TCC Podcast #399: Never Too Early to Start with Emilia Tanase - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #399: Never Too Early to Start with Emilia Tanase

When you start writing copy at age 16, you’ve got to connect with prospects and stand out or you won’t be able to compete with more experienced copywriters. And that’s exactly what Emilia Tanase, our guest for the 399th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast did. Rob and Kira asked Emilia about how she launched her business, how she connected with two high-level mentors, and her approach to writing emails. There’s a lot of good stuff in this episode. Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.


Stuff to check out:

Get Rich Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Emilia’s website


Full Transcript:

Rob Marsh: Over the past 7 years of this podcast, we’ve interviewed a really wide variety of people who have made a living out of writing copy and content. They come from all over the world and from all kinds of different backgrounds. But I think today’s guest is different from all of them in at least one way—she started working as a copywriter when she was still in high school. She’s taken a pretty interesting path to copywriting success and her early start is just a small part of her story.

Hi, I’m Rob Marsh, one of the founders of The Copywriter Club. And on today’s episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, my co-founder Kira Hug and I interviewed copywriter Emilia Tanase. Emilia has discovered the formula for getting noticed by mentors and figuring out ways to get found by clients without pitching. As you might imagine, starting out in high school meant she’s had to hustle to figure out how to make business work. And there’s a lot to learn from Emilia’s story.  

Before we jump into the interview, I want to let you know about an upcoming training happening in The Copywriter Underground that’s absolutely critical for anyone who writes emails—either for their own business or for their clients. Copywriter and email deliverability expert Matt Brown will be sharing his hard won secrets for getting emails into the inbox—rather than the promotions or spam tabs in gmail, yahoo and other bigger email programs. This takes much more than avoiding a few smammy words or reworking your subject lines. And when you know how to do this, clients will hire you to not just write emails, but to manage their web marketing strategy. It could be a game changer for your busienss. But as are most of the masterclasses we curate, this training is exclusively for members of The Copywriter Underground. You can learn more about this upcoming masterclass at

And with that, let’s go to our interview with Emilia…

Kira Hug: All right, Emilia, let’s start with your story. How did you end up as a copywriter?

Emilia Tanase: It actually it goes back in time to when I was 16. I started when I was in high school because my mom got really sick and so she was really struggling with keeping up with our bills and holding the household together Unfortunately, at the same time, my dad also lost his job. So she was the sole provider and money was really scarce. And when you’re in a small Romanian town, it’s pretty hard to find a job right away. So me, a teenager at the time, I was like, hey, how can I make some pocket money, help my parents out, make this a bit easier for all of us, if I can. 

I went online and of course I typed in, how to make money in high school. And, you know, there were the typical answers, like, wash cars or walk dogs and whatnot, but these are not really jobs that we do here in Romania. In America, sure, but here not so much. And then I found, be a copywriter or do copywriting work. I was like, what is copywriting? It sounded like, you know, patenting some intellectual property. But I Googled it and I found out it was like this whole thing that people were doing for other businesses. 

And when you’re that young, you don’t think that much about things. So I was like, oh, I can do this for sure. So of course, the next step was like, okay, how do I find a copywriting job fast? 

I landed on Craigslist and people are always very surprised when I say this. And I was shocked too, because I didn’t know what Craigslist was at the time. So I was seeing these ads for opportunities like, I’m selling a washing machine. I need a chainsaw or something like that. And then someone was like, Hey, I need an about page for, they had this local arts magazine. So I was like, cool, I can do that. I can write. So I sent them a cover letter. It was very cringy… dear sir or madam, I can do this job for you. And I think it was like $40. And I got it a couple of days later. They emailed me. And I’m pretty sure it’s because no one else had applied to that job. And that’s how I got it. But I got it. 

And then I went online because I was like, God, I don’t know how to write an about page, let’s figure this out. So of course, you know, the internet is filled with articles on how to write copy, at least to start with. So I used that. I did the thing. I sent it out. They were happy, so they hired me for more small jobs like this. And basically, it all started from here. It snowballed because I started making $1,000 per month, which was, at the time, and in Romania, a lot of money. But of course, I also had my studies, so school to take care of. So this is kind of why I was on and off with copywriting, like making bits of money and then making a pause and then going back at it. 

Eventually I had to stop, or I thought I had to stop, to go to university because that was the direction everyone was taking back then. And still is, a lot of people consider uni So I did that and then I picked digital marketing because I saw that they had the module about copywriting. So I was thinking ahead. I was like, maybe I can go back to copywriting in the future. Let me learn something here. And that module ended up being one class where I was the only one who knew how to answer the teacher’s questions. So it was pretty basic stuff, unfortunately. And time passed, and I realized more and more that I want to do my own thing. I did this before. I’m pretty decent at it, so maybe I can do it again. But the problem was that time had passed, and It was a lot more difficult for me to restart copywriting. After getting that first job from Craiglist, I actually went to Upwork. So that’s where I started getting more and more jobs. But now, after a couple of years, there were a lot more copywriters on Upwork. And so I had to find a way to stand out in my proposals, like everyone else, and to start making a name for myself, basically. So that was the big hurdle. And that’s also when I had my biggest breakthrough, because I started doing things on the side to grow my brand and grow my authority. But yeah, in a nutshell, that’s how I got started.

