When it comes to creating the belief that you can deliver what your clients need, or that the products and services you write about will deliver a real transformation, nothing works better than a good demonstration. Our guest for episode 217 of The Copywriter Club Podcast is film maker and story teller, Jude Charles, who loves to talk about his formula for demonstrating proof. We covered a lot of ground in this interview, including…
• how Jude became a brand strategist and story teller
• why he wrote 11 “books” about his future life and whether he got it right
• using 10 year blocks to figure out where he is going
• the teacher who gave him a set of business cards and kicked off his career
• how he struggled to earn a few thousand dollars and the moment he almost gave up
• the difference between perspective and vision (and getting the right lens)
• figuring out the marketing and sales process to land better clients
• what copywriters should do to help clients understand what they can deliver
• what we all wanted to be when we “grew up”
• why sales and marketing doesn’t end when a client hires you
• what Jude covers in his roadmapping sessions—the stories he’s looking for
• how Jude uncovers the hidden stories his clients should be telling
• the differences between telling stories in copy and video
• coaching clients to understand that what they share is actually interesting
• why strategy is such an important part of what copywriters do
• why a film maker came to our event TCCIRL, then wore a cape the following year
• what it takes to raise your prices from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars
• the confidence folder—and how Jude uses it to boost his performance
• the moments in his life that led to big leaps in mindset and success
As usual, this episode is definitely worth a listen. Scroll down to find the play button… and a little farther to find a full transcript of the interview. But what you really should do is subscribe on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode.
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
The Promo Jude Made for Us
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Kira: David Ogilvy once wrote that visual demonstrations are effective because they help visualize your promise. They save time since you don’t have to talk about what your product does, you can simply show it, and they are also memorable. But too many copywriters miss the chance to demonstrate the impact of their products and services, or their client’s products. Our guest for the 217th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast is Jude Charles. Jude is a brand strategist, storyteller, and filmmaker who’s passionate about the power of demonstrations and visual proof.
Rob: But before we dive into the demonstrations and proof, this episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Underground. That’s the membership community designed to help you create a more successful copywriting business. As a member, you have access to more than 60 hours of insightful training, group coaching calls, copy teardowns and reviews, weekly creative exercises, and our exclusive print newsletter mailed directly to your home. Go to thecopywriterunderground.com to learn more.
Kira: This is actually our second interview with Jude, the first one was lost when we had a technical glitch. So, we’re thankful that Jude came back at all to answer our questions all over again. And with that, let’s jump in. All right, so, Jude, let’s start with your story. How did you end up as a brand strategist, storyteller, and filmmaker?
Jude Charles: So, I have always been interested in storytelling. From a very young age, eight years old, I wasn’t the kid that would be outside playing basketball or football, even inside the house, I wasn’t the kid that played video games. Instead, I would lock myself in a room after school and I would write. And what I was writing was these 100 page books of what I thought my future life would look like. So, I wrote books like The Police Life of Jude Charles, because growing up, I wanted to be a police officer, and The Baseball Life of Jude Charles. But in all, I wrote 11 books.
Kira: Oh my God.
Rob: So, more details here, what was The Police Life of Jude Charles like? Then, how developed were these stories?
Jude Charles: These stories were pretty developed because I was thinking 20 years into the future, so even though I was writing it as an eight-year-old child, I was writing it as if I was 28.
Rob: I love this.
Jude Charles: So, for me, it was just like, what could my future life look like? If I became a police officer, if I became a baseball player, what would that look like? And so, I wrote 11 books. And then, I got into high school, and in high school, I took a TV production class. And the teacher, Mrs. Donnelly, she taught me everything that she knew about video production. And then, at the end of the school year, she looks at me, she says, “Judy, you’re really, really talented at this, you should start a business.”
Now, I’m the last of 10 children, no one in my family are entrepreneurs. My dad was a construction worker, my mom worked at a chair factory. And so, being an entrepreneur, I had no idea what that meant. But by the following day, May 5, 2006, I’ll never forget it, she comes into the classroom with a yellow envelope, she hands me the yellow envelope, and I’m like, “What is this?” She’s like, “Look inside.” And when I opened up the yellow envelope, inside of the yellow envelope was my first set of business cards. And that’s literally how I got started as an entrepreneur, as a filmmaker at 17 years old, starting a business.
Kira: Wow. Okay. Just a couple of questions about the 11 books that you wrote, over how many years? You started writing these books when you were eight, did you finish all 11 in a year, or a month, or was it spread out?
Jude Charles: It was from the age of eight till about 12 years old, I wrote consistently throughout those years. There are 11 books, but some of them were volume one, volume two. There was a book I had called From Boyhood to Manhood, and this was a story about me growing up with my best friends, who I’m actually still friends with to this day, and that had three different volumes. I think The Police Life of Jude Charles maybe had two. So, it was just repeated books, but different volumes of what I felt like the future would look like.
Kira: Did you write one where you became a filmmaker?
Jude Charles: I did not. I wrote one where… I think From Boyhood to Manhood, I ended up running a security firm. Obviously, The Police Life of Jude Charles, I became the sheriff. Baseball Life of Jude Charles is based off of the Jackie Robinson stories. So, I think I ended it at a certain point, but none of them were me becoming a filmmaker at all.
Rob: And do you still have the books? Are they in a box in the basement somewhere?
Jude Charles: I do still have the books, I still have all 11 of them. Because I’ve been doing podcasts regularly, I’ve been asked if I still have them, and I actually dig them out and start reading them. So, it’s pretty fascinating to see some of the things that I wrote.
Rob: I think you should throw these up on the Kindle store, and we can all take a look at them.
(laughing) I’ll give that some thought, I’m not sure. It is mind blowing the things that I was writing at that young of an age, but I don’t know that I’m willing to be that vulnerable and just share that entire thing with the world.
Kira: Is there anything else that you predicted at that young age that came true, or maybe surprised you as you’ve looked back?
Jude Charles: There isn’t anything, I think it’s just surprising to see how developed my mind was, and the things that I was saying in the books, that’s what surprised me the most. Other than becoming an entrepreneur that I had predicted, there wasn’t anything else that I had predicted at that age that actually happened.
Rob: So, I love how future centered you were at that age, and I’m curious, now, looking back, do you do the same thing, do you project out? And maybe you’re not writing it out in a book, but are you thinking, this is where Jude Charles is going to be 20 years from now the 48 year old, the 58 year old version of Jude Charles?
Jude Charles: Yeah. So, I like to think in 10 year blocks, and so I do try to think like, what will my life look like 10 years from now? When I first started the business in 2006, I always said I’d give myself 10 years to get to a point where I feel like I’m successful. And if I’m not successful at 10 years, I’ll just call it quits. I don’t want to keep this going if I’m not making any money, and I don’t want to be the music artist that just keeps going even though they haven’t had a hit record or a label sign them. And so, for me, I always think in 10 year marks…
I’m at a point now though, it is very hard to think about what the next 10 years looks like. Obviously, starting a family and getting married, and doing different things like that, but it’s hard to think. Because at some point, I’ve always thought that I would walk away from video production, or walk away from filmmaking, and it’s hard to think what that would look like, what would I do next? Because this is all I’ve ever known for literally, almost 20 years of my life.
Rob: Or you’re going to be a policeman, you’ll be the sheriff.
Jude Charles: I might be a little too old for that by then, but we’ll see.
Rob: Okay. So, going back to your story then, you got the business cards, and then what? What did you do to find clients, to start to create the kinds of videos? I’m sure what you were doing then, and what you’re doing today, but what were the next steps?
Jude Charles: Next steps for me were just literally trying to find clients, and how I found clients at that time was just word of mouth. I was doing, at that time, small little gigs, so it was like birthday parties or weddings. And I say weddings, they were small back then, because I was only getting paid $500 to do a wedding. And over time, I think once I started doing a little bit of that, I also got into the entertainment world. And so, I started shooting behind the scenes of music videos, and behind the scenes of music artists performing either at a arena, or behind the scenes of them performing at a club. And it wasn’t until 2009 that I met a client, her name was Keyshia Dior, and I started working with her, we were filming a documentary series. And this was my dream, to film documentaries.
