Tara Lassiter is our guest on the 326th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. After a 12-year career as a model and actress for QVC, Tara shifted into the copywriting space and became an email strategist. Whether you need to up your networking skills, need to make faster decisions, or you want to dabble into the world of TikTok, you’ll find yourself scribbling notes through the entire episode.
- Why Tara went from model and actress for QVC to email strategist.
- How is QVC similar to copywriting?
- Where she found her first copywriting clients.
- How The Copywriter Accelerator helped her propel her business forward.
- Do you brag about yourself? Here’s why you should.
- Dating vs marrying your decisions.
- How to hone in on what your audience wants to see from you.
- How to go from overthinking to taking action and accomplishing.
- Starting on TikTok – where do you begin?
- Create two versions of yourself… Here’s how.
- How to get more done with a limited amount of hours.
- Navigating the challenge of shifting from copywriter to strategist.
- Why you absolutely need to find a network and how it’ll change your business (and life).
- How to tap into your current network if you’ve never done it before.
- The added benefit of creating frameworks and how they help you AND your clients.
- Being realistic about your time and why setting realistic expectations is vital.
- How Tara balances being a homeschool mom, business owner, and wife.
- Is it really about being the breadwinner?
- The advice she would give to her past self.
Listen to the episode below or read the transcript.
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Rob Marsh: Imagine for a minute selling more than a million dollars worth of a product in about an hour’s time. What should you get paid for something like that? What would you learn from that experience, and how could you repeat that with other clients? Our guest for today’s episode of the Copywriter Club podcast did exactly that. Copywriter and customer journey strategist, Tara Lassiter, helped sell a million dollars of lotion on QVC and made $100 for her effort. She joined us to share how that experience, along with the Copywriter Accelerator and a great network that she has built around her, helped launch her career as a copywriter. We think you’re going to like this episode.
Kira Hug: But first, this podcast is sponsored by the Copywriter Accelerator. Shocking, right? Tara was a member, she’s an Accelerator alumni member, so you’ll hear a little bit more about the program in this conversation. Before that, it is a five-month coaching and Mastermind program for copywriters who want to build a profitable copywriting business and get closer to the 10K-a-month mark. If you feel like that could be you and you want the support and the systems and the blueprints to help you get there, along with coaching from the two of us and the support of a tight-knit community, we’ve bundled it all into the Copywriter Accelerator. We know it works because we’ve been doing it for five years now. So if you have any interest, you can jump onto the waitlist, and we will drop the link to that in the show notes.
Tara Lassiter: It started a long time ago, a little over a decade ago. In my past life, I was a model and an actress. My main client was QVC. There was one particular show, an hour-long show, where I had rubbed lotion all over my body for an hour. At the end of the hour everyone started to cheer. It was because we had sold a million dollars worth of body butter. I started to cheer and cheer and cheer. Then it dawned on me that I had made a hundred bucks in that million-dollar hour. I wasn’t jealous or anything, but I was so intrigued. How did they make a million dollars in an hour?
So I started to do research on buyer psychology and marketing. It led me to copywriting because I didn’t even know what the word was. I understood that there were triggers that were happening within the hour while we were on television that encouraged people to buy. So I started buying copywriting courses and books. I bought John Carlton’s… I think it’s called Kick-Ass Copywriting in 2014 or something like that. I’ve just pulled up the receipt. So I’ve been reading books and doing courses, but modeling was kind of golden handcuffs. I enjoyed it, and I worked with people that I loved. It wasn’t a bad gig. It paid well and it was really flexible. I got to travel. So it was really cool.
I wasn’t able to pursue copywriting until the pandemic shut everything down. Then there were a lot of castings that disappeared, and the ones that were, they would say you need to show proof that you had COVID already. Because before there were vaccines, they wanted to make sure that there was a bit of a bubble. Because I didn’t have that, I couldn’t work. That gave me time to jump back into the books and into the courses and to say, “All right, well, it’s now or never. I’m going to try this out.” That’s what I really did. I just started going back online, taking courses, reaching out to people that I knew, writing anything. I’d always been the person in the family who wrote cover letters and resumes for everyone, LinkedIn profiles, just anything I could get my hands on to try to start getting some practice.
Rob Marsh: I want to hear more about QVC. I know you do that a bit. I’ve read Anthony Sullivan’s book, You Get What You Pitch For, which is all about his experience at QVC and selling on QVC. Were you just modeling? Did you have speaking parts? What were you doing to sell…? Again, I know you only made a hundred dollars for that hour, but selling a million dollars for the product, even though you said it was a big deal, that feels like a really big deal. So what was the role?
Tara Lassiter: They were experimenting a lot with what models could do because we were basically personalities that the people at home could relate to. I was able to speak sometimes, but a lot of times I was just silent. A lot of what I learned came from behind the scenes because QVC is very particular about who goes on air. They’re very particular about their audience. A lot of times the founder of the company was who came to sell their own products. So if I worked for Martha Stewart that day, I worked with Martha Stewart. I would always ask, “What’s your favorite book?” You know what I mean? “Can I hear your story, classes, podcasts that you listen to, anything?” I would always try to pick their brains and see what got them to that point.
That’s really what helped me to understand marketing strategy on a grand scale, because I wasn’t content with just being a model. I always wanted to see the journey for the person behind the business, and I got to actually reach out and touch them. It’s a small place. It’s not like the celebrities are separate from the regular people. So I got to really interact with a lot of cool people and ask questions and go out to dinner and try products before they went on air. So it was a very experimental role.
Kira Hug: So you were in multiple QVC campaigns and promotions, not just that one?
Tara Lassiter: Oh, definitely. I was there for 12 years. I was usually there between 10, 20 hours a week, so 10 or 20 shows for over a decade every week, so I kind of lived there. I spent my 20s there. It’s where I grew up.
Kira Hug: Have you written a book about this yet?
Tara Lassiter: No, no. I just read Joe Sugarman’s book though. I don’t know.
Kira Hug: I feel like this is a book.
Tara Lassiter: You feel like it’s a book?
Rob Marsh: There’s definitely a book here, for sure.
Kira Hug: In the meantime, the book can be this interview, but that’s fascinating. Now I have so many different questions. One is, let’s just talk about the triggers. Because you started with that specific promotion for that lotion, what were some of the triggers that contributed to that million-dollar campaign?
Tara Lassiter: Definitely. They used a lot of one-time-only, which would be a price that was only available for a short period of time that now I know is scarcity. There was also lots of bundling going on, so you got a value based on buying groups of products together, and they were able to bake in profit that way. The countdown timers and how many sold in an hour for some social proof and that kind of pressure. So I saw in the end all of those copywriting things that now I’m like, “Oh, yeah, that happens at every webinar.” It’s essentially a 24-hour webinar that’s happening, and then the product just changes every 6, 8, 12 minutes. Essentially, it’s just a live webinar that’s happening all day and all night.
Rob Marsh: I love that. When I got my start, and especially it was before the internet was huge, so a lot of direct response television is where I would sort of learn it. Of course, QVC is basically hour after hour. Anyway, I love the lessons that you pull from that because it is a sales page an hour, and what they’re doing in video echoes a lot of what we do in email sales pages today. So good takeaway. Let’s talk about how you then took that, and you said that you read a couple of books. You started really saying, “This is the time.” How did you go out, find your first clients, start your own business, what did that look like?
