TCC Podcast 181: The Biggest Take Aways from TCCIRL 2020 - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast 181: The Biggest Take Aways from TCCIRL 2020

In the 181st episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob talk about what happened at TCCIRL—the best event we’ve held yet. Several speakers stepped up at the last minute, others brought their A-game and shared ideas and stories that have changed the businesses of the 130+ copywriters who were there. We talk about:
•  the earthquake, the virus and the economic response to it
•  why we can’t afford to operate from a place of fear no matter what is going on
•  why TCCIRL felt “better” this year than in the past
•  the speakers who had less than 48 hours to get stage ready
•  a few of the speakers who really stood out to us
•  what Jasmine Star taught us about scaling a business
•  the hero’s journey and what marketers miss when they talk about it
•  some of the advice that came out of the panel discussions
•  how to think about branding from the standpoint of authenticity
•  the power of constraints to make us more creative
•  why its important to think about your role as a human asset, not just a copywriter
•  what you should do differently during a recession
•  why the Copywriter Think Tank is about and the transformation members see

If you can’t get enough of what happened at TCCIRL or you want more information about The Copywriter Think Tank, click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.


The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

The Copywriter Think Tank
Mike Kim
Dana Malstaff
Marcella Allison
Ray Edwards
Jasmine Star
Jamie Jensen
Tanya Geisler
Linda Perry
Lindsay Hotmire
Justin Blackman
Matt Hall
Gin Walker
Bond Halbert
Stefan Georgi
Sam Woods
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground


Full Transcript:

Rob:   So, we do not have an intro for this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast because it’s just me and Kira chatting about what went down over the last week or so at The Copywriter Club In Real Life. And so yeah, we just wanted to jump in and share some of our biggest takeaways, what happened and express our gratitude for some things that happened. And reflect a little bit on the magic that we got to experience last week.

Kira:  Well it’s not just me and you, it’s me and you and the earthquake.

Rob:   So, we did have an earthquake here this morning, so hopefully-

Kira:  No biggy.

Rob:   The power will stay on long enough to make sure that everything here is good. But yeah, it’s been kind of a crazy morning Kira while it’s been not just the morning, right? With the virus, with everything that’s going on it’s a crazy, a lot of things.

Kira:  And Rob is kind of downplaying the earthquake like, ‘Oh, it’s just a little earthquake.’ It was a big one and with several follow-up tremors. I don’t speak earthquake language because I live on the East Coast, we don’t have earthquakes here typically. But can you just share, I mean these are big earthquakes that you experienced today.

Rob:   Yeah, the first big one that we felt this morning was like a 5.7 on the Richter scale, which is-

Kira:  It’s a big deal.

Rob:   It’s big enough to knock down walls and there’s definitely been a little bit of damage. They closed the airport because of some water main breakage, they had to evacuate I think the tower. I’m not sure if there was any damage there, but I’m far enough away from the epicenter that I’ve walked around my house, there’s no damage to our house and there are no fatalities reported, no injuries. So while it could have certainly been worse and maybe someday a worse earthquake will happen here. We survived this one. But it is freaky when the ground starts moving, when everything in your house starts to shake and it’s happened seven or eight times this morning of the ones that we could feel. And yeah. So, who knows? Like if you hear a rumble in the background while we’re chatting here, it could be another aftershock going on and on and I’ll just dive under my desk.

Kira:  That’d be cool footage to have. I experienced my first mini earthquake this past summer in Bali in the middle of the night and it was a baby earthquake. It was probably nothing even compared to what you experienced today. But it was my first really my first one. And it was terrifying even though it was just a little shake, shake and we did exactly what you’re not supposed to do because we haven’t experienced it before. We ran out of the building, which you’re not supposed to do because debris could fall. So you probably know the etiquette of how you’re supposed to react but it was a terrifying experience. And I know we also wrote recently about earthquakes in one of our promo emails for the event and we talked about the big earthquake coming and potentially harming your city. So anyway hoping that you stay safe. And I’m just wondering Rob how are you staying so like cool and calm and collected now that we’ve kind of gone through the event ordeal of the stress around the event and just squeezing that in before all events were canceled. Then coming back home, dealing with the Coronavirus and everything being shut down and now the earthquake, like how are you just staying focused because it might be helpful to other people who are struggling.

Rob:   Yeah. Well I wish I had a really good answer for that. I mean, first of all you said, you’re not supposed to run out of the building. It’s funny because we know that and yet when your house starts shaking, like the last thing you want to do is stay in the house because you don’t want the roof to fall on you. You’re supposed to get underneath your desk or underneath the table or whatever. But my first reaction was like, grab the girl’s head for the front door.

Kira:  Yeah. Get me out of here.

Rob:   Yeah, exactly. So at that fight or flight is a really powerful response and I think a lot of people are feeling that with everything that’s going on in the world, not just like the immediate physical threat of something like an earthquake, but the fight or flight response to the virus to the things that are happening to the economy in response to the virus. It’s very likely going to become a recession here in the States and it already, like the indicators show that, that’s starting to happen. So we all want to flight from that. Like we want to get away from it.

