Paulo Faustino is our guest on the 344th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Paulo is a serial entrepreneur and digital marketing expert who shares his experience in building and scaling businesses even in the midst of chaos. From writing 550 articles for $100 to scaling a millionaire-dollar business, Paulo shares insights all business owners can glean.
Tune into the episode to find out:
- How a gut feeling kept him on the path to entrepreneurship.
- How he scaled his business to a million dollars and why it took an extreme hit.
- The pivot he made to save his business and grow his audience.
- What is affiliate marketing and how can it benefit your business?
- How to navigate a financial loss and why fear cannot stop you from moving forward.
- This reality of business can make or break you.
- The 4 foundational pieces your business need to thrive.
- Why marketing and authority go hand in hand?
- When does the sale really start?
- The effects of a world-class client experience.
- Why it’s not your job to fix all your client’s problems (including money mindset).
- How to filter the types of clients you work with.
- The simpler and faster way to save time and energy in your business.
- The ins and outs of Paulo’s social media marketing strategy and how he grew his following and email list to hundreds of thousands.
- How to bring aligned content to your audience.
- Why you need to focus on value rather than design.
- What Paulo would do differently if he could start over.
- Authority grows when you have these two things.
- The current struggles of a high-earning entrepreneur.
Press play or check out the transcript below.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
Rob Marsh: Building a business is hard. Sometimes things go really well. Clients are plentiful. The work is fun and rewarding, and the money comes in, and other times things don’t go so well. Laws change or the algorithm changes or the economy changes and the client pipeline dries up. The work is hard and the money runs out. Our guest for today’s episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast is Paulo Faustino, and he built a thriving affiliate business that collapsed in less than a month, thanks to a change in the laws. He had just enough money to last four months, which means that he had to completely rebuild his business in 120 days and in this interview, he tells us how he did it, and along the way, he shares a ton of great business advice for anyone who’s trying to build their own business.
Kira Hug: But before we jump into this interview, this podcast is sponsored by the Copywriter Think Tank, which is our mastermind for copywriters who want to figure out a new revenue stream for their business and launch something new that can transform their business in the year ahead. We have a retreat coming up actually in a couple weeks. In early June, we have our next retreat, and if you want to be a part of that mastermind retreat where we bring in top speakers where Rob and I teach and share. Well, Rob, what are you sharing?
Rob Marsh: I think we’re going to talk about profits, profit margins, and how do you increase the money that’s coming in, but we’ll cover a lot of other stuff too. We have guests who are speaking about the client buying cycle and how to implement the things that were taught by Eugene Schwartz. We’re pulling in guests to talk about all kinds of things like email and such. So, definitely worth tuning in and learning from all of these experts as well as the super smart people that are already in the think tank.
Kira Hug: Yes, so that is coming up in June and if you are listening to this, it is not too late to apply and possibly participate in that upcoming retreat if it’s a good fit for you. So, you can learn more at copywriterthinktank.com. All right, let’s kick off our episode with Paulo.
Paulo Faustino: So, I started in 2007 and I started building companies in 2005. I built my first company when I was 19 years old and it was a technology company. We sell computers and all overclocking stuff and water cooling stuff and I started there. I left the company in 2007 and I went home with some bills to pay, and the first thing I searched on Google was how to make money online and that was my start because no one was searching for digital marketing or all that stuff because no one speak spoke about that at the time. So, they were speaking about how to make money online. That was the thing and I started there and I found a lot of really interesting North American stuff from Jeremy Schumacher, from Darren Rose, from John Chow, and a lot of different entrepreneurs that were teaching at a time how to make money online.
There was a lot of different strategies like affiliate marketing, like PPC, like a lot of other things, and Google Adsense, and I started going deep on affiliate marketing and that’s my journey. My journey started as an affiliate market and I started in 2007. In the end of the year, I was building forums and blogs related to affiliate marketing on the sports betting industry, which was the industry I selected because I loved football and I love football, or soccer, like you guys. I love soccer, and I went there and I was creating contents every single day about football, football predictions, football analysis and a lot of stuff, and one day in 2007, I entered in one of the affiliate marketing companies I was registered on, and there was a 30 euro commission and that was my eureka moment, like God. God, this works.
I just need to know how to do this every single day and that was my drive. So, it started there. In 2008, I created a blog called Get Rich, in Portuguese, “get rich,” and I started documenting every single thing I was learning online, like SEO, like creating content, creating blogs, affiliate marketing strategies to make money online. Everything. I was documenting everything and on the first year, I posted 550 articles just on the first year and I won 100 bucks on the first year, which was incredible. 100 bucks.
Rob Marsh: Wait, did that feel like a win, $100 dollars with five? Or were you just like, “Wow, this is going slower than I thought”?
Paulo Faustino: Yeah, but I don’t know why, but I was seeing these Americans making 100K with Google AdSense, making a lot of money on the affiliate marketing and I was… Man, just keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going and at the time, I had some part-times. I worked on a café. I worked in a hostel and I was doing some other stuff to bring some more money than 100 bucks, but I was completely focused on that because I don’t know why and that’s really strange. Every time I speak about my story is that I can’t understand why, but I knew that I should keep going on that path. I don’t know why and I keep posting article after article after article and in 2010, I did a rebranding on the blog and it went from Get Rich to Money School and in 2010, I was doing like 2K a month already, and we launched Afiliados Brasil, the Brazil affiliate events on that year, the first edition.
So, I started there. In 2013, I already had my spouse with me. We met in 2009 and we started working together in 2010, 2011, 2012 and in 2013, we created our company, which is our digital marketing agency, but at the time, there wasn’t any agency. It was just a company to invoice all the affiliate marketing stuff we were doing. So, from 2013 to 2016, we were full-time affiliate marketers. We didn’t did anything else. In 2014, we were making a million a year with four people on the affiliate marketing, on sports betting. We were the second-biggest affiliate marketing player on the bating industry in Portugal and one of the top 10 in the world. So, we were doing really, really good, but in 2015, there was a regulation in Portugal. So, every sports betting brands closed the operation in Portugal and we went from like 100K a month to 5K.
