What if you could hang out with really talented copywriters and other experts; ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits; then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work?
That’s what Kira Hug and Rob Marsh do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
In this short “pre” episode, Kira and Rob talk briefly about the idea behind The Copywriter Club podcast and what we’ll try to accomplish as we talk with copywriters from around the world. Click the play button below to listen, or scroll down for a full transcript.
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The stuff we mentioned in the show:The Copywriter Mastermind
Joanna Wiebe | Copyhackers
Dan Foley | Tailored Ink
Intro: Content (for now)
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Club Home Page
Episode 0 Transcript:
K: Hey Rob, how’s it going?
R: Hey, Kira. Things are good.
K: Why did we start this? Why are we making this?
R: Well, you know, it’s funny. I think both of us had sort of a similar experience, where about a year ago I thought it was probably time to do something different with my copywriting business, that I needed to have something else happen to take it to the next level, and found the Copywriter Mastermind and connected with an awesome group of writers, and you were one of them. Just had this immediate connection and an opportunity to change different things about my business, how I was conducting my business, all those kinds of things, and it made such a huge difference that I started thinking about, “You know, it’s too bad that there aren’t more writers that can have that kind of and experience and to create a community around that. What about you? What are your thoughts behind the show?
K: Well, I was just thinking this is fun. I want to interview you now. That’s what I want to do. I just want to ask you questions.
R: Not going to happen.
K: Well, I do want to ask you where you were in your business because you said that you were at a pivotal point where you wanted change or you knew you wanted to hit a growth spurt or whatever. In your own words, where were you in your business when you knew that that was something that you wanted?
R: I have several different clients that I really liked working for, but I also had a few clients that were sort of the ones that you have to pay the bills. Working with the agencies doing one sheets and things that were not really the kind of work that I wanted to do, but I was taking those clients because I had the time and being able to bill for that was obviously a good thing, trading time for money, but I also wanted to start focusing on different kinds of work. You know, moving from those projects that are really client-driven and you know where you’re basically throwing out a first draft and then you’re sort of rewriting based on client feedback over and over and over and it’s just sort of that … It’s good work and it pays the bills, but it’s sort of soul crushing in a way. I wanted to really focus my business on a different kind of work, and chose a niche around landing pages and sales pages that I’ve started to focus on, but there were also other things that I wanted to do too. You know, write a book, connecting with other writers because copywriting is so lonely sometimes. Lonely is the wrong work, but you’re in your own office or you’re sitting at your kitchen table and it’s just you working with the paper.
R: I needed something different and when I found Joanna’s Mastermind it seemed like a really good idea. There’s one other thing that happened to me before that. I had found a training program on eBay that I wanted to buy. The training program’s like $2,000 and that felt like so much money even though it wouldn’t have necessarily bankrupted me or anything, but I found it on eBay for a few hundred dollars, and I thought, “Oh, I’m totally going to buy it.” I didn’t want to put in a bid until the last minute, because you don’t want to get into a bidding war with somebody else who wants this product and so I waited. I was watching it all week long and the price didn’t budge. A minute before I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to put in my bid and get this thing for dirt cheap,” and so I put in the bid and I hit submit and eBay had logged me out and so I was like, “Oh, crap!” In the rush to get logged back in and to find the page and submit the bid, I missed it.
K: Oh no!
R: I was kicking myself, thinking, “My gosh, just to save a few dollars, you miss …” and it was one of those things where it’s like, and I felt regret about it for days. I was just like, “Ah, I wish I had that.” Then I thought, “You know what? I’m investing in myself. This isn’t something that’s worth saving a few hundred dollars on. You should just spend the money to get the thing that will move me to the next level.”
R: It was a few months later when the Copywriter Mastermind opened up, and it was a no-brainer. I’m like, “I’m not going to be cheap about this. I’m going to buy in and invest in myself. I think it’s made all the difference.
K: Wow. I had no idea.
R: Tell me about your experience finding the Mastermind, and what was your thinking?
K: Okay. I didn’t even know you could buy training programs on eBay. That’s a whole other world, but for me I think, yeah, I was coming from a very different place last year, I mean totally different. I was working at a startup in a marketing role. I was marketing director for three years at a great startup called ActionableBooks.com. Love them, and I’m still friends with them. I had started my copywriting business on the side, juggling the two, plus little babies, and I knew I wanted to grow a copywriting business. At that point a year ago I was 100% clear, I had been doing it on the side, I had been in the marketing world for ten years, so I wasn’t unsure.
