Mentors. You look up to them and admire how they can help you, but have you ever wondered… “who are they in real life?” For the 260th episode of The Copywriter Club podcast, Rob Marsh is the interviewee, and he shares answers ranging from lessons in business to his go-to self-care routine.
Ready to check out the inner workings of Rob Marsh?
- How to navigate when business moves slower.
- The skill of generating big ideas. Is it innate?
- Analyzing your time and productivity. Are you trying to do too much?
- Does Rob ever struggle with writing copy? – Or is he a copy magician?
- The inside scoop on Rob’s best and worst clients.
- Raising teens and knowing when to run.
- The lessons you can learn from your parents and how it applies to your business.
- Rob’s self-care routine.
- What Rob hopes to do better in the next year.
- What is Rob Marsh’s X-factor?
- Rob’s advice for the introverted copywriter.
- Why you need to send yourself a check for 1 million dollars.
- Money mindset and unlearning things from childhood.
- How did Rob become a reading fiend?
- Breaking news: Rob the romantic?!
- One of the best business books Rob has read.
Listen to the episode with your favorite earbuds or read the transcript with your favorite eyes.
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Kira’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
The Road Less Stupid
Ready, Fire, Aim
Kira: Hi Rob.
Rob: This is uncomfortable, I have to admit, to have you interviewing me. Obviously, we’ve done, I don’t know, 200 and almost 70 episodes of this podcast and got to admit, I don’t love being interviewed on my own podcast for some reason.
Kira: Yeah, well, it’s almost like you don’t trust me.
Rob: Maybe that’s what it is. That’s probably what it is. Wow, 28 seconds in and we’ve nailed it. We know exactly what’s the problem here.
Kira: I mean, we’ve had five years together in business and 270 episodes, but you still don’t trust me. I don’t know what else I have to do.
Rob: Yes, I’m going to have to think about that. That’s a question I don’t think I can answer right now.
Kira: All right, so today’s going to be fun, fun for me, not fun for Rob. We decided to, well, we didn’t decide, I think I decided that I was going to interview you.
Rob: No, you decided. This was not a mutual decision.
Kira: Yes, just like our underwater pool photoshoot a couple of years ago. So, today, we are going to get to know Rob better. And I’m asking questions based off what I would like to know about you, Rob. And so, you can share some of your wisdom with us, and also, just some personal tidbits here and there just so we can get to know the real Rob Marsh a little bit better.
Rob: And I think, if anybody’s listening, they’re like, “Wait a second, I think I’d rather get to know the real Kira Hug better 10 episodes,” we’ll be back and we’re going to do this all the other way around.
Kira: I will be sick, sick that day. It’ll be out sick.
Rob: Trust who is the question now.
Kira: Let’s kick it off with, okay, let’s just start with some easy questions. We’ve been building TCC together over the last five years. So, I’m just curious, what are some of the big lessons you’ve learned from building this specific business?
Rob: Yeah, when you told me you’re going to ask me this, I’m still kind of trying to figure out what are the biggest lessons. I think, I mean, there’s so many. But I think number one is when you build a business like this, and The Copywriter Club is different from you building a copywriting business or me building my copywriting business. Obviously, we’re doing a lot of things together. And we’re doing a lot of things that we probably couldn’t do on our own.
And so, number one lesson, I think, is just having a partner allows you to do more because you can focus on different areas of the business. You can play to your strengths. And hopefully, you and I have partners that make up for some of our weaknesses. So, it’s not all strengths and nobody’s covering the weaknesses. But I think number one is that I could not have done this without you as my partner. I’m not sure if you could have done it without me. I won’t presume to know the answer to that. But having a partner allows us to get more done. And so, that’s maybe number one lesson.
Number two lesson is that this should have been obvious, because this is always a business lesson. But things go slower than you want them to for all kinds of different reasons. Things always take longer than maybe we planned for or that we hope for. And so, yeah, just knowing that things sometimes have gone slower than what either one of us have wanted is a big takeaway.
And maybe number three, we started out doing it all ourselves. And we did the podcast on our own. We built the first crappy website on our own. We were reaching out to people trying to make connections. We kind of cobbled together the first version of the Accelerator. And I think getting the business to the point where we grew past that where we couldn’t DIY everything, we had to have a team and we had to get help, whether it was from VAs, whether it’s from other people to help with marketing or even from mentors, I think, has been a big takeaway.
I have never reached out to mentors in my freelance business before, before you and I had … Right before we met, and so we’ve been a lot better as we built this business together and doing that. So, maybe those are three pretty big takeaways from this experience that I’m sure that there are more if I had even more time to think about it.
Kira: Yeah, I sent Rob the questions like 20 minutes before this interview. I should have given you some more prep time, but I appreciate you rolling with it. So, can you give an example of what moves slower than you were expecting? I’d love to hear some examples.