And so we try to hide and bury ourselves maybe we’re being quiet and that’s exactly the wrong response. Like, we still need to be showing up. We still need to be there because our clients need leadership, our clients needs stability, and if we can be there to help and support them that’s part of our role as service providers, as copywriters, as ideal people to help them through it and to give them ideas for it.

So yeah, how have I been handling it all? Well, I took a couple of hours to kind of stop shaking or have my heart rate come down from the earthquake this morning. But the reality is that we can only move forward, panic is the wrong response. And we posted something in the Facebook group about that yesterday and hopefully people will respond to that with leadership, with compassion for everyone around them but still showing up and doing everything that we can to support our clients, to support the people around us.

We’re certainly going to be trying to do that more in The Copywriter Underground in the big Copywriter Club group itself with members of our Think Tank. To the extent that we can that’s where our efforts are going to be going.

Kira:  I think it’s a really good practice and not operating from a place of fear. And I think even going into our event pre-event when the Coronavirus was just starting to spread and we were like, what are we going to do? Our event’s coming up. Are we going to lose people? We’re going to lose speakers. I feel like I had to keep kind of going back to that mindset and telling myself I will not operate from a place of fear with this event. We will move forward; we will figure it out and problem solve. And now I feel like that was good practice just coming back to the real life and everything we’re dealing with now with schools shutting down and everything really shutting down.

So, but I do feel like it’s a good thing to not operate from a place of fear in your business and in your life, but also to forgive yourself when you do, because we’re human. And that’s kind of where we go back to. Just like you said, running out of the building, even if you’re not supposed to. It doesn’t make sense that we’re only human and that’s programmed into us. So I think at this point, like I’m trying to be very gentle with myself this week, especially. Because I find myself being really hard on myself. I’m like, ‘Why aren’t you getting more done? Why aren’t you being more fun with your kids? Why aren’t you…’ A lot of pressure and so I think it’s easy just to … Well, it’s not easy, but we should just give ourselves a little bit more grace during this period.

Rob:   Yeah. And I think leading out in this way people appreciate it. So we could have canceled TCC IRL this year we could have postponed it. Neither one of those would have been our preferred way to move forward obviously, but I was amazed at how many people came in spite of all of the craziness going on around us. And so many people who came said that they really needed this, that with all of the things going on with the fear, with everything that we’re reading in the news, that it was good to get together with a group of people who could share how they’re feeling about that, but also to put it behind them just a little bit and to explore new ideas for their business and to move forward. So if the conference had been scheduled for a week later, I don’t think there’s any way that it would have happened.

Rob:   There’s no way that we would have had everybody show up. And so we were fortunate that we might’ve been the last conference in America to actually be held and be successful. But so many people came more than once we started hearing about the closures, the potential of, of closures. We expected that we would lose some people. That I was actually really pleasantly surprised how many people decided to come in spite of all that craziness and how everybody felt. I think the comradery of the event just helps everybody get through it all. And so to be able to project that to our clients and to the people around us, I think is a really important thing for all of us moving forward.

Kira:  Yeah, and you’re right. When we held the event last week, we were still allowed in California, I was in San Diego to hold events with less than 200 people. And because ours was less than 200 people, we were fine. And so we did squeeze in but yeah, only a couple of days later they changed that and now you cannot hold an event with more than 10 people. So that’s a quite a drastic change in less than a week. And so you’re right, like we did squeeze in I was frustrated before the event, like selfishly in my own bubble like, ‘This is happening to our event. This really stinks.’ We put so much time and effort into this and now I just feel lucky that we were able to fit it in because you and I were going to go no matter what, even if we had to drive to San Diego and even if it was just the two of us hanging out a couple of days in the hotel, we were going to do it.

And we were just like, let’s see everyone can make that decision or themselves and decide what is best for their families, for them personally for their business. And we’ll just see who shows up. And you’re right. I’m surprised how many people did show up. I thought everyone was going to drop it in the 11th hour. So for me it was my favorite event out of all three and I think it’s fair to choose a favorite. This was totally the favorite. I don’t even know how we can create that type of magic again because of the situation. And I don’t want to have to create that again because I don’t want this type of situation again and this stress. But it was definitely a special place to be in our little bubble before going back to our real lives and dealing with all the stresses that are at home.

Rob:   Yeah, you’re right. I mean, there really truly was something magical about this particular rendition of TCC IRL. And I hope that we can recreate that in future years that it continues to get better and better. But it may have been the fact that we were going forward in the surroundings. It may also have been that we had a few people step up and offer to fill spaces for a few of the speakers who had to cancel for various reasons. And we certainly don’t blame anybody who decided to stay away. Everybody has to look out for their family and there are a few people who had little kids or pregnancies or things happening in their business that they ultimately, they couldn’t make it. But we had a few people step up and offer to speak and we had a couple of people in our back pocket already because we over schedule and we knew that we had some other opportunities and the speakers who stepped in were phenomenal.

In fact, we’ll talk about the speakers here in just a second, but like I had heard one person say that after the first speaker spoke that she had easily had her money’s worth and that everything else in the event would be gravy after that point. And I actually felt the same thing. Like the speakers stepped in, did an amazing job, they brought just so much knowledge and really helped make sure that the events stayed at a really high premium level. We didn’t have to cut back on anything really, even though we had lost some speakers that we were really excited about.

