TCC Podcast: #178: Start Finishing with Charlie Gilkey - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast: #178: Start Finishing with Charlie Gilkey

Productivity Expert and Coach, Charlie Gilkey, is our guest for the 178th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. We’ve admitted our struggles with getting things done on the podcast before—and neither one of us is a fan of traditional time management tactics like setting SMART goals…  so it made sense to have Charlie on to talk through how we can start finishing and get more done. We asked Charlie about:
•  how he accidentally became a speaker, author and coach
•  exactly what he does as a coach and how he helps his clients
•  why coaches ask so many questions (and don’t always share the answers)
•  an example of how Charlie works with his clients to help them find the real issues
•  why so many people shy away from the work that could help them level up
•  why accountability helps anyone who wants achieve more
•  why time management isn’t the answer (but you still need it)
•  focus blocks and how to use them to get more done
•  how to stop what you’re doing that’s keeping you from getting what you want
•  how to figure out if you’re a lark, an owl, or an emu
•  his advice for figuring out what you really want
•  the hardest question Charlie asks people (and why)
•  why he doesn’t believe anyone is inherently a procrastinator
•  the tools we can use to create a better vision for our lives
•  the difference between those who make it and those who give up
•  what his book is about and what you’ll get out of it
•  what he does to grow his skills and be a better coach for his clients

If you struggle with getting things done, or finishing the thing you start… or you just want to quit and watch Netflix for a few weeks, you don’t want to miss this episode. To hear it, click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript. Better still, subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.


The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

The Coaching Habit
The Advice Trap
Joanna Wiebe
Val Geisler
The Spice Girls
Double Double
Start Finishing (Charlie’s book)
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Finish by John Acuff
Charlie’s website
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground


Full Transcript:

Rob:   This episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Club In Real Life, our live event in San Diego March 12th through 14th. Get your tickets now at

Kira:  What if you could hang with seriously 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 Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.

Rob:   You’re invited to join the club for episode 178 as we chat with author and business coach Charlie Gilkey about how to take an idea from start to finish, what it takes to level up your business, how to effectively use time to get more done, and what it takes to do your best work.

Kira:  Charlie, welcome!

Rob:   Hey, Charlie.

Charlie:        Thanks so much for having me, guys. I’m pumped to be here.

Kira:  Yeah. We’re pumped! I have been looking forward to this for a while. So let’s just start, Charlie, with your story. For anyone who doesn’t know you as well, how did you end up as an executive coach, speaker, an author, and a philosopher?

Charlie:        Well, when it comes to the executive coach, speaker, and author bit, all of that was super accidental. I fell into this backassward, in the sense where I had come back. So let’s roll back to 2006, 2007. I had recently come back from being a deployed soldier for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I still had my career as an Army officer. I was a logistics officer. And I was also pursuing my PhD in philosophy. So I’m a social philosopher and an ethicist.

And it seems so sophomoric now, looking back as a 40-year-old, looking back at my 26-year-old self. But my 26-year-old self was like, ‘I’ve got to get my stuff together. I’m just not making it happen. I’m just not getting stuff done.’ What I would say now is, ‘You’ve got two careers, dummy. Chill!’ Right? But at the time, I was just like, ‘Ah! I’m not making it happen.’

So I did what any good scholar and any good officer would do. I was just like, ‘Look. I’m not the only person that has had this problem. Someone else has figured this out.’ So I started doing the research, and I found that I was having to do a lot of synthesis and translation of what I was reading from the productivity literature, which tended to be really granular, and really focused on tasks. And it just really focused on lower-level stuff in the personal development literature, which tended to be pretty lofty.

But my problem was this messy world in the middle of projects. I had all these projects that just wasn’t getting done. And so I did what any good scholar and philosopher would do, is I started teaching other people about this sort of stuff. And it seems really funny that here I was already overwhelmed, but then I decided to start a business right on top of everything else I was doing, teaching people how to do this.

And it’s just kind of grown organically since then. Were it not for Naomi Dunford, who is a brilliant marketer and copywriter, basically putting me on the spot and almost damn near making me put my coaching page up, I wouldn’t have been a coach. Because again, that wasn’t in my career trajectory. I didn’t grow up around entrepreneurs and business people. People like me didn’t seem to start businesses like this.

And so it’s been just this huge blessing, and great fun ride. And it’s still growing. It’s still changing as we’re talking.

Rob:   So I’m really curious. Can you tell us a little bit more what you do as a coach? And we know a few people who have worked with you one-on-one. So I’m curious: What does that engagement look like? And what are the typical things that at least somebody starts out wanting to work on when they hire you?

Charlie:        You know, this is going to be one of those harder questions to answer, but I’ll try to be succinct on it. Really, what I do is I help people work on the root cause strategic issues in their business. I’m a strategy execution specialist. And so typically, they’ll come to me and they’ll be like, ‘Hey, Charlie. I’m stuck!’ Or, ‘My business isn’t making money.’ Or, ‘I can’t figure out why this offer isn’t working.’ Or sometimes it’s, ‘Hey. My team, we’re just not getting it done.’ And so we really go in and figure out what’s going on.

And what an engagement typically looks like, and what makes me sometimes a terrible coach, is that there are plenty of times where I don’t think my clients have the answers. Right? Especially from the coaching industry… And we’re not going to get too much into insider baseball… But there’s a part of the shtick that the client owns the answers. But when you start talking about it in a business context and in an executive concept, sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. And you can’t see what you can’t see.

And so we focus on the three to five things that are going to make the biggest difference in the business. And then every other week, we come together and just work until we fix it. And along the way, if you’re in business for any amount of time, what you figure out is you solve one problem and create three others. And so it’s job security for me in a sense, where we’re creating new challenges as we go. But it’s not the same damn challenge over and over and over again.

So we might go from a solo printer business that’s stuck at the owner executive’s capacity, and then break through that by either changing markets or adding team capacity to it. But then they’ve got managerial challenges, and then you have to forecast cash flow a little bit differently.

So the reason it’s super tricky for me to say what it is I do is if I were a marketing strategist, I would say, ‘Yo, I help them build their funnel,’ and blah, blah, blah. I’d have three or four things that I work on. But I’m that really well-versed generalist that can walk into a situation, figure out what’s going on, and start righting the ship as we go.

Kira:  All right. I want to talk about the insider baseball piece of it, because a lot of copywriters in our community are developing their own programs and communities, and are getting into coaching. Rob and I do some of that in our groups. And it has been a struggle, too, for me, because of what you said. I feel like what I have been told to do is to ask provocative questions that help the person you’re mentoring figure out the answer. And half the time I just want to tell them the answer.

