In the 27th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob talk with a copywriter known by one name—yep, just like Cher, Prince, and Madonna—Tepsii. She shares her secret for getting referrals before she starts working with her clients, how she landed 10 clients at a conference by asking a few questions and how she organizes her projects and communicates with clients using Trello. And that’s just the first 20 minues. Don’t miss this great interview.
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Jen Scalia
Sold Out and Booked Solid
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Rob: What if you could hang out 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 Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the club for Episode 27 as we chat with a copywriter and business coach known by her first name only, Tepsii, about quitting her job and earning enough within four months to retire her husband, getting the right mindset, as well as getting rid of limiting beliefs, and writing with personality.
Rob: Hey, Kira. Hey, Tepsii.
Tepsii: Hey. How’s it going?
Kira: Hello. Tepsii, we’re excited to have you here today.
Tepsii: I’m super excited to be here because if I was a brand-new copywriter, this would’ve helped me so much. I’m really always excited to help the next generation of people.
Rob: We hope that we’re helping out a few experienced copywriters as well, and maybe you can help us with that in sharing some seriously great wisdom today.
Kira: Tepsii, I was just going to share, I first heard about at a … This is going to sound so posh, which is not my life … but at a rooftop party in Manhattan, with a pool nearby. I was at Jen Scalia’s membership party. I just randomly got an email from her. I like Jen, so I showed up just to mingle. I remember at this party chatting with different women and everyone was talking about you. Here I am, a copywriter. I’m like not pitching myself, but I’m chatting and trying to network. Everyone was like, “Yeah, there’s this other copywriter, Tepsii. She’s going to be here tonight.” Everyone was so excited to meet you. That was the first time I heard about you. I was like, “Who is this woman? I need to meet her. I need to know who she is.”
Ever since then, I’ve kind of just like kept you on my radar and just knew that we wanted to chat with you about your almost like overnight success in copywriting. I know there’s a lot more to it that we can unpack in this show. We can start with just how did you become Tepsii, no last name, like Tepsii the copywriter?
Tepsii: I’m all about just one name to make it easier. My domain name is super easy. I just introduce myself. We don’t have to confuse me with any other Tepsii’s out there. My business anniversary was two years ago. I was a digital nobody. Nobody knew my name. I never got any shout outs. It still feels weird to hear you say you went somewhere and people were talking about me. I think that’s kind of rude that you’re introducing yourself and somebody wants to talk about a whole different person. Like, who they heck are you-
Kira: I know. I was like, “What about me? I’m a copywriter, too.” No, no, no. They didn’t care. They didn’t care.
Tepsii: I apologize on their behalf for that. I care about who you are. My story is that I started out Digital Nobody. I was really interested in life coaching and how to go about making my life more streamlined, feeling happier, feeling more at ease. As I was learning techniques for myself, I thought, “Maybe this will be my big business thing. This is how I’ll kind of reach the masses and help people,” which was my big mission.
The first thing I really wanted to do was start an online summit, and run it, and maybe do it like a yearly thing. I went into a Facebook group where I had never really been active. I was a lurker. I was the kind of person who would cheer everybody else on, but never really offer my expertise or talk about who I was. In that group, I shared that I wanted to do this summit. Since I had been really active in there, just encouraging other people, lots of people responded saying, “Yes, I want to be on your summit.” I didn’t even really have any ideas or anything. They just want to talk to me, because I had been so encouraging of them in their process.
I started that process and very quickly met another very successful copywriter. She said to me, “I don’t know you’re doing this life coach thing, you’re not a life coach, you’re a copywriter.” I was like “But you don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. How is this your idea?” She said, “No. I just have this feeling. I’ve seen your post on Facebook. I believe you can help a lot of people. In fact, my business is over booked, and maybe I can give you some referrals.”
Just like that, she sent me a test assignment to make sure that she wouldn’t send me referrals and I would embarrass her, but she actually paid for the test assignment. From there, I got a couple of referrals from her. Those referrals referred their friends. People started really quickly shouting me out in Facebook groups. I realized that being shattered out in these business group was getting me more clients. Then I became more strategic now that I realized that this was happening. I started asking client, when we were working together, on our first conversation, “Hey, please go in these Facebook groups, let people know we just talked, and let them know what your experience was in our initial conversation.” Then the same thing when I delivered a copy. I asked them to go and let people know, and to send any referrals to me if they knew of other people.
