In the ninth episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob talk with copywriter Tarzan Kay about her very unique name, how she seemingly came from nowhere and now is everywhere, money and rates, how she handles email and so much more. And before anyone leaves a comment or emails in anger, yes, Rob knows it’s “Cloud City” not “Sky City.” But under the hot lights of our sophisticated sound studio, he simply misspoke. Sorry about that Star Wars fans.
Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Tarzan’s Website
Copyhacker’s Email Challenge
Kate Northrup Money a Love Story
Barbra Staney – Overcoming Underearning
Money Boot Camp
Tarzan’s end of year blog post
Copyhackers for Hire
Rob’s How to Set Up Your Home Office Article
Tarzan’s Newsletter (bottom of the page)
Product Launch Formula
Sales Page Swipe File
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
RM: 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 try to do every week on The Copywriter Club Podcast.
KH: You’re invited to join the club for episode nine as we chat with freelance copywriter, Tarzan Kay about her very unique name, money issues, going pro, and how she completely dominated Rob in the Copy Hackers’ email challenge.
RM: Hey Kira and Tarzan.
TK: Hey guys. I like that intro.
RM: We try to change it up a little bit. Tarzan, to start out, I think we have to ask about your name. You have the most unique name of any writer that I’ve talked to. Will you tell us the story about how you’re descended from the Greystoke family on one side and the administrators of Cloud City on the other side?
TK: Yes. It happened in two separate times of my life. About five years ago I was about to publish a book and my old name, which I’m going to leave in the mystery, my old name someone had it and someone was very successful at promoting these Christian family planners, and so not my brand, and I didn’t want the competition on Google. In any case, I was ready for a new name. I thought my old name was too soft. I wanted something more powerful. Then K is in my family name so Kay, I just went with that. Tarzan, it just was the name that came to me and I didn’t understand it at the time but I knew it was my name so I changed it. Over the last few years it’s been really interesting to understand it backwards. I didn’t understand it at the time but now when I show up in a room I have to show up really powerfully and that includes on the internet, on my blog, in my newsletters, everywhere I go. You can’t not walk into a room and say, “I’m Tarzan,” and hang your head down, and think that no one’s going to … people are going to just accept that, because they won’t.
RM: Do you ever walk into a room and do the whole [makes Tarzan yell] kind of a thing?
TK: No. Initially I was really wanting to distance myself from the Tarzan that everybody knows and now I make jokes about it. My husband’s name is Jay so you can imagine how many jokes we get about Tarzan and Jay. I just laugh about it and now I don’t make it a thing anymore. I just, “Hey, I’m Tarzan and I’d like to buy these groceries,” or whatever. I guess you don’t introduce yourself at the grocery store but you see what I’m saying. I just blow past it and go on to the next thing, but I have to embody Tarzan. Initially I had contractors that I worked with and they would hire me to work with their clients and they’d be like, “Oh, I can’t call you Tarzan to my clients. It’s not gonna look professional. I’m just gonna continue referring to you by your old name,” but nobody does that anymore because over the years I have learned to own it and step into these huge mammoth-sized shoes of being Tarzan.
RM: What about the last name?
TK: Oh yeah, Kalryzian, yeah. That is a way easier story to tell. A couple years ago I had a child and we wanted to have a new last name so we both, my partner and I both come from really matriarchal families so it didn’t really make sense to hyphenate or choose one of our dad’s last names, so we decided we would just start our own thing. We went down to City Hall and really it’s quite easy. Cost $137, and boom, you’re Kalryzian.
KH: That’s incredible. I love the idea of it. You really had to change almost as a person in order to step in to this new name in this new life you created for yourself a couple years ago. I feel like it’s really easy to forget how powerful our names are.
TK: Oh my god, yes. Well, you have a very powerful name too, Kira. It’s magical. You have a magical name.
