On the 230th episode of The Copywriter Club podcast, Rob and Kira are going guestless. They’re sitting back and answering some questions they get frequently among our community. They’re giving their best advice and tips for new and established copywriters who are looking to level up and sustain what they’re building. In this episode, we dive into:
• when you’ll get the chance to build the foundations of your business with us in just 3 months
• the truth about working for free – should you do it?
• how to hire a VA that will pay for themselves.
• 9 books we’re reading right now – one genre? Never.
• the #1 question we get asked every. single. day.
• the 3 biggest levers when it comes to pricing your offers.
• how to choose the most profitable niches in copywriting.
• the good and the bad of Clubhouse. (Note: We will be on Clubhouse on Tuesdays at 5PM EST.)
• if you don’t have copywriting samples for a particular project, here’s what you should do.
• the secret to building trust with potential clients.
• what Rob & Kira would do differently if they were beginners.
• success as a copywriter – how we define success
• how to maintain your business as you’re helping scale others.
Tune in and listen as we give candid advice on your most asked questions. Hit the play button below or check out the transcript.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Email | RSS
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson & Mark Ford
Yes to Life by Viktor Frankl
Man Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
Facing the Climate Emergency by Margaret Salamon
Fair Play by Eve Rodsky
The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday
The Copywriter’s Ultimate Guide to Using Clubhouse
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Rob Marsh: If you’ve been listening to the show for the last three plus years, you no doubt have heard us ask hundreds, maybe even thousands of questions to the amazing copywriters and experts who have been on the show. We’ve even asked a few people to join us and turn the tables to ask us questions. Today we’re going guestless for the 230th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, and we’re answering the questions that get asked the most often in our free Facebook group, as well as some questions that are asked in our paid programs, like The Copywriter Accelerator and The Copywriter Underground.
Kira Hug: When you say guestless, it makes it sound like we’re naked.
Rob Marsh: Does it?
Kira Hug: Like we’re missing something. Yeah, it sounds like we’re shedding all the layers today and it’s just us.
Rob Marsh: Nice. I would hate to think that people would think that we’re not clothed here, but yeah, that’s … How embarrassing.
Kira Hug: It’s just us today, naked and we’re going to answer your questions. Before we do that, this podcast episode is brought to you by TCC(N)IRL, of course it’s The Copywriter Club (Not) In Real Life, our event for copywriters and other smart marketers who want to learn from experts like Joanna Wiebe, Carline Anglade-Cole, Todd Brown, Jereshia Hawk, Joel Klettke, Eman Ismail and more than a dozen others. But this event is not just about great presentations, it’s not just about sitting at your computer and staring at Zoom all day. It’s really about connecting with other copywriters in intimate virtual spaces so you can build real relationships, even possibly friendships, partnerships, and also get a lot of work done while you’re with us over the three days. So we’re really focused on doing, not just learning, and we’re focused on implementation through workshops. So you’re not just sitting through a presentation and then going back to your work with nothing to show for it.
So if you’re interested in this virtual experience that we’re really excited about, you can learn more at thecopywriterclub.com\tccnirl-2021, and if you don’t remember that link, then you can just find it in the show notes on our website.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I’m excited. That’s going to be April 7th through 9th, 2021. If you’re listening to this after that, you missed the opportunity to join us, but if you’re listening before those dates, make sure you join us. It’s going to be great.
Okay, so let’s open up, I want to say the mailbag. We don’t actually get any real mail, email bag or the Facebook groups, and answer some of the questions-
Kira Hug: Well, we get mail.
Rob Marsh: Well, email.
Kira Hug: Oh, you mean like mail questions.
Rob Marsh: Yes, yes. Questions in the mailbag. So we’re going to answer a bunch of questions that we get asked a lot, starting with, when are you going to open the accelerator again? So Kira, when are we going to open the accelerator again?
Kira Hug: I feel like that’s a really easy question to start, which is great, because I like easy. So we are going to open the accelerator again in the fall. We are currently running the program with an incredible group of copywriters and we’re going to run it again starting September. So you’ll hear about it probably starting in July but definitely in August. We’re going to make some updates to the program. It’s a program that we love and believe in, and we’re always excited to improve it and make it better as the copywriting space changes so that it’s valuable to all the copywriters who participate in it.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I actually sat down this morning and started outlining some of the changes that I think we need to make, and I’m actually kind of excited about what this new iteration is going to look like, so it’s all good.
Kira Hug: You’re on the ball. We just talked-
Rob Marsh: I’m trying.
Kira Hug: … about changes yesterday and you’re already making notes. That’s impressive.
Rob Marsh: I had some time.
Kira Hug: Okay, so let’s start with … I’m glad that you gave me the easy question. I’m going to give you a harder question. Rob, should you ever work for free? Should any of us ever work for free? This question comes up quite frequently in all of our groups.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, and I think it’s actually a really good question because there are times when it’s definitely not right to work for free and times when I think it is acceptable. So, there’s a lot of pushback in the copywriting world about doing free projects or test projects, and sometimes I would agree with that. Sometimes it is not okay to work for free, especially if people are going to be using the work that you create for their clients, if they’re charging for it, those kinds of things, you should definitely be paid for that. But occasionally there’s an opportunity that will come along where you’re asked to do a test project as part of an application process or if a client may say, “Hey, I don’t have the budget. Can you do this for free?” In which case you might decide to do it, and I think that there are a couple of criteria that I would assign to that. First of all, does this free project, if it doesn’t earn you money, does it lead to something else that is beneficial?
So you and I, Kira, we talk sometimes about how there’s more than one way to get paid, it’s not always cash. It’s not always money in the bank. So if a free project could lead to a testimonial, or to a case study, or to another paying project, if it introduces you to potential clients, if it is the starting point of a project with an agency, that kind of thing, then you might consider doing it. Maybe not always, but those things you can use to leverage in your business and sometimes, especially when you’re starting out, testimonials, case studies, connections are worth more than a few $100 in the bank. So, in those cases you might consider working for free.
If you’ve been doing this thing for a long time though, I think free work, you’ve got connections, you’ve got your processes down, you’ve got a few testimonials, whatever, at that point I think you really do need to stop doing free work and ask for money for the value that we create. What do you think? Disagree, agree?
Kira Hug: I disagree completely.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I thought so.
Kira Hug: I’m just kidding. I’ve never done … I mean, I’m sure I’ve done free work in my lifetime, but I have not done free copywriting projects for a client. I agree with you that sometimes we get paid in multiple ways that could be more valuable than a payment, than a cash payment, but I think as far as if you’re doing free work, then at least you should be able to control it. Maybe you’re building your portfolio and you’re choosing a couple of clients and you’re choosing dream clients and dream projects of companies that probably wouldn’t hire you, but you’re adding it to your portfolio and doing some really cool work that you could send over to them and possibly win them over as a client.
I think the part I disagree with is that I would never feel comfortable hiring someone and not paying them anything, like a copywriter in that sense. So, I guess I question any client you would work with that’s not paying you in some way. Is that a healthy relationship? I think even when I work with junior copywriters and do test projects I like to pay them something. It might be significantly less than a typical fee for a project because it’s a test project and there are multiple people, and it’s a different matter at that point. But if there was a client you really want to work for and they’re like, “I’m not going to pay you for this.” I just think, unless it is this tremendous portfolio piece and they’ve guaranteed they’ll write you a testimonial, then I just would steer clear of that client.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Again, I think it’s never a hard yes or a hard no. That’s actually not true. Sometimes it is a hard yes or a hard no, but if you’re just starting out there may be opportunities to consider, but it’s definitely not something that you want to make a habit. It’s definitely not something that once you’ve got some experience that you’re making as part of your business plan or whatever because we should all get paid for the value we create.
