On the 270th episode of The Copywriter Club podcast, we’re diving into the world of Kira Hug. Who is she really and does she even like to hug? She shares her experiences from the beginnings of her own copywriting career to where she is today and where she plans to go in the future.
Tune in to find out:
- The rise of Kira Hug.
- What it was like to live in New York City and what her favorite experiences were.
- Raising kids in Brooklyn and moving to Washington, DC.
- Kira’s first writing experiences and learning about her love for interviewing.
- The struggles Kira faced most as she built her copywriting business.
- Navigating through the head trash that can be such a constant burden for copywriters.
- How to stop getting in your own way.
- Kira’s least favorite client project and how she said “see ya later!”
- Finding the confidence to know you have what it takes to move forward.
- Building The Copywriter Club, copywriting agency, and raising young children.
- Was it love at first sight for Kira and Ezra?
- Are we going to start training for a copywriter’s marathon?
- Why Kira uses a tiny paintbrush for big projects.
- The motivating factors that drive Kira to keep going.
- The push to continue to get better in life and never staying complacent.
- The biggest takeaways Kira has had from coaching hundreds of copywriters.
- How your business can have dramatic change by implementing this one thing.
- Why you can’t let yourself surrender to the head trash.
- How copywriters can think bigger for themselves.
- The legacy Kira wants to leave for the world and her kids.
Listen to or read the inside scoop of everyone’s beloved copy mom.
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Kira’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Four Thousand Weeks
Rob: Welcome everyone. This is another episode of just Kira and Rob talking on the podcast, which means we don’t have a written out introduction. I suppose we could talk about how this episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Accelerator, which should be opening momentarily, within days of this episode going live, or within weeks anyway. Accelerator is our basic training, 16-week… It’s not really a course and it’s not really a membership, but it’s a program where you go through with a cohort of other ambitious copywriters and basically set the foundations that you need to put in place for a successful copywriting business. The skillset that you need as a copywriter are different from those that you need as a business owner. And, if you want to succeed at both, you need to have both, and so that’s where The Accelerator comes in.
Okay, so now that we’ve dealt with that part, it’s just you and me, Kira.
Kira: We’ve dealt with the whole selling our stuff part, let’s get that out the way.
Rob: Exactly. So, 10 episodes ago you interviewed me. We do this every once and a while, where it’s just you and me talking, but 10 episodes ago we did a little bit more of like, “Okay, we’ll try to dive into a little bit more of behind the scenes Rob.” And, of course, we want to turn the tables now and get the behind the scenes Kira, and find out who you really are when you’re not necessarily doing The Copywriter Club thing.
Kira: I am the exact same person.
Rob: We’re going to find out.
Rob: Yeah, we’re going to find out.
Kira: Yeah, same person.
Rob: Okay, well let’s start with a couple of easy questions, warm you up. You’ve lived in a whole bunch of places. You’ve been in Chicago, and Virginia, you went to school in Virginia, you lived in New York. I think when we met you even described yourself as, “A New Yorker,” that was who you were.
Kira: Oh, yeah.
Rob: And now, you’re living in Washington D.C., so I’m curious about the history of Kira traveling around and being in places. What’s your favorite place that you’ve lived?
Kira: I still consider myself a New Yorker, even though I no longer am in New York. I think some people can live there for one year and they feel like it’s in them forever. For me, I was there for 12 years, so I feel like the 12 years, that counts. But, I’m sure there are New Yorkers who’d say, “You’re not a true New Yorker.” That’s what I love about New York. So, to me, that always felt like home. That was my dream. That was my big dream in college, is I was in Virginia, I was like, “Just move to New York and you’ve made it in life.” Even now that I’m out of there, I don’t miss it necessarily, I miss parts of it, I’m really happy where I am in D.C. I like my life here, but I still feel like that’s a part of me. I take New York City with me wherever I go. Nothing really has topped that for me.
Rob: So, what’s your very best New York City experience?
Kira: I think there are a collection.
Rob: No, no, no, you have to name just one. Narrow it down to one.
Kira: Okay. There’s swimming in the lake in the middle of Central Park, is definitely a New York City moment, I think before the cops kicked us out of the lake. It was very late at night, a little fuzzy, but a lot of fun. And so, it just felt like a true New York experience to swim in that lake and jump in there when we weren’t supposed to be in there. Also, I think it’s less about the one experience, and, for me, as I look back at that time, it was mostly in my 20s, and so it was really more about the people you’re with in New York. That’s where I made some of my best friends. It was with those women, and that’s what I take from New York, is just that group of women. Because, it didn’t matter what we did, we bonded during that time because there’s nothing like living your 20s in New York City. It’s just nuts. It’s just a nuts experience. And, I had my kids in New York as well, which was almost an entirely different lifetime, moving to Brooklyn and raising kids in New York, which was dramatically different than my time there with friends in my 20s. But, I’m glad I had both experiences, just two different experiences in that city. They were both fun, in different ways.
Rob: Okay. So, what’s something that locals in New York City do that tourists don’t, but maybe we should when we show up there?
Kira: I was reviewing your questions, because I like to prepare, and I started digging through my emails from 2010, because this is where I got into writing. To continue to expand on that, I became the New York City Examiner writer, that was a whole thing, theexaminer.com. And so, I would go on adventures in New York City, and then I would write about them. That’s how I fell in love with writing, because it forced me to go out and have these really interesting experiences, because I had to write about it. I don’t even think I was getting paid, but it was assignment. So, doing that, I did find these really interesting experiences, and I was trying to find the link to all of them, but that site has shut down.