K: I was 100% committed. I think that’s why when somehow I was on Joanna’s list … I had heard of her. We’re talking about Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers, and she will be a guest on our show, so we can look forward to that. When I was on her list and I remember seeing her email about the Mastermind, and I didn’t even read all of her emails at the time, but I did catch that one, and it was just … I mean, she’s an incredible writer, so if course it spoke to me and spoke to all my pain points, but I just felt like I did need something. I believed in investing in myself. I think that I didn’t need any convincing. I do believe in that it really takes investing resources, money, time in yourself in order to get to the next level, and so I was sold. I just knew something good would come out of it if I took the time and invested in this community and learning.
K: I jumped in and I had no idea what to expect during the first six months in this Mastermind with Rob, I gained enough confidence and found enough clients I was able to leave my startup job earlier than I expected, and so I officially left in April 2016 and went out on my own in the business, which was exciting and terrifying and all those good things. I have been just really figuring it out and I think Rob and I are coming from two different places. I think you have more experience running your own business than I have. I consider myself a newbie as far as figuring out how to run my business. I think that’s why we’ll really complement each other well because we’re bringing two different perspectives to this conversation.
R: Yeah. It’s funny because after that first meeting on the Mastermind, you sent me an email and said, “Hey, we should connect on Skype,” and I’m thinking to myself, because I’m an introvert, you know, like, I don’t know, I don’t reach out to other people. I’m like, “All right, what’s the ulterior motive here? What does Kira want from me?” but we hopped on the call and I got to say, it was kind of a fun, sort of a good connection. Right? I mean, it just sort of felt like, “Hey, this is something that may actually develop into a partnership of some kind someday.”
K: Yeah, and I think the amazing thing about being part of a community of copywriters, I had never been in one before, is that we became such a tight-knit group. I can be a competitive person. I think most of us are. I get kind of crazy and every copywriter I meet is a competitor. I want to take them out and take their businesses out. For me to flip that around and turn it to something productive and more loving, I have to now befriend people and take away the competition hat and really think of them as like, “Well, how could we work together? How can we help each other?”
K: I think competition can be a positive thing too. I think it’s a good way to drive people forward and help each other out. I think what I realized throughout the past year really getting to know these other copywriters really intimately and becoming friends with so many of them, including Rob, just how we really can help each other. It sounds so cheesy, but through referrals, I mean I’ve received most of my work, and really got the head start I needed in my business to leave my job through other copywriters sending me jobs, which I never expected.
K: Who knew?
R: It’s funny too, because I had the same experience and as that Mastermind has sort of come to an end, I started thinking, “How can we extend that same kind of experience to more writers?” A Mastermind doesn’t work when it’s bigger than say 12 or maybe 15 people at the most. Nobody has a chance to talk about their business or their challenges when a group is any larger than that. I started thinking, “You know, there’s got to be a way to create that same kind of an experience, obviously it won’t be exactly the same, but on a larger level.”
R: As I was thinking about it, I decided, “You know what? Why not try?” Let’s create a community, and there may be some products involved with that as well, but a community to help writers connect with each other, support each other, maybe teach each other, or like you were just saying, Kira, refer work to each other that’s maybe not the kind of thing that they want to focus on, but create this supportive community where we don’t have to all sort of be alone at the kitchen table or in our offices, but we can interact as needed to support each other. That’s sort of the genesis of the idea of the Copywriter Club, and it was just sort of natural for me to reach out and say, “Hey, Kira. We should do this together.”
K: Yeah, and I think there’s such a huge need. I don’t think I fully realized the need for copywriters to connect, and like you said, we get kind of lonely. I think too, when you’re doing one-on-one work it’s so intense sometimes and especially with landing pages, long form sales pages, which we work on, you know, I go into a cave and I basically don’t change my clothes or shower. I’m just taking care of my kids and writing constantly for days, and so there’s not a lot of time for connecting and marketing yourself and getting a live stream. I think this is a way for us to share our voices and then connect with all the other writers out there.
