TCC Podcast 25: What Matters Most with James Wedmore - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast 25: What Matters Most with James Wedmore

Business guru and YouTube expert James Wedmore stops by the podcast to share his thoughts about creating a tiered business that brings in income at various levels and price points, how copywriters could be using YouTube to grow their audiences, what he would do if he were a copywriter wanting to create a course, and using the formula “Be, Do, Have” to build a life around the things that matter most. If you struggle to balance work with the rest of your life, this is a must listen episode. Check it out:

Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

Think and Grow Rich
James’ Podcast
Stu McLaren
Wishlist Member
Inner Circle Mastermind
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Outro: Gravity

Full Transcript:

Rob: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes, and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.

Kira: You’re invited to join the club for episode 25 as we chat we online marketing strategist, James Wedmore, about the power of creating courses, the value of masterminding with your peers, scaling up, and his ascension model.

Rob: Kira, James.

Kira: How’s it going?

James: Hello.

Kira: James, thanks for being here.

James: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. As soon as I found out about your podcast, I was like, “Please have me on.” I feel like I have to impose, like, “Please have me over for dinner.”

Kira: That was the only time I actually posted a promotion on Instagram for our show because I’ve been such a poor promoter on Instagram and I was so happy that you commented and wanted to be on the show. Here we are and I’ve worked with you. I’ve learned about how incredible you are and how you also attract this really amazing group of entrepreneurs and I know I’ve been able to think larger and think bigger about what I’m doing as a business owner through you and what you’re creating in the online marketing space. I think this episode particularly will help copywriters think a little bit differently about how they’re running their business or the direction it could go.

James: Yeah and thank you. I do feel like, to be a little braggadocious for a second, that I do attract really great people into my life, which is how I found you. I mean by the way, I do have a love hate relationship with Kira Hug.

Kira: What?

James: We’ll get to that in a minute. We’ll start with the love, we’ll end with the hate. I mean, we were like, “Hey, we need a copywriter.” It was first try and it was a home-run. Normally, when you’re looking for people to attract on your team and people to work with, you know, it’s a little trial and error but it was just a home-run and it’s been such a great experience to get to know you as a human being, as a copywriter, and man, I hope we can get into this episode just what my experience inside of has been working with you. Here’s the hate side …

Rob: There’s wait … I’m taking notes.

James: Yeah, get your pens ready. I’m going into my 10th year of an online business. When I started, I was the stubborn, cocky, I can do it all myself, I got this kind of person. Copywriting was the last thing to really outsource, delegate, and let go of. I’d been doing it for myself for nine years. I think that was the first thing that you even commented on like, “Wow, you’ve been doing your own copy for this long?” The reason I did my own copy was because I thought I was good at it and I think your first draft of what you put together for us made me see just how much I suck at writing copy.

Now, I secretly resent you for that. I really … I was like, “Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous. My own stuff, my own stories, and someone else can come in, in two weeks and say it better than me.” That’s just kind of how it goes, I guess.

Rob: They’re going to put on an ad for copywriters everywhere, James. You know, clients everywhere, listen to this because sometimes we know what we’re doing.

James: Sometimes.

Kira: Not always but every once in a while.

James: I mean, I will say, here I am teaching how to sell and package your content and your knowledge and reach people all over and I’m not a good copywriter. I’m not. I know how to write but that doesn’t make me a great copywriter. I can talk strategy and stuff like that but at the end of the day, the skill of copy is really what I see as the foundation for it all. That you can have the right strategy, you can have the right platform and popularity, and all that other stuff but if you don’t have that copy piece down, nothing else, in my opinion, really matters.

I did get by up until now with good enough. I think that’s better than most people. If you were to ask me, “Well, what do you see as some of the biggest mistakes people are making out there, entrepreneurs or freelancers or anybody who’s trying to market themselves today?” They don’t know copy. They don’t. So, there’s such a need for it, oh my goodness, and I just want to shout it from the rooftops.

Kira: Well, and that’s interesting that you said you’ve been able to get by writing your own copy, so you’ve been doing something or a lot of things right to get by for this many years. Can you just give everyone listening some context, especially people who may not know who you are, as far as an overview of your entrepreneurial journey and your pivot as well?

James: Yeah. It started in … Well, I went to film school so I had that background and the way I paid the bills through film. I mean, I went to college and there was a film program, it wasn’t just film, that was my emphasis was film and actually screenwriting as well. To pay my way through college, I became a bartender. I graduate college and I kept bartending and I realized how much I hated my life and don’t want to bartend anymore. I did get fired from a bartending job and so I started bartending as like a freelancer. I started going to private parties and stuff and before I knew it, in about a year, I had built up a staff of 15 bartenders, cocktail waitresses, and servers. We had bar rentals and glassware and all these different things and I was serving all of Southern California.