Rob: Yeah, I mean, I think in some ways everything moves slower. Because once you have an idea, you’re like me in this way. This is one place where I’m not sure that we make up for each other’s weaknesses. But we’re both pretty focused on ideas. And wouldn’t it be nice if we had this. And so, oftentimes, we’ll come up with an idea is like, “Hey, maybe we should have a beginning copy course,” or “Maybe we should have a program that does this particular thing.”
And we’ll both agree, yeah, that’s a great idea. But then the execution portion of it takes a lot more time or effort, or it’s because it doesn’t fit one of our top priorities for what we want to accomplish in doing the business, falls to the wayside. So, there’s those kinds of things that we’ve got a lot of good ideas, it’d be great if they could just all happen now. But for all kinds of reasons, they don’t happen now.
And the best of them happen over time is you, me, our team as we build them. But a lot of times, I mean, there’s still a huge list of ideas that we’ve had that we still haven’t had time to even begin to tackle. So, 10 years from now, maybe The Copywriter Club is going to be this amazing collection of resources and trainings and all that stuff well beyond what we already have. And that’s going to be an awesome day. But it may take us 10 years to get everything out of the idealist we’ve got.
Kira: I think I might be in my 80s by the time we finished the list. But that’s a really good point. I think you and I complement each other really well and our strengths and weaknesses. But you’re right, one area where we don’t is we both are ideas people, as probably many of the listeners are as well. And so, you and I just send voice memos with tons of ideas. And they kind of drop. And now, we have a team. So, that’s been really helpful. But see, Rob, we have more in common than we realize. This is great. This is so good.
Rob: There you go. And I mean, in all honesty, though, that’s one of the things that make some of our programs so good is because you and I are both really good at ideas and identifying opportunities, those kinds of things that when people come to us and ask us for help, that’s one place where we both shine, I think.
And because you and I also come at life from two different places, we actually provide a pretty broad variety of ideas. It’s like you could think about it in this way. And your approach is going to be maybe a little bit different from my experience and my approach. And so, being able to produce a lot of ideas for the copywriters that we work for, I think, makes that time that we were able to spend with them more effective.
Kira: That I think you just identified part of our x-factor that you and I have struggled to figure out, even though we help other people figure out their x-factor, the idea generation, so yeah, that’s great. And I’m going to jump around to some like later questions, too, just to keep it kind of fun. So, Rob, I like to know what your favorite carnival food is.
Rob: Carnival food. Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve been at a carnival. It would probably be a churro or maybe a deep fry … I don’t know that I’ve ever had this at a carnival. But like how about a deep-fried Mars bar. It’s definitely Carnival-esque. And they’re quite good. I’m not talking about the American Mars bar. I’m talking about the UK Mars bar. So, it’s basically deep fried Milky Way, but so good.
Kira: Is that a thing? I’m sure it’s a thing.
Rob: Oh, yeah, it’s definitely a thing. There’s a fish and chip shop in Scotland that claims to be the originator or the place where it was invented. And it’s quite good.
Kira: Okay, that’s what we need at the next TCC IRL. That’s the desert that we need. So, Rob, let’s talk about where you struggle the most. Let’s talk about your weaknesses. What do you struggle with the most in your business and in copywriting? So, let’s talk about both.
Rob: So, I think I’ve been pretty open about this with anybody who has asked or we’ve talked about it. But you always say that it doesn’t seem like I struggle with this, but I do. I struggle with maximizing my time and getting more done. And I feel like when I sit down to work that I don’t always get as much done as I had hoped. And I don’t know if that’s because I have a tendency to be distracted or anything like that.
But I would say that’s my biggest struggle is just maximizing the output for the time that I have. Hopefully, it’s not because I just overestimate my abilities. I don’t know. But I think that’s probably my biggest struggle with work.
Kira: You get so much done. I don’t understand.
Rob: Yeah? It doesn’t feel like that to me. I just feel like I should be getting so much more done. I don’t know. Again, maybe it’s unrealistic expectations.
Kira: Maybe we both need cameras. I mean, we have cameras on our computers, but we need that are-
Rob: Do you want watch my progress as I’m sitting in my office?
Kira: And then we can watch each other so that we know when we’re just like slacking off or I don’t know, not as focused as we could be.
Rob: We don’t need stalkers. We stalk each other through webcams.
Kira: Yeah. And then what do you struggle with the most when it comes to writing copy?
Rob: Yes. So, that’s a little harder for me to answer because I feel like I can pretty much write anything. I mean, I have. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. And so, I don’t necessarily struggle with any kind of project types. But the places where I get stuck is when I have taken on a client that I’m not excited about. Maybe the money was really good.
And so, oh, yeah, for sure I will help you write your web copy or whatever. And then I get into the project I’m just not excited about it because it’s not something that I love, so that’s maybe where I would struggle. But I wouldn’t say, oh, I can’t write a home page or I really hate writing emails. I love writing almost anything. It’s just whether or not I’m engaged with a particular client and the project.
Kira: Well, let’s talk about that then. What’s your least favorite client? Can you call them out and just share and then your favorite client?