Some of the ones I remember that I liked were actually StreetWars, this experience called StreetWars, which is like the Assassin game, a live-action game for players to basically eliminate each other. We played this game, StreetWars, and you played it in the entire city. So, for three weeks I was just paranoid walking anywhere in the city, because I thought someone was going to shoot me as part of the game. So, if you’re a paranoid person, you probably should not play that game. I don’t know if that’s still going on, but it changed my experience in New York City, because it turned it into just a playground. It was already a playground, but it was even more of a playground playing this interactive game.
Rob: Wait, I want to stop there for a second though, because it’s really funny that you would say that because I think there’s maybe a perception by people who don’t live in New York that New York’s a really dangerous city. And, that you would have a game that… Obviously you’re not really getting shot, but that’s playing on that danger-
Kira: Right, it’s like a water…
Rob: … is kind of funny. I wouldn’t even expect that as somebody showing up in New York for a few days, or even a few weeks.
Kira: It’s a weird game. I don’t think I would play it today. I think I have enough stress in my life today that I don’t need to add more stress-
Rob: Getting shot in the grocery store, yeah.
Kira: … where I think everyone… I would get on the subway and I assumed everyone was playing the game and anyone was stalking me or could pull out a water pistol and shoot me with water at any point during those three weeks. I was highly paranoid, so I don’t recommend it, again. The game’s probably shut down by now, but it just was so much fun. And then, the other one that’s a little bit more toned down, that I also wrote about for The Examiner, was Bargemusic. So, it’s a floating concert hall under the Brooklyn Bridge. That was something that just was one of those experiences that I would not have found unless I was seeking it out as a writer trying to find cool experiences.
Rob: Is that live music on a-
Kira: Yeah, live music. Tiny little concert hall on the barge. It’s just one of those moments in New York you’re just like, “It doesn’t get better than this.” There were multiple moments like that, but I wouldn’t have sought them out if I had not been a writer. So, I think it’s just interesting to go back to how writing can change the way we live our lives, and writing can actually be a tool for us to use to live a richer life, and to seek out new opportunities that we might not find normally. And so, I don’t think I realize how many experiences I had because I had to write about it back then.
Rob: That’s really interesting. That’s the thing I love about New York, there’s limitless, not just opportunities to do things, but to invent things, to be things. It’s got to be the most creative city in the world. It’s a really unique place.
Kira: Yeah. And, the cool thing too is because I was writing about all of these experiences, it gave me credibility to reach out maybe to the founder. So, I sat down at a bar with the founder of StreetWars, that crazy game, we called him the Mustache Commander, I was Dr. Millipede, that was my name. So, I got a chance to sit down with him, have a drink with him, and interview him. And then, for something like Roller Derby, I would go and attend and cheer them on, but I would also end up interviewing someone on the team. And so, I think maybe that’s where my love of interviewing came from too. You get to go deeper, you don’t just experience it, but let’s talk to the people behind this experience or this event too.
Rob: Okay. So, you’re in D.C. now, very different from New York, aside from, “You’ve got to go see the Space Museum, or the Portrait Museum,” something like that, what kinds of things in D.C. would you recommend that somebody showing up should do there?
Kira: It’s funny, I was going to ask you before we record just not even to ask me this question, just because I’ve been here for two years and one years was during the pandemic, so I have not explored. It’s just that is what it is. So, I actually feel like, Rob, you could answer that better than I can, because you visited here and explored more. For me, my life has really been in my home, on my couch when I was pregnant over the last year, didn’t leave, at my brother’s place, so it’s just a different experience. So, I’m excited to start exploring more, but other than Googling a list of all the typical places you should visit in D.C., I have no more additional information to share. Other than, I’ve just been building my life here, trying to build a home, trying to make a life for my family here. And, not really open to exploring yet, even though I love to explore. I look forward to when I can actually get out and check out all of the cool places in this city, because I think it’s an amazing city and I’m so excited to do that. And, even just to meet people here. I haven’t met a lot of D.C. people. There’s probably a really cool entrepreneurial scene, so I look forward to that.
Rob: Yeah, that’s cool. I’ll give you one that I discovered as a tourist, but the Kennedy Center, obviously really cool, these huge performance spaces. They do a free concert, I think it’s every week, where they set up the hallway with chairs and a small stage. It’s relatively small, there’s probably maybe 100, 150 people there. It’s free, so anybody can go. There’s no dress code or whatever. I’ve done this with my wife, and we go to D.C. with our kids when they turn 12, or we did, my kids are all older than 12, and we would take them there. So, we went three times, one of my kids didn’t get to do this, and the bands that we would go see were so amazingly good, but they weren’t bands that anybody really heard of. They’re kind of the up-and-coming. Again, free concert, hour and a half of your time. I think they’re usually on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or evening. A very hidden gem, if you get yourself to the Kennedy Center for a little free entertainment. They’re really cool.
Kira: Yeah, I love that. We’ll definitely do that. We’ve been there for brunch. I also really like that you have done that with your kids and that that’s one of your traditions when they turn… You said 12, right? When they turn 12? That, you got to D.C.. I have heard you talk about that before, and it’s something that I would like to do with my kids when they turn maybe 12, and we go to a particular city to visit. I think that’s a really neat tradition.
Rob: Yeah, it’s fun. It’s good. For us, obviously we don’t live on the East Coast, so there’s getting away with your kids one-on-one, or parents with one kid, which is a really cool thing. You’re just having that opportunity to spend some time in the seat of government, having them see the Capitol, all of that stuff. There’s so much other stuff in D.C. that just makes it also a really cool city.
Kira: Yeah. We live in Capitol Hill, so we live two blocks from the Supreme Court building. There is enough happening in my neighborhood where I don’t feel the need to even leave the neighborhood, which can sound a little crazy at times, but there’s so much happening here, it feels so vibrant. There’s such a good energy here. I love New York City energy, this is a little toned down, and I actually think this is a better fit for me in the stage I’m in now, where it’s still good city vibes but not as intense as New York.