Tara Lassiter: It started out with me just reaching out to my network. People knew… So backtrack a little bit. Once I got a taste of how I could use marketing to make money outside of QVC, I started an Amazon store with my husband, and we started to resell products that were overstocked from certain parts of the country and put them on Amazon. Typically, people would buy them in the other part of the country where they were out of stock or if they were discontinued. I became known in our family and in our friends’ network as someone who knew how to sell things. So I would write our own Amazon product pages. I started playing around with their sponsored ads. I just basically said, “Hey, I’m trying this new thing. Can I write something to sell you? Can I write your cover letter? Can I write your resume?” That’s really what it started with.
I kind of hit a wall, and I didn’t know how to transition from family and friends to my general network. I realize in hindsight it was just because I didn’t have confidence on the benefit that I was offering them. I knew that I could do this, but I didn’t understand how to create it into an offer and sell myself or my services as something specific because I was still using that generic copywriter title. So I was just like, “I’ll do anything.” But they didn’t know what they needed necessarily, and that didn’t leave me with a lot of confidence.
So I needed to specialize and really drill down into, what are the parts of copywriting that I’m good at? What are the things that I’m doing for clients that are helping them get results, and how can I say that? That’s really where the Accelerator helped me to really hone in on, how do I sell myself and my services in a very specific way instead of just saying, “I’ll go on Upwork. I’ll write your brochure”? I did beauty websites for hairstylists and things like that. I’ll write anything. That was the bridge that took me from, “Whatever you want, I’ll write it. If it sells, I’ll write it” to “This is what I’m really, really good at, and I’ve gotten these results.”
Kira Hug: What are some concrete steps you took in the Accelerator program to start moving in that direction? Because I think it’s easy for us to know that it helps to be specific and to not show up as a generalist, but there’s a lot of mindset trash that gets in the way. There are a lot of roadblocks. What did you do to transition?
Tara Lassiter: I loved the X Factor module. I really, really loved it. I love the opportunity to brag because it’s not my nature. I’m used to… I don’t know if people think QVC is cool. I sell granny sweaters. I knew it wasn’t something that everyone did, and I didn’t know if people thought Amazon was cool. Maybe they hated Jeff Bezos. I wasn’t really sure how to speak about myself. So it gave me permission to just say, “I’ve done all these things, whether you think they’re cool or not,” and then to connect the dots between QVC and Amazon.
Back in the day when I was a shop girl, I led promotions in clubs and things like that, talking to strangers, getting to know people on a personal level very quickly and connecting the dots between where they are and where they want to go, I had to figure out that and how to say that. What is it that I’m doing, and why is it that I’m good at resumes? Oh, because I’m a good listener. What are you doing? You are seeing what the other person can’t see in themselves and showing and highlighting that. So that module definitely gave me the opportunity to just connect the dots between all of my skills, the things people ask me for, and to pay attention to, “This is what I’m good at,” and to say it and not feel ashamed. It was a safe space that I didn’t have to do it in public because I wasn’t ready to change my LinkedIn or put a whole website together while I tried things. So it was a safe space in the Doc to just be like, “All right, these are all the things you do. Now let’s workshop it.”
Rob Marsh: Talking about it from that standpoint, it kind of sounds like the changes you were making were more mindset-oriented than actual changes in your business. That’s obviously not the only thing that the Accelerator focuses on. We do talk about websites and all that. But what other mindset changes did you make as you were going through that process?
Tara Lassiter: Oh, I’m so happy you’re asking that. Because I started taking notes, because I had to sit and think, “What are the things that I was thinking before that I wish I knew now?” The first thing is, you can date a decision. Meaning, we’re going through the Accelerator and you’re going to make decisions, but you’re not marrying them. They’re not legally binding. They’re not set in stone. Try some things out. Because I was putting so much pressure on myself to make the final decision. “Okay, you are an email strategist for a while,” and I was like, “and that’s what it’s going to be. You’re going to stick to that. You’re going to put your website out and your LinkedIn, and that’s what you are.” But if it’s not a good fit, it’s okay. You date it. You find the next one that’s a good fit, and you pull from that and create the next opportunity, the next title, the next skill set that is a good fit. So that’s the first mindset thing. It was like, you can date a decision. You don’t have to marry it.
The other thing was that I needed to make decisions based on data and not just dreams and desires and this esoteric thing because I would do the blueprints and I would say, “This is what I want. This is what I want.” Or I would say, “I don’t know what I want,” which is viable. Lots of people aren’t sure what they want. But I do know what people come to me for. I do know what I’ve done. So I needed to implement while I was doing all of the modules to say, “Draw from data. What are people asking you?”
In your discovery calls, comb through the transcripts. What are you doing? What is the transformation that you’re offering? You’re calling this copywriting, but is this actually copywriting? “Oh, it’s strategy. You’re really good at strategy.” People who are coming to you from leads, from TikTok, from my challenge, what are you actually offering them? “Oh, I didn’t write any emails. I did tons of strategy sessions.” So that gave me data to say, “Okay, this is what the market wants from me,” and then I can move forward with confidence knowing, “Okay, this is what I really, really do.”
Also, I wish I would’ve just asked more questions because I was shy. I was afraid of asking the wrong question and being behind or being too far ahead or hogging the space. Now I’m just like, “Man, you should have just… When you have Rob and Kara’s attention, you just ask all the questions while you can because afterwards you’re going to wish you had.” Those are all mindset things, though. The implementation, you guys lay it out really clearly, and it’s something I return to over and over again even as I pivoted. It was the mindset that really helped me back.
Kira Hug: It’s because Rob is so intimidating. That’s why. That’s why you didn’t ask.
Rob Marsh: I am clearly the problem here, for sure.
Kira Hug: Oh, yes.
Tara Lassiter: You know what? It was like our meet and greet, the first one, and I was in Rob’s group and I was literally shaking. It was my first time talking to new people since the pandemic. I had been home with my husband and my kids in my home for years. It was like, I was shaking. I remember I said, “Rob, how do you get it all done?” He said, “I don’t.” I just was like-
Rob Marsh: That is one of the saddest things that’s ever been said about me is-
Tara Lassiter: No, no, no, no!
Rob Marsh: … The facade isn’t real.
Tara Lassiter: It just made me feel comfortable that you were real and that you weren’t going to be like, “Well, I wake up at 4:00 a.m., and I don’t see my kids, and I work”
Kira Hug: Well, he does.
Rob Marsh: Not 4:00. But I think you’re right, Tara. While we’re talking about this, it is true, I think a lot of people show up as these gurus, these experts. It’s like, “You do it my way, I’ll get you to whatever.” That’s clearly not what we teach in the Accelerator. It’s like, you do it your way. Yeah, nobody gets it all done. I think it’s important to say that more than once. Nobody gets it all done.
Tara Lassiter: I appreciate that.
Kira Hug: This is some great advice, mindset advice. You mentioned your TikTok challenge. Where does that fit into your Accelerator experience? How does that fit in? How did you get the idea to do it? What is that about?
Tara Lassiter: That actually came to me at TCCIRL. I kind of joined… I paid for it before I started the Accelerator. Because I was new to copywriting as a whole, I didn’t even know what I really paid for. I just was like, “I think I want to go.” It just drew me to you two. I was like, “You need to go be around these people. Go meet them. Go see what they’re about.”
At the VIP session, I was in the hot seat. I knew in my head that I would continue to do resumes and cover letters and websites for random fields or e-commerce email, which wasn’t lighting me up, but I could do it, or I could stick a stake in the ground and say, “All right, I’m going to do something different.” So in front of the room, I said, “I’m going to do a TikTok challenge. I’m going to put myself out there. I’m going to stop hiding behind my laptop, and I’m going to show my personality. I’m going to be on screen again because this is what I’m supposed to do. You’ve been on screen for 10 years, why are you hiding all of a sudden?”