KH: Just listening to this and I was thinking how I’ve experiences something similar really going from a maiden name that was quite powerful, Kira Zmuda, and always stood out, and I was always last in line, and then changing to something as simple and kind of cute as Hug was just so … I’m still kind of working through it. That’s why it’s just really good to hear about your experience because I’m still trying to figure out how do I show up as Kira Hug, and I think that’s just kind of the whole branding experience that never really ends.
TK: Yeah, it’s so interesting in your case too because your copy is so powerful, and it’s in some cases it’s like a punch in the face. It’s so intense, but it’s also very loving. I love that your name matches that, to me anyway. It helps me understand you.
KH: That’s really good to hear. Thank you. I think I’m at a good place to start, Tarzan, I initially heard of you through the 10X emails through CopyHackers, and I think you became a star early on through the contest, and I actually am less familiar with the challenge that you apparently kicked Rob’s butt in. I kind of view you as this overnight success, which I’m like doing air quotes, and I know that overnight successes do not actually happen overnight. I’m curious to hear what you were doing before you really fully dived in to your copywriting business. What came before that?
TK: Thank you for asking because I really want to share my story with other copywriters because I want them to know that it doesn’t have to take years to build a very successful business. For the last five years, I freelanced and I didn’t take my business very seriously because I didn’t have to. It was just me and I didn’t need much. I was traveling, living in Montreal, cheap apartment, I didn’t need much to get by. I basically just worked enough to get by. Then a few years after that, I had a baby and then was off work for awhile, so until a year ago I was very wishy washy with my copywriting career. I did not do a lot of studying other than reading the occasional article on CopyHackers, I didn’t really learn that much about copy, but I had a lot of raw talent so I did get clients, and they liked me, and they liked what I did for them because I had some writing skills, but a year ago I had to start taking it way more seriously because we decided that my husband would be a full-time dad and stay at home with our son-who’s now going to be two but he was one at the time-and that I would go out and make a proper business of this.
It has been a huge journey from there. We have some more questions to get through and you’ll understand a lot of the big highlights along the way that made a big difference, but it has been … an overnight success, no, but over-the-year success, for sure. Nobody knew who I was a year ago and now I get all these lovely messages from people saying that they’re my fans. It’s a total trip because I was a nobody a year ago.
RM: Tarzan, I’ve been on your email list for awhile and you have been really open about your growth as a writer in your business, and one of the things that you’ve talked about that’s maybe a little bit different from what a lot of people shy away from is money. What it takes, your experience in having a five-figure month and what that means to you personally. Will you tell us a little bit about that? Why you talk about it, why it’s important, and how you came to be the five-figure-a-month copywriter, or how you’ve had that success?
TK: Yeah, I love talking about money. Thank you for bringing it up. I talk about money a lot and I think it’s really important. Part of it is because I’ve done a lot of soul work and personal work around money. You have to do that work in order to do the outer work of sending quotes to your clients, and pricing out jobs, and all that stuff. Again, I always get great replies and comments from people when I talk openly about money. There’re a lot of people marketing, “Your six-figure launch,” “Book your first five-figure clients,” all of these numbers that are thrown out there that feel very much like a pipe dream. It doesn’t feel real. It just feels like sales copy. Whenever I talk about money to my people I always try and be real honest about it, and tell them what I charge for things, and what I’m challenged with, everything. I’ll throw out any number any day.
KH: You mentioned soul work around money and I am really curious because money … we’re trying to talk as much as possible about money on this show. It’s a struggle for me in my day to day. What type of soul work did you do and is that something that we could all do as well for everyone listening?
TK: Yeah, for sure. I’ve taken a couple of courses and I started this … I became aware that this was work that I needed to do when a couple of years ago I did a course with Kate Northrup, and she has a book called “Money: A Love Story.” It was a four-week course. It was the first online course I ever did. Basically what it had us do is look into all of our beliefs about money that have been passed on to us since we were kids. For me, I grew up in a super religious family and it was frowned upon to do things that are worldly; so to buy things that are fancy, people that had a lot of possessions and material things, it was kind of dirty and sinful. That’s something that I’ve really carried with me for a long time and something that I really had to let go of. That it’s okay to have nice things.