Rob Marsh: So let’s talk a little bit about what you did so that you could stand out. Because I think not just you coming back to copywriting, but across the board, copywriters today struggle with this. There are, I think, close to 2 million copywriters on LinkedIn around the world. So what did you do to start to stand out from that group that you were competing with on Upwork?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. First of all, I started creating my own samples because the work that I was previously winning wasn’t the work that was being requested those days on Upwork, right? So nobody wanted an about page for a magazine. The jobs I was seeing at the time were for full websites or emails or ads, and I didn’t have those things. So I started creating samples for fictional businesses, applying those to or attaching those to my cover letters, and also taking some unconventional directions with the way I was introducing myself. I would look for their names, the client’s name, which is not so easy to find, right? Because you can’t really see it on Upwork. So I would look through the past reviews they have from people they hired and find their name, or I would start with some kind of silly jokes that I would think of in the moment, because I had learned that the first line in your proposal is kind of the one that determines if it gets read or not. So I kind of started doing these things and some of them worked, some of them didn’t. And then at the same time, you know, I was getting better and better at copywriting as well. And I started doing like the typical PAS or using the AIDA model, like just applying copywriting to these cover letters. And then I think I got one big job. It was like a $3,000 or $4,000 job from there. And then I went out of Upwork and just continued with that client for a longer time.

Kira Hug: Can you share the timeline? I really need to kind of understand the dates. So if you’re okay sharing that, like when you started at age 16 and then any other dates, like when you decided to go back and go on Upwork and give it a go the second time too? Yeah.

Emilia Tanase: At 16, I don’t remember what year it was and I’m bad at math, but I know that I left for university in 2017. It was my first year of university. So that’s kind of when I quit altogether because I was focusing on that. And then in 2020, I remember the year because I registered my company here in Romania. But actually, I didn’t do much work that year because I was still working part-time for my university for a job I had. So 2021 really was the year when I restarted my career altogether.

Kira Hug: Okay, and so did you finish your college degree or did you not finish? Did you share that part?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, I finished it in 2020, I think.

Kira Hug: Okay. Amazing. And so let’s just kind of finish the story and we can dig deeper into it. So since 2021, when you jump back in and leading up to where we are today, 2024, um, what are the key moves that you’ve made that have helped you the most over the last few years?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. I would say networking and trying to build my authority in the eyes of my clients have been like the biggest moves I’ve made in my career. Because after I left Upwork, I never cold pitched any client, like I never cold pitched for clients, everything has been inbound. And I think that’s the preferred way for me because I’m an introvert and I don’t necessarily like to go there and pitch people. So once it happened once, and I can go into that, it was kind of a snowball effect, right? So from there I was like, okay, this thing worked, this thing worked, let me try to do it more and more so I can only get inbound leads, basically.

Rob Marsh: Yeah, let’s talk about that. What did you do? And I’m assuming this is the breakthrough that you mentioned earlier.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, exactly.

Rob Marsh: Let’s go deep.

Emilia Tanase: Let’s do it. So the first thing I did was to pretty much leech myself onto someone who was already at the top in my industry. And for me, that person was Joanna Webb, who I admire very much. And I found out about her community. I signed up. You know, I didn’t have that much money at the time, but this was like the perfect place for me to start at the time. So I signed up and I became the most active person in that group, basically. I knew nothing, or I acted like I knew nothing, because I wanted to learn as much as I could. So I started asking questions. I started having wins based on implementing the things that she was teaching in that community and sharing that with the community. 

Then I started answering other questions that people had in there. And slowly but surely, I kind of like quote unquote, grew my authority in the group. So just people noticed me a lot by posting there, right? And one day, I think Joanna reached out to me because she had heard from me being active in the group so much that I started copywriting in high school. And she was like, hey, do you want to write an article on our blog? And that was crazy to me because I was previously trying to write an article on their blog, and I knew from their requirements that I think they said something like, we only accept very few pitches, maybe one in 10. You need to be really good if you want to write here. And I was like, yes, absolutely. Let’s do this. So I wrote that. And then other things followed from that, that I don’t know if I can talk about, but they proposed more things to me that we did together. Everyone was super happy about the piece. 

And that gave me a logo to put on my website because now I can put under the trusted by headline, I can put copyhackers. That was the first thing I did. And then I moved on because I discovered Daniel Trossell that I now intern for. And I was obsessed with his emails, with his courses, with everything he did. So once again, I repeated the process. I bought what I could so I can learn. I became one of his top students in all those courses that I bought. I shared my testimonials with him. I shared more than testimonials as well, because by this point I was kind of realizing that, okay, if I want to build a relationship with these people, I need to give, give, give as much as I can and things that I know are valuable to them. One of those things was you know, a good testimonial that he could put on his sales page. And I cannot tell you the amount of times I have gotten messages from other copywriters saying like, Hey, I saw you on this sales page, on this sales page, this sales page. Like, how’s your business? I want to join your email list. ‘Cause I think copywriters are attracted to other copywriters who are doing the work they want to do as well. Um, and this was like a great way for me to attract more people into my tribe as well. 