I’ve always been fascinated by documentaries, and I’ve always been fascinated by just telling real stories. And so, we filmed that project for the first year. She was creating cosmetic business from the ground up, and she just wanted to film everything happening, what she was doing, how she was doing it. And I’ll never forget the day that I woke up at seven o’clock in the morning to the sounds of chains hitting the floor. And this was always a nightmare of mine, because up until this point, I had been in business for five years… 2010, I had been in business for almost five years. And the sound of chains hitting the floor was… When I got up out of bed and ran outside, what it was was a tow truck driver coming to repossess my car for the second time in eight months.
And so, the first five years I really struggled in business, I struggled to make money. And of course, I pleaded with him not to take the car, act like he hadn’t seen the car, just give me another week. Of course, he had a job to do, so he took the car. And I remember coming back inside the house, I was sitting on the edge of my bed, and I was just thinking to myself like, you know what? I’ve given this a good run. I’ve tried it out. I was still very young at the time. I was like, “You know what? Maybe this isn’t meant to be. I’ll call it quits.”
I had been sitting there for about 40 minutes, and in that moment, Keyshia Dior calls me, and she’s like, “Jude, Jude, you won’t believe it, you won’t believe it.” I’m like, “What happened, Keyshia?” She’s like, “I’ve been doing this business for a year now and I just got off the phone with the accountant, and I’ve made a million dollars, we crossed over the seven figure mark.” And I remember thinking in that moment like this… It was very surreal, because here I am, I’m struggling to make money. At that point, I had been struggling to make about $20,000 a year. And I have a client who’s only been in business for a year and she’s made a million dollars. And for me, it was a light bulb moment that, you know what? I don’t need to quit, I don’t need to give it up. I just need to learn how to get better at sales and marketing.
And so, that’s what really created the transition point for me. The first five years, I’d gotten clients and I had gotten small gigs, but I hadn’t really worked on projects that I really wanted to work on, that really fueled me and drove me. And here I am working on this project for the first time, and my client has great success. And it’s like, okay, I have to go back and figure out what worked, why it worked, so that I could recreate it for the next client.
Kira: So, Jude, can you talk a little bit about the differences that you experienced around struggle versus success? So, thinking about the first five years of your business where you struggled, versus 2010, when you had that moment and things changed for you moving towards today where you’re running a successful business, what’s the difference? What are some of the things we could do to go from struggling to success?
Jude Charles: It’s a great question. I think the biggest thing for me at that time was perspective. So, I talk about Keyshia making a million dollars in her business partially, off of a documentary that I had created for her. And at a time where I’m struggling in business, and I’m struggling to make money, I could have been really bitter in that moment, and I could have said, “You know what? It’s unfair.” Because, for context, at the time, I had only gotten paid $3,000 to do part one of her documentary series, whereas she made a million dollars. And so, I could have looked at it as like, I should be getting some of the money, or different things like that. Instead, I looked at it as, you know what? I’ve proved that this works, and if I’ve proved that it worked once, all I have to do is prove that it works the second time.
And so, I think it’s always about perspective. Even as I continue to grow the business, even as I work with high level clients like Stefan Georgi, high level copywriter, it’s all about the perspective, and I think that’s the biggest thing. I always say that there’s a difference between perspective and vision. All of us are born with the ability to see, we’re born with eyes, right? We’re born with the ability to see. But over time… Like right now, I wear glasses. So, if I don’t have on the right set of glasses, I may not be able to see far away.
And I think it’s the same thing in business, as an entrepreneur, that if you don’t have on the right set of lenses, you’re not seeing the right perspective. You’re not able to read what’s happening in front of you, so that you can make the right decision that comes next. And so, that’s been the biggest thing for me, is always just having the right perspective, no matter what level I’m at. As I continue to try to go to the next level, what perspective do I need to have? What mindset Do I need to have in order to get there?
Rob: So, Jude, as you made the shift then from rock bottom, failing, or succeeding in some ways, but not financially, what changes did you make to your business in order to turn it around, so that you’re not just making $3,000, but you’re actually making enough, so that you can afford to pay for the car, or food, or whatever it was? What are the changes that you made in order to turn it around?
Jude Charles: Learning how to run a business was the biggest thing. I think that I was talented and gifted at filmmaking, but I didn’t understand how to charge for what I was creating. So, I had to learn sales and marketing all over again. I went back to the basics. I remember the first course I took to go back to the basics was a course called Earn 1K from Remit Sethi, and it was all about… His thesis was, if you can earn $1,000, then you could just repeat it, but you have to learn how to earn the first $1,000 the right way. And he taught a lot about sales and marketing, and lead generation.
And I wasn’t doing any of those things back then. I didn’t understand why I needed to charge more, that there were clients out there who would pay more money, or even how to… Okay, I have this client that’s had a lot of success, how do I package that up into something that’s a case study that I now take to another client and say, “Hey, well, I did X, Y, Z for this client, this is what I can do for you.” And so, that’s what it was really about, is sales and marketing and understanding how to pitch, how to tell my own story. I wasn’t telling my own story at the time. I wasn’t telling the story of how I was this 17 year old kid who started in video production just because I was talented, or just because the teacher believed in me, I wasn’t telling that story. And so, I had to learn those things.
After taking the course, in the very next project that I pitched, it was with an interior designer, and I remember I was going crazy. It took me a month from the very first time he called me to the time that I actually gave him a proposal or presented the proposal to him, it took me a month to put everything together, just because I was so worried that… One, I was asking for a larger fee, so I was going from $3,000 to $15,000. And two, I was just like, “I have to get this right for him to say yes.” And I wasn’t sure if he would say yes. And so, it took me a whole month. And literally, as I’m doing the presentation, I’m getting ready to reveal the number to him, and I reveal it, and literally, his next words are, “Great, when do we get started?”
And so, it took a lot of just making sure that I understood what I was doing, why it worked. I went back and asked him why he was so comfortable with moving forward, and one of the things was about a storyboard that I had done. I gave him a visual reference of what I would be creating for him. And he was like, when he saw that, he knew I was the right person for the job. So, I had to learn all those things to realize, what is it that’s going to persuade a client to want to say yes to working with me? And then, how do I replicate that? Once I figured out it’s worked, how do I replicate that over and over?
Kira: Could you give some specific tips for how copywriters can do that to get better at sales and marketing, to get the client to say yes? I mean, you gave some examples like case studies, and creating a storyboard to kind of woo your prospect into saying yes, but what else could we do, especially if maybe we have struggled with sales and marketing?
Jude Charles: It’s something that I do now, which is called road mapping, which is asking a lot of questions from your client, so that you understand the project and you understand what it’s going to take to get them results, what it’s going to take to get them to their goal that they want to have. So, that’s the first thing, is asking a lot of questions. I think that’s the simplest thing. And getting good at asking questions. Because sometimes clients will give you surface level answers, and you need to dig deeper, and not being afraid to dig deeper.
The second thing is, yeah, definitely the storyboard, or… I think we as human beings are visual creatures, and even though you’re writing, whether let’s say you’re writing an email sequence for a client, or you’re writing a sales page, I think giving the client a visual reference of, let’s say, hypothetically, a timeline of how things will go, just so that they’re confident that you know what you’re doing. Not so much that you’re confident in your writing skills, but confident that you know what? This is not going to be a project where I have to hold your hand.
What worries clients a lot is not the creative work, of course, they want to succeed, they want to make sure that the work that you give them is going to accomplish their goal. But I think the other thing is just whether or not it’d be a headache to work with you, right? Especially in my industry, video production, the two biggest things is that video producers or filmmakers do not deliver on time, and then the other thing is that, they’re too worried about being creative, that they’re not actually telling the story, or they’re not actually doing what the client needs for them to do.