There’s a lot of negative language around money in our society. We say things like, “A stupid amount of money,” or “Obscenely rich,” there’s so much of that that’s built into our collective subconscious, and it’s stuff that we don’t even know is there, but unless you dig it up and ask yourself these types of questions like, “What stories were you told about money? How did your parents handle money?” For some people, I know a lot of women whose mothers relied solely on their dads. The dad was the one who was making all the money, and the mom was really dependent, and they end up just kind of repeating that old story. A lot of the work I’ve done has been about digging up those old stories, and letting them go, and making up a new one.
RM: I think the other side of that too, where so many people hesitate to talk about it because it feels dirty or sales-y or that kind of a thing so to say, “Hey, you know, I earned, you know, $10 or $11,000 this month,” people look at that and say, “You’re being brag-y,” or “Something is wrong with that,” right?
TK: Yes, totally. Totally. It is really scary to talk about money, especially if you’re earning more than other people that you know because you don’t want them to judge you or think that you’re gonna be one of these greedy, rich people now.
KH: Tarzan, you mentioned a course and it actually, the call broke up a little bit, I believe you mentioned Kate Northrup’s course, but if you have any courses that you would recommend I’d love to hear about those.
TK: That was the first one. At the time it was a live course but it might be evergreen now. I think I recently saw they had relaunched it as an evergreen course, but I’m not positive about that. Kate Northrup talks a lot about money so she’s a great person to talk to about that. Another women who has some really great books is Barbara Stanny. She has an awesome book that is called “Overcoming Underearning,” which is another book that really started getting me into this way of thinking about money. That book, it’s not too woo-woo so it’s a good intro for people who are a bit scared to read, or who just are a bit turned off by stuff that’s kind of too much talk about spirituality. If that turns you off then “Overcoming Underearning” is a good place to start. If you’re fully on the woo-woo train, I really liked “Money Bootcamp.” This woman, Denise Denise Duffield-Thomas, her website’s LuckyBitch.com, and she has some great material about working through your money blocks. She has a great course that I’ve taken. She’s awesome.
KH: Where are you today though with your money beliefs? I kind of want to hear about your path over the last year around raising your rates because I know you have raised your rates at least once. How you did that, the experience, if there was push back, or the success, all of that because that is scary for a lot of people.
TK: Gosh. I wish you guys would ask me questions that I have notes on. These questions are harder. You’re really making me think. I have raised my rates a lot this year. A lot of it has been due to the fact that I realized my rates were just not sustainable. For example, if I am charging $1,000 for a sales page, let’s just say, I think at one point that was my rate, after taking these courses through Copy Hackers, and realizing that there’s so much prep work to be done that I was not doing; for example, interviewing their clients, my clients’ clients, and looking at their testimonials, looking at any marketing they’ve done, and really understanding their business and what they’re doing, the rates that I was quoting, I wasn’t able to do any of that work. If I was writing a $1000 sales page, they were only getting $1000 worth of value and in some cases they were fine with that because that’s what they paid so that’s all they expected.
Now my current rate, which I’m sure this will go up, but I’m currently charging $2500 for a sales page. At that rate I’m able to budget my time much better. I can do a lot more ground work and I can deliver a way better page. When I talk to someone, when a client gets on the phone with me, and they’re probably interviewing a bunch of copywriters, and they probably had a couple other copywriters quote them a thousand, or fifteen hundred or maybe even seven fifty, and I throw out this number of twenty-five hundred and initially it’s probably a bit scary for them, but when I talk about my process … I just finished a sales page last week. When I was doing the consultation for that job, I told them about interviewing their prospective students for their new course, and interviewing-they’re a real estate broker so-interviewing the agents that work for them, they said, “Wow, we talked to a lot of other copywriters and none of them mentioned that.” I talk a lot about my process, and why I do things, and why it costs what it costs. To be honest, it’s really uncommon that people bargain with me. It almost never happens.
