Juliet Peay is our guest on the 333rd episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Juliet is a personal brand coach and copywriter who helps her clients “unfrankenstein” themselves, so they can show up authentically online. When it comes to building a business, your personal brand can be the key to attracting your ideal clients.
Here’s how the conversation went:
- Why Juliet decided to start a blog about local business and how it opened up a full-time job opportunity.
- Freelancing on the side and when she felt ready take the leap in her business.
- Doing something because you think you’re supposed to.
- Going from a reactive to a proactive client search and why mindset plays a key role.
- Finding the right social media platform for your business.
- Do you have to send hard pitches?
- Building relationships with people using LinkedIn.
- How Juliet landed a ghostwriting retainer project.
- The fine line between personal branding and copywriting.
- Her personal branding process – what does she use with clients?
- How personal should we get online? Is there a line we shouldn’t cross?
- How to find a middle ground when sharing strong opinions and viewpoints.
- One project at a time vs. balancing multiple deadlines.
- Implementing shorter deadlines for proposals and sending this key piece in your proposal routine.
- Hiring a VA + using Dubsado for business.
- Learning from client mistakes and the necessity of having contracts
- Common misconceptions around boundaries and how they improve your customer service skills.
- Finding contractors to make your life easier.
- Juliet’s cut and clear approach to problem-solving.
- The struggles of keeping up with the opportunities and not yet having the bandwidth to make it happen.
Tune into the episode by hitting play or reading the transcript below.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:The Copywriter Think Tank
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
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Rob Marsh: A lot of copywriters start out doing copy as a side hustle while they work at a real job, and as the work piles up, they quickly realize that they could probably be making more money doing the side hustle full-time. That’s what happened to today’s guest on the Copywriter Club podcast. Juliet Peay started a blog as a side hustle, got a bit of traction, and then started doing copy projects all while working her full-time job. Then she realized that what she was making as a freelancer was double the hourly rate she had in her real job, so it was time to jump. Juliet shared how she made the jump, plus she also told us about feeling trapped in a niche, how she sets boundaries, and her unique approach to making connections on LinkedIn.
But before we get to our interview, this podcast is sponsored by the Copywriter Think Tank. That’s our mastermind for copywriters and other marketers who want to do more in their business, whether it’s something like stepping out on stage, creating a new product, your own podcast or video channel, building an agency, a product company, anything like that. Maybe you just want to become the best-known copywriter in your niche. That’s the kind of stuff that we help copywriters do in the Think Tank. To learn more, visit copywriterthinktank.com and fill out the application there.
Before we get to the interview, I also need to introduce my co-host for this episode, Nikita Morell. Nikita is known as the copywriter for architects. She was our guest on this podcast a long time ago, it was episode 136. She’s a former member of the Think Tank and I’m just excited to hang out with you for 30 minutes again. Nikita, thanks for joining me and welcome back to the show.
Nikita Morell: Thanks, Rob. I can’t believe it’s been so long. It’s been a while.
Rob Marsh: It’s been way too long. I’ve been watching what you do on LinkedIn and on your list, and of course, we’ll talk a little bit about niching I think later on here, but you really truly have done an amazing job niching your business and filling a need and finding a spot for you that’s very unique, I think, in the world of copywriting.
Nikita Morell: Yeah, thanks Rob. I’m really excited to talk about Juliet’s story today because I think I identify with lots of different things that she’s gone through. So yeah, excited to get stuck into it.
Rob Marsh: Well, fantastic. Let’s kick our episode off then by listening to the first half of our interview with Juliet.
Juliet Peay: I guess how I ended up in copywriting was that I loved writing, like all copywriters do. I got my degree in journalism because I felt like that was the smart and practical thing to do. I thought maybe I would go into politics, or journalism, or even have a talk show someday or something. I felt like college was the time to get that smart degree. I, after college, found myself in a lot of marketing/receptionist jobs. I didn’t really get the marketing jobs that I thought I was getting because they would be presented as a marketing job and then in reality it would be a small business that needs that two and one. So I did gain good experience from that, but I also didn’t know how to get what I wanted out of those experiences because I was young. I was told you work somewhere for 30 years. If you do all the grunt work, you get promoted, and I kind of just went by that typical corporate advice and also that the degree was like the check mark.
After a few years of doing that, I decided I really want to do writing, and every time I send my resume to agencies, they say, “Where is your portfolio?” And I keep coming up with nothing. So I decided to finally do something about it and I just started writing on medium.com, I started writing on LinkedIn. I eventually decided to hone in a little bit on one topic. So I started a blog in my hometown, which is in Greenville, South Carolina. So the blog was called greenvilleenthusiast.com. Around that time, Covid hit, and so when everything got shut down, I had been doing restaurant reviews, and then was thinking, well, how am I going to keep making use of this if I can’t go anywhere other than do some takeout stuff?
So I pivoted and decided to do a small business campaign. So I did Faces of Small Business and I would kind of highlight the family profiles behind these restaurant owners that were reacting to Covid. Later, I did a series called Faces of Black Business to show where we could support Black families and Black business owners, and that got a lot of traction for my blog, which was really exciting. I picked up some freelance work along the way. I was doing that from 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM. I did finally get a full-time marketing job and thought this is it. I did that from 9:00 to 5:00, but then after a year of doing both freelancing and full-time marketing, I decided to take the leap into freelance copywriting.
I’m still here. I’m loving it. I’ve struggled with everything that every copywriter has as far as choosing their niche or finding their niche and kind of nailing that down. But long story, still long, that is my copyright journey.
Rob Marsh: Okay. I have a couple of really quick follow-up questions. Best burger in Greenville, like your food reviews.
Juliet Peay: Oh, that’s such a good question. Oh, man. I feel like I owe it to my local community to choose a local place, but it’s not coming to mind. So I’m going to have to cop out and say I really like either Five Guys or Bad Daddy’s.
Rob Marsh: Okay, fair enough. What I really want to ask is, back when you were thinking about doing a talk show, tell me about the ideation there. What did you want to talk about, is it just general stuff or did you have something specific?
Juliet Peay: I didn’t have anything specific. I just know they had one of these huge posters of why you should major in communications, and one of the things on the bullet points on that board was a talk show, and I thought like ooh, I could be Oprah, or Ellen, or be on The View or something. I’m a chatterbox and that seems like a perfect fit for me to just have a job talking. I do feel like when I had the blog, I did try to pivot it into an interview and I did maybe two episodes and was like, I don’t like this. It’s a different type of stress for me. So people have said before, “Why don’t you host a podcast?” And I’m just like, “I don’t know.” It didn’t land.
Kira Hug: Okay. So when did you make the transition and go full-time in your copywriting business?
Juliet Peay: Yes, so that was June 2020 is when I took the leap of faith. Yeah.
Kira Hug: Okay. And then when was the moment where you felt like, okay, I can really do this thing, this is real? Do you remember the context or any specific moments or details around that?
Juliet Peay: Yeah, so also I will say I think it was actually June 2021, so my bad, June 2021. But yeah, the catalyst for me being able to go out on my own was, for one, just the burnout and the exhaustion of trying to do it all, do everything. I had a friend ask how much are you making on your freelancing, and I hadn’t really calculated it. To me, every project was just kind of exciting, extra pocket money, but I think when I calculated how much I was making in that 10 hours a week, the hourly rate was at least double what I was making full-time in corporate America. Then I also signed a ghostwriting book deal that was going to be at least four to six months of a pretty hefty retainer client. So that helped me feel like it was financially viable to take the leap.
