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NOTABLE! 6-Figures In 12 Months Copywriting. Quit Job. Here's How I Did It:

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Imgal

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My point is, even as a non-copywriting freelancer you should pay attention to these kind of threads.
First because a lot of the tips are not focused on a skill but on a mindset and will thus help you, no matter what you do.
Second because the content focused on copywriting will help you with your (written) sales process which will give you a huge advantage.


Maybe this helps someone
This is something that is overlooked by so many people. You don't need to be an expert copywriter to sell your services, but learn at least the basics and you'll be able to blow all the other competitors with their standard "we do 1,2 and 3" with your benefit driven content.
 

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Deri

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Fantastic reading. Would like to learn more on copyrighting.
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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And that is a huge opportunity!
Because most of your competition is really bad at it, even the smallest improvements in copywriting-skills will highlight you in the masses. Put in the right mindset and you don't have to be a perfect writer!
This is the exact mindset to have. Even many copywriters aren't good copywriters!

Hell, I still have a zillion things to learn and some of my copy still falls on its face. If you can learn the skill and even just be a middle-of-the-road copy-smith, you're miles ahead of other developers.

Just like your craft to design, it takes practice, it takes testing, it takes failure, it takes studying.

If you don't have much time, then just learn this...

Learn how to write headlines and sub-heads. Just your headline will determine 80% of the success of an ad.

Thanks for the kinds words...will be adding more
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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The #1 way to immediately tell if you'll be a good copywriter or not

I've gotten a bunch of PMs from readers asking copy questions, and it's great to help.

One forum peep reached out wanting me to critique his short copy. It sounded like he's new to copy so he's doing the right thing reaching out and trying to learn.

The copy he wrote wasn't bad.

But, having read a ton of copy, I could tell it was very much 'off-the-top-of-my-head' stuff. As in, he probably spent a lot of time staring out the window or aimlessly writing to get what was on the paper.

How can you tell? It's very generic and not directly talking to the ideal customer.

When you think of a writer, you probably think of an introvert who does indeed stare out into the abyss mentally grasping at straws. If you look close enough, you might even see the writer's brain doing front-flips.

If you're doing that as a copywriter, you're doing it wrong.

If you think writing copy is 'off the cuff' stuff and some people have 'that creative gene' and others don't, you're wrong.

I gave him this stone-cold-fact...and you might not believe it at first...but if you have any interest in this field, listen...

Copywriting isn't about writing at all. ["Whattt...."]

Copywriting is all about, forever and ever Amen...

The research.

All copywriting is: Taking your research and organizing them into a coherent argument. After which, you squeeze a couple of "amazing" and "astonishings" in front of some nouns.

That's not to degrade what I do for a living because it's hard as heck to do this. But, that's what it is.

You can tell right now if you will be a successful copywriter or not...just ask this question...

Do you like research? Can you spend 8 straight hours simply Googling facts, or talking to clients and reading testimonials...?

If the answer is "Heck no..." , you will hate full-time copywriting.

Sure, you might be able to pull a few ads out of your backside that do well. But, entrepreneurship is a long game.
Of course, the more you write in your industry, the less you research about your prospect, and the more you research about "HOW" and "BIG IDEAS." Because if all you write about is selling t-shirts and jeans...at some point you learn who the target audience is, but you run out of angles to pursue...

And cue research.

That's it. If you're going to be a successful full-time copywriter long-term...you must love to research or you'll spend more years than you want in the 'trough of sorrow'
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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Why you should start freelancing TODAY:

Like many, I spent years reading book after book about various entrepreneurial topics, "This next one I crack open will bring me the hidden message..."

It's okay if you've thought the same thing.

I'd waste days reading about, "Here's what you do if make enough to expand to a new office..."

I'd think: "oh gee, this is important stuff...man, no one else is smart enough to be reading this..."

Let me tell you the blunt truth: You're wasting your time doing all that.