I mean, that was just really cool and then of course, I’m like, “I can’t do this for the rest of my life.” Somehow, I came up with the craziest idea in 2007, which just seems like so long ago, to create an online, wait for it, bartending school. I was just like, “Oh, this is it. This is my million dollar idea. This is so amazing.” That was the gateway drug into this world of online marketing. I spent six months just creating the content, the course, the product, the training curriculum, the drink recipes, all that type of stuff. Then all of a sudden, it was like, “Okay, I got to make a website.” Then all of a sudden it was like, “You got to have a sales letter.” I’m like, “Wait, what?”

Then it’s like, “You got to have this thing called traffic.” What? It’s just been … I think that’s the experience that everyone has, right? They start with an idea and they have no idea all the things that they have to learn and master or execute on or have done for them to get the results that they want. That’s how it all started was I was selling an online bartending school but I was using, what made it all work for me, was I was using video and doing really cool stuff.

My first sale came in with someone who found me on a YouTube video that I had made. I put videos on YouTube. This is back now in 2008 where people had like flip cams. If you remember the flip cam, like pre-iPhone, right? You didn’t have a video camera, generation one of the iPhone didn’t have a video camera, it just had photo camera, if you remember that. This is like the time period that we’re talking about.

Kira: That’s crazy.

James: These kids don’t know how lucky they have it. These darn kids.

Kira: So hard.

James: So hard for us. I was putting these videos on YouTube. I was putting videos on the sales page. I turned the course into a video course. Every conference I went to, everywhere I went, everyone just kept coming back, like people I met and I’m showing them my bartending stuff, and they’re like, “How’d you make that video? How’d you do this?” I just felt natural entrepreneurs always see what the opportunity, listening to the market, I’ve seen the demand and I was like, “Oh, they need this. This is something they need.” That evolved into me teaching online video from teaching YouTube, to how to sell in a video, how to build your list with a video, how to create an online course with video, all of that. A suite of 12-13 different courses and online membership, online virtual boot-camps, in person workshops, and we built a seven figure business just around pairing entrepreneurs and business owners with the power of online video for different strategies.

Obviously, even at the core of that is copy. It’s the words, the scripts. I mean, that’s where we spend most of our time is the words we say and how we say them in a video. I say I got good enough to just get by and Kira showed me how bad I really am at copy so, back to the drawing board.

Rob: James, while we’re talking about the video stuff that you built, I’m curious if you’ve got any ideas for copywriters who may want to use video to reach out to new clients or to an audience, to build an audience. I have a sense that not very many writers actually use video because we write, we’re using blogs or ebooks, that kind of thing. What should we be doing with YouTube or other video channels?

James: Yeah, so I follow a very simple … I think I’m a strategy person first, right? I follow a very simple strategy, which we just call the TLC method, which is traffic, leads, and then customers. When we’re looking at a scaled approach versus just a one-on-one approach, we’re always saying, “Well, how are we going to get traffic or eyeballs or cast a bigger net to bring people into our stuff?” There’s really two types of traffic. There’s what we call distraction traffic and search traffic. I started with search traffic, which for me, when it comes to search traffic and vide, that is YouTube. YouTube is a search engine and that’s the number one thing that people have to get is that people are going to YouTube in order to find the answers to their questions. YouTube is owned by Google so it’s a natural search mechanism. That’s the way it’s used primarily.

I built my business, my video training business around that principle. Understanding what questions people are asking and then turning that into a video on YouTube is a great way for new people to find you. The same way you might write a blog post but I feel like with blogs, people are really trying to come up with a great headline. You know a copywriter wants to come up with a great headline in that blog post to really get the reader’s attention. I always flipped that and said, “You have to optimize the video, if it’s going on YouTube, for the exact search terms that people are looking for.”

For example, if you wrote a great blog post like The Seven Massive Pitfalls to Copywriting or The Seven Biggest Mistakes Most Newbie Copywriters Make, that sounds like a decent headline. A copywriter might give me a B or a B- on that one. If we’re looking on YouTube and video, I’m going to give you an F on that. You don’t search that. You don’t go to Google or YouTube and say, “What are the seven mistakes that copywriters make?” You don’t do that.

Rob: Interesting.

James: You’re looking for something like best headlines, best swipe copy, or how to write a sales letter. Right? It’s usually the best cop-out is to start with a how to because that’s what people are doing. If you were to be smart enough to reverse engineer, if YouTube is what someone here would want to jump on, you reverse engineer my YouTube channel, my top videos, the videos with like half a million to a million views, all start with how to, how to make money on YouTube, how to make your first YouTube video. That’s because 60-70%, I think it’s about 65% of all views on YouTube are search driven. People are actively searching out answers to their questions. That would be the only way I would ever suggest YouTube if you’re using it for business.

Kira: That’s interesting, I never thought of YouTube as a search mechanism that we could use to answer questions from that perspective. To jump back into your story, you’re addressing video and how you built your million dollar business on that but then more recently you’ve pivoted your business. Can you talk about that pivot and why it happened and what you’re doing now?