Rob Marsh: And will you tell us what kinds of work are you doing in your business right now?
Juliet Peay: So now I focus on websites, sales pages and emails. I either write people who already have a very strong voice, they’re outspoken and they’re ambitious, but I’ve also pivoted into personal brand coaching, so for the people that need help with just getting more ideas about how they can show up personally and be themselves in their brand. I help them with their foundational story, sometimes with their LinkedIn profile, and then some kind of content marketing ideas after that too.
Kira Hug: Yeah, I definitely want to talk about the coaching that you’re doing. But first I’m curious, what are some of those initial mistakes that you made early on that you feel like, oh, I wish I could have avoided that, or I wish I could share this with someone else so they can avoid this?
Juliet Peay: Yeah, I think it’s twofold. The mistakes that I think I realized was, one, it’s nice to be the go-to copywriter in a small pool, but if you need to graduate, you need to graduate, and that’s something that I would struggle with, is I would have a reputation in a Facebook group where I would get tagged a million times, but those were for like $200 clients and eventually, that just wasn’t sustainable anymore. But I felt such loyalty that, well, I need to keep my prices low for this community or for this Facebook group or whatever, and I think that held me back a little bit too long. So I would say raise your prices, and graduate when you need to, even at the sake of loyalty. You’ll find new people that love to work with you.
Then the second one was stressing out about a niche because for me, it took me a long time to realize that I just like writing for people. I like the personality that comes with brand voice work. I really got caught up in thinking, well, B2B is so lucrative, or working with tech companies is lucrative, writing for apps is lucrative, and I felt like that was just what copywriters did and that’s what the successful ones did, so I had to do that too and I hated that. So I feel like this is everyone’s permission to just do what you enjoy doing. Some people are money and financially-driven, and so they choose to go that route and they enjoy it. Others of us, I feel, like that are a little bit more heart-centered, feel less than for some reason, and we shouldn’t have any reason to feel that way. I say do what you love and write the copy that fires you up.
Rob Marsh: So as you talk about that, struggles with pricing or moving beyond a community and combined with niching, it’s kind of an intersection of finding clients. So tell us a little bit about how you found those initial clients. And I know sometimes it’s been an up and down. We still, all of us, sometimes struggle to fill that pipeline. So talk to us just some of your strategies for making sure that you’ve got clients coming in the door as often as possible.
Juliet Peay: Strategies for getting clients in the door. So one thing that I have finally done is I’m now proactive with my marketing. I used to be extremely reactive. I would wait to be tagged in a Facebook post. I would kind of sit around the groups; I would look at job boards. I would just kind of hope for what was out there. Now my strategy is primarily focused on LinkedIn and I do have a tool that I use called Dripify.io that sends out connection requests at the very minimum. Sometimes I’ll send a message with it. You have to be careful with automation tools, but I do like to kind of keep tabs on making connections strategically with the clients that I would like to work with.
Then I also post much more. I’m visible much more. I’m ready to be everywhere. So I’ve been on some great podcasts this past year. I’m looking to do more speaking engagements, and it’s really just about showing up in the right places and bringing something of value as an expert and an authority instead of just sitting, and hoping, and waiting that somebody will tag you. I know it’s a question every new copywriter asks, is where do I find the best clients? And it’s kind of like it’s everywhere, but you have to show them what you can deliver.
Kira Hug: How did you make that switch mindset-wise, from reactive to proactive? Because even listening, it’s easy to say, well yes, Juliet’s right, I should be visible, I should show up on LinkedIn, I should do all these things, but it’s really hard to make that switch.
Juliet Peay: Tracking was part of it. I know that for me, I felt like Instagram was the way. So I went all in creating content on Instagram. I spent maybe three months really just zoned in on Instagram and I got more followers out of it, but nobody converted to a lead. And so for me, I felt like I was watering a dead lawn, and that was kind of just unfulfilling and depressing for me. Once I switched to LinkedIn, that just went better for me. I felt like I was talking to people that had a business mindset and they were ready to work together.
I think it’s just experience. The better that I knew what my offers were, it was easier to just kind of present my offers over and over and over again instead of just seeing what was showing up on my feed. It’s almost just getting more focused, knowing what you want. When you know what you want, it’s easier to go out and get it and look for it and make those connections. Also, the mindset that not everybody is ready for copy the second you connect with them. So I never send a hard pitch. I will be open to a networking call. I always ask just like what’s your life story, and then I share my life story, and it’s very low risk. But I feel like sometimes copywriters get trapped in the mindset that you really have to twist somebody’s arm, that they need copy and that they need to hire you to do their website or their emails, but if they don’t want it, they don’t want it. So just wait till they’re ready and make good out of the connection while you have the time, make a good first impression and when they’re ready, they’ll come back to you later.
Rob Marsh: So can you share the specific connection requests that you make or your initial outreach in LinkedIn? What exactly are you asking? Does it differ every time? What does that look like?
Juliet Peay: So one thing that’s worked for me that is very personal is I’m a total music nerd. I love music, and a lot of the people that I connect with, they’re speakers. So the question that I’ll ask them is, I’ll just say, “Hey, it’s great to connect with you.” After they’ve accepted the connection request, and I’ll say, “Do you have a song that gets you really pumped up to go on stage?” Or I’ll ask what’s a motivational song I should add to my playlist, if they’re not necessarily a speaker. Sometimes I’ll ask, what’s your theme song? I always did some type of variation on that question and I’ve had lots of responses and some people that will kind of continue the conversation. It’s just a fun, very low risk way to have one super small touch point that’s not something that people are going to feel gross about or feel like it’s disingenuine. Also if they don’t respond, I’m not worried about it.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I like that idea of making a personal connection. And then how long until you start to turn that into talking about business and possibly even making a pitch?
Juliet Peay: I don’t have any type of diligent strategy after that because, again, if they’re not ready, I don’t feel like I need to promote that to them. I will sometimes, if we’re having a fun conversation, if they respond and say like, “Oh, what a fun question.” A lot of times people will say, “I’ve never had such a fun LinkedIn introduction.” And then I might say, “I’d love to hear your life story if you want to jump on an actual social call.” That’s what I call it, actually social, because we’re on social media but we’re not actually social, so that’s how I branded it. I’ll just tell them I just want to hear your life story, no sales, no pitches. And again, it’s another low-risk offer to just enter another touchpoint. Then from there they at least know that I’m a copywriter and that’s enough of a pitch in itself, I feel like, for them to remember who I am and what I do.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and who doesn’t want to share their life story or get a chance to just talk. Do you keep that limited to 10, 20 minutes? How do you manage it so it doesn’t get out of hand?
Juliet Peay: It’s 15 minutes because I feel like that’s the perfect enough time for both of us to share. I think I originally had them for 30 minutes, but I could tell after the 15-minute cut-off or after the 15-minute timestamp you’re kind of just trying to fill time for another 15 minutes. Yeah, I just keep it to 15 minutes, make it quick and dirty.