I think in the copyhackers article, I linked back to his website because I knew about the power of backlinks and how maybe that will help him. So he didn’t ask for that, but I was like, Hey, I did this thing. And he was very grateful for that. So it went on and off like this. And then at some point I mean, multiple times I think he featured me in his emails, you know, cause I was giving him all these testimonials and stuff. And then he posted or he emailed about the job for, you know, he was looking for interns. And I was like, great. I have built up this relationship. I learned how to write a great pitch. Like this is my chance. And I wrote it and I was like, so, so happy when I got it. Cause obviously he’s an amazing guy and copywriter. So yeah, that was thing number two, breakthrough number two. 

And then another example would be like the way I got kind of my biggest clients to date followed this very same process. It started with finding someone on Instagram. I really loved his content. It resonated a lot with me. And so I obsessed over it. I would respond to his stories. Or whenever he was asking for something, I would be the first one to interact with him. And I did this a lot of times. And then I don’t even think I did it that many times with this person. Because after a week or two, he was like, hey, you’re a copywriter. I want to work with you. And this is how I reached my first $10,000 a month. This is how I got referred to a bunch of influencers on Instagram that were friends with him. And like I said, this was just all a big snowball effect from just being a fan.

Kira Hug: I just want to jump in and ask about interacting. So you mentioned interacting with this person, but can you be more specific? Because I think interactions can look very different for many of us, and I think some of us think we’re interacting.

Rob Marsh: You’re clicking the heart, right? That’s interacting, for sure.

Kira Hug: And they’re like, why are they not hiring me? And so I have a feeling you’re doing more than that.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, for sure. So liking is definitely not going to get you noticed. A lot of people like these people’s posts.

Rob Marsh: There goes my strategy. I’m out.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. So for example, I remember he posted a story. He wanted to launch some new offer and he was like, Hey guys, can I get some feedback? What are your main problems right now with this and that?” I answered that one. Like, you know, a lot of people don’t take the time. Maybe they write really short sentences to get it over with, or they just ignore it altogether. I put a lot of work into giving him, you know, voice of customer data and whatnot. Other times he was asking for, hey, do you know recommendations for this and that? 

Or other times it was simply just me messaging him about his latest reel and saying, Hey, this really helped me. I used it to do this and that. And this is the result I got. And he actually featured me on his sales page as well. Just what I was saying earlier. Um, so yeah, this sort of things, I think, and I have gotten these types of messages myself from other copywriters where they’re kind of trying to give you tips and advice on things that you haven’t asked for. I would advise against those unless you really are more skilled than the other person in a specific area. Because I couldn’t go to Daniel Throssell and tell him, hey, your website doesn’t look good. Did you know that you can make it look better? He wouldn’t care about these things, right? But a backlink, sure, that’s helpful, or a testimonial, or email fodder. I used to send him that a lot. So something interesting I found on the internet that I knew he would like to comment on, or something like that.

Rob Marsh: Okay, so can we go back just a minute earlier when you were talking about getting back onto Upwork or connecting with clients that you were creating these samples that were very close to what they were asking for in their requests for work. We talked just a little bit more about this. This is the reason I’m asking, is this an idea that’s come up once or twice in the podcast, although not for a while, but oftentimes we hear copywriters saying, okay, I need to build a portfolio. What do I put in the work that I’m going to share with potential clients who ask for it? Sometimes we share old work that we’ve done. But if you don’t have that, you’ve got to create something. So talk about your thought process there and what you were creating in order to meet those needs.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. So I remember specifically someone needed descriptions for a beauty product. I think it was an eye serum. So I didn’t want to create that exact same sample, so a description for another eye serum. I wanted it to be similar to what they needed so they would see I can do it and hire me, right? So I think I did a description for a dog shampoo. Which can be considered a bit off topic, but it was still in the range of beauty products, I guess. 

What I did is I went on Google. I googled dog shampoos. I went on a random website. And then there’s this tool I used. I think it’s called Edit Anything that you can input into Google Chrome. You click that tool and you can basically rewrite the entire thing on the page and then take a screenshot and input that into your cover letter. So I literally just rewrote what I thought wasn’t a very good description. And then I said, hey, look, I did something similar. If you want, I can help you out. Something like that.

Rob Marsh: So using the tool, basically, you could take the screenshot that looks like it was the actual web page, even though it was spec copy that you were writing, as opposed to, hey, here’s a Google document that’s got this that I wrote for you. So it actually looks like a real sample. That’s genius.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. Of course, I never said, hey, I worked with this client, and I did this for them. I simply said, here’s what I did, which was true, because I did it.

Kira Hug: All right, let’s talk about the long game, because as you’re talking about this kind of formula you’ve developed, which has worked for you in multiple ways, I mean, to sum it up, it sounds like it’s identifying the person you want to kind of connect with. And then it’s building that relationship through joining courses. So it sounds like you were investing in these people, businesses, for the most part. showing up, being the star student, becoming the testimonial, continuing to build the relationship. And then from there, good things happened. And then the last example was more about social media, which is great, because that sounds like maybe you didn’t invest in the course there.

Emilia Tanase: No I didn’t.

