TCC Podcast #348: The Creative Process with Dan Nelken - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #348: The Creative Process with Dan Nelken

Dan Nelken is our guest on the 348th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Dan is a copywriter and author of A Self-Help Guide for Copywriters. If you’re a creative, you may have fallen into the inner critic rabbit hole that keeps you in a cycle of stuck. But Dan gives practical and actionable steps to move away from creative burnout and into a process that helps you turn surface-level ideas into substance.

Tune into the episode to find out:

  • Dan’s experience in ad school and how it shaped his expertise and portfolio. 
  • The grind that turned into a sustainable copywriting career.
  • How to come up with ideas without letting self-doubt, inner critic, and the feeling of stuck get in the way. 
  • The bucket exercise – how to trick your brain into creating ideas. 
  • What’s the creative process and what tools are useful?
  • The two reasons procrastination is keeping you from total creativity. 
  • Why you should use AI to feel inspired rather than disposable. 
  • How to create a swipe folder system and maximize it. 
  • Do you have a habit of following through? 
  • How to make your emotions work for you.
  • The variety of work copywriters can do and industries they can dive into. 
  • How to keep your business alive without feeling resentful and burned out. 
  • Creativity outside of writing – how do we do it?
  • How Dan’s been able to scale back his client projects by 40%. 

Listen to the episode or check out the transcript below. 

The people and stuff we mentioned on the  show:

The Copywriter Think Tank
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
Dan’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Free month of Brain.FM
AI for Creative Entrepreneurs Podcast

Full Transcript:

Rob Marsh:  Creativity is a big part of your work as a copywriter. Whether you’re coming up with new angles for leads and headlines or new ideas for content or new approaches for pitches to prospects who you want to work with, creativity plays a big part in all of that, which begs the question, can creativity be systematized? Can processes and formulas help you be more creative? Those approaches feel a little bit uncreative to me, but our guest for this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast is Dan Nelken, and Dan is here to correct that misconception. He shared several details about his creative process that might help make you more creative too. Stick around for this fun conversation.

Kira Hug:  But before we all get super creative here, we just want to share something special for you. We call it the P7 Client Attraction Pipeline, which is kind of a mouthful. You can call it P7 for short. This is our client acquisition system designed specifically to help copywriters create a prospecting habit. So we want to make it really easy for you to fit prospecting into your day so it feels natural. And so, not only do we cover prospecting tools you can use, we give you a bunch of pitching templates and we continue to kind of add new templates that work for copywriters. We also give you industry niches, 293 specifically, so you can figure out which niches you could tap, especially if you feel like the space you’re working in currently might be slowing down and not hiring. This is where we can be really flexible and explore other niches to find work.

And so, we do all of that inside the pipeline and this program along with supporting you with some behavior shifting that can help you really turn this behavior into a habit so it doesn’t become the thing that you try one day and then you stop doing. It does work. We’ve seen copywriters use these tools and these trainings to gain clients, so it’s worth exploring if you don’t have a client attraction pipeline in your business. And you can find out more information, to find out more information about this client acquisition system. Until then, let’s kick off our episode with Dan Nelken.

Dan Nelken:  Yeah, it was kind of like, I think a lot of wrong turns and dead ends. I didn’t grow up being a writer or a creator. I wasn’t even the creative one in my family, I would say my two older brothers were. And so I thought, “Okay, I’ll play sports and be the dumb jock and that’s my job.” And then, it wasn’t until I was a bit older and when the house was quiet and it was just my mom and I, I think she was really my first audience where I was able to explore my creativity and saw that, hey, I’m funny too. I had soaked up a lot from my brothers and I was just always so quiet in the house, but still, I think by the time I finished high school, I went into psychology, which is what my mom did, and my dad, there was just something missing.

And then I thought, well, sports, yeah, I’ll go. And I went into sports broadcasting and it was, while I was doing that program, there was a copywriting class for radio and we had to write and produce radio commercials for the school station. I say it was the only class I ever felt seen by a professor, and it’s the first time I ever really enjoyed school and just felt I had some natural instincts and obviously from my upbringing and it just fit. I could just say it was the first time I ever felt that and felt seen by a teacher.

And so, obviously, it was pretty clear where I was going to go and still I went to finish my psych degree after that, and then I would have business ideas and I came back to like, well, if you have business ideas, I think I was always kind of entrepreneurial. You had to promote them. I went back to this copywriting thing. So it took me quite a while. When I went to the copywriting program in Toronto, I was 27. I started my career at 28 at an ad agency here in Vancouver. So that was…

Rob Marsh:  We talk about the copywriting program or the portfolio program that you went through. So this is actually relatively unique. We haven’t talk to a lot of agency copywriters and there’s obviously so many paths to get into copywriting in portfolio school or ad school, however each school calls it is one of those paths. I’m really curious about your experience there, what you learned and what you came out of that experience with that helped you land a job at an agency.

Dan Nelken:  Well, I think that the biggest thing, once you get into these ad schools, I think people would be shocked at how much you push the work. And the basic rule of thumb you’d see from a book that we were all reading back then, and it’s still very relevant is that, Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan. And one of the things he says in that book is to write 1 great headline, you have to write 100. And they took that very literally in the schools, and so it would be 100, 200, 300. Think what they really taught us was how to come up with ideas and that’s what you’ll learn in a portfolio school, where I think for a lot of copywriting disciplines and ways in, they focus on the writing, and this is ideas first, insights first and then write, because when you have those, the writing actually gets easier and the lines can kind of write themselves.

So I think it was that, it was pushing us. That’s what I got from that. And then, I think it’s just thinking big picture because you’re often, the goal is to work for big agencies, which often have big brands. And so, you’re learning how to think more conceptually and think in terms of campaigns. And so, when you put together a portfolio out of ad school, it’s still the same, although obviously now, it’s social and more 360 campaigns, but it wasn’t just a one-off ad or it wasn’t just showing you could write. It’s showing you could come up with a big overarching campaign idea and turn that into a series of headlines or ads. So it just helped me, I think, see the bigger picture, which lends itself to working on bigger brands obviously.

Kira Hug:  So then, what happened after school at 28 when you went to the portfolio school? What happened next?

Dan Nelken:  I got my old job back driving a forklift in the warehouse.

Kira Hug:  That’s great.