And so, I think it’s giving your client a visual reference of… The reason that the storyboard was so important to that client was because, by the time that we film, and then I edit, he wouldn’t see any of the work, so he wasn’t sure, or confident that I would actually be filming the right things, or that I would actually be delivering the right thing. And so, seeing that visual storyboard, he was like, “Okay, this guy has got a plan before he’s ever gotten started.” And I think the same thing in copywriting, it’s like, okay, is there an outline? What are you following here? Or, how do I know this is the milestones we’re going to reach?
And then, I think the third thing is just constantly checking in with your client, even as you’re doing the project. I know, especially with us creatives, we like to just get in the zone and do the project, but I think being able to communicate with your client, and talk to them, and reassure them that hey, this is going as planned. Those are the three things that I think… And it doesn’t necessarily sound like sales and marketing, but these are the things… Marketing doesn’t stop once you get the client, marketing continues even as you’re looking to fulfill whatever it is that you’re working on, whether it’s a sales page, whether it’s an email sequence, you’re fulfilling that and that marketing has to continue. You need to reassure your client like, hey, you’re on the right path, you’re doing the right thing to get results.
Rob: So, hearing Jude talk about the stories that he wrote when he was younger, these books that he wrote, they got me thinking, I never wrote any books about what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I definitely had ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now it wasn’t the typical fireman kind of a thing, but it also definitely wasn’t a copywriter. So, Kira, let’s open up our childhoods a little bit, what did you want to be when you grew up? Was it copywriter?
Kira: It was not a copywriter. I wanted to be an artist, I definitely wanted to be a mom, I knew I wanted to have kids. I wanted to be the president at one point, definitely felt empowered by my family. And then, I wanted to create movies and make movies. Yeah, it was kind of a combination of all of it. But copywriter was never on the list.
Rob: Yeah, it wasn’t on my list either. You still want to make movies too, you haven’t given up that dream?
Kira: Yeah. I became a mom, I do not want to be president. I do want to still make movies, and yeah, it’d be fun to have a little bit more art in my life too. What about you? What did you want to do?
Rob: Yeah, so, there were two dreams that I kind of had that I abandoned somewhere along the line. Number one, I wanted to be a brain surgeon.
Rob: I was really taken by the idea of what brains could do, and they’re just so cool. I think that came out of a class that I took in seventh or eighth grade, or whatever, so I was sort of fascinated by that, and I always thought…”Ah, that’d be really cool.” And I suppose in some ways… I’m not anything close to a brain surgeon, but thinking about neural marketing and psychology, maybe it’s related to that interest. And then, the other thing that I wanted to do, is I wanted to go to law school and be a judge, and be appointed to the Supreme Court. So, if you had been president, you could have appointed me to the Supreme Court.
Kira: Yeah, I could have. All our dreams could have come true in one big swoop. That’s really cool. I can’t believe you wanted to be a brain surgeon, that’s intense.
Rob: Yeah, that’s probably why I’m not a brain surgeon now, it’s a little too intense, I don’t know. But yeah, dreams changed, and somehow I got more involved in copywriting along the way. And here I am. And here you are.
Kira: Yeah, the dots all connect, that should all go in your About page. I hope it’s on your About page.
Rob: Yeah, none of that is on my About page right now, but maybe someday. So, what else? What else stood out to you as Jude was talking about his business, this really cool business that he’s built from literally nothing?
Kira: Yeah, I mean, I’m amazed and in awe of him because he started his business at age 17, and that’s just so impressive. I was not even close to capable of starting a business at age 17. I was still playing with dolls, and not even there. So, that just stands out to me. And then, that he’s the youngest of 10, or 11 children, I just love wow factors that are so impressive.
And then, as far as what really resonated with me was what Jude had said about marketing, and marketing to your clients, and that it continues even after you have made the sale, and I think it’s really easy to forget that. Once we sell the client, and we’re working with them, and we kind of move them into a different process, that you can drop the selling and the sales. But you really can’t, and you need to connect with them on a regular basis, to remind them of what they’re working towards, and why they hired you, and where you are on the path, and reassure them, and continue to build their confidence… Help them build the confidence in you and your processes that you don’t just stop.
And so, I think that’s something that a lot of us do, I know I have, and that’s what can actually set a project off track when that communication ends, and you kind of just think as the copywriter, well, they hired me, they know I can do this, they know I’ve got this, I don’t really have to do anything else for the next month other than create the deliverable. But on the opposite end, the client always feels anxious. Even after they’ve paid the deposit, they always feel that anxiety, and so it’s our job to help them through that, and it is part of our job. And so, I think it’s easy for us to say, “Well, that’s not part of what I do.” But it is.
Rob: Yeah, well said. And this isn’t just a copywriter problem, meaning, all businesses sort of struggle with this, the idea that sales ends once the cash register rings, or marketing ends as soon as you have the customer, and that’s not the case at all. Marketing and sales have to happen virtually through the entire customer lifecycle from beginning to end. And hopefully, if you’re doing it right, there isn’t actually an end.
Kira: Yes, yeah, definitely. So, what else stood out to you, Rob?
Rob: So, one other thing that jumped out to me is… I love what Jude does with this road mapping and the development of the process before he goes out to shoot anything, but just using a roadmap to figure out where they’re going on a project. And I know there are copywriters who actually do road mapping sessions as part of either the sales process, or the research process. But just figuring out what the stories are, what the demonstration is going to be, I think is a useful reminder to me that it’s not just about looking at what competitors are doing on their websites, or even necessarily what the customer’s experience is with the product, but there’s often other pieces that need to be brought in from the customer experience, or from the client’s experience to be included in all of this stuff.
Kira: Yeah. And he mentioned that he sold one of his biggest clients early on into this higher project fee because he presented a storyboard. And that concept of a storyboard works really well for what he does as a storyteller, and videographer, but it works well for copywriters, too. Maybe it’s not necessarily a storyboard, but it really is our timeline, it’s a project timeline, being able to show an outline of the project, and the plan, and the map, and then even a framework, or a visual, that can show the path that you’re going to take the client through or on.
Again, it goes back to building that confidence, that they feel like there is a plan in place, you’re not just going to figure it out as you go. And so, that’s something that maybe we don’t create a storyboard in our proposals, or present that, but we can have a really tight timeline, a really tight process step by step, and even a framework visual that might be more conceptual that shows the outcome and what we’re working towards.
Rob: And this is a really powerful tool that copywriters can use, even beginning copywriters. We hear a lot of times that, I can’t talk about what I do, because they don’t have any results. And this is one of those tools that maybe helps overcome that objection from a client. The client really wants to know, can I trust this person? This person I’m about to hire, give money to rewrite my website, or create content for my blog, or whatever the thing is they’re being hired for, and they just want to know, is this person going to be able to deliver?
And when you’re able to show a roadmap, or a framework, or a process, almost step by step what you’re going to do for them, at what point you’re going to be giving them something, at what point they’re going to give you something, what they’re going to get at the end, builds a ton of trust, like you were saying,
Kira: Yes. And the last comment I would add is that Jude asks so many questions, as he was talking through his process, when he does work with clients in the road mapping session during those eight hours. He’s just asking question after question. He’s almost interrogating them and challenging them, too. And he’s almost like, “Hey, I don’t even know if this person is for real. I’m going to question everything about what they’re doing just to figure out what they’re all about.
And so, I just love that idea of being a really great questioner interrogating even our clients, so that we can get the answers we need. Not necessarily the answers that they want to give us, but dig deeper. And I do think that’s what separates maybe great copywriters from mediocre copywriters, or even great salespeople from mediocre salespeople. It’s all about the questions that you ask to show your credibility, and to show your expertise, and to show the way that you are approaching a problem that you’re solving.