Kira Hug: That’s great for people who can’t necessarily invest in multiple products or courses. That’s a great example, too. But all of these examples feel like you need to be patient, right? This is not something that happens overnight. And sometimes when we’re prospecting, we want things to happen fast. And so I guess, can you just talk a little bit about your approach and how you think about that? Because it’s hard to be patient in 2024. We want things now. And so I guess I would just love your thoughts on how you practice patience in your own business and how it’s benefiting you.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, yeah, that’s a good question. So while I was doing all these things, and by the way, all the copywriting courses I bought and stuff, they were to grow my business. So at the time, I wasn’t necessarily thinking, oh, I’m going to get this person to like me. I’m going to get information I need, right? So I think all of us at some point have bought or maybe will buy some kind of training. So if you can, become the top student. But the other thing I did, and I started doing this I think halfway through, so like one year and a half ago, writing content on LinkedIn, which has brought me a lot of leads. And I started, you know, with that sign on LinkedIn, 500 plus connections that everyone has, even though you haven’t used LinkedIn, somehow you have connections added.

I started with like 500 something people. And the first month I wasn’t getting any traction, but then by the second month I was starting to get messages from other copywriters who are like, Hey, can you help me with this project? ‘Cause I don’t have time. I’m swamped. So those were the first leads I started to get. And then another month would pass and I would start getting, you know, like actual business owners come to me to get work at the same time. I was looking into how, how can I get more clients out of the clients I’ve already had. So like asking for referrals, which would be sometimes more immediate than posting content and whatnot.

And yeah, it’s tough if you want to get clients immediately. Upwork for me has been like the most immediate kind of source for that. And I have gone back at some points, very briefly, because I didn’t have any leads, for example. So I would go back there, send one, two, three proposals, and maybe get a small job. And in between, all the other parts that I had set up would work for me, and then I would wake up with another lead. So I think it’s very important to, yes, do things Now in the short term, if you want to get clients, but also think long term and set up all these systems and make connections with, with strategic connections with people, um, so that you can have a sustainable business.

Rob Marsh: And what exactly are you posting on LinkedIn when you go on, you know, what links and what are you sharing there?

Emilia Tanase: I honed this a lot since I started. Initially, it was more like how to do this and that type of content. But then I saw that what resonates even more with potential clients is how I type of content versus how to, because that shows that you have experience, that shows that you personally have tried something and it has worked or it hasn’t. Also, case studies. And again, I didn’t always have case studies, so initially I would try to hire myself for my own business. So I started my email list, for example, and then I would try to get people on my email list and then I would make a post like, Hey, here’s how I got 60 new people on my email list this month. So that was a case study for me. Then of course, I started getting client results and I could post those types of studies as well. Another big one is picking fights with industry practices. And this is funny because sometimes I would sit there and try for like two hours to come up with the perfect post. And other times I would be so enraged about something I hear in the industry. I write three sentences and I get like a hundred something likes and I’m like, wow. Okay. I have actually had a client, a lead come to me and be like, Hey, I love that, that post. It got so many comments. I actually agree with you. I can, we work together. Uh, so they definitely work. And then lastly, I think sharing your personality is very important because at the end of the day, you are a personal brand and this is like one of the biggest ways to stand out. Like if people are, uh, if people like you as a person, and if people see that you have the expertise, they will choose you over someone else. So this is actually the kind of system I came up with. I’m not a LinkedIn expert by any means, but I do have a free training on this. Shameless plug.

Kira Hug: I love it. I’m not an expert, but I’ve got a training. It’s perfect. So what are you doing today? And what is the current state of your business? Because it’s been a hard year for writers, although sometimes I feel like writers don’t want to hear that or talk about it. But it’s been hard for many writers we’ve talked to. And so how have you dealt with that? Or have you not dealt with it? Because you’ve built your authority enough. You have enough incoming leads that you haven’t dealt with that.

Emilia Tanase: So I’ve, I definitely feel it more in the beginning of the year. And this happened like, I think every year so far. Uh, but then it slowly ramps up again. However, right now I’m focused on building some assets for myself as well. So I’m actually working on an authority course. It’s called Authority Architect. And I want to start doing my own thing as well. And maybe in the future, just like do this completely, um, write copy for my own business because I think especially in times like these, you know, when, when work dries up or the market is tough, like you want to have your own stuff to sell as well, or even just to compliment your income. Right. That’s kind of where I’m at the moment. And of course, interning for Daniel, which sometimes is a full-time job.

Kira Hug: Yeah, well, yeah, I was going to ask you, like, how do you balance that? Because I think there are many writers who want to build their own products and have some revenue from their products, and then maybe also from services, or make that move like you, maybe fully to products. But how do you kind of stay, continue to build your authority and market and have revenue coming in while also building products? It becomes a lot, and interning for Daniel. How do you balance all of that?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, the honest answer is I’m not very good at balancing things out. I usually do it in sprints or like in seasons. So when I do authority building work, so I went to a conference and I did like some blog post tours, I guess. I posted on a bunch of websites. I did all that. at the same time. So I took three weeks, did all of that, no client work, no nothing, and then moved on to other things. So I guess that’s how I do it. I take time off and then I regroup. I do another task. So like client work for two months, I stop. I do something else because I have tried the alternative, which is to do it all at once. And I end up doing nothing, just being all over the place.

Rob Marsh: That makes sense. Can we talk a little bit about what the typical project for you looks like? So having seen your bio, I know that you help with launch copy, email. You tend to do those kinds of projects. What does that process look like for you? And do you have go-to frameworks that you’re using as you sit down to work with a client, say, on an email sequence or to help with the launch of a product? Or are you starting everything from scratch each time?