Dan Nelken:  That’s what I did. And so, I think I knew I was one of a few students who didn’t get an internship for, that’s a whole other story, so it was unpaid, but I didn’t get it. But I knew enough, I knew I was good enough, and I was very determined to get a job. And so, while I was whatever, cruising around the warehouse or tossing garbage into the baler, I was working on my portfolio. And I would send my book to ad agencies that was back in Vancouver, so the school was in Toronto, and I met with one agency who didn’t have a spot for me, referred me to this other one. It was called Cossette. One of the biggest ad agency network works here in Canada.

And the creative director said, “Well, are you looking for an internship or a job?” And I thought, well, if one of them’s paid, I’m going to choose the job. And it was like a 50% pay cut from the warehouse, but that’s how I got my start, and I was on a week to week contract. So every Friday I’d be, “Can I come back on Monday?” for a while. And then, I was an art director there who I didn’t have a partner, I just sat there in my little cubicle and he had a brief for this McDonald’s. They needed a TV spot, radio spot, billboards, and I don’t know, maybe at the time, some print. And he is like, he just threw me this brief. He was like, “Oh, you can work on this if you want.” And I just went nuts.

Probably within two days, I can’t even tell you how many ideas I had. And so, he took a bunch of mine, put them up on the wall with theirs. It was another more mid-level creative team presented to the creative director. And I was in the presentation but didn’t say a word, and he picked off, he probably picked off about eight concepts. These would be, and we didn’t have radio, but it was like TV spot, billboards. I think seven of the eight were from my sketchbook that the art director.

Kira Hug:  What?

Dan Nelken:  Yes.

Kira Hug:  That’s amazing.

Dan Nelken:  And so, I just knew it was the chance I wanted. And it was shortly after that. I never told him, “Those are mine.” I really wanted to, because I was still on a week to week contract. But I found out after he had said to the team, how was it working with Dan, because he wasn’t sure what to do with me. And the art director let was allowing the writer to speak. This person didn’t for whatever reason, was just like, “Oh, it was fine.” And he just made a point. He said, “I went back after and I just let him know the work was yours.” And I don’t know what happened, because I think at that point I was always like, someone took a shot at me. I got the job. I did the thing, and then nobody knew I did it. And he went back and shortly after, that was it. And then I just took off from there. And eventually, he became my partner, and it was awesome. I’m so grateful for that.

Rob Marsh:  That’s an amazing experience. I actually had a similar agency experience where another writer… It’s just, I think that competition in agencies when you’re unsure, especially in a situation like you were in, where am I even going to have a job next week, or do I have a job if this client leaves, foment some of those negative experiences. Usually, I like to think about all of the positive experience. Working in agencies is an amazing experience and the fun that you have, but there is that competitive element that I think a lot of us tend to ignore, at least, until it bites us.

Dan Nelken:  And I think, I don’t blame this person. I don’t think they knew how much it would’ve helped me for them to speak up. I also think it could have just been from a place of insecurity where this person was in their own head like, I didn’t do this, and there’s this forklift driver who just spat out some good ideas, which should have been mine because I’m paid more and was maybe in their own head. I don’t know.

Rob Marsh:  Well, let’s talk about where those ideas come from. So coming up with a ton of great ideas in a very short period of time is a bit of a superpower. It’s something that a lot of copywriters, at least, we would like to be able to do it. Whether we actually do it every day or not, another question. But where do ideas come from and how do you develop them?

Dan Nelken:  It’s funny. I think I struggled through a lot of my career with that. It was a grind. I didn’t have a system, and every time I just showed up at the blank page, went through the whole feeling stuck, self-doubt, inner critic, I’m never going to work again, find an idea, momentum builds. It’s really what led to the book was I had some time away from the business doing something slightly different. I’m still creative, was animated explainer videos, writing and directing those, and I had my own clients and doing some ad stuff. So I was kind of out of it. And when I went back into it, you’d think as enough time passes, well, I should be confident, I’ve been doing it long enough. And I still don’t have it. You think it just would appear one day and it didn’t.

So I started to intentionally work on the craft and think about how I came up with ideas and break it down. So now, there’s a lot less winging it in my process. There’s actually so much, there’s a lot of data actually that breaks down creative techniques that are used, whether we know they’re using them or not. So one example is, let’s say finding an enemy is a common one. Well, you’ll see bigger brands take on another brand, but there’s also like coffee could take on sleep, could take on tea, could take on… So now deliberately, that’s one thing I do is I use these techniques to deliberately to see if they lead me anywhere else or even something within them.

The other thing I do that’s become quite popular from the book is this concept of creating buckets. And buckets to me are all the different areas you can explore. And the way I relieve pressure is just writing down the first thing that comes into my mind, the first surface level idea, which when we’re not creating consciously, we’re expecting the great idea just to come and then there it is. But really, we start somewhere obvious and on the surface. So what I do is just intentionally do that surface level ideas no matter how bad they are. And then I go, well, what’s one layer deeper? What’s a first thought on that first level idea?

So it’s almost like tricking my brain. It’s like there’s nothing creative happening here. I’m just coming up with bad ideas. But when you keep going, what’s the first thought on this? And the first… All of a sudden, you’re three layers down and it feels like you’re not trying. And I think partly from being familiar with top campaigns and a high higher standard of work that’s required, eventually you just are able to pick out and say, “Hey, I can turn that into something.” And then off you go. So I think it’s embracing the bad, which we’ve all heard before, embracing simple and obvious and just chipping down once tiny, small layer at a time relieving the pressure of having to be perfect or have a great idea.

Kira Hug:  So it seems like you’re making this whole writing thing slightly less painful for all of us.

Dan Nelken:  That’s the goal, mostly for myself, and I had no idea when I published the book who else it would help, really. I didn’t like, “Oh, this is going to sell and take off and be received the way it has.” Especially, I had worked in good agencies here, but I didn’t stay in it. I got my own clients. And so, I don’t know what other people know or don’t know, so I really had no idea. But it was mostly a self-help guide for copywriters, it’s called, but it was to help myself. And it turns out we all have a lot in common.

Kira Hug:  And could you talk through the bucket exercise, because I found that to be really helpful too, and give some specific examples of what that would look like?

Dan Nelken:  Sure. So the example I gave in the book was like, let’s say you are doing some ads or writing for really fast wifi. Oh no, actually, the example I gave in the book was for Udemy. They do online classes. And so, one bucket would be you don’t have to go to a school, which doesn’t really feel like an idea. But then once you go, okay, you don’t have to go to a school, then you don’t have to commute. You don’t have to wait in line at the cafeteria. You can say your home is your school is slightly different than you don’t have to go to a school, your home is your school. Well then, your desk can be anywhere. You can sit on the couch in bed, in the bathroom, in the shower, and you’re in school. You could just start to get ideas.