Rob: All right. So, one more easy question before we jump into other stuff, your most irrational fear? What are you afraid of?
Kira: All of my fears are rational, so I don’t know how to answer this question.
Rob: All right, give me your most rational fears then.
Kira: I am afraid of civil war in our country. I’m afraid of the climate crisis and what it’s going to do to our world over the next few decades. I always have a reoccurring nightmare of people breaking into my home. I’ve had that for years since I lived in a country. So, I took one break from New York City, moved out to the country, and then realized that wasn’t really my thing, and then moved back to New York City. During that time in the country we had this big house with all these windows, a glass house almost, and so I think that’s where that nightmare started, where I felt so exposed with all those windows. And so, I do have this reoccurring nightmare where people are getting in, I can’t lock the doors fast enough. I know I’ve shared this with you, Rob. And, I just can’t protect anyone inside my home, and I feel very vulnerable. So, that’s one. I feel like most of the other fears are legit. But, I’ve kind of mellowed out on some of them. I think during my pregnancy I got pretty intense in the fear zone, and so I’ve been pulling myself out of that because I don’t want to live a life of fear. That’s not a great way to live life. I could go on, but I think that’s probably good.
Rob: All right. We’ll stop there. So, let’s talk about Kira becoming a professional. Maybe this is before you became a professional, as a teenager, what was your very first job that you were paid to do?
Kira: So, I was a babysitter since I was 13. I’m surprised people left me with their babies at 13, but I was responsible. Then, when I turned 15, that was the youngest I could be to get a job at a restaurant. And so, that’s when I started working in restaurants and got a job as a dishwasher, because I was very anxious about becoming a waitress. I just felt really nervous about that. I was very shy, I didn’t have experience in it, so I started as a dishwasher in the back. And then, eventually worked my way up to the front of the house as a waitress serving people, serving customers. It was a great way to start my career.
Rob: Nice. Have you ever been fired?
Kira: I don’t think I have. I was trying to figure that out. I don’t think I have ever been fired. I’ve had a startup I worked for collapse overnight, which felt like we had all been fired. But, I have not been fired, unless I just blocked it out of my memory. Not that I know of. I was a good employee. I’m not one of those entrepreneurs who are like, “Oh, I was always such a bad employee, I can never work for someone else.” I could. I did it. I did it pretty well. The people pleaser in me always did well in other people’s companies.
Rob: So, you told us a little bit about how you kind of got started as a writer, writing for free, not necessarily copywriting, but let’s talk a little bit about your copywriting career. What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most as a copywriter?
Kira: Overthinking. You could say overthinking copy. Overthinking maybe more business decisions. Comparisonitis, which I’ve worked on that quite a bit, so that’s less of a problem today. Just putting pressure on myself. I think that I struggle to know when I’m pushing too hard, when I’m not pushing enough, where is that sweet spot of just, “What’s my own groove and my own rhythm in business?” That’s tricky, because it changes from month to month and year to year. So, what worked a year ago may not work now, and so I think I find myself questioning that because it’s not always clear, and there’s no right or wrong answer. I’m pretty clear on vision for business, and I feel like that comes more easily to me, seeing the big picture. But, as you already know, I struggle with all the pieces to get from point A to point Z, and all the systems it takes to build that and get there. That’s always tricky for me. I can just see where we should be, but getting there is hard.
Rob: Yeah, I think we talked a little bit about that when you were interviewing me. We are the classic idea people who-
Rob: … struggle to make the thing the reality. I want to ask a little bit more about the comparisonitis, what kinds of things were you comparing to other people that were making you feel like maybe you weren’t holding up or standing up to what was expected?
Kira: I think it shows up in different places. So, career-wise, early on in my career, before I even copywriting, my New York City friends were just super motivated, ambitious women, and quite successful right out of the gate. It took me a while to get there. And, it wasn’t because I wasn’t working hard, it wasn’t because I was less ambitious or goal-driven. To become copywriter, which I didn’t know I was going to actually move along that path, there is less of a clear path. And so, I think while I was just trying to figure it out and it was not a direct path, that takes a lot of trial and error, and I felt like I wasn’t where I needed to be. I kind of questioned why I wasn’t as successful as other people who were my friends. And so, I think it started then. And, it wasn’t until I really felt like, “Oh, this is where I’m supposed to be,”… And again, that happened in copywriting when I fell into marketing and copywriting, I was like, “Oh, it all makes sense. All these things I did led me here, and this is where I’m supposed to be.”
And so, I think probably for many of us, when you don’t start off where you’re supposed to be or where you really excel, and it takes a while to get there, you sometimes think something’s wrong with you or you’re doing something wrong, you’re not working hard enough. So, I think, career-wise, it started there. Specifically as a copywriter, when I just got started as a copywriter I didn’t care, I didn’t compare myself. I just was like, “I don’t care what anyone else is doing.” I was just very confident, just jumped fully in. I think that helped me get started, because it’s just all confidence. And then, I think once you really get into copywriting, you start to learn from your peers, and you realize how much more there is to learn. And, you realize you know a little bit, but there’s a lot more that you don’t know. I think that’s when I started to compare myself to others, and then just kinda, bringing that in, because that also is not helpful as you build a business.
Rob: For sure. I remember when we first met, it was in a mastermind with Joanna, and I think you were still working part-time doing marketing stuff, and I remember reading some of your copy and thinking, “This is really, really good copy.” In fact, I even thought, “I don’t think Kira knows how good she is as a writer.” I don’t know if that’s worth anything to you or not, but I just remember thinking that, thinking, “She’s definitely got what it takes.”