Kira Hug: Okay, and then getting in the weeds, but how many people are you adding on a weekly basis, or what’s your strategy with connections, connection requests?
Juliet Peay: I’m not sure the exact number. I think it’s probably somewhere from 30 to 50 new people. Again, that’s just automated. I used to try to sit down and look up coaches, or life coaches, or ADHD coaches and look at their profile and spend so much time trying to send the most personal message ever, and that was such a time suck that now it’s so helpful to just have it kind of running in the background.
Rob Marsh: So I want to go back to one of the projects that you started out with. You mentioned that you were ghostwriting a book. First, did the project happen, and talk to us about that. What did that look like time-wise? I know it was the first time you ever did it, so I’m guessing it wasn’t a $60,000 book writing project, but just tell us about that and the results from that project.
Juliet Peay: Yeah. It was a great project. So it was intimidating for one, just to be like oh my goodness, I’m writing a book for someone, but it was also extremely fun to just get inside their head. So I just structured it as an hourly retainer. So it was 20 hours a month at 100 an hour. Yeah, it wasn’t a huge retainer, but it was enough to feel like I could fill the rest of my time with other projects and kind of do it at the same time. It was almost VIP structured a little bit where I would have a couple hours with the person I was writing for. I would ask them lots of questions, and then I would kind of go into my writing cave for two weeks or so and write the next few chapters. Then we’d meet again, talk about the next two things, then I would go in my cave and write the next few chapters. Then near the end, there was lots of revising and lots of editing just to kind of make everything cohesive and flow through as a whole book.
Kira Hug: And do you still offer that type of package?
Juliet Peay: I don’t, because if I were to offer it again, I do think I would double the price. It is a lot of time to spend working on a project like that. There is so much editing that needs to happen to really make a book cohesive. And if I were to do it again, it would have to be the only project on my desk because I think some people thrive on retainers and tracking their time, but for me, I really don’t. So for me, it was hard to feel like I need to be all in on another project to make this month’s rent, but also know that I have hours to fill, so it’s not something that I specialize in. I enjoy it because I do like to pretend that, yeah, I like to be one of my clients and pretend that I’m being them. So I enjoyed the thought of the work, but that intensive of a project just isn’t my number one offer.
Kira Hug: Well, and I’m also thinking, I feel like in your brand and how you help your clients, it’s all about being yourself, and being different, and embracing your personality and doing things your own way, and so I feel like knowing you and your business, you also are doing things your own way and not necessarily breaking the rules, but you’re just thinking differently and you’re really good at rejecting ideas or concepts that just don’t work for you, even if it seems like every other copywriter’s doing it. So I just wonder if there are a couple other rules or beliefs that you find that a lot of copywriters buy into that you don’t buy into.
Juliet Peay: I would say one of the biggest rules that I break, at least in the personal branding world, which I think is very adjacent to copywriting work, because every copywriter has a brand, and all of my clients that I work with have a personal brand, and so much of the personal branding world is all about put your best foot forward and be how your audience wants you to be, and I’m like, no, don’t Frankenstein yourself for your audience. Yes, you need to have people that you’re connecting to, but I think that when we have an identity-driven business, and you feel good about yourself, and you feel like you have the autonomy to run your business the way that you want to, that you can think and speak the way that you want to, you’re going to find people that are going to be aligned with that and they’re going to become your biggest raving fans and probably your best clients. So I feel like that’s a big rule that I break in the personal branding world, is instead of making your brand about your audience, your brand should be about you. People are going to work with you because you’re you, so be yourself.
Rob Marsh: So let’s go deeper on that. What is the process for doing that, for flipping what a lot of other people are doing on their head? So you’re pulling out of me, if I’m hiring you to work on the brand of Rob, what are you doing so that I can step forward and it’s not just about, oh, the Copywriter Club, or oh, the SaaS clients that I want to work with and so on?
Juliet Peay: I’m getting so personal, I ask so many questions. My friend Joe Mayers is a game designer and he talks about how just the source of knowledge can sometimes get in the way. So when we think of ourselves, we know a lot about ourselves, but we don’t think it’s interesting. So I come in as kind of an outside source and I ask, what makes you cry? And you’d be like, “Well, why would I ever share that?” Or what’s a challenge that you faced this week? What’s a really big disappointment that you had in life? I just ask questions that people wouldn’t think to share openly, and it is a little bit of a blurred line between why am I asking you this and where is it going to show up in your copy, and that’s the fun of the discovery and the fun of the identity work, is remembering those kinds of fun facts about you that you can kind of pull out and then decide to start sharing and crafting your brand around those things.
Kira Hug: I think you should ask Rob some of those questions right now.
Rob Marsh: I figured you were going to say, Kira, what makes Rob cry? And I would just have to say, I never cry. I don’t have feelings. So yeah, that question is a bust for me, but maybe I could get into some of the others.
Kira Hug: I was going to say, maybe I’ve made you cry at some point.
Rob Marsh: I do. I cry in a desperate attempt to get your approval. It’s kind of a weekly thing.
Kira Hug: What else?
Rob Marsh: Two sides of my personality.
Kira Hug: What else brand voice-wise? So I mean, I work in brand voice too. I’m always looking for new ways to approach the work. What else are you maybe experimenting with or what else, beyond the personal questions, what’s really helped you feel like, okay, I’m nailing this, my clients are happy, I know I’m helping them figure out their voice?
Juliet Peay: Yeah. So I also get really nosy, and so I’ll look at their social media. I’ll even look, if I can, especially on LinkedIn, their activity, because I can see where they’re commenting on other people’s posts. So I can tell when they’re giving messages that is a little bit more curated and they’re trying to sound more professional, they’re trying to sound fancy, they’re talking about their services, their offerings, and a lot of people shift into marketing speak kind of easily because they’re seeing it all the time. I try to pull out things that I think are working well, not necessarily from an engagement perspective. I’m not going to look through and say like, “Oh, well this is performing the most well.” But I can see, okay, here are very similar posts that you made. This one, you were really personal and you shared why this is important to you, and this one you just shared because you kind of felt like you should.
So I have a client that I’m working with right now in personal brand coaching, and he works in insurance. So there are some posts that he’ll share where he went to a networking event, he caught up with a buddy, he’s going to be talking about how they had a great time, how long they’ve known each other, what they’re working in, what their future plans are, and it’s really personal content, and then he’ll have another post that’s almost exactly the same that’s just kind of had a good time and maybe tag the event. And I’m going to look through the lens of personal branding and say like, okay, this is the one that you want to do more of. Just take a moment when you’re ready to post and think through why did I really enjoy this and what can I speak to that’s going to be a little bit deeper than just like hey, I went to a thing.
Rob Marsh: When you’re thinking through that, when you’re thinking deeper, obviously, there are a lot of different ways to look at that lens. It’s not just like what made you cry or it’s emotional, but there are other approaches there as well. And I’m wondering, because you post quite a bit on LinkedIn, your own content, how do you apply that idea into your own business when you are thinking about, okay, what am I going to share, how vulnerable do I get? Where do you draw those lines around your own content creation?