Kira Hug: I do think there are times where you can charge a little bit less and work within budgets of a client, a particular client, if it’s a dream client or if you just want to get that experience, or you want to grow your portfolio that maybe you’re more flexible with your budget and you even take a cut. I’ve been willing to do that at times for the right client. So I’m not against that either when it makes sense.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, agree. Okay, next question. This is one that we get asked a ton as well. In fact, we’ve even asked it of other guests who have been on the podcast, and that is when should I hire a VA or start hiring other people onto my team to help me get the work that I need to get done done?
Kira Hug: When you hate your life, and you’re stressed out, and you hate your business probably is a good time to hire someone to help, maybe before that. So, for me, it was when I was definitely overstretched. I probably waited way too long, but I think if you’re managing multiple clients, I would say maybe more than like two, more than two clients, definitely more than three, at that point you could bring on a VA to help you with the project management. So, I mean, that was my main use for a VA, was please help me manage these project so they’re smooth because I can’t project manage them and copy chief them, and be the main copywriter, and be the sales person. So definitely if you have a business set up where you’re working with more than three clients at a time I would bring in a VA to help you with the project management side of the business. I think that’s a great way to bring somebody in for a necessary part of the business that will help alleviate stress and help you actually be able to take on more client work, which will ultimately cover the expense of a VA.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I think that last point that you’re making about covering the expense I think is really important, because any time you bring somebody else into your business, they really do need to pay for themselves in some way. So either they’re taking lower paid tasks off of your hands so that you can focus on higher paid work. So maybe they’re doing things like invoicing, which can be done for 25 or $30 an hour, and that allows you to do more copywriting that you’re doing at say 150 or $200 an hour, or whatever those prices are right for in your business.
I think also we often think that the VA is the first hire, and while that is true in a lot of cases, sometimes it makes more sense to hire somebody that’s a little bit more skilled in processes, an OBM, a business manager type person first to help get those processes aligned, to help get all those structures set up. When you have that, then when you start bringing in people like a junior writer or a VA, the processes are in place, everything is much more efficient. So, that’s another way that you can go. That may not be the right thing for everybody because there is an additional expense there, but processes make having employees or contractors in your business so much easier.
Kira Hug: Yes. I would have, looking back, I didn’t really know what an OBM was at the time when I hired my VA. I feel like it’s something that we talk about frequently now, but we didn’t a couple years ago. So I would’ve hired that person probably to come in and build out all the systems to make everything run smoothly and that would be the first hire, even though it is a little bit pricier, I think it’s worth it, especially if you’re not a systems minded person.
Okay, next question. Ooh, this is a good one. What books are you currently reading?
Rob Marsh: It is a good question, and I’m just looking around my desk right now. I have like six or seven books that I read at the same time, and I don’t know how to overcome this. I feel like it’s a weakness, but I can’t stop. So I just finished a couple days ago reading Done By Noon by Dave Ruel. That’s a time management book. Not necessarily anything new, but offered a really good process that was intriguing to me and I like and highly recommend. I’m hearing something coming through the speakers, is that …
Kira Hug: I don’t think that’s me.
Rob Marsh: Oh no. Oh, you know what it is? I hear it. Yeah, it’s because something just turned on in my Audible as I was looking for the books. Nevermind. Okay, so other books that I’ve been reading. Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson or Mark Ford. All about how to grow your business, different stages of your business and what you should be doing in each. I’m going to grab a book. I have not yet started reading this one but it just came out, Viktor Frankl, Yes to Life. So apparently this is a bunch of lectures that he published early on. He’s the author of Man’s Search for Meaning, which is like easily in my top 10 books that I’ve ever read. There were some untranslated lectures that he gave and they’ve just been republished into a book. So my wife gave those to me on Valentine’s Day.
Kira Hug: I would like that one, and my birthday is coming up, so just …
Rob Marsh: Yeah, there you go.
Kira Hug: Making a note.
Rob Marsh: Three or four podcast fans are going to be sending you that book now. I was just listening to another book that is incredibly fascinating called The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. It’s all about how our morals are founded on intuition and then how we use reason to justify the things that we react to emotionally. I think that there are a ton of copywriting lessons in this, but it’s really about morals in a society and individually and why the different political sides don’t get along, and the basis for that and how we often think that the other side, whoever we disagree with, is wrong or evil. It’s a really good look at how other people’s belief systems are often based on just different kinds of morality that we don’t often see when we don’t grow up thinking that way, or even some of it is intuitive and inborn, and comes with our genes before the culture starts acting on it. So it’s a fascinating book. Then one last book-
Kira Hug: Wait, what’s that one called again? I would like that one too. What’s that one called?
Rob Marsh: It’s called The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. He also wrote a book I think called something on happiness, I can’t remember what his other book is called, but yeah. Then last but not least, if I can find it, I just downloaded to listen to it, it’s like a three part trilogy on the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King in particular, and I can’t see it on my list, but I’m really excited about that. I’ll post a link to it in the show notes. I can’t remember what the title is, but it’s on audible, it’s super long, it’s like a 40 hour book or whatever, so it’s going to take me a little while to get through, and that’s just the first of the trilogy, but it sounded really interesting as I heard about it. I thought, “Let’s listen to that one when I’m out walking.” So that’s a range of maybe the six or seven books that I’ve got. There’s another book of poetry over on my nightstand and some other stuff I’m looking at, but that’s good enough. What are you reading, Kira?
Kira Hug: I like it. Well, I’m going to take the books out that you and I are both reading because you already mentioned Ready, Aim, Fire. Let’s see, so I am reading, this is the unedited, Facing the Climate Emergency by Margaret Klein Salamon. So this one is all about what to do over the next 30 years to alleviate some of the pain of the climate emergency. It’s a quick read, it’s all about … It’s actually interesting because she’s a psychologist, so she’s talking about climate change from the perspective of how people are dealing with it and how people cope and deny, and all the emotions around it. So it’s interesting if you’re interested in the psychology behind it.
Fair Play is one I need to start, Fair Play by Eve Rodsky. My therapist recommended it because it’s all about in your relationship, I guess in any partnership, how to make sure that it’s fair the responsibilities of the household or a family are fair. In my relationship with Ezra he tends to do a lot more than me. So, this is an exercise we can go through to kind of reassign all the tasks in our household and our family so that it’s fair.
Rob Marsh: Are you guys reading it together?
Kira Hug: The reason I’m delaying it is because I don’t actually want to make it fair, I think I should. It even comes with this set of cards and each card has a different responsibility, and I flipped through the cards and I realized a lot of them belong to him and not many belong to me. So, it’s one of those exercises, I know is important but I’m also delaying that as long as possible so I don’t have to take on more responsibility in my household.
Then The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells. I think you can see a trend with what I’m thinking about these days. Also the one that Rob recommended, which I will mention because I’m excited about it, Done By Noon. So Rob is forcing me to read this, and I’m grateful for that because I do want to figure out how to be done by … I want to be done by noon, so I think that’s a great goal.