Kira:  Yeah. And we have to say, like the speakers we’re talking about that stepped up, we asked them to speak on our stage within 24 hours of them speaking on the stage. Maybe one of them had 48 hours to prepare, but it was really last minute. And luckily they speak on stage regularly, so they were ready to do it and kind of equipped and they rocked it, but we didn’t give them a heads up and they all just were like, sure. Like if I will happily do it and I’m going to go all in. And they even presented and like presented new content to even running old presentations. Like they prepared new content for this event. So I do think we should give some shout outs to those people who stepped up in the 11th hour. The first one was Mike Kim.

So I had met Mike on his podcast recently when I was interviewed on his podcast and because he lives in D.C. and I live in D.C. I’ve forced him to become my friend and invited him to the event. He said he would come to the event. So we knew he was already there as an attendee and we also knew that he is this sought after speaker and great onstage. And so when we started to lose speakers, we asked Mike within 24 hours of speaking and he graciously said yes and then played such a big role in the entire event. Not only did he speak on stage he also showed up to our implementation day for our VIP day and taught at the VIP day and was out and about at the bars late night with me, like we were playing Jenga. And so he played such a huge role in this event and he didn’t have to do any of it. So I definitely appreciate Mike Kim right now.

Rob:   Yeah, he was awesome. Another one who has been part of our community and has been a mentor for a long time has really been an advocate for our business in other masterminds we’ve been in was Marcella Allison. She stepped up at the last minute, did a really different kind of presentation where there was a creative free write and talked about writing rituals and pulled together showed her a writing alter and how she gets started every morning. And there was a point at which people were sharing parts of their free write and there was more than one person who was in tears listening to what came out of that creative exercise. It was really, really cool to be part of that. And so we owe Marcella a debt of gratitude for a lot of things, but we were just really grateful that she was willing jump in and fill a space at the last minute as part of the event.

Kira:  And also, Marcella hosted a breakfast for Titanides which is her mentoring group for women. And so she put in a lot of work to host that morning event for the women at our event as an option. And like you said, she’s been a big advocate for us and vice versa we’re big advocates of what she’s creating with Titanides. So if you are interested in Titanides it’s definitely worth checking out that mentorship program too.

Rob:   Yup. And then another person who’s stepped up and really filled in a big hole was Dana Malstaff, Dana is the founder of Boss Mom she runs an amazing community of working moms. And she came in and shared some amazing content about content and the kinds of content that you want to be sharing with your audience. Maybe it’s in a Facebook group or maybe it’s via email, however it is that you engage with the audience. But she talked about the content types being able to give permission for things that people are failing at. And giving them permission to not have to show up and be perfect or content that’s based around clout building and training, and then making recommendations for other kinds of things that might serve your audience that are not necessarily your own products.

And then content on how to ask. And she went through all of this in a really detailed way to make it sense. And then laid out an email strategy for how to actually put that content to use in email or social media. It was a really, really good presentation and I think resonated with a lot of people who are at the event trying to figure out what are the very best ways to engage with their audiences or to help their clients engage with their clients audiences.

Kira:  Yeah. And she was the first speaker of the first day, so there’s a lot of pressure. I feel like Dana is just confident and cool or Dana is just confident and cool and just stepped right into it. But it’s an important speaking spot and she was the one who people were like, ‘Yeah, this event is totally worth it.’ Just from her presentation, I could walk away and go to the bar now and this was worth it. So I’m so impressed by her. We’re working with her now behind the scenes because she understands Evergreen sequences and content and memberships and has so much knowledge to share. So it was great to see her share it with the entire community at the event as we’re working with her behind the scenes.

Rob:   Yeah. So what other speakers like really stood out to you? What were some of your favorite topics and what was covered Kira?

Kira:  Well, I just also wanted to add one note before we get into speakers is that we had a surprise guest that I feel like I want to mention because as we were losing in attendees I feel like every time I opened my email before the event, it was like another attendee who couldn’t make it. And again, for good reasons, they all had really great reasons not to attend. And then finally we’re at the event and we had this pleasant surprise when Mike Kim told us that his good friend and our mentor, Ray Edwards was going to show up. He was just going to fly down from Spokane and hang out and come to the event. And so it was just such a nice silver lining because there had been so many blows to the event and the agenda we had set.

And then all of a sudden Ray Edwards was attending and he showed up with some of his team members and came to the VIP dinner and hung out and attended the first day and was in the room with us. So that was just a nice surprise and just felt so supportive to have him there as we were kind of dealing with all of the crisis with this event. So thank you Ray Edwards if you’re listening.

Rob:   Yeah, thanks Ray for showing up and we were hoping to maybe fit him into our afternoon schedule, and we had an email miscommunication. And so unfortunately, we weren’t able to get him into the event, but maybe we can do that at a future event and have Ray participate in a bigger way because it was truly an honor to have him there. Okay. So, what really stood out to you, Kira?