Kira: Aww, thank you, Rob. Were you like, “That’s my future business partner”?
Rob: At that time, no. It took a little more time for that.
Kira: No, okay.
Rob: I just remember, “She’s going places.” What’s the hardest thing that you’ve done as a copywriter?
Kira: I don’t think our job is that hard as copywriters. I think the hardest part of being a copywriter is all the head trash that we all deal with. It is the mindset, for sure. That’s why it’s something that we talk about in all of our programs, it’s why there are mindset coaches. That is the hardest part. Many of us, not just me, get in our own way. I struggle with that too, just like anyone else. So, that’s part of it. I think also just the hardest part was in 2018, and I’ve talked about this before on the podcast, but that’s when we were building The Copywriter Club and I was building my own copywriting agency. And, my kids were young then. They’re still young. They were really young. So, that was a really hard year for me, to grow both at a fast clip, and not really pulling back on either one. I was just full on with both, working pretty intense hours. It seemed normal to me at the time, but now when I look back I was like, “Whoa, that was intense.” It wasn’t fun, but it got me to where I am now, so it’s just part of the path I was on. But, I think many of us do that, we just take on so much, and we don’t always have to. That does not have to be the path.
Rob: Yeah, for sure. Favorite client? Or maybe, favorite project you’ve ever worked on, aside from what we do together as The Copywriter Club?
Kira: Yeah, I like what we do today. Not really. I think one that stands out to me… Actually no, I don’t know if I can mention that one, so we can just cut this part out. I don’t really have a favorite project.
Rob: Least favorite then? Do you have a least favorite? Project disaster?
Kira: I have a client disaster, a client that I walked away from. It was a financial consultant dude that I walked away from. I haven’t walked away from any projects, but he was a huge jerk. He spoke to one of his colleagues, I admired her, I did like her, and on one of our calls, the way he spoke to her was just so demeaning. The way he spoke to me after I sent over the first draft of copy, it was just so offensive and rude, and just like, “Who are you, dude? Who do you think you are?” So, I walked away from that project. I was proud of myself for walking away. I will never work with someone who treats their employees that way. Treats me that way, but treats your team member that way. It felt liberating when I took away their access to the Google Docs, because it was good copy. There were many things that went wrong with that project, and half of that was on me, not him being a jerk, but the other stuff. But, it was good copy, and so I just pulled that access to them, I refunded them the money for the first payment.
Rob: I was going to ask that.
Kira: I was like, “I don’t want your money. Take your money, I don’t want it.” I just walked away. Virtually, walked away. It felt so good. That was one of the big ones.
Rob: Okay. So, let’s talk a little bit about your family. How’d you meet Ezra?
Kira: Are you asking me this because I asked you that question?
Rob: I kind of am, yeah. But, I’m also kind of interested. Not kind of interested, I am interested. I knew you guys dated for quite a while, but I don’t actually think I know how you guys met.
Kira: So, I am someone who, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I like to be part of community. I like to join things. I am a joiner.
Rob: I think I’ve seen that, yeah.
Kira: Even though I like to be alone. So, I’m like, “I like to be alone, don’t talk to me,” but I also like to join things, and that’s where there’s conflict. And so, I joined many different social groups in New York City, and one of them was called The Grace List. It was basically a network of professionals who… It wasn’t just focused on dating, but it more just get to know people in really experiences and events. So, of course, I had to be a part of it. In there was like a vetting process, you had to get interviewed to get in, and I was all about anything exclusive. So, I joined that, went to a bunch of the events, had a blast, and I noticed on their website there was this photographer’s name, and the photographer had credit for all these beautiful photos. And so, it was Ezra Matthew Hug. That name just stood out to me. I think you’ve talked a lot about names and how likeability, and how if the name has similar letters in it as our own name there’s an attraction. You can speak to that better than I can.
Rob: Yeah, there’s some interesting science around that, but yeah.
Kira: Right. So, I actually think that was an action, because I hadn’t met Ezra, I had just seen his name on this website. There was something about the name that I was just like, “This person. I need to get to know this person.” I hadn’t even seen a photo of this person. I ended up going to one of the events, was a pumpkin carving event, October 2009, and I was just feeling at my best. I had been training for a marathon, so I was just on a runner’s high. Just went to the event and was just working it, met a bunch of people, talked to a bunch of guys, and as Ezra was one of the guys there who just had zero interest in talking to me, so, of course, I was more attracted. We were carving pumpkins. So, I thought it would be really cool to just take the whole face off the pumpkin and make it more abstract. I thought it was this really creative concept. It was not that creative, it was not that interesting, but I thought it was at the time. And, I was like, “That guy’s going to get this. He’s going to appreciate my art.” And so, after a couple cocktails and some liquid courage, I walked over to him and I showed him my pumpkin, and he liked my pumpkin, and that’s how we met.
Rob: The rest is history.
Rob: I like it. You guys have a couple of kids, tell me about each of your kids. What makes them unique?
Kira: Okay. Harper is my oldest, she is nine years old. Harper is the creative spirit, she’s up for anything. She just has the best energy, and people are just naturally attracted to her. To me, she is magic, and she’s got the magic of childhood within her and I don’t want it to ever fade. We’re similar in some ways, where she very much can create an entire world in her mind. She’s a writer, she’s a poet, she’s an artist. She loves to break the rules. Creatively, to break the rules.
Henry, he’s six, he has the biggest heart. He is so sensitive and has so many feelings. He’s someone who actually loves to have rules. He loves all the rules and wants to make sure everyone follows the rules, so he is like the police officer in our house. He’s just talented. And, when he sang What a Wonderful World, and did sign language to that song recently, it just brought tears to my eyes. It was just beautiful. He is our extrovert. He knows he’s an extrovert. We struggle with that sometimes because he’s living in a family with a bunch of introverts, and so Henry’s like, “I need to be around people, I need to play,” and we’re all like, “Cool, but we just want to be alone.” So, that is Henry.