Juliet Peay: Okay, this is a great question, because y’all know me; I’m very much into celebrity culture. So for everybody that goes into sharing more personal content, you have your own comfortability of what risk you want to take. So for me, I am always open to knowing that what Juliet thinks now is not the same as what I thought 10 years ago, and it might not be the same as what I think 10 years in the future. So I think be mindful of what you’re willing to be canceled for if you want to post strong opinions. Also be willing to say, “I’ve changed my mind, I’ve learned new things.” And then also know yourself well enough to realize if you’re projecting or sharing for validation. If you need to go to therapy, go to therapy. Don’t hire a personal brand strategist to just air your laundry or to be a jerk and use your voice in destructive ways.
I feel like it’s important to be self-assured and know what you’re comfortable with, and also realize how you’re going to react to people disagreeing with you. Because I also see, it’s one thing to share a strong opinion and just post it out there. It’s another to be doing damage control or to honestly back down, and that’s something that I find a little bit disappointing is someone will share a strong opinion and then they’ll appease everybody in the comments or they’ll keep fighting with everybody in the comments. I kind of like to find the middle ground somewhere between those two things because your personal brand and the way that you present yourself online can have good consequences or bad consequences, and just be mindful of what that can mean for how you feel about what you’re doing.
Kira Hug: What would you recommend to one of your clients if they were posting a strong opinion, strong viewpoint, and they weren’t quite sure, and all of a sudden they get comments, maybe both directions? How would you advise them to handle it? So it is in the middle ground where you’re not just surrendering and giving up, but you’re not fighting with everyone?
Juliet Peay: I would advise them to stand their ground kindly, and I think that’s kind of what it comes down to, are you at least being respectful of other people, and also sharing more insights. If they have a strong opinion that they can back, then back it. If they have a strong opinion that they can’t back, then they, I think, should be a little bit more open to hearing other people’s experiences. And I will say, even though it’s one person’s personal opinion, if you’re encroaching on someone else’s personal life, then that’s not really your territory. I think empathy is still extremely important in this conversation of personal branding, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to shine your light and shine it as bright as you want to, especially on your own platform.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, that’s great advice. Okay. So many really good insightful things that Juliet has shared and we’ve asked about. Let’s just talk about a couple of them, Nikita. What stood out to you from what Juliet has been sharing so far?
Nikita Morell: Yeah, so there are so many great things, but I think what I really identified with was how niching really made her feel boxed in. She felt like she had to do a lot of things because others had done it, whether it’s starting a blog, or yeah. So I think what I really loved is how Juliet says everyone has permission to just do what they enjoy doing. I’ve always seen niching almost as three things. You’ve got to have that passion, you got to have the profit, but also have proficiency in what you do, and I think Juliet really nails this idea of really leaning into what you love.
Rob Marsh: So when Juliet started talking about this and I was thinking, “Okay, who should I invite on to the show to talk about this?” I immediately as soon as I start thinking about copywriting and niching, your name comes to mind because you have done this so well in your business, right from the beginning. As I mentioned in the introduction, you’re known as the copywriter for architects, and so many people that we talk to, so many copywriters who are starting their own business, they think, “I can’t niche. I’m going to get bored. I’m giving up way too many other opportunities.” And I would just love to chat about this a little bit more, Nikita. Obviously, people can go back and listen to what we shared in our podcast interview with you a while ago, but do you get bored writing for architects? Have you felt all boxed in by this? Talk a little bit about that process.
Nikita Morell: Yeah, definitely. And look, I’ll be completely honest, you do. I mean, you’re at a niche, and especially over the years, and maybe Juliet will find this too, you get more and more laser focused because you realize your niche is maybe not even small enough, so you can go smaller and smaller. But look, you do have moments where you feel boxed in, and especially when you’re part of communities like the Copywriter Club, you look around and people are doing really cool things in different industries, so it can be tempting to try and look outside. But with niching, obviously there’s lots of different ways to niche, whether it’s by service or by industry, but for me, I’ve got experience in the industry. And definitely, what I would recommend is that you can look, for example, if you’re servicing architects, you can look a bit outside the architecture field. You know, you might do property developers, or 3D visualization software.
So outwardly, it looks like you are just servicing one niche, but internally it’s not stopping you from doing multiple things. You’re not married to your niche. If the niche isn’t working out for you, pivot, try something different. So yeah, I think, look, as Julie said, you can feel boxed in, but it doesn’t have to be that way. And especially if you really are passionate, going back to again that Juliet said, copy that fires you up, if you’re passionate about something, then I think I’ve been doing it for more than seven years now, and I think it really, you are always going to find practices with different stories that you have to uncover, different X factors, all of the above. So yeah.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, there’s a lot to talk about there. I know we’re actually going to come back a little bit in the second half of the interview, so I’ll save my other comment about niching for when we get there. Juliet also talked about finding the platform that works for you. And we were talking about pitching, and getting yourself out there, and what works for Juliet isn’t going to work for everybody, but what works for somebody else isn’t going to work for Juliet. So just knowing where your audience is, who you want to connect with, the best places to connect. I think what Juliette shared was really interesting, especially the idea of the actually social call, where you are approaching it and you’re actually being social, taking the conversation maybe off of LinkedIn or off of Instagram or wherever that is, and having a one-to-one conversation, whether that’s on Zoom, or in real life or something like that.
I think what she shared with her whole process there was just eye-opening in a lot of ways. Maybe taking how we engage with people in places like LinkedIn and taking it that extra step to creating relationships. And it’s interesting, this is our second podcast in a row where we’ve really talked about creating relationships on social media, and so I’m starting to see a theme with a couple of our guests here.
Nikita Morell: Completely on point, Rob. And I think what I’ve loved, and I think what Juliet does is brilliant, and I just love this idea for her connecting on LinkedIn with her opening line about passion for music, or what song should I listen to on my playlist. I think it’s really smart, it’s really brilliant. I think the best part is, of course, yeah, it helps with the recipient, whoever’s receiving it to make it not sound so salesy, but it also takes the pressure off you as a copywriter. I think it’s really relieving that pressure of oh, I got to write something really good, and I have to spend heaps of time doing it. You know, as Juliet says, it’s you being actually social. It’s how you would just start a conversation, so it takes the pressure off you. I really like that idea of low-risk, small touchpoint. I’ve never really heard of it exactly in those words before, and I think it’s super smart.
Rob Marsh: I’m glad you mentioned that, Nikita, because when you’re talking about removing that pressure, I think so much of our outreach we’re thinking about whether I’ve got to land a client or I’ve got to land a project. What Juliet is doing here is so smart because, again, it’s just about creating a friendship. It’s really low-key.
Nikita Morell: Yeah, and it also filters out the types of connections you don’t want to have either. If someone hits back with whatever type of comment that is just not aligned with you, you can immediately say, “Okay.” Well, whatever their profile might look like, maybe as a person they’re not a good fit, or even just as a connection, they’re not my type of person. I think that’s a big takeaway as well, is that we forget sometimes that these connections just are people. It’s so easy to get into the copywriter mode, as you said, Rob, and say, “Oh, is this a potential client?” Well, just a person. So music is great, it’s really good.
Rob Marsh: For sure. One other thing that I know before we recorded, you mentioned this as we were trading some notes about this, is Juliet’s approach of not having a strategy when it comes to social media, that casual approach. What is it that appeals to you about that?