Rob: Yeah. And by going in depth as much as Jude does, he’s been able to uncover a lot of things that those topical questionnaires or surveys just can’t get to. We haven’t been through this with him, but I’m guessing that he’s asking the same questions over and over in different ways in order to get to that information that we like to hide, or we don’t necessarily want to show off to somebody that we don’t know. But that’s the meat, that’s the good stuff that helps the stories that he creates for his clients connect with their customers.
Kira: All right, let’s jump back into our interview with Jude and continue our discussion about road mapping and demonstrating proof.
Rob: I’m kind of making some comparisons between what you do as a video producer, as a storyteller, and what a lot of our listeners as copywriters do, in that clients often aren’t looking to hire a copywriter, they’re looking for something like a sales page, or they need the things that the sales page will give them. So, oftentimes, we call ourselves copywriters, but that’s not really connecting with the client’s needs, and I’m wondering, in the video world, how do you sell yourself in a way that connects with your client’s needs? I’m guessing you don’t just say, “Hey, I’m a videographer that you can hire,” but you’re talking more about things like how you help people tell their story, or something else. Talk to us a little bit about that.
Jude Charles: Yeah. So, I focus specifically on storytelling, on persuasion, on my process that I call dramatic demonstration of proof. So, first things first, whenever a client reaches out to me, I make it very clear that I am not a videographer, that I am a storyteller and any project that I work on is going to tell a story. And so, once we’re clear on that, then I move them towards road mapping, which is a paid strategy session that I do with them. And in that strategy session, it’s an eight hour strategy session, and we’re literally mapping out the entire project from beginning to end. And what that does, focusing on storytelling, and then road mapping, is that it completely changes the frame of reference that the client has towards me.
So, at that point, it’s no longer about, oh, we’re going to create a cool video, at that point it’s like, oh, this is a bigger picture. This is more about, how does my brand come to life? Because at least for the clients that I work with, they haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about their brand. It’s there, they’re doing it, but it’s not very intuitive, and it’s not something that they’ve sat down and said, “These are my core values, or these are the stories that I tell, and this is why I tell them.” And so, I focus a lot on that. In that road mapping session, while I’m asking questions, while we’re mapping out the project, I’m also focusing a lot on them telling me stories. So, it’s like, tell me a moment when this happened.
For example, working with Stefan on his project, his documentary series, I had him take me from basically where he was born, which he was born in a rural area in Virginia, to where he is now, and literally, I’m looking for every step. Tell me about high school, tell me about college, tell me about… For him, his father had passed away when he was 25, tell me about that. Because at the time, he was working as a teacher at an outdoor school, and he gets this call about his dad passing away, and it changed everything for him. Because that moment, his father passes away, he ends up going to Vegas, and then in Vegas, he actually meets his wife who teaches him about copywriting.
And so, I’m looking for all those moments, and then what the client realizes when I’m doing that, is like, this is so much bigger. It’s like, oh, yeah, the story is powerful, and this is the way I do need to tell this story in order to get other people connected to me in the way that I want them to connect with me. And so, for me, it’s all about positioning, and in the very early phases, it’s like, let’s get away from the idea that we’re getting ready to do a video, or a video series, let’s talk about how this helps you continue to build your brand, even beyond the video series.
Kira: Can you break it down for us? So, if I want to do a road mapping session for my clients, even though I’m going to turn it into an email sequence eventually, or something else other than videos, what… It sounds like you’re asking a lot of questions during those eight hours, but can you just kind of break it down so we could pull some ideas from that for our own road mapping sessions?
Jude Charles: Sure. So, for context, road mapping started for me in 2000… Well, I had always been doing road mapping, but I wasn’t charging for it. So, road mapping is the plan. And once I started charging for it, at the beginning of it, I started charging $500, and then, now, today, I charge $10,000 per road mapping session. But the reason I mentioned that, is because I think it’s important that no matter what stage you’re at in business, that you’re charging your clients for this planning session, whether it’s $100, $200, or $2,000 you’re charging for. Because you get a different level of client, when they come to the meeting, they’re more prepared, and they take it more seriously, right?
And so, what I do in this session, I break it down into three different phases. There’s a phase one, which is dramatic clarity, phase two is dramatic demonstration, and then phase three is dramatic leverage. In dramatic clarity, I’m just getting really clear about their brand. I’m asking them to tell me a bunch of stories. I’m asking them about their core values and why these things are their core values, and then I’m focusing on their philosophies and beliefs. Why I do that is because… Again, I’m getting really clear on who they are, not just in the thing that we’re going to do, but who they are. And then, I say, “Okay, you’ve told me all those things, but how do we bring that to life in video form? Or, where is there a moment where this actually happened that you could walk me through where I can visually see it?” And that’s where dramatic demonstration comes in.
Then, from, okay, we understand how I might possibly film this, or what I’m looking for, I get very clear on your brand in phase one, we understand how we’re going to film it to phase two, but in phase three, I’m thinking of the marketing. How do you make sure to leverage this video series that we’re going to create? Whether it’s through email marketing, Facebook, Facebook ads, whatever it may be, how do we make sure to leverage that? So, again, for me, it’s just thinking of the entire process from beginning to end, what do I need to know, what do I need to prepare for in order to make sure this client is successful? And I think in copywriting it’s the same thing.
The first phase is research, right? Doing tons of research, whether that’s talking with a client, talking with the client’s customers, and then mapping, outlining the actual project, which may be… If it’s an email marketing sequence, thinking of how many emails you actually need to write out, and what information do you need for every email? What is this email going to do when you write it? What’s the end goal? And then, making sure the client executes, that they actually use the emails that you write. I think for me, that’s what road mapping is, it’s literally thinking of beginning to end.
It’s the same way that… When you’re building a house, you can’t build a house without a blueprint. I look at road mapping, I can’t do a video series, I can’t create a documentary series for a client without a roadmap, because I’ll have no idea what I’m doing, and worse, we’ll get to the editing phase, and I don’t have anything to tell a story. So, I think it’s the same thing in copywriting or any creative field, really. But in copywriting, it’s the same three steps. It’s like thinking of the research, the actual thing that you’re going to create, and then making sure the client uses what you’ve created.
Kira: Okay. So, I’m kind of hooked on the actual eight hours that you spend in this initial session, maybe I’m getting into the weeds here, but is this now virtual these days, or are you meeting with them in person? What does that look like?
Jude Charles: Yeah, for me, I like to meet in person with my clients. And even though times are crazy, and times are different, I still like to do it in person. Only because I want to make sure the client is not distracted. There’s just a different energy in the room when you’re there in person. This can be done virtually, for the way that I work, I like to do it in person. And so, like I mentioned, the first phase is just going through dramatic clarity, and it’s literally just… That’s where I’m asking tons and tons and tons of questions. Who are you? What do you stand for? Why do you stand for that? What do you stand against? I’m thinking of like… Again, what stories are you already telling? And then, what stories are you hiding from?
I say, what stories are you’re hiding from? Because I think we all discount some of the stories that we have, and we discount stories that may be powerful, but we don’t know they’re powerful. So, for example, I’m working with a client now, her name is Darnyelle Jervy Harmon, and she’s going through this journey of motherhood right now. So, she got married at 42, and has never had children, and is now starting to try to have children. But her first attempt, it ended up being a miscarriage.
Second attempt is a bad round of IVF, but she’s not willing to give up. Even though the older she gets, she has a less likelihood of having children naturally, she’s not willing to give up. And she was discounting… Not so much she was discounting the story, but she was afraid to share the story, and afraid to share the power of that story, and how… If she’s a business coach, that this can relate to helping people birth their business.
So, yeah, it’s tons of questions, literally, I have an outline of questions that I ask, and I really just want the client to be vulnerable, I want them to open up. That’s another reason why I do it in person, it’s a little bit easier, in my opinion, to be vulnerable when you’re sitting across from the person. And then, I’m able to retell them their story, and show them the power of those stories that they’re telling, so that they understand, okay, this is why someone will connect with me for this reason.