Kira:  Okay. So what stood out to me, I’ve got to go with Jasmine Star and I have to say like I was in unlike you, I was in and out of the room during presentations because we were managing stuff behind the scenes. So, I didn’t hear everyone or the entire presentation from everyone, but I got a glimpse of most of them. Jasmine Star was kicking off our second day. So, she was the keynote for the second day, and I’ve seen her present before. She’s a client I’ve worked with before. I’ve watched her business take off with her membership programs, social curator. And so, when Rob and I were talking before the event about themes for the event, one theme that kept popping up was how to scale your business, how to grow your business. And she’s the person I think of when I think about truly scaling your business.

And so just to have her at the event and to have her sign on to speak at the event was a huge win in itself because I’d asked her last year too, and she couldn’t make it. And so the content that she delivered was all new. She developed it just for us and just for our event. It was the first time she talked about really how she’s pivoted in her business and grown into what the business looks today. And she really talked about behind the scenes how she thinks through her business growth. And because she’s such a phenomenal speaker, I mean there were moments where I was just tearing up and shaking and just the whole room was with her in that moment.

And specifically I think the messages I took away from her were just, create a business based of what your clients and customers are asking you for. Let that be your guide. Forget about what you want for a second and what you think they need, but really listen to what they’re asking you for and what they need and continue to pivot and don’t be afraid of pivoting until you get to a good place. And even when you get to a good place, you continue to listen to them and you continue to deliver what they want in the offers you create. And it seems so obvious, but I’ve seen her do it and she’s running million dollar business now. And I think we get tripped up often and we don’t get it right. We don’t actually create our offers based off what people are asking us for. We get in our own way.

Rob:   Yeah. Her presentation was awesome and the Q&A where people are asking specific questions about her journey. And even a little bit about social media, I was also really informative. Another speaker that really just brought down the house, at least for me was Jamie Jensen. Jamie talked about the hero’s journey and how most people talk about the hero’s journey they leave out the most important steps and that is the crisis, the death that has to come before a resurrection happens. She talked about it in context of her business overcoming the fear of failure. But she shared a really personal story that literally had people like in tears. Again, and something that she’s still struggling with more than a year later.

But how that getting through really hard things about experiencing grief is actually part of the process of winning that you actually have to lose in order to grow. And then you actually have to experience death, sometimes very literally death in order to move forward in your business. And it was a really nice look at the reality of the hero’s journey and not necessarily the marketer’s hero’s journey, but the hero’s journey of life. And I just really appreciated how personal her presentation was for everyone in the room.

Kira:  Yeah. She kind of went into the dark side of what a lot of us don’t typically talk about, especially in relation to business and she went there and opened up and it was completely vulnerable. And for anyone who’s known Jamie for a while and has seen her transformation over time, it was helpful to kind of understand what was happening behind the scenes and her life and her business and how that did reflect what had to die in her business, what did die in her business and the rebirth process. It was a really hard presentation at times to listen to not because it’s such a hard topic. And for many of us, even if we know that, that’s a process we have to move through in order to transform it’s hard to face that, right?

Especially the concept of death in our business it’s challenging, but I think she did such a great job of opening up that conversation so we can think about it differently and at least be open to what it means and what it could mean in our future. Because again, it’s not easy to think about it, it’s not fun. It doesn’t feel good, but it’s the reality of life and relationships and business.

Rob:   Yeah, for sure.

Kira:  Okay. So, I’m also thinking about, we had three different panel discussions this year. Compared to last year, we only had one and I loved all of the panel discussions. We had great lineup of people. We’re not going to list off all the names of everyone on those panels, but we had one hosted by Tanya Geisler who is definitely one of our favorite podcast guests who’s been on twice and talked about the imposter complex. And Tanya led the conversation discussion around the impostor complex and just really like the mindset challenges that we all deal with the head trash that we all deal with in our businesses and projects.

And I feel like she … Tanya was like the best person to lead that discussion and really get in there and help us understand that we’re not alone dealing with it and also that there are ways we can cope and deal with the impostor complex. And so I just felt like it was such a fun cast of characters and copywriters on the stage from such different backgrounds. But there were just a lot of funny light moments as we were talking about some heavy topics with that group of people.

Rob:   Yeah, that was a really good discussion in some ways it was… I’m not usually a fan of panel discussions and that’s probably why we didn’t have so many last year because I pushed back against them. But Tanya-

Kira:  What happened this year?

Rob:   You pushed right back at me this year. Tanya’s discussion was great, our pricing discussion in the more sort of the early morning, we did a very early panel discussion at about 7:30 on Friday and that one was also really well done. The conversations there about how to price your packages, how do you market yourself? That was a great discussion. As well. So yeah the panel discussions this year definitely really good. I’m not going to push back quite as hard next year. If you say we need a panel discussion I’ve learned my lesson.

Kira:  Yeah. I think there are a lot of really good insider info that comes out of those conversations. And even with the one you’re mentioning, the early morning one about sales and marketing and pricing because we get so many questions about that. A good takeaway that came out of that for me, was that we really as copywriters we are able to pad our timelines. We can do that, we can give ourselves extra time when we package up our services and create proposals. And some of the panelists were mentioning you should give yourself an extra week when you think about your timeline. And that’s something I feel like oftentimes we’re just so ready to undercut our time just to close a deal. And so that conversation for me at least gave me that freedom to think about just giving ourselves more space to do the work and not feeling like we have to just bend to the client in our projects.