And so I feel like I have this inner conflict all of the time that it seems like you’ve worked through. So I think my question is more generic, around how can we become better coaches if that is a part of our business model? How can we think about it in a way that helps us better serve the people who are hiring us, working with us?

Charlie:        That was a great question, Kira. And I don’t want to disparage the value of being able to ask really good questions. And the reason why coaching as a profession, and as that modality, focuses on questions is because it centers the client’s experiences. It centers the client’s expertise and their strengths, and shows them that they have a way to go forward. And it doesn’t make the coach the expert; it makes the client the expert. And there’s a lot of value in that.

And, Kira, you’ve probably been on those conversations to where you’ve asked all the provocative questions for 30, 45 minutes. And then it can just get super exasperating. The client knows that you have a certain something going on, and they just don’t know how to answer the questions.

Kira:  You start drawing pictures and playing Pictionary.

Charlie:        You start drawing pictures, and playing Pictionaries and Charades… And so my stance, and I tell prospects and clients this up front, is my job is to help you get from A to B by whatever ethical means possible. And if that means that at sometimes I just need to pause and say, ‘Look. This is a teaching moment. I’m just going to teach you some stuff.’ Right? ‘That you don’t know.’ Or, ‘This is a mentoring moment.’ Or, ‘This is a consulting moment.’ I can pick the modality that I need to in that moment to get the client where they need to go.

And one question that I will sometimes ask clients is, ‘Okay. Well, do you want me to be more of a coach here, or do you want me to be more of a consultant?’ Because sometimes… And I’m thinking of a client that I unfortunately was not able to meet yesterday because I was sick… There are times where she’s just like, ‘Charlie, just tell me what the answer is! I’m frustrated! I’ve been dealing with this for the last decade. Can you tell me if there’s an answer, and then we can work through it?’ Because she’s a super powerful coach herself, so…

But there are sometimes, and I will say this Kira, this may be taking us completely off tangent. Part of working with creative people is knowing how to create useful defaults that they can either take and run with, or that they can rebel against and find their own answers. Right? And so sometimes it’s like you have to say something for the client to know that it doesn’t fit them. But then they’ve had the insight. There’s like, ‘Oh! Now I know what I need to do, because the pathway that you said is clearly not me. I’m not going to do that. You’re wrong! I’m going to go do this.’ And I’m like, ‘Great. We’re where we need to be.’ And so that’s a really big depend, Kira.

Rob:   Can you give us an example of what those creative defaults look like so that somebody can react to them? I’m sort of putting you on the spot. I know that may not be a fair question, but-

Charlie:        Well, it’s a fair question. Well, I’ll put you guys on the spot here. Here’s how we’re going to roll with this.

Kira:  Oh! Thanks, Rob!

Charlie:        Yeah. Thanks, Rob! If one of you have an issue that you’re currently working through right now, then I could probably show you what I mean in the actual instance. But it would just take a little bit, three to five minutes, of hot seat stuff. Are we able to do that?

Kira:  Rob has some issues. I volunteer Rob.

Charlie:        Okay, Rob. Here we go!

Rob:   We’ve all got issues. But let’s say that we have a business challenge. And obviously, we’re working through things all the time. But let’s say that we want to sell tickets to our event, and ticket sales are slower than what we had hoped for. Or maybe, actually, they’re on track, but we want to generate some additional attention and excitement about the event that we have coming up. Is that a big enough problem to work with?

Charlie:        That’s a big enough problem.

Rob:   Okay.

Charlie:        And I’m just going to steal some of this stuff from my great friend, Michael Bungay Stanier. So if you’re interested in being coaches, go read his book.

Kira:  It’s a great book.

Charlie:        The Coaching Habit is just one of those must-reads. He’s got another one coming out called The Advice Trap. Just read both. You’ll thank me, but more importantly, thank him. And so Rob, for that, based upon what you’re seeing, what’s the real challenge?

Rob:   Well, I mean we would want to have as many people in our community as possible at the event. So there’s that. There’s obviously some financial challenges in the back. In order to put on an event, it takes quite a bit of money. And so more ticket sales makes it possible for us to do more good things at an event. So those are probably maybe the two biggest drivers for me.

Charlie:        And what else?

Rob:   I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head.

Kira:  I’ll jump in with what else. And ‘what else’ is how do we have time to do it? Right? There a billion things we could do that you could tell us to do, but we’re both stretched and overwhelmed with what’s currently on our plate. So how do we create space to focus on event promotion?

Charlie:        Great. Okay. So we could go down this, but Kira, thanks for that second bit. Because, Rob, your first ones were basically the top line issues. Right? One of the deeper issues is, ‘How do we make time for this?’ And if we were to dig two to three levels under that, it’s actually, ‘How are we prioritizing our time with everything else we’ve got going on so that we make sure that we don’t sacrifice our core business for this new business offer?’ Right?

And so in the context of making a useful constraint, what we might do is talk about some different ways that you might do that. And you might go through a Goldilocks principle of, ‘What’s the most ambitious plan or strategy that we can create to get there?’ And then, ‘What’s a medium one?’ And, ‘What’s a small one?’

And once we start creating some of those constraints, you guys might say, ‘Wait a second. We can’t do the most ambitious one, because we’ve got these other core parts of our business that we’re working.’ Okay. So we can’t do that. What I would say is, ‘Okay. If we start going towards a medium or smaller sized plan, what we might have to do, then, is adjust expectations to match the plan.’ Right? And because… This may be leaning a little bit into the book a little bit, but what so often happens is when we tack on something like an event on top of our core business? Right? Sometimes, well, what I often tell clients is the event business, the event stream of revenue, is actually a completely different type of business. The metrics of what’s going to make it successful are different than what’s going to make everything else successful.

So you’ve got to look at how much you’re resourcing what’s essentially this new side hustle on top of your current hustle, and check your expectations. Because if you’re putting in a quarter effort, or you’re putting in a third effort, you’re going to get a quarter or a third results. It’s not going to get the results of the rest of your business.

So what we would do in that context, if we had more time, is figure out, ‘Okay. What are those constraints? What are those defaults that you can say, ‘You know what? That’s useful. I can run with that and make it work.’‘ Or, ‘Charlie, what you’re talking about completely does not make sense. Here’s what’s right.’ And once I get a client that’s super defined about, ‘Here’s what’s right,’ I’m like, ‘Great. Okay. Now how do we get behind that and commit to that? Because you’ve already drawn this line in the sand.’ Does that help, guys?