Rob: So, the least favorite client that I’ve ever worked on, probably it was a product they actually ended up going out of business, left some of my invoices unpaid, which is maybe one reason why they’re the least favorite. But it was like an electrical transformer power shifting system that went into warehouses and would help them manage their electricity usage.
And I mean, again, I wrote … I think the copy was decent for what it was, but it’s the kind of product that just did not excite me. And I took the project on as a favor to a friend. It was referral. The money wasn’t horrible, but I was doing it for I think all of the wrong reasons and yes, I didn’t love that.
Favorite clients, any clients that I’m writing sales pages for I really like those. That’s kind of my sweet spot and I guess the favorite thing that I like writing is the monthly newsletter that we send out to our members of our underground. Just it’s more content than sales, but it’s teaching different principles, concepts, strategies, tactics, that kind of stuff. And I think it’s pretty fun to write most of the time.
Kira: Oh, I didn’t I didn’t know that was your favorite.
Rob: I like writing them. They’re pretty fun. But I mean for client sales pages, hands down.
Kira: Okay. And is there a specific sales page that you wrote that you’re like this is the best thing I’ve ever written? Maybe not the best thing but I’m really proud of that sales page.
Rob: There are a couple. I wrote one for … It was actually a rewrite that I did with the Conversion XL agency couple years ago for a golf club that was really cool, the XE1 and did a rewrite on there. That was pretty effective. There’s a, I won’t name her, but there’s a thought leader in the course and gamification space that I did a sales page for that I really like. I like a lot of the work that I did there. Anything that I’ve written in the health and wellness space, I tend to really like those kinds of stories, sales pages, as well. So, yeah, those are my favorites.
Kira: Let’s talk about your family. I’d love to hear about your kids because I get to hear little stories here and there about your kids, who are now some adults.
Rob: Some of them are kids, least of them are kids.
Kira: They’re not really little kids anymore, but I’d love to hear just maybe one thing, not what you love the most about each of them, but just something that gives us a glimpse into each of their lives or personalities.
Rob: Yeah, this is a really hard one to answer because everybody thinks their kids are the smartest or really smarter or above average. And then everybody will also follow that up with, I know everybody thinks that, but mine really are. And of course, I mean half of our kids have to be below average right?
Kira: Way to bring this down a little bit.
Rob: That’s just the way the numbers work. But yeah, I mean, so I’ve got two boys and two girls. My two boys are both in their early 20s. My girls are still teenagers. But I’ve only got one left in high school, so they’re great kids. I think collectively, I love having kids that are the older teenager young adult, because it’s just so much fun to hang out with them. When we sit around and play games, everybody’s laughing, everybody’s having a great time and nobody’s worried about throwing the game so that you know the five-year-old doesn’t have a fit because the chute came up instead of the ladder or like all of the things that you deal with little kids.
Now, I’m not saying there’s … I mean, I love my kids when they were little too, but it’s just so much more fun being around adults who think like adults but still enjoy spending time together, love each other. My oldest son, just really smart, philosophical in his approach, just like talking about all kinds of different things with him. My second son is very charismatic, kind of the life of the party, very fun to be around.
My oldest daughter, she’s most driven human being I know. When she decides on something, she’s all out and achieves it. She’s just an amazingly hardworking dedicated woman. And my youngest daughter, who’s still in high school, she’s an athlete, really pushes herself to excel in water polo and the things that she’s doing there. I don’t know, is that enough detail about each one? I could talk about each of my kids. And they’re not all good. I mean, there’s some bad things I suppose I could say. But they’re amazing to be around. They’re awesome human beings.
Kira: Let’s talk about the bad things and publish that.
Rob: Yeah, I’m going to skip that, but yeah, you’re right.
Kira: Yeah, maybe your oldest daughter could be my life coach. Seems like she’s got it going on. So, I’ll have to ask her about that.
Rob: Yeah, like I said, when she decides on something, she’s really driven. Right now, she’s trying to figure out how she can spend her gap year. She just graduated from high school, but she wants to get herself to Africa to work in an orphanage or do some kind of a long-term service there. And because of COVID, a lot of that stuff’s been shut down. So, she’s been trying to figure out how she can get herself over there. I’m amazed that that’s something she wants to do. That didn’t come from her parents. It just came from her.
Kira: And do any of your kids want to dive into copywriting or the business world or any of them kind of interested in, not following your footsteps, but just moving into that space?
Rob: I don’t know about copywriting. I’ve actually told my daughter that she’s a great writer, that she should be doing something like copy. We’ll see if that ever … Nobody ever wants to do what their parents say they should do. One of my sons is very interested in business. He’s taking business courses in college and he’s always asking me for recommendations on books that kind of thing.
My oldest son is studying economics, so he’ll I’m assuming do something business related as well. We’ll see how that all pans out. But an economics degree could lead in all kinds of different directions so I think that’s still up in the air.
Kira: And do you have any advice for parents at my stage where I have an eight-year-old, that’s my oldest, haven’t hit the teens yet, but it’s coming up, coming up fast. Do you have any advice about raising teenagers and how to handle that stage from what’s worked for you, maybe also what’s hasn’t worked as well for you in that teen stage?