And then, there’s Homer, the baby, who’s five months old. He’s got my entire heart. He’s going to be a mama’s boy. I’m going to own that. He’s just the sweetest baby I could ask for. He’s been a pleasure to hang with over the last five months. So, those are the kiddos. And then, we have a cat named Snowball, and I do need to mention her because she actually is more intense and requires more attention and energy than anyone else in my family.
Rob: That’s so bizarre.
Kira: That was not supposed to be the deal. I thought cats were easy, that’s why we got her. She’s an extroverted cat who is super social. And again, I’m an introvert, I don’t need more social people in my family, and she’s like, “Let’s hangout all the time.” So, she’s definitely a part of our family too, whether or not I like it.
Rob: I know we’ve talked a little bit about this on the podcast before, but especially new baby, running a business, all of the things competing for your time, your family, how have you made that struggle work over the last few months, adding yet another person that needs to be cared for and taken care of?
Kira: I don’t know if I’ve made it work. Maybe from an outside perspective it’s very clear that I’m not making it work. I made it work in the fact that we’re all alive. I don’t know. It’s something I still struggle with, so I’m just trying to take it day by day. Sleep is really important, so I prioritize sleep, and I do what I need to do to help my baby sleep as well as he can because that will make or break my day. We’ve had it pretty easy, and so I get that… With a baby, he’s slept really well from the beginning, so that’s been helpful.
I have a team of people who help me, within our business. Within The Copywriter Club we have an incredible team. Fantastic business partner. That’s been huge, just to have the team. The other Rob… It’s the other Rob Marsh. I love that there are two Rob Marsh’s who are both copywriters. We need to interview the other Rob Marsh.
Rob: Need to find the other guy, yeah.
Kira: Yes. Having a team has been critical for The Copywriter Club. And then, just household-wise, I have a team of people I can rely on and who help. So, from nannies, to babysitters, to house cleaners, to my family, that’s been crucial as I’ve managed to jump back into work and just to make all of this work. And, exercise is huge. I know that’s nothing new, we talk a lot about that on the podcast. But, it’s more clear than ever, when your time is significantly reduced, your energy is reduced, your bandwidth for anything is reduced, then all these things that we know are best practices, become even more critical. So, it’s less like, “Oh, you should have a morning routine,” and it’s more like, “You need a morning routine, or you will not be able to function that day and you’ll be miserable.”
I got back into running. I have always been a runner. I took off when I was pregnant, because I was just like, “I want to be on the couch, I don’t want to run.” And so, I’ve been getting back into running. I just remembered how much I love it, and so I’m training for a marathon, and that’s forcing me just to have a goal so I continue with it. That’s what keeps me sane. If I am in a good mood, it’s because I ran that day. If I’m not in a good mood, it’s probably because I didn’t run that day. So, that’s been a big part of it too.
Rob: Which marathon? Have you chosen it yet?
Kira: I haven’t. I really would like to do the New York City one. I was even just thinking of putting it out there in The Copywriter Underground, just to see if anyone else is doing a marathon in the next year, and maybe we can get a little copywriter club, group to do it. I think that could be really fun. But, I haven’t signed up yet, so if anyone has any recommendations. I’ve done the Chicago one, so I will not do that one again, but everything else is fair game.
Rob: There’s a marathon in Utah that’s really well known for being an easy marathon, it’s mostly downhill, the St. George Marathon. So, if you want to come run in October-
Kira: It’s October, okay.
Rob: … next year. I won’t run it with you, I will never run a marathon, I hate running even though I run.
Kira: But you do it.
Rob: Yeah. I run, but only because I like having run. I actually don’t like the running part. But, I like how I feel afterwards. If you want to check it out, we should get some copywriters to join you and do that.
Kira: Well, I am all about choosing the easiest courses. The Chicago one, I did that because apparently that was one of the easiest ones, because it’s so flat. So, I will do it if it’s easy.
Rob: I’ve heard a lot of people use this one to qualify for Boston, because it’s easy, you get a fast time. So, maybe check it out.
Rob: So, this is probably a bad question, given all of the things you just talked about, because you probably don’t get a lot of alone time, but what do you do when you’re alone, aside from running?
Kira: I cry. I just cry. That’s all. I paint. I used to paint pictures, but I paint my house. I get a lot of therapy from painting. So, while most people will paint a room of their house with a roller, which makes sense because it’s faster, I will choose the tiniest paintbrush and I will paint an entire room basically with a toothbrush. Ezra’s like, “Why don’t you use a roller? It will go faster. You know that, right?” But, for me, it’s therapy, it’s relaxing. So, I am painting all of the rooms in my house. I, of course, do the things good copywriters do, read, write, run, which I already mentioned, take care of my plants. I love camping, hiking, travel.
Now that I’ve had my third baby, and I’m done, and I’m getting my life back and my body back, I would like to seek out more adventure, just going back to what I did in New York City where I was seeking out these cool adventures, and then I’d write about them. I like that. I like that process. And so, I think that’s really important to me. And, I’d like to get back into playing some type of music. I know I used to joke about how I was taking violin lessons a couple of years ago in New York City, and I fell out of it, and so I like the idea of raising my kids in a household where we do play music, even if we’re terrible. I will never be good at any musical instrument, I’m sure, but I think it’s just fun to try. It’s the process. And so, that excites me too. Other than that, it’s just pursuing new hobbies, which, right now, there probably isn’t a lot of time to pursue anything else beyond that.
Rob: I know you’re a reader, give me your favorite ever book. Best book you’ve ever read?