Rob:   Yeah. That definitely makes sense. And obviously, most people listening aren’t trying to put on an event, but they may be struggling with finding clients, or building their own authority. Maybe they’re even struggling with the craft. So that gives us a useful framework to say, ‘Okay. Then what are the real issues?’ Or, ‘What are the constraints on accomplishing those kinds of things as well?’

Charlie:        Yeah. And how do your expectations align with your efforts? Because what I see so often in business is that we want to put in small or moderate effort behind something, but we want really epic or extreme results. We want to sell out our first event. Well, it turns out, that’s super hard. Right? If no one’s told you that… And I know we’re focusing on an event, but whatever it is… If you want to go from nothing to fully-booked, nothing to full event, nothing to an epic launch, what you’ve got to realize is most people don’t do that on their first two or three runs. Right?

All the really epic events that are sold out, the courses that are sold out, the coaches that are fully-booked, they’ve had a few runs at this. And you’re seeing the final version, or you’re seeing a more perfected version of it. You didn’t see their beta runs. You didn’t see the launches. Or you didn’t see that course that they offered to six people that they made a private invitation to make it a success.

And part of this is just this myopic social media online marketing game that we can get into, that we amplify our hits, and that’s when it ends up getting sticky. And we sort of do the work that marketers do, is we kick the runts, and we kick everything else that didn’t work under the carpet. And no one sees that. So it becomes super challenging, because when you’re that person doing something for the first or second time, you’re comparing your results against the highlighted versions of everyone else’s results. And it can create a lot of head trash and things like that.

So really, so much of my work with clients is really about setting expectations, and plans, and timelines that are actually much more sane, much more strategically sound, and much more likely to get the results that we’re trying to get. Rather than shooting for the moon, getting frustrated that we didn’t even get off the damn planet, and then beating ourselves up for three months and wondering what the hell is wrong with us.

Kira:  Yeah. I love that idea. Or even that question, ‘How do your expectations align with your efforts?’ Because that’s something I struggle with, too. Right? It’s expecting too much, and then not putting in enough effort for it.

So I think that leads me to my next question about when you’re working with clients, and you’re focused on maybe the three to five projects, or what’s most critical to help them move forward… From a coach perspective, and also just thinking about copywriters who are aware of those challenges or projects that are most critical and will help them the most, but they get stuck somewhere along the way. And they aren’t putting time into that, or on the business development side, because for copywriters, they oftentimes just will prioritize client work over their business growth. How do you help them? Other than controlling their schedule, and pinging them, and telling them, ‘Okay. Do it now!’ How do you help them start to make progress and work towards it?

Is it just a motivational talk? Maybe it is being really practical and making a realistic plan. But how do you help them get this stuff done and make progress?

Charlie:        Yeah. See, it’s actually not about the plan. It’s about the mindset. And I know in this space, we can talk about mindset a lot. But a lot of people don’t realize how scared of their own success they are. And I’ve seen so many super brilliant people have the perfect plan, the perfect talent, went by perfect. Great plans. Great talents. And have the time, but end up not pulling the trigger, because they’re afraid of their own success.

So, for instance, because I have worked with enough copywriters, I know that one of the tricks becomes… ‘If I do all this marketing, and I put all my great copywriting stuff on, what am I going to do about the clients that I’m going to get when I’m already overwhelmed with client delivery as I am?’ And what they haven’t realized is that they have created a no-win scenario for themselves in that success means more clients. But at a certain point, they don’t want more clients. Because they’re already overwhelmed. They’re already stressed out about it. Right? So why would I want more of that?

And so when it comes time for them to actually do the work of putting that copy up, they’re like, ‘Ugh. I’m just going to serve the clients. Okay? Because that’s where my stress is. That’s actually where my stress is.’ So then we have to sort of… I hate to say ‘shift the goal post’ because of the political atmosphere that’s being used a certain way, but we have to change and say, ‘What’s up?’ No, maybe it’s not about getting more clients. Maybe it’s about getting better clients. Right? And so we have to look at some of those issues.

So, part of it is figuring out what their true fears are. And their true fears are often not the first two or three things they’ll tell you. Right? Because it will be like, ‘Oh. Well, if I do that, then I would get more clients.’ Well, if we dove in and really looked at what’s going on, what they would end up saying is, ‘I’m going to be more overwhelmed. I’m going to have less of my life.’ And for many copywriters, perhaps, it might be, ‘I actually want to do this course thing.’ Or, ‘I actually want to write a book.’ Or, ‘I actually want to get married.’

‘And if I’m successful with this business, with this project, it’s going to get in the way of that thing that I actually really want. So I’m not going to do that. I’m going to do this other thing. But I’m not going to really get honest with that.’ Right? And so, again, so much of it’s about honesty, and it’s about these expectations.

And think about it this way, guys: We don’t need a coach, or a productivity system, or accountability buddy to eat ice cream, or whatever your favorite dessert. Right? We don’t need all of that. It’s in front of us, and we eat it. And we enjoy it. And then we wonder, ‘Why did I eat a whole damn carton of this ice cream?’ Or maybe that’s just me.

And there’s an insight to there. Why is it that when it comes to some of these other things, we require all this excess motivation, and accountability, and so on so forth? So part of it is getting back to the root of joy, curiosity, adventure, flow that got people started with their creative endeavor in the first place. And once I can tap into that ice cream, then we can start having other conversations. Because it turns out, given, you know… All sorts of stuff comes up.

So, for instance, women in our culture who are socialized to not actually deserve to be happy for whatever reason, a lot of times when they actually are in the position to where they can eat the ice cream, they don’t think they deserve it. Or there’s something wrong with it or something. So they’ll put all sorts of barriers in it, because they fundamentally cannot handle the idea that they can just be happy, or that they can just do their thing and get paid well for it. And it doesn’t have to be a frigging drama story about it, right? It’s just what it is.

And so you have to get into some of these deeper-level issues that actually are not about time management. They’re not about planning. They’re not about what’s in a sauna. They’re about how you see yourself in the world, and how you understand what you deserve, and what’s available for you, and how you accept that. I know, super mindset deep stuff here. But that’s really what’s keeping people beyond.

And when I’m working with clients, usually they come with me like, ‘Charlie, okay. What’s my pricing? I need to work on my program.’ Blah, blah, blah. Two or three months into it, once we’ve worked out all the things, you’ve got all of the things! You’re just not pulling the trigger here. And it’s not about needing better copy. It’s not about needing a better program. It’s not about needing a different client. It’s about you having to look at yourself and say, ‘Look. You are doing something that has value. And I don’t give a shit what Joanna (Wiebe) is doing. I don’t give a shit about what Val (Geisler) is doing.’ Your people are in front of you needing help. Are you going to get into it, or not?