So let’s say the first two buckets were you don’t have to go to school and you can stay home, just a slight word change will lead you to different ideas. And so, those are examples of two buckets. And then, I would just fill them with each one with 10 to 21st thoughts. You can’t help but get more insightful once you get past two or three. And so, I say 10 to 20 buckets, if you go by what I said earlier, to write one great line, you have to write 100. It feels and always felt so intimidating to me. But if I come up with 10 buckets and 10 first level ideas, I have 100 starting points very quickly. If I have 20 buckets that are those first thoughts, and then I apply those techniques, the find an enemy, embrace your dirt, be refreshingly honest, and I have 20 of those.

And now, from doing this work, I probably have 30 headline techniques. And so, it’s really controlling the chaos of creativity. It can feel like it takes away from it, but what I’ve found, it just speeds it up and I feel like that’s so important for us to create faster. When you look at tech tools and what they can do, they create really quickly, the quality’s not the same, but businesses will say, “Well, if it’s converting at this rate, why does it matter?” So I think, look, thinking of AI, which maybe we talk about in tech, it needs to be more human, but I feel like we need to be more robotic. I think if there’s a sweet spot, and that’s really, it wasn’t totally intentional, but that is where I’m heading with things now is structure, just adding structure to the creative process so we can be more human faster.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, I like that. I think as I was reading through your book, one of the things that hit me is that while you do bring process to the whole process, for lack of a better word, there’s still a ton of room. So for instance, you do have some bucket ideas that you always go to, find an enemy or whatever, but a lot of them are driven by the actual product or service that you’re selling as well. So it’s not, okay, well I’m just going to write everything I can think about this product being simple and everything about this product being cheap and everything about this product being fast, which might be three buckets, but you’re actually letting the product drive what a lot of that is. And then, the second part of that that jumped out at me, and it’s obvious, but it’s also one of those things that we don’t talk… We talk about benefits, but when you start talking about the benefit of the benefit, that opens up all kinds of bucket ideas that from a headline standpoint is huge.

Dan Nelken:  Yeah, it’s one step removed. I created a course last year and it was for, it’s called Writing Under Pressure. It’s to write headlines quickly. And so, I share some techniques that I would use if I needed to write them quickly or if I was feeling the pressure the blank page. But in the second section, there’s two tips I shared to come up with ideas. And one was I expanded on that, what is the benefit of the benefit? And in terms of whether you’re feeling buckets or just coming up with ideas, it’s amazing at what that generates.

And the second tip that really stood out for me as I created the course, because I’m learning too as I’m doing this, it was from Luke Sullivan’s book that I mentioned, Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This. And he had suggested this prompt, this is an ad about dot, dot, dot. And then you complete that sentence and then you cross off the this is an ad about part, and maybe you have your headline.

That didn’t work for me, but the one thing I noticed was every single time I answered it, because you have to answer it differently, was like the smallest word choice was inspiring other ideas. So it wasn’t so much about any of these techniques giving you the idea. It was like the hardest part is getting started, and all of these things will do that. And then once you have them all in your brain, you can combine them and mix them. And I’ve never been a better, faster copywriter in my life, and I’m getting faster. I still do some contract work. And I did a job recently where I held back, I don’t know, 40, 50% of my work because of the budget. I was just like, it’s cool to just see it working that I know it’s possible, and I know how I felt before with the doubt and just insecurity, which I’ve proven to myself anyway that we can chip away at that and build confidence.

Kira Hug:  So has the speed given you the confidence or just the structures given you the speed which has given you the confidence?

Dan Nelken:  Yeah, I think that’s what it is, Kira. And I also feel, I guess I don’t feel so alone in the process now either. I have so many tools and techniques, and a lot of them I knew before, I just wasn’t applying them deliberately. They weren’t as top of mind. I would end up there, but now I just do it deliberately and it just gets me going, and then I can go off on tangents and go from there, but it just grounds me.

Kira Hug:  Well, could you give the example of maybe a more recent client project and from the start of the project where you go, because I could see myself still procrastinating and pulling these tools last minute, but it sounds like you are jumping in earlier and the whole project is so much easier because you’re not waiting until the 11th hour.

Dan Nelken:  Oh, I never… I had a friend who did that. She was probably one of the best writers, especially writers of headlines I’ve ever worked with. I met her in school and she would even do it with her school projects, just wait till the very end. I think that stress is cumulative. And it caught up to her. I think she lasted maybe four or five years in the business, and she was amazing. There was a study done by Harvard, Theresa Amabile, I think is how you say her last name. And she said, “What happens with most people when they leave their creativity to the last moment and they say, well, this is what I need to be creative. They’re mistaking creativity for two things. It’s adrenaline and focus.”

I think if we start early, and that’s what we need to work on, is to focus early. So that also allows you at a certain point if you have any time to walk away from it, which also helps creativity. But if you’re just avoiding it, you’re just avoiding the discomfort, which really you’re not because it’s just lingering the entire time. And so, I’m also enjoying it more and I’m fearing it less. And so, I want to do it when I have a good client and a good product, and it’s like I know I can now. Well, I think I would wait before or find reasons and not do it because I was just avoiding having to face my inner critic and his insults again.

Rob Marsh:  So as I was looking at the process, again, as I told you before we started recording, I read your book last year and got another copy recently from you, thank you. And as I was going through the process this time, I was thinking, because we have this new thing happening in the world, AI, I’m like, holy cow, there are so many ways that AI can turn up the dial on this, just using the same process, the benefit of the benefit, and looking at the buckets. And maybe I start by writing down my ideas, but then asking a tool like ChatGPT or Bard or Claude or whichever AI you’re going to use the same kinds of questions and it could double, triple the output again in seconds. So I’m curious, are you using AI as you go through this process and is it changing the way you’re thinking at all, or are you completely hands off? What does that look like for you?

Dan Nelken:  Definitely not hands off. I’m in awe of it. I’ll save prompts that work. I think it takes too long right now. It’s like I’ll just do it myself. I think even when I was at my slow, highly insecure state, it would still be too long. It wouldn’t help. In the moment, it feels like I’m just going to use this because it feels helpful. And then, you just spend so much time figuring out the prompts. But for some of the specific techniques, I think it’s great. There’s one prompt I’ve saved. So the friend I mentioned earlier who kind of burnt out after four or five years, I was working with her on a project and I said, “Oh, I was thinking of a headline that has this kind of rhythm.” And she said, “Oh, you mean a list and twist.”