RM: Interesting. I love that you are talking about the back end process of writing be so many people when they go to buy copywriting they just expect that, “Hey, I’m hiring a copywriter, they’re gonna write some copy, they’re gonna send me a document, and it’s done,” and there’s so much more that goes into the process-interviewing customers, doing customer surveys, competitive research, message mining, different things that so many people do to prepare-and I love that you’re mentioning that as part of your process because you’re right, you’ve got to price that into what you’re doing.
TK: Totally, because that actually is the most time consuming thing. Once I’ve done all those interviews, and looked at all their data, and figured out all that stuff, and created a spit draft for a sales page, the writing is like, “Whoohoo,” it’s so easy and so fast because all the prep work is done. Theoretically I can say, “Well, you know, it takes me three days to write a sales page so, you know, I’ll just charge for three days of work,” but it’s so much more than that.
RM: Exactly. We could probably keep talking about money all hour but I want to shift gears just a little bit. You just sent out an email newsletter and posted it on your blog some of the greatest hits and things that you had learned from the past year and one of the things that really stuck out to me, in fact, I almost emailed you about it and then I thought, “Well, we’re talking so I’m gonna ask you about this,” is your postcard project. I saw that and I thought, “What is it that she’s doing with postcards?” That’s my question. What are you doing with postcards? You sent out hundreds of them to people. What is this postcard thing?
TZ: Everybody knows about the power of handwritten notes. It’s talked about in every program. People get so delighted when they receive them, but actually very few people send them. I realized early on in January that by sending one postcard that costs me $1.00, I have a huge competitive advantage. I printed out a few hundred early in January and they’re not even that amazing. I think they’re beautiful. I designed it myself and when I put my logo in it’s a little bit fuzzy. My postcards are not perfect but they have been so effective. They have a fun kind of tag line or like a fun saying on them. They’re really simple and they’re not overly branded so if you got one of my postcards it’s something that you would tack on your fridge because you would look at it in the morning and you’d be like, “Oh, yeah.” I intentionally designed it that way and I’m gonna print some new ones for 2017, which I will have a designer do this time, but it will be the same sort of thing. Something that’s fun that people want to look at again and again and they don’t really want to throw out.
I think I actually got this idea from Danielle LaPorte who, I ordered her yearly planner, and I got the planner, and it came with a postcard in it and it’s beautiful. It’s white and it says, “Love rewards the brave,” in black scrawling handwriting. I loved this postcard so much, it’s pinned up in my office. I look at it all the time. This probably happened subconsciously but I want people to have my postcards in their office and look at it every day and think about Tarzan or how awesome they are.
RM: I love that idea. Obviously people talk about the handwritten note, that kind of a thing, but it’s so easy to fire off an email and not go the extra step. This definitely, I’m stealing this idea. One of my resolutions for the new year is going to be to send out handwritten notes and…
TK: Yes. I’ll give you some tips. Obviously you have to have the postcards on hand, but it also really helps to have a stamp collection. I always have stamps in my wallet. I have Canadian stamps, I have international stamps, and I have US stamps, so I don’t have to ever go to the Post Office and send something. I can fire it off. It takes five minutes.
RM: I’m going to have to work on my handwriting as well.
TK: Yeah, for sure. For sure. I send postcards to everyone I meet if I can find their address. Sometimes I explicitly ask them for it. It’s more fun if I can dig deep and find it online. It’s really handy if people use ConvertKit because their address is in their email, or it’s in the subscribe link. Some people it’s harder to find than others, but even people who have just done a consultation then chose to work with someone else, if I can find their address I’ll send them a postcard. People who have hired me for an hour, I’ll send them a postcard. People who I meet in groups and I don’t really even know, I just send them. They’re great. They’re awesome. They pay off huge.
KH: I’m stealing that as well. I think the way you said it, it gives you a competitive advantage and in such an easy way. Not to say that it’s easy because you’ve thought through the process and the fact that you keep stamps, you’ve really taken out all the barriers. For me, I’m like, “Ah, I don’t have stamps. I’m just not gonna do it.” You’ve created this process that now is easy and then the impact is incredible. I’m always looking for those things that I can do that do not take a lot of time but there’s a tremendous upside. Incredible, definitely going to snag that.