And those are some of the hard questions. The hardest question that I ask my clients, guys, is, ‘What do you really want?’ And not, ‘What do you want?’ But, ‘What do you really want?’ Man, that will send people on all sorts of an existential farewell.

Rob:   Yeah. Not to mention that now I’ve got the Spice Girls going off in my head. So-

Charlie:        Yeah. ‘What you really, really want?’

Rob:   Yeah. Exactly. So you’ve mentioned that time management isn’t the answer. But it feels like time management is a component of this even if it doesn’t get us to the really deep mindset stuff. How much time management fixing do we need to do in order to get things done and to accomplish the things that we want? Or is it really, truly a matter of once the mindset is right, the time management takes care of itself?

Charlie:        No, it doesn’t. It’s not at all that once the mindset is right… Nah. I wish it was that easy!

Kira:  That would be nice.

Rob:   Dang! Yeah. I wish it was that easy.

Charlie:        Yeah. I mean-

Rob:   You’re ruining my morning, Charlie.

Charlie:        You know, I do that a lot. So I don’t get invited to a lot of parties, either. So here’s the thing: It’s not like once you figure out what you want, the world automatically aligns. It’s like, ‘All right. Here. Kira, you’ve wanted this for years. We’re going to move all of our priorities and all of our projects out of the way so you could do your thing!’ That’s not quite the way that it works.

So, at a certain point, when we start talking about time management… I want to shift the conversation to, alright, where are you putting your reps in? Right? Where are you doing the deep work?

And so in the book, I talk about four different types of blocks of time that you need to look at. And one of them are your focus blocks. And focus blocks are 90 to 120-minute blocks of time where you get into that… Maybe for copywriters, it’s going to be around writing great copy, or coming up with a marketing strategy, or actually sitting down and doing that copywriting checklist that you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to do for the last three years. Right? Or it could be the hard work that you’ve got to do to develop a training program so that you can get some assistance on your actual thing.

What I find most people are lacking is not… Well, I’ll say it this way: Most people don’t have enough focus blocks in their schedule to do the work that they want to do. Right? And so what I tell people as a general rule, think about three focus blocks per week per significant project. And people are like, ‘Wait a second. I don’t have one focus block a week! How the hell am I going to make this happen?’ So we have to do some schedule adjustment to make that go in there, which means we have to get into some conversations about what’s going to get displaced. What are you going to choose not to do? How are you going to stop doing the things that you’re doing that’s getting you what you’re getting, so that you can do something new that gets this new thing that you want?

And so that schedule calibration can take a while because, again, if you look at most people… And again, if I say three focus blocks per week per significant project… I mean, you look at the fact that for most of us, getting two focus blocks a work day is a really good thing. And so we can start looking and say, ‘Okay. So on a normal week when we’re not traveling, and we’re not doing all this other random stuff, and kids aren’t sick, and things like that, at most I have 10 focus blocks.’

All right, bet. So with that. How are those going towards the projects that matter most? You have to start making some decisions, right? Because it turns out, for copywriters, if you’ve got 10 focus blocks per week and you’ve got enough clients, six to eight of those are probably taken up with client work. And that’s just real. And so that means that you have two focus blocks a week left remaining for things like blogging. Remaining for things like working on that course. Remaining for things like working on your speech.

And it’s not that you’re uniquely defective and you don’t know what the hell is going on; it’s just that you don’t have enough capacity to do what it is that you need to do. And I’ve worked with some folks. I was thinking of one copywriter I’m working with right now where we actually had to put her on a revenue ceiling where I was like, ‘Look, yo, you can’t sell that much coaching time! All right? You can’t sell that much copywriting time! And that means if you’re selling over 10K, we’ve got a problem. Because that means you’re not going to be able to do this other thing we’ve been talking about you doing. It’s just not mathematically going to work. And so if you’re really wanting to do this other thing, that means we’ve got to let go of some of this revenue.’

And, man! That causes all sorts of a thing. Like, ‘Wait a second, I’m supposed to turn down revenue?’ But really what we’re looking at is these focus blocks. And we have a trade off that we have to make here. What do you really want?

Kira:  Okay. Is this what you refer to as the ‘heat map?’ Heat mapping our schedule, in your book, is that a similar concept with the focus blocks? Or is that something else?

Charlie:        They’re very much related. So heat mapping is basically the idea that sometimes you’re creatively and mentally hot, and other times you’re not. Right? And it largely does depend upon what chronotype you are. Chronotype being when your biorhythms are through the day. So we know that there are some people that are morning owls… Or, excuse me. Morning larks is what they’re called. They’re early morning birds. Right? We know that there are some people who are night owls. And then we know that there’s what Dan Pink calls ‘third birds.’ I call it ‘emus,’ which are these people that get fired up in the afternoon. Right?

So, morning people, afternoon people, night people. And I love that we’re talking about copywriters here, because I’m assuming that you have a lot of autonomy of your schedule. Right?

Rob:   Yeah. Tons. Yeah.

Charlie:        And so there’s no reason why, if you’re hot in the morning and that’s when you do your best creative work, why the hell are you scheduling appointments in the morning? Right? Because what you’re saying is there’s a period of time, which for most of us is four to six hours of a day, where we’re in that zone. Right? If you put a couple doctors appointments in there, guess what? You’re not going to be able to do that heavy lifting work that you’ve been wanting to do.

And so where this comes in, Kira, is focus blocks are best put in the times of the day where you’re the hottest. So if you’re that emu that’s on fire from 12:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon, that’s when you should schedule your focus blocks to do your best work. And maybe for you, or maybe for that person, it would make sense for them to have meetings in the morning. And so you really have to align your schedule in that way and not look at it as if all bits of time were equal, because sometimes you’ve got it. Sometimes you don’t.

Kira:  Yeah. I think my struggle is I don’t think I’m a lark, or an owl, or an emu. I don’t think I’m any of those. I don’t know what I am! I’m a zebra. When do they-

Charlie:        All right, Kira. So let’s jump into that! So, no, for real though. You might have to go to the distant past. I hope not. But go back to a holiday period or a vacation period where you actually had a few days off. When did you have the most energy?

Kira:  Yeah. It would be earlier in the day, definitely, on vacation.