Then the other one that I started and stopped because Rob, I actually like reading six to eight books at a time, Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday, just to get some wise words in there. So, that’s one that I can kind of take a break in. I’ll read it a little bit and then I need a break, and I need to read about some type of crisis or something else to keep me interested. So, that’s the current collection. It’s quite fun. Can be a little emotional, a little depressing at times, but I feel like it’s a good mix to pull me in many directions.
Rob Marsh: I think if you are able to be done by noon you’ll have more time for fair play in making that happen, so it’s a good combination, a one-two punch.
Kira Hug: Right, and then I can do more to fight and work towards the climate emergency. I think I need to start with that book, Done By Noon, so I can actually do all the things I want to do with all the other books. So yeah, that’s our collection. I want some of your books, Rob, so I’m actually looking forward to getting your list.
Rob Marsh: Cool, yeah, and that’s maybe something we can revisit. Every time we do a podcast like this, I mean, we will have read another bunch, a handful of books, so it’s …
Kira Hug: Or for me the same maybe eight books.
Rob Marsh: Or maybe we’re still making through. Yeah, so we can revisit that in the future. Okay, next question. Another one that we just see all the time, and this one’s a little bit nebulous, and so maybe we can just talk about a couple of approaches to this, but what should I charge for X? We’ll see people who have projects in the Facebook group, it’s like, “Hey, I’ve never done this kind of a thing before. I haven’t done a sales page before. I haven’t done a small launch before or a video script.” Whatever, so how do you think about pricing, Kira, and what should people be charging for the work that they do?
Kira Hug: Yeah, so actually we just talked about this in our clubhouse room this past week. We talked all about pricing and I think the first place to start is to just understand where you are as a copywriting business. What stage you’re in in your business growth, and as far as experience, as far as building your authority, creating a demand for your services, because what we would say to somebody who has done the work and marketed their business, and built their reputation over a couple of years, or more than that, would be very different. I think our advice to them would be very different in maybe our think tank or our round table mastermind compared to if we’re talking to somebody who is new to a copywriting business and just got started the advice would be slightly different because they’re in a different stage of their business. Maybe no one knows them, they just are taking their first few copywriting jobs. So I think the first place to start is where are you in that stage. Are you a beginner, a newbie? Are you more intermediate, where you’ve got some projects under your belt and you have some experience, you’ve started to put yourself out there, you’re starting to get some referrals, people are sharing your name.
That’s kind of the second bucket where it’s you’re really competitive. You’re in a competitive market, people are often commodity shopping. They’re talking to you but they’re also probably talking to two other copywriters, and then of course when you have invested the time in building your authority and building your expertise and visibility, then you have people … That stage is what we all want, right? It’s like you have prospects who are coming to you and only want to work with you. They heard you speak on a podcast or on a stage and they’re like, “I just want to work with you, Rob Marsh, I don’t even want to talk to other people. Please, find time in your schedule, I’ll pay whatever you want me to pay to work with you.” So we want to be there, but we don’t start there. At least, Rob, that would be my advice. Is figure out where you are starting because that’s going to be a very different conversation. We could dive deeper into that too, but what would you start to think about or advice when you’re thinking about pricing?
Rob Marsh: Yeah. So I always talk about these three main levers. There’s actually more than that, and you’re hitting on number one, which is that expertise level. Where are you in your business and what are you capable of actually doing right now?
Number two, and this lines up with where you are in your business, and that is which clients are you working with. So, as a beginner you tend to start out working with cheaper clients, smaller projects, those kinds of things, and as you grow in your business bigger projects come along, more research heavy or writing heavy, or longer projects, whatever, and higher paying projects. Then so it’s the kinds of clients that you work with and their ability to pay, their willingness to pay for what you’re asking, their experience level in working with other copywriters helps determine that price. If you decide that you’re going to charge $5,000 for a sales page and your clients all are under the impression the sales pages are worth about $1,500 or they’re budgeting about $1,500 for a sales page, there’s a huge disconnect there that you’re not going to be able to get what you think you’re worth or what you’re charging, right? So as far as pricing goes, your client’s ability, willingness to pay matters.
Then I guess the third lever is just the value you create. This is a little hard to figure out as you’re just starting out, but if you create a launch plan, sales pages, video scripts, emails, whatever that create a high six figures, seven figure launch for a client, you can then use that to talk about the value that you created. You just created assets that can be used for two or three years to create a million dollar result, or a $500,000 result, or maybe it’s a $20,000 result, right? The fact that you have proven that value, that the work that you do has X number as the end result, you can use that value to start raising your prices and to charge for the value you create as opposed to the hours that you work, or what a project should be worth inside your head. So I guess that’s what I would add to what you said.
Kira Hug: Yeah. I think the value piece is most important because the majority of us overlook the value completely and we’re just thinking about the time it takes to create the deliverable, which is important, but you’re right. It’s easier to know the value if you have those testimonials and those case studies, and if you’re asking those offboarding questions like a month after a project and you’re getting into the data and asking those somewhat uncomfortable questions, which is like did this work, was this effective, did you get sales, it’s scary to ask that sometimes because we’re worried that they’re going to say no or they’re going to be disappointed.
Rob Marsh: Sometimes they do say no.
Kira Hug: And sometimes it doesn’t work out as well, so oftentimes we don’t even ask. But if you can start collecting that data, it’s easier to start to see trends and to understand that out of the last five projects, the five email sequences I wrote, each one averaged and made about 10K for that client over six months. So you can start to make predictions about what else you could do for future clients based on the past results, and if you don’t have the past results, that’s okay too. You can make an estimate and a hypothesis about what you predict you could make for that client based on the numbers, how much traffic they have to their website, how many sales you predict you could make if you make improvements and optimize their website. So you can ask for numbers in the sales call to start to formulate an idea of what they could make on a project, without guaranteeing it.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, exactly. If you have those numbers it just becomes so much easier to figure out what that value is that you can build for somebody.
Kira Hug: And I think the hourly part though, I always, even though I want to think about value, I do think about my hours on a client project, how much I’m getting paid for the hour, especially as you get busier and you try to evaluate is this worth it, there’s an opportunity cost. Is this client project worth it? I want to know what the hourly rate is and what I’m bringing in per hour to see if the project is worth it or not. So, that’s where tracking your time becomes really important.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, you wouldn’t necessarily bill hourly, but understanding sort of this hourly rate in your head so that you’re making sure your time is used most effectively is definitely something everybody should be doing.
Kira Hug: And an example of that is I have one retainer client that I write emails for that retainer client. I have junior copywriters I work with, so I usually spend an average of an hour a week on that client, and so I have to look at the time that I’m spending on it to see how much I’m getting paid and then also what I’m paying out to other copywriters to see is it worth it in the end. Is what I’m making hourly worth it when I’m paying out other people to help with those projects? So it’s always a key to track.
Okay, there’s always more to say when it comes to pricing, that is a whole masterclass, but let’s move on to the next question. Rob, what are the most profitable niches?
Rob Marsh: Yeah, this is a question that comes up quite a bit in our accelerator program because when we talk about whether or not we should niche and which niches people should choose, obviously people want to be able to make money and sometimes that’s the driving factor for some people, which is totally okay if that’s what you’re in copywriting for, and typically you’ll hear the answers finance, maybe health and wellness, nutraceuticals, vitamins, supplements, those kinds of things, but I would say that honestly any niche can be profitable if you can connect with the right clients and you can solve a problem that those clients have. So, you do not necessarily need to write things that you don’t like, that don’t interest you, as long as you can find clients who have a problem that has some value to it.