And a list and twist, I was like, it’s at least two to three items in a list, and the last one is unexpected or twisted. I put that in the book and I’ve written about it. I mentioned that to her, and she says, “I never said that.” And I was like, “Well, I know you did.” Anyway, I was working with ChatGPT, some of the specific ones, and I said, “Oh, subscribe to my…” I taught it the list and twist. First of all, it said, “Oh, I know what that is.” And then it said and it didn’t, and then spat out 10 examples that were way too long and not very good. And then I said, “No, it’s this.” And I explained that it’s at least three items. And then I said, “I’m going to give you the first two items and you give me the last one. I want it to be very specific and completely unexpected.”

And so I said, “Subscribe to my newsletter for tips on creativity, copywriting, and…” And it came up with some ridiculous things. Underwater basket weaving was one, and there was a whole bunch. The first round I think were, if it was weird or unexpected, went kind of obvious like aliens and this, and then I was like, “No, I want it very specific,” and just gave it some just a better prompt. And so now, I have that one saved. And so, anytime if I’m writing a list and twist headlines and stuck, I can fire that into ChatGPT. But AI also has me really inspired. I think right now, I think when it’s going to work well, I think there’s an urgency and there’s always a fear of technology like, “Oh no, it’s going to replace us all and I need to learn it right away.”

And I think like a lot of tech, when it’s going to be at its peak is when we don’t even know we’re using it. It’s just going to be built into whatever we’re working in. It’s not going to be an external tool, and it’s just going to make us, I think, better and faster versus replacing us, which I think is also important. I think of when I started, there weren’t as many platforms. We have to create so much more content on so many more platforms. The work is getting worse. We do need help, so I think it’s awesome.

Kira Hug:  I’m going to steal your prompt. That’s a good one.

Dan Nelken:  Yeah.

Rob Marsh:  All right, Kira, let’s get into the discussion of what Dan’s been talking about. Do you want to kick it off with an idea or two?

Kira Hug:  I don’t know if I have an idea or two, but I just related to his story about how he said he didn’t feel fully seen until he was in, was it his advertising class? Which class did he say?

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. Well, it’s basically a portfolio school or an ad school thing that he took part in.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. So I just related to that. I was thinking back to my college experience, and I remember towards the end of, I guess, it was my junior year when I had my first advertising class, and I was so excited and I felt like it was the first time that I was recognized by my professor as just being a star in the classroom. And that hadn’t happened before that for the most part. And so, it is really fun when you have that moment in a space that you’d never explored before like advertising, where you’re like, huh, this is really connecting the dots for me with creative and strategy and copy and design, and it all blends together in this thing called advertising, and it can be such a magical moment. So I just related to that part of his story.

Rob Marsh:  While we’re mentioning portfolio school, we don’t really talk about this very often in the podcast because most of them, we’re talking to freelancers, but for copywriters who want to work in agencies, this is one of the main ways to build the kind of portfolio that gets you hired at a big advertising agency. And we talked about this process with Luke Sullivan on episode number 115. He’s the author of, Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This, and he has been a major contributor at a portfolio school himself. So anybody who wants to learn more about that process or might want to work at a big agency should definitely check out episode 115.

Kira Hug:  Great share. We also talked a lot about procrastination. And the funny thing is, as we had that conversation, this is now weeks ago, I was in the middle of a project, still in it, and a deadline was creeping up on me. And talking to Dan about procrastination actually terrified me because he made so many great points. And I think it’s really easy to just be like, “Oh yeah, procrastination’s part of the game, and this is just how I operate.” And he made a good case for the fact that there’s a huge benefit to starting earlier and enjoying the creative work more and fearing less, and that’s exactly what he said. And I just remember sitting there listening to him and I was like, “Oh, I really do want to enjoy my work more and not feel so stressed all the time. So what if I started it two or three days earlier than I typically would? Maybe that would feel a little bit better.” And he’s just done such a great job of figuring out these different devices and tools and processes we can use to make all of this so much easier.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, I feel the same way. In fact, as we were talking with Dan, I’m thinking Dan might be the only copywriter in the world that doesn’t procrastinate, and I know that’s probably over, he’d probably be like, “Wait, I actually procrastinate sometimes.” But because of the systems that he’s built and the different ideas that he goes through, we talked about the buckets and we talked about the list and twist and all of these different tools that he uses, it’s really easy to say, “Okay, I’ve got this new assignment. Here’s the basics that I know about it. Let me just start going through some of this stuff.” And the ideas start to multiply and it starts to happen almost on its own.

So having a system can actually… we teased this a little bit in the intro, but that system can actually make you more productive when it comes to creativity. You’re more creative because it enables more ideas and more combinations in different ways than if you just sit down, blank paper, let me see what I can get off the top of my head, and you’re definitely not going to cover all of the areas that you would cover if you went through the buckets.

Kira Hug:  And a lot of us do this naturally, even as he was talking about list and twist, which I was like, oh, that sounds like it’s really fun. And then, as he described what it is, I was thinking, I do this all the time, but I’ve never put a name to it. I’ve never thought about it as a process or as a tool, a creative tool I can use. And so, we can use his book because his book is the best tool. He has all of his ideas and mechanisms in there, or we can create our own too. And just as we do these creative processes and work through them, putting names to them and capturing them, rather than just leaving it up to our intuition and to our natural processes and just pulling out of thin air, which it often feels like we’re doing, we don’t have to do that.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, as copywriters, oftentimes we like to think in templates like AIDA or PAS or some of those kinds of formulas that we use when we’re writing out sales messages or even content, but we often don’t think about creativity and that there are formulas that make creativity work. And so, I think it’s not a huge leap to say, “Yeah, let’s adopt some of these ideas that Dan has been sharing here on the podcast and that he shared in his book. And I’ll just make yet another pitch for it.” This is, in my opinion, a book that should belong on everybody’s desk, every copywriter, content writer’s desk.

Kira Hug:  Okay. Rob, what else stood out to you?