Charlie:        Yeah. So that’s what I would say is. And the reason I go there is because, Kira, I’m betting that… And push back if I’m not correct about this, but I’m betting that you’re super responsive to other people. Maybe leaning towards a bit of people-pleasing side of things?

Kira:  Yes.

Charlie:        Okay.

Kira:  How’d you know?

Charlie:        Heard it-

Rob:   Yeah. Nailed on the head. Yeah.

Charlie:        Heard it in the voice.

Kira:  Just a little bit. Just a little bit.

Charlie:        So what that means is how you orient to your day is based upon other people’s needs and priorities. Right? And so what your first answer was, ‘Well, I don’t know who I am.’ In the back of your mind, you’re probably saying, ‘Well, it depends on what other people are needing from me,’ if we were to ask two or three levels deeper.

But that’s actually not true. Right? How you choose to prioritize your time is based upon other people’s priorities, but when you look at your natural energy, you came to the answer that you’re an early morning person pretty quickly. So the coaching work that we would do together, Kira, would be like, ‘Okay. So we’ve got some work to do there. What do we need to do to look at your schedule so that one, on just the tactical side, that you’re not seeing other people’s needs first?’ Because once you see it, you can’t unsee it. You can’t unfeel it. You can’t de-prioritize it. Right? So that’s one thing.

And two would be the mindset piece of, ‘Kira, why is your time? Why is your needs? Why is what you need not as important as what other people need?’

Kira:  All right, Charlie. I want you as my coach. We’ll talk about that later. Okay, I want to circle back. And thank you, that was helpful. I want to circle back, because I can’t let this question go. And I know this is going backwards now, but we were talking about helping people figure out what they really want. And you mentioned when you ask that question, people just go nuts.

And that’s something that I feel like, when I’ve talked about that with copywriters and asked them that question, and added the really, like, ‘What do you really want? What is that big scary thing?’ It’s really hard to get answers even when it’s in a conversation one-on-one. It’s a trusted relationship. So do you have advice for copywriters who are listening who really struggle answering that question and maybe don’t feel like they have permission to figure out what they want? Or they just don’t even know how to think that big about the really big vision, and to go that big? Because I feel like that is where so many of us struggle.

Charlie:        That’s a great question, and I said it was one of the hardest questions that I’ll ask people. And it’s also hard to articulate how to get to where people need to be. One of the things that… And I mentioned it earlier… is, man, we’re so schizophrenic about happiness in that we want it, but when we get closer to it, we start pushing it away. And we start fighting against it. And we start wondering if we deserve it.

And so part of it is getting to a point of letting people understand and really sink in the fact that what makes them happy, what gives them pleasure, what gives them meaning and purpose, is enough. Right? Unfortunately, because we’re talking in an entrepreneurial context, we try to shoehorn meaning into money. Right? In that if we’re making a certain amount, if we’re selling at a certain amount, if our rates are certain things, then that’s success. Maybe that’s happiness.

Turns out, it’s not. Right? And that’s the hard thing. I’ve been in this game long enough, and I’ve heard people at the very highest levels who are fundamentally unhappy, because money is a very poor substitute for meaning. And so looking and saying, ‘What are the things that actually make you happy? What makes you laugh? What gives you the warm fuzzies? If you didn’t have to make money, what would you do?’ Some of those types of questions can be really powerful for opening people up to seeing how their business serves that, or maybe it gets in the way of that. Right?

And I’ve had so many… especially service-based clients… who really just love being a great coach, or a great consultant, or they love being a great copywriter, or designer, that get beat up in the entrepreneurial space about scaling. And about that they should have teams, and that they should be doing blah, blah, blah. When the fact of the matter is, they want to work with clients and create great copy. That’s what they really wake up in the morning to do. It’s fun! But they haven’t allowed themselves to do that. And that that’s enough.

And so part of it is just syncing with that and being really okay. Because I mean, part of it is we’ve spent so much of our freaking lives in these ladders, man. Of you go to school, you get the grade. You get the grade, you get to the next grade. You graduate. You get a job. And there are all these sort of things you’ve got to do to get to the place of the thing that makes you happy.

And then you get out here, and you figure out that part of adulting is realizing that there are too many damn steps in between that. Right? If it turns out that if what makes you happy is being with your daughter for five or six hours of the day and playing with her, then you know what? Maybe we design a business that lets you do that, and that’s enough. Right? Maybe you don’t build that micro-agency that all your high-level mastermind friends keep telling you to build.

And I know I’m speaking really generic here, Kira, but you’ve got to really explore some of those things, and what’s really going to get people out of bed for the long game. Because too often, in this world of social media and online success, man, we’ve sowed our focus on that short game, but I want my clients to be thinking, ‘How are you going to be in the game for a decade or two?’ Right? How are you going to build a life around this business rather than thinking that there’s going to be some quick thing.

And now, here’s what I’ll say, though: There are some people who are super ambitious, and they want to flip a business in three years. They want to start it, grow it, and flip it. All right. Cool. But here are some things that we’re going to have to do that, and is that what you really want? Because if you don’t really want that, then maybe that’s not the pathway for you. Right?

And so again, I know I’m talking around a lot of different things, but it’s really dialing into that thing that’s going to get clients to say, ‘You know what? This is worth getting up a little bit extra in the morning. All right, getting up a little earlier in the morning. This is worth staying a little bit later. This is worth the blood, sweat, and tears that I’m going to put behind this for the next two or three years.’ And if it’s not worth it, then at the end of the day what they’re going to end up doing is accepting a bunch of BS projects and responsibilities, and end up stuck and frustrated. And still no further towards where they’re really trying to go.

Rob:   But Charlie, I have to know. When you ask the question, ‘What do you really want?’ Has anybody ever said, ‘I just want to sit on the couch and watch Netflix?’

Charlie:        Yes, actually. And that has almost always come from the voice of being tired of the grind.

Kira:  Yeah.

Charlie:        Right?

Rob:   Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. For sure.

Charlie:        Right? Because I mean, you’re not a copywriter if you’re not creative! Straight up. Right? Usually, you’re some type of word nerd. Right? Or you’re someone who just likes taking ideas and putting them together. So you’re creative by nature. Right?

And I fundamentally like people who are like, ‘I’m a procrastinator!’ I don’t think we’re inherently procrastinators. I think we can be inherently scared of shit. Right? That’s true. But you’re not in a copywriting business, you don’t own your own business, if you’re fundamentally lazy, and uncreative, and you’re not ambitious. Probably, you’re tired. And you may be stuck. And you may not have been touching onto that thing that makes you happy.