So I committed to 100 days, and I did 30 days. In those 30 days, I got so many leads and questions, one about skincare and beauty but also about strategy, that I was like, “This is the data that I need.” You’re talking about email, but they’re asking you to connect the dots not just on email, but how email fits into their entire marketing strategy. I didn’t want to continue for 100 days ignoring what they were asking for. So I took the challenge from TikTok to Upwork and I want to pitch on Upwork, and I did a pitch a day for 30 days. I started out pitching copywriting in general. Then last week… Oh, and I got crickets, by the way. So good thing I had gone through auditions my whole life and I was used to hearing no, because literally I was pouring my soul into these personalized cover letters and making my own samples for every Upwork, and it was crickets the whole time for anything copywriting.
So I started to apply for funnel strategy jobs. The first one I sent, it was right away. The second one I sent, she booked me for a strategy session. I was like, “Okay, so this is the data that I need to tell me that that is the direction to go in, and a general copywriter, for whatever reason, doesn’t fit me.” People see me, they see my profile, and they’re like, “That’s not what she does.” I still don’t know what it is, but I guess I don’t need to. But I know that if I say, “I will help you with your customer journey, I will help you with your marketing plan, your marketing strategy, people are like, ‘Shut up and take my money.'”
So I use that to start working with new clients, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the remainder of the year. That was this summer that I did that TikTok and then the Upwork challenge. Then I’ve been working with two clients basically building out their whole customer journey. And I love it. It’s the thing I like to do. Frameworks and naming things and funnels and products, and all those things that make me excited, I figured it out. TCCIRL was the catalyst to me not thinking anymore and doing. Once I started doing it, it gave me the information I needed to know if I was going in the right direction or not.
Rob Marsh: Tara, what advice would you give to somebody who might be thinking, “Well, of course, Tara can do TikTok. She’s a model. She’s been on TV. She’s got all of these advantages. I’m more like Rob, clearly not a model, none of those kinds of experiences. But maybe I’m thinking, “I want to show up in a bigger way for an audience what you did”? What advice would you give them in order to get started and to get some traction there?
Tara Lassiter: First, being a model is not a prerequisite because actually being a real person is what’s attractive. Especially because of what’s happening with influencers and we don’t believe them anymore because they’ve lied so much, that it’s a lot more attractive to just be yourself, be a little weird, be a little disheveled, don’t have a full face of makeup. You can’t be too perfect because it sends off signals that you’re trying to sell people, or you might be like a snake oil salesman. So it’s actually a good thing to just be yourself.
I think you should also start small. You don’t have to do a 30-day challenge, but maybe just introduce yourself and say, “Hi, I’m Rob Marsh, and this is what I offer.” Even if you’re not ready for TikTok, put that on your LinkedIn, put that on your website. Just give yourself a bite-sized taste of the familiarity that customers can get even before they meet you by just giving them a little bit of video. It doesn’t have to be a 90-minute video. It doesn’t have to be an hour. You don’t even have to have shoes on. I don’t have shoes on right now. You just have to show up in the tiniest way. People really appreciate hearing your voice, the tone of voice. They can feel your energy, the excitement that you get when you talk about what you’re doing. All of those things, you can’t feel it through typing when they’re reading your words, but once you start speaking, people are like, “I get it. That’s it. I like that person.” So you’re really shortening those stages of awareness to getting people to being your biggest fans. Start small.
Kira Hug: So Rob, you don’t have to brush your hair. You don’t have to worry about that anymore.
Rob Marsh: It’s nice knowing that I haven’t been doing my makeup, and I’m not going to start.
Kira Hug: Let it go. Let it go. I’m going to stop brushing my hair. I think that is really great advice, so it’s a relief to hear that. You mentioned feeling shy on the first Accelerator call. I’m just curious how you’ve been able to work through these types of visibility, whether it’s QVC or showing up on TikTok, showing up in your business as an introvert, because I know you’re an introvert, like the two of us.
Tara Lassiter: Yes.
Kira Hug: So what has helped you? Because you would almost think as a model you would be used to doing this and comfortable. So what else can help introverts who are listening, who are struggling?
Tara Lassiter: I actually didn’t figure this out myself, but through the coffee chats that we were assigned through the Accelerator, I also met with Charlotte Davies. She was in our group as well with Rob, so we set up a chat to talk later. She said to me when we were on our chat, she said, “Tara, why don’t you just create Copywriter Tara. Create a role. Then when you’re online, you’re Copywriter Tara, and then close your laptop and you can go back to being yourself.” I was just like, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I’ve been putting myself in roles my entire life. So just create a persona. I’ve created the things I want to talk about, the energy that I want to have, how I want to look. I usually wear pink. It’s just what I do. It makes me feel ready for being online and showing up as a business owner. Then when it’s over, I close my laptop, and I can go back to being a homeschool mom, and it’s fine.
Kira Hug: Well, as a follow-up to that, how do you re-energize? Because Copywriter Tara might drain you. Copywriter Kira drains me. So what do you do to refuel the tank?
Tara Lassiter: We haven’t mentioned this, but I’m a homeschool mom, and my day is in blocks. So I recently flipped them. Most days of the week, I work in the morning, and then I give myself either a 12:00 to 1:00 or a 1:00 to 2:00 transition period. I’ll listen to a podcast. I’ll take a shower. I’ll walk the dog. I’ll eat lunch with my kids. Sometimes I take a nap because I’m just like, “I talked way too much, and I can’t do anything.” I just take that time. I take an hour and I transition from Copywriter Tara to mom and wife. That transition period, even though I’m only taking a couple of steps out of my office, it’s the physical transformation that I need to turn back into myself. It’s just a few moments that I need to not feel like I’m drained when I’m talking to my kids.
Rob Marsh: You mentioned going through the Accelerator and some of the changes that you made. But the Accelerator is a process that only lasts four or five months, and then it’s over. Building a business lasts a lot longer than that. I know for a fact you’ve gone back and revisited some of the stuff and kind of rethought what you did in the Accelerator. Talk about that process just a little bit.
Tara Lassiter: One, well, before you do the Accelerator, put the modules in a folder so that you’re not searching all the time like I am because I just recently did this and it’s made it so much easier. Like, this is module one, module two, name everything, and then make copies of them. Sometimes I’ll print them out. I like colored pens and highlighters, and I’ll physically write in the things that I need to do and make it pretty, cut the paper up, move it around. I just realized that it’s something that I could make my own and that it doesn’t have to be set in stone. Like I said before, I could date it. So I just take bits and pieces and I focus on those things at specific times when I feel like I need it most.
The other thing that helps is having theme days. So I know if it’s a marketing day, I know that I need to go into the marketing module and remind myself, “All right, these are the ideas you had. These are the things you said you were going to commit to.” Because sometimes I sit down and I’m like, “What am I doing? How do I start an outline again? Do I research first?” It helps to have everything outlined. I have onboarding outlined. I have my entire process outlined. That was all things that I did in the Accelerator. When I have those brain fogs, I just return to them and say, “Okay, you did this work already, so just remind yourself. Now you can plug these tasks into Google Tasks.” It saves me from having to reinvent the wheel.
Kira Hug: Let’s break in here. Let’s just break in here. Rob, what really struck a chord with you? I was going to say, struck your fancy. That’s not how that goes.
Rob Marsh: It struck my fancy. Struck-
Kira Hug: It struck you fancy. I’ve never used that phrase, and I’m not going to use that phrase.
Rob Marsh: Having some trouble with words today.
Kira Hug: Words are so hard. What grabbed your attention? What hooked you?