I went from digital nobody in February 2015 to March and I’m seeing my name all over Facebook groups. I’m starting getting recommended by other people because groupthink, right? If someone you trust is recommending Tepsii, then you trust that person, so now you trust Tepsii. All of a sudden, I’m getting my name tagged all over the place. That really brought in a lot of business. I also strategically attended a conference where I knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of other copywriters. My goal there was to make sure everybody knew my name. When there was a Q and A session, I went up to that mic. I was scared out of my mind. I was like shaking and nervous in front of all these industry leaders. I got up there. I said my name, what I do, and whatever my question was. I was really strategic about what kind of question I asked so I could position myself as an expert, but look like someone who’s humble enough to ask when you need help.
At that conference, tons of people reached out to me. I walked away with like 10 clients from that conference now. That was the day that I’d actually quit my job and went to that conference. It just kind of snowballed, but it’s a series of luck and chance, and then seizing the opportunity and being strategic with the luck that I was having.
Rob: Yeah. Crazy.
Tepsii: I silenced you. Was I too long with it?
Rob: No. I’m like sort of trying to wrap my head around it. Tepsii, I’m curious, how much do you think that is a result of your unusual name? We’ve interviewed another copywriter with sort of a different kind of name. Kira sort of has an unusual name.
Kira: It’s not that special anymore.
Rob: I have a pretty boring name, right? If I go to a conference and say, “Hey, remember, Rob…” I’m curious, did you think that that contributes to it, but more importantly, those of us who maybe don’t have that advantage of a memorable name, what can we do to stand out like you do?
Tepsii: Number one, I always have this big bun on top of my head. The bun really helps me stand out, because I’m only five-foot one and three-quarters of an inch. I always hold on to that.
Rob: I’m not going to wear a bun, so I’m not sure that’s going to help me.
Kira: Rob, you have got to be open here.
Rob: This is our second episode that we’ve talked about man buns now.
Kira: Shout out to Ryan Schwartz.
Tepsii: I wear a bun. I have like a signature branded thing about me. I kind of wear the same kind of colors and things. These days, I implement and wear a lot of my own African traditional clothing. I’m from South Africa originally, and I lived back here in South Africa now. I kind of have like a look that makes me distinct from everybody else that you see. That’s one of my strategies, my brand assets that I think I bring to the table.
My name was definitely something I think people remembered because I chose to go by Tepsii. It’s a nickname that my parents gave me. I always knew something really special was on the table when my mom would come in and say, “Tepsii.” I’d be like, “Oh my gosh,” and I’d run downstairs. She got me something. I check out what it was.
When I started by business, I was a government corporate employee working in the military space. I worked on a base. I had an agreement with my employers. I don’t know if I’m outing myself right now, but I signed something that said I would never take payments or do a side business that involved foreign nationals, because that was just part of our job description that we had to stay with American money with whatever we were doing. I quickly got clients in the UK and Australia and Canada. Now I’m taking money from foreign clients.
I thought I was being tricky, so I’m like, “I’m just going to go by my nickname Tepsii.” When I quit my job, I changed. I was ready to change my branding. I actually, didn’t go follow through with it, but I was ready to change that. I changed my Facebook name, and nobody can find me., number one. Number two, my clients and my people who had started to follow my brand, they revolted and they were like posting “We don’t like this. We know you as Tepsii. It rhymes with Pepsi, and your effervescent personality just goes with it.” That’s how I ended up going by Tepsii and the other names just kind of fell away.
If you don’t have something unique like that, then look for another way to stand out, whether it’s the way you dress, maybe it’s your signature phrase that you use. I always use the word soulful. People know me as a soulful copywriter. I work with soulful entrepreneurs who want to make six-figure launches and things like that. Look for other ways to distinguish yourself if your name isn’t super fancy.
Kira: Rob, we need to have a different show about how we can style you, give you a new name.