Again, I go back to Stefan’s project, because I think Stefan is a very interesting person who… Even when I first met him, or first heard about him, I didn’t think he was the real deal. He was known as an A-lister when I first met him, and I was just like, “I’ve never heard of this guy before.” Right? I’ve heard of [Paris 00:38:54] before, and I’ve heard of Dan Kennedy, and I’ve heard of all these other guys, but I had never really heard of Stefan. And to me, going into the road mapping session with him, it was like… I needed to figure out, is this guy the real deal?
And I mentioned growing up that I wanted to be a police officer, I’m doing the same exact thing in my road mapping sessions. I’m being a detective. I’m working backwards, right? If you’ve ever watched Law & Order, or Blue Bloods, or different shows like that, you’ll notice that it usually opens up with the crime that just happened, and then the detectives are trying to figure out, why did this crime happen? What’s the motive? And I think I’m doing the same thing in road mapping, it’s like, okay, you’re telling me this is what you stand for, but is there proof of that? Is there moments in your life where it’s really happened before? Because when I have to film it, I want to film the truth. I don’t want to just film things that you want to make up, or make it seem like you’re this person, but you’re not really that when the camera is off. I want to film the truth.
So, exactly the way that I film it is the way that it’s shown. I’m digging for the truth in my road mapping sessions, I’m being a detective, and I’m questioning. The things that they’re telling me, I’m challenging whether that’s true or not. And I’m not challenging it in my mind, I’m challenging it out in the open, because, again, many times clients haven’t spent the time to do this kind of work, they’re just focused on, well, I need to use this business to get to a certain point and make money, but it’s so much more than that, especially as you get to a higher level. And so, that’s the kind of work that I’m doing in road mapping.
Kira: And then, just to kind of finish that out. So, if we were to work with you… It’s $10,000 for the road mapping, the deliverable is the storyboard, and then to actually record video footage to make that come to life, that’s a whole separate contract, right?
Jude Charles: Yeah. So, it’s a different fee to actually do the video project. The deliverable is not just the storyboard, it’s actually an entire presentation about your core values, why they’re your core values, your core stories, your philosophies and beliefs, and then the storyboard, and then the marketing plan for the documentary series. The projects that I do, or what I’ve specialized in is in documentary series. And so, the roadmap itself is usually between 20 to 40 pages, but it’s literally taking everything that we’ve talked about in road mapping, and now, here’s this roadmap, here’s this… I guess you can call it a booklet, that you can use and reference anytime you’re doing anything else in your business.
Rob: So, this is going to change the subject just a little bit, Jude, but are there differences between the way you tell a story visually and with video, than the way that we might tell a story in copy?
Jude Charles: In my opinion, no. So, to me a story is about a very specific moment in time. And I think that over time, because of different storytelling structures and things like that, storytelling, it’s a buzzword now, and it’s gotten different definitions. But at the core, we as human beings, we tell stories, and the reason that we tell stories is because they’re about a very specific moment in time. So, in copywriting, when you open up about the discovery story, how you discovered, let’s say, hypothetically, a product, or a health product, you’re telling me about a very specific moment in time where something happened, in that you needed to discover this product.
I remember reading… I think it’s Ben Settle that writes… Back in the day, he used to write about prostate… I think it’s prostate supplements. And he tells a story about a guy being at his daughter’s wedding, and I think he sits down and he realizes he has a spot on his pants. And what happens is that he wasn’t able to control the urine coming out of him. And so, that’s about a very specific moment in time where this guy’s at a wedding, his daughter’s wedding, which is a great moment for him, but it’s also an embarrassing moment, because he’s walking around with a spot on his pants. He’s got to figure out, what do I do in this moment?
And so, I think even the way that I tell stories, when you look at Stefan’s documentary series, or Darnyelle’s documentary series, I’m just telling stories that are about a very specific moment in time, the only difference is that I’m telling multiple stories, because it’s a series. But I think even in copywriting, if you’re doing email marketing sequence, you can tell different stories about very specific moments in time that are connected, and tell a larger overarching story.
Rob: And as you’re looking for those stories, and doing your research, how do you know when you found the right hook for the video, something that’s just going to capture us and keep us going?
Jude Charles: What I’m always looking for is the element of surprise. So, again, going back to Stefan’s documentary series, if you watch the first 60 seconds, there’s this moment that he has with his daughter… I’m not going to tell what the moment is, I’m going to encourage listeners to go and watch it, in the first 60 seconds, where he’s playing the guitar, and then something happens with his daughter. And for me, that moment was powerful, because although I’m telling the story of a copywriter, here he is living out everyday life, and this is the part of his life that you don’t get to see. But it’s also an element of surprise because of not only what his daughter does, but how he responds to what his daughter does. So, one of Stefan’s core values that we worked out in road mapping was empowering. He likes to empower other people.
And, of course, again, I’m calling BS on anything that we’ve laid out and mapped out, I want to see it happen. Now, it’s easy to see it happen when Stefan is at a mastermind and he’s coaching other copywriters or marketers, but to see it happen at home means that it is truly a core value, and it’s truly who he is as a person, and that’s what I wanted to highlight. I wanted to humanize this person who even when I first met him, I thought that he wasn’t the real deal. Here’s this moment that humanizes him, that shows you not only he’s more than just a copywriter, but the kind of dad that he is, the kind of husband that he is. And so, that’s what I’m looking for, is the element of surprise that just… It catches you off guard, but it also sucks you into the story, because you have to figure out, okay, what happens next? Or, how can I find out more about this person?
I don’t normally know the hook before I start the project. I’m looking for the hook as I’m filming, and I’m looking for things that just surprise me. Again, I am experiencing this client in the same way that another person will experience it, and I’m looking to bring that to life in a real way. That moment surprised me… There were so many things, one, he plays the guitar, which I didn’t know. He didn’t tell me that in road mapping. I knew he had a former music career, but I didn’t know he was still playing the guitar. So, seeing him play the guitar was an element surprise for me. But again, like I said, that moment with his daughter, I didn’t see it coming, he didn’t see it coming, but the way that he responds makes it such a great hook.
And then, the other secret that I do is that I usually test out the hook on other people. I had another colleague of mine watch the… I think it was the first five minutes of Stefan’s documentary series. This guy has two daughters, and he said to me, the way Stefan responds to his daughter is not the same way I would have responded. But it had him hooked, because it made him think differently of Stefan, like, oh, this is an interesting guy. He’s a dad just like I’m a dad, but he responded in a different way that I wouldn’t respond, and I think his response is better. So, that’s how I try… Ultimately, it’s like I’m looking to humanize the person, but I’m also looking for this element of surprise that takes you off guard, but it sucks you into the story.
Kira: Do you find that you end up being a mindset coach with your client? Because there’s an element, I would imagine, at least if I was to be recorded for a documentary, where I would be like, “Nobody cares about this moment, nobody cares about how I’m mothering, or how I’m talking to my husband, this doesn’t really matter.” Or, on the other hand, it could be like, where I feel like I have to present myself a certain way because you’re capturing the footage. And it’s really hard to just keep it real when you’re capturing every second of me screaming at my children.
So, I guess the question is like, are your clients already in the zone at that level, where they’re already on board, and they don’t really need that coaching from you? And the second question is, what advice would you give to copywriters who maybe aren’t hiring a videographer, but they are showing up on social media, and they’re kind of like, “I know I should do it, but do people really care? Do they really want to see this other side of my life?
Jude Charles: Yeah. So, that’s a great question, because I work with seven and eight figure entrepreneurs, and they have built very successful businesses, but believe it or not, they have the same insecurities and the same reservations that other people have, meaning, what do they look like on camera? Or, how do they sound on camera? The one that always surprised me in the beginning was… I would get clients that asked me, “Well, okay, you’ve heard all of this, you’ve heard everything about my business, is it really that interesting?” Right? One of Stefan’s concern was, one, is it really that interesting me talking and teaching about copywriting? But two, he didn’t want to be braggadocious, because obviously, he’s a high-level copywriter, he lives in a very nice home, he drives a nice car, he didn’t want that to be the highlight.