Kira: I can’t do favorite books, and you can’t make me. So…
Rob: This is fair, because I think you asked me the same thing and I can’t do it either.
Kira: I know.
Rob: I might be able to come up with a top 50, but yeah, you know?
Kira: Right. Some people can, but it depends on what you’re dealing with at the time. I can only go as far back as a week ago, so I will just share the book that you and I talk about, because I think it’s an amazing book and so we should talk about it as much as we can. The book is called Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman. It’s the only book I’ve read in the last few years that has shifted the way I think about life, and time, and my priorities, and even my identity, in such a big way. I think most books don’t make that shift for me. I learn something new, I’m like, “Oh, that’s cool,” but this is one where I feel like it’s just flipped me upside down and helped already… I’m only halfway through, or maybe a little bit more, helped give me some peace in what I’m doing, and just some answers to questions that I’ve had. And so, I highly recommend it. I know you’re reading it too.
Rob: Yeah. It’s a really good book, we’re going to have to get Oliver on the podcast.
Rob: This interview is a really good discussion for the future. What motivates you? What gets you out of bed? There’s obvious answers here, family, the business we’re running, is there anything else that you would add to that list?
Kira: Yeah, I didn’t really think through that question, even though I should have. Right now, with the business, we have a team, and it’s not just the two of us anymore. I’m motivated by that in a positive way. It takes money to pay a team. If you want to have a team, you got to pay them. I love having a team, so I want to continue doing this. I love the people we have on our team. So, for me, I’m definitely motivated by money, in terms of that’s what helps us grow, and that allows us to provide for our team members. I don’t want that to stop, I love this. So, I’m very motivated by, “What do we need to do to bring in the money to support what we’ve already built, and then to continue to grow?” So, business-wise, that’s always motivating.
With the copywriters we work with, I just love helping copywriters. I just want them to be successful. That’s just personally rewarding, when anyone has a win and I want to promote the heck out of them. We do that a lot, and I just want to do more of it. I would love to be the Oprah of the copywriting space, where we can promote an amazing copywriter who’s doing good in the world and change their business overnight. There’s a lot of positivity in that, and if we can build something that can do that, that, to me, feels worthwhile and really exciting because we both feel this way, we think copywriters are amazing. So, whatever we can do to help them, that’s a huge win. And then, I think, personally, just growth, wanting to continue to evolve as a human. I am not into settling into who you are. I want to see what else is around the corner and explore more, and just continue to grow.
Rob: I can’t remember which member of our team asked me to ask you this-
Kira: Oh gosh.
Rob: … it was either Rosie or Gabby, but they want to know, are you a hugger?
Kira: I’ve hugged you.
Rob: Yeah, that’s different. Because, you know, I’m not much of a hugger, I’m kind of the-
Kira: I know.
Rob: … awkward side hugger. I’m not a very touchy-feely person, although I hug a few people. But, are you a hugger? Besides me.
Kira: I can give really great hugs. I am a hugger, in that sense. But, I think because hugging has slowed down in the last year, I’m kind of enjoying the break from hugging. I’m enjoying that break. I’m taking that break. I also think I get enough hugs at home. I get enough cuddles from my baby. I’m getting all the oxytocin I need. I don’t need more hugs right now. I think I will probably come back to hugging when my kids are less cuddly and I’m just craving that. I don’t know, maybe I’m not a hugger.
Rob: I think it’s really interesting what’s happened over the last couple of years, with not being able to hug. I have to say, while I would not consider myself a hugger, I have definitely felt the difference. The loss of human touch, and even seeing faces, there’s something that we lose with all of that. I think it does not leave us better as people, myself included.
Rob: Having said that, I don’t get a lot out hugging. But, after two years of not a lot of hugging, maybe I could use a hug or two.
Kira: Yes. I feel like the absence of the hug… I can feel that, and it does feel strange. It feels really strange. So, I hope it comes back for all of us, because I agree with you, I think the human touch is so important. I’m lucky I get a lot of it from my family, but not everybody does. We just need it. We need more of it all the time, so I think that is really important.
Rob: What have you learned, maybe number one, two, top three lessons that you’ve learned as you’ve coached, alongside me, hundreds of copywriters, and helped them achieve some amazing things in their business?
Kira: Oh, lessons. Okay. I was thinking about this more in terms of just takeaways, but I’ll think of some lessons.
Rob: Takeaway’s work. Let’s still do it.
Kira: What I scribble down is just I’ve learned how talented copywriters are. The amount of talent blows me away. It’s almost like I must think there’s a cap on talent, and there can’t be more talent out there, we’ve already hit that cap, but any time I meet a copywriter and I just see what they can do, or how they think, I’m just like, “You are the smartest people in the world. You are.” I’ve learned how much value we provide. I think that’s something that is just so clear, and we all get that as copywriters, and I think we’re owning that more than we used to, as a collective. We don’t just write pretty words. Here are all the ways we add value. I think every day we figure out, “Oh, here’s another way we add value, never talked about that before.”
I’ve learned that we’re just more than writers. We have the privilege of using words to shape thoughts, and thoughts can shape actions, and actions can change the world. So, in that sense, copywriters can change the world, and I trust copywriters to change the world more than I trust any other group of humans. And so, I think there’s just more need for all of us to help make change in our own ways, it might be small ways, big ways, but that we, as a group, can actually make the biggest difference in the world. And, whatever that means to you listening, that can be many different things. So, I just feel blown away by this community.
Is takeaways business takeaways? There’s so many, but one that comes to mind is just the power of showing up. This is nothing new, but visibility. Just how your business can transform when you start to show up and use the power of your own thoughts and words to show up and share what you’re thinking, and do that consistently. The consistency is the most important part. That will change your business overnight. There are no other quick tricks, that is one thing that we know makes a difference, and we’ve seen it repeatedly. But, there are many reasons we are afraid to do that. It’s terrifying. It can be terrifying and uncomfortable, but that’s a game-changer.