Kira Hug: Oh, wow. Wow.
Paulo Faustino: That was the moment we decided to create the agency because we were working for several years, almost 10 years, and we had a lot of knowledge and we decided to starting to deliver services to other brands with that knowledge. If we know how to do this for us, we can help probably some brands and other companies to do the same. So, that was the moment we decided to launch the agency and that’s it. We have a lot of other stuff because in 2016, we launched the agency. We created a physical event, a two-day event, related to digital marketing and entrepreneurship here, which is Think Conference, and in 2017, we started to do in-person training related to digital marketing and digital marketing, social media, and all that stuff and there was a boom.
After 2017, 2018, we had a boom. For you to know, in 2018, when we did the last edition of Think Conference before the pandemic, because we did in 2016, 2018, and we were doing in 2020, but there was a pandemic. So, we stopped and we are relaunching this year, but in 2018 when we did the last edition of the conference, I had 5,000 followers on Instagram. So, from 2018 to 2023, I grow up from 5K on Instagram to almost 270K. So, our email list went from like 20K to 350K. So, there was a lot of things. I like to look back and look at this as the compounding effects because you are working, working, working, and in a moment, the growing is so fast because it’s compounding. It’s compounding.
So, it was probably between 2018 that we went really fast, really, really fast, and on the pandemic, we decided to create our membership because we stopped every in-person training we had. So, we created the digital marketing academy and we started teaching just online. Right now, we have 4K members in our membership and after that, we decided to create several digital products for our value ladder. So, we created Sales Masters, which is our iTickets program, our masterminds, which is Golden Circle, and we created several other different online courses during the Pandemic because it was… Man, it was an awesome time and I think we didn’t squeeze the orange as much as we could at the time because everyone was thinking, okay, this is just a one-month, two-month thing and we are free to go, but right now, when I look back, there was so much opportunities over there.
Rob Marsh: So, Paulo, I want to ask. This is a dumb question, but just in case anybody who’s listening doesn’t understand what affiliate marketing is, you did not have your own products, right? You were creating sites to attract customers and then you were selling other people’s products and collecting commission.
Paulo Faustino: Exactly. The first popular affiliate program in the world was created by Amazon in ’96 and that affiliate program was the way that Amazon becomes so big because you don’t see Amazon ads on Facebook or Instagram or Google or whatever because Amazon doesn’t do digital advertising on those platforms. Why? Because they have 100K affiliates on their platform promoting all the items on different categories they have and the thing is, when I promote an Amazon product, depending on the category, Amazon pays me between 3% to 12% on the shopping carts items, which is quite interesting because I can send someone to Amazon to buy a pair of shoes, for example.
But if they enter on the Amazon online store and they decide to buy those shoes, but also a lot of other stuff, I will receive a commission on everything, on every single product that that guy checked out. So, that was one of the things that attracted me on the affiliate marketing was because I can attract someone that spends, I don’t know, $50,000 on Amazon and I can get a commission on top of that and that’s the way affiliate marketing works. I didn’t add the needs to create a product for myself. I just recommended products that already existed and it was really, really fast to start growing.
Kira Hug: Because we’re talking about affiliate marketing, how has that space changed and what’s working today or not working today for anyone who’s interested and is like, “I’d like to do that. That sounds great. How can I do that”?
Paulo Faustino: So, it’s working the same thing or the same strategies are still working. There’s PPC< affiliate marketing with ads, digital advertising, which is we call it arbitrage because in some way, you are investing in one side to get a commission on the other side and the balance between those two need to be positive. So, it’s more difficult. It’s more difficult. When you are selling products that pays you on a CPA base, which is I send someone to buy this water bottle. If the person buys the water bottle, I receive a commission and that’s it, but one of the things we do, for example, on the sports betting industry, and there are a lot of different industries that does the same, is recurring customers.
For example, when you register, for example, on a sports betting or an online casino website, you register just once, but you come back to the casino website several times in a year and I receive commissions every single time you come back. So, it’s recurring commission and it’s one of the things we call revenue share, which is if I send Kira for a casino and Kira makes a 100 bucks deposit and she loses the 100 bucks, I received 40% commission of those 100 bucks, but if Kira won 200 bucks, I will have my commission negative. So, it’s both ways, but the thing is 99% of the players lose in the long term. So, it’s always positive.
Kira Hug: That’s a little depressing for them.
Paulo Faustino: Yeah.
Kira Hug: Okay. So, you mentioned you went from-
Paulo Faustino: Recurring revenue. Yeah, it happens the same for example with SaaS software because it’s recurring commissions. It’s the same for example on adult websites, adult websites like porn and all that stuff because it’s recurring payments too. So, every recurring membership or software or wherever, they pay you recurring commissions. So, for example, ClickFunnels. ClickFunnels, it’s a recurring affiliates commission. So, if I brought Kira to ClickFunnels and she’s paying for the software every single month, I will receive a commission every single month. So, it’s the same.
Kira Hug: Okay, and you mentioned you went from a 100K a month to 5K a month. During that time, how did you deal with that type of drop? I mean, mindset-wise, emotionally, how do you deal with that? And then what do you do to get focused again as a team, not just for you, but as your team, with your partner? What do you do in those moments where you have to start over?
Paulo Faustino: On that day, me and my wife, we were out of the office when I received the call. I received the call from Bet365, which was our biggest affiliate partner at the time and they called me to let me know that they were leaving the country, and on that day I spoke with my wife and we decided to create a plan, and we went to the office on the other day and we did a meeting with everyone and we told them, “We have money to keep the company for six months and we have to do something about this,” and we decided to do two things. At the time, we were doing 100K a month in Portugal, and we have some few affiliates websites in Brazil, but we were not exploring too much because we were 100% in Portugal and one of the things we decided was, okay, if we can’t make money in Portugal, let’s go to the Brazil market and try to do the exactly same thing.