And so, yeah, I find myself coaching my clients and helping them understand like, look, this is about authenticity, I do want you to be open and vulnerable, but also, you have to just let go. You have to trust that you’ve hired someone that has your best interests at heart, but also someone that really knows how to show the good and the bad in a light that will help people connect with you. They won’t hate you, they’ll just connect with you on a deeper level.
And so, yeah, I find myself coaching my clients in not only helping them see the power of their stories, or see that… Hey, just be you. Even when the camera is on, or when it’s not on, just be you. I’m a fly on the wall. What I try to do is I try to help the client forget that I’m even there, meaning, I’m not directing the scene. I’m not saying, “Hey, stand here, this will be a better shot.” I’m making myself a fly on the wall, and I’m just moving around wherever I can move around to get what I need to get.
And I think for copywriters who are looking to show up on social media, who are looking to just create these videos, I think that they just be you. And I think people more than anything, they can… Our BS meter is on a high level now, and I think they can see realness versus you’re just faking in your presenting, or you’re looking to act a certain way. I think that if you just be you, and you’re just real, quirks and all… Because not only is Stefan a quirky dude, but his friends that I have talking on camera mentioned that he’s a very quirky dude. And I don’t want to shy away from that, this is who he is.
We all have our quirks, and I think if we focus on just highlighting our quirks, our quirks are what makes us different, and that’s what will make people pay attention to us, that’s what will make them know, like, and trust us. And so, I think if you show up in that way, when you are creating your own videos, that’s the most important piece, just be your authentic self. If you messed up, “Okay, hey, I messed up, let me say that over again.” Just being real about it is honestly the best advice I could give.
Rob: Yeah, that’s good to hear, because I think Kira and I are a little quirky, a little weird ourselves, so it’s nice to know we don’t have to hide.
Kira: Speak for yourself, man. Speak for yourself.
Rob: Okay. So, let’s break in here again, and briefly talk about this marketing formula that Jude’s been sharing with us. It’s three steps. And when I heard him first say it, I was thinking, “Oh, this is almost a copywriting formula.” But I think it’s bigger than that. I think it really is a formula that maybe a lot of copywriters could think a little bit more deeply about as far as managing a project, and that is, that you start with that clarity. That’s maybe the research, the questioning, all of the things that you’ve got to find out, identifying the stories. Then, the second part, is this demonstration, how do you show that off in video that comes through in telling the stories, or showing people, doing things? In copy, I think that’s a little bit different, we use testimonials, we use case studies and stories in the copy.
And then, the third part is leveraging this asset you’ve just created. So, thinking beyond the copy that we create, and figuring out, okay, how can my clients use this more? And creating really big leverage around that. I think this is a really cool framework, especially this last part, how do we leverage the assets that we’re helping our clients create, so that they get bigger results and better results than maybe they were expecting?
Kira: What stood out to me is how Jude positions himself in the marketplace, and he said to his client, “I’m not a videographer, I’m a storyteller.” And that really helps him position himself in the marketplace for distinction, and I think that’s something that we can all think about as copywriters, what is the title that we’re giving ourselves? What are you calling yourself? Have you given that a lot of thought, or you’re just defaulting to what most of your competitors and colleagues are using as their title?
Maybe it is just… We feel like we all need to call ourselves copywriters, but really, what you’re doing is something entirely different. And so, it’s something that I think we can all give more thought, because it does help us position ourselves in a competitive crowded space, and can help set you apart when prospects are speaking to you.
Rob: Yeah, I think that’s really insightful. Relying on a title like videographer is all about the tools. It would be a lot like you or I saying, “Hey, we’re keyboard jockeys.” It’s really not about the keyboard, and it’s not about the video, or the video camera, it’s about the value that he’s creating. And so, when he says he’s a storyteller, the value that those stories bring to his clients is the thing that he’s emphasizing. And we can do the same thing as far as the value that we create, it’s less about the words and more about the transformation and the results that the words actually deliver for our clients.
Kira: And the last note or point I’ll add is how Jude charges. He’s charging for his strategy, he’s charging for his brain, and his experience, and his expertise with the road mapping session. And I know he mentioned charging $10,000 for it, and that’s before he even starts to capture video content and create the documentary. And so, it’s a really great example of how we can do that as copywriters. And we can package up and bundle the strategy, the research, the clarity, the intel, all of that, and also charge 10,000, or whatever it makes sense for you and your market.
But I think it’s a really good example of him doing it, it is possible, we can do it too, and that’s before you even create potentially the copy deliverables, or the website copy, or the entire launch. So, it’s something that we’ve seen copywriters do, I’ve done it as well, and it is possible to start selling and getting paid for your brain, your intel, your strategy, your expertise.
Rob: I feel like I’ve had a lot of conversations about this idea recently, the fact that the strategy that we create is more valuable than the copy we create, and to be able to package it up and sell it separately, or as part of a project is an incredibly valuable service that our clients need. And so, finding ways to talk about that, especially talking about the value that that strategy can provide for our clients, I think is really important. Ultimately, if you get the strategy right, and you’re able to provide all the ideas for how your client is going to show up in the world, you could almost hand that off and have anybody write the copy. It really is the most important part of the projects that we do.
Kira: Let’s go back and finish our interview and talk about how we met Jude at TCC IRL.
Rob: So, when we first met you, Jude, it was at our very first event in Manhattan, you showed up… You weren’t even a copywriter, but you decided to come to TCC IRL, tell us why you did that, and what were you hoping to get out of the event?
Jude Charles: Yes. So, when I came to TCC IRL, I wasn’t a copywriter, but I always knew that copywriting was important, specifically, because to get clients, marketing is about copywriting. And so, for me, it was like, how can I get better at this copywriting thing when I am sending an email to a client? I’m just sending it one on one, but I want to persuade them to work with me, how can I get better at persuasion? I also was just… I think you can tell, growing up, I’ve always just been a very curious person.
So, I had this idea in my mind, I never really ran with it, but I had this idea in my mind, how can I combine copywriting with video? Beyond just a video sales letter, which was already popular by that time, but how can I create these documentary series, but even add to that and create an email series that goes along with the documentary series, so that the client doesn’t have to think about what to create as far as marketing? So, an all in one service. Now, I never ran with that, but those were some of the thoughts I had in my head. I was just very curious. I had just heard of this copywriting world, and then I think I started listening to the podcast, and just taking all that in and seeing that it was a completely different world I had never known of.
And then, once you guys announced the first ever TCC IRL, I was like, I have to go, I have to be a part of it. Because, again, I’m thinking of what the next chapter of my life looks like, and it’s like, this may be a part of it, I’m not sure. But what it did help me understand better was persuasion. And honestly, it helped me develop… I had already begun developing dramatic demonstration of proof, but by that point, I think it definitely helped me solidify it, and understand what I was creating, and why it was impactful.
It wasn’t just about the storytelling, it was about the other persuasion pieces that I was adding and including into it that helped people connect with these entrepreneurs on a deeper level. So, that’s why I got into this copywriting world, even though I’m still not a copywriter, but I think, for me, running my business, I have to be a copywriter that writes these emails that persuades the client to work with me.
Rob: Yeah, we met you, and then the following year, you actually got on stage to talk about the dramatic demonstration of proof. And you did some cool things in that presentation, you created a video, you were wearing a cape, tell us a little bit about your approach to that whole talk and what you conveyed to the audience.
Jude Charles: Yeah. I have spoken on stage before, but that talk was honestly the largest audience I’ve ever spoken in front of. So, I was a nervous wreck before doing that talk. But what I focused on was what I knew, which was dramatic demonstration of proof, and video storytelling, which I had been doing, I think, at that point, 13 years. And my approach was just, how could I take everything that I’ve done for my clients and help copywriters and marketers understand how to do it for themselves? And then, the other thing, one of the reasons why I wore a black cape is I wanted to create dramatic demonstration of proof on stage. I didn’t just want to talk about it, I wanted to show it.