Rob: Any advice that I have people probably shouldn’t follow it because I’m not sure that I was always the best dad of my teens. I’m not sure that it was horrible dad, but I think just stay as involved as possible with what your kids are doing. My wife would probably be the better person to answer that question. She’s the better parent by far.
Kira: Well, that’s what we’re going to do for the next episode. We’re going to get your wife, Michelle, on the podcast. And then we’re going to interview your kids. And this is a whole series.
Rob: And wouldn’t that be interesting. We’ll interview each other’s spouses, that would be very interesting.
Kira: Oh, that would be. Okay, so let’s direct the spotlight back at you. What do you do when nobody’s watching? That’s a question we ask a lot of the copywriters in our Think Tank, but what are some of those hobbies, maybe pastimes, maybe even like just puttering around the house, what do you find yourself doing?
Rob: So, my number one go-to is always going to be reading. I love, love, love reading, always have. And I could read just about anything. So, that’s number one. But I like cooking. I cook dinner for my family once twice a week. My wife works out of the home, so she doesn’t always have time to do that. So, it’s an at home thing, but I love road trips. I could get in the car and just drive.
In fact, I have. I’ve gotten in the car with my daughter to drive 300 miles to get chicken dinner and then drive straight back home at a favorite restaurant. So, yeah, those are some of the things I like. We’re not huge TV watchers around our house. But if we get a series that everybody loves, a Ted Lasso comes along or whatever, we’ll jump in with both feet, watch them. But I don’t spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV looking for stuff to watch. That’s not really my go to.
Kira: And where do you read? Where are you sitting? Do you have like a reading nook in your house?
Rob: I have my office, which has kind of a comfy reading chair. But I’ll read anywhere. Well, if I lay down in bed, I’ll read for a couple of minutes and fall asleep. But read in the living room. We don’t have a TV in our living room. Yeah, all over.
Kira: So, I’m curious to know what lessons you learned. It could be business or life lessons from your parents, from your mom and your dad. I know that you’re close to both of them. Are there any lessons that really stood out and you think about today?
Rob: So, when you sent that question, too, I was like, huh, this is interesting, because I haven’t thought so much about it. My dad is a very wise quiet individual. And he was an attorney. So, I didn’t see a whole lot of his business when he was still practicing.
Today, he doesn’t practice law anymore or at least not very actively. He is in volunteerism, projects, land development, housing, that kind of thing, which is kind of interesting to watch. But he’s just very deliberative in his approach to everything. He’s a listener. And when he comments, usually it’s insightful and wise. And so, I suppose one takeaway from that is to listen more and to save your opportunities to speak until you’ve got something worth sharing. Maybe that’s a lesson I should listen to more.
My mom, by the time this podcast goes live … She died a year ago. And she was just an amazing person. She was always interested in other people. She kind of shares that with you, Kira. You’re very interested in other people and always had something to say, always had something to ask and was always more interested in other people and their success.
And I think the thing that I take away from her is just her unwavering belief in me as a person that I would do well in whatever I set out to do and she was just kind of a cheerleader. Told me she never had to worry about me or she always believed that I would accomplish what I wanted to. And so, having somebody like that in your back pocket I think is an amazing gift that she gave me and a lot of my siblings and also many of our friends, who thought of her as a second mom.
Kira: Yeah, I love that. And what motivates you today? I feel like when I think of you, I think of you just seem like a motivated person who, I don’t know, just like you’re driven and focused and seem to be really clear about where you’re going in business and in life and I’m just wondering where that comes from, where that drive comes from in you?
Rob: I wish I knew where it comes from. I mean, I know what I want. There are things that my wife and I have talked about, like hey, we’d like to go live in the UK for a while again. Obviously, lots of things that I want for my kids. So, there’s motivations that come from that, from things like, hey, let’s finally get the house paid for or let’s be able to afford these kinds of things. So, there’s some monetary motivation.
But I think a lot of it too is just driven by who I was raised to be, what I believe personally and how to treat people or the precepts I live by or even faith and those kinds of things. I think it all just comes together in whatever that recipe is that created me and who I am.
Kira: And we talk a lot about self-care on the podcast and I mean that comes up in nearly every interview. What helps you stay grounded, especially on the business roller coaster of ups and downs? What helps ground you and what do you do to kind of just stay motivated, stay sane, not get burned out frequently, at least, what helps?
Rob: Yeah, a lot of people will say, take time off or get a massage, those kinds of things for self-care. And I mean, those things are definitely nice, but those are really things that I turn to. I think the most important thing for me is that I’m doing something I’ve actually enjoyed doing.
Back when I worked for corporate America, and Sunday night would come and I’d start feeling that feeling of dread like I got to go to work tomorrow, psyching myself up for it, weekend’s over. It never feel that. I just like what you and I do together. I love the people that we coach in the Think Tank and the work that we’re able to do in the underground and the people that we talk to and work with every day.