Nikita Morell: I mean, it’s very much how I approach LinkedIn. I’m very active on LinkedIn. I think I post daily, sometimes twice. That’s where my clients hang out. So I definitely identify with Juliet’s strategy of not having a strategy. I think one of the benefits of this, again, not even just kind of relieving that pressure of having to have everything mapped out, but it allows it to become a bit organic. If I have a thought and I think, “Oh, I wonder what architects would think of this.” I’ll just hop on, and again, it’s that kind of social conversation, and also time. It just means that I can hop on quickly, just write whatever kind of comes to my head. It might not even be a really formed idea yet, but I mean, that’s what the beauty of social media is, right? You can form your ideas kind of publicly and get feedback as well.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I like that approach too. I have seen strategies for getting out there on social media. I think it’s not a bad idea to have a strategy, something that helps you as a framework, especially as you get started, but oftentimes the most real stuff is the stuff that comes to you as it’s happening. I read something this morning and so now I want to comment on that, or I saw something in my business that just happened, or I had this interaction with the client, and all of that stuff goes way beyond a set strategy.
Nikita Morell: Exactly. Let’s go back to our interview with Juliet and see how she sets boundaries in her business and the processes she has in place to keep her moving forward.
Rob Marsh: So let’s maybe shift the conversation just a little bit and talk about getting things done and how you do it in your business, because like all of us, there’s challenges with family, or partner, spouse, there’s work stuff. So tell us about your process, the tools that you use and what you do to make sure that clients get what they need when they need it, and you also get time for everything that you need in your life.
Juliet Peay: Boundaries are huge here, and I feel like that’s been the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in my time as a business owner. One thing that I do is I do my very, very best to work with one client at a time. That means that I needed to start having my services include the revisions on my actual calendar, because for a while I was really in first draft mode where I would say, okay, this person needs their first draft by the 15th. The next client needs their first draft by the 20th, the next client needs their first draft by the 30th, but then when I was neck deep in my next project and client number one came back with revisions, I felt super stressed out trying to get everything done. And so now my process, I try to work with one client at a time and I give that leeway and that room to really fully wrap up the project and give them my undivided attention until all is really said and done.
The second part of that, as far as my onboarding process, and this was from I think Jill Wise in one of the retreats that we had in the Think Tank, was about sending proposals that expire in three days or three business days, and that has been such a game changer for me because fence sitters are such a bottleneck. So when you are kind of leaving it up for grabs, your availability and your time, that’s honestly asking for everybody to double book, and that does not work for me. That does not work for my desire to work with one client at a time. And I think a lot of us feel like, but why not four days or why not two weeks? And I think Jill’s advice was like if they’re ready, they’re ready. If they’re not, they can ask again. So whenever a proposal does expire, and they have noticed that it’s going to expire, I reach out the next day and I just say, “Hey, I saw your proposal expired, would still love to work with you. If you in the future need something, let me know and I will let you know my availability.” And just kind of send that off. But that process has been so helpful to just know who’s working with me, who’s not. Okay, we’re back on the marketing boat, looking for more clients if we need to be.
Rob Marsh: And specifically what tools are you using to make that stuff happen?
Juliet Peay: I use Dubsado. So Dubsado has a form expire setting, so I use that. Then I guess others, I’m trying to think of other tools that I use in my business. I have a VA, she’s great at keeping me on task. So not a system, not a tool, but a human that helps me keep up with those things. But yeah, I’d say Dubsado is the biggest as far as breaking through that bottleneck.
Kira Hug: And you know, you and I have talked about some client projects that have gone wild, right? Clients gone wild, and you’ve dealt with one or two. What are some of the lessons that you pulled from that experience or those experiences that you could share with other copywriters?
Juliet Peay: Yeah, this is a great question because I’ve made peace at different times with different clients gone wild experiences. For one, the basic advice that every copywriter is giving you is true. They have been through it. So when someone says, “Make sure that you have a contract.” They’re saying it for a reason. Make sure you have a contract, because you will learn sooner or later that there are not all good faith, good-willed clients that are going to do what they say that they will in the time that they say that they are going to do those things. So having a contract is huge.
I had a client who decided not to pay. I didn’t realize that they actually hadn’t signed their contract, and so that was kind of a hot mess, and I was really just frustrated with that experience because throughout the project they wouldn’t give feedback. They would kind of start their own second draft and be like, “Let’s go this direction.” And I’d be like, “No, I need feedback on the actual copy.” And I felt like they kept kind of grabbing the wheel, and I was like, I don’t know how to do this. But anyway, that project ended. They didn’t pay their invoice. I did have a demand letter sent to them, but they way past the 30-day window disputed it. But at that point, I had kind of already made peace that I’m not going to get paid from this, that’s a bummer. I did what I felt like I needed to do as far as upholding what is good in the world and standing up for myself, and so I was happy that I sent the demand letter just for my own peace of mind, that I did something, I didn’t just lay down and take it, but at the same time they disputed it. That’s fine for me. I’m like I don’t want to give them any more space in my brain, so what’s done is done.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, we all have one. Usually, it only takes one. So you mentioned earlier that boundaries are huge for you, experiences like that obviously help create boundaries. Are there any specifics that you can talk us through that it’s like every single time, every single project, every single day, whatever that is, clients cannot cross this boundary or just some of the specifics that you’ve set up in your business?
Juliet Peay: One of them I grabbed from another copywriter, which is that I do outline not only when their revisions are going to be due for my own calendar, but I also have them sign in the contract that they’re going to have to give me feedback by a certain time, and if they don’t give me the feedback by that time, then the revision is forfeited, and I have found that to be incredibly helpful. I feel like even my clients that see that in the contract are like, “Oh, she means business.” And that’s always a good sign that they’re going to be ready and prepared from day one and not let that be something that they get to it 30 days later. They know, hey, within a week, I need your feedback, and so that’s a boundary that I uphold. And boundaries don’t have to be … I think sometimes we think that boundaries are rude, or mean or aggressive. They’re not. I very cheerfully am like, “Hey, I’m looking forward to your feedback tomorrow.” And that’s usually enough. It’s just almost going above and beyond in your customer service to enforce those boundaries.
Then I have in my onboarding document now kind of some client expectations, and the very first one is words matter. That’s the point. But I do have in there, and I get into how they can or the dos and don’ts of good feedback, but one of them is realize that you are working with another human being who, as a copywriter, takes my work very seriously. I care a lot about it, and so just as much as I’m going to be treating them with respect, I expect them to do the same for me. For that, I think words matter, because I know as a copywriter there’s been maybe one or two times where a client just said to me like, “You missed the mark.” And that was the most unhelpful feedback of all time. So that’s something that’s kind of in my boundaries, expectations, is just to be helpful, speak kindly, and that’s a boundary that I have for myself to do for them too.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and it seems so obvious, like we shouldn’t have to state that, that words matter, be respectful, but I think obviously people do forget. So I think that’s a really great way to start a project, just like I’m going to respect you, you’re going to respect me, and this is going to go really well. So I think that’s great advice. I want to go back to your brand coaching, because I want to hear more about how you came up with that offer and started to transition away from done for you services to I’m going to do this with you, I’m going to coach you through it. What was the catalyst for that, and then how did you put that offer together?