So if you want to write say in the nonprofit sector, which there are lots of clients there who don’t have big budgets, they have huge opportunities to help people out, but again, maybe don’t want to pay as much as say somebody who has a financial newsletter. If you can help them solve their biggest problem, which may be bringing in donations or growing their donor lists, those kinds of things, you can almost write your own check, because if you can bring in four or $5 million, if you can help them raise that kind of money, then you can start to negotiate, say, “Well, what if I take 5% of that, or 10% of that.” And maybe you learn how to dial it up so it’s not five or 10 million but now you’re bringing 50 million.
As long as you can solve a big problem for somebody, you can make money. That’s not just true, again, in what I’ve talked about. If you can help doctors bring in more patients, or dentists bring in more patients into their practice, that is a really valuable skillset and it’s achieved by copywriting. If you can help people find clients for their online stores or get their launches off the ground. All of these things can be profitable, as long as you can solve a problem. If you can’t solve that problem that they have, then you’ll struggle in any niche, including the profitable ones like finance and health and wellness.
Kira Hug: Well said.
Rob Marsh: Right.
Kira Hug: I don’t have much to add to that, other than if you’re just getting started and you’re trying to figure this out, just look at where other copywriters are working, what niches are they talking about, what type of projects are they taking. There’s nothing wrong with getting started by almost mimicking what other working copywriters are doing. Not copying them, but just following the trends of oh, it seems like this industry is paying a lot of copywriters to do work, so maybe I should explore it, and figure out if you like it or not, or these deliverables seem to be mentioned frequently, so maybe I should see if I like writing that type of deliverable because I know there’s a lot of work there. So I think oftentimes we make it more complicated when we’re just getting started out and we feel like we have to find something that’s so unique in the copywriting space, but there’s nothing wrong with starting with something that is just needed and popular and there’s already a demand for it in the copywriting industry, because there’s always going to be more work with those deliverables or those industries.
Rob Marsh: For sure, yeah. No niche is forever. You can try things.
Kira Hug: No.
Rob Marsh: You can back up. You can try new things.
Kira Hug: Yes.
Rob Marsh: You can switch at any time. In fact, I think both you and I have switched our niches in the past, and who knows, we may switch again in the future.
Okay, next question. Why are you guys on clubhouse and when are you guys on clubhouse?
Kira Hug: Yeah. So well, I think Rob, you really kind of hooked on to Clubhouse initially. I mean, I kind of had the same reaction that a lot of copywriters in our communities have had, which is oh my gosh, I don’t need another social media channel. I need less, not more, but I think it was really helpful because you were so curious about it, and a couple other people too. Christina Torres in our think tank was telling us about how powerful it is. So hearing about how new and exciting and how different it is was alluring enough to pull I think both of us in. I do think that even if we feel like we have too many social media channels, it’s always worth paying attention to what is happening in a marketplace, even if you have zero interest in using it as a marketing tool for your own business. We are marketers and whether or not we like it we need to pay attention to what is happening in the space we work in for our clients, so we can provide a better education and be more of a consultant to our clients.
So for me, when you got interested in it I was like, “Sure, I’ll check it out.” Rob is excited about this, this could be great for The Copywriter Club because it’s community based and we are a community based business, but mostly it was like I want to check this out because I want to understand what’s happening in the marketplace because that’s my job as a marketer, so that’s where it started for me. What about for you?
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I was also curious about it. There are a couple things that I really like about Clubhouse and then there are some drawbacks to it as well that I’m not convinced that it’s the best thing out there, but there are conversations that happen on Clubhouse that because of the nature of Clubhouse they really aren’t happening anywhere else. So for example, I’ve jumped into some calls with direct response copywriters and heard them talk about their philosophy behind a particular promotion, the response rates they’ve got, why they did a particular upsell, what they were doing to change persuasion. I think, I mean, in your head or in my head I’m thinking, “Well, those conversations happen elsewhere.” But they don’t happen in the same way because everything is off the cuff, it’s not scripted, you’re actually getting the real expert, not a PR person or their assistant who is posting something on social media for them.
So you’re getting information in a different way, and it feels to me like it’s just a little bit more raw, a little bit more real. So those kinds of conversations are really interesting to me and I’ve learned some things that I don’t think I would’ve learned even in a podcast interview if I’d asked the same questions. I think people are a little bit more protective of what they share, certainly when they write it down or they create courses. So there are conversations happening on Clubhouse that are different from conversations happening anywhere else. I do think that there are some drawbacks though.
The fact that it’s not recorded, the fact that it lives in the moment. That’s been pitched as one of the good things about it, but it also means that those conversations are lost. If you’re not there at 11 o’clock or at four o’clock, whenever that conversation happens, then you miss out, and that’s unfortunate. Because of that, we might look at that and say okay, it’s kind of fun to be here but we’re not going to make it a huge part of our business because we can’t repurpose that content somewhere else, or it disappears, unlike the time we spend on a podcast, which we’ve got podcasts that we recorded three years ago that still get listens to almost every single week. Being able to share information in that modality, in that way may be more productive for us as a business.
So yeah, so there’s kind of two sides to it that I like and don’t like about it. I’m just going to keep showing up and experimenting and playing around in there just because I think it’s, like you said, new, interesting, and we should understand how it works as a marketing vehicle or as an authority building vehicle for our clients and for ourselves.
Kira Hug: And it is working for copywriters we know who are in the underground and the think tank who are showing up in rooms regularly, maybe once or twice a week. They are getting clients. They’re actually booking clients from this platform. I mean, you and I aren’t necessarily looking for a ton of new clients for our copywriting business right now, but if I were looking to get booked for the next six months I would use Clubhouse as the tool right now because it’s still new and you can get into these rooms with the right people who are launching. There are rooms just about course creators, and you can be the only copywriter in that room. So I think it’s really strategic if you are looking for clients, if you feel like you could even level up and find new clients to use it.
For us, it’s been really powerful just to connect with more copywriters because that’s what we’re focused on, in the community. To hear from copywriters that we may not have met otherwise that aren’t in any of our current communities, I’m constantly surprised by how many jump into our room and I have no idea who they are, and so we start following each other.
So I think there is just this access to a new group of people, a new pool of people that you may not have access to otherwise. So if you’re interested in finding new clients or community building, it’s definitely a great tool. As Christina Torres has shared with us, she uses it for research for her client projects. This is what we do, voice of customer is so important. So if you could go into a room focused on a particular subject related to a client’s project and you can listen like a fly on the wall to the conversations that are unedited and oftentimes vulnerable too, I mean, that’s the best voice of customer data out there. So I think if anything, we should probably all be using Clubhouse as a tool in our marketing or our research toolkit because it could be more powerful than the other tools we’re currently using.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I agree. We actually wrote a guide to Clubhouse for copywriters, it’s on The Copywriter Club blog. If you want to check that out, we’ll link to it in the show notes. We talk about how Christina is using Clubhouse for research, and she shares three or four different ways for copywriters to do that specifically. We also talked about Kathy Young, who has been in there and she’s landed two or three clients just from connecting with people, asking questions, talking about what she does. So anyway, check out that on the blog. It will give you some ideas of what you might be able to do with Clubhouse if you’re curious about it.