I’m more motivated by that than anything. And I think when you’re lucky enough to have that in your work, burnout, it doesn’t come nearly as much. Obviously, yeah, we could put way too much into it and we need to take time away for all kinds of things. But I think the number one thing is just having work that I like doing.
Kira: And health wise, too, you are taking care of yourself and you do build that into your day. Can you share a little bit about what that looks like at least today?
Rob: Yeah, I mean, I love to be on my bike. So, that’s always a go-to. This past year, I’ve spent a lot more time running, walking or something in between the two with my time. At one point, you and I last spring tried this thing called 75 Hard. We didn’t stick to that very long. I think we started two weeks before our big event or was like, “Oh, this was kind of … How do you put on a four-day event and do all of the things involved in 75 Hard,” but-
Kira: I was also pregnant at the time.
Rob: Yeah, and you were pregnant.
Kira: In my defense, that wasn’t going to happen.
Rob: You were seven months pregnant. So, yeah. And so, yeah, it didn’t stick. But for the last four weeks, by the time this drops, five weeks, I’ve been doing 75 Hard again, just personally. So, runs every morning, lifting weights or time on my rowing machine every afternoon and the stuff that’s involved there. And it’s intense as far as the amount of minutes I’m spending exercising, definitely an aberration for my normal, especially coming into the winter. Winters I don’t usually exercise quite that intensely.
But I feel amazingly good, a little tired, but I can tell heart rates down, feel good when I sit down and relaxed, whatever. So, building time for that kind of stuff into my day has always been important. And especially when I’m out on my bike or if I’m training for a race or doing those kinds of things. So, I’ve always tried to make time for some form of exercise, not always successful. There are definitely periods of time when I get a little sluggish or whatever.
But right now, things are going pretty good and that’s probably the best gift I can give myself as far as lowering stress and feeling good, basically feeding my body or having the energy to actually run a business successfully.
Kira: Well, can you share a little bit more about that, too, and just what maybe other copywriters could think about as they’re figuring out what works for them health wise and routine wise, so that they feel energized to build their business. It’s not something that we learn in school, but it is important. And when you’re building a business, especially, are there any guidelines or anything that you’d give us to think about as we’re figuring out what works for us.
Rob: I think what works for me is probably different from what works for almost anybody else. I think when it comes down to is we invest a lot of time and effort and resources into our businesses to make them work. But the number one thing that runs our business is us and we’re not always as deliberate and investing in our bodies and our health as we are with our business. And the two really go hand in hand.
If you’re sick, if you’re not feeling well, if you’re waking up tired or depressed, or struggling with other things going on, that you might be able to address with better diet, more exercise, time in the outdoors, or whatever, that stuff makes you more successful, more able to run a healthy business. So, maybe more of us as business leaders should be talking about the health side. I’m not necessarily saying you got to give up bacon or sugar or whatever. But thinking through what might work for you, what works for me, I think helps us approach our businesses in a place that makes success more likely.
Kira: Do you feel the impact of that since you’ve been doing 75 Hard and you’ve been really pushing in a little bit more focus even more on your health and exercise? Has it played a role in our business? Or can you feel a difference in your day-to-day work?
Rob: I don’t know that I necessarily could measure it in outcomes. Like it’s my writing better today than it was say six or seven weeks ago when I wasn’t doing 75 Hard?
Rob: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. But I do feel like when I come when I sit down at my desk, I feel energized. I feel ready to work and that’s after having you know done a three mile run or whatever. So, it’s certainly not hurting.
Kira: Okay. All right. And I’m wondering after coaching so many copywriters and mentoring so many copywriters and interviewing so many copywriters and jumping into so many of those conversations, is there a question that you wish more copywriters would ask you?
Rob: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t have an answer to that. I don’t know what people should ask me more.
Kira: Or maybe they’re going to someone else with this question and you’re like, “I’ve got a good response for that.”
Rob: Well, I mean, I don’t know that I can answer this question specifically. But you and I have talked occasionally it’s like, we’ll be talking to people. And they’ll say, “Oh, does anybody know a good business coach?” Well, actually, you and I do business coaching. In fact, the kind of coaching that we’re doing is for copywriters who build businesses, right?
So, if you’re looking for somebody who’s got experience building the kind of business that you want, and occasionally, I’m surprised that people don’t see that or recognize that when we’re talking or when we’re sharing and maybe we just don’t make that obvious enough. But that’s maybe one thing that kind of stands out. Like huh, when people ask us for who can be a good business coach, I’m always a little bit baffled and thinking, well, actually, that’s what we are.
Kira: Right. Well, that probably is because we don’t really speak to it.
Rob: Perhaps, yeah. We have a branding problem here.
Kira: We’ve never, yeah, even really said, “Hey, we’re business coaches.” We’ve talked more about the mentoring. So, maybe that’s just on us and we need to work on our messaging.