And we did that, and right now, we are doing 20K a month. It’s not 100, but it’s quite better. It’s quite better, and the other thing was, okay, let’s start to sell online services related to digital marketing and advertising because at the time we were spending like 20 to 30K a month just on Facebook ads, which in 2013, 2014 was a lot of money. No one was spending that kind of money at the time and it was quite different because at the time, we could advertise gambling. Right now, you can’t. It’s on the guidelines, so it’s quite different right now, but it was a moment that we made a meeting with everyone on the team and this is the game plan. Are you guys with us or do you want to leave? Every single person on the team was with us, and one of those guys, my first developer, he scheduled a meeting with me and my wife to tell us that if we wanted to drop his salary for one year, he was fine with that and we did that. We dropped the salary and he kept working on the same pace and it went really, really well.
After one year, we raised the salary again, not for the same value. We were growing a little bit every single year and it was a moment that we understood the kind of persons we had on our team and the love they had for the things we were doing because they were really enjoying every single moment we were creating together. So, it was really, really cool on that time, but emotionally it’s like I need to find a job. I need to find a job.
Kira Hug: But it seems like the two of you and the team turned it around within a couple of days. You created the new vision and got everybody on board. Or did it take longer?
Paulo Faustino: Yes. Yeah.
Kira Hug: It sounds like it was the next day.
Paulo Faustino: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It was like two, three days. We had the master plan and we kept the master plan until today, because we are working on Brazil for affiliate marketing and we still have the digital agency.
Kira Hug: Okay, so I feel like you’re… I don’t know what you would call it, but you’re like an early adopter. Maybe trendsetter. First to market, but I’m wondering how you look for opportunities, especially in that moment when things fall apart here and you have to pivot. Or even now for copywriters with ChatGPT and everything changed overnight. So, they have to pivot. They have to look for new opportunities. I know part of that probably is just in you and intuitive, but what advice would you give to us if we are trying to look for opportunities, how could we approach it so we can do that too?
Paulo Faustino: I have this phrase in my head that says… I will try to translate to English, which is the fear of losing keeps you away from winning and the thing is when something like ChatGPT or other technologies and the world transformation and all that stuff. The thing is everyone normally, the first thought and the first emotion is, “I will lose everything,” and for some people they kept there. They stay there, and for other people is, okay, but I could lose everything, but I can win everything too, because there’s opportunities too and the thing is it’s more related to the person than is related to the markets because for example, the pandemic, the ChatGPT, the blockchain, the wherever. Everyone that was afraid of losing money, for example, on the blockchain, never sold an NFT or bought a crypto coin or wherever and there was a lot of opportunities.
One year and a half ago or two years ago, the crypto mark market was $3 trillion. I don’t know how much money it is, but it’s too much. $3 trillion and the thing is if you stay with the fear of losing, you are a way of winning and the thing is you are not doing anything on your behalf to build on top of that and it is 100% related to the person more than the market. Definitely.
Rob Marsh: So, Paulo, one of the things that you do so well, obviously, is helping people to build their businesses and it’s not a particular niche, you do it across all kinds of niches. So, just thinking about starting a business. If I’m going to start a new copywriting business or a new marketing consulting business or whatever, what are the foundational pieces that people need to be thinking about as to get started, but get started in a way that helps them succeed and not necessarily struggle?
Paulo Faustino: There are a lot of topics. The thing is if I was starting a business today related to copywriting services for example. One of the things I had in mind was I need to know how to prospect clients, how to close sales, how to onboard new clients and how to do marketing. These four things for me are the foundations of everything, because I need to prospect and there are different ways to prospecting new clients because you can do that by yourself or you can create, for example, an attraction funnel to bring those people to your site.
It’s different strategies, different approaches, but they still bring new clients in. So, that’s good. The other thing is marketing. Marketing on social media for example, it’s important and why it is important? It’s important because it is 100% related to your authority and authority is 100% related to perception. Authority, it’s 100% perception. For example, I don’t know if you guys have seen the Tinder Swindler on Netflix.
Kira Hug: No. I’ve heard of it.
Rob Marsh: I haven’t watched the show, but I’ve seen it there. It’s like on my watch list.
Paulo Faustino: Yeah, you guys should watch. That thing is 100% authority perceived. It’s perception. It’s perception. Because if you look at the guy, the perception he built about him was that he was rich. He was son of a diamond king and that he had a private jet and all that stuff, but everything was a lie, but it’s authority’s perception. So, the thing is, when you go to social media, you need to understand this to everything you do on social media builds a perception on your followers.
So, every single post, every single photo, everything you do on social media builds your perception or builds your follower’s perception about you. The thing is what kind of perception are your followers getting about you? It’s an authority one. It’s a relaxed one. It’s a knowledge one. It’s a results One. For example, if you look to Gary Vee, Gary Vaynerchuk, isn’t what you see on social media because on social media, you only see what the person wants you to see. Okay?
But the thing when you look to Gary Vaynerchuk, you see results. You see results. You see motivation. You see focus. You see a lot of cool things and authority over there because if I want to get results, Gary Vaynerchuk can bring me the results. It’s perception. Do you know if Gary delivers results?
Kira Hug: I assume he does.
Rob Marsh: Personally, I haven’t worked with him, but-
Kira Hug: I assume he does. Yes.
Paulo Faustino: You assume he does. It’s perception. The other thing is sales. If you do a bunch bunch of prospecting, if you do a bunch of lead generation, if you do a bunch of potential customer attraction and all that stuff and you don’t know how to close sales, you are leaving tons of money on the top of the table. So, you need to understand sales, every single one. If he is a copywriter, a social media marketer, or someone that works for another company, you need to understand sales because every single one, every single person sells from the day he born to the day he dies because we do that all the time. You sell your ideas. You sell everything. You defend everything. You are loved about it. You sell everything every single time. The thing is for those that say that sales… Oh, sales are not my thing. It’s because they can’t handle the idea of swapping money from a service because if we are selling ideas.