I want to ask you about, again going back to that blog post that Rob just mentioned, what you did this past year to really step up your game, and I know you mentioned hiring your VA. I just hired a VA. We’re just easing in to it. I want to hear more about how working with your VA has changed your business, changed the way that you operate, and any advice that you have around how to really manage a VA, because anyone can hire a VA but managing a VA is a whole different story.
TK: Yes, totally. I’m so glad you finally asked me a question that I have notes on. I have a three-part answer based on my notes. I love having a VA and I’m much happier when I have a VA because I can outsource tasks that I don’t like. I hired someone that I have recommended to clients in the past and she’s really skilled. She’s able to do small ad edits to my website. She can handle email stuff. She’s got a really wide skillset and I realize it’s worth it to pay someone a little extra that has a bigger skillset, but the most important thing is that I really trust her. I give her little tips on the way I want things to be worded and small stuff but mostly I really trust her. I’ve seen her work in the past with my other clients so I was able to give her a lot of responsibility right away and not even monitor her too much because I know she’s reliable.
We now manage our tasks in Teamwork which is kind of like Asana. We use Teamwork to assign tasks to her. We can message each other. Initially we were just doing email but our email got crazy and so we moved to Teamwork, which has been a lot better and my inbox is much tidier. That’s one of the ways we work together. Let me just get back to my notes here.
One thing that is really great about having a VA is that my clients’ perception of me has changed a lot. Sandra is my gatekeeper. The email on my website goes to her. Any new inquiries, my Copy Hackers for hire ad also goes straight to her. That was actually one of my big reasons for hiring her because I was getting too many inquiries that weren’t worth my time so I sent them to Sandra to handle. I think people are prepared to hear a higher price because they know I have an assistant and that I have some systems in place, which leads me to my third, and final point.
Having a VA really forced me to systematize a lot because I realized there were certain things I was paying her to do that could be done automatically. I basically have two types of clients: those who book me for projects and those who book me for either a day or an hour. These time-based packages are booked straight from my website and they have zero interference from Sandra. They go to the website, they book it, they pay it, it’s in the schedule, everything happens automatically, and she doesn’t have to mess around with that at all. If she sees a client that needs something small, she just sends them the link and she’s done. That’s just an example of one of the things that we’ve systematized to make her work less and to get more bang for my buck. Sorry for the cliché, I know we’re a group of writers.
RM: It’s really interesting to me that you mentioned having the VA almost primes your customers to expect to pay more. It almost says, “Hey look, Tarzan’s a professional. She’s got a team of people working for her or with her.” That’s just really interesting optics and the effect that has on your business.
TK: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. The other thing is I never refer to myself as a freelance copywriter ever. I don’t even thing about myself like that. I think about myself as a business owner and I run my operation like a business. When people land in Sandra’s inbox and get an email from Sandra, Tarzan’s assistant, that’s how they start to think about me too. They don’t think about me as this pinch hitter who’s gonna come in and write a landing page in one day.
RM: Another thing that I think you did is that you moved out of your home office and you opened up a professional office. Tell us a little bit about the decision behind that.
TK: That’s really a really easy one. I have a toddler at home and I needed to be away from those two because otherwise I would get nothing done, but there have been some side benefits too. I actually wanted to mention this specifically for anyone that’s working with local clients, because when I was first starting out building my business I used to go to networking events and meet people, and as soon as you tell people you’re a writer they’re like, “Oh, yup. So you work from home obviously.” I would say, “No, you know, actually I have an office on East Main Street,” and instantly it was like I got so much cache out of that. People would take me way more seriously. “Oh, you’re like a proper business, you’re not like you know writing a novel in your basement in your spare time.” Now I don’t do anything locally so that doesn’t really apply to me anymore, but for people that are local I think that’s interesting to mention.
