that we do and to oftentimes put our client’s needs ahead of our own business needs. And so what I liked about Justin just stating that he was just so clear about this is the most important thing for me to do therefore I prioritize it, therefore I think about my optimal creative time and I make it happen and he does it every day which is unbelievable that he does it every day.
We’re struggling to get emails out once a week. So I think it’s a mindset shift and if that’s something that you’re struggling with, then it might be worth focusing on how you can do the most important thing for your business during that peak time, maybe it’s not in the morning, maybe it’s in the evening. But just having that level of commitment that Justin has, that seems like it’s quite important.
Rob: Yeah, and it might not be email depending on what the thing is. So yeah, when I heard Justin say that and like, “Oh, I should be emailing more or we should be communicating with our lists.” And I suppose we’ve had other priorities but it’s maybe something that I need to re-prioritize and think, “Okay, what can we do to make sure that everybody who has opted into hearing from us gets really good quality information when they need it and it’s relevant to what they’re doing.”
Kira: Yeah, and I would just say probably most copywriters, including myself, we don’t know what that most important thing is that we should be committed to everyday and it may change and it’s just not clear. So I need to give that some more thought too. And I love that we’re able to talk a little bit about style and fashion and Justin’s blue suit, I’m glad we squeezed that into the conversation because that is also relevant. And I just loved that he opened up about it and was able to talk about the impact dressing for the occasion and dressing up has played in his business. And I do think that is something that really is important, especially when you go to in-person events that you dress for your brand to match your brand and it’s intentional and that it does play a big role in the way that people perceive you and it makes an impact and Justin proved it.
Now that we’re in a virtual space, there are ways to also focus on that in your virtual backdrop. And I know our friend, Tamara Glick has created a masterclass all about work from home because she helps different service providers create a backdrop that is professional, and impressive and helps actually elevate the business. And so, it’s interesting that now it is so focused on virtual and it’s still important, whether it’s in-person or virtual to have that attention to detail and that it can affect your business.
Rob: Yeah, it is really interesting that people get so energized about this. People who want to work in their pajamas or sweats, they don’t want to have to shower until the end of the day or whatever, but the fact remains that if you’re meeting with clients, in particular, it makes a difference and it can even make a difference in your own approach to work if you’re somewhat dressed up, dressing professionally approaching work like work and not a hobby and maybe we can talk about that more in a future episode as well.
Kira: I think we should.
Rob: Yeah, let’s do it. So thanks to Justin Goff for sharing the last hour with us if you’re not on Justin’s email list, you really should be. He sends out, like we’ve talked about, very engaging emails every single day but you’ve got to apply to get on his list. So go to justin123.com and fill out the application and hopefully Justin will click yes when you hit apply. And even if you don’t decide to join his list, the application to join an email list is just a cool marketing tactic that helps keep people engaged with him. So you might even just want to check that out as a marketing tactic and something that you can borrow for a client somewhere else. You can also find Justin at justingoff.com. That’s G-O-F-F, justingoff.com.
Kira: And that’s the end of another show. Our intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter, David Muntner. You can learn more about programs like the Copywriter Underground and the Copywriter Think Tank, that’s our mastermind group for copywriters who are building six-figure businesses by visiting thecopywriterclub.com. And if you haven’t already, would you open up Apple Podcast and leave a review of the show? Reviews help us get the word out and let us know that you appreciate the in-depth information our guests share every week on the show. Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next week (singing).