Maybe finally, Kira, we should just share when we’re on Clubhouse, at least right now, pretty regularly.
Kira Hug: Yeah. So we are on every Tuesday at 1:00 PM Eastern. Sometimes we’re leading the discussions or we’re inviting other copywriters to lead the discussions on a variety of topics of interest to the community. So you can always jump in there just to watch, or not to watch, to listen, or if you want to share and participate, we’re always allowing and pulling more people onto the stage to share their insights and advice. So it is still a bummer that Androids can’t access Clubhouse. I feel like that will change soon, so that is also the downside, is just that we’re losing part of our community that can’t plug in right now.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I know they’ve hired an Android developer, and so that is coming, but yeah, it may still be a few months away from when we’re recording this.
Kira Hug: But in the end I think my final words on it is just don’t be a Debbie Downer when it comes to new social media platforms. Even though I’m the first person to be that Debbie Downer, because I’m like, “I don’t need this. This is just really bad.” But again, you never know when there is an opportunity with a new social media platform, and again, this is what we all signed up for as marketers, is at least to learn and explore and then make a decision. So at least explore before you decide that it’s not a tool you want to use for research, it’s not a tool you want to use for acquisition, it’s not a tool you want to use with consulting for your clients, but at least explore it first before you make that decision.
Rob Marsh: I mean, it’s a great place to make connections. If you show up and you want to talk to Rob and Kira one-on-one or as part of the group, you come into our room, you can ask us a question directly, and I can do the same thing in a room with Laura Belgray. I know when she’s showing up in some rooms, I can do the same thing with someone like Parris Lampropoulos or David Deutsch because they show up in rooms where they are. Right now it’s a great way to connect with people, and so definitely worth just playing around with.
Kira Hug: Okay. So, Rob, how do you respond to a client who asks to see samples of your work when you don’t yet have samples? Or maybe you don’t have a sample of the particular deliverable they’re asking for.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Again, another great question that comes up quite a bit. I know sometimes the answers that we have for this are not satisfactory because you feel like, well, I need to have something that matches the client’s need. So I think the first thing to understand is when clients are asking for samples, what they’re really saying, although they’re not saying it with these words, is, “Hold on a second, I don’t have enough information to trust you. Help me figure out if I can trust you.” And the natural inclination they have is to ask for samples because that shows, at least they think that shows that you’ve done some work that is applicable to what they’re doing. So what we’re really trying to do here is to build trust. So if you truly do not have a sample and you can’t share something that’s similar, you don’t have time to write something that’s maybe similar, like what we talked about in one of the early episodes of the podcast when we’re talking about Upwork and how you create the sample that’s kind of like the thing that the client wants but that you don’t have, and how do you create that sort of portfolio for your business.
I think that was with Daniel Margulies, episode 29 on the podcast, something like that rings a bell, but I could be wrong about that. But I mean, yeah, basically you can either write a sample, spend a little bit of your time and create something that’s similar to, you definitely don’t …. So if somebody’s saying, “Hey, I want a sales page for a vitamin supplement.” I wouldn’t write a sales page for a vitamin supplement, but you might write a lead for something similar, maybe it’s some other kind of a health supplement or protein supplement or something like that. You might just pen four or 500 words, and just show that you’re capable of coming up with an idea, a lead, that kind of thing. Or if you don’t want do to that work, and I’m not sure that that’s where I would start, I would talk about your process. Share testimonials, share the other things that build trust that prove that you are who you are, that you’re going to deliver what you say, because again, when it comes right down it, they’re looking for a reason to trust you, not necessarily because they want to see that they’ve done the exact same thing for somebody else. What do you think?
Kira Hug: Yeah, and there’s a good chance, I mean, you’ve already said this, but the question is popping up because there is just an inkling of doubt in the prospect’s mind about whether or not you can do it or you’re the right person. So if this question’s been popping up frequently with most prospects you’re talking to, then I would start to look at your sales call. What is happening or not happening on your sales call that is causing this perfect client to question you and ask for more information? Which really the sample is just more information. So it might be worth auditing your sales call, going through some type of sales call training. Talking to other copywriters about how they structure their sales calls, and just reworking that because if you really do nail your sales call and you nail your proposal, most likely the prospect isn’t going to ask you for samples. They’re sold, they’re sold after talking to you and they’re sold after seeing a really brilliant proposal that’s well-crafted and they don’t need to see anything else. So I think there could be some holes that are worth looking at if this is a question that pops up frequently.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, and I think, I mean, neither you nor I share samples very often. Usually we’ll share case studies, things that we’ve done in the past where we’re talking about our approach to a project, we’re talking about our process, maybe we’re sharing results if we have them, but that actually does more for building trust than actually sending over a sample sales page or an email sequence.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and I did share our samples early on when I was just getting started. I always sent over samples and I was asked for samples, so this is normal process. There’s nothing wrong with you if people are asking you for them, but as soon as you can shift to case studies, life gets a lot easier, and as soon as you tighten up sales calls and proposals. I mean, my proposals were pretty awful when I was getting started, they’re much better now. So, of course people were asking me for samples because my proposals looked like a beginner. So there’s always room for growth in this area to avoid sending samples.
Rob Marsh: Maybe that’s a good time to mention that we do have a pretty killer proposal training that’s part of the underground. It’s called The Perfect Proposal, and if proposals are something that you struggle with, that might be worth checking out.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and in that we share our own proposals, we share our entire process for creating them. It’s really helpful if you’re working from scratch, you can use a template that actually makes sense and you can copy.
Rob Marsh: Okay, next question. What is one thing, something that you wish that you had done either earlier or differently in your business are you were starting out, Kira?
Kira Hug: I feel kind of like a jerk saying this, but there’s not a lot I would change. Is that the worst thing to say?
Rob Marsh: That’s the jerkiest answer ever. No, no.
Kira Hug: I am a total jerk. I mean, I feel pretty good about my copywriting path from the beginning. I feel like made some good decisions along the way. If I was really analyzing it, I would say maybe collecting more case studies early on, kind of to just address the previous question. To turn some of those earlier projects into case studies to build my confidence. I would’ve built my confidence faster. I think that it could’ve just helped me possibly charge more earlier on. So, that could be part of it. I also think developing SOPs and systematizing, automating more of my business, especially when I was really busy working with eight clients at a time. If I had worked with someone and developed an automated process for sales calls and for project management, my life would’ve been a lot easier.
So I guess that would be one thing, just pulling in somebody, getting that support, even more than I did. I worked with a project manager and that was wonderful, but to build out systems that would work for me and make my life a lot easier, I didn’t think about it at the time. So I just kind of did everything on my own with my VA, not systematizing it. What about you, Rob? What would you do differently?
Rob Marsh: So I think the thing that has become crystal clear as we’ve built the copywriter club together is that relationships are way more important than what I understood them to be back when I was starting out. I worked in an ad agency, I worked in creative groups, and so there were other people around me and I was learning from them, but really relying on people to give me feedback on my copy, creating not necessarily business partnerships but friendships where we could support each other. I didn’t pay attention to that early on, and I’ve seen the impact that it has in people who have joined our membership and the think tank mastermind. I’ve seen it even happens organically in our free group, as people connect with each other. So I think if I could go back, I would talk to myself about remembering or figuring out a way to make relationships a bigger part of how I was spending my time, developing that network and really trying to create those dependencies between me and other people, where I could get the help that I needed faster, and I might learn and grow faster than what I actually did.