Rob: What not to wear, what not to write.
Kira: No, we’ll dress you up for the next conference for CXL. Tepsii, I think there’s so much there. Yeah, your name is unique. I love that everyone revolted. I felt like I wanted to revolt when you said that you might change your name back. You mentioned that you asked your client to give you a shout out, I think that’s genius, and that’s something that we can all do early on, especially in those groups, because there is … I’ve seen those groups, and people post, “I recommend this person.” It is powerful. It spreads really fast as you’ve experienced. I also like that you mentioned that when you go to conferences, you intentionally wanted to make sure everyone knew your name, and so you got up the nerve to speak and ask a question, which I am always too chicken to do that. That’s something I need to consider and just push myself to do because it does matter.
Anyway, my question for you is as your business blew up so fast, and I believe I read somewhere that Hattie Brazely was the one that was sending you referrals, is that right?
Tepsii: Yes. She did send me referrals when I first started out. Absolutely.
Kira: We love Hattie. When you just blew up, how did you handle it on the back end of your business, was just more work? How did you handle raising rates and just project management? Because it’s hard enough to handle all that when you grow slowly, but if it happens overnight, I don’t even know how you would do it.
Tepsii: It was really stressful. I’m not going to lie to you. When I first started, I had my nine to five job, and I was moonlighting that job as a babysitter for my six-month old and my two-year-old. I was keeping them home while working that job, because I was allow to telework four days a week, then getting clients and just like literally working like night and day at that time. My big goal was to quit my day job and to move to South Africa. I knew I needed at least $20,000 in the bank in order to make that dream come true. I was willing to do anything to make it happen. When you know that it’s not just about the money, but it’s like about the bigger goal and you’re willing to do what it takes, work really hard until you meet that goal. That was like the first thing was keeping that in mind.
The second thing that I did was I created like some processes that I could duplicate. I don’t necessarily need a lot of information from the person on the call with them about the program they’re launching, how many modules it is, how many weeks it is, whether there’s a Facebook group. Some of those things are really mundane. The time I need to spend with my clients is understanding them and their ideal clients. Who are we selling to? What do they really want? What is their pain? That was what I need to talk to my clients about. Then some of this other stuff, I could send them a questionnaire and they could complete the questionnaire. That quickly eliminated the length of time I to spend talking to people. I could just read that to write their copy.
The other thing that I did was that I created a project management board inside Trello. You can do it in Asana or whatever. It’s good for you, but I’m a visual person so I like the whole sequence laid out in front of me. Trello has a system that looks like solitaire, basically, and so you can lay out cards inside the visual interface. I created one card that’s all about questions, the comments and concerns, so when people need to talk to me, we don’t email back and forth, we don’t Facebook message back and forth. They just post on that card. It makes communication a lot easier, and there’s a record of everything that we talked about.
There’s a link in there to my calendar, and information about how to book, and what they need to do if they need more information from me. There’s a card in there for them to upload documents, anything they want me to read, or anything they want me to reference or see. There’s a card in there that has our contract in it so that they can refer to it and just make sure that if anything is hazy for them, they can go and check that out.
That was like thing number one. When I did that, that changed my life, because now I’m not searching for files and folders all over the place. I am in one particular place. I forgot one more card that I put in there is for links. I work inside Google Drive, and so whenever I’m done, I create a folder for the person and then I put all the links for the different documents in there, so they know where their stuff is at all times. Whether we’re still working together or not, they can always access their stuff inside that Trello board. That really helped me.
The third thing I did was I told my husband, “Listen, I need your help.” He’s a lawyer. He’s really great with systems and tech. I got him on board to help me with the legal staff, setting up my business, the legal structures, but also with when I started Facebook ads and some of those other thing, I got him on board. After I got him on board, very quickly after that, I needed somebody, a tech VA assistant. I have someone who helps with the content and social media, and someone who checks my emails for me. It’s all about delegating and getting help very quickly if you are scaling.
Rob: Tepsii, I’d like to go back just a minute. You talked about getting to know your clients and your clients’ clients. I’m really curious about your process for doing that. How much time do you spend? What kind of questions do you ask to really get into their heads so that you can produce copy that resonates with them?