Rob: Yeah. Aside from showing up and doing the work, are there other things that it takes to be a successful copywriter?
Kira: I think it’s just the willingness to take action. We were on a call this morning with a Think Tank member, and she takes action. The ones who have been most successful are the ones who show up. We give them a plan, they know the plan, they ask questions, we talk about, “Okay, here’s some next steps,” and they do it. Maybe it takes a day, maybe it takes a couple weeks to do the thing they need to do, but they’re constantly just getting back to it, not shutting down. Working through the head trash, because we’re all going to deal with it, but just working through it by taking action rather than just surrendering to it, that makes a huge difference too. Those are some of the more successful copywriters that we’ve met and worked with, so that’s a big piece of it.
Rob: Do you have a secret for helping copywriters think bigger about themselves? You’re hinting at the conversation we had this morning with somebody, we had another one yesterday. And, we’ve seen copywriters who set goals, say, “I want to make $3000 a month, $5000 a month,” and we say, “Think bigger,” or whatever. And, after several months, they’re making 15, 20,000, 25. So, how do you help people think bigger about what they want to accomplish?
Kira: I think it’s putting them in the right room. We’ve talked about that before. The right room can be many different things for us. It’s the Think Tank, that’s the right room. Or, it could be The Accelerator if you’re just getting started in your business. It’s being around people who are also not afraid to think really big, and who are vulnerable, and talking about their goals, and sharing the struggles and wins. To me, once you can see that, and you’re in that room, and it’s a room where people are sharing, and open, and there’s trust built into it, that’s when you’re like, “Oh, okay, this person did this, I can do that too.” That, for me, made a difference for me and my business when I was just get started. You and I were in The Mastermind together, and I was able to see what other copywriters were doing for the first time. I was just like, “Oh, okay, maybe I could do that too,” or, “Maybe I could do that in a year.” And so, that’s a huge piece of it.
I think just giving people permission, that’s what you and I do. We give people permission like, “It’s okay to think bigger.” I think oftentimes we’re afraid to voice it and to even say it to ourselves what we really want, or how big we could really go, because it feels like there’s too much risk involved and we may not make it. It’s just scary to say something really big. And, as soon as someone gives you permission to do it, it’s freeing. I think we should do that for each other more often.
Rob: I like that. I think I know the answer to this, but beach, mountains, or city?
Kira: I want all of it.
Rob: You want a city, on the beach, in the mountains.
Kira: I have never been a person who can choose one thing. I just am like, “Okay, I want to do both. I want to do all of it.” So, city for my primary residence, for now. But, mountains for just access to the mountains. We’re working on the mountain house. And then, beach, getaway beach trip, sure. I want all of it. I don’t want one. For me, I like the primary residence in the city at this stage in my life. I just do well with that energy. That will change at some point and I’m just maybe like, “I’m kind of done with this energy. I need to be primarily in the mountains, and the city can be the weekend trip.”
Rob: Okay. So, if you could compete in any Olympic sport, what sport would you choose? No previous experience necessary. I know you’ve run, I think you’ve done some swimming in the past as well. But, what would you choose? What would you want a gold medal in?
Kira: Who’s question was this?
Rob: This is my question. I want to know.
Kira: I had a feeling, I was like, “Who came up with this one?” Tug of war.
Rob: That’s not an Olympic sport. You’re just choosing anything. You’re just choosing a sport.
Kira: I think it actually is. I think my first response is I’ve never wanted to be in the Olympics, but that’s never been a goal. But, if I had to answer, gymnastics. I enjoy watching gymnastics. I was in gymnastics as a kid, so that speaks to me. It’s a grueling sport. All sports are grueling, but especially grueling. So, I think that would be pretty cool. That’s hardcore.
Rob: Plus, you’d be the first person over the height of 5’7 to win a gold medal in gymnastics, it would be amazing.
Kira: My body would not fit on the balance beam. I would just move a step and then I would fall off. That would be pretty fantastic to watch me compete in that sport. That could be fun.
Rob: I think about that, and there are a lot of sports I would love to excel at, but the one I could probably do at this stage in life is curling. I can push a broom on some ice. Maybe I can make that work.
Kira: Yeah, that’d be fun.
Rob: But gymnastics would not make my list.
Kira: Swimming, I did swim for years. And so, as far as what I might have a shot at, would be swimming, or running. I miss swimming, so that would actually be really enjoyable just to get back in the pool.
Rob: If you were on death row, had to have your last meal, what would you choose?
Kira: Something from my mom. I think anything that she made growing up just… It’s nostalgic, it just brings back memories, so it would be any dish. Doesn’t even really matter what it is, just a dish from when I was a kid. I think that would be… As long as I’m not on death row because I killed my mom or someone in my family, that would not be a good memory. I guess it won’t. I guess it depends on why I’m on death row. So, something that brings back positive memories from my childhood. I guess that would be the best way to go out, feeling really good and loved by your mom and your family as you are on the death row. Such a depressing thought. Bringing this down.
Rob: We’ll make it more positive. What is the best meal you’ve ever had? I’ve got to imagine there’s all kinds of culinary experiences in New York, the cities that you’ve lived in, but very best meal you’ve ever had?
Kira: What comes to mind is an experience called dark dining, in New York. And again, this was one of the experiences I wrote about for The Examiner and-
Rob: This is something where you can’t see anything, right?