James: There’s the external reason and there’s the internal reason. The external reason was that I did a joint venture affiliate. I was an affiliate for somebody else. It was really how to do what I’m doing. Creating your own online empire and personal brand selling your content, your knowledge. I’m a teacher by heart, like everything comes down to me loving to teach. I can get by on that. Where I suck at copy, I can over-deliver on great content, value, and effective teaching style. I’ve always loved that. I promoted somebody else and it tanked. The offer just tanked and it was like one of the worst promotions I ever did and I was like all up in arms about it, really frustrated, really angry. I just said, “Okay, where’s the lesson in this?” I looked and I looked and read the emails that were coming in and people were upset. The ultimate answer was they said, “We don’t want to learn this from someone else, we want you.”

Kira: Oh, interesting.

James: “I’m not here on your list for you to send me some …” I mean, this is what people are telling me and then I realized there were a lot of people on my list that were following me because they were trying to model me. They just wanted to see how I was doing everything. We finally said, “All right, fine. We’ll create our own product then.” There was the internal side as well that if you get really true down to the true core of what you want to do, I’ve always felt that teaching video was a side-stepping what I really wanted to do. The biggest question that people are asking themselves and repeating in that freaking monkey mind head of theirs every day is like, “Who am I to be doing this? Someone else is already doing it, what makes me special or different? What if people don’t think I’m good enough.” You know, those are things that we all deal with, and if you say you don’t then you probably lie about other things too.

For me, I had to get really truthful and say that video was kind of my way in. It was my almost bait and switch. Right? I was like, “Hey, you’re going to learn about video,” and as soon as they’d come in, I wanted to teach them everything else about business and marketing and growing your personal brand and video was just this word we put in front of everything. It was like video sales letter or video course. I finally just stepped into what I feel is my calling and my purpose and has had the most fulfilling experience for me, which is to just drop the video and just teach marketing and that was scary.

Oh my gosh, that was my own personal journey of having to do that and that’s really scary so, I live by a little quote or axiom that I came up with several years ago, which was inspire others through my actions. When I do get nervous or feel the resistance of fear of that next step in my journey, I always like to say, “Well, screw it. Let’s do it.” Feel the fear, do it anyways, right? That tends to help others because I get it. We all struggle with that at some level.

Rob: I love that story because with each pivot in your career, you’re going from one thing that you’re doing well to an application of that in a slightly different way but it sort of leads to the next one, so from bartending, to online bartending, to video, to now what you’re doing today. Tell us more about the consulting practice that you’ve built for yourself today and the ascension model and what that is doing for your clients.

James: Yeah, so about 13 months ago, I decided, “You know what, I want to do a mastermind.” It’s something I’ve always been just yearning for, for about three years. I’ve always been a part of mastermind … As a member I’ve always been a part of one for every year except one of my business career, I’ve been a part of it and I felt the difference, I saw the difference in my life in business. I was like, “I want to be in one,” so I signed up for one. I paid 35, $36,000 to be a part of a mastermind for the year. I said, “I’m going to start my own. This is the year I’m going to do it.” We filled out 12 spots and had to turn away people, application only and we filled it in three days.

The first meeting of this mastermind comes and it’s probably a longer discussion for some people that don’t know what a mastermind is and it’s beautiful, what it really is, you can’t put it into words. Napoleon Hill I believe is the first person to really use the word, coin the word, in Think and Grow Rich. I like to say it’s the coming together of multiple minds. It’s that 1+1=10. Right? That when a small group of like-minded individuals come together with the same goal, the same intention, the same desire, that extraordinary things can happen.

Ultimately, it’s about creating a safe space. We use a quote in there that says, “Leap and the net will appear.” The group is really the net that supports you taking that big leap in your life in business. Here I am, starting this mastermind, it’s our first retreat and people are … extraordinary people in the room. Just unbelievable people and they had so many questions like, “Hey, I’m about to do my first webinar, how do I do it?” Or, “How do I start my mastermind?” There’s all these how to questions and a mastermind should really be high level coaching, refinement, tweaking, and small tactics and strategies that can make a huge impact. I was like, “Oh my goodness, I need to go backwards and create the curriculum for this mastermind.”

A month later we created the beta version, the first version of this curriculum. That was how it was formed. We had a $25,000 mastermind. I was like, “Okay, what’s just the content that I expect everyone to know so that when they come into this mastermind they’ve got it?” That became Business By Design. That morphed into my signature program for anyone who is selling any type of content, knowledge, wisdom, etc. and they want to find a way to package it and sell it, whether it’s through online courses, group coaching, masterminds memberships, etc. To me, I like to say like, “You want to think beyond a course.”