Tepsii: I spend one to two hours depending on how wordy the person is, how much they talk. My whole goal is to understand when people come to them, what is it that they’re complaining about. I don’t like to work with brand brand-new entrepreneurs because nobody’s ever come to them. They don’t really have a clearly defined ideal client. A lot of the time, you write one thing, they tell you it doesn’t resonate because they’ve switched their clients and things like that. I like to work with people who have a plan, they have a marketing strategy, they have an idea of who they want to attract. I ask them beforehand, “Have you actually spoken to these people on the phone and heard in their words, what they say their struggle is as it applies to your coaching business, whatever it is that you’re selling?”
If they are a no, most of the time, I’m not really willing to work with them. It’s going to be really painful to extract that emotional information, those really emotional words. Usually they say yes. One of my best clients, she had spoken to 50 people. She’d surveyed 50 people before she started out. She just asked them, “What are your struggles?” Then when she asked all those people and then she said, “What’s your idea of success?” She was able to get a really clear idea of who they were. Then when she talked to me, she was able to put it in kind of her words and we’re able to synthesize it and make it language that spoke to them. When people read her copy, they tell her, “Oh my gosh. It sounds just like me.” That deliberate because we actually have been spying and talking to you. That makes sense that it works and that it sounds like you.
Kira: Tepsii, I love the idea of using Trello as your portal to communicate with clients. It sounds like you’re not emailing back and forth with clients when you’re in project mode. Can you just go back into that, because I felt like I got lost a little bit. They have a question, are they just dropping it in Trello and they know within 48 hours or 24 hours you will respond, or like what is your policy around communication with clients so that you have space to do your work, especially as you’ve become busier and busier?
Tepsii: I let them know that I will respond between 12 and 24 hours. I’m between seven and 10 hours ahead of my clients in the US. They know sometimes I’m going to be sleeping or it’s family time or whatever when they are messaging me. I get the alerts. The alerts come to my phone from Trello. You can turn on notifications, or you can turn on notifications so it sends you an email of the exact message that the person sent, and you can reply to them in the email as well, so it makes it a lot easier. I don’t have to open the app if I don’t need to. If I’m already at my email, I can just respond in my email, and it actually just creates a new comments inside our Trello board when I respond from my email.
It makes it so that they know, I let them know, and it’s in the contract what my response time is, and that any extras … What I found is some people were really hazy when I first started out. They were new entrepreneurs. They had a lot more questions. It wasn’t just about the copy, they had a lot of questions about the strategy and the business side of it. That’s where I had to kind of draw the line and be like, “I’m your copywriter. You need coaching. That’s a separate thing.”
Kira: Speaking of coaching, I know that you offer different products, strategy, programs, courses, so I’d like to hear more kind of going back to your timeline of how you evolved from getting crazy busy with one-on-one client copy work and then evolving and kind of building out this business and this empire. What happened first? What were the baby steps?
Tepsii: That’s a good question. Because of the time that it takes doing the research and things like that, I found that I was just working way too much. I couldn’t enjoy my life. I couldn’t do the thing … The purpose of why I quit in the first place wasn’t being served because I was working all the time.
The first thing I did was limit the number of one-on-one people that I took on and increase my prices so that I could be a little bit more premium with what I was offering. Then, as I got booked, I was doing a lot of live streaming when Periscope first came out. It was the first big live streaming platform that got really popular. I was doing it every single day. At that time, I didn’t really have a goal for why I was doing it. I was already booked with clients and things like that, but I thought this can be just another way to market myself.
I was doing videos every day, and teaching about copywriting. I had fellow copywriters joining my audience. I also had potential clients, but many of them would go to my website at the end of my broadcast and say to me, “I love what you’re talking about. I love what you’re doing, but I can’t afford this. There’s no way I can possibly do this. How can you help me?” That’s when I got the idea to do a course and package my process and my information, create some templates and things like that, and offer it that way, because they asked me to. I didn’t really have a big following at the time. I had 80 something people on my email it. At the time I find out when I looked, 20 of them were family members or friends.