Emilia Tanase: That’s a good question. Right now I’m starting to build out these systems, so I don’t have to start from scratch every time. But to be honest, up until recently I was starting from scratch every time. I’ve only recently moved into helping clients with launching. Um, because I, the client I was telling you about earlier from Instagram, we did a lot of projects together. One of which was this recent big launch where I was able to kind of like work on everything in the funnel. And I was like, wow, I really love this. I think I want to do this more and have more people. Um, so on this side of things, it’s still from scratch. I still kind of experimenting myself with things that work, things that don’t work. But on the other side of things, with email sequences and writing people’s weekly emails, let’s say, I do have my own frameworks for gathering voice of customer data on what their customers, their pain points, their desires, and so on. I do have frameworks for coming up with ideas for their emails, depending on the goals they have. or frameworks for the sequence in itself. So what should be in a welcome sequence? What should be in a card abandonment email? Though I don’t do e-commerce that much anymore. I try to focus on personal brands. So yeah, for some, I do have frameworks. For some, I’m still trying to build them.

Kira Hug: How do you sell your launch packages or any packages? I mean, you’re definitely building the rapport ahead of time, like, again, with the Instagram example. So maybe that’s enough where your prospect is sold just from that rapport building. But when you get on a sales call, what do you do to ensure it will go well?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, so that’s correct, actually. Most leads I have gotten from social media were pre-sold. I’ve even tried doubling my prices when I felt like my work was solid. And I was surprised to see that the respective lead didn’t even blink. He was like, yeah, let’s do it. So that was really cool to see. But I have had, for sure, leads who weren’t ready to buy. And they would ask, OK, do you have any results? Or like, can you guarantee that you’re going to bring me more money? Yeah, I don’t really like sales calls in general. So when that point comes, I’m like, okay, now I have to pitch myself. So I generally have in mind, you know, the most recent results I’ve brought someone, I talk about that, maybe like live on the call, I share my screen and we go through the website that I just created or the email sequence I just created. And I explain my thought process and whatnot, which, you know, I don’t go into too much detail, but just to show him a sample and the result at the same time. So yeah, that’s kind of how it goes.

Rob Marsh: As I’ve listened to you share your story, Emilia, it feels like this is maybe a one-person thing. I wonder if somebody who is 16 years old in high school today, if you think they could replicate the success that you had, and if they tried, what should they do differently, do you think, to succeed or to accomplish what you’ve been able to accomplish? Is it possible?

Emilia Tanase: uh yeah for sure it’s possible anything’s possible um i do think that i’m personally i should have focused on one thing at a time maybe Though I don’t know where it would have taken me. So for example, I wish I had done more client work before building out my brand or starting to build out my brand from the beginning and client work being secondary. And I’m saying this as to like, I had a part-time job initially and I was still in uni initially. Right. I didn’t have to fully provide for myself back then. Now it would be a different story. Like I need to do client work, but if I had started with client work for like four or five years, really get all that experience under my belt and then come out and, and go on podcasts and, and write on blog posts on, on websites, sorry, and so on. I could have kind of separated these stages of my business and like fully lean into the task at hand. Whereas now it’s like a bit of everything. And although it has gotten me places, I think maybe it would have helped me get places faster or like in a I don’t know, higher, higher, I guess. But one thing I would say is in the beginning, like at 16 years old, I probably couldn’t have done this, right? I couldn’t have written a blog post on copyhackers or gone to a conference, but I could have learned as much as I can and try to apply as much as I can. And Upwork is probably the best place to start because clients are already there. All you have to do is learn how to pitch yourself and you gain that experience and then from there you start to realize, okay, I need to build a brand.

Kira Hug: Because you work in the launch space like I do, I’m curious what is not working anymore or just isn’t working these days that you’ve noticed with some of your client projects?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, so I think Maybe people don’t think that much about what happens before you launch, which I think can really make or break a launch. So I’ve seen a lot of people even have been asked if I am able to help with launching something now, even though they haven’t emailed their lists in months, or they haven’t mentioned the product in months. And there was one time. when I was young and I said, yes, I can do it. And I could not do it because you can’t do it. Right. And that was a harsh lesson, but then I learned and I said, sorry, like if you want, I can help you, um, tease this course or re-engage your list, but no, you can’t launch. Uh, so that’s one thing. And that all this teasing, like you gotta strategically mention your product in every email you send out prior to the launch. And this can take, you know, the longer, the better basically, because you really build up that desire. And especially if you have people in the product beforehand, like to beta test it, sharing testimonials, like hyping it up, this is how great it’s going to be, how it’s going to transform your life and then launching. So I think One thing that maybe worked in the past, I don’t know, but definitely doesn’t work now is launching without teasing beforehand.

Rob Marsh: Okay, changing the topic yet again. I’m really curious. This is probably just for my own curiosity. I don’t know that this will be that helpful to anybody listening. But what is it to be an intern for another copywriter? Like, well, and maybe being an intern for Daniel is a very different experience than it would be say, Kira’s intern. But what is the work that you do? And what is that experience like?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, it’s incredible, honestly. I still can’t believe I’m there in his Slack channel and he hasn’t just kicked me out. But he’s a very nice guy and he’s not nearly as scary as he makes himself to be on his email list.