For example, let’s bring politics. For example, Donald Trump or Joe Biden or wherever. The guys that love those persons, they defend those persons. They sell those persons, right? The thing is, you don’t have any problem to sell that because there isn’t money related. You sell that to those friends, to those families, wherever, but when it’s a service and we are changing money for work, everyone gets, “Oh my God. Oh my God,” and that’s the thing. So, you need to understand sales, and the fourth thing was prospects marketing, sales and onboarding. The experience. I used to say that the sale starts when the client says yes, and for everyone, the sale stops when the customer says yes, and that’s the wrong strategy.
The good strategy is my sale starts on the day my client says yes, because now I need to deliver and I need to deliver a world-class experience. So, the onboarding, the way we are going to work, the timings for the project, the deliverables. Everything needs to be set up in a way that my customer understands on is reality because the majority of the clients don’t understands marketing, technical stuff, or words or whatever, because we talk market-ish stuff and they don’t understand. We need to bring that to a relatable way for them to understand what we are doing and why we are working this way. So, the onboarding is essentially to bring the clients to a safe zone and then delivery world-class experience.
Kira Hug: So, you were talking about sales and that we stumble through the money piece of it. So, how do you help your clients with their money mindset? How do you help them work through the money component of it so they don’t get in their own way? Are there any techniques or any advice you give to your clients?
Paulo Faustino: It depends on the type of client. For example, for us on our agency, one of the things we try to do is try to understand the type of clients we can help and the monthly minimum wage they have to spend, for example, on marketing, on software and all that stuff and those barriers are way also for us to filter our potential clients because we don’t work with every single client that’s interested to work with us and we do those filters because it’s a way for me to deliver a better experience and it’s a filter for them because if they don’t have the mindset, they don’t have the money. They don’t have the courage.
For example, a client that is desperate to start selling on his online store. One of our filters is we don’t take desperate clients. Never. Every single client that says is desperate or it’s, oh my God, you’re going to save my business. It’s out of the business because we don’t want to work with that kind of mindset because I’m not God. I’m not going to save your business, because if you are desperate, desperate decisions are the worst you can do. So, we try to bring some filters, more than try to change those mindsets about money because that’s a really hard work. That’s a really hard work.
Rob Marsh: So, in addition to that particular filter, when you’re looking for great clients that you can help build, what are some of the other characteristics that you’re looking for aside from they’re not desperate?
Paulo Faustino: Product validation. It’s essential for us. For example, we don’t work with businesses that are starting right now or started a few weeks ago and they didn’t prove the concept. That’s one of the filters too, because if I’m getting a client that is starting from the ground zero and I don’t have any idea. If that product, its market fits, it’s not a good business because I’m taking too much risk and if the product or the service isn’t market fits, the client will say, “You didn’t bring me results,” and the problem sometimes is it’s not that you can’t provide results. It’s that’s the product or the service isn’t good or the market is not looking for a product or service like that. So, we don’t take clients that are starting… They need to have the products already validated.
Rob Marsh: All right, Kira, a lot of stuff to unpack here. Why don’t you kick us off? What would you like to emphasize about what Paulo was talking about?
Kira Hug: Oh, it was so fun to hear his story because you and I know where Paulo’s business is today, right? It’s successful, impressive. He’s been at it for a while, so I didn’t know the origin story and the ups and downs. So, hearing about that was just such a great reminder, especially since his team, his company, he lost everything in such a short period of time due to the change in and legislation and the laws changing and it flipped everything upside down for him. So, that to me was the most fascinating part, hearing him talk about how he turned that around with his partner, with his team so that they could save, not only save the business, but then grow the business dramatically into what it is today.
So, my takeaway from that is just you could lose everything. We are not guaranteed anything steady in business. That’s what we signed up for. It’s the roller coaster, ups and downs, and that’s what we’re all here for and if we’re not here for that, then it’s probably not the right line of work, but he had a really positive side to that around, yes, you could lose everything, but you could also win everything and there’s always an opportunity no matter what happens in the industry, in the space. So, that’s the type of positive mindset that I’m trying to channel even on hard days. It’s like where’s the opportunity here?
Rob Marsh: Yeah, there were three things from his story that I think I would repeat. One is as things started going, and he started to earn a little bit of money, that thought of how do I do more of this? How do I keep this going? What are those things to get this engine spinning even faster? He talked a little bit about that inflection point where stuff just starts to compound and it takes a lot of time and effort to get to that point. A lot of times we look at other businesses, other people who have been doing this for a while and think, “Why is their business so smooth? Why do things look like it’s easy for them?” They’re not always easy for those people, but on the outside, it certainly looks that way and it’s because oftentimes they’ve hit that inflection point.
That compounding that Paulo talked about is happening and then you mentioned this as well. As things collapse, you just got to work hard and even if the thought occurs, “Do I need to get a real job?” Paulo talked about how the fear of losing keeps you away from winning. Oftentimes we’re so afraid of putting ourselves out there and the rejection or spending the money on the thing because we’re going to lose out and it keeps us from those bigger wins. So, just hearing him tell his story brought all of that stuff to life for me.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and he also talked about authority, which I thought was really interesting because you and I talk a lot about authority, but the way he worded it about how really it’s perception and that is something that we can control how we’re perceived by reverse engineering it. So, that caused me to think differently about how I’m building my authority and whether or not you like that word, you’re drawn to it or not. It’s a real thing in marketing. So, what is the perception that you’re creating by taking consistent action in your business? Whether it’s intentional or not, we’re all perceived a certain way. So, just reverse engineering it would be really helpful to think about for many business owners.