Rob:   Yeah, for sure. So I also want to mention we reserve a few spots on our stage for members of the Think Tank who are developing speeches and they want to get out in front of more people. And the members of the Think Tank who presented this year were awesome. Linda Perry talked about mindset she’s famous for that. She’s been on the podcast to talk about that and it’s presented in The Copywriter Club Group a couple of times. But she talked about the three stories that we tell ourselves that really keep us from finding the success that we should be experiencing. The idea that I’m not like that person who is already succeeding or is already doing the things that I want to be doing. So we give ourselves these excuses for not doing what other people do. She also talked about the story that we’re not ready. Or the thing that I’m doing is not ready. I don’t know enough, I haven’t experienced enough and how the that’s rooted in this needs to feel perfect and to stay away from failure and how it holds us back.

And then also maybe the most common story of all that we all tell ourselves, I don’t have money. I don’t I don’t have money to invest or I can’t move forward because I don’t have the thing. Rather than telling ourselves stories about how do we get the money in order to be able to do the things that we want. Again, like we started talking about on the podcast today, operating from a place of fear rather than from a place of abundance and figuring out how to solve the problems as opposed to fight or flight, running away from the problems. It was a really a great presentation and something that I think a lot of the people who were there were glad to hear.

Kira:  Yeah. And I know we can’t mention every single Think Tank member that spoke on our stage and they were all so good. But another one that stands out to me is Lindsay Hotmire. Our Think Tank member and Lindsay and I were both at Shine Bootcamp in Toronto in September. And so Shine Bootcamp is for women who want to speak on stage and need some training and support. So it was fun for me to see Lindsay at the bootcamp months ago and she was great on stage then, but to see how she’s taken that presentation and just totally taken it to the next level I feel like she’s just such a natural storyteller and has this gift on the stage that’s just really inspiring. Especially for other presenters like me who want to get better. And it’s great to look at people like Lindsay and Jasmine to see like how we can grow as presenters.

And she was a lot of what the conversation and marketing around a lot of the formulas and frameworks that are thrown out there about branding. And she just challenged all of us to really approach branding and being authentic in our market from a different viewpoint with some really solid examples. And a good process and some great questions to ask like, why am I here? What’s gone wrong with the world? What can we do to fix it? What is my why and what’s missing from my market? And so she gave us some powerful questions to start thinking about how we can truly be different in the marketplace and then the inspiration, she motivated me to want to do that.

Rob:   Yeah, I agree. I thought Lindsay’s presentation was really, really good. And watching how she’s changed her business over the last year because she wasn’t a Think Tank and we’ve been able to see that and seeing how that message has crystallized into what she shared at the event was really gratifying. But also the takeaways from it and how to rethink our approach to the world. How do we show up in a way that’s authentic and consistent with the change that we want to see was really, really good. I know you said we can’t mention all of the Think Tank members I spoke, but I’m going two mention to others just anyway, and just maybe briefly touch on what they shared.

So Justin Blackman talked about embracing constraints as part of the creative process. His presentation was really funny. He’s obviously a comedian at heart, but what he shared about embracing constraints and putting that to work to make us more creative as opposed to a fleeing from constraints and thinking that they hold us back. I was eye opening in a lot of ways and something they think a lot of creatives really could benefit from hearing.

Kira:  Well, and if you look at our entire event this year, it didn’t register until his presentation, but we were dealing with multiple constraints when preparing as we got closer to TCC In Real Life as some of our we lost speakers and our agenda changed. We definitely dealt with some constraints and at first it felt like it was this huge blow. But in the end it allowed us to just reshape the event and look for other opportunities and like turn up the social aspects so people had time together. So I definitely, that registered after we’ve dealt with the event planning process too.

Rob:   Yeah. I also want to mention Matt Hall’s presentation. His was a little bit different. It was aimed maybe at somebody who was a little bit more in house but talking about how to think bigger, how to do better, to not necessarily think of yourself as the copywriter role that you were hired to fill, but rather that you are hired as a human asset for our business and how can you make yourself even more valuable to the business owner in order to your own career. And so he shared examples from his own career, but really talked about, how we need to think about ourselves differently in whatever role we are so that we’re contributing and adding value in a really big way.

He also talked a lot about that personal brand message, how do we show up as a steward of our own brand message or as a steward of the brand that we’re working for. He had a lot of really good things to share. I wish we had time to go through the all.

Kira:  Yup. And also, Jen Walker was our other Think Tank member who wrapped up the entire event. I think the last presenter at the event, it’s always the hardest, most challenging position, especially with our events where we’ve really cram in so much content, but we knew that Jen Walker would be the best person to wrap up the entire event because of her energy and her ability to just kind of run a stage. She is an actress and so she knows how to work the stage. And so Jen wrapped up by reminding us just what it takes to really build and grow and kind of just like mold and slide as things change in your business and you need to create a new plan.