So, dramatic demonstration of proof, just so people understand, I talked a little bit about it, road mapping is a piece of it, where we break down dramatic clarity, dramatic demonstration, dramatic leverage, but dramatic demonstration of proof, dramatic demonstration that comes out of road mapping, there’s five different phases of that. There’s behind the scenes, live illustration, social proof, transformation, and unique mechanism. You’ll realize these words aren’t new, they’re copywriting terms, but I do it in visual form. So, me wearing the black cape on stage was a live illustration of David Ogilvy who… I had read in one of his books, he actually used to wear a black cape to his meetings, because he wanted to stand out, and that’s what, to me, DDP is all about, it’s about standing out.
Social proof. I had created a video the night before… So, I spoke on day two of TCC IRL, and on day one, I went around filming different copywriters, one, to show the different areas that they came from, so I could show that TCC IRL was an international conference, but two, to just get their thoughts and ideas about why it was important for them to be there, and what they’re learning. But that was social proof. That was not just Rob and Kira talking about how great TCC IRL is, here are people who actually attended, they are here for day one, and this is what they have to say. TCC in one word.
Yeah, that’s tough, man. One word is tough.
Jude Charles: And so, I think… I’m trying to think what else I created. Of course, I showed my own work on stage, but I think-
Rob: There was a skydiving video, I think, at one point.
Jude Charles: Oh, skydiving, yes. Skydiving video. That was actually very strategic, because… Again, I believe in being vulnerable, and I believe in being open, and the element of surprise, right? That was the hook for me. Because when you meet me, or talk to me, I’m a very cool, calm, collected person, but you’ll never know that I have this other side of me where I really seem to do these adrenaline filled adventures.
And so, my girlfriend at the time had surprised me with tickets for my 30th birthday to go skydiving. And I had been talking about going skydiving for four years, but there was a reason why it never happened, but she surprised me. She didn’t even tell me where we were going, she just told me, “We’re going to be outside, wear shorts and a t-shirt. And it wasn’t until we actually pulled up to the hangar that I realized, oh my gosh, we’re going skydiving.
But that was a very vulnerable moment for me. When you see my face as I jump out of the airplane, you realize how scared I was. But I wanted to start with this element of surprise, because here’s this guy that’s a filmmaker and he’s at a copywriting conference, how does that connect? I wanted to get the audience to instantly connect with me, and to disarm them, to humanize myself, and then go into my presentation. And so, that’s why I didn’t start with my reel, I started with that skydiving video that then led into everything else that I was teaching.
But the other cool thing that I think we talked about behind the scenes was that… I mentioned I was a nervous wreck. So, one thing I did the night before was that I recorded my entire presentation, and then I uploaded it to my phone, and then when I went to sleep, I put in headphones, and I played it on repeat while I slept.
Kira: Oh my God.
Jude Charles: All because I was just so nervous about messing up, and I needed to build the confidence and feel like I know. So, it was basically programming really, programming it into my brain. But yeah, it wasn’t easy putting that presentation together, but I’m glad that a lot of people enjoyed it until this day. I went to TCC IRL in San Diego this year, and it’s still like, “Hey, you’re the guy with a black cape.” And it’s like, it’s really cool that… But that’s the point, I think, of dramatic demonstration of proof, is that you stand out.
When you do things that are different, when you catch someone by surprise, when you really try to think of, how can I show myself in a three-dimensional way? People remember you, and it doesn’t take you having to be in… I mean, of course, that’s a part of marketing too, to be present, and to be there constantly, but I think when you can do something that’s cemented into their mind, like dramatic demonstration of proof, it changes the game.
Kira: Yeah. Well, we had no idea that you were that nervous, because I think there’s something to that recording it and listening to it on repeat the night before, rather than going to a bar, which is what I actually do the night before my presentations. But I want to kind of talk about mindset shifts, because we’ve talked about your growth from struggling business owner to a successful business owner, and how you’ve focused on sales and marketing, but I’d like to hear about the work you’ve done on your mindset, even money mindset, to go from charging $500 for a road mapping session to 10,000 and working with some really big clients now on huge projects. What have you done behind the scenes, or what’s helped you continue to grow mindset wise?
Jude Charles: So, it takes a lot of confidence to do that, right? To go from 500 to 10,000, or go from… At one point, I was charging $3,000 per project, and now I’m definitely in six figures per project. It takes a level of confidence to do that. One of the tricks that I still do to this day, honestly I think everyone should do it, is that I have on my phone, I have an iPhone, in my photos album, I have a section that’s called the confidence folder. And in that confidence folder, I have testimonials that my clients have given me, either on video, or in emails. All of the comments that I got from TCC IRL, I have in that folder. I have the message that… I think it was a comment that you left on one of my posts, Rob, where you said… I forget the exact words, but it was just like, “There will be a day where I can say I discovered you.” Right?
I have all of that in a folder, because what happens is… In entrepreneurship, there’s a lot of ups and downs, and there are moments where you have imposter syndrome. Even at this high level, I still go through imposter syndrome, right? And what I do right before I’m getting ready to talk to a client, sometimes right before I do a podcast… I didn’t do it today, but sometimes right before I do a podcast, I just remind myself of what I’ve actually done. Because there’s a lot of head trash, and there’s a lot of… Just having the wrong perspective at times.
Maybe you messed up, and then now, it’s like, you take this one mess up, and you allow it to define the rest of your life. And I just look back at that stuff, and I just remind myself, you know what? Yeah, I messed up, but here’s the other things that I’ve done that I can build my confidence off of right? Here’s other clients and what they have to say about the work that I’ve done. Not just like, oh, the video was great, but just like, how road mapping… A constant feedback I get from road mapping is clients look past just the video portion of it, they carry it with them in everything else that they do, and that to me… I’d never known that’s how clients was looking at road mapping… How they were looking at road mapping.
But I remind myself of that, because going from 500 to… I didn’t jump from 500 to 10,000, I went from 500 to 1000, to 2000, 3000, then 7500, and then 10,000. Why that is is because I kept getting feedback from clients. I had one client, Darnyelle, who waited a year to work with me. And I think, at the time, she had paid 5000 for road mapping, or 7500. And although she waited a year to work with me, she said to me what she learned in road mapping, she was able to implement, and then make an extra $100,000 in her business. So, if I’m charging $10,000 for a road mapping session, and I can help you make $100,000, you’re going to do that all day, every day, right?
And so, to me, I look at the value that I create, I look at the work that I’ve done over the years, to just change my mindset when I am thinking that I’m not good enough, or I am thinking, I can’t possibly charge X, right? I just go back to the work that I’ve done over the years, and I remind myself, there’s this visual reference. I think obviously, because I’m a filmmaker, I believe this, but I also think it’s just very powerful. When we have visual references, that helps to change our mindset, and it helps to change our confidence. So, that’s one thing I’ve done, confidence. How I’ve gone from different price levels is just looking at the value that I create for a client.
After each project, I do an assessment with the client, and then with myself just internally. And if I feel like I’ve created more value than I’ve created before, I increase the rate. There isn’t a science to it for me, but I’ve just over time increased my rate because I proved to myself that I’m creating value, and I price everything off of value, right? The $10,000 that I charge for road mapping is not because I sit there for eight hours, it’s because of the value that I feel like I create for the client. I’m writing The Dramatic Demonstration of Proof book now, which is all about road mapping, and breaking down the road mapping sessions that I’ve done for my clients.
But once that book is out, road mapping is going up to 20,000. Why? Because I feel like this book gives you the entire thing that you can do on your own, and the fact that I took the time to distill it into a book is value, right? And so, I want to be compensated based on my value, and compensated based on the value of the clients that I work with, right? The seven and eight figure clients. So, those are some of the ways that I think about it. I don’t know that I really had a science to it other than, hey, I just got to prove it to myself. And if I can prove it to myself, I can go to the next level.