And so I think there are some people who perhaps they’re just media buffs, and they would just want to spend all day watching movies. And that’s great. I’m not judging that. But I think most of us, that’s coming from a place of tired, or frustrated, or stuck. And they just want to sort of check out.

But once we get beyond that and acknowledge that, and it’s like, ‘Okay. So let’s imagine you’ve watched Netflix for three weeks or three months-’

Kira:  That’s a lot of Netflix.

Charlie:        … ‘What would you want to do after that?’ And that’s the thing. I mean, how many of us actually don’t want to go on vacation, because after three days of not having our work and device, we don’t know what the hell to do with ourselves? Right? That’s who we are at our core, Rob. And so I definitely want to acknowledge that we can feel in that moment, ‘Man, I just want to watch Netflix! I just want to play video games! If I had my chance, I would just go to Spain forever.’ It turns out, after two or three weeks, you get to work-

Rob:   Oh, and you’ve got Hulu. Yeah. Then you’ve got Hulu, or you’ve got… You know. Well-

Charlie:        Yeah. You’ve got Hulu. You’ve got something. But at a certain point, you’re going to start getting creatively constipated.

Rob:   For sure.

Charlie:        Right? You’re going to have to create something. You’re going to have to do something. And my question is, ‘What is that ‘it’?’ Is it that sci-fi series that you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to write? Is it that backyard garden project that you’ve been putting off for years? Is it going and hanging out with your dad before he passes? What is that? And let’s get to it.

Rob:   Yeah. So that’s really what I want to ask, is what tools can we use… And maybe it’s something that you coach people on… in order to build that vision for the thing that we really want? Because you ask that question, ‘What do you really want?’ That’s not really a 30-second answer, right? It’s not something that easily comes, at least not to me, in 30 seconds. I need to really think through, ‘If I had the time, if money wasn’t an option, what could that look like?’ So what kind of tools do you have to help us build what that vision ought to be?

Charlie:        Yeah. So one that I’ve stolen from Cameron Herold from Double Double was the painted picture exercise. And the painted picture exercise is basically imagining, three to five years in the future, what you want your day to look like. Right? And at a broad level, how would you show up to work? What would you be doing? And not thinking about the projects that you would be doing, but what would you want your day to be like? Would you be going to work at 7:00 because you’re an early morning person and getting off at 3:00? Who would you be talking to? What types of problems would you be involved in? And things like that. So that could be a great exercise there.

And second piece would be really, as much as I don’t like the bucket list conversation, it does have some value. Because I wrote about it in the book, in that when we look at it, most significant projects… the ones that are going to define our lives and make the biggest difference… take three to five years to work through. So there’s a simple math problem we can do here: Subtract your age from 85. Divide by 5. That’s the amount of significant projects that you have remaining in your life to do.

How would you want to spend that time? What would you want to be on that project board at the end of your life saying, ‘You know what? I did that, and I’m proud of it. Win, lose, or draw.’ And it could be writing books. It could be traveling. It could be things like that.

So it’s kind of that bucket list version of starting to think, ‘Okay. Time is very, very finite, man. What matters?’ And the reason I like that particular question is because that starts to get into super meaningful projects.

I’m 40 now. And so if I did that same sort of thing, I’ve got nine projects remaining left in my life. Those are the ones I want to actually mean something. Those are the ones that would be that tombstone picture. And choosing not to do a lot of other things to do those ones… Even if I couldn’t articulate exactly why some of the projects would be on that board, that they are and that they fight their way onto it is compelling. So that would be another exercise.

Thing about it is… And there’s a question I ask on my coaching intake survey, and it’s basically short version of it, or at least a paraphrase of it… Most of us tell ourselves that at some point when we have it all figured out, and we’ve got the money squared away, that we’re going to do something. What is that thing? I’ve heard people tell me all sorts of things. They want to start nonprofits. They want to do all sorts of things. And part of my job, and part of the reason I ask that, is because my job is to bring that future forward faster. Right? Let’s not make that shit 20 years. Let’s make it five. Let’s make it three. Let’s make it one. Maybe it’s tomorrow. Right?

And so, Rob, they’re not super, ‘Here are the seven steps you have to get to this answer,’ because that’s not the type of exercise that this is. But it is the type of thing that you’re absolutely right, it takes people two weeks, a month. Conversations. And sometimes it just comes to them in some weird workout, or meditation, or during sex, and, ‘Oh! That’s what it is.’ And that’s where we’ve got to get to.

Kira:  All right. So, Charlie, I want to ask you. You mentioned you’ve been in this business for a while. You’ve seen people come and go. I’m just curious to know: Since you’ve stepped into this space and you’ve seen people that you’ve worked with, and maybe even people that you’ve admired from afar, colleagues, what’s the difference between the people who are still there, and are still creating meaningful work, and have made it… Whatever ‘made it’ means, happiness… Compared to people who didn’t make it and gave up, or realized this wasn’t for them? What is that difference?

Because really, I’m interested in the long game. And I feel like it is sometimes hard to find those examples, especially in an online marketing space, of people who have done that and created this long game, and made it work for them.

Charlie:        Yeah. That’s a great question. So the philosopher in me wants to say ‘meaning.’ Those people who have found meaning in their work, and in their relationships with other people, that may not be super useful or tactical.

The people that fizzle are the people that are chasing this social success game. So they’re looking at the numbers. They’re looking at the social media followings. They’re looking at the size of their lists. Or they’re following that numbers game, and they’re not following necessarily that game of meaning, of happiness, of joy, of creativity, of adventure.

And so I was working with someone who has now had great success with his book. And there was a certain point where we were talking about the work, and he was struggling on writing the book. And I was like, ‘Look. If you can’t find the adventure, and the wonder, and the curiosity in yourself in this project, you’re not going to finish this book, and it’s not going to be a success. You can’t write this book from the place of, ‘I’ve got to write a successful book. I’ve got to do this.’ You’ve got to be in it, and you’ve got to be creating art in that way. You’ve got to be solving that problem.’ And this particular client was much more of the scientist profile. So I was like, ‘You’ve got to be solving these problems. You’ve got to be doing that in the lab yourself. Curious about it. Or you’re not going to finish the book. It’s not going to be a success.’

Other people show up as an artist. Other people show up as an innovator. There are different ways we show up in the world. And so finding that way to stick with that curiosity, and to stick with it.

And the other thing that I would say is having the courage to continually reinvent your work and yourself as you go. And to realize that maybe there was an earlier version of yourself that was wrong or incomplete, and that you’ve got to go through and correct that and fix that. Or seeing that, ‘You know what? I thought my work was about X, and it’s really about Y. And I’m willing to let go of this brand around copywriting for Instagram,’ or copywriting for whatever.