Another couple points, Rob, you wrote a great article on Copy Hackers about creating the right space and that’s part of it for me. My office is my sanctuary. It is gorgeous. It’s full of plants. I’ve decorated it. I have beautiful furniture. It’s somewhere that I really want to be. I never feel like, “Oh, I gotta go to the office.” I’m always, every morning like, “Great, I can’t wait. It’s my space. It’s my spot. It’s my … it’s sacred.”
RM: Yeah, that’s a good thing. I made the opposite move where I used to have an office that I went to but decided to move back home partly to save some money. My office was way too big for what I was using and I should have thought that through a little bit better, but also I don’t have kids at home anymore and, like you, I don’t work with very many local clients, and so being able to work from home in this space that I feel very comfortable in works for me as well. Same principle but almost the opposite decision.
TK: What about you, Kira?
KH: Oh my goodness. This past year has been a year of transition for me. Three moves and some tiny apartments in there so I’ve been working out of coffee shops quite heavily, which is not that professional. I’ve had some comments definitely. It’s been really challenging so I’m listening to you talking about your sanctuary and I’m like, “Oh, I want that,” but luckily the apartment we moved into has an office space, so that will become my new sanctuary, and hopefully solve all these problems because it does, it does make such a difference, and it’s the way other people view you, like you said. People are impressed. They think you have a legit business when you have an office space. Then it’s also the way that you view yourself too and you’re like, “I am going to my office. I am starting my work day.” It just creates this barrier between you and the rest of the world and your personal life when you step into that space. I really love all of this and I’m just so ready to move into that next step.
I think listening to what you’re sharing here it just sounds like you’ve really pulled in all these different elements that have really turned you from that freelancer to that business owner, like you said. I really want to know where does the confidence, the energy, the focus come from for you to keep me moving forward and building out this business because I know it’s not easy, and I know it’s hard especially when you have big projects. How do you stay focused and continue to look at it like a business and move it forward?
TK: Oh my goodness.
KH: It’s a big question, I know.
TK: That is another really difficult question. I can definitely say that it was a lot harder earlier on in the year. For the first four months of the year, when I was really needing to get clients ASAP so that I could pay our mortgage, it was stressful and it was harder to show up every day and do the work, but I did do the work and that was a big part of it. I just showed up. That’s part of having an office too. I came here everyday. I was here by 9:30 and every day I did something to move my business forward. It’s simple but I just keep marching and keep marching.
My brother, who’s a business owner as well, he said to me one time, “You know, I reckon that people who are successful in business are just the people who have the courage, and confidence, and finances to just keep going. Sometimes it’s just a question of putting the time in.” I did. I showed up every day and I did the work, and initially it was difficult when I was struggling more, but now I’ve gotten a lot of momentum. If I could say the biggest thing to come out of that email copywriting challenge-huge, huge momentum. I got some more inquiries coming in, enough that I wasn’t struggling for work really anymore. My calendar is always full. I could start putting systems in place, and hiring a VA to help me, and scaling my business, let’s call it. Now it is so fun. I got past the really icky, hard stuff, and now I love coming in to work. I’m so excited to see what’s going to be in my inbox when I come to my office in the morning.
RM: Speaking of your inbox, you’re in my inbox quite a bit. You’re pretty dedicated to sending out, I think, a biweekly newsletter. What’s your thought process behind that. What are you trying to accomplish with your newsletter? Does it lead to new clients? Is it just a way for you to sort of have a say every few days?
TK: Another great question. I’m just figuring that out myself. Years ago I read something, again Danielle LaPorte, this was much earlier on in her business and she said, “When you start a blog just give it six months to just take shape and see what happens.” Like, “Don’t worry about figuring it all out right now before you’ve published a single post. Just start and see where it goes.” Part of my logic there was just I know I need to do this. I’ve been wanting to do this for so long, so I’m going to do it. I’m going to send this out every two weeks and I’m making the commitment to stay consistent with it. Which I have. I haven’t missed one since probably February, which is huge for me, and I see so many people that are not consistent with their email marketing, so that was my first goal was just to prove to myself that I could be consistent.