Rob Marsh: I like how he talked about that perception is a massive part of authority. There’s fame. There are people who are famous, but don’t necessarily have authority because they’re not necessarily doing a thing in the right way. They’re just famous. We see their faces all over, whether it’s Instagram or TV or movies or whatever, but creating that perception, it takes work. It’s not just a matter of showing up on social media. You need to be talking about the things that you do. You need to be talking about how you solve problems, how you work with clients, your frameworks, all those kinds of things. It all plays into that perception that you know what you’re doing.
Kira Hug: And if you could just take two ideas from the conversation, going back to the compounding effect, like doing things consistently in your business, whether it’s marketing, whatever it is, that compounding effect is so critical and I think the copywriters I see struggle are not doing the work consistently and struggling and wondering why they’re not getting the positive results that they want. So, if we pair the compounding effect with authority building and really taking control over the perception and what we’re putting out there, and if you do those two together and really think about how they work together, that can dramatically change your business.
Rob Marsh: And that dove tells really nicely with what Paula talked about, the four things that you need in order to start your business. You need to know how to prospect. You need how find clients and your perception as an authority plays a pretty big part in that and attracting people to you or when you show up in their inbox with a pitch, building that trustworthiness that comes from your authority. Also, closing sales. Once you prospect, you’ve got to be able to close the sales. Once you close a sale, you’ve got to onboard people into whatever it is that you’ve sold, whether it’s service or product or a membership or whatever and then he made a really good point about that’s where your business activities end. You’re really messing up because marketing to your clients and helping them solve their problems, it’s an ongoing thing and sometimes we focus so much on that front end that we forget that the backend is really where dedicated, loyal customers and clients happen and come back over and over or refer their friends. So, those four elements really stood out to me as well.
Kira Hug: All right. Let’s get back to our interview with Paolo to learn how he was able to grow his audience and expand his reach and authority. I want to go back to your story and how you grew from 2018 to 2023, and like what was happening during that time? I know many things were happening, but when you look back, what were some of the pivotal changes or moments or decisions that you made during that time to help you grow?
Paulo Faustino: I was the Facebook guy, not the Instagram guy and for some time, and that was a mistake that I learned at the time, was that I started too slow and too… Let me find the words. I started too slow and after the majority of the early adopters of Instagram, the digital marketers that were using Instagram to provide contents, to bring value and all that stuff, because I was that guy that, no, that Instagram is not for me. I will stay on Facebook. I will stay doing my thing on Facebook and I did that until 2019.
In February, in 2019, I had 20K followers. I remember that because I launched my book in February, 2019 and my book was one of the things that helped me bring more perceived authority, and that was really good and the other thing was, I have a really, really interesting story about Top One Mastermind because in 2019, after launching my book, I tried to enter on Top One and I filled the form and I had a call with Damian, and Damian told me, “You are not ready for Top One.” I was, “What? I’m not ready? What?” He told me, “What do you need is one day with Todd, a full day with Todd in a room.” “Okay, tell me more about that,” and it was a full day with Todd in Miami, and I could ask anything.
“Okay, sounds cool, and how much?” “Oh, it’s this amount on these days. Blah, blah, blah.” “Okay, let’s do it,” and I flew to Miami with one of my employees and we went to a room, like a war room with Todd, all day asking questions, and in 2019 when I did that, I wasn’t using ClickFunnels already. I started using ClickFunnels after that day because we built everything. We were the guys that designed everything and then developed everything and we were those guys, but we took three months to do a three-week work. So, we were those guys, and after that meeting, Todd told us, “You need speed. You need speed,” and ClickFunnels brings you speed, and I was, “Okay, let’s try ClickFunnels,” and we started making every single sales page, training, everything on ClickFunnels and our business speed was like five times the speed.
Doing everything we were are already doing, we did the exactly same thing five times faster and that was really, really important to us. After that, I started to look at Instagram as a marketing tool. I normally say social media, it’s a marketing tool because the objective to use a social media platform is to bring people to another environment that you control. So, if I use Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, wherever, the main goal should be bringing those people to an environment you are controlling. That doesn’t depend on algorithms or fake profiles or bands or wherever. You need to bring those people to an environment you are controlling. Like for example, your email list.
And when I understood every fundamental about those things, I started pushing on Instagram. I started posting every single day and promoting every single post because if I work for two hours in a post. For example, 10 image carousel for Instagram. If I work two hours to do that and I’m posting that on Instagram and 500 people are watching, I’m wasting my time. I need more people watching this. So, what’s the way to bring more people to watch this promotes those contents? You need to promote those contents. So, 5,000 people are watching. 50,000 people are watching, and Instagram in 2019, 2020 was really, really cheap. Right now it’s not that cheap, but it’s still cheap and I promote every single post I do on Instagram.
If it is a carousel, a one-image post, reels, video, whatever. I promote every single post because if I can bring millions of people to watch my contents and I’m creating a good content, those people will follow me. They will follow me and the other thing is if I build that awareness, I can use that as a remarketing audience on Facebook and Instagram and deliver my products, my eBooks, my lead generation stuff directly to them. So, that’s what I’m doing.
For example, my 365 days audience on Instagram, it’s right now 1.2 million people. So, I have 1.2 million people to advertise for. It’s a lot of people. I can bring a lot of leads over there because those guys already know me. They have engaged with at least one single content from my account. So, I need to squeeze that and I’m using it for that. On 2018 and 2019, the in-person trainings we did were amazing because we were doing eight to 10 in-person trainings per year and all of them with at least 100 people or 200 people. It was a lot of people, and for Portugal, because the second biggest was doing like 20 people. So, it was really, really good and we were pushing a lot on that and doing a lot of in-person trainings and that brought us to a whole new level on, for example, speaking, life training, objection handling, all that stuff because you need to be there. You need to be there and it was really, really good on that time.
And in 2020 when the pandemic started, we did the same meeting with all the company like we did in 2015, and guys, we have money for, I don’t know, four months, wherever. Four months. So, this is the way we are going to do it. Let’s start making online stuff. Let’s creating online courses. We did a bunch of W online workshops, social media workshop, neuromarketing workshop, and a lot of stuff. We built also the Digital Marketing Academy and we were crushing it because we understood that if people is online and is consuming every single thing online, we need to be online.