Connected to the message, you and I help a lot of copywriters figure out their x-factor and that’s a huge part of the Accelerator program and then the Think Tank mastermind, too, where we continue to hone in on the x-factor. When you think about your own x-factor separate from TCC, what shows up for you when you’re thinking about your unique x-factor and how that could help clients, copywriter clients, maybe other copywriting clients and your own business?
Rob: Yeah, well I mean, for TCC, you and I kind of touched on part of it already. I think I’m really good at looking at a copywriter’s business. I think I do this for clients as well. And I can see the opportunities. I can see ideas. I can see pieces that they’re not connecting and make those connections. I do think that I’m very good at that. And I suppose I do the same thing for my clients.
I can ask 20, 30 questions about their business and start to understand where things might be breaking down, where there might be trouble in a particular marketing campaign or a funnel or why a particular page may not be converting. So, I think I’m pretty good at seeing that stuff. I’m pretty good at identifying why an offer might not be performing really well or what they could do in order to make an offer better, things to add or things that they might do to simplify the messaging around it, those kinds of things.
But yeah, I should probably sit down and go through the exercise again because it’s been a while since I put myself through our own x-factor exercise. But I’m again, really good at ideas. I’m good at identifying opportunities inside people’s businesses and good at figuring out what is the thing that a client actually will or our clients’ customers actually want to buy.
Kira: While we’re chatting about copywriters from interviews from conversations, what do you feel like the key is today? For copywriters who want to build a successful business as a copywriter in 2021, what is a critical ingredient that you know is important today as they think and build?
Rob: Yeah, so the obvious answer here is well, you’ve got to be a great copywriter. But I think that’s actually not the case. You can be the best copywriter in the world and if nobody knows about you, it doesn’t matter. So, the missing ingredient that so many copywriters don’t have is that authority or the celebrity or almost fame, getting known by the people that they want to work for.
Too many of us are introverts and so we stay in our offices quiet or occasionally, we’ll post you know something to our blogs and hope that the world finds it. And if we have a list, maybe we email our list occasionally with an idea or two, and way too many copywriters sit back and wait for projects to come to them, wait for clients to discover them. And that’s just not how it works. You’ve got to get out there, be in front of the world or the ideal client, talking about your process, talking about the projects, the successes that you’ve had, the ideas that you have. That’s how people discover you.
And so, if you want to be successful in the definition of I’m working with great clients and making good money, I think having some level of celebrity or authority around your business is the key missing piece for most of us.
Kira: And have you seen that change over … Well, since you got into the freelance world with copywriting, have you seen any big changes in the way that copywriters show up and act in their own businesses?
Rob: I do think that the internet has changed that from, when I started out as a copywriter, there was no internet. Email was a brand new thing. And the freelancers that I knew at that time, everything was built on personal relationships. They would show up at the agency with their portfolio. They would get to know the creative director or the project manager, whoever it was, that could give them work.
And everything was one-on-one personal relationships. If a copywriter in Salt Lake City where I live happened to be working with an agency in Los Angeles or in New York, it’s because that they had a prior relationship with somebody at that agency, and that they could leverage that into work. The internet has made so many opportunities less personal, which is an opportunity, but it’s also, there’s negative that comes with that.
Because it’s less personable, somebody in Salt Lake City can reach out and pitch a client in New York or Charlotte or Texas or wherever, and make that connection online and get work. So, that was something that was a lot harder to do before the internet was around. That doesn’t mean that those personal connections aren’t still valuable.
Because once you make that connection, now you’ve got to turn it personal, you’ve got to create that relationship by doing good work, delivering on time, all of the other things that go around building a personal relationship, still have to do that. But yeah, I think it’s definitely changed in the level of personal relationship that’s required in order to start those kinds of relationships.
Kira: We ask our Think Tank members when they join the Think Tank, we ask them to sit down, and we work through their goals with them. And we cover a wide variety of buckets or it’s like financial goals, lifestyle goals, all the goals. And so, I know, we like to challenge them to think really big about their goals.
And oftentimes, you have to kind of push back and say, “Hey, are you thinking about this in a big enough way?” So, I’m just wondering, when you think about The Copywriter Club, are there any kind of big, crazy goals that you’ve set, whether or not we’ve discussed it, and you’re still out there, we haven’t really been able to hit those big crazy goals.
Rob: So, there’s this story about, I think it was Jim Carrey. I might be getting this wrong. But Jim Carrey, when he went to Los Angeles, he was just starting out. I think he took out a check and he wrote a check to himself for $20 million. And then postdated 10 years into the future or something like that. I may be getting the details wrong. And then, 10 years later, whenever that time period was over, he still had the check in his wallet. And he was actually in the place where he could write himself a personal check for $20 million. He basically achieved that goal.
And a couple of years ago, maybe, I think it was a couple of years ago, I actually decided I want to be able to write myself a check for a million dollars. And I postdated that check into the future. I’m not going to tell you the date because I don’t want to put pressure on us-
Rob: … to get it done. But yeah, there are things that I think that we can achieve. I think that as I look at what The Copywriter Club could do for literally hundreds of thousands of copywriters who are out there, I think those kinds of goals are out there for us. And so, I have a check that’s taped to my monitor, meaning that I’ve written. It’s not $20 million, maybe it should be $20 million, but for a million dollars.