I think there’s a real trend right now where everyone’s all about a course and then everyone’s got a course on how to sell courses. Then of course the saturation side is everyone is … I think can credit Kira for this, coursed the F out. Right? I like to really encourage my students to think beyond the course, to think of the ascension model, which is really what we did in reverse. Right? I can’t tell you the amount of people that are … I’m not trying to toot my horn. I’m trying to get something across into like when you really tap into the needs, the wants, of the marketplace, people are dying for this level of interaction and coaching and just eyes on their stuff. We turned away 16 people who were qualified and amazing and totally extraordinary people for this mastermind for round two.

I think I’ve had about six or seven additional people try and get in or ask about it just in the one and a half months since we closed it down, or closed down enrollment to it. I’m not trying to say, “Oh, our group is special.” I’m trying to say there’s a need for that. Yes, I want to encourage people to think bigger, to think beyond the course. Listen, the course is great because it’s passive income in some ways, I like to say passive active, but it’s also very scalable income and revenue. There is something to these higher ticket, higher level, what we would like to say a high touch offers and experiences that you can provide for your customers because they need it, they really do.

Kira: Well, I definitely know we want to get into the high touch, high level offers, but first, you mentioned that people have asked you, “Who am I to do this?” You focus on mindset, which is why Business By Design is successful and works for so many people because you address the mindset. I know you also address the mindset on your podcast, so that’s a big part of what you do. What do you say to people who ask you, “Who am I to do this? There are already so many courses out there, it’s already saturated. There are already other people teaching copywriting courses”? I know I’ve asked that same question. I know a lot of people have.

James: Well, the first piece, if you can sit there for a moment when you feel it coming up … See, the challenge with me is that I was a very left-brain logical black and white type person growing up. That’s kind of my default mode of operation, which is I think one reason why I’m, by the way, not good at copy. Human emotions just do not compute. For me, the whole who am I to do this didn’t really come up as an emotion, it came up as like logic. I liked to, especially on my podcast, hit people from both a logical cerebral side because people can talk themselves out of anything that they don’t want to do and say, “It’s not fear, it’s all these reasons right here and these are very logical reasons.” Then there are the people that feel it in their heart, they feel it in their gut. They’re just like, “I can hear myself say this and I know I’m meant to do this but I just can’t.”

The first thing I want to say is that there’s a huge cosmic joke if you really sit there and get this that if you’re sitting saying like, “Who am I to be doing this?” Or, “I don’t have enough expertise yet,” or, “I haven’t really made a name for myself,” or whatever, that’s what everyone is else doing too. Think about it, it really is hilarious, to me at least but I’m a little weird like that. That we’re afraid of being judged for who we are to put ourselves out there by a bunch of people who are all concerned about who they are to put themselves out there. Right? That’s what we’re afraid of. I’m just being honest.

Anybody who tells you that they haven’t had that fear or concern at some point is just … They’re lying to you. They’re lying to themselves. You’re not alone, that’s the first thing and I don’t think there’s ever enough you can do to avoid that fear. I can’t stress that enough and I don’t know if that’ll land for people but it is an illusion to really try and think that you’re going to get to your goals without going through the fear, like you’re going to try and go around it somehow or that it’s going to go away first and then we’ll give you permission.

When Rob was saying, “James, it’s really fascinating to see how you kind of,” and I call this the leap frog effect, “… to sidestep from one thing to next thing to the next thing.” I say like, “Yeah, that sounds nice, Rob, but it took me 10 years to get to what I truly believe I was meant to be doing,” because there were so many times that I didn’t really take the bigger leap. I just said, “Well, I’ll just do this next thing. Oh, I’ll just do bartending.” I’m like, “I’ll just make a little course on YouTube.” I could’ve been doing what I’m doing today much sooner but I did let a lot of fear hold me back from that of who am I and I haven’t done this long enough and then finally you just wake up and you’re like, “It’s now or never.” Right? That’s the first piece.

The second piece is really about the commitment to the customer. If you guys were to know me or see me, like if I could somehow get the high school version of me on this podcast as well …

Kira: Oh, that would be fun.

James: That would be fun, right? We’ll get in a Delorean, we’ll talk to him as well. You’d be like, “This is not the same person,” and it’s not. I went to a very small high school, it was only a hundred kids in our graduating class and no one knew me. I was the shyest, awkward, geekiest loser at the whole school. If I were to go back in time and say to that kid, “Hey, like one day you’re going to have a YouTube channel with millions of views and thousands upon thousands of people all over the world are going to know you, you’re going to speak on stage and in front of these big conferences,” I would’ve had a total panic attack.

The reason I share that is because the only way … There was no need or craving to be like, “I want attention. I want to be in the spotlight. I need to be popular on social media.” I’m so not about that at all. The only way that the transformation happened for me was at the first levels there was a desire for me to start my own business because I didn’t want to work for somebody else but the only way that I’ve been able to fuel that and stay here for 10 years, and boy in 10 years, the amount of people I’ve seen come and go and leave and disappear, the rise and fall of so many people, the only reason I believe I’m still here, I’m just the tortoise putting one foot in front of the other, is because the level of fulfillment and just the way I’m fueled, truly lit up by the first hand experience I have of the impact I can have in someone’s life.