I get a lot out of it just personally. When I send out my biweekly newsletter I always get replies. Since the email copywriting challenge, there’s a lot of copywriters on my list and I often get people just emailing me back some thoughts and saying thank you or saying what their experience is with whatever I talked about. That’s been a huge morale booster for me and helps me to keep going. I definitely have grand plans for what I’m going to do with it in the future because I also intend to launch a course in the new year and I also have an affiliate promo planned. Eventually I will start doing more exciting and complex things with my email list but for now I’m just staying consistent with it and nurturing a relationship with all these awesome people.
RM: You mentioned some of your plans for the future, that was going to be my next question is, where are you going to be at the end of next year? I’m curious, what’s the course? If you’re willing to talk about that stuff. What are the plans?
TK: Of course. I’m trying to plan this in a way that makes sense and is things that I can actually do. It’s quite optimistic what I have planned so far but I would like to start, in the first quarter my goal is to do an affiliate launch for B-School. B-School has been huge, I can’t even tell you how huge it was for my business. It changed absolutely everything. I really want to share that with others, especially other copywriters. That’s my goal. First quarter I’m going to do a B-School affiliate launch and I’m going to do a proper affiliate launch. I’m going to do my own email sequences, I just hired someone to do a sales page for that. I’m working out some really great bonuses, figuring out how to position myself as someone that you should choose over the dozens of really huge name affiliates, like Amy Porterfield, for example, is an affiliate, there’s so many big names. I’m looking at how I can make it super enticing for people. That’s my first quarter.
In the second quarter I want to launch my own course, which is also about email copywriting and it’s not for copywriters. It’s more for people that are DIY entrepreneurs. I did a lot of interviews earlier this summer when I was just developing this idea and I spoke to a lot of people on my list, I spoke to people who I’ve worked with in the past, and they all said, “I know I’m supposed to be doing this email marketing thing but I’m just not doing it.” They had all these kind of emotional barriers around actually putting their self out there with email and a lot of them had these blocks about, “People don’t like stuff in their inbox. They’re gonna be annoyed with me,” et cetera, et cetera. Basically it’s going to be a four-week beginner course. Get your email marketing off the ground. Did you use mail champ? Should you upgrade to something different? Here’s the basic components of an email from your subject line, to your merge tags, to your sign off, to your everything. It’s very basic so for a copywriter you probably would say like, “Oh, duh.” It’s handholding basically. It’s like four weeks of handholding to get you to actually do the work you know you’re supposed to be doing. That’s second quarter.
I’m trying to leave the rest of the year open but I do have this really exciting idea about developing a sales page template, which I know sounds a little bit canned, but hear me out. I see a lot of people … I get a lot of solopreneurs, people that are doing a lot of stuff DIY, and they’ve written their own sales pages and the biggest problem with their sales pages, even if there’s good writing, is that it has really bad flow and also they’re missing key elements like an FAQ, or they haven’t properly defined whether or not this product is for you, and they haven’t added stuff in to send people away who it’s not for. I’m working on this product where I’ve templatized some great sales pages so whenever I see a big product launch, I’m in launches … this end of the year has been crazy as you guys know, there’s like product launch formula.
RM: It’s all over the place.
TK: There’s so many big launches going on it’s insane. Whenever I see a sales page I grab it and I’m turning some of those into a template. It will be unrecognizable from the former actual live page. Anyway, I’ve got this idea for a product that people can use as the bones, the skeleton of a sales page that they will be able to write themselves.
KH: Awesome. Lots of excitement in the new year. We’ll have to bring you back as soon as you’ve launched the email course definitely so you can talk more about that.
TK: For sure.
KH: Before we start to wrap up I do want to ask you, you’ve created this list of the 29 best things you did over the past year, but what do copywriters do wrong? Maybe there’s something that you did wrong, not to say you didn’t learn something from it, but what do you see over and over again that maybe we’re all doing and it’s just preventing us from scaling or growing our business?