K: What I realized just as we’ve launched this and I’ve chatted with other copywriters, kind of just to get some ideas about what they are looking for, what they need, I’ve just heard over and over again that people want to connect in person, especially a lot of the New York City copywriters I’ve connected with are like, “Let’s get together for Happy Hour lunch,” and then globally there’s this need to connect in some way. I think this will hopefully satisfy that need.
R: Yep, I agree. As far as what we’ve got planned, everything’s sort of up in the air, so obviously we have the podcast and we’ve got some great guests that we’ve lined up. They’re all writers of really varying, different skill sets and experience levels. Writers that have maybe been doing it for a few years. You mentioned that Joanna’s going to be on our show in a future episode, and she’s obviously got incredible experience in conversion copywriting and speaks all over the world about that.
R: We’re going to be interviewing Dan Foley, who owns an agency for writers and talk to him about his business and those kinds of things. I think it’s going to be really fun to see the range of different kinds of writer’s businesses, what they do to bring in customers, even processes. Things like: How do you set up your legal documents? Your corporation or your LLC or whatever those kinds of things are. We may even talk to people about taxes and that kind of thing, so I think the podcast is going to be sort of fun but also educational.
R: Beyond that, we’ve set up a Facebook group for anybody who wants to continue the conversations from the podcast, and at some point in the future we may extend that into a larger community, you know, training products, that kind of a thing, but all of that stuff is sort of up in the air and who knows where it will go?
K: I think this will speak to people at different levels in their career. I think, like you said, Rob, you’re at a different place in your career than I’m at right now, and I think that everyone will be coming from a different place, but I know what we have in common is that we all hit a point where we’re banging our head against the wall and we can’t necessarily see our way out of what we’re currently in. I know that’s something I’m dealing with right now, where I’m doing a lot of intense one-on-one work, and I know I want to open up another revenue stream and create something beyond that.
K: I know it’s possible and I’m not quite sure how to do it. I have to step back and really think strategically, which is sometimes hard to do and to step out of the weeds of the everyday minutia. I think also the goal with this podcast and community is to help you step back and maybe you’ll hear an idea from someone, a guest, about a different way to approach something or maybe a different option, a different structure for your business, so you aren’t stuck in something that’s no longer working for you, and maybe even stuck in a certain … making a certain amount of money that’s no longer serving you because you need to make more to provide for a family, whatever it is. I think the whole idea is to think beyond our little silos and our bubbles and really expand together, which sounds super cheesy.
R: Yep. It is super cheesy, but we’re going to get into the details too, like you know when people are willing to talk about it, we want to talk about how much money are people making?
K: Oh, yeah, let’s talk about that.
R: How do they relate to and communicate with their customers? How do you deal with bad customers? There are a lot of challenges that not just beginning writers, but expert writers have on a very regular basis. I think in talking about this, kinds of challenges with different writers, we’re going to be able to find new solutions or at least new ideas that we can try.
K: I’m going to say something that maybe I shouldn’t say, but usually if you’ve listened to a lot of podcasts, you know that the first three or so episodes are usually the most awkward and maybe the most humorous because people are figuring out what they’re doing, so ours will probably be that way too. If you want to catch the first few awkward episodes, dive in. We have incredible guests lined up for the first three or five shows. If you want to get past the awkward shows, we understand as well as we’re figuring out, putting on our podcast hosts hats and figuring it all out, just bear with us.
R: On the other hand, it might always stay awkward. Who knows, you know?
K: We might be awkward forever.
R: We could be.
K: That would be cool. We could just be awkward all the time.
R: Kira, as we wrap up this short discussion, where can people learn more about you?
K: You can learn more about me at KiraHug.com. That’s where I hang out. What about you?
R: I am found at BrandStoryOnline.com. I also have another site, LandingPageWriter.com if you’re interested in landing pages only. I think if you want to communicate with the both of us, right now we have a very small, but hopefully quickly growing community on Facebook. Search for The Copywriter Club. It’s a private group, so just ask for permission to join and we’ll approve that and you can start chatting away.
K: Sounds great! Hope to see you in there.
R: Yeah. Any last thoughts, Kira?
K: I was going to say we should end with something really actionable, but I don’t know what that is, so I’m going to say that, “Rob, you should end with something really actionable that people could do today.”
R: All right, well then go to Facebook, search for The Copywriter Club, ask for permission to join, and we will talk to you soon.