If you’re led by that, if you just for a moment put your stuff aside, you just for a second stop worrying about what the world’s going to think of you or how dumb you’re going to look or how much you’re going to fumble on your first webinar and say, “Wait a second, there is one person out there, I know one person that needs this, that I can help, that’s going to resonate with me, my style, and my story, and if I can help that one person, it’ll all be worth it.” That’s the only way we go through the fear is if I can make it about them.

If I can make it about serving or helping, then we can at least lighten it enough to take that next step, that scary action item. Whether it’s launching your first course or doing your first webinar or doing a Facebook Live or sending out that email saying, “Hey, here’s what I’ve got. Here’s how to get it.” That’s what I do basically every day and it’s just like another layer of it, another level. Now it just becomes this fun game of like, “Cool, what else can I do? What else can I do? What’s next?”

Rob: James, you’ve worked with dozens, hundreds even, of program creators, entrepreneurs, who were launching products, courses, and whatnot, aside from setting aside the fear, what is the thing or what are the things that help those people to succeed? Is it enthusiasm, is it content, is it list size? Is there like this magical combination of things that you’ve found that really helps set a poor launch aside from something that’s super successful?

James: There are a lot of things and I do think we can put a label on this, say the secret ingredients. Why not, right?

Kira: Ooh.

James: Yeah, right? It’s very easy to write a blog post and say, “Seven steps to launching your first six figure program.” There are the seven steps. Let’s use the analogy of weight loss for a second. Yes, there’s always new developments and information coming out in the field and realm of weight loss but if you look at the stats, and I don’t know what the most relevant ones, but last I heard over 60% of the US population is obese or overweight. I don’t think we are struggling with a lack of information on how to lose weight. There are some very basic principles. There are other things that … We can’t say it’s alone people don’t know what to do. In fact, I think it’s quite the opposite. The number one thing that I hear is overwhelm.

Don’t get me started on the catch-22 of overwhelm and the origins of overwhelm. These are the type of things I like to think about and then share on my crazy podcast but people are overwhelmed because the way people have become successful online is through sharing content. So, what made people successful is producing content, whether it’s our awesome podcast or a YouTube video or a blog post and then people consume that and then all of a sudden, the people consuming it are now overwhelmed because they’ve had too much content and they’re being pulled in so many directions.

In one aspect, people are overwhelmed by what they think is the sheer volume of stuff they need to be doing. Every day, they’re hearing a new message saying, “If you’re not on Snapchat, you’re dead. If you’re not using this new fancy schmancy social media platform, your business is going to crash and burn.” Because I’m a strategy person, I’m a big fan of what we call, and I’ve heard other people say this too so I don’t know where we got it from, but the MVP, the minimum viable project or promotion, to really get back to the basics and have the most simple strategy as possible because there’s always so much you can do.

When we do a launch today, guys, and Kira probably saw most of this, there’s so many things that we’re doing like sharing case study videos, running a Facebook group, doing daily Facebook Lives, all these webinars, retargeting ads, video series …

Kira: It was amazing.

James: All these things and I can do it like a juggler with 10 balls like blindfolded like, “Da da da da da da da,” and it’s easy today. Someone else sees that, they’re like, “Oh my goodness, I couldn’t do one tenth of that,” and that’s because I started really simple. I think a simple, simple, clear sales strategy is a big piece of it. I think another big piece of it is patience and not fake patience. There is, there’s like, “I’m being patient.” It’s like, “No, you’re not.” When you say, “I’m being patient,” you’re actually not being patient. Think about that for a second. This is huge. For me, I remember the clear moment when I said, I decided, “This is what I’m doing with my life.”

I remember, guys, I remember going to a marketing conference and there was a bar … I mean, what a surreal moment, I’m at a marketing conference, I’m just getting going, I’m seeing results. I probably had my first plus 50, $60,000 year. I’m at this marketing conference, there’s a cocktail party, and what do I see there? A mobile bartender. There’s me at the bar. He goes, “What are you guys all here for?” I said, “Oh, it’s like a online marketing conference. This is just like the cocktail hour.” He goes, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard about that online marketing stuff,” this is like 2008. Right? He goes, “Yeah, that stuff doesn’t really work.” I was like, “Oh, really?” He’s like, “Yeah, I dabbled in it, didn’t really get any results.” I just smiled and took my drink and walked away.

That lesson only stayed with me. It’s like of course, if you dabble in anything, it’s not going to work. You know, people get lucky all the time but for me it’s always been a firm belief that there’s a level of commitment of burning the boats as they say, or throwing your hat over the wall. I think that’s just such an important piece of it. The patience is there but it’s the unwavering knowing, the conviction, that this is going to happen. My success is inevitable. The only thing standing in the way is number one, myself, and time. The amount of momentum that you can create through daily consistent action focusing on the right things, the most important things. You know Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, habit number two was begin with the end in mind.