Juliet Peay: Yeah, so one thing that I realized as far as trying to find a niche was that the people that I was enjoying working with were in industries that I would never choose as my niche, but they themselves had very strong voices and strong personalities. So one of my clients, he has a course on legal and tax stuff. I would never in a million years choose to be working with tax attorneys in their niche, but he’s super fun. So I was like, oh, well, I love working for him. There’s other clients that I’ve had that have been real estate agents, which has sometimes been a mixed bag. I don’t want to write listings, but for the real estate agents that want to have a website or super personal emails, that’s super fun for me.
I have another client who does cybersecurity recruiting. Again, not something that I would choose as my niche, but a really fun person to work with. And so pulling out that common thread of personal branding kind of became my copywriting niche. My only parameter was psychographic, like I want to write for people that have strong personal brands, that they’re already using a strong voice. I somehow through that became known as a personal branding expert, and so I decided to just own it and make an offer for people who liked the idea, they see the value in a personal brand, but they’re not really sure how to do it themselves and they get a little bit stuck, and that’s where my personal brand coaching offers came, which are really kind of narrowed down to let’s just start with your story. We don’t have to go fully into your website yet, we don’t have to go into huge launch campaigns or email campaigns, let’s just kind of nail down who you are, what you’re about, why your work is so important to you, and then give you some ideas from there.
So it’s a lot more flexible of an offer. As far as the deliverables, I customize it a little bit depending on the client, but I find that that’s a much smarter investment for them to kind of have the training wheels of their personal brand before investing into a huge giant package that’s going to be on the internet for the next seven years.
Rob Marsh: Then once you complete a package like that, do you offer step two, or is there a discussion where it’s like how do we take what we just did and make this into a launch or into a website? What’s the evolution of that client relationship look like?
Juliet Peay: That’s been really organic for me. So I’ll have people come in in one of those avenues and then hire me again later for something else. So either they’ve hired me for launch copy because they’re promoting a new website or they’re releasing a new offer, and then that’s kind of that runway, and then they’ll come back later and decide, hey, I actually want to revamp this other part of my business. So I haven’t, again, really diligently or strategically been hardcore on the follow-up of here’s what we should do next. I kind of wait for them to come back for more, but I do have a lot of repeat clients who have hired me even just to write their about page or their services page, and then they’re like, “Okay, let’s do everything. Let’s open the floodgates.”
Kira Hug: Okay. So you mentioned you have a VA. We get a lot of questions about VAs working with them. Oftentimes it does not go well with the first hire, sometimes the second hire. So what advice would you give to a writer who wants to have that type of support but doesn’t know how to work with a VA or how to even approach working with a VA?
Juliet Peay: Yes. So I think we really get in our heads about working with VAs. We either think that they need to come in and just do everything and revamp everything in our business, more like a business coach than a VA, or we’re afraid that we need to be a six-figure earnings, massive CEO that’s just a super delegator that can tell them exactly what to do. My advice there is to look for someone who can be a little bit of a collaborator, someone that knows enough about strategy, who can kind of point out some maybe gaps in your systems, like if you really need a Dubsado specialist and they give you a huge proposal to do everything under the sun and you’re not ready for that, ask them, can you just be around to help me figure this out a little bit? That’s what I did with my VA. She gave me a proposal for all things Dubsado, and I was like, “Can you just do executive handholding? Let me ask you questions. Let me still have my hands in it and try to figure it out, but once I get stuck, can I divert to you?” And that’s been really great.
Then also be open to the relationship evolving. So my VA is a Dubsado specialist. She also is just a funnel specialist, and she does great design in Canva, and so there’s been some months where she’s helped me update my Dubsado workflow, and then I said, “Hey, I want to do an onboarding doc.” And I wrote the copy and she made it look pretty. There’s been other times where I was like, “Hey, I want to do a Typeform quiz that feeds into my email. Can you make that happen in Zapier?” And she can do that. So I feel very lucky and blessed to be working with her, and she’s so skilled that I can give her those different things, but I think just from a business owner’s mindset, instead of thinking like okay, I have to have a job description where it’s going to be 10 hours a week and they do these four things. Let it evolve, don’t worry so much about it, just work with somebody who is happy to work with you and be flexible in that relationship.
Rob Marsh: So as we’re talking about letting things evolve, do you see your team evolving in any way? Will you grow? Are you content to stay where you’re at? What does that look like?
Juliet Peay: Yeah, so I don’t know that I think of my team evolving necessarily, but I am now so much more open to bringing in experts and contractors for different projects. I think that that is going to lead in the next couple years to me having a bit of a small team that might do some client work. I definitely am not thinking about going agency route, but for me, one of the bottlenecks that was getting kind of stuck in my business is I really like writing case studies about the work that I do with my clients, but that’s something that at the end of my process was always like, okay, write case study, and then I would let it sit there. So I hired Asai and her team to write my case studies now, and so that’s kind of another contractor that now is semi on my team, kind of on a per-project basis.
Then I also just put feelers out there to have a VA take some of my recorded YouTube videos that I’ve done on other people’s shows, like their LinkedIn lives, and to start breaking that content down into digestible social media content, 30 to 60-second clips. So once I get that going, that might be some ongoing project work. So I do feel like there’s an opportunity, if my clients need stuff like that, that maybe I’ll just subcontract all of it. So maybe I’ll go into that maybe social media agency vibe. But yeah, I see that there’s growth. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like, and I’m not trying to run a 100 person company, but we’ll see what the future holds.
Kira Hug: Never say never.
Juliet Peay: I know. Yes, Justin Bieber, never say never.
Kira Hug: We’ll bring you back when you have a 100-person company.
Juliet Peay: Oh, goodness.
Kira Hug: Okay. So I was going to ask about struggles because you’ve done so many things right. I feel like what I love about watching you build and grow is if something doesn’t go well, you figure it out, you fix it, it doesn’t happen again and you just keep doing that and building confidence and just growing. So what is a struggle today that is a new struggle that you’re trying to work out, even if you don’t have the answers yet?
Juliet Peay: My new struggle is what is next. I am someone who has so many ideas and wants to grow so fast. I feel like I’m the third child and youngest, and so I feel like I’ve always had this desire to catch up to everybody else. So I always feel like I have a visual map of how to get there. It’s just how can I viably get there. And so I was talking about this on a call earlier. It’s like, well, my brain says this is what we’re doing next, but my wallet says we’re not. But I try to take those struggles as opportunities and think through, well, what could I do that could maybe fund this? And I don’t know, just experiment.
I’m doing so many things that I never thought that I would do. I have a digital product, and I think a lot of copywriters, I just want to say this is my love note to young copywriters, is you can do fun things that you want to do and they are special, and they are unique, and people do want them, and don’t be afraid or think that you have to reach a certain level to be able to put those things out into the world.
Rob Marsh: I love how Kira asks for your struggles and you turn it all positive.
Juliet Peay: Sorry, I didn’t mean to. I hate my life. I’m just kidding. No, I think the struggle is trying to keep up with the opportunity, but that sounds so privileged.
Kira Hug: No, that’s where you’re at right now. I mean, that’s a real struggle.
Juliet Peay: Yeah. That’s my current struggle. I mean, there have been weeks of completely dry, no clients at all. Is this ever going to go anywhere? And so I’m glad to be in some very positive struggles with growing pains, but it is also a different uncertainty of what if I do decide to make the next investment to get to the next level and it doesn’t work. There’s always going to be the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty, but I’m just the type of person that’s going to keep chasing it.