Rob Marsh:  So one last thing, and I know we’ve talked about this. We’re probably making people sick with how often we talk about AI, but just that idea around how AI is, this means for inspiration. It’s a tool for bouncing ideas back and forth. We talk about that in the AI for Copywriters course we put out. That’s But seeing Dan’s processes for creativity, like I mentioned when we were talking, it just gave me that idea. It’s like, oh, I can use some of those formulas, drop them into a tool like ChatGPT or Bard or whatever, and ask for the model to return back some additional ideas for me. So it’s another potential use where AI actually makes us better as writers as opposed to taking away all our jobs or all of the other things that people say.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, I was playing with a new AI tool this morning. It was a design tool. So I think it’s easier when I’m playing with a design tool like Adobe Firefly not to feel insecure because it’s design and it’s not like, oh, this is going to take my job. Of course, a designer when looking at that tool will probably freak out and say, oh, this is going to take my job. But it just allowed me to tap into my creativity in such a new and exciting way.

And so, I think anytime we get stuck and we still feel insecure with these new AI tools, maybe look at a tool that is outside of the writing world, maybe look at a tool that is more in the project management space, or maybe it’s a programming tool that allows you to develop an app or something you would never be able to develop on your own, or maybe it is a design tool that allows you to create from your words, and so just can feel so a revival of creativity when using tools that don’t trigger fear. And so, allow yourself to explore those other tools even if you’re not quite as excited about the writing tools.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, that’s a really good point because as I’ve been playing around with Midjourney and Blue Willow and some of the other design tools that are out there is I would not give myself permission to play with a watercolor or filter. I wouldn’t get out my old watercolor brushes or paper. I’ve told myself enough times I’m not good enough at that, or I don’t enjoy that process, but doing it with this AI tool is just a different way to play around with those kinds of ideas. And I can create things that I never would be able to create on my own or wouldn’t even give myself permission to play with on my own, because I’ve tried it and I wasn’t good at it. So yeah, there’s just this massive space for creativity and learning that’s going on there and can make us all smarter, better, faster, whatever you want to describe that as.

Kira Hug:  All right. Well, let’s get back to our interview with Dan and find out about his swipe file system and how he leans into emotions when writing. And I’m wondering if there are any other tips that you gave in the book that you’ve been surprised so many people have mentioned to you or maybe a little bit more popular than you expected when you initially published it?

Dan Nelken:  No, I mean the buckets definitely people mention that all the time. I think overall, I’ve just been completely shocked by the response to the book that maybe it was just protective, that I was just like, this is for me. I just need to finish something for myself. I don’t care if anyone reads it. Maybe that’s why. And then, it was received so positively and I just kept seeing it pop up everywhere. And then it was, I think early on it was number two in on Amazon in the advertising category in several countries, the US, the UK, Canada. And yeah, that was, it took some getting used to. It was like, “Oh, no!” It was also a little panic. What have I done? I wasn’t prepared for that. So I’d say that’s the most shocking part is just seeing it. And I still get surprised when I see it posted and people message me.

Rob Marsh:  One of the things I love about the book, Dan, is just the number of examples. And maybe I love it because coming from an agency background, I spent mornings before I would have to brainstorm ideas going through communication arts annuals or the one show annuals. Those books are all hundreds of dollars to get them on your library. Your book is $9, $7, something like that. And it’s basically one of those annuals. And so, from a brainstorming, just getting your head thinking in a creative way, it’s just fun to flip through the pages, look at the headlines, because there are, I don’t know how many examples you’ve included. It’s got to be a couple hundred different ads, phenomenally good ads. And you’ve kind of broken down, shared some of your thoughts about why they work or what the idea is. And this isn’t really a question, it’s just me praising the book and saying, everybody should have a copy of it because it is more valuable than the $10 you’re going to spend to get it on your shelf for sure.

Dan Nelken:  Yeah, no, thank you. I’ve started curating just ads and saving them. And I do have a little system now for doing that. I have, I don’t know, over 1,000, I don’t know how many I have. So I share just different things. I have two folders and one is just like everyone says to have a swipe folder. So I throw things in the swipe folder, but then I have another one called adxamples. And once a week or once every two weeks, I go through it and if I know what it is, oh, it’s a listing twist, it’s a smile headline. I’ve already created a folder for it. I just drag it in, I tag it with a few things so I can find it. If it doesn’t, I leave it in there until I can come up with a name or see a pattern, and then I drag it in.

That way I can teach it or share it or if nothing else, it’s just in my brain. And there’s like a psychology technique called name it to tame it, which I think is used for kids’ emotions to help them through things. But that’s helped me with creativity, really. It’s just naming these things so I can do a list and twist opposites. I have so many now, when before I had none, even though I was doing these things. And a lot of us are doing these things, we just don’t know we are.

Rob Marsh:  So does that mean there’s another book coming as you’re making these collections?

Dan Nelken:  No. I mean maybe, but it is not on a front burner right now. I think it’s for content for a future course. Do you know, just you referencing all of the examples, there was a PDF created maybe 20 years ago by someone called Suzanne Pope? You heard of her?

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, I’ve heard the name.

Dan Nelken:  It was called An Inconvenient Truth for Copywriters. And that was so helpful. I had that on my desk and really when I had, I didn’t feel like I had a mentor early on in my career or resources, but that, I printed it out. It was like 20 pages long. It had about 30 examples and 10 techniques. And so, it was that really inspired the book, was just having a technique and example, so I had a quick reference. So yeah, that was massively helpful.

Kira Hug:  I think what you do so well is you know how to make people smile when they read your copy. And even just your note on the front page that you wrote, you said, “There are two typos in this version. If you no longer wish to have me on the show, my inner critic agrees with you.” It just, it’s hard not to smile. And so, I don’t know if it’s a hard question to answer, but what is your best specific advice for other writers who aspire to make people lean in and feel seen and create that intimate connection where you want to smile and you feel that that trust is built? How do you do that?

Dan Nelken:  Well, it’s important to me, and you can’t always do it for brands. And so, I think some of is just create for yourself to play with that. That’s what LinkedIn is for me and the book. I really do think in a lot of ways was I shared something today on LinkedIn that one of the things that helped me was my frustration. I just leaned into my frustration with I wasn’t able to express my work or all of the layers in an ad agency or with clients, that when I create, it’s for me. And so, with the book, I was able to, there’s even some lines where the editor had said, “Oh, I don’t think everyone will get this.”

And obviously, I listened to a lot of her feedback, but there were some, where I was like, “That’s okay,” for the people who do. And so, I think that’s what waters down a lot of creative is worrying about that. Not every piece is for everyone. And if we can convince clients of that too, it will. I think their work will be stronger for it. But there’s often the bigger the brand, the more stakeholders, and things end up being very vanilla because everyone has to be okay with it. And I think if you’re able to show it in your work for yourself, you will then attract clients who want what you do, and that’s what’s happening for me.