I did a little mini launch on Periscope and I got 22 people to buy my $250 course. I was so excited. I thought, “Okay. I’m on to something.” That’s when I started seeing that I could scale one to many, because I couldn’t help all those people one-on-one. Then, from there, as I’m helping these people inside the course, some of them got interested in writing copy as something for them to offer as a service, and so they started asking me, “How do I market myself? How do I like promote? How do I handle clients?” I had people who were aspiring writers, some people who were coaches, some people who were designers.
They started asking me for the business side of the help, so I was like, “Okay. I’m not going to just help you in copy. I can help you in business. Okay, sure.” I kind of tested it out. I put out a little baby offer of coaching sessions. People were just on them like hot cakes, because they saw my business grow right before their eyes. They purchased from me. They were willing to take the next step with me and go into the coaching space.
With the coaching space, I found that I could charge a little bit more money for my program and help the people who were just like me. The whole goal was to get them book … My program was called Sold Out and Book Solid because I wanted them to be like that, because that’s what I was doing too. I kind of put the writing to the side and I started doing mostly coaching at that point. Now I’ve brought the writing back with a team.
Rob: You started out a lot of this stuff on Periscope. Talk to us a little bit more about what you were doing on Periscope. What kind of content were you offering there? Are you still doing Periscope? Is that still part of your outreach?
Tepsii: I haven’t Periscoped in a little bit of maybe a month or two, but it is something that I will just hop back on there because I still have thousands of followers on there. It lost its popularity when Facebook Live opened up their doors.
Tepsii: It’s in a little bit of a competition, but the Periscope audience, I found for me were people who were really engaged. They talk back to you. It’s an immediate thing. It’s not like Facebook Live with any kind of delay. The energy in there, it’s just really awesome. I do love going back to Periscope.
When I broadcast, I usually would have like three tips to figuring out who your ideal client is, or how to niche down … I always had this hashtag of niche and get rich. I would give them tips about different things that they could do and go do right now or the outline of an about page, how to write an about page that sells. I come up with topics like that and then mix them in with business topics, like how to handle clients, or how to handle a sales call, things like that.
I would be pretty off-the-cuff with my topics, but a lot of the time it was the questions that I was getting inside my Facebook group or the questions that I was seeing most frequently is what I would normally go and answer as my broadcast.
Kira: Tepsii, can we talk about the pain? I feel like I don’t want to skip over that part. You mentioned when you were super busy, how you didn’t have a life. I kind of just want to hear more about that. I like the dark side of growing a business quickly and even copywriting because I’ve been in that space for a while, and many other copywriters have as well. Like how long were you in that stage where it was really painful and like you knew you had to kind of evolve and like bust out of the shell? Was it a short period of time? What did that look like, because I think those stages are really important, because if you don’t feel that pain, at least from me, I can’t take you to the next level, because I have to be feel it in order to take action.
Tepsii: That was probably the first year I was in business, from March 2015 to March 2016. I had so many clients at a time, it was ridiculous. My Trello board looked crazy. When I would log in, I would just have these white dots, which meant notification from a client.
Kira: Oh my goodness.
Rob: I hate that feeling.
Kira: That stresses me out just thinking about it.
Tepsii: Right? It would just be like “Oh my gosh.” You feel like running away, even though this is what you asked for, right? You’re like, “I asked to be in this spot. Now I’m in this spot. Now I don’t [crosstalk 00:25:01]”
Kira: I should be so happy.
Tepsii: Right? It was about a year of really painful growth. A lot of it was me holding myself back, because I was uncomfortable. You know, comfort that you know is a lot easier than discomfort that you don’t know. If I know that this is going to be my life, I can prepare myself for it. I can do it even if it’s painful, but if I’m going to change my whole business model like I did when I launched my coaching program, now that is scary thinking, “Is anybody going to buy from me?” I just kept doing it because of those fears, those inhibitions, and that lack of self belief that I had in the beginning. Even though I saw a lot of success, I still had a really hard time. You guys are going to be surprised, I had a hard time telling anybody that I was a good writer. I couldn’t actually say that. I would say things like “I just got lucky, or it’s God-given talent,” or you know something like that.