Here's all you need to know to start a business:
1. Learn how to make money

That's all.

The best, fastest, easiest, cheapest way to do that...freelance your boo-tay off.
Take your skills, whatever it is: writing, sowing, painting, music, teaching, fixing,coaching.

Go on Thumbtack or Craigslist, apply for gigs
Go on Upwork, apply
Most lucrative way: Reach out to companies or people you know, let them know what you're doing and if you can help

Here's the magic of what happens...

- You build confidence
- You learn how a business runs (even if it's just you)
- You learn how to market yourself
- You learn how to fake it til you make it
- You learn what you're good and bad it
- You learn your mindset

No more would you be hiding behind books and 'dreaming' of the day you can tell your boss you're never coming back (as I did).
Soon it's a reality.

What are most of you doing right now?
Pondering:

'I don't have an idea'
'I'm going to build an app and sell it for millions like Snapchat'
'I would never cut grass to make money, that's not fastlane [while you work a 9-5 you hate]
'I can't waste my time on a non-fastlane business, I'll never get fastlane'
'I don't have time, I have a kid and wife who needs attention'

You can't build a fastlane business until you understand how to build A business. You can't play QB for the Cowboys until you understand how to just throw a football and hit someone in stride...not just read and dream about doing it and winning the big game.

KEY: Easiest way to start a fastlane business. Start a "slowlane" business for yourself. Learn how to make a freakin' dollar for yourself before you think about a $1 million dollars.
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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A Tale In Failure

Last week, I sent over a quick write-up to kick off a project with a renowned client.
[If you've never done client work, normally you get 1/2 upfront, 1/2 when project completes.]

I had pitched him an idea which he liked. Then, he said he chatted with his marketing manager and they felt there was a bigger idea. "A gamechanger" If a copywriter could pull off this idea, it would be a grand slam.

Now, I'm still relatively new to writing copy. [a couple years in. Many well-known copywriters have been putting pen-to-paper since the premier of 'Thriller']. I heard a great copywriter say "If you have a chance at swinging for a grandslam, do that rather than go for the single."

-----------------------------------

You've heard of Babe Ruth, right?



You already know he's one of the best baseball players of all time. When he wasn't puffing cigars and scarfing down hot dogs, Babe carried around the biggest club. His bat was something like 54 ounces. (heavy). Imagine chopping down a oak tree and using the trunk as a baseball bat.

Other hitters during that time were sometimes half of Babe's bat.

He would strut up to the plate and his sole goal was to swat a homerun. No singles, or doubles (although he hit plenty of those)

Well, for 11 straight years, Ruth led the league (or was second) in strikeouts. You have to remember, back in those days, strikeouts weren't as common. In 1923, seven pitchers broke 100 strikeouts. In 2016, 129 pitchers broke 100 (12 broke 200).

But, no one cared about his failures. They cared about the moon shots he'd unleash into the stands!

---------------------------------------
Back to the project....

So, I accepted the "grandslam" project rather than (what I felt) was an easier project. For weeks, I read, listened, watched all I could on this subject and the companies involved, investors etc.

It was tough.

Worried the client wanted to see some progress, I sent over an outline and some quick summaries of what the BIG IDEA might be that could make the client millions.

His response?

"Umm...none of this makes sense" He went on to say "This looks like it's going to go nowhere, I'm killing this project." [aka "you're fired" and with this, no second 1/2 of payment].

I was depressed. I did all that research for what looked like nothing.

Pulling myself out of self-pity, I shot an email back: [paraphrasing] "I get it, this idea is tough and obviously I didn't think it out enough. Let's do this: Give me a few more weeks. I'll write out a lead to this. You go on not worrying about me. When I come back, I'll present this idea to you, take 2 minutes, if you don't like it, we'll kill the project for good. How about that?"