Rob Marsh: Okay. So keeping it positive then. What are some of the best things that you’ve done for your business as you look back, the things you’re like that was a really smart move, or this is the thing that I’m most proud of?
Juliet Peay: This sounds so conceited, but I really am proud of myself for showing up as myself so personally and so authentically. My husband used to laugh because we have an indoor camera in our living room so we can keep tabs on our dogs, and I used to change my shirt four times a day depending on the client that I was meeting with. He was always like, “What are you doing?” And I was just like, “I don’t know.” And so honestly, the day that I showed up to a client meeting in a shirt like this or showed up to, which I’m wearing a t-shirt, like a graphic tee, went to networking meetings wearing ripped jeans and survived and made a better personal brand out of it. I really am proud of that because there’s so much impostor syndrome in me that to kind of overcome that and do it anyway and say I’m not worried about what people are thinking has been a huge personal win.
Just to look back at the Juliet who was working in corporate America and felt so unfulfilled and so passed over because I was young, I didn’t really have a lot of experience and I wasn’t trying to dress up in blazers like everybody else was. I’m really proud that my rebellious spirit has allowed me to have an autonomous business that I really love and thrive in. I’m also just really proud of my clients, and I know that so many people say that, but seeing my clients be able to create more things and enjoy their businesses more because of the work that we do together is so exciting for me, and I love just looking back through my portfolio and then being like, “Oh, what are they doing now?” And just checking up on people and seeing them happy in their businesses because they’ve been able to let their walls down is a huge win.
Kira Hug: We just spent some time with you in New Orleans with our Think Tank Mastermind retreat, which was so fun. So I’d love to hear from you, what did you get out of that retreat specifically, or more broadly what are you getting out of the Think Tank for anyone who might be interested in being a part of a mastermind?
Juliet Peay: Oh my goodness, thank you for asking this. The Think Tank is so good. If y’all remember just the Copywriter Club Facebook group, that was one of my very first communities to understand that copywriters actually make a living. Just the same way that in there I would ask questions probably multiple times a day, I’ve done the same thing even in the Think Tank, and it’s just so helpful to be asking questions and get answers from people who are just a couple steps ahead of you. So I will say out of the retreat, it was helpful to just hear, and I feel the same way about when I went to TCC IRL last year. It’s so helpful to just peek behind the curtain about how people are working in their businesses and also the struggles, because I really had a hard time with comparisonitis, where I would look at a copywriter’s website who was charging like $1,000 when I was charging $200 and thought, “Well, they have the best life in the world.”
And then the next level of like, okay, well they do launch copies, so I should do that, and they’re charging 3000. And then, okay, well this copywriter’s charging 7,000, and just always thinking that they have it all together. When you’re in the Think Tank, you see just as much of the struggles as you do the wins. So you see 12K months followed by I just lost all my clients, and being in that community and knowing that you’re not alone, but also knowing that everybody is there to help you and support you is just life-changing.
Then the retreat too, I will say Leanna Patch spoke about speaking and that was so helpful for me to just kind of demystify that I am worthy and belong in the rooms that I want to speak in, and to kind of, again, get over that impostor syndrome and think, well, I have to be a copywriter with 10 years of experience and I have to be invited to speak. No, it’s like if you just want to go do something, go do something. That was probably one of my biggest takeaways.
Rob Marsh: So coming away from that experience, what’s next for you and your business? What are you working on?
Juliet Peay: I am working on being everywhere. I really want to be everywhere. That’s why I’m trying to contract a video editor to repurpose my content. I’m ready to blow up YouTube and Instagram, maybe TikTok, I don’t know, my presence there is very on and off. I am looking forward to being on more podcasts. I’m so grateful to be here. And then also some more speaking engagements. I did one for my co-working space in Greenville and that was really fun. So I’m just kind of very open to whatever is next, but specifically, I feel like I’ve gone through the stages of copywriting where it’s like I got a client, awesome, now I know what my offers are, awesome, and now I’m figuring out what my marketing is, awesome, and so that’s kind of where I’m focused now.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and the great thing about what you’re doing with visibility is you also are really good at posting and sharing your speaking gigs, at least from what I can see on your website. You have a page dedicated to all of the podcasts you’ve been on, the speaking opportunities. It’s really well organized so that you aren’t just doing it, but you’re showing up as a speaker. I think that’s a really great example for anyone listening to check out your website and how you’re positioning yourself as a speaker. I have one final question. I think it’s my final question. Why do you hate high fives?
Juliet Peay: Oh my goodness. Okay. So, okay, this is really personal. So I grew up in a religious school, and so one of the rules was basically no touching, but we were allowed to high five. So boys and girls were allowed to high five, and the amount of high fives, because that was all we were allowed to do, was just way too much. So I’m just high fived out for the next two decades of my life. And a fist bump is okay, I feel like that’s less intense. But for me, high fives were just a ridiculous excuse to make everything exciting and I just got burned out from high fives. Yeah, I will say if somebody asks for a high five, I will give them the first one and then let them know, by the way, I hate high fives and I’m not going to be doing that again. And they’re like, “Oh, okay.” The first one is free because I don’t want to be rude and disrespectful, but after that, that is my boundary, that you get that one and so hold on to it.
Kira Hug: I hope I didn’t give you a high five at the retreat. I don’t think I did.
Juliet Peay: I don’t think we high fived. Now that’s going to be on my bucket list, to high five you because I feel like that would be cool.
Kira Hug: I don’t think I really high five either.
Juliet Peay: Okay, perfect.
Kira Hug: Like, I’ll do it if people high five you, but I’m not a high fiver.
Rob Marsh: When Kira asked that question, I’m like, “Oh, it’ll be funny. I’ll high five you next time.” But now I don’t want to. It feels like a violation of some sort.
Juliet Peay: I mean, you’ll get the first one free. It’s just …
Kira Hug: I’d much rather hug than …
Juliet Peay: Yeah, I’m good with fist bumps, I’m good with hugs. It’s just high fives, I don’t know. Plus, people don’t get them right half the time, so it’s like, why are we doing this?
Kira Hug: Awkward, it’s very awkward.
Rob Marsh: All right, Juliet. If somebody wants to get in touch with you, hug, fist bump, but not high five, where should they go?
Juliet Peay: They can find me on LinkedIn. I’m always there. Juliet Peay is my name, so they can find me on LinkedIn. And then also my website, yourpersonalbrandcoach.com. I have a really fun quiz on there where they can see how personal their personal brand really is. So that’s kind of a fun thing that they can try out. But yeah, I would love to hang out with any copywriters or anybody that wants to hug or fist bump.
Kira Hug: We appreciate you and everything you shared today. Thank you, Juliet.
Juliet Peay: Thanks so much.
Rob Marsh: So that’s the end of our interview with Juliet Peay. Before we go, there were a couple of other things that stood out to us that I think we want to talk about, highlight, at least stuff that stood out to me, and I think I’m speaking for the both of us, Nikita. So one of the comments that Juliet made is just this idea of having shorter deadlines for proposals. Oftentimes we’ll say, “Oh …” Well, oftentimes, we forget to put a deadline on them at all, and so occasionally, we’ll see clients coming back a year later saying, “Okay, I’m ready to start.” And you’re like, “Well, my prices have changed and my projects have changed.” But those of us who have started doing proposals with deadlines, usually we’re setting them two or three weeks out, and Juliet’s even suggesting maybe that’s too long. Getting that initial response by the end of the week, within a few days, I think is something that I’m going to try in my own business.