I just couldn’t really say that. I didn’t have that confidence. I kept myself in that painful spot. The thing that took me out of that painful spot was finding people who’d come before me who’ve either transitioned their business, or they’d grown their business in the way that I wanted to and getting that mentorship from them, and that reassurance it’s going to be okay. your business is going to survive. You will continue to be successful. I also did a lot of mindset work myself. I had this book that I love called Psycho-Cybernetics and I read that like all the time to boost myself up and feel good about what it is I do, but it is really painful. Honestly, it’s not all the lattes and the beach vacations, it’s a lot of late-nights sometimes client misunderstandings where there’s some kind of miscommunication of some sort.
This doesn’t happen very often, but once in a while someone doesn’t like something and you’re thinking to yourself, “But, this is what you asked for. What the heck?” You have to learn to be diplomatic and to take care of yourself at a certain point.
Rob: Tepsii, one of the things I think that you do is coaching people in that very thing, mindset and really getting the voice in your head to … getting that right so that you can be confident about your work. So many writers suffer with imposter syndrome or that lack of confidence. We’ve talked to a bunch of others about where they find that confidence. What do you tell your clients in that training of how do they get their minds right so that they can show up and perform and deliver like they need to?
Tepsii: Usually, I help them by realizing that they didn’t just fall into this. This is not some overnight random talent or skill that they’ve develop. If they’re a coach or if they’re a writer, whatever it is that they are doing now … I know most people who are out there offering a service, they have either taken classes, had corporate experience. They’ve experienced some level of success at some point in their life related to this thing that they are now offering. They’ve helped people get results in some way, whether that was working for a boss and writing for that organization or perhaps in college, whatever it is, they’re good at this.
Let’s not worry about whether or not you’re good at this. We have past experience about … I ask them to list out all of the triumphs and success that they’ve had over time so they can look back and go, “Wow. I’ve actually done a lot. I’ve actually experienced a lot of really awesome things that I made happen for myself.” I really quickly, in the first two months, made $25,000. In the third month, we were able to find a buyer for our house that was willing to pay like 20K over the asking. That was really awesome. Then, we moved here to South Africa, and my husband quit his corporate legal job at the same time and moved in to a dream house for us, compared to where we lived before.
All of that success, and yet I was miserable. I was like “I don’t achieve anything. I never hit my goals.” I remember, I had a life coach at the time and I was telling her “I feel like I’m just a big, fat failure.” I looked at all the other people in my industry with all this success, taking all these trips, doing all these awesome things, and I had nothing to say for myself. She was like, “Hold on.” We did this like inventory of success, and I realized, “Okay, I have accomplished something with my life, and that I’m doing pretty well compared to where I had been before,” so not comparing myself to other people, but comparing myself to myself, I’m doing pretty well.
That’s thin number one. Then thing number two that really changed me instantly when I started doing it is visualization. I went from being the person in the room scared to ask questions, to being the one asked to come and speak, fly in to Toronto or to New York or to Miami or wherever people are having events, and they’re asking me to now come speak. It was when I started seeing myself as a leader and not seeing myself as a follower … not that there’s anything wrong with following. Sometimes you do have to follow, but I decided I’m a leader now. I visualized my life being different. I visualized seeing myself on stage, visualized seeing myself having the kind of business that I thought would make me happy. That kind of every single day visualization and journaling and reminding myself of my success, those are kind of my cliff notes mindset routine.
Kira: Well, I think it’s a relief to hear from you that it hasn’t been easy, and that you’ve questioned yourself, and even been miserable when you are buying a new home, and retiring your husband, and having all these amazing things happen, but you’re still not really like really feeling all of it, because I think that’s common. What really stuck out to me is that you mentioned you didn’t feel comfortable saying you were a good writer, so you said you were lucky. I caught you saying that a couple of times early on in this conversation, too, that you just got lucky with your business growth happening so quickly. I don’t remember who told me this, maybe Rob did, because Rob always says genius things, that when people say that they got lucky, it’s usually not about luck, it’s that they put in a whole lot of hard work.