Rob Marsh: There were a couple things. Obviously, Tara’s story about QVC is kind of funny, especially when we know how big that organization is, how much their hosts, their famous hosts make doing it and that Tara was only able to make $100. Obviously, she wasn’t doing all of the selling. She was part of the program. She was a model. But knowing that her participation in something like that generated that much money is eye-opening.
I think there’s a lot of things that QVC does in particular. Maybe we should do an entire episode about them, and the process of selling, which is applicable to sales pages, sales emails, a lot of the content that most of our listeners will be working on, it still also works. But that buyer psychology, understanding your buyer, demonstrating benefits, and there are so many demos that QVC does, owning the conversation and really showing up with facts, knowing your product inside and out the way they do, and then using stories to sell, all of those are really powerful sales techniques that most of us should be doing more of. I read last year a book by Anthony Sullivan, he’s one of the big stars at QVC, all about pitching. It’s a fantastic book and kind of goes into that process that Tara was talking about. That just kind of zinged a part of my brain and just said, “Ah, this is really interesting stuff going on here.”
Kira Hug: I love the fact that she had that realization, “Wow, QVC just made a million dollars and I made a hundred bucks.” Because I think even if we have not been a model on QVC or even worked with a client who brought in that much money, I think it’s still relatable. I have felt that way many times with clients, clients I love too, who have success, which is what we want. Then in the back of your mind, you’re like, “Well, what’s really in it for me? If I can help them do this, then what else can I achieve?” So I think her reaction is the reaction that we see and we hear about in the copywriter community where we, I think, are all realizing that we have this skill set that will allow us to maybe create the next QVC and to create these larger platforms using our creativity and our superpowers and so we don’t have to necessarily take the hundred bucks an hour. We can get the whole million dollars. That’s what we want. We want the million dollars.
Rob Marsh: Maybe it’s not a million dollars. Maybe it’s we just help the client do a six-figure launch. Maybe they made half a million dollars, and we charged $3,000 for a sales page and a few emails and or something.
Kira Hug: No, I want the million dollars.
Rob Marsh: Well, at some point you have to look at it and say, “Wait, my skills helped build this, it wasn’t all of it, but helped build this need, as people are reading the emails or the sales page or whatever, for the product. I should be getting more than that.” That’s actually one of the things we do teach in depth in the Accelerator when we talk about pricing and how to price for the value you create.
Kira Hug: Rob, I also liked how Tara was talking about reaching out to family and friends and really how she really got her business going and that she realized that she was struggling with her confidence, and it was the confidence in selling the benefit. I think this is a really common struggle when copywriters are starting out. Even when we aren’t starting out and we’ve been doing it for a while, we often talk about the deliverables. We write, “Oh, I write emails, or I write copy,” and you leave it as general. Or even worse, “I can write anything that you need. I can do all the things.” Then we wonder why clients aren’t actually hiring us and why our name isn’t being passed around. It’s because we aren’t actually putting a benefit in front of them.
She was able to really figure out, “What is the true benefit that I’m selling to these potential clients, friends, and family?” That’s what built her confidence once she realized that benefit. I do think that something that’s missing for many of us at different stages is like, “What is the benefit I’m giving, and can I speak to that rather than talking about the deliverables that I’m writing or what my title is and people are supposed to just get the value? If I’m a copywriter, you should just want to hire me because I’m a copywriter.”
Rob Marsh: Along with that, the thing that I got from the Amazon storefront experience that Tara was talking about is that one of the best ways to build the skills that we need or that we sell to our clients is actually to do the thing for ourselves. In setting up an Amazon storefront, Tara has to figure out, “What are the benefits? How do I connect with the audience?” You go through that for a product that is your own business product, it becomes a lot easier to take that skill that you’re building for your own business and apply it into other clients’ businesses as well.
It doesn’t have to be e-commerce, Amazon. It can be selling yourself online. It’s exceptionally hard to write about ourselves. We all, I think, struggle with that, or most of us struggle with that as copywriters. But the exercise of going through and figuring out what is unique about your business? How do you stand out? What is the niche that you serve? What are the products that solve a real problem for your clients? All of those things, which… Again, this is going to sound kind of promotional or whatever, we teach all of that in the Accelerator. All of those things are things that then, once you do that for yourself, you can take that and start applying in your client’s businesses. That’s exactly what Tara did. In doing the thing, you build the confidence that you were talking about.
Kira Hug: In a way we’re doing that with the Copywriter Club. You’ve had other businesses, and so you’ve developed that skill through building your other businesses. That’s something that I think we can all do. You don’t have to build the Copywriter Club. You could build whatever business that looks like. I was tinkering and building other businesses that were not as successful before we worked on this one. But I know that I’m a better copywriter and a better marketing strategist for my clients. When I’m working with my clients, I show up differently because of all the work that we do and all the learning that I can extract from building the Copywriter Club. I think that does make us more valuable as specialists and as marketers. Like you said, you can do that in many different ways. Tara figured out how to do that through the Amazon shop, which is really cool. But it does make you more powerful at what you do.
Rob Marsh: Another thing that really stood out to me as Tara was talking, that she said came out of the Accelerator, the idea that you can date a decision. You don’t have to marry your decisions. I think this shows up in a big way when people are choosing niches. People do not want to lean into a niche because they’re afraid they’re giving up so much work in other industries, or other things that might come their way. You and I have repeated this a lot in our business and as we’ve taught other copywriters, but everything is an experiment. Treating your decisions as an experiment, as a date, “I’m just trying this out. If it doesn’t work out, there are other decisions I can make. There are other things that I can do. There are other niches I can try,” that mentality, I think, helps us cycle through experiences. Maybe there’s some failures that happen along the way, but it’s really about getting the experiences that you need in order to move forward in something that’s going to work for you personally, work for your business, and work for your clients.
Kira Hug: I think we’ve associated that type of decision change to being a flaky person, and I think it has a negative connotation, but it doesn’t need to have it. You can date your decisions like she said, but set parameters to protect yourself and to help you still feel confident and in control and to set some guidelines for yourself. It could just be as simple as, “I’m going to date my decision to go all in on writing emails for e-commerce. I’m going to give myself six months to just go all in and maybe make a couple of changes to my website and change my LinkedIn title and introduce myself as an e-commerce email strategist to everyone I meet. Then at six months, I will sit down and reevaluate it and maybe decide to date someone else or to date a different decision.”
You are still in control. There’s nothing flaky about that. You can even think through, “Well, how will I evaluate this at the end of six months so I know if it’s a good decision, if I want to move forward, or if I want to do something else?” so that you are not flaky. You’re just making really smart decisions as you figure out what’s working and what’s not working.
Rob Marsh: I think the great thing about that approach is, as you take that step back and you’re evaluating, you’re really basing it on the experience, on the data, on what you’re able to accomplish. It’s not just, “Oh, I love this thing, I’m going to lean into it.” That might be an okay thing, but, of course, you want to evaluate based on what actually happens to your business. If you love something, you lean into it as a niche or as a deliverable or some other facet of your business and it’s not working, it may be valuable to take a step back and say, “Okay, that’s not working. Why not?” and look at it there. It’s just an easy way to match what you do with what the market needs.
Kira Hug: Tara also talked about making decisions based on data, not just your desires or your dreams, which I think is a really good point, too. Really following the market and figuring out what the market wants from you is important. Yes, your desires can still play a role and what you aspire to do is important, but sometimes we ignore the data and what’s right in front of us. I know I did that for a while when I was like, “Oh, I really want to start a business, but I don’t know what to do.” Meanwhile, I was writing copy for multiple people, but I just hadn’t called myself a copywriter yet. So the data was in, and people were asking me for website copy, yet I could not see it, and I was confused. So we all have that type of data available to us. Where are we possibly overlooking it or not seeing what’s right in front of us to help us make those decisions?