Kira Hug: But doesn’t an agency have a built-in community and a built-in network? So maybe you just didn’t need it.
Rob Marsh: No. Well, they do. There were some things at my agency that kind of separated out groups. I was part of the direct response group instead of the branding group or whatever. So I think those feedback loops are there in agencies. I was only in that particular agency for about four years. I was in other in-house groups where those ties were maybe just a little bit different. So yeah, definitely, that stuff happens. We did have creative direction, and you’re working with art directors and whatever bouncing ideas off of each other, but I think it even goes beyond that. Not just the person that’s looking at your headlines, but really trying to create long-lasting relationships that span beyond working on a project together or getting a particular opinion on a headline that I wrote, that kind of thing.
Kira Hug: Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah, I think one thing that I did early on that sometimes is tricky to do is just kind of teaching and showing up, and marketing and being visible when I was just getting started. Not that I didn’t know anything, but I was a new copywriter, a new business owner, and I think I was cocky enough maybe, or naïve enough, or ignorant enough just to kind of jump in and start hosting webinars, and start pitching podcasts, and start writing guest posts, and teaching, and sharing, even as I was learning. So I think that helped me gain confidence earlier. I think it’s not always easy to do that, but it could be helpful, and I think if you’re someone who is questioning well, what do I have to teach? What do I have to share? Which pops up for so many of us, I mean, if anything, I have more of those questions now because I know way more and so I have the impostor complex pops up way more frequently now that I have a more vast knowledge of the space.
It’s never too early to start showing up and sharing your process, and talking about what you’re doing, and sharing your wins, and sharing your struggles, and building that body of work that Selena Soo talked about in our podcast interview with her. So I think that’s where I see a lot of newer copywriters maybe struggling, because they’re questioning whether or not they should do it, and it’s also scary. So I would say that’s something that could be really helpful rather than waiting till somebody taps you on the shoulder or waiting till you have five years of experience. You can start today, and start speaking up, and sharing what you know and what you’re learning.
Okay, Rob, this question has popped up in the group, so let’s tackle it. How would you define success as a copywriter beyond the dollars earned? Do you believe that copywriters have to hit that six figure mark before they get respect or is it really about something else?
Rob Marsh: Yes, if you don’t have six figures, or actually even better, seven figures, then you are not worthy of respect as a copywriter, final answer. No, of course not. I think that six figure or whatever that dollar thing, I think that happens because money is easy to measure, and so many of the other things in our business are difficult to measure. So I don’t think that you need to be making six figures to be a great copywriter. In fact, I think there are copywriters out there that don’t want to make six figures, they want to do this part-time or they just want to bring in some additional income for their family because they’ve got a partner or a spouse who is the main breadwinner. So I don’t think that that’s necessarily the goal for everybody, and maybe even for most bodies it’s not the goal.
I think to be successful as a copywriter you are solving problems for your clients that they can’t solve on their own, or at least they can’t do it very easily. You’re creating value in their businesses and you’re being paid a fair rate for the value that you’re creating. So if you’re creating a million dollars of value, for sure, you should be making something close to six figures, maybe more. If you’re operating on a smaller level and you’re cool with that, the fact that you’re solving problems for your clients, the fact that you’re delivering things to them on time, that you’re helping them to grow and to be better, I think that’s a perfectly acceptable measure of success. To that I guess I would add, are you happy doing it? Do you enjoy your work? If Sunday evening comes along and you start dreading the fact that you’ve got to write for a particular client or you’ve got to do something, that’s not necessarily a good sign, and you really should be excited about the work that you’re doing and the clients you’re working with. So if that needs to change, change it so that you can feel more successful in your role as a copywriter. What about you? What would you add to that?
Kira Hug: I think for me personally the copywriters I respect the most are ones who could be doing well financially, I mean, I don’t know, I don’t know how much money people make, I don’t really care about that. I think usually it’s clear that people are doing well financially when they’re showing up consistently, when they’re sharing a practitioner, and we can tell which copywriters are practitioners and which ones are just talking constantly about it but not actually doing the work. So I respect copywriters who are building their business their own unique way and making their own rules along the way, and figuring out how to do it, like you said, for the sake of happiness, but for the sake of health, and building something that isn’t going to drain them, and doing something differently in the space and sharing it, talking about it, but doing it because it’s just who they are and there’s no other option for them. So, I guess I’m drawn to more of those thought leaders in the space who are maybe slightly rebellious or just a little bit contrarian, where they’re like, “I don’t want to do it the way everyone else is doing it. I want to figure out how to make this work for me.” And those are the people I find most interesting in the space.
Rob Marsh: Awesome. Okay, what about this question? What are your go-to tools that you use as you write?
Kira Hug: It’s a funny question for me because I feel like I am the least tool savvy person when it comes to writing. I use Google Docs, I write on a blank page. My tool is getting away from the desk and just thinking. Like Eddie Biroun shared on his podcast interview with us where he talked about leaving the desk and just thinking, and that he writes as he thinks through it, and that’s kind of how I am. I have to think through what I want to say before I say it. So, my tools are very, I mean, they’re very simple. I mean, I have the same research tools everyone has, Typeform, but I’m not using a wide range of tools beyond experimenting with Notion, because Annie Bacher has praised it so much that I am now experimenting with Notion, but I’m pretty basic. I’m a basic writer. What about you, Rob? You’re more tool savvy than I am.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I don’t know that I necessarily use tools to write as much as a couple things that I use in our business, like Wave for my personal business, the Wave app for billing, invoicing. That makes life so much easier than what I used to do with creating invoices in Word and saving them as PDFs, all of that. There are some tools for signing contracts, that kind of stuff. So Better Proposals is an awesome tool for creating proposals as well as legal agreements, but I’m like you. I generally write either in Google Docs or in Pages, Apple Pages. I don’t use a lot of writing tools like Hemingway, but I probably open up thesaurus.com about 12 times a day, maybe 15 times a day. I’m always looking for other words or different ways to say things when I’m writing, so that would be maybe the main tool that I use.
I have experimented with Notion and also with Roam, with note taking, and I don’t know, I just cannot make that work for me. So I’ve used Evernote just kind of as a file drawer of ideas and things that I want to come back to, but the weakness with those kinds of tools for me is that they don’t resurface. Sometimes I put that stuff in there and I forget about it, and it’s lost until I’m scanning through Evernote. So I’ve been playing around with a tool called Readwise, which helps surface some of that forgotten stuff and maybe brings back ideas, whatever. I have no idea if I like it or not yet. I literally just started using it, so maybe I’ll report back on that. But yeah, as far as tools go for writing, my laptop and Google Docs, that’s the main tool.
Kira Hug: So, I am always interested in tools other copywriters are using, especially since I’m not necessarily drawn to tools typically. So one that was shared with me recently that I thought was really cool, shared by Marcy Lynn who was an accelerator member with us and is also a retention membership strategist, and so I’ve worked with her on that, retention strategies for the accelerator. She shared this really cool tool called VideoAsk, which probably isn’t anything new, but it was really fun because she sent me a link to survey me about our experience working together and it was a really fun way of allowing me to respond to her survey questions via video, via audio, or I could type it out, and it was all baked in this one tool through videoask.com. I was also able to see her on video asking me the questions, so it felt really intimate and was just this awesome experience, which is what Marcy is all about. That’s what she tries to do, help her clients create for their customers. So I would definitely look into VideoAsk for your own surveys and offboarding, and follow up questions for your clients. I think that’s something that we could use for The Copywriter Club too.