And understand that that was just a moment in time. There’s something deeper you’ve been working on. And making that leap into the unknown, and sucking again. All over again. Because that sucks, man. Especially as copywriters, and consultants, and coaches, so much of why we get paid is because we’re supposed to know what the hell we’re doing. And to go into that space to where we’re humble enough to be like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing again,’ that’s hard. And that’s where you’ve got to go to be able to do this time and time again.

And I would probably say… And it may sound like their intention… But knowing what your lawn is, and fighting for that lawn. Let me explain that. Start Finishing is really a book that I quote-unquote ‘should’ have written about six or eight years ago. And it’s not that I didn’t have the work, because it’s lived in different gems and seeds on Productive Flourishing for a long time.

But about the time that I started writing and thinking about putting it all together, Deep Work by Cal Newport came out. And I was like, ‘Man! Cal said everything I was going to say. Do we really need another freaking productivity book?’ Because there’s 1800 popped out a day. Do we really need another? And so I was like, ‘I’m good, man.’ And so I hid from that work, and I hid from Cal’s work, and things like that. And no disrespect to Cal; Deep Work is a great book. I like it. And it took me years to finally read it, because I was like, ‘I don’t want to be shut down!’

But then about the time I was going to market for Start Finishing, a buddy emailed me and was like, ‘Hey. Yo, did you see that Jon Acuff is writing Finish, or he’s publishing Finish?’ And I was like, ‘Ah, man. Here we go again.’ But that time, I was like, ‘You know what? This is my lawn, bro.’ I’ve been doing this for a long time, man. And I’m not going to get Deep Work-ed all over again. There’s a healthy way of saying, ‘This is my turf.’ And I’m not saying that Jon can’t play in it, and Finish is a great book. He did his thing, man. But I was like, ‘You know, this is a patch of the universe that I’ve been working for a long time. And this is sort of my lawn, dude. And I got to tend my lawn. And there are people here looking at this for me.’

So I’m like, ‘Whatever Jon wrote is great. I’m going to write something different.’ And there’s four or five years of creative maturity that happened in that process, but at a certain point, you’ve got to know what your lawn is. And you’ve got to be able to stand up, and defend it, and own it, and stick with it when other people start coming on it. And understand that you can maybe share pieces of it. Maybe other people can bite into it. But fundamentally, this is your turf. Does that make sense, guys?

Rob:   Yeah. It definitely makes sense. So let’s talk a little bit about your book. We’ve mentioned it a couple times. What’s it about, and who is the ideal reader for Start Finishing?

Charlie:        The book is a bit of a Trojan Horse. Because on the wrapper, it’s about getting stuff done. It’s a productivity book. But really, what it’s about is changing your life.

And here’s why I say that: It turns out that finished projects are the bridge between your current life, your current work, and your best life, your best work, the life you most want to live. And if you’re stuck, or you’re not making the progress you want to, it’s because you’re not finishing the types of projects that are going to propel you into that best version of yourself. Because we become by doing. I didn’t come up with that; that’s Aristotelian way back to the core. Right? And so if you want to be something different, if you want to become something different, there are certain types of things that you need to be doing.

And guess what? It’s not the low-hanging fruit. It’s not the easy things. It’s not probably the things you’d find on the seven-point checklist that you downloaded from somebody else’s website. Right? It’s that work that only you can do. And who it’s for is for the creative souls out there who have a lot of ideas, and a lot of things that they want to do, but for one reason or the other, they’re not able to shape them into projects that they then get on their schedule, and get done, and roll into the next project.

Kira:  And so with this book, is there anything as you were writing it that surprised you along the way as far as you weren’t expecting, maybe, it to turn into a Trojan Horse?

Charlie:        Yeah. I kind of found out after the fact that I wrote an anti-establishment book. And it makes sense when you look at the broader arc of my career, but I didn’t necessarily set out to do it that way.

Because productivity has looked a certain way. Right? And it has been written a certain way, that it’s excluded a lot of people. It’s excluded a lot of women. It’s excluded a lot of people of color. And it’s excluded a lot of creative souls as well. Right? And no disrespect to David Alan’s work, but it’s sort of the big Thunder Lizard in the space of productivity. But I know so many creatives who can’t get through the book, because they don’t see themselves in it, and it doesn’t really speak to them. But they end up beating themselves up because they’re just like, ‘What’s wrong with me? This book is supposed to be the jam, and it just doesn’t sit with me. It doesn’t work for me. What’s wrong with me?’

And so the fundamental thing that I came out with this book and wanted to say is, ‘Look. You’re not uniquely defective. And if what you’re reading isn’t working, maybe it’s because what you’re reading isn’t working. And maybe it’s not about you.’ Right? And so I’ve been super humbled and grateful to see how many different people have shown up. And it’s like, ‘You know what? Yo, this is the first book where I feel like someone actually gets me.’ Right? And what’s going on.

And I’ll pause on this. One thing that I teach all of my clients about, and all of my readers, is that if it takes time, energy, and attention, it’s a project. And that seems like, ‘Okay. It’s a project.’ But think about how many things are going on in your personal life that are actually projects, but that you probably haven’t called ‘projects.’ And the reason that’s important is because so many people start the productivity conversation with, ‘Something’s wrong with me. I’m not getting it done.’ That same thing that I said about myself when I was 26. Right? Right? ‘I’ve got to do more. It’s not enough. I am not enough.’

But when you really catalog the work that so many people are doing in their lives, and the work so many people are doing to keep their family together, to raise kids, to create better communities, to teach young kids in Pee Wee Leagues, and be the secretary at church, and just all the things people do… We’re really getting a lot done. And we’re not actually acknowledging the work that we’re doing. And so we’re just keep trying to add on more, and more, and more. And it’s a bridge to nowhere, man.

And so it’s been really great to have so many people write me who either have illnesses, or they’re just like, ‘You know what? You’re the first person that’s said that recovering from an illness is a project, or having a chronic illness is a project, or recovering from an accident is a project. And that’s been the last three years of my life. And I’ve been beating myself up because I haven’t been quote-unquote ‘productive,’ but I’ve been in pain. And I’ve been in and out of doctors’ offices every week.’ I mean, moms… All the moms writing me. I love it! And all of the people.

That’s why I’m glad I wrote this book in the way that I wrote this book. At the end of the day, no matter what success happens, for those souls… Man, I’m here for it.