And after the pandemic, we kept online. We kept everything online. So, we stopped the in-person trainings. We’re going to restart this year with a three-day training, but we stopped every single in-person training. We brought everything online. So, all this and the money we are spending on ads because the fundamental is if you are not on your followers’ top of mind, they will not buy from you.
So, one of the things I learned also in 2020 with Neil Patel was that he understood really fast that the game he’s playing is the awareness game. So, what he was preparing at the time, commercial advertisings for television on US, because if the goal is the awareness, I need to be in front of my potential clients every single time. So, the social media game is exactly the same. So, we spend a lot of money promoting our content, growing fast, and that’s the way we do it.
Rob Marsh: Can I ask some specifics about the Instagram promotion?
Paulo Faustino: Sure.
Rob Marsh: A lot of people think about Instagram. They’re like, “Well, I’ll run ads on Instagram,” but you’re talking about something a little bit different when you say you’re going to promote your posts. So, how do you decide which posts get more money? How much are you spending to promote a post? What are some of the metrics around that so I can look at it and say, “Wait, I really should be promoting this to more people”?
Paulo Faustino: Cool. I’m going to bring two visions. When I started is the first vision. When I started, I decided this way. I posted my content on Instagram and I waited 24 hours for the organic. After the organic reach and the organic metrics, I decided if I promote this with more money or less money. So, the first thing is understand your account’s average. What is your account average? If you do a post on Instagram right now, in average, how much people are you reaching with your post? Let’s say for example, 2,000 people. Okay? That’s your average. In average, 2,000 people receive my posts on the feeds.
So, if that is my average, when I do a post that, for example, 4,000, 5,000 people reached, I was promoting that with five bucks a day during 30 days, which is 150 bucks. If the posts was reaching below average, I was promoting it with five bucks for seven days. Just that. Okay? Right now, second phase, I’m promoting every single post with 150 bucks, every single one. So, I do five bucks a day, 30 days for every single post. On Instagram, you have different objectives when you promote a post. The objective you need to choose to grow fast your accounts is profile visits because the thing is you need to bring that content in front of your potential clients and if he likes the contents, the thing he does is go to your profile, watch your profile, see if you guys are delivering some jams, and then follow you. So, profile visits. It’s the goal.
The other thing, the first step is profile visits. The second step is the persona. I’m going to promote this post for who? And the thing is you can create multiple different audiences to promote your posts on Instagram. My recommendation is bring different audiences. For example, if you are a copywriter, should I choose copywriting on the Facebook and Instagram interests? And my reply is no, because if you choose, for example, copywriting on Facebook and Instagram interests, you’re going to speak with copywriters, not clients that wants copywriting services. So, that’s the way you need to think about that, but for example, buyers. For example, there are some different acts you can use on Facebook and Instagram segmentation.
For example, evolved buyers. It’s one of the segmentations, which is a segmentation created by Facebook related to the pixel information and that person on Facebook, and what is an evolved buyer is someone that is on Facebook or Instagram and clicks on advertising and buys stuff online, but Paulo, how does Facebook knows that people is buying stuff online? Because those stores and those websites are using Facebook Pixel to track that. Well, Facebook knows that. So, it’s a really good segmentation. The other one, for example, is the public that has high income. You can choose that too. Another stuff I do, for example, if I want to talk to business owners, you have business owners’ interests, but you have also, for example, commercial pages on Facebook.
Which is commercial pages on Facebook? It’s people that has a commercial page for his business on Facebook. That person has a business because if he has a commercial page, he probably has a business. Another stuff, for example, if you filter, for example, to those that have make payments to Facebook on the last 90 to 30 days. It’s people that are spending money on Facebook advertising. Those are businesses too. So, if I want to bring businesses, I need to do some filters more related to specific behaviors than to interests because there are a lot of people that thinks… For example, if I make a filter for people that likes Rolex, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and whatever, I’m just talking with people with a lot of money.
No. People that likes Rolex, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton normally are those that don’t have the money to buy those products, but they love the brands. It’s behavior. So, the second step, create the difference audiences related to those filters, and the third is decides on the amounts you’re going to spend per day and the duration of the company. So, I normally do seven or 30 days and it’s five bucks a day. So, you’re good to go.
Kira Hug: All right. I’m going to-
Rob Marsh: I think that definitely helps. There are so many copywriters who use Instagram, but just throw their stuff out there and then it just sits, right? Or they’re not necessarily using ads, but hoping to connect. So, I think even just thinking through like, oh, maybe it’s not 30 days to start out. Maybe just do it for five days or let’s see what happens, but it’s an idea of worth pursuing.
Kira Hug: I’m curious about, if we’re talking about Instagram, let’s talk about how you create the content because I know you have a big team now. So, I’m curious. Do you have team members helping you with that level of content or are you doing that on your own?
Paulo Faustino: I built every single post on my Instagram until four months ago.
Kira Hug: Really? Wow.
Paulo Faustino: Oh, really?
Kira Hug: Geez.
Rob Marsh: And how many was that a week? How many times do you post a week?
Kira Hug: A lot.
Paulo Faustino: One time per day.
Rob Marsh: Okay. So, once a day,
Paulo Faustino: One time per day, and I just gave my Instagram login and passwords two days ago.
Kira Hug: Wow.
Paulo Faustino: I was still posting, not creating, but posting, but one of the thing is I just delegate that, but the person that is working with me is building the content, but I’m bringing my vision to that content because for example, the copy has to be my tone, has to be my style, because I don’t believe, and I really don’t believe on, for example, a personal brand that is created by someone else. It doesn’t have your tone, your style, your way to look at those things. So, I revise every single copy, the image copy and the legends, the subtitle… Sorry, the subtitle for the posters I’m creating from the ground zero because I want to have my tone and my style, but the thing is, right now there are a lot of softwares and cool tools to build your Instagram profile.