And a big part of her talk was about the role of community, which of course we felt that value of community just being at the event and the power of like being in the room and connecting on a social level as well and how important that is and the role it’s played in her business and how we all have the opportunity. There’s not just one community you can create micro communities and various communities that will help support your clients to where you can truly like serve them in a new way. And we all have the opportunity to create a community.

Rob:   Yeah. Jen was so funny, so funny like I was laughing, my sides were hurting and she started her presentation and yeah, she was another one who kind of rolled with it. She initially was going to present with a second person who had to drop out unfortunately. And Jen just rolled with the changes and made that presentation hers and just really brought down the house. It was the perfect way to end the conference. There were definitely other speakers that stood out and lots of people that we should still mention, although we probably can’t go through everything that-

Kira:  We need to stop.

Rob:   Yeah, we’ve got to stop at some point, but I do want to say like Bond Halbert came back and he shared a lot of lessons from his copywriting journey. Stefan Georgi who we’ve had on the podcast, he came and spoke about headlines and how do you know when you’ve got a really good headline? His presentation was copywriting base and really good as well. I’m trying to think-

Kira:  Kirsty [crosstalk 00:35:50]

Rob:   Kirsty was awesome. Yeah Kirsty talked about persuasion and that psychology stuff that she does so well was great. Tyler as well. Yeah. So many really good presentations. We will have them ready and available if people want to watch these, if they weren’t not able to come to the event for some reason we will make them available to people in the next week or two. Just as soon as the video editors are done with them.

Kira:  And also Sam Woods I feel like a lot of people referred back to Sam Wood’s presentation too. And just how Sam Woods has a very unique style where he just tells you directly like what he thinks and he has so much experience from his agency that he can be direct and he does have a lot to teach and to share. And so I feel like Sam was just like dropping bombs in his presentation and like opening our eyes to just totally new perspectives throughout his entire presentation.

Rob:   Yeah, Sam showed up as the contrarian. It was almost like everything that you’ve been told by everybody else here is a wrong slash not wrong, but here’s a different way to look at everything. And I think it was eye opening for a lot of people who saw it and maybe made people think about their approach to their own businesses and how they want to move forward.

Kira:  All right, cool. And we didn’t, of course, talk about our presentations at all, but I do want to hear a little bit more about yours in a bit at least because you did change your presentation relatively last minute to talk about the recession which was timely and is timely. And so we could touch on just a couple of those bullets for you because that could be relevant today for all of us.

Rob:   Sure. I’m happy to share some of that. So I shared seven things that we should be doing as copywriters to not just like muddle through the recession, but to truly like move forward and hopefully grow while we move through what looks like could be tough trying times for the next couple of weeks, maybe even months. And who knows how long some of it could last, but a lot of that advice was just like fixing the things in your business that need fixing. I recommended that people raise their prices and that’s really counterintuitive, I think. In a recession, people usually you think, ‘People don’t want to spend money or can’t afford to spend money.’ And so we should be cutting prices.

But the price that you have on your services, on your product sends a really powerful message. And if even in a recession, if it’s a low price, you’re communicating something about the value and low price tends to equal cheap. Not always, but it can. And so raising your prices, even in a recession can be a really powerful signal to your market. That one, you do good work and it’s worth paying for even when things are hard to pay for. And two, that you’re not panicking you’ve got enough work coming your way that you don’t need to reduce your prices in order to continue to bring in customers.

I think I also talked a little bit about the stories that we tell around our businesses and I shared a couple of examples of the illustrate that, but the setting that we find ourselves in impacts the kind of work that we do. And so if you’re showing up on Upwork that’s a very different setting than maybe on your own website or if you’re sharing and solving problems in public, in groups that it all really just can impact the way that you’re perceived by your clients. [inaudible 00:39:36] share more about that maybe in a future or near episode.

Kira:  Sounds good. Okay. So as we wrap up, we want to talk a bit about what happens next and even just like what we’re focused on and how we can potentially work with you or other copywriters too. So what we do every year is we kickoff our Think Tank mastermind group every year at the event. It’s a great opportunity to kind of start fresh and work with new copywriters and business owners. So part of that was kicking that off. And right now we’re really excited to pull together this group because it really is about the community we’re building like the micro community within this mastermind component to create the right experience for everyone in that group.

So we’ll give you a little bit of information about that to see if it’s of interest to you. Because we are looking for the right types of business owners in that group over the next two or three weeks. So Rob, why don’t you kick it off and just give us a quick overview of what the Think Tank is really about. Like what type of transformation we really create in the Think Tank.

Rob:   Yeah. So the Think Tank, like you just said, is our mastermind group. It goes for 12 months for those who were at the event and felt that comradery and felt that community felt what it’s like to learn together and to do things, think bigger about your business. That’s the kind of thing that we try to replicate in the mastermind moving forward. So it’s a really good way to start the implementation of that kind of thinking, up leveling your business and then getting some feedback from you and me as well as other members of the group and just to keep going on. And so if you’re in your business and you’re thinking about, ‘Okay I need to grow my business in some way, I need to be doing something differently.’ Maybe it’s because of what you see happening in the economy today. Maybe it’s because you’ve got a dream that you’ve been wanting to do on your own and need some feedback or support you.