Kira:  I think it’s easy, Charlie, to listen to the interview… and in talking with you as an experienced coach, and someone who just came out with a book, your second book… to think, ‘Hey. Charlie’s got it all together. He’s got it. He’s got the answers. He’s got the philosophy and the practical side.’

So I guess I’m just curious to know where do you struggle today in your business? As someone who has built it over time that’s speaking, what does that look like? And then how do you tackle your mindset, and grow and nurture yourself, so that you can be a better coach, and serve your clients, and create more?

Charlie:        Yeah. That’s such a great question. And I’ll be the first to go on record: I do not have it all figured out. And I have many of the same struggles. And the thing about it is I knew Start Finishing was true. I know that sounds a weird way to say it, but I knew that it was right when everything I was writing about was still working on me. Right? That I was still going through the same struggle.

Especially when I talk about the air sandwich in chapter two, and the five core challenges of competing priorities. Head trash. No realistic plan. Too few resources. And poor team alignment. Man, I still struggle with those! And I figure I’m going to for the rest of my life.

Right now, so it’s hard to believe that I’m four months out of the book launch. It feels like much longer than that. But right now, there’s all of the different opportunities rolling in from the book. There’s all of the projects that the book spawned off itself, all of… I call it ‘IP farming,’ intellectual property farming, where you’ve got to build assets up around this seeds that you put out there in the world. And it’s really challenging right now, because there are different arcs that my business could take. And I unexpectedly… I thought I was a book every three or four years guy. Book every three or four years, I could do that.

But I’ll be damned if before Thanksgiving, another book was like, ‘Okay, bro. It’s time.’ I’m like, ‘What is this? What? No! No. I’ve still got two or three years of working on this book, and all of the stuff that’s from… I don’t have time for a new book!’ But when there are certain projects that pop up like that, that you know as a creative soul that you’ve just got to say ‘yes’ to. And so that’s a super big struggle right now.

And quite frankly… And I want to be honest about this… Every author that I’ve worked with, or that I’ve known of, there’s this contraction period that happens after you launch your book. Because you build up the team. You focus so much of your effort on launching the book, and your core business suffers throughout the whole time. Because you’ve just spent the last two years birthing a book, staging a book, and promoting a book. And so there are some very leaky buckets in my business right now that we’re having to fix and patch up. And the revenue is not lining up the way that I would like it to line up with. And so there are all of these sort of things that we’re having to fix right now that’s just straight up a challenge. They’re not insurmountable, but damn, I would prefer for them not to be there.

And so it’s a daily challenge… weekly challenge, more like… to be like, ‘Okay. What are my five projects? Which are the ones that matter? Damn, I’ve got seven products that I’ve been thinking about creating that are coming from this. And we just don’t have the resources to put them all together right now. How are we going to stage and sequence them? And how, as the CEO of the business, and the creative person, how am I going to be patient with the fact that we’re going to have to stage all of this over time, and it’s not going to happen as quickly as I want it? And oh, by the way, this week I’m sick and I’ve got two keynotes to deliver. And four book interviews, five client sessions.’ That sort of stuff is still there.

And so I just go back to the book. It was like, ‘Okay. What are my expectations? What can I triage? What are the competing priorities? What’s my head trash?’ And just do the work all over again. So it’s kind of like I end the book with this, I think. Yeah. I’m pretty sure. It’s like, ‘Before enlightenment, fetch water. Chop wood. After enlightenment, fetch water. Chop wood.’ Man, I’m still chopping wood and fetching water!

Rob:   Yeah. That makes total sense to me. I am sitting here thinking, ‘Okay. You’ve written the book on how to Start Finishing. You actually finished that project. It was great.’ But it’s really resonating with me when you talk about all of the projects, because I have just every day, there’s two or three new ideas. Right? ‘We should be doing this. We should create that.’ And figuring out what is the most important thing to spend those critical time blocks, or my energy, on is really, really hard.

Because a lot of the ideas could be million-dollar ideas. Or maybe it’s not measured in money; maybe it’s measured in relationships. Right? So a particular thing is going to create a better relationship, or a new opportunity. And I guess I am going to encourage people to get the book and check out the exercises that you go through there, because there really isn’t a secret to finishing other than doing the work.

Charlie:        Yeah. Absolutely. And I appreciate that. And that’s the thing, man: There’s this tension in that we, as creative souls, we’re never going to be finished with our work. Right? Because there’s always going to be something. You do a project, and it’s going to spawn off 18 others. And at the same time, it’s really important that you finish your work.

Rob:   Totally agree. Yeah. In fact, the 18 don’t happen unless you start finishing the work. The next things don’t as easily come up.

Kira:  All right, Charlie. So I just want to thank you for spending time with us, and even being so honest and vulnerable with the last question about where you are, because it helps to hear that. Especially when we look at you and we’re like, ‘Oh, this must be easy.’ Right? And we know it’s not easy, but just to hear where you are and how you’re thinking about it really helps me personally.

So let’s just remind everybody again where they can go to order your book. And then also, to find out about how they could work with you. Or maybe you could even share: What are the ways people could work with you now? Are you taking clients? Do you have any other programs available?

Charlie:        First off, Kira and Rob, thanks so much for having me on. It’s been a blast. And my, how time has flown! So again, thank you.

If you’re interested in the book, you can go to You can download a free chapter to see if it’s for you. See what other people are saying about it. And so that’s where you can go from that.

As far as clients, right now I’m on a wait list until I think… I’ve just talked to my client services manager… until about April. So if you are interested in working with me, please contact me soon, because if you contact me in April, it’s going to be July. I’m really fortunate and blessed about that. And so you can go to And you can see the different ways that I could work with clients, whether that be starting with a half-day strategy session, or just rolling into a six-month strategy execution retainer. Really, would be interested in hearing from any of you.

And fundamentally, though, if you take nothing from this interview and this question… I guess, two or three things, if I may. One: You’re not uniquely defective. There’s nothing fundamentally broken or wrong with you that you can’t figure out how to create the pathways towards the life you want to live and the work you want to do. Two: That project, or those ideas, that you’ve tucked away into the closet of your soul… Next week, or within the next week, touch into that, and see what you can do to start pulling it out and giving it the light of the day. And three: As Rob mentioned, there’s not a real secret to this except for doing the work, finishing, finding the meaning in that, rolling into it, and doing it again.

Kira:  Wow! All right, Charlie. Thank you so much, and even just for summarizing that. I am a fan. And I’m just so glad we had time to chat with you today, so thank you.

Rob:   Yeah. Thank you so much.

Charlie:        Thanks, guys.

You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available on iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes, and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit We’ll see you next episode.




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