But one of the things the most important for me is what sale is not the design, what sale is the content. So, a lot of people, they keep struggling because they want to have the perfect Instagram feed with good-looking posts and design stuff and canvas stuff and whatever and I was building every single post on Apple Keynote. My posts were created on Keynotes.
Rob Marsh: You need speed and that sounds really slow.
Paulo Faustino: Keynotes. Keynotes. Keynote is really good because you can change the colors. You can bring arrows and circles and squares and text. It’s good. Create a Keynote with 1080 pixels for 1080 pixels on keynotes. You just create the post on the exact size for Instagram. You export that in PNG and you’re good to go. You just need to bring value, more than the design, except if you are a graphic designer because for a graphic designer, the design matters because it’s a portfolio, right?
Rob Marsh: I know the answer to this because I’ve browsed your Instagram content. We’ve talked about this, but there’s one thing to have that nice image that’s there. You talk about bringing value, and that’s one of those buzzwords everybody talks about. In fact, I hate it because everybody says, “Oh, this gold here, lots of value or whatever,” but let’s just outline some of the kinds of authority content that you tend to post. What are the ideas that you’re sharing? Do they break into any kind of categories where you’re thinking, “This time I want to share this kind of content. This time I’m going to be talking about this idea”? Or is it just whatever comes to mind?
Paulo Faustino: So, right now, there is content planning with my team, but when I was posting, the thing is first you need to understand behavior and behavior… and two things you need to connect, human behavior on social media and data because people don’t look at data. For example, if you have a post on Instagram and it has five likes, 20 likes, and then you do another post that has 200 likes. What’s the (beep) difference between them? Because there’s a difference over there. There’s a difference over there. The attention phase, it’s better. You are capturing the attention in a way that is way better than the other post, or it’s the formats, or it’s the type of contents you are delivering. You need to look at data, okay? Because data tells you everything.
I know before posting if a post is going to work or not because it’s behavior. It’s data. For example, if you do want copywriting, if you do for example, for example, email subjects that are open 100% of the time, and it’s just bullets with different subjects that’s grab the attention from people. It works because people want the work done. They don’t want to think. They just want the work done. So, everything you do on social media that brings value and work done, it works because people are lazy.
Kira Hug: I didn’t say-
Rob Marsh: We’re lazy.
Paulo Faustino: That’s why social media works.
Rob Marsh: I know I’m lazy. I know I am.
Paulo Faustino: That’s why social media works because people are lazy.
Kira Hug: That is true. Okay.
Paulo Faustino: So, that’s templates or that’s work done for you normally works really, really well. So, for example, tools works really well too. For example, we did a post yesterday, yesterday about AI softwares to do a bunch of things, okay? To do copy, to do design, to do whatever, a bunch of different softwares. It was a boom. It worked really well, and now money on top of that and live it for 30 days and if it works really well and the content, it’s not time-sensitive, you can re-promote it after 30 days. So, I have, for example, contents that I’ve created three months ago still been promoted, okay? Because they kept working.
Kira Hug: I want to go in a different direction and go back to big picture and your journey and the path you’ve taken. I want to know how your mindset has changed. Just going inside your brain, what has changed along the way? What can you identify as I think differently now about this or I operate differently?
Paulo Faustino: Everything.
Kira Hug: Okay. Well, some specific examples.
Paulo Faustino: Changed everything.
Kira Hug: We need examples.
Paulo Faustino: It changed everything. So, the first thing when I started, I know my goal was to be a millionaire. That was my goal since the beginning, okay? Since the early stage, I wanted to be a millionaire and the thing is, the kind of books that brought me comfort and motivation was personal development books. Every personal development book works with me because I have that drive and that motivation, and it works really well. Right now and after those years, which make the knowledge that makes the difference was understanding that you make more money if you understand better human behavior and that’s been my study for the past six years. It’s human behavior, everything from psychology, from neuromarketing, from neuro sales, from a lot of different topics related to human behavior because if I understand what’s the motivation besides the action, I can bring faster results to my companies.
The other thing has to do with iPerformance. iPerformance made a difference too. When you understand the iPerformance, iPerformance structure, the model, how to think, how to stop giving excuses and bring results to the table, how to be 100% focused in every area of your life, from your health to your family, to your work. Everything gets better. So, I’m still improving in some topics, but those are probably the foundation. Human behavior, iPerformance, and personal development way more than business.
Rob Marsh: What do you wish that you had done differently, Paulo? If you could go back and talk to Paulo just starting out doing affiliate marketing or maybe Paolo starting his agency, what do you wish that you had done differently throughout the journey?
Paulo Faustino: Build your personal brand from the first day I started. I could have started, I don’t know, six, seven years before my personal brand and it probably made a difference. I probably could have be faster or making more money right now if I did that or made that decision at a time. So, my personal brand.
Kira Hug: I think this is my final question, and I don’t want to end on a negative note, so maybe we have to ask another question, Rob, but I mean, so many things have gone well for you, but you’ve also shared the harder moments and the pivots, but I’m wondering what you struggle with today in your business. At the level you’re at, what is the new struggle that you’re working through?
Paulo Faustino: Scale. When you scale a team, it’s really difficult to scale the…. not scale the deliverables, but guarantee that you are scaling and delivering the best quality products that you were doing, I don’t know, 10 years or two staff members ago because with 35 people… We have 35 people on our team. That’s our struggle right now. We are building processes. We are building tools. We are trying to bring more training for them and trying to find the methodology that brings me the results I want to guarantee to my clients because with a big team, everyone understands the things in a different way and they deliver in a different way.
So, our goal right now is to create a system that brings confidence to the process and delivers the same exact quality that we want to deliver, depending if we are independent from 30 people on the team or 200 people on the team. So, we are working on that and we’ve been working on that for, I don’t know, six months and I’m breaking my brain with that.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, it’s a struggle. So, let me turn it, make it more positive so that we don’t end on a broken brain, but what are you most excited about in your business right now, Paulo?