Maybe you want to start a course. Maybe you want to write a book. Maybe you want to start a membership. Maybe you want to grow an agency or a micro agency or explore different ways of running your business. Maybe there are products that you want to launch. These are all things that we’ve seen people explore and do in previous years and Think Tank. Even if it’s just I’m running a copywriting business that’s moderately successful and I want to figure out how to make it even more successful, it can be even a dream that simple. That’s really what the Think Tank is geared to help copywriters achieve. So we start out by helping set goals and trying to figure out what each individual member needs.

It is definitely a group of copywriters, but everybody has their own individual goals that they’re working towards and sharing ideas and supporting each other. And that’s kind of the magic that makes it work. You may be the only person who was trying to set up a brand consultancy or you might be the only person creating this particular kind of a project. But when you see all of the other things that other people are doing, it kind of expands the level of thinking and you may change your product a little bit to include something else or you may narrowing your focus on the thing that you are doing because how you see other people doing their projects and their work. So, it’s a 12 month program. We bring together copywriters who are already doing relatively well in their business.

We hope that people have about at least $5,000 a month income coming in kind of as a baseline. This is not something that people can just join we do interviews with everyone to make sure that they’re not just a fit from a business standpoint. But also, culturally we want to make sure that the kind of sharing that happens in the group is good and that nobody’s you want to overtake the conversation or anything like that. Like we really want to be careful and make sure that it stays a really powerful group dynamic. We do hot seats and trainings and maybe the most important component is the in person get togethers and we may have to make some adjustments on that with some of the limitations in travel right now. But it’s something that we’re still committed to.

Kira:  You know, a lot of the feedback we’ve received from previous members, because we’ve ran this group, I mean, now it’s been, this is the fourth cohort. So, we’ve really figured out what works, what actually helps, what doesn’t help and we’ve pivoted every single time we launched this mastermind. And even when we’re in it, when people, the members are like, ‘Hey, this could be really helpful, or this is less useful.’ We take that feedback really seriously and we continue to modify it so that it’s really like an ecosystem that works for every single member where they get enough personal feedback from us and there’s a lot of one on two mentoring and strategizing and creating ideas with us. But then there’s also this community aspect where we help facilitate those conversations with the group on a regular basis. So, it’s kind of like a really nice blend of one-on-one support and coaching along with the community aspect. And sharing those resources.

But the part most people have said they love the most are in person retreats. I think that’s something that we do really well. We know how to run a retreat; we know how to run it well and we choose really fun locations that our members want to travel to and that we want to travel to. So, Rob’s right, while we may have to think through it creatively and adjust dates, we are set to have three different retreats in person over the next year for this group. And that is where the biggest transformations happen. And we can bring in speakers and we run our own in-house workshops and we also have the social component of just getting to know each other and support each other and an element that’s not so formal. And we can really kind of kick back and get, talk about a lot of the hard stuff too that we wouldn’t necessarily talk about online.

So that’s my favorite part. And I think if you’re wondering if this is for you, it’s oftentimes a good opportunity for someone who has plateaued in their business and they just feel stuck. They’ve been successful, but like they don’t know what to do next to go to that next level. Or someone who’s pivoting and needs to help with that pivot and you don’t quite know what that looks like and you need support along the way. Or like Rob mentioned, if you just have that growth and you’re actually moving at a good pace and things are going well, but you know, you could possibly accelerate the growth and that could be a really good fit for you.

And then also someone who maybe has some success but is killing themselves and hustling and working crazy hours. Many of us have been there and you want to stop doing that and figure out another way to actually have a life and not just have business all the time and focus on work all the time. So those are kind of like different opportunities for the people who are thinking about the mastermind as far as next steps if someone is interested, what should they do Rob?

Rob:   So, if they’re interested, they should reach out to you or me, probably you since you’re the one that schedules our follow-up calls with them. But we really just want to have a discussion with people who might be interested. See where you are in your business, we can tell you a little bit more, answer your questions if this is the right thing for you now. We’re not going to hard pitch anybody in fact, we were told we should have hard pitched at our event and we didn’t do that. Not because we don’t think that people should join but just because if you’re not feeling the need for this, if you haven’t been thinking, ‘I do want to do something different in my business.’ Then you’re probably not quite ready. But if you’ve got that niggling idea in the back of your head and it’s like, ‘I could be doing something differently or maybe my processes aren’t quite right or I need to be exposed to more ideas.’ That person, I think maybe a really good fit and so you want to reach out to one of us and let’s schedule a call and just about it.

And if you’re a fit, we can give you a little bit more information on how to sign up. And if it’s not a fit for right now maybe you’re a candidate for next year or sometime later or we’ll be honest and we’ll just let you know that you may be you’re a better fit for something like the accelerator or for the underground. But we’d love to have a discussion, a conversation just about whether it’s right for you or not.