Rob Marsh: VideoAsk is a tool from Typeform. So it’s the same company, which is kind of cool because Typeform is a great tool too.
Kira Hug: I did not know that. These are things I do not know, but yes, worth checking out. Any other tools we should share that are cool or worth exploring?
Rob Marsh: No, I mean, we already talked about it, my favorite tools are books. That’s where ideas come from, so that’s probably really … That should’ve been my answer, is my favorite tools are books.
Kira Hug: So we’re basically not helpful with this answer.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, sorry about that.
Kira Hug: We’re better with the book question. All right, next question. How do you find your first client? Rob, if you had to find your first client, what would you do to get that first client?
Rob Marsh: You mean if I’m starting over, how would I do a first client today?
Kira Hug: If you’re starting over, yeah, you’re a new copywriter and you need to find your first client. What would you do?
Rob Marsh: Okay, so starting from scratch I would start reaching to my network, number one. I’ll let them know what problem that I could help them solve, and I would just start reaching out. So based on my past experience, whatever, I’ve worked with a lot of people in the technology field, so I would figure out what is the need in that field. Is it something like case studies? Is it content for their website? Is there something that I could do to help them sell memberships or to get that recurring monthly revenue? And then I would pitch a project to them, and I would start with my network. If that doesn’t result in results, then I would go broader than that. I would start cold pitching people in the industry that I want to work in. I would identify people at companies, again, if I’m sticking with say tech, or SaaS, or where I’ve done a lot of work in the past, I would identify companies that maybe have some funding, that have a marketing team with a marketing budget because I know that they’re spending money on marketing, and figure out what problem I could help them solve there. So that’s what I would do if I was starting over.
The way that I actually got my first client was I met somebody at a party and they had work, and I didn’t even know what copywriting was and they needed help, and I said, “Yeah, let’s try it out. Let’s see.” And so I guess in a way that was networking, although I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it at the time. How about you?
Kira Hug: Was this like late night at a party?
Rob Marsh: I don’t know how … I mean, I’m not sure it was that late, but yeah, it was probably after dark.
Kira Hug: So, I think your advice is great, and the only thing I have to say from my experience getting my first few clients, it was from what we call the low hanging fruit, which is probably the worst way to describe our circle of colleagues and friends. So it was through my list of colleagues and people who already trusted me and who knew what I could do and what I was capable of, and even could see it before I could see it. So working with them and having the opportunity to write website copy for colleagues who were building their own consulting businesses, like Eliza Berkus. Shout out to Eliza who told me, “Kira, you’re a copywriter, build the business, it’s here. People are hiring you, people are paying you.”
So all that to say I would start with the people who know and trust you already and could use help, even if it’s not the final destination, even if you’re starting writing website copy and maybe you know you want to write some sales pages or work on case studies, start with what they need, solving problems. I think the key is to just start solving problems for people who will pay you, because that’s what builds confidence and that’s what builds your experience and allows you to grow from there.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Then maybe a final question that kind of builds on that one, how do you up level your clients from these small low-paying projects that come early in our careers to bigger, better paying work? Maybe even more importantly, how do you find the time to up level, because you’re stretched, all your time is going to doing this client work, you’ve barely got time to work in your own business. How do you do that?
Kira Hug: Yeah. Well, we’ve said this many times, so it probably will sound like a broken record at this point, but making the time comes down to flipping the script and focusing on your own business before you focus on your client work, because for most of us we will hit deadlines. We will stay up all night if we have to to hit a deadline, especially if you’re a people pleaser like me, you will be okay. You will do the client work and you will do the client work well, but what you won’t do is you won’t work on your own business. You’ll postpone that and you’ll put everything into the projects for other people, because we’re driven that way and we’re driven to make other people happy, oftentimes before we focus on what’s right in front of us and what will help us grow. So as soon as you can flip that, and that’s not a easy switch, and it takes oftentimes some mindset work. It might take working with someone on your mindset or just working through that on your own, but when you can flip it and you start every day focused on your business, or if it’s not every day, it could be like every Monday you spend four hours focusing on your business, and marketing your business, and creating content for your business before you dive into the client projects that always feel urgent and will always feel urgent moving forward.
When we’ve worked with copywriters who make that switch, that’s when they start to show up, and that’s when they start to feel a big difference in the clients that they’re working with, how much they can charge, because if you don’t make that time for your own business, you’re not going to be able to do the things you need to do to go from low-paying projects to high-paying projects, which is all about marketing and building your authority, and building your visibility. You can’t do that if you don’t have time, so I think that’s the first part of the question.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, and just to add to that, as you start to level up, very few people are able to, if you’re working in the course niche, you’re not likely to pitch an Amy Porterfield who is sort of at the top of this niche as your first client, or if you’re working in the medical field and want to work with doctors, pitching the Mayo Clinic or Cedars-Sinai Hospital is probably not your first client. That’s a hard one to land because they’re kind of up there at the top, but laddering up. Starting with that first doctor and then taking that success and pitching another doctor who maybe has two or three offices, or their practice is bigger, and then you pitch the next thing, and you slowly build on that as you move up the ladder. It doesn’t have to take years, but oftentimes you do need to show that you can deliver results for the smaller clients who are willing to take a chance before you’re going to get to that bigger client that is not going to take a chance because now they have literally millions of dollars riding on the success or failure of a campaign. They need to be able to know that you’re going to deliver.
So laddering up with clients as you build your business is part of the process, and we can do it quickly. Sometimes it takes a couple of years, but it is definitely part of the process, and if you keep at it, you’ll get there eventually.
Kira Hug: Yeah, it’s all about building that body of work that shows that you’re an expert, and that takes time, but you’re right, you can move through it a little bit faster, depending on what you focus on. So I, and this is why I highly recommend creating your own media channel, whether it’s a podcast, or a YouTube channel, or something else where you own it and you show up consistently, and you run the show, and it’s your expertise.
Even if you’re interviewing other people it’s like you’re front and center and you attract people to you, and you can invite guests on your show strategically, like maybe they’re ideal clients and you invite them to your show, or maybe you pitch other podcasts and you only pitch other shows with the host that you know is a dream client. That, it works. I mean, it works really well. I’ve been on shows where the host is an idea clients and we build a relationship over an hour, and then a couple months later they reach out and they’re like, “Hey, here’s a project. I’d love to work with you, or if you can’t do it, do you know any copywriters?” Because you’ve built that trust, so you’re the go-to resource for that person, and it can start really easily if you’re not ready to start your own show because that takes time, and dedication, and a lot of work, and money. You can at least show up on other people’s platforms, and it’s never too early to start doing that.
Rob Marsh: I think the one other thing to add to that is of course, as you ladder up, as you move from one client to another, you have to actually create value and you do have to deliver it. You have to show up, you have to do the things that you say. If you promise somebody, a voice, guide, or a branding guide and you’re not able to create that, and you don’t create, you fail, that’s a mark that’s going to hold you back from moving up the ladder the next step. So as we become more comfortable with the work that we do, that becomes easier, which is again, maybe one of the reasons why sometimes it does take a little bit of time, but you do have to deliver. You have to show up as a professional, create value, solve real problems. Again, if you can do that, moving up the ladder is pretty fast and pretty easy.