Rob Marsh: That goes right along with what she was saying just a little bit later when she talked about the TikTok challenge, how she was showing up as a copywriter and talking about copy, and people were not resonating with that title, with that message. But as she started talking about customer journey strategy, that kind of thing, now people start responding, and so looking at that data and then being willing to show up as something else. She was talking partly about putting on that mask or that uniform, the title of copywriter you or strategist you, as opposed to whatever you are in your personal life. That uniform or that costume that you get to put on and show up in a different way in your business, I think can be a really powerful idea that helps you show up maybe a little bit differently than you would normally, but in a way that helps your clients get to where they need to go.
Kira Hug: In real life, I am grumpy and strict, and I’m not a whole lot of fun, so I have to make Copywriter Kira a little more fun in order to keep everything running. So I resonated with that idea. It’s like, we can create this persona and really step into it, and it’s okay. It is okay to do that. It helps to do that.
Rob Marsh: Todd Herman’s book, The Alter Ego Effect, I think is all about how to do that, how to make that work for you. It’s a really good resource if anybody wants to check that out, too.
Kira Hug: Do you feel like Copywriter Rob is different than Rob Rob?
Rob Marsh: That’s a good question. I don’t think so, but I don’t know, maybe. I think Podcaster Rob is a little bit different from Real-World Rob. I don’t know. We should hire some cameras to follow us around in our real lives and see. All right, we’ve been talking enough. Let’s get back to our interview with Tara and find out how she manages her time.
Kira Hug: Can you talk to us a little bit more about what you’re doing in your business with your clients today? I think you mentioned you have two clients, and you’re focused on the funnel. How do you make it all work together? Because two clients can feel like a lot, especially if you’re working 20 hours and keeping your hours limited. How do you make it all work?
Tara Lassiter: Well, up until recently, I was working 10 hours, which was even harder, so I would alternate weeks. That was just the easiest thing to do and to create a deliverable that was due for each week. Sometimes I would wake up super early to give myself extra time on top of that 10 hours. But I’m really big into outlining the process beforehand, so I know the transformation that they need to go through and I know the steps that I need to go through, and I literally just check them off the list. I have everything that I do now as in Asana. When I have a new project, if I’m creating an offer, if I’m creating a funnel, I have a visual representation of all of the steps that are necessary, and I can just copy them into a new project and check those off the list. That helps keep me on task.
I love Brain.fm. I love locking my door and telling my kids, “All right, this is what you can do for this time. Mommy’s working.” My husband works from home, so it helps too. They know if the door is shut and they hear talking not to barge down the door.
The other thing for the client is just staying in contact. I like to color code things, usually like ROYGBIV, and I’ll break all of the processes into different colors, say we’re in the research phase, in the outline phase. Anytime I’m shifting phases, I’ll just put it in colors in the bottom of the email so they know where we’re at. So everything will be black. But then, let’s say, research and then planning is second planning, planning will be orange, and I turn that one orange so they know, “This is where we’re at and this is what I need from you.” I try to over-communicate. Fridays are follow-up Fridays. “This is what I did this week. These are my plans for next week or the week after that,” if I’m skipping a week, “and this is what I need from you in that week’s time so that when it’s time to work on your business, I’m ready to go.” That has really helped me.
Rob Marsh: I love hearing about that from the process side. I’m curious if we flip it around, as you sit down to work with a client, what exactly are you creating for them? What’s your thought process as you’re sitting down to write the copy and figure out the strategy for them?
Tara Lassiter: It took me a while to realize that copy was a tactic but it wasn’t the strategy. I had to learn to separate them. That copy fits into a plan, but it isn’t the plan. So, someone who needs copywriting, they don’t have a plan, so you have to create the plan first. That’s my favorite part anyway. I usually create a presentation in Canva, and I copy and paste it because I’ve used it now a few times, and I walk them through creating an offer. It could be a digital offer. It could be a service. I have an e-commerce client right now, so it might be the next iteration. Now it will be spring products that she would put in her store.
Then creating the journey for the customer visually, so this is their traffic services. If you’re a service provider, let’s say you chose LinkedIn, TikTok, and a podcast for this quarter, and now once they’re here, how are we going to get them to the client? I make a visual representation of it and make sure that we don’t miss any steps. So if they hear you at the end of the podcast, what is the call to action? Where do you want them to go? Then when they’re there, what do you want them to do? Then that’s where copy fits in because it’s what converts them at each stage of that process. But the plan is the big part. It’s like, what are we doing? Where do we want them to go? Where are they now? How do we want to bring them from unaware or problem aware to most aware and to client and having a very clear plan for how to bring them there? Oh, that’s my favorite part.
Kira Hug: What advice would you give to a copywriter that’s listening and might want to become more of a strategist but feels anxious, isn’t quite sure what to do to lean into that piece of it? What are one or two things they could do to show up as a strategist with their clients?
Tara Lassiter: More discovery calls, so as many as you can do. Really practice on discovery calls, listening to what people need because they’re not going to say, “I need…” Typically, even if they say, “I need a sales page,” they’re saying it for a reason: “I need a sales page to sell this.” Then you can go into your copyright brain and you can say, “All right, I know what a sales page is capable of, but what are the other things that support that copywriting asset to help them reach their goal?” So starting to think about the big picture about the copywriting that you can do around what they’re asking you to give them resources that go beyond what they’ve asked for.
I think also you have to be willing to talk to the clients in a way that is… I always say, “This is your business and you can make whatever decision you want, but in my opinion, based on my expertise, this is what I would suggest.” Then you start changing from someone who’s taking orders to someone who’s short-cutting all of those ideas and tactics and all the things swirling around in their heads.
I also like to take it a step further. I like to create without asking, “I noticed you’re doing a sales page. Have you thought about these, these, these, these things?” I’m the queen of hyperlinking in a Google Doc articles that show why those things are important so that I can upsell them on the things that they need but don’t know they need and showing why they should push that to the top of the pile. So it really just takes initiative. If you’re listening to their problem, you can find the solutions before they ask you for them, and then you’re a strategist.
Rob Marsh: What other things have you done in your business to help you grow? You mentioned the Accelerator.
Tara Lassiter: Yes.
Rob Marsh: You’ve talked about some of the experiences that you’ve built on. What other things have you used to leverage and to go where maybe you wouldn’t have been able to go a year ago?
Tara Lassiter: The biggest change started with the TCCIRL. I was there with Kelsey, another Accelerator member. We decided we were going to create a free Think Tank just like some of the members on the panel did. We also chose Lenay, which is another… I know she’s in a Think Tank now, a real Think Tank, paid Think Tank. We’re on Marco Polo every day. We text every day, and we hold each other accountable. We do strategy sessions and breakout sessions with each other, and we encourage one another to take risks and to make decisions. We create deadlines for one another. We really collaborate because that was the missing link.
Once I became a copywriter who knew other copywriters, everything changed. I was able to get clients. I was able to get referrals. I was able to have someone look over my copy when I was like, “This is a little wonky and I don’t know why. What’s going on? You have more experience. Would you mind looking at this?” I think we really underestimate the power of having a network. There’s someone who knows the answer to every question that you have. Put yourself in spaces to connect with those people and find your favorite people. Everybody doesn’t have to be your favorite, but if you can get depth in those relationships, it’ll pay you in droves.