Paulo Faustino: Delivering transformation. When I see people transforming their lives, their family lives, their companies’, that brings me so much motivation and so much joy that after some level, you are not doing things for the money. You are not doing things for the money. You are doing things because you enjoy those things. You enjoy the process and I think it’s more… I do prefer the process than I do prefer the money it brings me because the process, it’s where the excitement is and I love the process of building a new company, building a new product, building a new event. So, that’s the thing and bring that transformation to people’s lives. It’s amazing.
Kira Hug: Well, that’s a positive note we can end on. So, for anyone listening who wants to connect with you, where should they go?
Paulo Faustino: Instagram. P-A-U-L-O. F-A-U-S-T-I-N-O. Paulo Faustino at Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, every social media platform.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, definitely check out Paulo. You might have to read Portuguese or use Google Translate, but a lot of the information there’s worth listening to. Paolo, thanks for showing up and sharing so much.
Paulo Faustino: Thank you so much for the invitation. It’s a pleasure.
Kira Hug: We appreciate it.
Paulo Faustino: I love you guys. I love you guys. Thank you so much.
Kira Hug: Thank you.
Rob Marsh: That’s the end of our interview with Paulo Faustino. Let’s talk just about one or two more things, Kira, that are worth emphasizing. I loved when Paulo mentioned he, when he talked with Todd Brown, who’s one of our mentors, one of his mentors. First thing that Todd said is, “You need speed. You need to be operating faster. You need to be getting not just from prospecting to sales faster, but you need to be getting the numbers back faster. You need to be able to see what’s happening in your business faster so that you can make changes, so that you can make adjustments and improvements,” and I think this is something that a lot of us struggle with as copywriters.
If we’re prospecting, you send the pitch out and you don’t hear back for maybe a week or two or you don’t hear back at all and being able to see these numbers as quickly as possible or being able to iterate faster through a larger set of potential clients, some of the stuff that we talk about in our P7 pitching course, those kinds of things help speed it up and help make you more successful. So, just thinking about like what is it that I can do faster? We’re not necessarily talking about delivering your copy faster or although that can be part of it, but are there things in your business that you can speed up? Because the more efficient we are, the more money we can make doing the things that we do?
Kira Hug: That stood out to me the most too. It’s you need speed and especially thinking about all the generative AI tools we have access to, and as more and more content creators and copywriters access those tools, the speed will become more important because all of a sudden, that will become the new normal. So, it’s another reason to just start to familiarize yourself with the newest tools that other competitors are using just to figure out which ones work for you, because that will change the pace of expectation and delivery for our client services and it could also create time for you to spend more time doing the things you want to do, which is possibly the creative process or thinking strategically about projects or maybe taking more time to sit with copywriting projects.
You can come back to it several times, but you’re able to do that and create more space and time for the work that really warrants it if you can speed up the other parts of your business. So, I think that was such a great take away, and we’re really talking about businesses that are highly interested in growth. That’s where the speed is important. If you are happy with where your business is today, you don’t need to pick up the speed. That’s okay, but we’re talking about significant growth for businesses and what those businesses need to do.
Rob Marsh: I mean, you mentioned this, but you can use speed to get back your time as well and we’re seeing people who are using AI to do that, to speed up ideation or summaries of research, help with all of that kind of stuff in their business, and if you can do that, what used to take you a day, if you can do it in an hour or two, now you’ve got six more hours that you can use. You don’t have to use those for business. You can use them. You know, go to the movies. Have lunch with your friends. Hang out with your kids. Whatever the thing is, you can buy back your time with speed as well and the last thing that I want to mention just from this half of the conversation is what Paolo finished up talking about building a personal brand from day one.
So, the thing that he would change, and this is something I think we see with a lot of the copywriters that we coach is people tend to do really well as long as referrals are coming in, but then as those referrals dry up and you do need to reach out or you do need to be showing up in new places, we haven’t already built that personal brand. We haven’t, like Paula talked about earlier, built that authority, that perception that we are the go-to person for this thing. Now, you’ve got to back up and build that and that’s where we see a lot of dips in businesses where people start to struggle. It’s those first initial projects dry up from your contacts, the people who know you.
Now, you’ve got to go back, build your personal brand, and until that really starts to take off, we tend to see copywriters struggle. So, if you haven’t already started building your personal brand, building that authority, building the perception that you know who you are and what you do, there’s no better time than right now.
Kira Hug: Yeah, that’s one of the first investments I made. I mean, significant investments I made in my copywriting business was building personal brand and it’s still paying off almost 10 years later. Best investment I ever made because it just continues to work for you year after year after year, and many of the copywriter names that we hear frequently and at least in our community, the ones that are viewed as top copywriters. Whether or not they are, they typically have built their personal brand from day one, and that’s what puts them in that position of authority. So, it is important. Definitely give it some thought if you haven’t focused on it yet.
Rob Marsh: No better time than starting right now. We want to thank Paolo Faustino for joining us on the podcast to talk about his journey and his business and offer so much advice about how to build our own businesses. If you want to connect with Paulo, you can find him on all social media platforms at Paulo Faustino and he does all his content in Portuguese. You can obviously use Google Translate to learn from him, but just expect to see a lot of Portuguese when you connect with him, and if you’re interested in learning more about the think tank, head over to copywriterthinktank.com now to find out more. We have a retreat in just a few days, so check that out and join. You can hang out with us on the retreat.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and we met Paolo through the mastermind that we are a part of because that’s what masterminds are great for, meeting other interesting entrepreneurs, copywriters. So, if that’s something that you feel like you’re lacking in your current business, then definitely check out the think tank and that’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. You can check out our newest podcast all about artificial intelligence at aiforcreativeentrepreneurs.com. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. Outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, which we hope that you did, please leave your review of the show on Apple Podcasts and we will share it as soon as we can. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.