TK: I really have to resist pontificating here because I do love to preach. I’m the daughter of a preacher.
KH: No, you can preach, please.
TK: I came up with three things, and the biggest thing we already touched on earlier is under pricing. Under pricing your services sucks for all of us. If I throw out a quote for something at twenty-five hundred and someone else did a quote for five hundred it makes me look bad and also it makes them look bad. This is really interesting. I’m glad I’m getting a chance to share this story. I got an email from a copywriter who had recently joined my list and she said, “Hey, I just wanted to say hi. I just lost a job to you. Anyway, I’m happy to meet you.” We had some back and forth and of course i wanted to know who the client was. She said she emailed the client and asked just for some feedback why she wasn’t chosen and the client said, “Your prices were too low.” True story. That is what the client said to her. It’s such a good reality check for me too. People buy confidence and if you price a landing page at $500, it’s not very confident and people want someone who’s confident. That’s a big thing. Underpricing. Price it properly. Price it so that you can do the prep work and make an awesome page that’s going to make your client money.
Another thing is, this is something I also have struggled with myself but I’m getting better at it, saying no to last minute work. Often people email me, this is where Sandra’s been really good at being my gatekeeper and my guard dog. If people are like, “Hey, can you write me a sales sequence? My product is launching on Friday.” No, I can’t do that. That’s really powerful. I’ve had people contact me that say, “Hey, can you do this thing for next week,” or something and I just say, “No, I don’t have the time,” and then they’ll come back like a week later, “Oh, actually, magically, I moved my launch date to a month from now.” You have to be strong in not only your prices, but also your process, and your timeframe, and people often will work around you. Your client isn’t necessarily the boss. You can be the boss too.
What do you guys think though?
KH: Rob, you can jump in, but I’m going to have to agree with you with number one is rates, low balling rates. I’m guilty of it. I’ve gotten a lot better, but I think we kind of kill the whole copywriter community, like you said, when we’re charging too little because we’re starting to teach people that we’re not a value and that copywriters in general should be charging the $500 or whatever that person had charged. I think if we’re trying to support each other as copywriters then we need to collectively raise our rates and do the work needed to share that rate. You need to do the work and improve your skills so that you can be charging those rates, but it takes all of us doing the work together. I think that that was the biggest one for me.
RM: I think mine, we’ve sort of echoed the thinking all throughout this whole discussion, and that is if you’re going to do this right you show up as a professional. You meet your commitments. If you say you’re going to have something done, you do have it done. If you say that you’re at a certain price level then you meet that price level and you deliver value for that. You show up, you get the work done, you deliver what you promise, you build trust in a brand around being a resource for your customer and so many freelancers treat it like a hobby. They don’t care about the deadline or they don’t treat their customers with respect. Even simple things, not showing up for calls dressed professionally, which sounds maybe really conservative and sort of old-mannish to say it, but this stuff does matter to a lot of clients, especially if you’re working with corporate clients, but just acting like a professional, I think, is a really big part of doing this job right.
RM: Tarzan, this has been an awesome conversation with you and lot of ideas that I’m going to steal from you, lots of things that I’ve learned. If people want to find out more about you, where do they go?
TK: They can go to TarzanKay.com and read my super explicit blog posts.
RM: That sounds dirty.
TK: It sounds dirty. I guess I mean emotionally explicit.
KH: Add me to that list.
TK: My list too. I tend to share a little bit more with the people who are on my list than I do publicly, but in general I’m very open hearted and emotionally explicit.
RM: Are you on Twitter?
TK: Yeah, I’m on Twitter. I just hired someone to handle some social media for me because I’m very inconsistent with it. I prefer Facebook.
RM: Okay, so we’ll find you on Facebook or at TarzanKay.com. This has been great. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us, Tarzan.
KH: Thank you, Tarzan.
RM: Really a good discussion.
TK: I’m super honored to be on this podcast. Thanks so much, guys.
RM: 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.
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