After TCCIRL, I did tons of coffee chats. I worked with Rebecca Gunter doing positioning. I drove down to Jude’s house while my family was going to the beach, and we did a whole strategy session, and he helped me with my business. Now he’s like my little brother. So I just really… in my own introverted way because I needed to be very one-on-one. I wasn’t ready to be on a platform. I was just like, “Hey, will you be my friend? Will you help me out? Can we talk more? Can we talk outside of Zoom so that I don’t feel like we have to be all dressed?” That’s what really, really helped is developing relationships and deepening my network. That’s something that I will continue to do year after year. I know I will always be in some kind of group program. I will always be going to TCCIRL and other live events because that’s what changed my business.
Kira Hug: I wonder if there’s some advice you have about how to, I don’t like the word leverage, but leveraging those relationships. Because I also know of a lot of copywriters who do have strong relationships with other copywriters, especially coming out of the Accelerator program, but they don’t always tap into those relationships and ask for help or even just show up. I don’t mean use your friends, don’t use your colleagues, but show up and ask for what you need when you need it. I think there’s a missing opportunity there for a lot of copywriters who already have a network. So what would you suggest they do so they can ask for help when they need it?
Tara Lassiter: I think giving first. I think the easiest thing to do is ask if there’s anything that you can test, you can look over, you can help with, and I mean unpaid. You’re not asking for work, but you’re saying, “Hey, is there something that I can take off your hands?” I’m also a big fan of asking to shadow. The worst they can say is no. “Hey, I’m really confused about this process and you’re doing it already. Can I look at your recording to see what you did? If you don’t feel comfortable with me being on with a client, which totally makes sense, but I know you have it recorded because we record everything on Zoom, can I see what you’re doing? I promise I won’t tell anyone.” You know what I mean? Offer a testimonial…
Kira Hug: I’ll sign an NDA. I’ll do that.
Tara Lassiter: “I’ll sign an NDA, but can I just take a peek?” I think with my background being in acting, I’m not really afraid of no, because I can’t book every job anyway. So that’s something that helps me. The worst you can say is no. I’m also really willing to do whatever I can to help. So if you want to swap, “Hey, I’ll write your welcome sequence. I’m really good at emails. If you can teach me what you do, I will write your welcome sequence.” Barter. You have to realize that there’s give and take, but everyone has something to offer. You have a network. You have skills. You have an opinion. You have perspective. Think about the things that you have to offer and then offer them, and then that’ll make you feel better when you’re asking for something.
Rob Marsh: I think that’s great advice. As we’re getting started in the new year, what are you doing in your business next? What is the thing that you’re most excited about?
Tara Lassiter: I’m so excited. I created a VIP day format that is all offer strategy. I call it a spotlight. It’s to help you go from idea to plan. We meet together for one day, and then I have a report that’ll take about a week for me to compile. It has resources and a complete customer journey. I like to take into account not only is this the offer, the skills that you have in the audience that you want, but my personal perspective is that the thing that’s usually missing is your lifestyle and the liabilities, like the things that are non-negotiable in your life.
So I take those things into account as well to help you create either… If you’re looking for a digital product, let’s create the right digital product for you, and let’s name it because I love frameworks and naming things. Or if it’s your signature offer, let’s create the signature offer that fits your lifestyle. If you’re someone like me who only has 10 hours a week, you can’t have a signature offer that takes four weeks. You don’t have that. So let’s find something that fits not only your skills and your expertise and your audience, but you, your life, how much you need to make, those things.
So really just doing a deep dive over Zoom, work-shopping out all those ideas, and then I package it into something that you can present to the world in a complete funnel because so many copywriters don’t have funnels. That’s why we hear people say, “I’m on social media and I don’t know what’s happening.” Well, it’s because that’s only one part of the funnel that’s just traffic, but it’s not conversion. So we have to add the rest of the funnel to complete that process so that you can bring clients from your social media to the next stage.”
Kira Hug: That sounds like the perfect offer for you, especially the naming part. I just remember being around you at TCCIRL, and you had all of these brilliant names, so I feel like-
Tara Lassiter: Thank you.
Kira Hug: … you’re my go-to person for naming.
Tara Lassiter: Oh, thank you.
Kira Hug: My last question related to Accelerator, you’ve shared so much about your experience in this program, but what surprised you the most? What were you not expecting that you’re like, “Oh, they should have told me that I was going to get this because that’s kind of nice”?
Tara Lassiter: How much we would interact with each other? That was the hidden gem. I’m like, “Oh, I have all of these…” People who are in the Accelerator are so cool. They have so many cool stories, backgrounds, their last jobs, their families, their homes, even their offices. I just got to meet so many cool people. Then we keep coming back together. Every time there’s a live Zoom for our next event, and you’re deepening these relationships with coffee chats and with your breakout groups and all of these things, that was the hidden gem that it was like, “Oh, you have a network.” When you’re on LinkedIn, these are people that are going to like your posts. When you have a new offer and you want to test it, these are the people that’ll go behind the scenes and make sure your Dubsado’s not all wonky. So it’s the people. I knew I was going to get a plan, and you talk about the plan. You didn’t let me down on that. But I just didn’t realize how much having the other Accelerator members was going to change me and my business for the better.
Rob Marsh: It’s funny that you say that because a lot of people mention that. Almost everybody mentions that that’s the number one takeaway, but it’s never the thing that people are looking for when they jump in. It’s always, “I need help with my business. I need help to grow.” The two are definitely related. Yeah, that’s good to see. You mentioned that you love frameworks a couple times.
Rob Marsh: Let’s talk about your framework. You’ve got a framework.
Tara Lassiter: I have lots of frameworks. I’m always; this is my thing.
Rob Marsh: Choose a favorite.
Kira Hug: How many frameworks? What frameworks do you have?
Tara Lassiter: I don’t have a number. I can look through my notes. I know there’s at least 10 I’ve created. I was on AMPED for a little bit, which was analysis, messaging, positioning, experience, and design. That’s the process that I take a client through when I’m creating their offer. I’m work-shopping now the four L’s for that VIP day, which is, I know I said already, lifestyle, liabilities, your lexicon, and your list. So those are the things that I’m trying to spotlight to help you go from idea to offer to plan, and then present that to the world. When I was doing e-commerce, I loved CLAPS and clients really liked that. What is CLAPS?
Kira Hug: Oh, I like that one.
Tara Lassiter: CLAPS? That was how to get your audience to basically clap for your products in the e-commerce world. That was-
Kira Hug: Who doesn’t want claps, right?
Tara Lassiter: Right.
Kira Hug: I want all the claps.
Tara Lassiter: It was customer obsession, long-term commitment, alignment, partnerships, and then the S actually was a four-part. It was your stories, your sequences, your socials and your SMS, so all your messaging.
Rob Marsh: Like CLAPSSSS.
Kira Hug: That’s good.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I like it. It’s interesting. Obviously, this stuff comes pretty easily to use as you figure it out or you think through processes. Why, though? Why do you lean on frameworks, and how do you use them in your business?
Tara Lassiter: Because I sit down to my laptop and I forget what I’m supposed to do. It’s like, “What is my job again? What are you doing? What did you say you were offering them?” So it gives me something tangible. For the e-commerce client, you said you were going to help them get CLAPS, so how are you going to get their audience clapping? Then I could go through each of those letters and make sure that I wasn’t missing any part of the process. Or for the four L’s for the VIP days, it’s like, “These are the things you said you were going to focus on. Did you cover them in this workshop? If you did not, we need to go back and make sure you cover them.”
So it’s more so just like insurance for me because it helps me stick to the process. When on days where I have brain fog or I’m scatterbrained or I’m distracted or overwhelmed or however I might feel, it just helps me to solidify my thoughts around a process so that I can clearly, in my messaging, tell them, “This is the process that we’re going through.” Then in the process, stick to the process and not try to reinvent the wheel and miss out.