We’re always looking at what is the result that we’re after and what is the 5% of activities that we can do that’s going to get us to that result quicker than anything else. Then there’s the last ingredient I would say, maybe two other ingredients, but I think confidence in yourself, which just develops over time. If you don’t feel like you have it, if you’re sitting there saying, “Who am I to be doing this?” Go help someone. Man, that’s the easiest way. If you’re a copywriter and you’re just getting started, go find someone who’s already got a bit of an audience, that’s already got momentum, that’s got something and be like, “Can I write this Facebook ad for you? Can I write this opt-in page headline, subject line, whatever for you?” And we just run a split test, like boom, instant testimonial, instant proof, instant confidence injection, right?

Then I think the last piece, this is something we talk about on the podcast, my podcast a lot, is asking. There’s a Zig Ziglar quote that I think it’s floated around that I think is misinterpreted is, “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll ultimately get what you want.” I’ve seen that so much where people are just so selflessly helping others and that’s so amazing and that’s great but then they build up this level of resentment. It’s like, “I don’t get it. I’m going around helping all these people, why aren’t they returning the favor? Why aren’t they giving back to me?” It’s because you got to ask and I think that’s a huge, huge piece.

Are you asking for what you want? That’s what an offer is. Right? Part of the offer is asking for what you want in return and not enough people are doing that. They’re afraid to ask, they’re afraid of a no, and I used to be, especially when it came to asking a girl out on a date. That’s another story but … I don’t know. There’s my rant on that. I hope that offers some clarity.

Rob: Of all the advice that we’ve heard over the last 25 episodes or whatever though, that to me, seems among some of the most valuable, you know, just because you do have to ask. Things don’t happen, very often anyway, where things just line up exactly the way you want them. You’ve got to go out and get it. I appreciate that advice, that’s fantastic.

Kira: James, you’ve alluded to the ascension model and mentioning the different high ticket level offers, are you able to share the different levels of this model and then maybe even where, speaking to a copywriter, where one-on-one services would fit into that model?

James: Absolutely. The ascension model is … I dabble, there’s that word, in guitar, which is why I’m not very good at it. If I was really committed to learning guitar, I’d be amazing by now, but I just dabble in it. Something I learned was when you play a note by itself or strum one string, pluck a string, you hear one sound. Then when you put your fingers on the fret board, and you play what’s called a chord, which is strumming a group of strings at once, you get a whole new sound. That’s the best analogy that I can offer with the difference or the distinction between having a course and having a suite of offerings, which follows what Kira’s referring to as the ascension model.

They can stand alone. When they all come together, there’s this harmonious cooperative play that they really have together. Hopefully, I can communicate this effectively. It starts by asking a series of questions that will allow for you to discover what those right offers are for you. I like to start at the free level. Whether this is your own podcast, like here we are listening to a podcast, or you guys are listening to it, or a YouTube channel, or a blog, or a Facebook group, there’s somewhere where your community can start to get their first dose of you. They can start learning and consuming at the free level. Once you have that, it becomes very easy to ask a question such as, “What is a complete A-Z system that I could provide for someone?”

When it comes to the world of copywriting and I started this episode with you guys saying how crucial, essential, I believe copy is to everything that we’re doing online. I think this is where it all comes from and people have lost sight of the very thing that created this opportunity in the first place, that copy permeates or penetrates every single area of everything we’re doing. I mean, you could create a social copywriting course, like how to write more effective posts on social media. You could have how to write a perfect sales video. You could have how to write higher converting Facebook ads. You could have an A-Z system on anything very specific and that could be an online course. That could be the, “Hey, this is the do-it-yourself version on how to write high converting online ads.” I’m just throwing out a crazy idea there.

Now, you’ve got your online course. Now, you get to ask a new question. You look at people going through that course, they’re watching your videos, they’re going through your worksheets, they’re taking action, they’re getting results. The next question would be, what can I do to help these students get the results they’re after quicker and easier? I don’t know what the answer is. The answer is different for everyone but it could be a coaching program, it could be an in-person retreat or workshop. I’m still waiting for Kira to do her in-person workshop and I’m going to take half my team there just to learn as possible. There’s so much copy that happens in our business, like a launch has 40-60 emails in it, and Facebook ads, any social post, I don’t have time to do it all and I don’t know if I can let Kira do it all. To be able to have someone on my team and be like, “Hey, can you just write this post real quick,” and they know exactly what to say is the most valuable thing to me.