Because I find myself saying that at times, too. Like, “I got really lucky here.” Then when I think about it, I’m like, “No. No. No. Maybe there was a little bit of luck,” but what all went into getting into that position for that luck to really hit, there was a lot of work. That just stood out to me because, yeah, maybe there’s a little luck involved in your quick success, but you clearly like just got things quickly and understand what was working and pivoted fast and really worked your tuches off. Anyway, I guess I’m just saying like thank you for mentioning all of that. I kind of want to pivot and talk about where you are today, and what your business looks like today, because you mentioned that you have Copy now with a team. I’m imagining that you have a team of copywriters, maybe you have more of an agency model. Can you just describe where your money is coming from today? You don’t have to give like an exact breakdown, but what you’re running and what the business looks like.
Rob: All though if you did want to give an exact breakdown, a lot of people would love to hear that, too.
Kira: That’s true.
Rob: Joking. Joking there.
Tepsii: I just want to be really transparent as I’m talking about the tough times. There have been a lot of tough times. There have been people who didn’t believe in me, people who say and do things that really hurt along the way. That is part of being a personality and putting yourself out there on the Internet, because anybody can respond to you on the Internet.
I lost a lot of my confidence and my zest and my oomph surprisingly in like November, December, 2016. All of a sudden, I found myself feeling like “Oh my gosh. Maybe I don’t really deserve all of this.” I took a big break from doing all of my work of promoting and marketing myself. I realized looking back now that it was me hearing other people’s voices and deciding that their voice was the truth, when it’s so clearly not. That’s something that still happens. I don’t want to make this look more glamorous than it is. Along the way, it’s really important to talk about the tough times and the failures and the missteps. It’s not failure. It’s meeting a challenge and creating an opportunity, I guess.
Along the way, I was smart in that I launched a membership community. It’s a membership community where we talk about copywriting, but we also talk about online marketing and strategy. My husband is a lawyer. He comes in there and talks about legal staff. He also does the tech in my business. He answers any of the tech stuff. That brings us some recurring monthly income from people who are members there. Then I have my coaching program, which is called Sold Out and Book Solid. I enrolled people depending on what they wanted to do. Some people paid off. It was either 2,500 or $5,000. Some people paid it off immediately. Then some other people decided to go for a six-month or a 12-month payment plan. That brings in money even when I’m not launching. We’re still getting those people’s recurring payments.
That’s really awesome. It takes a lot of pressure off. It allowed me to take the break that I needed about like a week of chilling. I went on a Buddhist retreat. I took some time to myself and gathered myself, got back to myself. Along with the copy, there’s always the design. People always got stuck or tripped up on that. I have a tech VA who created some templates for us so that my copywriting templates go along with web design templates. You can do an upsell when you buy my copywriting course you can do an upsell into the design. My copywriting course is called The Right to Profit, and then there’s the design studio that goes along with it. We get sales from that. People come in through Facebook funnels. They buy the course. They buy the design studio. They also sometimes might just buy my sales page template, or my about page template, which I have a standalone for sale.
Then finally we’ve got the clients, the copywriting clients that I’m starting to welcome back in. I didn’t take on very many one-on-one clients for the past year or so, and so now I’ve started bringing that back in, because people know me for copy. They still recommend me for copy even when I didn’t want them to. I’m was like, “I’m not doing that. Stop tagging me.” They still did it. I was like, “Wait a minute, I’m saying no to money here. Let me figure out a way to make this work.” I have two people who are really excellent writers, but they want to get some experience. They want to work with someone who can help them by bringing in business and do like a profit share type of model.
That is the breakdown of my business, what it looks like now. It’s taken a long time to evolve to this point. Well, not a long time. It’s two years, but when I first started out, for the longest, I only had the one-on-one copywriting work. Within a few months, I created the copywriting course. I only had those two things. I would recommend you’ll exploit and launch those two things. You don’t have to go crazy and create all these other revenue models until you really perfect the one or the two things that you’re doing and you feel really good about it and they’re kind of self-sustaining.
Rob: Tepsii, can I ask a question that I ask a lot of the writers that we talk to, and that is what do you do to improve your skills? Where do you go? What kind of resources are you using to become a better writer?