Rob Marsh:  So while we’re still talking about ideas in the book in general, I’m curious, this is maybe a big question, but why a book? Of all of the different ways to go into the world and there’s so many written today, easy to get lost, why a book in the first place?

Dan Nelken:  That’s a good question. That’s why I kind of laughed when you said, “Are you writing a second book?” Because I’m not sure. If my focus is to help people, is that the best way to do it? Maybe it’s a software is what I’m probably more likely to do, or not a book published in that way. But I think honestly, growing up, everyone’s got like, “I’m going to write a book one day.” My dad, he is 80, he still hasn’t done it, but he is like, he’s close to 80. “I’m going to write a book one day. I’m just not ready yet.” I’m like, “I don’t think you are.”

Rob Marsh:  At some point, yeah, the book gets written or not.

Dan Nelken:  So I think that was it for actually how it started, which I share a bit in the book in the beginning. I had an idea originally to do an online course teaching headlines. And early on, I had met with someone who worked at Lululemon and they wanted me to do some work for them. I couldn’t, and I knew him, and I casually mentioned this course that I didn’t have yet, but I told him what I had figured out, kind of, “Oh, that’s about a great headline, isn’t a great sentence, it’s a great idea expressed in words.” It was a minute and a half of our lunch conversation, and he messaged me after and said, “Hey, too bad you can’t work for us right now, but could you come teach that course to our writers?” And I was like, “Uh-oh.”

And so, I sent him an estimate and in that estimate I said, “The writers will get a booklet, this leave behind.” And so, we set the date. I started working on it. I started on the booklet. I had three months to have this course ready. I was two months in and the booklet was 80 pages long with a bunch of examples. That’s when I really started curating. And I started to really panic because the course was, I’d also create these slides. I’d never taught a course before. And then he got to let go, and I’d never collected a deposit.

But anyway, so I this, I was like, this feels like a book. And I think at that time when I was on, it was like eight years ago, and I still felt like at that time it was best served as a book. I don’t know about today. I still think it is. It was nice. I think most people buy the hard copy and they keep it on their desk. Something about, I think when you’re working on a screen and then you have to look at another screen that if you can keep that screen there and look through the book and holding it, because we just never use our hands anymore or not enough, I think there’s something to it. But yeah, good question. I don’t know why a book. It’s funny, but I had something. Aren’t both of you working on books?

Kira Hug:  I mean, what do you consider working?

Rob Marsh:  That’s the rumor. We’ve put it out there, we’ve got our ideas. It’s been a little slower going, it’s funny cause I wrote-

Kira Hug:  Rob took off at the beginning. He took off, and a couple days he was like, “I wrote the first chapter.”

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, I’ve got a couple of chapters, and I wrote a book before that I absolutely hate. It’s okay, it has just some stuff in it, and every time I sit down to write this new one, I have a little bit of PSTD from… So anyway, it’ll come. It’s coming, for sure.

Kira Hug:  Well, yeah. What is your advice for us and for other writers listening who also want to write a book to help us not get in our own way and not do exactly what Rob and I are doing, where we’re just talking about it but not doing the thing.

Dan Nelken:  I think if you write a book just for you, I think that’s enough. But also, I think I would just, what got me was imagining my life without having done it. Got so, I don’t know. I said to myself, if you are just kind of full of it and you’re not actually going to do that or make anything for yourself, just go get a job like a normal person and stop doing this. And I found out we were pregnant with our second child. And then I was like, “Well, this is the perfect excuse to not finish it and wait what? Another five years till she’s in kindergarten.” And I was just like, “No.” I just knew it was starting to hurt me and I had to do it for me. I got to that point. So I guess it’s made just sit in a bit like it’s for you, really. And how great will you feel to finish it? Just, it’s hard. Up until two months before I press publish, I wanted to give up and there were things that would come up, “Oh, do I need copyright for all 200 images?”

And I was like, “Oh, I’ve reached out actually to Luke Sullivan and one other author, and they had publishers so they didn’t have to worry about that stuff.” But he was like, “I think if it’s educational, you don’t have to.” And I was like, two people had mentioned that to me. And then, I was like, “Oh, well, we’ll find out.” And I still don’t know, but there were all kinds of things like that, that the closer I got would come up.

And even the structure, I was three months before I got feedback that I knew I needed, that I really didn’t want because it would more work, but every time it just got better. So you will feel like that, but I can’t tell you how good it felt. It was terrifying too, to hit publish, because I had developed a bit of an audience by that point. But I just say it’s worth it, because I knew for me, I just had to develop a habit of creating and following through for myself because it would just lead to the next thing and the next thing, and that’s what’s happening. It would change your life to just finish it. So that’s worth it.

Kira Hug:  Well, I want to hear more about that change. Once you launch the book, you get out of your own way. What has that changed for you or what has that introduced? What are the new possibilities and doors that have opened for you since then?

Dan Nelken:  I think the number one thing for me was just feeling valued really, and it feels amazing to that it’s helping people. The messages I get from someone who’s applied to whatever ad school in Australia. Two years in a row, there’s this test that didn’t get in. I read your book. I got in the intern in Toronto who messaged me and said there was five writers, five other interns. We all had to submit lines. I was the only one who read your book or an executive creative director in New York who said he wrote 500 headlines in two hours. I can’t even do that. That’s number one is just feeling valued that I think it’s something I’ve always known I had value, but I didn’t have enough evidence and I maybe wasn’t putting myself in a position or with the right companies are in the right roles for it to be seen by anyone. So that was it.

I think the adjustment is being seen as an expert too, but what that leads to is speaking to companies around the world. They’ve all been virtual so far. In a full circle moment, I actually just met with someone at Lululemon who’s probably going to have me come in and teach that will be my course, not the original one. So that’s pretty cool.

Rob Marsh:  You should get a deposit on that.

Dan Nelken:  I’m going to do that. She actually offered it. I was like, “Oh, no, no, it’s fine.” So that’s happening talks. I created my first online course, so I think what it’s done is just leads you to the next thing. And so, the course was the same way. I’m not comfortable in front of camera. I don’t know the technology. I don’t know how to do this. I remember that first video. It took me forever to do a first intro, five-minute video, like five hours, probably that first one. I have all the outtakes of me swearing and the things I was saying to myself, which is cool to watch, how it was just awful.