Rob Marsh: Yeah, we had him on the podcast, I think, three or four weeks ago. So yeah, you know, people can go back and listen to that. He is a much nicer guy in person than he tries to be in his emails. But even in emails, I think he’s gotten soft in the last year…

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, actually, it’s funny you mentioned that because the very first job I did for him, After the trial period, because we had a trial period, he asked me to write these bullet points for a new course he wanted to promote. And I was like so freaked out. I was like, oh my gosh, this is like Daniel Throssell is going to critique my work. I really need to nail this. Spoiler alert, I failed miserably. And I’m going to tell you why. Basically, You know that moment when you try to be too perfect and you try so hard that it actually ends up being horrible? That’s what I did. I remember I took the day off and I just went through all these copywriting courses I had bought, books I had bought. I was like, OK, how do I write the perfect bullet for him? And then at the end of the day, he sent me a Loom video critiquing them. And he was like, Emilia, with so much love, this is a terrible bullet. It was really funny. I took it really enthusiastically. I immediately realized what I did wrong and how I should have just, you know, write the bullets like a normal person. But he made that joke in our Slack channel that he wanted to shoot me for writing bad bullets. And then he put it in his paid newsletter as well, where all these other copywriters saw it. And I was so happy to be promoted in his newsletter. I was like, I don’t care. Say whatever you want.

Kira Hug: As long as you link to my website, you can say whatever you want.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. So yeah, it’s that kind of work. Now he’s actually given me some homework to rewrite another set of bullets and I feel a lot more confident this time around. But other work involves like giving him like a first opinion on sales pages, because like me and the other intern, we’re kind of like his ideal customers. So the first impression we have is kind of like detrimental to how he’s going to edit the page or not. We also sometimes watch courses for free, which is a really good, you know, perk of this job to give him notes, because sometimes he wants to promote something and he doesn’t have time to to go through the whole thing, so he’d rather go through notes. Or writing small snippets of copy. It depends. A lot of small, or I guess you could say random things like this. But it’s all super helpful.

Kira Hug: Let’s talk about money mindset. You shared your story openly about getting started as a copywriter and just the financial struggle and the pinch that your family was in at that time. And so I’m just curious, how has your money mindset evolved over the last few years so that you are able to kind of lean into this larger business, accept more income, and make that switch, which is really hard to do?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, that’s such a good question, because I have definitely had money mindset issues. So I think, yeah, last year, I had my first $10,000 month. And that was like, such a shock. I was like, wow, I can’t believe I’m making so much money in this country. For me, that’s a lot of money, right? And I almost felt like I didn’t deserve it. The work is too easy and I shouldn’t get paid so much. And for sure, this has impacted me. I see myself on some sales calls sometimes, and I know I I should charge double for some things, for example, but sometimes I’m actually scared to say the number out loud because of these limiting beliefs I have. And even when I set income goals for myself, I’m like, nah, that’s too high. I can’t. Could I? No, I can’t. But could I? So yeah, to solve it, I guess, I started reading these money mindset books. And I remember one in particular. I think it’s called Get Rich, Lucky Bitch, or something like that. It’s a really good book. And yeah, I just try to implement. the lessons there and also therapy. I’ve done therapy on this as well because a lot of the problems I would go to my therapist with were work-related or like mindset-related and self-sabotaging myself because of it, basically.

Rob Marsh: Maybe give us just like one or two of the best takeaways, not from therapy, but from, well, I mean, I guess from therapy if you want to, but books like Get Rich, Lucky Bitch.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. I think the one that comes to my mind right now is thinking back to childhood moments when money was mentioned and trying to kind of rewrite that in your subconscious, which I know sounds pretty woo, but it can actually be pretty practical. So for example, let’s take that time when my parents were in a rut with money. And I would say, hey, I want to buy this thing. And they would say, oh my gosh, that’s so expensive. Do you think money grows on trees? We need to save up. We need to blah, blah, blah. So I guess the key phrase would be, do you think money grows on trees? Like, do you know how hard it is to make money and you want to spend it on this thing, whatever it was. And now I have to actively remind myself that money is a tool. Making money is a game and it’s not difficult. And if as long as you are, you know, an average person, you can make money. A lot of people are making money. You can do it, too. So that sort of dialogue, I have to imprint in myself, I guess, time and time again.

Kira Hug: What is a struggle in your business today? You’ve had so many wins. You’re doing so many things strategically and intentionally, and it’s working so well for you. But what is something outside of money mindset that is a struggle?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, I would say that I am my worst and my biggest critic. very rarely I feel like super satisfied with something and it’s not like in theory you know it’s good like it follows all the practices all the research and whatnot but it’s very rare that I’m actually like extremely enthusiastic about something I do just because I always think it can be better it can be better it can be better and there’s no no end in sight basically, which is not ideal when you have to deliver something to a client and whatnot. So yeah, that moment when you deliver your work for me is still pretty difficult because I know that I can continue working on it forever if I could, but of course you can’t. So yeah, that’s the biggest struggle I’ve had and still have.