And when I see that, it sort of spurs questions, okay, if I’m going to write this check next year, a year after that, a year after that, what do I have to do differently? How do I have to think differently in the business? What products do we need to introduce? What kind of a team do we need? Just spurs those kinds of questions. So, yes, long way of saying, yes, I do have some big goals like that, that even you and I haven’t talked about. And it’s something that maybe that’s partly what’s driving me to.
Kira: That’s really cool. I didn’t know about that. I love that idea. I think that’s something that we could all do if it’s motivating to you, we could do that too.
Rob: Yeah, right. I mean, everybody should sit down and write themselves a postdated or a forward dated, maybe it’s predated, I don’t know what the proper prefix there is. But sometime in the future where you can write yourself a check for something that feels like a stretch or maybe even outrageous or impossible, and then shoot for it. Because when we have an impossible like that, we do have to think in a different way. If I can’t write a check for myself for a million dollars today, what do I have to do differently in order to do that tomorrow?
Kira: Well, let’s talk about that more and your money mindset. How has your money mindset changed over the last few years? And what has helped you change and shift your mindset to the point where you would put a check on the wall and feel really motivated, inspired by it?
Rob: I’ve thought about my money mindset. And maybe this is because I haven’t done enough therapy or I haven’t talked to a mindset coach about this. But I do remember my parents fighting about money when I was a kid or hearing my mom say there wasn’t enough money to cover this expense or that expense. And my parents are older. It’s more traditional. My dad was making the money, so he would put money into the account or whatever.
And my dad wasn’t part of a big firm. And so, I know sometimes I’ve heard him say sometimes, I always knew where the money was coming for this week, but I didn’t always know that there was money the next week, but things always just worked out. And that doesn’t mean that there weren’t lean week. So, looking back at me, when I was younger, clearly those kinds of things were getting into my head that, okay, nothing’s desperate. But the whole idea that money wasn’t always plentiful certainly, you banged around in the back of my head occasionally.
I think since being a copywriter, and especially since owning my own business, starting my own freelancing business, starting The Copywriter Club with you, I understand that if we want to bring in a certain amount of money, let’s say, we want to bring in $100,000 next month or whatever, we could create some kind of a product that’s aimed at the needs of the people who listen to our podcast or who are members of our groups or whatever, and launch that and have a reasonable assumption that we could reach some of those goals. That’s a possibility.
And I don’t see the world as stingy, that there’s a scarcity or anything like that. And maybe that also drives our willingness to share our platforms, our podcasts with other copywriters, let them promote their products, those kinds of things. I’m not worried that that takes away opportunity from you and me. And so, I think my mindset probably has changed. But I don’t know that I set about deliberately changing that rather than just the experience of starting these businesses has helped me understand that scarcity is often driven by how we’re thinking about opportunity, as opposed to the actual availability of opportunity.
Kira: Because you mentioned you as a kid, what were you like, as a kid? If you could kind of give us a snapshot of you as a kid, were you-
Rob: I’m an obnoxious brat. I was probably an obnoxious brat.
Rob: Yeah. No, I think, I was a little bit of a smart aleck. I mean, I was probably kind of a funny kid. But, yeah. I don’t know how to describe myself as a kid. I mean, I was kind of nerdy. I wasn’t ever a jock or anything like that. But always had plenty of friends just to hang out with. Yeah, but I think a lot of people would say I was pretty obnoxious kid. Yeah, that’s probably not overstating it at all.
Kira: Oh, my god. Okay, well, we need more of your family members on the show to confirm that. And how did you develop your love of reading? Was it as a kid from family? Or what did that look like?
Rob: Yeah, it totally came from my parents. I mean, our house was full of books. Every room had books, bookshelves. My parents read the newspaper every day. So, I read the newspaper as a kid, starting with comics and the sports pages. And I mean, I read a daily newspaper that was delivered to my house until two years ago and I still read the news online almost every day. So, yeah, it was built into the DNA of our house.
I mean, if I finished the book, my mom would take us to the bookstore and get us another book or to the library to get another book. There was always something to read. And my parents read all the time. Any time they sat down … We didn’t watch a lot of TV together as a family. I just saw them reading and so I think it just kind of came naturally.
Kira: Now, I’m going to ask this question because I’m a romantic. So, we’re going to go back to when you first met … Well, actually not when you first met your wife, but when you knew that you were in love with her, if you’re comfortable sharing this. Was there a moment where you were like, “Oh my goodness, I’m in love.”
Rob: Well, I think the first time that I actually met her and talked to her that night, I was like, “Yeah, I think this is probably the woman I’ll marry.”
Kira: Wait, the night you met?
Rob: Yeah, yeah, the day that I met her, yeah. So, I met her at a party and she introduced herself. And we were chatting. And I mean, I was smitten. And as I left, I thought, huh, this might be the woman that I marry. And, yeah, I guess I was right.