But then, I had a moment where I was just like, oh man, you’re finishing this, because I had pre-sold it. It was like you’re going to get so good at this, and I could just see it with just the book. By the time I finish it, I’m going to be so good at this. And I think that’s what I got from finishing the book too, was it just taught me that it’s worth it to just keep going. And really, it’s inspired me to just keep making the next thing. And now my problem is just choosing what to do next.

Rob Marsh:  I know we can keep talking about the book. I want to actually know a little bit about your business and how you work with clients today, the kind of work that you do. Just tell us what a typical project looks like, feels like, that part of the work that you do.

Dan Nelken:  Yeah, I’m doing less of that. I’d say it’s now like 30, 40% of what I do. I’ll do that. And I do still work direct to client, which is usually what I prefer. And so, I helped launch, well actually they haven’t launched yet, but it’s a new yogurt in the States, is it one project? So yeah, different things. I have a buddy of mine, a designer I used to work with who started a, it’s like a DIY detailing product for cars. He’s doing very well. So I’ve been doing work with him, and I’ll occasionally do a tone of voice documents for brands and higher level stuff. So it’s usually bigger campaigns.

And then, I don’t, in terms of copywriters, write websites really or do content, but because of my newsletter, having some traction with that. I had a company recently ask me if I could look at theirs and bring some personality to this. See, that never would’ve happened before. They said, “We want this and do it this way.” But now, they either read my newsletter, have read my book, or follow me on LinkedIn, and they’re like, “We want some of that.” Kira, that smile you talked about.

Rob Marsh:  Listening to a podcast about copywriting for copywriters, it’s nice to hear the variety of work that is out there. So we get in our own streets, where it’s like, oh, it’s all about sales pages or it’s all about email. And copy is everywhere. And so, just hearing the kinds of assignments and the kinds of work that are out there and available I think is very interesting.

Dan Nelken:  Yeah, that’s the other thing with if you are creating content, nobody would’ve asked me. I mean, not as often or help with a newsletter, for example, or even their LinkedIn strategy or posting. Now, yeah, I am an expert in that as well. It is cool, but we have the opportunity to play with those mediums. If you’re not doing it, we can do it. It’s never been easier to create. And if what you create sucks, nobody notices. They’re expecting it to, it gets buried quickly and you get better at it and can figure it out.

Kira Hug:  I’m juggling in my head which question to ask you because I have three more questions I want to ask you, but I’m also paying attention to the time. All right. Well, one of them is, you’re speaking about all these opportunities in these projects, which you are at that stage in your business and you’ve done the right things to land those opportunities. There are also so many copywriters right now who are struggling with, again, these weird recession times that we’re in and giving up on copy or pivoting and leaving copywriting or just like, hey, tell me what to do for people even hiring copywriters. And so, do you have any advice for that copywriter who’s just really frustrated but is trying to figure out how to keep the business alive and also not burn out and just disengage where so much resentment’s build up that they just leave copywriting altogether? I know that’s a big question.

Dan Nelken:  I can just speak for myself because as much as I can be like, “Oh, I’m a guest on a podcast,” and I have everything figured out, I’m still lost and don’t know what I’m doing. And where I’ve struggled the most, I just haven’t fed it, it hasn’t been a priority, but it is that client work. And so again, I’ll go back to frustration the last time. I’ll take a job still, someone who hasn’t heard of author Dan Nelken is like, “Need a copywriter.” And I’ll feel undervalued or I don’t want to do that, it’s still happening.

So where I’m focusing now I touched on is productizing somehow. So I have the control. This is what I provide for you, and I think if you’re struggling, if they’re suffering about it, which doesn’t help, it’s like what steps can you take? There are always things we can do differently. Maybe it’s productizing. Use that resentment or frustration to problem in some way. I know it’s hard. Instead of waiting for the world to come to you, it’s just when we work that way, it’s the right work doesn’t find us. So I feel like until you’ve tried and use that frustration to do something a little different, to build your craft, which will build your confidence, which might lead you to sharing more, you got to try something different if you’re not, is all I’d say.

Rob Marsh:  You’ve mentioned that you’re productizing a couple things in your business a couple of times. Will you give us an example of, and obviously turning things into products people can buy, we get that, the larger idea, but in the application, what exactly are you turning into a product so that it’s easier to get to or it’s easier to work on?

Dan Nelken:  I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing yet, but I had a meeting with a guy. So okay, I’ll share enough context that you can figure it out. How far back do I go? I’ll start here and we’ll see.

Rob Marsh:  All the way back to driving the forklift.

Dan Nelken:  No, it’s not far off that actually, it’s early on in my career, so I’ll tell that story quickly. There were these, is the company Best Buy? You have Best Buy?

Rob Marsh:  Yeah.

Dan Nelken:  Did you ever have Future Shop as well?

Rob Marsh:  No. We had Circuit City and Fry’s, but I don’t remember Future Shop.

Dan Nelken:  So Best Buy and Future shop across Canada were owned by the same company, and I had a friend who worked for them and she sent me this document. They had hired two guys out of Seattle to do this brand audit and I saw the deck. It was so bad. You could have watched one commercial of each one and done this. It was three months work and they charged 300 grand for this audit.

Kira Hug:  No way.

Dan Nelken:  Yeah.

Rob Marsh:  Those prices, they drive me nuts seeing what agencies charge for those kinds of brand books is amazing.

Kira Hug:  Wow.

Rob Marsh:  Amazing.

Dan Nelken:  They were flown in from Seattle, this 45-minute flight, and not only that, there had to be a certain type of water in their rooms.

Kira Hug:  No. Oh, my gosh.

Dan Nelken:  Yeah, right?

Rob Marsh:  That’s actually a lot like traveling with Kira.

Kira Hug:  Robbie, you with your Coke Zero. Don’t even get me started.

Dan Nelken:  From that point, I haven’t done anything about it, but I’ve always thought it’s easy to do a quantitative audit or conversion rates. And I found this, actually, I did some work for a company. He’s like, “Hey, you should do something like this.” And it came back to me and he says, “But for a creative.” And he showed me this audit that they did and how it works on you go to the site, and there’s three options. The first option’s free, and if you fill that out, they’ll go to your site and they’ll take one component and show you how you could increase conversions, then they try and upsell you to these packages.

Anyway, I was curious. I reached out to the founder of this company, they’re called, I’ll shout them out because he gave me some time, Oddit, O-D-D-I-T. It’s even worth checking out if you’re ever thinking of productizing. So I met with him and I said, “Oh, I was talking to a client of yours,” and he was like, he didn’t know them. I was like, “I love it. That’s what I want. I want to not even know who my clients are.” And so, they kind of come in. And he has a team obviously working for him, so he’s not doing it is why he didn’t know.