Tepsii: Can I admit something really embarrassing to you?
Rob: Sure. Be vulnerable.
Tepsii: I’ve been really vulnerable here all this time. I’m like why aren’t you guys crying? I’ve just told you some really like…
Tepsii: In the beginning, I had never taken a copywriting course. I didn’t really know what copywriting was. When I first got recommendations and referrals, what I did was I recognized all the industry leaders, like Natalie Lucier and Melanie Duncan and Marie Forleo and Danielle Laporte. I went and looked at like their websites. I didn’t even like now that there’s a thing, like I can go buy a book on this. I wasn’t even thinking. I just went and looked at their websites and was like, “I see a structure to this. I can see how this is happening. I can see the sequence that’s building up to asking for the sale. Okay. I got this. I can do this.” That’s what I’m a little bit embarrassed about because I kind of didn’t do much background before I started, and I just kind of had the talent. At a certain point, people had started asking like, “Do you recommend any copywriting resources, any books, anything?” I was kind of like “This is the moment where I’m humbled to say, ‘Let me go and do some research and read and check this out.’”
That’s when I went and checked out some of the classic copywriting books, some of the old sales letters, and the news clippings of mail to order things. I started seeing what the classic copy looks like, and realized “Wow, this is some really awesome things that I can incorporate in my self-made style of copywriting.” Now, I go back and I read those on a regular basis. I will open up those different books. I’ve got them on the Kindle. I read other people’s sales pages insatiably. I’m always really excited when I see somebody launching a big name launching because I want to see what their sales page looks like.
It is really important for me to go back. I even did what the old school copywriters recommend at this point when I was doing this little bit of learning that I decided to undertake, write old sales letters out my hand.
Kira: You do? I want to do that at some point. I heard it works. It’s interesting because I feel like we’ve had a handful of guests who have done something similar and just kind of jumped into copywriting and then figured it out as they went. I know Hillary Weiss has really just trained herself. Ry Schwartz mentioned, taking a copywriting job, like a corporate gig and then like rushing into his office to pull up resources online to figure out what copywriting is, because he was now in charge of it. I feel like a lot of us just kind of wing it and figure it out as we go and then dive in as we can.
Tepsii: I think that’s what college is really good for, it trains you to like BS like your way through the whole semester, and so you figure it out. I took a job as a technical writer, requirements analyst and business process something. I was doing something about business processes, on a software engineering team. I studied communication, no training for that whatsoever. I just ordered a bunch of software engineering textbooks to figure it out in that job. It’s all about wining it. That’s what life is.
Kira: Exactly. Tepsii, I know we are out of time. I would like to ask you one lightning round question. I guess we’ll just keep it short. What is one missed opportunity that copywriters are missing today?
Tepsii: The number one thing that I tell people when they say to me, “I can’t can’t get clients, I don’t know where to get clients. I’m so stuck.” I say to them, “There’s all these free Facebook groups. You’re just sitting there lurking. Don’t join a Facebook group that’s run by me because I’m like I’m sharing my expertise and the people are looking at me as a leader. Go into a Facebook group that’s run by a business coach, or a web designer, or somebody else that has a niche that’s complimentary to yours, but they’re not doing the exact same thing and just start sharing your knowledge in there. Start sharing tips about how to niche down. Start sharing tips about what a good about page looks like, or what a sales page should be and how to decide on your … design around the words that you use, things like that. Just start sharing. You don’t have to be selling. You don’t have to be dropping your links. People will very quickly start to get curious about who you are based on the fact that you’re sharing that if you have no audience.
The other thing is don’t discount the work that other people have done to build their audience. For example, if you have a mentor, if you see someone that has a big audience, you can definitely ride off of them and the work that they’ve done.
Rob: At this point in the interview, we lost your connection with Tepsii and we didn’t get a chance to ask her how people can connect with her online, and so we’re just going to throw this in there. You can find Tepsii on Twitter at @Tepsii, T-E-P-S-I-I. You can find her at her website at tepsii.com. Again, T-E-P-S-I-I.com. That’s a wrap.
Rob: 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 in 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, and full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.