Kira Hug: That makes sense. The frameworks, they’re a sales tool. It’s for the client to help them have confidence in us. But it’s also for us so we have confidence in what we’re doing. So it works both ways. I am curious what you struggle with today. Because we’ve talked a lot about so many things that you’ve done well and your new offer, but where are you today? What’s hard for you at this point?
Tara Lassiter: I don’t have any time, and I know a lot of people can relate to that. I really have mom guilt. I want to be the best homeschool parent ever. So we’re never home. We’re always at a museum or with a homeschool group or traveling somewhere. I really don’t want to sacrifice the relationships in my life for the sake of my business, but I also want to give my business my all.
That is the thing that I’m always trying to balance and remind myself that there are going to be days where you give 80% to your business and 20% to your kids, so you just take them to Disney World the next day. It’s what it’s going to be. That’s why you got annual passes. That’s what you do. That’s just how I achieve balance in the long term. Because on the day-to-day, it’s not going to be perfect. It’s not going to be pretty. Sometimes there’s a deadline. Sometimes I over-promised on how much I could accomplish in a certain amount of time. Sometimes people get sick, and then I can’t work. Just life happens. So it’s always just fitting it all in and forgiving myself for not sticking to the process when I can’t and just getting back on. Instead of sitting in that and feeling guilty, it’s like, “All right, it happened. We can’t change it.” How do I reassess and get back on track and then communicate, “This is what needs to happen now,” either to my family or to my client or even just to myself.
Rob Marsh: Just maybe a short question about finances and the time that you’ve had as you’ve grown your business. You’ve been doing this for a little less than two years as a full-time copywriter. Tell us a little bit about what that means from an income standpoint over the course of the last year or two and the impact that that’s had on your family, and knowing it also that you’re doing this in 10 hours a week, so it feels like that’s pretty incredible, actually.
Tara Lassiter: I’m not the breadwinner winner of my family, so I don’t pay any actual bills. My financial goals come from wanting to pay for extras, like I mentioned, Disney annual passes or vacations or pay off a car, or we just got a pool, things like that. So it’s more so I’ve been able to pay debt. I am now paying off a pool that we just got finished a month ago, those kinds of things. Also not having to put my kids into aftercare and summer camp and all those things. So I save a lot of money that way because I can be present, and I can alter my schedule to work either early in the morning or late at night so that I can be present for them and do all of the things that my husband can’t do because he’s a lot busier.
Then money-wise, so I worked for not enough money, I can be honest, for a really long time. Especially up until I did TikTok and Upwork, I was willing to do a resume for a hundred bucks because I just was adding it to the pot. I wasn’t trying to pay a mortgage. I just wanted to keep my skills up. But now that I’ve gone through the process and I have a signature offer, I’ve been able to really raise my prices. So I’m excited to see what happens next year because a sales page pays a heck of a lot more than a resume. Now I have the skills to do that confidently and to create that entire journey that can make someone potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t move the needle. I’m not at six figures. I’m not there, but I have the time and freedom necessary, but next year I want them to have that.
Rob Marsh: I actually appreciate you sharing that because I think that so many people want to talk about money, and it’s this amazing thing. For a lot of us, sometimes we just need the things that cover the extra expenses so that we have the freedom to do what we want. So seeing that side of copywriting as a vehicle for freedom as opposed to a vehicle for tons of income or whatever, it’s good to see that.
Kira Hug: Also the value behind being able to teach your children at home and be with them. That is priceless. That’s what you’re able to do. That’s incredible. I am curious, what is your tip for dealing with conflict with children? How do you handle it as a homeschool teacher? Because my two kids right now are going at it all the time because they’re so close in age. How would you deal with that as a teacher?
Tara Lassiter: Make them tired. It’s time to swim. It’s time to play soccer. I have been known… I hope this doesn’t sound like child abuse, but I will make my kids do jumping jacks.
Kira Hug: No, it sounds great.
Tara Lassiter: Okay, all right. I will make them smile. I used to have to do that when I was a cheerleader. We used to have to smile and do jumping jacks. So I will make them smile and sing and do jumping jacks, whatever I can do to make them either physically or mentally tired. For my daughter, it’s going to be a page full of counting money worksheets. Sometimes she’s just at her brother’s neck, and I’m ripping out the worksheet, “Just do this. Go to your desk in your room.” But really making sure they’re mentally and physically too tired to bicker because they’re going to bicker. But once they are, I just feel like it’s because they’re bored. So it’s like, “Okay, oh, you need something to do? Let’s clean the garage. Let’s clean your bathroom. Let’s do jumping jacks. Let’s do laps. Let’s run. Let’s run around the block. Let’s walk the dog,” whatever it is that I can get them out of that environment and into another space where they’re going to get tired. Tired kids are happy. That’s my thing. I’m always trying to tire them out.
Rob Marsh: More good advice. My final question for you before we run out of our hour here. If you could go back in time, Tara, and give yourself some advice, maybe you’re going back two years so just starting out your copywriting career, what would you tell yourself to do differently or to do faster or some other change that might make your success even more enjoyable?
Tara Lassiter: I’m a big fan of daily pitch, daily challenge, how I did that TikTok challenge. I wish two years ago I would’ve started out with just cold pitches every day. Instead of just reaching out to my network, it still didn’t require me to do the website and LinkedIn and all those other things, but just gaining experience in that way instead of with something that was very narrow and I was already doing. Cold pitch, it doesn’t hurt anything. The worst they can say is no or not respond. So just cold pitch, a daily pitch, a daily tweet, just output, more and more output instead of input because I took every course, every course. I took every course. I read every book. All the master classes, all the challenges, I did all those things. I just wish I would’ve put them to work faster. Because as soon as I put them to work this summer, everything changed. I made more money, I got clients, and I got clarity on what I was good at so that I could move closer to what I really, really wanted to do. I didn’t know that before then. That only came after I started to do it. Just create and do and put yourself out there every day.
Kira Hug: That’s great advice to end this conversation on. Where can our copywriter friends go if they want to connect with you?
Tara Lassiter: My next challenge is going to be LinkedIn, so that’s what I’m working on. Yeah, LinkedIn, I’m Tara Lassiter. That’ll be the next place where I’m taking the things that I learned from TikTok, adding video, but really just doing output and creating an audience there. That’s my next challenge. So they can meet me there, and we can have fun.
Kira Hug: All right, we will meet you on LinkedIn. You shared so much great advice today. I’m taking a lot away from this conversation. So thank you for showing up and being part of the Accelerator and really fully showing up and engaging with the community. We couldn’t ask for more than that. So thank you, Tara.
Tara Lassiter: Thank you.
Rob Marsh: You’re amazing, Tara. Thank you.
Tara Lassiter: Oh, no. You two are amazing. It’s a privilege and an honor, and it just changed my life. So I’m just so grateful to both of you. Thank you.
Kira Hug: That’s the end of our interview with Tara. But before we wrap, there are a few more things we want to cover because we love this interview and we want to talk more. I’m going to start with, so many of the ideas that Tara talked about are visual. So as a visual person, this really resonated with me, and I think there’s some ideas that anyone listening who’s also a visual person can pull into their business. One of them is color coding her processes, I think she mentioned Asana, I’m not sure where she’s using her project management tool, but creating a color for each stage of the process, each part of the framework so that Tara always knows where she is in a project and the client always knows where they are in the project. I think something as simple as that could go a really long way to help the client feel confident in you as a service provider.