But he said, there’s no client interaction. They fill in a little form, they do the audit and send them quite a thorough, it was better than the $300,000 one and it doesn’t cost that much. And it’s like of the three tiers, the highest one is three grand. And so, mine would be more qualitative, but I’m trying to figure that out because obviously with conversions or SEO, things are more measurable and creativity less so, but there are a lot of brands, especially with AI that are starting to value original human humor, and so I just have to craft it. So I’ve kind of told you what it is. I have a name, just I’m not sharing the name.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, it’s almost like measurement, measuring it by the number of people who smile when they read your currently and track. You could do that with facial recognition now.

Dan Nelken:  Oh yeah, there you go.

Kira Hug:  Get very sci-fi. My last question for you is just around creative practices. As someone who is very creative, what are you doing outside of writing and all of the techniques you shared in your book to stay creative and engaged?

Dan Nelken:  Well, just a fairly curious person, and now that I’m creating content and creativity is really just connecting things, I’m listening to a book on parenting, which I’m getting so many ideas for. I will intentionally listen to things that are not related to copywriting or creativity and that really seems to help because I’m so consumed by it these days. I get so many ideas. I definitely get less when that’s all I’m doing. It just helps things stick. That’s when you come up with analogies and I have to remind myself to sometimes just find something that makes you laugh and that isn’t for work, but it all comes back to it these days.

Rob Marsh:  My last question for you, Dan, is if people want to connect with you or check out your course, find your book, where’s the best place to go and make that connection?

Dan Nelken:  Yeah, thanks. I think just LinkedIn, just Dan Nelken send me a connection request or follow me if that’s too much of a commitment. And yeah, that’s where you find me and everything comes from there. I do have a newsletter, so, you can sign up there for my newsletter and I share anything that’s happening through there and I try almost every Monday to share one creative or copywriting tip that you can take into the week.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, amazing. Thank you for your time, for sharing the process. If people have listened and it’s like, wow, we were a little too high level, they should definitely get the book. Thanks for being here, Dan, and just sharing so much.

Dan Nelken:  Thank you. It was nice to meet you both. I’ve listened to you both, and so it was so cool to chat with you. Thanks for having me on.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, thank you for my copy of the book and for giving us your time today. We really appreciate it.

Dan Nelken:  Awesome.

Rob Marsh:  That’s the end of our interview with Dan Nelken. Let’s get into just a couple of more takeaways before we wrap up here. So again, lots of things that jump out and things that we can talk about, but I think I’d like to focus just on the swipe file idea in the system that we have for collecting these ideas that aren’t necessarily ours, but we can borrow against. And when we talked earlier, we were talking about list and twist and the smile headline and the different patterns and templates that are out there and that people are using over and over. I actually have a folder where I’ve collected some cool magazine ads that I like from the past, and there are a couple of email lists that I’m on that share those kinds of things too. What do you do for your swipe file, Kira? Do you have a creativity swipe file?

Kira Hug:  I’m just laughing because no, I am the worst person at organizing any folder, any file. And I think you know that and the team definitely knows that. So I was just going to say, don’t be afraid if that is not your expertise. And you create content, you create copy, you’re constantly coming up with ideas, but saving them in a folder is not your area, it’s okay because there’s so many resources out there that you can pull from when you do need a swipe file. You can get Dan’s book, and now I have a swipe file in his book because I have that near my desk, or you can get Breakthrough Advertising Mastery and that has a ton of swipes you can pull. You can befriend people like Rob, who have their own swipe files, and so you can look at those. So I guess I’m just saying not everyone’s good at that. I’m definitely not, but there’s so many resources available where it’s not going to prevent you from learning as long as you can pull those tools and keep those resources near you.

Rob Marsh:  One more thing that Dan talked about that I think is worth revisiting is we were talking about looking for places to find creativity. At the very end, we’re talking about getting away from the desk or the work and spending time doing something that’s totally outside the realm of whatever it is that we’re writing or thinking about. And I know that’s an idea that comes up a lot, but it’s something that I think we forget to do. We know it’s important to get outside and go for a walk or watch a movie or read a book that’s totally disconnected from anything that we’re doing. And yet we tend not to do that stuff because we get so wrapped up in the work and in getting things right. And so, it’s just worth drawing a line under that and saying, yep, we all need to get out more. Maybe Kira, you and I should kick off now and just go see a movie or something.

Kira Hug:  Except that we have more calls lined up.

Rob Marsh:  See? This is why it doesn’t happen.

Kira Hug:  I mean, that’s something I definitely could use more of and I’m hoping to this summer to just have more space. I get really grumpy when I can tell I’m not working too hard, but just on my screen too much and not getting that creative stimulation from the real world. There’re just times that’s just reality, but I think as long as you can pull back and lean into the real world and what makes you feel good and creative, you got to do that. As creatives, we have to do that, but there are times where you just also have to get on your laptop and crank out the work to keep the business afloat.

Rob Marsh:  For sure. Last thing I want to touch on is Dan’s mentioning of his book and just the value that brought, not even necessarily to his business, although I’m sure it’s brought him clients, but the fact that he accomplished something, finished something that was big, important, and what that does to our confidence levels. We talk a lot about with a lot of copywriters who are, I’m not confident in this or that, and it’s doing the thing that builds the confidence. And so, if you need the confidence to write a book, you just have to write the book and then you’ll have the confidence, you’ve done it, you’ve accomplished it, and that works for just about anything that we try or work on.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, I feel confident because we have this podcast and it’s like, even though it’s a team effort, it doesn’t matter. I mean, it’s still running, and I think anytime you have something that continues on and is hard to do and not many people do it right, then it builds that confidence and you’re like, well, what else can I do?

Rob Marsh:  We want to thank Dan Nelken for joining us on the podcast to talk about his book and how he stays creative in his business. If you want to connect with him like he suggested, look him up on LinkedIn or to grab his book, head over to It’s also available on Amazon. It may be on some other bookstores as well. It’s definitely worth adding to your bookshelf.

Kira Hug:  And that’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please visit Apple Podcast to leave your review of the show, and be sure to check out our other podcast, which is all about artificial intelligence and how copywriters and creatives are using it in their careers and businesses. You can check that out at Thank you for listening and we’ll see you next week.

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