Rob Marsh: Do you struggle with that, Kira? I mean, I’m thinking, when I deliver my work, I usually think, OK, this is pretty good. But like you, Emilia, I’m thinking, there’s always something in the back of my head that’s like, is this actually as good as I think it is? Or am I going to be found out? I’ve been doing this for a long time. Am I going to be found out as the imposter? Do you feel the same way, Kira? I mean, maybe this is just a creative thing that all creatives do.

Kira Hug: Yeah, I want to say no, I don’t ever deal with it because I love my copy when it goes up. But if it’s my own content and I’m sending something out, I do have a moment because I try to be pretty open. And so I’m like, am I oversharing? Am I saying something that’s going to offend, hurt? I just question so many things because I’m a people pleaser. I think it’s more about that. Then is my copy good enough? So I think I have other insecurities that we can talk about on a different day.

Rob Marsh: Another therapy session. OK. I’m just curious because, yeah, it does feel like something maybe a lot of us deal with that kind of stuff. without going deeper into that. And I haven’t really asked these kinds of questions recently on the podcast. But how do you feel about AI? I know there are a lot of people who are thinking that this is a really bad time to start as a copywriter. The jobs are going away. How are you using AI in your business? And are those tools making a difference?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, I actually hate AI.

Rob Marsh: Let’s talk about why. Yeah. Why do you do it?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. So every time I try to use it, I never get anything good out of it. And I have tried, like I’ve had prompts that were like, I don’t know, three paragraphs long, right? In excruciating detail on what I want. I would give it examples. Hey, I wrote this. Please mimic the tone. Please mimic the voice. Please try to help me. And it never, I don’t know, it’s never usable for me. I always end up rewriting it. The only time AI has helped me is to brainstorm ideas. Like, I cannot contest that. It’s a great tool. It’s giving me more ideas than I could probably think of myself in that same amount of time. So for that, I use it for customer research. 

Again, it’s a terrible tool. It’s giving all these wishy-washy insights that aren’t really going to the core of the problem that people have. So I don’t know how some people are saying that it helps with customer research. I personally haven’t been successful at that. So yeah, it’s mostly a frustrating experience for me to use it for writing copies. So I stopped doing that. I use it only for ideas. And as to your other part of the question, if it’s still a good time to start copywriting, I spoke with Daniel recently about this actually, and he told me his opinion, told it to the whole list actually, that it’s actually not a great time to start copywriting because of that. Because if you’re new and your skills are at the level of the AI when you start out, so it’s a lot more difficult to stand out or to get clients for yourself when the same result can be achieved there. But I think that’s exactly where building your authority comes in. Because if you have that level of skill, OK, then just go and try to write some blog posts with some insights that you read in studies and whatnot. Try to write insights on social media. Try to get yourself on some podcasts or just network with some people. And that’s how you go around it. If you don’t do these things and you just go on Upwork as a completely new copywriter and try to win jobs with that level of skillset, it’s probably going to be a lot more difficult nowadays, for sure.

Kira Hug: Rob, would you become a copywriter today if you were not a copywriter already?

Rob Marsh: I would not not become a copywriter because of AI. You know, whether I become a copywriter as opposed to being, you know, after having been a copywriter for 30 years and then and say, well, maybe next, my next life go around, I’d be a doctor or something. That’s a different question. But I actually am still pretty bullish on copywriting. I think, Emilia, you are exactly right. The big problem is that where you’re starting out, an AI can already do that. And if an AI can do that for $20 for a month’s worth of content, like a chat GPT or a claude, then that makes that beginning startup phase of copywriting really difficult. 

However, Once you get past that, once you have the strategic knowledge, you know what frameworks work, you know all of the things that we do as copywriters, once you know that stuff, then when somebody hands you output from an AI, you have the ability to say, wait, this isn’t going to work because it’s not doing X, Y, and Z. It’s not utilizing these persuasion principles, or it’s not, like you were saying, it’s not connecting with a customer on a really visceral level. It’s just giving you these top level takeaways from the research or whatever. And if you’ve got that skill set, then, yeah. So starting out, I think that’s the stuff that I think copywriters are going to have to start focusing more on is those persuasion skills, the conversion skills, as opposed to, well, I’m going to write a blog post or two, or I can just write an email. And that stuff that used to come a little bit later in learning has got to come first now.

Emilia Tanase: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I agree. And one very concrete example is I’ve seen this online at some point, someone was trying to write a sales page using ChatGPT. And then there was a parallel with someone who had personally written a sales page. And neither of them had considered the purpose of that sales page, that it was going to a cold audience, not to a warm audience, or the other way around. So these kinds of subtleties ChatGPT is probably not going to take them into account, right? So you need to have the strategic thinking to know, okay, the audience is different here, so I need to adjust my entire strategy for this sales page to make it work.

Kira Hug: Yeah, definitely. You need a driver at the wheel who understands the landscape in order to use these tools at all and make them useful. Well, we could probably talk about AI for a while. But I’m curious, what is next for you? I mean, you mentioned some products. But when you think ahead in your career, maybe it’s only a month out, or a year out, or maybe it’s a 10-year vision, what do you see for yourself?