To have an online workshop, a retreat, a group coaching program, something where there would be more interaction with Kira would be so valuable to me, to get us results quicker and easier. That’s the next one. This brings a level of high tier coaching, support, again, workshops, virtual or in-person. Now, if a mastermind is something that gets you excited, and it’s not for everybody, but that would be the next level. Again, as you go up the levels, the touchpoints, the value, that all goes up and so does the price. What does down usually is the number of people saying yes to these offers but that’s okay because the price goes up.

At the mastermind level, it’s a totally different game so we ask a totally different question, and it’s, “Who does my ideal customer aspire to become or aspire to be?” At the mastermind level, it really is less about, here’s all the content and training and stuff I know that I’m going to transport from my brain into yours and much more about creating a community of like-minded individuals that support each other. So, when you know what that like-mindedness is, you create the space and that container gets filled by the right people.

Then above that, for a copywriter, that’s easy, this is you. I always just write you at the top. That is, “What is the most valuable, genius thing, that gift that you provide?” This would be the one-on-one done for you service for a copywriter. It could be any variety of it, right? It could be like, “I’ll write your sales page.” It could be like, “Oh, we just do a review of all your website and all that stuff. We do like a copy audit.” I’ve always loved that idea or that concept of a copy audit. I sometimes just need someone to look at my stuff and change this ad, this, do this, boom. What’s important there is that, that’s got to be the most expensive thing, it really does, and everything then aligns underneath that.

Why I said if you put these all in order, why I said it’s now kind of like a guitar chord, is that what we’ve experienced so powerfully is this vortex, like a vacuum, where people start at the free level and they begin to aspire to get to the next level and the next level and the next level. One of my good buddies Stu McLaren, founder of Tribe, and wishlist member and teaches membership sites, talks about this concept of creating a customer success path within your programs. What I love talking about is creating a customer success path among all your programs. I got program A and I want to get enough results so that I can get into the coaching program or to the mastermind or so that I can finally afford to work with Kira one-on-one, that that becomes the goal, the focus, the trajectory.

If you think I’m making this up or this isn’t really landing for you, the most powerful firsthand experience I’ve had of this is when I have my own customers inside Business By Design taking pictures and putting them on Instagram of my mastermind group being on their vision board for next year. That’s my goal, this is my vision for next year is to be in James’ Inner Circle mastermind. What do you think that does for them? Their level of focus and their own accountability and motivation to continue taking action, to continue going through the program, to continue moving themself up that ascension ladder, if you will. That’s ultimately it. Did that make sense?

Kira: Oh, my goodness. That is so incredible and I’ve heard it before.

James: Yes, you have.

Rob: It’s a great formula for really re-thinking how a copywriter, or anyone else for that matter, approaches their business. There are so many different levels and I think too often we sort of lock in on the one that we’re really good at, where we’re the proficient operator, and so we just do that and we don’t ever let ourselves think bigger.

James: Yes. I think the smartest thing a copywriter could do right now is create a course on a very specific A-Z system for creating copy for something, like very specific. Instead of just a course teaching copy, I would love to see someone saying like a very specific copy applied to a very specific strategy, like a webinar or landing pages or follow up emails or like an email launch or a sales video or a video launch. Something like that where they just have the copy and it’s just like, “Oh, my goodness, I just wrote the copy for my entire launch or my entire follow up email sequence, or this three day promo or all my Facebook ads.”

I think copy itself can then become this super overwhelming thing where people are learning principles. I like to teach principles because the definition of a principle is it’s an unwavering truth. I’m not a big fan of people building their entire business on something that changes every three months. Things like human persuasion and influence and copy don’t really change but most people don’t get excited about that type of stuff. They want to go through a program and have something finished that they can “hold in their hands” and say, “Look what I did. I got my sales script for my video done, this is awesome. What’s next?” I just think that’s … There’s just huge opportunity there.

Kira: Well, James, we are out of time, which this has just flown by. I had so many other questions I wanted to ask you but …

James: You want to do lightning round real quick?

Kira: Okay. All right. Okay, I wanted to ask you about you surfing and having a life and the fact that you are not working constantly and I think there’s so much talk about the hustle and we get caught up in it. I know that you really value having a life beyond the business. If you could just speak to the fact that we don’t have to hustle constantly and kill ourselves.

James: Yes. I’m extremely passionate about this for multiple reasons, maybe we just answer this question because I don’t want to rush through this.

Rob: Yeah, it’s definitely not a lightning round question.

Kira: Apparently, I do not understand the concept of lightning round.

James: I just want to be like, “Yes, okay next question.”

Kira: Okay, skip that question and you’ll have to come back.

James: No, no. I want to answer it. I think this is a great thing to talk about and I want to give people permission to put themselves, their health, their happiness, their well-being, and fun first. If you got to know me, like Kira does, I love playing. I’m just a big kid. I have toys all over my office. I got … working on Legos right now and that’s a huge, huge, important thing for me. I don’t believe in the hustle. Here’s why, I call it the hustle denial. We are trained for at least 18 years, oh my God, you’re going to get me on a rant, 18 years of our life, to be what, an employee. That’s what school trains you to do, people, is to stand in line, do what you’re told, raise your hand to go to the bathroom. Seriously, I have to ask permission to go to the bathroom?