Rob: That doesn’t mean that we like one date and I proposed or anything like that. Yeah, it took a few months to get around to yes, we’re in love or yes, we should get married. But yeah, I kind of knew from that first … I mean, if it wasn’t the first time we met was within two or three dates for sure.
Kira: Right. Well, and the question is, did she know in that first encounter?
Rob: Yeah, I probably had to do some convincing. Yeah. I’m guessing she was less convinced maybe than I was.
Kira: And because we asked about your kids and all the qualities you love on each of them, I would also like to hear what are some of the qualities that you admire the most in Michelle?
Rob: Oh, I mean, there’s almost nothing that I don’t admire. She is very empathetic and cares about everyone around her, her neighbors. She’s funny. She’s fun to talk to, fun to be around. She’s been an awesome mom. She went back to work a couple years ago. And she’s an incredibly dedicated, hardworking employee. She puts herself into almost everything that she does. She just pours herself into it. Yeah, she’s amazing. She’s easily, easily my better third.
Kira: All right. Well, as we wrap up, I think one of the final questions I’d like to know and ask you is, what are you reading right now, because I know you’re always reading such great books, and I’m always snagging your book list. What are you reading right now and can you tell us a little bit about that book?
Rob: Yeah. So, I know I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before because it was a book that was referred to us by Jereshia Hawk. It’s called The Road Less Stupid. It is easily one of the best business books that I’ve ever read. And it’s not your typical business book. It’s literally full of hundreds and hundreds of questions to ask yourself about the different areas of a business. It’s a little bit more corporate than freelance, but I think the questions, 80% of the questions apply to the business that you and I are building together and certainly to freelance businesses.
So, it’s an amazing book or resource. It’s one that you and I, we’ve talked about possibly sending it out to all of our Think Tank members, just because I’m so enamored by it. And I owe that introduction to this book from Jereshia. So, thanks to her.
I recently finished reading up, Ready, Fire, Aim, which is another book given to us by a mentor. Todd Brown recommended that to us, and again, a great book about starting a business and how to try out ideas in a business in order to find out if they’re going to be decent products, whether they’ll be successful, how to manage teams around a business that starts and produces lots of different products. So, that one’s pretty good.
And then, something that’s completely not business related, there used to be a publication called Story, which was just, I won’t call it a magazine, because it’s more like they’d sent a book out. It’s about a 140 page, looks like a notebook sized thing about once a quarter, and it’s just full of short stories. And I subscribed to that all through the ’90s. So, I’ve got, I don’t know, 30 or 40 of these down in my basement.
And I recently started picking them up and I’m just going to read a short story every day. I don’t know that it’ll improve my writing at all. But some of them are fun stories, some interesting writers who are just getting started in the ’90s, who are now world famous. People like Amy Blum and others. And so, started reading that, just as entertainment as well. But most of my time is focused on books more like The Road Less Stupid.
Kira: And that’s a wrap for my questions. I feel like that wasn’t as painful, right, as you thought?
Rob: No, the real pain is happening in 10 weeks when we sit down, turn the tables and I get to ask you all of the questions about it. How long it took you to fall in love with your husband? That kind of stuff. It’s going to be really good.
Kira: Oh, my gosh. No, I’m already cringing. I’m not doing it. I’m just not doing it. Thank you, Rob, for going along with this and going along with many things and like, “Oh, we should do this.” I had fun. And there are more questions I can ask you, but we’ll save that for episode, I don’t know, maybe 300.
Rob: Here’s what we can do. We’ll turn the tables on Kira in 10 weeks for episode, what will it be, 270, 280, somewhere in there. If you want me to ask Kira about the same questions, romantic questions about her husband.
Kira: I asked one romantic question.
Rob: If you want me to ask a question like that, leave a review on the podcast and let me know. I’m going to check and I’ll see. And if I get at least two people who leave a review and say, yes, ask Kira, then we’ll dive into it. If I get nobody, then you’re going to be safe, Kira. So, we’re going to let the audience decide.
Kira: They don’t want to know.
Rob: Let’s see. We’ll find out.
Kira: Let them decide. But also remember, I sent you the questions ahead of time, you were prepared. I only asked you one romantic question.
Rob: Yeah, it’d be fair.
Kira: I think I was very respectful. So, just remember to reciprocate that.
Rob: We will be fair. But yes, if you want me to ask those questions, drop a review at iTunes or at Apple Podcasts and let us know that you liked the show. Let me know that you want me to ask those questions and we will make it happen. 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 is composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner.
If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcasts and leave a review of the show. And if you’re ready to invest in yourself and your copywriting business and finally achieve your goals, visit the copywriterthinktank.com. So, if you want more ideas, Think Tank.
Kira: Took us five years to figure that out. Okay. All right. Thank you. And where can we go to learn more about The Copywriter Club, Rob?
Rob: Thecopywriterclub.com or join us in the free Facebook group, Facebook The Copywriter Club. Listen to more episodes of this podcast wherever it is that you got this episode in your earbuds.