Nikita Morell: Yeah, me too, Rob. I thought it was brilliant. I’ve never heard of three days before. So mine is currently, it expires after seven days. Three days feels quite scary, but I mean, it makes sense, right? Even just to test out, because it’s exactly how Juliet says, it can just push out the whole kind of timeline and you’ve got multiple proposals out there and things aren’t lining up. So yeah, three days, it’s really interesting and I’m willing to give it a go. I think I’m definitely going to try it out.
Rob Marsh: I think when it comes down to creating that urgency, obviously two weeks, three months, a year, whatever, is way too long and it gives you those follow-up opportunities. Day one, you can send that email. Hey, do you have any questions about the proposal or what we talked about? Day two, just cleared my calendar, I’m ready to book, let me know. Day three, hey, just a reminder, it’s about to expire. There’s reasons to jump in, I think, and keep that conversation while your prospect is still warm and thinking about you. So yeah, I like it.
Nikita Morell: And it’s also perception as well. I think it also gives that client perception that you’ve got other clients that are waiting, and so it might not be the reality, at least they’re feeling like, okay, this copywriter’s really sought after and I better get my act together and either say yes or no.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, for sure. Is there anything else that stood out to you there, Nikita?
Nikita Morell: Yes. I will say again, and as you know, I do love a good niche, is personal branding, how Juliet mentioned across the industries and kind of the way she pivoted from coaching and working for people. She said you would never probably think of or wanting to niche in that kind of different industry. So I think Juliet’s niche of psychographics is super interesting. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve heard of someone kind of frame it that way before.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, this is one of the things that we teach a lot in the accelerator. So many people get focused on niche as an industry. And obviously, you’ve niched in an industry, people surrounding architects, architecture, but you can niche in so many other ways. You know, you can be the copywriter that delivers a particular kind of deliverable. So maybe sales pages or emails, and we’ve seen copywriters do that. Obviously, Juliet niches by her personal branding and what she brings to the table. You can niche by voice, you can niche with values and the kinds of clients that you work with. So there’s just so many ways to do it. I like seeing other examples in addition to how you niche within an industry.
Nikita Morell: And I think also what Juliet said, this idea of how she came to her niche, how she was getting, I guess, feedback from the market and people were asking her for this. So she then responded, it always reminds me of that Seth Godin quote, that’s, “Find the lock then fashion the key.” Rather than trying to have the key and trying to find the client. So I find this flip really interesting and I think a lot of copywriters that start off, and me included, you’re trying to do it backward, but I really like Juliet’s approach of trying to see what people like and then create those services and the offerings around that.
Rob Marsh: I agree. And then when Juliet was talking about pivoting to coaching, working for people that she might not think of, wanting to niche in their industry, it’s just another kind of take on the same idea.
Nikita Morell: Exactly, exactly. It seems like Juliet, throughout her career so far has been experimenting and trying out different things. And I also think that’s just I love that courage and the bravery to do that. Rather than thinking, she’s just doing and experimenting and seeing what lands.
Rob Marsh: Later on in the conversation, Juliet was talking about being everywhere, and this is something that I’ve actually thought about quite a bit. We’ve taught a program, we call it the Celebrity Copywriter, but it’s really about building your authority and showing up everywhere. And there’s a difference between doing everything and looking like you are everywhere, and when you show up in one channel consistently, kind of like what you do in LinkedIn, and then you follow that up with an email a couple times a week, or maybe there’s one other place of contact, it starts to feel like you are everywhere, even though the reality is you’re not. You’re really only showing up in one or two places, but when you do it consistently, that challenge of being everywhere is so much easier to accomplish.
Nikita Morell: And as you said, I think it’s really good. I almost see it. It’s like you have your one social media channel where you know where your clients are hanging out, whether that’s LinkedIn or Instagram, and then you have, yeah, another kind of secondary. I always like podcasts because it’s audio, and then you’ve got your LinkedIn, which is a little bit more kind of visual. So just having that mix is, yeah, you do. And what is it? I can’t remember, but I think it’s like people need to see you three times or maybe it’s seven, something like that. There’s got to be like seven touchpoints for people to remember who you are. So if you just keep doing that, then over time, as you said Rob, yeah, it will feel like you are everywhere.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, and especially when you think about a channel like LinkedIn or Instagram, it’s not just the content you’re putting out there, but if you start commenting, there’s another place that you’re showing up. If you direct message somebody or you respond to messages, there’s another place where you’re showing up. So even though you are not really stuck, but you’re utilizing one channel primarily, again, it feels like you’re bigger when you’re doing it consistently. What happens, I think is when we don’t do it consistently, the algorithm doesn’t show our content to very many people, so we don’t get a lot of comments, we don’t get a lot of feedback. There’s none of those conversations and it’s really hard. So again, just that consistency over time just really helps. Again, I’ve said this already, but something you do really well.
Nikita Morell: Thanks, Rob. Yeah, no, I 100% agree with everything you’re saying.
Rob Marsh: And then just to go along with that, at the very end of the conversation, we were talking with Juliet about growing her business, showing up as 100% yourself. And I think this is one place where a lot of copywriters, they find a voice that they like or they find something that somebody else is doing and they try to mimic that. It’s not a horrible way to get started because you start to learn and you find your own voice by mimicking other people’s voices. But ultimately, you need to show up a 100% as yourself. So whether that’s rebellious, doing things differently, whether that’s fitting into a niche exactly as expected, whatever that is, if it feels natural, I think doing that as a method for building your authority is smart.
Nikita Morell: Yes, 100%. And I think what you said in the beginning of that comment is, yeah, I think starting out, everyone does try on different kinds of personas and identities, and I think that’s just part of it, to find your own. It’s pretty rare just to walk in and be like, “Hey, I’m going to be a 100% me.” You know, you need to see what, again, lands, what’s working. Also, again, if you have decided on a niche, what feedback you’re getting. For example, architects are very visual creatures. So if I ever put anything ugly out into the world, no matter, even if it’s the best copy I’ve ever written, it’s just not going to land. So it’s a bit of a mix. Obviously 100% authentically you, but at the same time, just getting that feedback from your ideal clients as well I think is important.
Rob Marsh: Absolutely. That’s great advice. We want to thank Juliet Peay for joining us on the podcast and pulling back the curtains on her business. If you want to connect with her, you can find her at yourpersonalbrandcoach.com or find her on LinkedIn at Juliet Peay, which we’ll link to in the show notes, and be sure to check out her quiz when you visit her page. I want to thank my co-host for these comments, Nikita Morell for joining me today. As I mentioned earlier, you should definitely check out our interview with her. That was episode number 136. We’ve talked a lot about creating a successful copy business in a single niche as well as all kinds of other things. I think we even talked about weaving at one point, if I’m not mistaken, Nikita. She’s the master at both of those things, so be sure to check her out and connect with her.
Nikita Morell: And that’s the end of the 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 Mutner. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcast to leave your review of the show. And thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.