Kira Hug: Okay, maybe we should wrap up with a quick lightning round.
Rob Marsh: Uh-oh. What questions for the lightning round?
Kira Hug: Rob, what are you eating for lunch today?
Rob Marsh: That is a really good question.
Kira Hug: What will you eat? What will you eat today?
Rob Marsh: So, yeah, lightning quick. I think I’m going to go get some tacos. There’s a new taco place here that I really like, and so I’m going to go get some fish tacos, I think. How about you, lunch?
Kira Hug: Sounds really good. Actually, I’ve been trying to order a salad as we’re recording this.
Rob Marsh: That brings up the question.
Kira Hug: So if you see me distracted, it’s because I was trying to order a salad. I have not been successful in doing that yet. So yeah, trying to eat sort of healthy because I’m growing a human inside of me, but I was also tempted. I was like, “Maybe I should get McDonald’s.” I’m really craving some french fries, so I don’t know.
Rob Marsh: French fries.
Kira Hug: I know that’s not great.
Rob Marsh: French fries are great, yeah.
Kira Hug: I know, but french fries aren’t…
Rob Marsh: I’m not going to criticize anybody who wants french fries. I think french fries are fantastic. They’re delicious.
Kira Hug: Thank you. Thank you. One more lightning round question. Favorite day of the week.
Rob Marsh: Friday. Yeah, Friday. How about you? Do I have to have a reason?
Kira Hug: I mean, I think it’s pretty obvious, Friday.
Rob Marsh: It was always a half a day at school or whatever. It’s the beginning of the weekend. I love Fridays. I think Fridays are awesome. What about you? Is it Friday?
Kira Hug: It is a Thursday. I used to really enjoy Thursdays in my 20s, and so I still feel like it just represents freedom, and I kind of do take freedom Fridays, so Thursday is like my Friday. Okay, nickname your parents used to call you.
Rob Marsh: My dad called me Pete.
Kira Hug: Pete?
Rob Marsh: Pete, yeah. I don’t know why. I can’t tell you why. They called me Pete and my next younger brother was Butch, and I have no idea why he called him Butch either.
Kira Hug: That’s pretty awesome.
Rob Marsh: It’s just nicknames that happen. Did you have a nickname?
Kira Hug: My parents used to call me kitty cat. I was kitty cat.
Rob Marsh: All right.
Kira Hug: Now I call my daughter the same thing. She’s very cat-like. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Rob Marsh: Well, it depends on how you define ready. I mean, I exercise, I do some meditation and stuff, but shower, dressed, about 20 minutes. How about you?
Kira Hug: And you’re showering every day.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I shower every day. Yeah, for sure. How long does it take you to get ready?
Kira Hug: About 20 minutes. I get ready as my kids, as I get them up and get them ready. I kind of touch up some makeup, do a little bit of grooming. I don’t shower every day, I’m not a daily shower person, I don’t think I ever will be.
Rob Marsh: I would go crazy. I don’t know, I feel dirty after a day. I’m sure that’s a habit. It’s probably not even true, but…
Kira Hug: I mean, how dirty could you be? We’re in an office all day, we’re not … I was going to say how-
Rob Marsh: We’re copywriters.
Kira Hug: … we’re copywriters.
Rob Marsh: All of this persuasion and manipulation wipes off on me.
Kira Hug: So dirty.
Rob Marsh: I have to shower it off at the end of the day. I don’t know why, it’s a habit. It’s probably because I exercise most days. Since I exercise most days, I have to shower.
Kira Hug: Oh see, I don’t exercise. Yeah, that’s the difference. Scale of one to 10, how good of a driver are you?
Rob Marsh: I’m going to say I’m average. I mean, I’ve been in a couple of accidents. I was in a couple accidents as a kid. I haven’t been in an accident in a long time, but I would not say that I’m a better than average driver. I think I’m probably average. I think most people say they’re better than average, but I think I’m just average.
Kira Hug: I’m surprised, yeah. I wish I would’ve known that before I got into a car with you.
Rob Marsh: I was going to say, have we driven anywhere?
Kira Hug: You’ve driven me one time. I thought you were good. I’m probably a four.
Rob Marsh: Oh, that’s right.
Kira Hug: So if you’re a five, it’s probably better that we had you driving, but I’m probably like a three or four because I’m a city walker and I just … It hasn’t been … I don’t drive frequently, so good to know. We should make sure we get a driver next time we’re together. Last question. First celebrity crush.
Rob Marsh: Oh, that is a good one. Kristy McNichol.
Kira Hug: Who is that?
Rob Marsh: That’s going to totally date me. That would’ve been end of the ’70s. I think she dated Shaun Cassidy, if I remember right, but I just remember as a kid, maybe I was probably 10, 11, I was like, “She’s beautiful.” Yes, first celebrity crush. That’s probably Kristy McNichol. I’m sure everybody is running to Google it, unless they’re a Gen X.
Kira Hug: I need to Google. I don’t know who that is.
Rob Marsh: Maybe they’ll remember. How about you? Who’s your first celebrity crush?
Kira Hug: It was Donnie from New Kids On The Block. Donnie was like the bad boy, Donnie Wahlberg.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Kira Hug: And I also had a crush on his brother, Mark, Marky Mark later, years later. So the Wahlbergs definitely. He was my favorite.
Rob Marsh: I think we’re way over time. I think we’re boring people with our answers at this point.
Kira Hug: Wait, wait, one more. I need to keep this resource, because there are many great lightning round questions. Would you want to live forever?
Rob Marsh: Sure, why not. I mean, it depends on is my body going to be falling apart, because I’m not sure I would enjoy that, but if I’m healthy, if I’m not wheelchair-bound or whatever, bedbound, yeah, for sure. Why not? How about you?
Kira Hug: No, I would definitely not. No.
Rob Marsh: Okay, all right, well.
Kira Hug: I don’t want to live forever.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Kira Hug: Let’s just end on that.
Rob Marsh: I’d kind of like to see what’s going to happen in the future. I want to see how the story ends. It’d be nice to be there for it.
Kira Hug: I mean, I want to live a long, healthy life. I’d like to be 90 or 100, but I don’t want to live forever. I mean, that’s like a vampire.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, well, I mean, can I come out in the sun? If I’m a vampire, I don’t want to live forever, but if I can be in the sun and I’m healthy, yeah, sure. Why not? Let’s keep this thing going. Yeah.
Kira Hug: Okay, I think that’s a good last question, but I am really excited to have all these lightning round questions ready for all of our future interviews-
Rob Marsh: For the next time.
Kira Hug: … with other podcast guests. Yeah, for our next podcast guest in eight minutes we will ask some of these questions. Okay, thanks for joining us this week as we answered a few of your questions. If you have a question you’d like us to answer on a future podcast, just send them over to us at email@example.com and we’ll add your questions to the list. Please, include your name if you want us to give you a shout-out in the episode.
Rob Marsh: That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Our intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice. Our outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner, and thank you again to both of you guys, because even 30 episodes later these pieces make me smile. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcasts and leave your review of the show. Your review will help other copywriters find the program so that they can get better at this thing that we all do together.
To get your ticket to TCC (Not) In Real Life, that’s our event this April 7th through 9th, go to thecopywriterclub.com/tccnirl-2021. You’ll find a link to that in the show notes of this episode. Thanks for listening and we will see you next week.