Kira:  Yeah. And part of the whole, like we didn’t pitch it hard at the event, part of it’s also because again, this is our fourth time doing it and this is not a huge group of people. So we’re looking for 25ish like max for this group. So it’s not something that we need to promote heavily to our list. Like we’re looking for the right people and we’ll reach out to a lot of the right people and see who is interested in it. I do think we should run through some of the features because we’re copywriters mean we need to talk about some of the features which we’ve already mentioned a couple, but there are a few that we’ve missed.

So as far as like, ‘Hey, what will I actually get as a member of The Copywriter Think Tank beyond the transformation and going from really feeling more like a freelancer to becoming legit business owner?’ You’ll get what we already mentioned, access to three in person Think Tank retreats. You’ll also have access to us with personalized one-on-one coaching calls, strategy calls, you get six of those throughout the entire year. We’re also anyone who knows us, knows that we’re generous and when people get stuck, we oftentimes just jump on a call and provide extra support along the way because we know that’s helpful. But you also get hot seat group calls on a regular basis. So you can talk through any big challenges with a group and it’s not just the two of us. You could get the minds of 25 other copywriters and also because our members last year really wanted to connect in a more informal way on a regular basis. Since we’re all online, that connection is so important. We actually added something new and we connect with our group every other week in a casual water cooler session. It’s just 30 minutes.

We all jump on. If you’re available, you jump on. If you’re not, it’s no big deal. And it’s just a way for us to all connect and kind of share what’s going on in more of a fun, casual atmosphere. So, you can just kind of hear about this stuff that’s not necessarily always business-related, but just what people are dealing with. And that’s where the friendships really form too and those frequent calls and connections and again, we add anything that’s relevant and we feel like would be useful based off the feedback of our members. What else is added?

Rob:   We also bring in a few experts, speakers from time to time. We don’t do it every month, but we do find people to help with the needs that members might have. And so when we’ve reached out in the past to bring in people who help us focusing on sales copy, right? Or help us think about the customer experience of the things that we are providing. So we do bring in guest experts from time to time to help with that. A lot of masterminds are just hot seat focused and we’re definitely a lot more than that. We want to make sure that we’re always providing new ideas, new ways of looking at your business new things to try out. And so you can count on a number of those as well. And part of that also happens at the in-person retreats where we bring in an expert or two sometimes to present workshops and to help us think through a workshop, different areas of our business.

Kira:  You also get feedback on your copy so that can change your business, especially with confidence building, I know that changed my business when I had my copy critiqued in a mastermind and felt confident to start to raise my rates. So that’s something that we do as a group and the Think Tank. And then you also have the opportunity to have some critiques from us as well. And then we’ll give you the ticket, VIP ticket to our big event next year, which will be in Charleston, South Carolina next March. And so you get a ticket automatically. And because we believe in helping copywriters build their authority and speak on stage for the ones who are interested in that, we also reserve certain speaking spots for our Think Tank members to apply to speak on our stage. And in the ones who did this past year were amazing, like all five of them.

And it would have been a couple more to that. We had invited that couldn’t make it, but they all just rocked the stage. So that’s a big part of just helping an any way we can provide media opportunities, whether it’s speaking or being interviewed on our podcast when it’s a good fit or speaking on our stage or running webinars together. There’s no set formula or promise for that. But we’re constantly looking for ways that we can help the members of our Think Tank build their authority get out there more, test new material, teach. Or do whatever they’re really focused on, using the media and the resources and the platform that we’ve already built and we continue to build.

Rob:   Yeah, we really do go all in on our Think Tank members that we provide them with everything that we provide in all of our other groups. If they want to look at any of the trainings, say in The Copywriter Accelerator, they have full access to the underground included. So, it really is the group that we go all in on and try to sort of spend the most of our time and help to the extent that we absolutely can.

Kira:  Cool. And I think the only other thing worth mentioning is just that we do have a no risk money back guarantee because we’re marketers and we understand that guarantees are important and it’s important for you to have that ability to test something and try it out without feeling terrified that you’re locked into something. So we do offer that for our Think Tank mastermind because we believe that, it can only be valuable to you if you feel like we’re fulfilling the promises and that it’s a really good fit for you as a person. So that is something really big that most masterminds never offer. There are no money back guarantees, but that’s something that we stand behind.

Rob:   Yup. Absolutely. So if you are interested in a conversation about the Think Tank, if you’ve got that idea in the back of your head that you maybe want to try it. Let’s have a conversation schedule something by emailing and we’ll get something on the calendar and we can talk about whether this is a good thing for you or not. And if you’re interested in more on what happened at TCC IRL this year, we’ll have those videos ready in the next week or two and we will share that via email and in The Copywriter Club Group and possibly even letting you know that they’re available on a future podcast.

Kira:  All right, that’s it. We covered a lot. There was a lot we just threw into that.

Rob:   It was a lot. It was a lot with a long episode. Thank you everybody for sticking with us. Thank you everybody who came in the event it really truly was amazing. There was a point at which I was almost in tears. I was just so grateful for the support that we were shown and it really made the event something special this year. Hopefully everybody came away with the same kind of feeling that we had as we left.

Kira:  Yeah. And next year we’re playing even more Jenga late night. You all know who you are. More Jenga, more games. We can’t wait for next year we’re excited for that. So again, thank you.

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 at 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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