Rob: Yeah, I think that-
Kira: And so, that, to me, was the most fun meal, because we were blindfolded in the restaurant, and so you had to just experience and use your other senses throughout the entire meal. That was one that will always standout, because I only did it one time. It’s also very uncomfortable when you’re there with someone else. Ezra just stopped talking at one point, because he was served bone marrow and he got weirded out. He just kind of freaked out and just stopped talking. So, when you’re sitting there in a dark dining experience, and all of a sudden your partner just checks out, it’s also very alarming. It was a very weird, but fun, different dining experience, and so that was one that stood out. I love anything, it’s very clear, experiential.
There’s also this really cool Colombian restaurant in Union Market, in D.C., where they pour chocolate into your hands and you’re supposed to lick the chocolate off your hands. It’s all about experiencing the food. And then, later, you have to lick the food off your plate. They just take-
Rob: It’s like a five-year-old’s dream restaurant.
Kira: I know. It’s a nice restaurant, so everyone’s dressed up, and you’re just licking everything off the plate and your hands, and just experiencing food in a different way. I’m more into that than the cuisine, necessarily.
Rob: The dark dining experience, it makes it clear how much visual stimulation impacts an experience, right? And, if you can’t see the person across from you, how they’re experiencing the food, it almost removes half of the experience of eating, which is kind of odd to think about, because eating, we don’t think as being very visual.
Kira: And just the communication. The communication, that’s so important in a dining experience, not only from the staff who are serving the food, but from the other guest at the table, and how important that is in any situation. So, it would be cool to do that again, just because there’s so much learning from just being in that environment where you’re out of your comfort zone too.
Rob: That might be an experience we try at some point in an IRL, or something like that. So, last couple questions. What legacy do you want to leave for the world?
Kira: That’s such a hard question to answer. I feel like I should ask you that one too, because I didn’t ask you that one. That’s a good one.
Rob: Yeah, this is just a good question. You’re going to have to wait for the next interview with me.
Rob: What legacy do you want to leave?
Kira: I want to do something, anything. I don’t know what that thing is. To just make the world better for my children, especially my youngest, for Homer. I just think about his lifetime ahead and just what that will be like. Sometimes I struggle with that, when I think about what it could be like. It could be like this, or it could be like this. You can’t predict that. I’m always trying to figure out, “What is that thing that I need to do, that I could do to make the world better for my kids?” I am at a loss sometimes, and I struggle with that. I’m like, “I don’t know what that is.” So, I feel like I’m seeking, and searching, and trying to figure out what that is. That’s what I’m trying to figure out.
Rob: Yeah. I think that’s a good answer. What’s next for you, Kira? Whether it’s after The Copywriter Club, or with The Copywriter Club, what’s coming up in the future of Kira Hug?
Kira: Probably med school. I think I’m going to become a doctor.
Rob: I like that.
Kira: I’m half joking, but I think any time you go through a shift in life you go through an identity crisis. I’ve gone through an identity crisis over the last few months. I think I’m coming out of it. I was just like, “What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life? Maybe I need to be a doctor, I need to go to med school.” Then, I went, “Maybe I need to get into politics and I need to change the world through politics.” So, I just have kind of tried on many different hats, just thinking through, “What would that look like? What would that feel like? What would it take to get there?” So, I have been exploring those identities and kind of working through them one by one. So, it could be many different things.
I think what also could be interesting, as I’m thinking about all of that, are those the shadow careers, and what is that actually preventing me from doing? What is the real thing that I want to do? And, all of these other projects and careers are a distraction from what I truly want to do. I think that’s always hard to figure out. So, what is that thing? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I have a feeling it has to do with writing.
Rob: That answer surprises me a little bit, because I’ve heard you talk a lot about being sort of like a media mogul, at some point, having this media-
Rob: … platform or landscape, so-
Kira: That’s on my list too, it’s like a media company.
Rob: How that expresses is interesting.
Kira: A media company. As copywriters, we geek out on research, so maybe I go deeper into research. Maybe I go back to school and go really deep into organizational design. You and I build communities, so really studying that and understanding what works and what doesn’t work, because community will change our world. It has the power to change our world, so maybe I just geek out on that. And so, I think there are all these great options that always stem from what we do as copywriters and all the skills that we carry with us as copywriters, and it creates all these different options. Also, sometimes, after reading Four Thousand Weeks, and reading through that book, it’s also good to rein it in and be like, “Okay, well, what am I doing now? How can I make a difference in what I’m doing now, rather than thinking ahead and getting lost in all the possibilities and distracting yourself with all the options you could have?” It’s fun to think about, and I’m just kind of playing around with different ideas.
Rob: Like it. All right, that’s the list of my questions. I suppose if people who are listening want to ask other questions of you, they can drop them to you or me in an email, maybe we can address them in a future episode.
Kira: Probably won’t get…
Rob: We might not get very many, who knows? Maybe we’ll get dozens.
Kira: Dozens of questions.
Rob: And, if you want to hear Kira’s interview with me, asking a lot of the same questions, same kind of style, that was 10 episodes ago. You can check that out. There’s actually lots of episodes where it’s just been the two of us talking, where we touch on some of these things, but I don’t think we’ve gone this deep before. So, this was interesting.
Kira: Yeah, we prefer shallow.
Rob: Interesting to find out this much about you, Dr. Hug.
Kira: I’m Dr. Millipede.
Rob: Dr. Millipede, yeah. I like it.
Kira: Thanks for interviewing me, Rob, and keeping it relatively gentle and easy, I appreciate it.
Rob: Yeah, of course. That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter, David Munter. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcasts and leave a review of the show.
Kira: All right, thank you. Where can we go to learn more about The Copywriter Club, Rob?
Rob: Thecopywriterclub.com, or join us in the free Facebook group, Facebook, The Copywriter Club. Listen to more episodes of this podcast wherever it is that you got this episode.