Emilia Tanase: I see myself doing something similar to Daniel, to be honest. Like the idea of writing an email a day to your list and making money and being silly with your stories and just telling people about your life, which is, by the way, the same model I’ve adopted for my own email list, just like adjusted to my personality and whatnot. I would do that and not have to worry about anything else. And just make products that will help people based on what has helped me. I probably won’t be going out of my way to learn something completely new only for the purpose of selling it as a product. I don’t want to do that. I only want to tell people about the things that have helped me or will be helping me along my journey. and how they could adapt it to their businesses. And also writing books. I like writing fiction in my free time. And with the personality-based business where, like I said, you would send an email every day or every week or whatnot, I think you can sell everything you do. Um, because you end up like growing a fan base, really. Like if Daniel comes up with a fiction book, I will buy it. I want to read everything he puts out. Right. Um, so I think that’s, that’s where I would like to head towards. Yeah.

Rob Marsh: That feels like a pretty good place for us to stop. Emilia, if somebody wants to connect with you, where can they find you? I know you’re on LinkedIn, but where else can they go as well?

Emilia Tanase: Yeah, so the best way is by far my email list. It’s at I’m also on Instagram, and like you said, on LinkedIn more than anywhere else.

Rob Marsh: Awesome. Thank you. And we’ll link to all that in the show notes so people can hopefully connect with you and find you when they go looking for you.

Emilia Tanase: Thank you so much. Thanks.

Rob Marsh: That’s the end of our interview with Emilia Tenasse. I made a bunch of notes as we were talking. I just want to go back and recap some of what Emilia shared about finding mentors and getting noticed. This really stuck out to me. 

Emilia’s first breakthrough happened when she attached herself to someone in the industry. If you’re going to do the same thing, you might not be shooting for the person at the very top or the expert everybody goes after, but look for somebody who’s slightly outside of your expertise or who is a few steps ahead of you. buy their course, join their group, do something there, and become the most active person in the group. The goal here is to become a case study. You’re going to apply everything they say, you’re going to do the training, you’re going to complete the program, you’re going to share your wins, and you’re going to ask questions. What’s more, you’re going to answer questions and grow your own authority within the group. The goal, as I said, is to get noticed. You want it to lead to some additional opportunity. And in Emilia’s case, it led to an opportunity to write a blog post, and then that led to her being able to use that person’s logo on her “trusted by” banner on her website. So when you can become the top student in the courses, and remember, only between four and maybe 10% of people who purchase a course actually go through the materials and finish it. Be in that group of people. Be sure that when you finish up to give the testimonial, if the person who is offering the course doesn’t ask for it, make sure that you reach out and offer it. Make sure that it’s a good one, that it talks about your experience, maybe some of the doubts that you had before you joined the course or the membership or the program or whatever it is. Talk about those doubts, how the program answered the questions that you had or helped you build a particular skill or helped you go from where you were then to where you are today. Give that testimonial. Emilia did that and landed herself on the sales page of another potential mentor. And then there, other copywriters who are reading the sales page noticed her, attracted to her and started reaching out. possibly even recommending work. So this can work for you too. 

Now, a couple of things about mentors. Most people don’t need apprentices, even busy copywriters. It actually creates work in most cases. So you need to do your homework. When you’re approaching them, you need to give them things that are valuable. Do not ask to write their emails for them because that’s not actually giving them something that’s really valuable. They’re going to have to edit your work. They’re going to have to figure out the assignments as they give them to you before you start going to work and doing the work. That’s doing more, creating more things for them to do. And it’s not all that valuable. So instead, think through, you know, I can give testimonials, I can give backlinks, I can give them a case study, I can share resources, help them make additional connections. You need to create these opportunities that are a little bit different and you’re not asking to do work for them or to write something for them because like I said, that actually is harder to deliver on for the mentor. Mentors choose you and so if you want that to happen, You’ve got to show up a way that helps you get noticed as we’ve been talking about it. 

We actually talked about this in two previous podcasts and I apologize, I did not look up the numbers beforehand, but when we talked to Brian Kurtz in a previous episode, we talked about how mentors choose their own mentees. And then we also talked to Parris Lampropoulos when he was talking about the mentors that he had that helped him to learn. You might want to just do a quick search in your podcast app and look up those two episodes and listen to them. now. 

Find somebody on Instagram or on LinkedIn and, you know, somebody who you resonate with and be a fan, respond to their stories, interact with them to get noticed. Take the time to give good comments, not things like, Oh, I love this or, but you know, something more like, Hey, this really helped me to do this new thing. It changed my, a process, it changed my business, it helped me attract a client, those kinds of comments, or add additional insights, be additive in your comments so that you’re growing and continuing the conversations happening. 

This is a long game. And if you play it right, you can not only just build your network, but make the connections that can really give you a leg up in the business, just like Emilia talked about doing. 

We want to thank Emily again for joining us to talk about her business, building authority, getting noticed, and so much more. You can find her on LinkedIn and Instagram. Her handle there is @emitenasse. And you can also find her at KaleidoCopy. Of course, we’ll link to both of those in the show notes. 

And if you join her list, you’ll immediately see how she uses stories in her welcome sequence. It’s definitely worth checking out. 

That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. If you enjoyed this interview, please share it with a friend or associate who might also enjoy it and learn from it. You can always leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. We always appreciate that. 

But even more, if you know somebody who’s going to benefit from the ideas and the insights that we share on this episode or any other, copy the link of this episode and share it with them. We promise they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and it’s another good way to provide your network with resources that help them and actually helps you build those relationships, then, you know, warm them up and help them to continue. 


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