Then she also mentioned how, as a strategist, she’s always thinking about the big picture and the plan. She said copy fits into a plan, but copy is not the plan. So I think it’s brilliant that she develops a cohesive plan for her projects before she jumps into the copy, and she develops it through a visual platform. She uses Canva. How wonderful to be able to present a plan to your client, a visual plan, to get a sign off and to get that boost of confidence, to get them to feel really excited about a project and the game plan before you even get into the weeds and start writing the copy. Again, I pulled away a lot of details about how she thinks visually that I know I could use.
Rob Marsh: That idea about copy fitting into the plan, it’s not the plan, or copy is a tactic, it’s not a strategy, got me thinking about business strategy goals are often confused for strategy where we say, “Yeah, we want to make $100,000 this year, or I want to work with such and such clients this year.” That’s not a strategy either. In fact, most businesses, corporate America, the corporate world, whatever, don’t actually have strategies. They confuse goals or mission statements for their strategy. They’ll say things like, “We’re going to grow in order to continue growing,” not necessarily in those words, but that’s what their mission statement will say. Or, “We’re going to be the best at something,” without actually talking about how or what they’re doing differently and how that compares to their competitors, how they help their customers achieve something different, what they’re going to be doing in various economic circumstances. All those things that actually play into a strategy we kind of forget, and copy is one of those. I’m going to start a copywriting business. That’s the first part. But how are you going to succeed takes a strategy? It’s something that takes a lot more thought than just saying, “Well, I’ll go find some clients, and I’ll write good copy and we’ll call it good.”
Kira Hug: She offered some tips to help us really step into that strategy role, especially if it doesn’t come naturally but you’re still interested in it. It could be as simple as practicing on discovery calls. On your sales calls when you’re talking to someone, maybe even a friend or colleague who’s interested in what you do, putting on the strategist hat or more of a consultant hat and asking questions and allowing yourself to maybe even ask new questions or even ask bolder questions or dig into their numbers. I think the more that we can practice that in a safe place, which I guess you could argue a sales call is not the safest place, but it also could be because you can book as many of them as you want, that could help you really lean into feeling like you’re a strategist and you understand what’s happening in their business.
Rob Marsh: That is easily the starting point. If you don’t understand the business, if you’re not getting that information upfront, it’s really hard to have a strategic impact. You can still write the copy. You can still make everything sound nice. But really helping them to grow their business, to change their business in some way and having a much bigger impact is a lot harder if you’re not figuring that stuff out on the discovery calls or when you’re chatting with your clients.
Kira Hug: Tara also shared an idea that I thought was so good about upsells. She mentioned that she will hyperlink in Google Docs. I don’t know if it’s in her copy Doc, but she’ll send a hyperlink to different articles, and maybe this is part of a plan, I’m not quite sure, but articles that support the ideas that she’s sharing with her clients and ultimately upsell them into the things that they need but they don’t know they need. I think that’s such a great idea to provide proof of what else they could benefit from through articles that you’re pulling together. It’s not even just saying, “Well, I think you need this,” but it’s like, “Here’s what’s happening in the industry, here’s what your competitors are doing, and here’s proof that it actually works. So let’s give it a go.” That’s something that I have not done myself, but I think it’s super smart.
Rob Marsh: I haven’t shared that many articles. I think this is a great tactic for accomplishing her strategy in her business, which is to work more with the clients that she loves. If we’re working with clients… Well, the hardest thing about running a copywriting business is finding the next client. So if you’ve got a client that you like, why not take the opportunity to say, “Hey, now that we’ve finished up this email sequence, we could also do something with your About Page, or we could create some content for your blog, or you might need a sales page for this product that you’re going to be launching in a few months.”
Showing up and starting to suggest it before your client starts saying, “Oh, yeah, we’re going to need this,” it has a couple of really good effects. One, you might get more work. Two, oftentimes the rush and the deadlines are caused because a client gets to the point where they’re like, “Oh crap, I need this,” because nobody was thinking about it earlier on. If you’re showing up in that role that we’ve been talking about, the strategist, this helper, this problem solver, you can help them get to those points earlier on, give yourself more time to do things well.
Kira Hug: One more thing that Tara’s doing well that she mentioned, and I hope it doesn’t get lost in the conversation, is that we were talking about developing relationships, which she has done well. She mentioned that sometimes she’ll just ask someone, “Hey, can I shadow you?” That may mean, “I want to learn how you run your sales call, so can I watch a recording of a sales call?” Maybe it means, “Can I jump into another meeting with you to see how you present copy to a client?” Whatever it is, I think that is such a great question, especially if you do have other copywriters you’re connected to. This is the benefit of connecting to other writers is that you can ask them and you can see how other people are doing it. Then you can figure out, “Well, does this work for me or how can I adjust that?” But I feel like that’s a question that most of us want to ask, but we don’t even think we have permission to ask it, so we just don’t ask it. Tara’s bold enough to just put it out there, and that’s how she’s been able to learn so quickly.
Rob Marsh: What’s the worst that can happen? Somebody says no, and you’re in the same place that you were before. So this is the value of having good peers, good mentors because you can reach out to them and learn from them on these things that you want to know more about.
Kira Hug: I would ask you, Rob, if I could shadow you in your calls, but I feel like I’m already on all the calls with you.
Rob Marsh: You already are.
Kira Hug: I guess we’re shadowing. We are each other’s shadow.
Rob Marsh: You definitely don’t want to follow me around. Yeah, who knows? There are definitely some people I can think of that I would love to shadow and see what they’re doing in their business and maybe even sometimes in their personal lives to accomplish. That’s partly why you and I have joined some people’s programs. It’s because we know they’re doing something well. We know they’ve accomplished something that we would like to do similarly. Let’s figure out what it was that they did. Let’s join their program. We’ve been in three or four Masterminds. Of course, we’ve been through some copy training and all kinds of different things that we’ve done because we want to learn from others. It’s just a great way to advance your business, ask people if you can follow them. Or maybe don’t even ask. Just join the programs and figure out what they’re doing.
Kira Hug: The last note I want to hit on is the parenting advice that Tara shared with me. That was really helpful and I have implemented it. I had asked how to… I forget the exact question. It was basically like, “My kids keep fighting. What do I do?” Tara said I should make them tired, tire them out, which I thought was great advice. So I have been doing that and just getting them involved in more sports. I am making Harper run with me. So the plan is working. I just wanted to report back to Tara and say, “Thank you. It’s working.”
Rob Marsh: It’s good advice. Make your kids tired. For me, I just feel like, man, my kids are making me tired. I got to reverse that trend in some way.
Kira Hug: Right, exactly. We want to thank Tara Lassiter for joining us on the podcast today. If you’d like to connect with her, you can find her at her website, taralassiter.com. She’s also on LinkedIn. We’ll link to both of those places in the show notes. If you want to take action like Tara did and grow your copywriting business, you might want to join the Copywriter Accelerator waitlist. The program opens up later this week, so it’s coming up fast. You might not want to miss out if you want to build your business with us over the next five months. We will also link to that waitlist in the show notes.
Rob Marsh: We’re looking for copywriters who want to be like Tara and really start to grow. If you want to listen to other conversations like this one, you can check out Episode Number 157, we interviewed Laura Lopuch about cold pitching, and Episode Number 269 with Lindsey Walker all about overcoming rejection and pitching yourself with confidence. They’re great episodes. Be sure to check them out.
Kira Hug: That’s the end of this episode of the Copywriter Club podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro is composed by copywriter and songwriter, David Muntner. If you enjoyed this particular episode, please visit Apple Podcasts to leave your review of the show. Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next week.