Rob: So, I’m looking forward to the book, it’ll be on my nightstand when it’s released. You mentioned as we’ve been talking a couple of moments, there’s the business card moment where you sort of have this idea that being a producer, a movie maker, a filmmaker is a possibility. There’s another moment when Keyshia calls and says, “I’ve made a million dollars,” almost shifts your mindset there too. Are there other moments that you can identify that made you, or helped you make a leap in what you’re doing, or in your mindset?
Jude Charles: Other than the moments that I have with my clients when they’re actually watching back their films, I think… So, for example, I have a client named Traci Lynn who watched… I did a six part documentary series with her, and we watched it before it ever premiered. So, obviously, this is a documentary where she’s featured in, she’s the main character, but to sit in that room with her and watch her cry watching herself, I think every time that that happens… Because it’s happened before, Keyshia Dior did cry watching her series, to me, there’s a moment that happens like, what I’m doing is so much bigger than what I even think, right?
Obviously, I’m running a business, and I’m thinking about making money, and I am purpose driven, that’s why I work with purpose driven clients, but to see the client… It’s almost like a visual reference for them to see themselves talking in the way that they’re talking, and to see how they’ve grown even in six months. So, I work with clients in six months, or sometimes a year long span, and it’s like… For them to watch back their films and say, “Man, I needed that reminder,” or even to see how other people respond when they’re watching it, I think those are moments for me that I just… It’s not so much that it’s a big leap, it makes me realize that I’m doing my purpose work.
Other than that, I don’t know that I’ve had… So, Keyshia Dior was a very big one. I think the other big one that I talked about was going from 3000 to 15,000 with the interior designer. We ended up working together for three years, I think, it ended up being a $42,000 project. At that point, I hadn’t done the kind of work that he was asking me to do, and the level of trust that he had in me was another big leap that I think I went from… Because I remember him saying to me like, “For the amount of work that you did, and what it’s created for my business, I would have paid you three times more.”
I think hearing those things from my clients is what helps to make a bigger leap, because it’s like, wait, this person sees what it’s created for them, and they’re willing to pay three times more, or five times more. That’s what creates the bigger leap for me, is just the proof, the constant proof, the constant feedback, I think, seeking out that feedback. Yeah, I think that’s what it is, that’s what gives me the courage to take the next big leap.
Kira: So, what is the next big leap for you? You mentioned walking away from filmmaking, that you were thinking about it, not that you were definitely doing that, and of course, you just mentioned the book, but what else are you thinking about? What excites you now?
Jude Charles: That’s a great question. I think I’m in search of what excites me next, because… I think we were off air when I mentioned this, this year, 2020 has been a very crazy year, but it’s also been a busy year for me and my business. I have traveled non-stop working with clients from January to October. And I love what I do, and it’s great what I do, but thinking about what that next level looks like. Honestly, it’s just been challenging to think about, because I’m doing high level work right now, so to think about what the next level looks like, is hard. I think what I think about though, is like… Obviously, I haven’t produced a documentary series for Netflix yet, or for Amazon Prime, I think, to me, that’s part of the next level. But there’s so much more than just that vanity of, I produced a project that’s on Netflix.
A lot of what I think about is legacy type documentary projects. So, working with the billion dollar entrepreneurs who want to capture their stories on camera, not so much for the rest of the world to see, that may happen, but is more importantly for their family legacy that will be captured over time, is this time capsule that’s captured for their grandchildren and great grandchildren. I often think about Jeff Bezos, and obviously, we’ve seen what he’s created, and all the things that he’s doing, but it’s like, what would have been like to just have a camera on him in the early days of Amazon and seeing how he’s building this company from the ground up? Or, how he’s thought about the decisions that he’s making, even at this higher level? What does that mean for his children? What does that mean for his great grandchildren?
Those are some of the things that I think about, but then I also think about… Like you mentioned, walking away from filmmaking, and what does that look like? What do I do next? Because all I’ve ever known is filmmaking and storytelling, what does that look like next? I’m not sure. I haven’t gotten there yet. Maybe we’ll do a part two to this, and I will definitely talk about what my next 10 year span looks like. But the last thing I’ll leave you guys with is also, don’t just tell the story, show their story, and show your truth, right?
Even as a copywriter, you have opportunities to show why you’re different, to show why a client should work with you, and I think the greatest gift that you have as copywriters is having a theater of the mind, where you can take the words that you’re writing and turn them into visuals, just because the person has read it in their mind, and now becomes this theater of the mind. So, those are two things I’ll leave you with, definitely think more about the visual words that you’re creating, but also think about actually creating visuals, and taking what you’re doing, the work that you’re doing to another level.
Rob: That wraps up our interview with Jude. I love hearing Jude talk about his preparation for TCC IRL. I mean, obviously, it worked, because he knocked his presentation out of the park. And that presentation has been available inside our dashboard for some of our programs. So, people can… If they’re interested in seeing what he did there, we can provide a link to that talk, or they can find that inside The Underground.
I don’t think that the record and listen approach works really well for me, because I’m up at night working on my presentation, the night before, but I love that he recorded everything onto a voice memo, or onto his iPhone, and then he just plays it over and over, so that he subconsciously memorized his presentation, which was kind of fun to hear the different approaches to that. I know a little bit about your approach to our events and the talks that you’ve given to, Kira, are you thinking of maybe adapting Jude’s approach and being ready ahead of time, listening to it recorded?
Kira: I think being ready ahead of time, that sounds like a good approach.
Rob: Yeah, right.
Kira: Also, I know you and I are always up the night before working on our presentations, it seems like… We’ve done the event three years, every year, it’s like, everything still feels last minute, and I can never get ahead. One year, I will get ahead, and I will not be working on it last minute. So, I can do and test Jude’s approach, which I think sounds really smart. But usually, yeah, I’m just playing with slides, or even working with the designer the night before, and I’m kind of more of a last minute type of person, I guess.
Rob: Maybe 2021 is the year that it will change, since with this event, we are very, very likely to be virtual, and be able to do some things ahead of time. So, maybe this is the year that changes.
Kira: Yes, for sure.
Rob: Okay. One other thing that I think is just worth mentioning, Jude’s talking about the value that he’s creating and actually charging for it, and you can see it over the arc of his entire story, where he had that first client who made a million dollars, and he only made $3,000. And then, towards the end of the story, where he’s literally charging 10s of thousands of dollars, because of the quality that he delivers, because of the value that his clients are getting. And you can see how charging for the value he created changes over the trajectory of his career.
And this is something that… We preach a lot about, in all of our programs, copywriters are famous for undercharging and undervaluing what we create for our clients. And so, just think about the prices that you’re charging now, think about the value that you’re creating, how does that line up? And should you be charging more for the copy that you’re writing, for the funnels that you’re building, for the websites that you’re helping create, for the offers that you’re helping to bring to pass? All of that stuff has immense value for our clients, and we need to make sure that we’re actually charging them a fair value for what we create for them.
Kira: Also, a good reason to keep in touch with clients beyond the fact that it’s also good to just keep in touch with clients, and possibly work on other projects. Keep in touch so you can ask those follow-up questions a couple of months later and allow them to open up about the value you’ve created.
And so, if you’re kind of… I have been in the past where you just work on a project, you just like… Peace out, we’re done, have a nice life, you don’t create those opportunities for you to get that feedback where a client will say, “Hey, that was really helpful, that was really valuable.” So, you can ask, what type of value would you assign to that? I think it’s really important to collect that data, even if it’s informally as you continue to build those relationships.
Rob: We want to thank Jude for joining us for the second time to get this episode recorded. To learn more about Jude and the amazing stories that he tells with the videos, visit his website, judecharles.co, that’s .co. And you can also check out the short video that he created for us on the fly during our event in San Diego last March, we’ve included a link to that in the show notes at our website.
Kira: That’s the end of another episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Our intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice, the outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner. To learn more about how Rob and I can help you build a more successful copywriting business, visit thecopywriterclub.com. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week. (singing).