Now, someone says, “Hey, you can start a business,” and you have no skills, mindset, natural ability left in you because it’s all been trained out of you to on how to be an entrepreneur so we’re running our own business like an employee and the biggest indicator of that is that we have equated a direct correlation with the amount of work and effort with the amount of money we deserve, that’s called an employee. An entrepreneur, you have to break that model, that is a busted broken model in the world of entrepreneurship.

I call it the hustle denial because when it isn’t working, when things aren’t going your way, when you’re not seeing the proof, the profit, the revenue, the sales, what do we do? We work harder, we work longer, or what we do is we avoid the things that are scary, we talked about doing that scary stuff, we avoid doing that and we just put our head down and keep working on the stupid mundane BS stuff, that’s totally, we’ve convinced ourself logically, now I can only speak from personal experience first but I’ve seen plenty of other people do this, we keep our head down doing that stuff, convincing ourself, “Oh, I got to get through this and I got to get this code fixed and why won’t this plugin get installed?” When what we should really be doing is that hairy, scary, 5% of stuff, begin with the end in mind, that’s going to make the difference.

What are the 5% of activities that are going to produce 95% of the results in your business? Every person I’ve ever asked knows the answer to that for themselves but that’s not how we operate. We instead say, “Look at all these other things I have to do first.” The trap with the hustle is that when someone keeps saying that there is a direct correlation with how much you hustle and how successful you are, people will just stay busy. You could hustle digging a ditch all day but that’s not going to get you anywhere.

I mean, that’s a big piece for me but there’s another element that’s going to blow people’s mind, especially if you’re really stepping into having a personal brand. This personal discovery happened when we launched the Inner Circle mastermind last year. When I was interviewing applicants paying me a lot of money, the first question I always start with is, “Why me?” One of the applicants answers has literally changed my life. It was such a affirmation to how I’m living. They said, “Well, James, to be honest, I saw you on a webinar once. The webinar hit the top of the hour and then you just said, ‘Okay, the surf’s up right now so I’m going to go surfing,’ and you just got off the call and you left. Then I followed you on Instagram and like an hour later you had a picture of you on the beach and I want that. I want to be able to have a life and a business.”

That’s when I had the biggest breakthrough, is that people will come to you not for just how much you know. They definitely won’t come to you for how hard you work but they will come to you for what you stand for and who you’re being in the world. By me, it was just a natural default that I had done the work hard thing and I reached a burnout, that’s another story, but I did, I really crashed and burned and so, I made an effort. I said, “No, I’m going to put my life first and play, it has to come first.” The more I did that and more people found out about that, it actually just attracted more people to me. It’s really about, again, back to that question, who is your audience aspire to become? What kind of life do they want to lead? What kind of business do they want to have and how can you embody that and live that now?

People say, “Oh, no, no. Let me build a business first, then I’ll do that.” It’s always backwards. The model is be, do, have. Right? Which is, when you be who you choose to become, you will do the right actions and have the right things, where a lot of people are saying, “Once I have all these things, then I can or will be this type of person.” It’s be, do, have, not do, have, be. Man, I can’t stress that enough. I believe I attract some great people into my life because I’m living a life that I’m really grateful and happy for. I see other people that are like, “You got to work 20 hours a day,” and people are like, “Cool, I don’t want to do that.” You know? So, anyways. There’s my rant on that.

Kira: Best lightning round ever.

Rob: That’s right. I’ve got to say, James, I’m really glad that there were no waves at the beach today because this would’ve been a 20 minute podcast instead of getting all this great information here so …

James: Totally flat right now so I just don’t know what to do. You know?

Rob: It’s do a podcast and dish out advice. It was perfect. James, for our listeners who maybe wanting to connect with you or read more about you, find more about you, where do they look?

James:  The best place I’d love to hang out with your listeners is on my podcast. It started as a passion project last year, it’s called the Mind Your Business Podcast, and now we’re just like something happened. It blew up and we’re super excited about it. All I do is talk about like a lot of the rants that I went off on a tangent with here. I’m much more fascinated today about the inward journey that we go on as entrepreneurs and going through the fear and self-doubt. That’s over at the Mind Your Business Podcast, the website’s or you can find us over on iTunes as well.

Rob: I’m adding it to my iTunes list now.

Kira: I have binged on that show. I started off as research to learn more about James and now I listen to it because it’s fascinating.

James: Aw, Kira.

Kira: Definitely one of the better podcasts out there right now.

James: Thank you.

Kira: Thank you for being on the show, James, and spending time with us. Thank you.

James: Thank you, guys. You guys are awesome. I love what you’re doing. Keep up the great work.

Rob: You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available in iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, and full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit We’ll see you next episode.

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