He responded: "Can't say no to that." [*in italian voice* Make 'em an offer they can't refuse!*]

I could tell he's still skeptical and believes I might be wasting my time...but here's what I told him:

"I'm not afraid to fail...I just want the chance to..."

Still working on this project, and it could very well end in failure. But, like I told the client, it's never a 'waste of time' if you're learning. While learning the craft, don't worry if every second you work gets paid for. Plenty of gurus shout "Charge what you're worth...only broke people work for free."

Sure, there's some truth there. But, when you're learning to write, build, code, lift...you'll need time to learn, learn learn and much of it will be at 2am when no one's watching and no one's paying.

----------------------

KEY: It's easy to read this forum and get caught up in all the 'success' you see. Sometimes it's like Facebook or Instagram...

I used to see all these '6-7 figure entrepreneurs' and thought they floated on the clouds. As if they had a direct line to God and whatever they asked, they received.

Since I wrote this thread, young writers reach out and pile on praise about how 'great' I am...the whole time I'm thinking "Dude, I fall on my face everyday. Plenty of clients have fired me because they think I suck."

One client last year (not a good client anyway) told me "I should've done more research on your background before hiring because this just doesn't work."

Those words stung...but they happen. And will happen until you're pushing up daisies.

If you're still in a 9-5 job (as I used to be), just because someone tells you "You suck" or "Your product/service stinks", move on. Others lay awake at night waiting for someone like you to help them out.
 

Shabeer

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This is inspirational man! I look at where I am disappointedly. I have faith in the process, but I'm so down every now and again, but posts like this keep me going and get me more juiced than ever! Thanks my man, god bless, and I wish nothing but more success for your future! :)
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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This is inspirational man! I look at where I am disappointedly. I have faith in the process, but I'm so down every now and again, but posts like this keep me going and get me more juiced than ever! Thanks my man, god bless, and I wish nothing but more success for your future! :)
Man, I spent years disappointed with where I was. Definitely more excited where I am now, but have work to do still.

Getting down on yourself should be a 60 seconds thing, then get up and keep working.

I haven't had a real, relaxing vacation since my honeymoon in 2013. I've been up since 2am the past 5 days...when you just start DOING, something will happen...
 

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But, when you're learning to write, build, code, lift...you'll need time to learn, learn learn and much of it will be at 2am when no one's watching and no one's paying.
!!!!

"Charging what you are worth" is the worst advice to follow when starting out for the longterm!

Overinvesting in terms of time and work is so important!

From my experiences, the situations that require additional, off-the-invoice work are the ones that will
a) push your learnings the most
b) develop the best client-relationship
c) stay in the clients memory the most

If you are in for the longterm, working another two hours for free (instead of 10€/h) is no problem, because you know it will come back in new found skills, more experience, a better portfolio or simly recurring work and referrals.


I'm interested where this story is going, thank you for sharing!
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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From my experiences, the situations that require additional, off-the-invoice work are the ones that will
a) push your learnings the most
b) develop the best client-relationship
c) stay in the clients memory the most
I see a lot of posts on the Forum of new posters (many you never see again) talking about how they've worked a slowlane job and now they're 'taking control of their life' and becoming a "fastlane millionaire."

Great to have goals, right?

The problem is this....

You know all hustlin' and putting in the hours...but then you put in your hours doing the wrong stuff. You read books, and posts and you call it 'work.' Then, 6 months go by and you've made $0...so you say "This venture doesn't work" and you dump it. Off you go to find the next shiny business.

Instead, when you're motivated by your business at the beginning and when you're starting out, put in the time doing stuff to build the business not acquire the knowledge about the business.

When you start a new venture and you're stoked about your new bakery. Don't spend the first 3 months reading recipes and talking to other bakers.

No...

Instead, go out and start selling your cupcakes for cheap to gather feedback and testimonials. Bake until your goodies turn red from your bloody hands kneading truckloads of dough. When you're excited about your biz, that's when you should do the hard stuff because you get through it.

But, then you hear "charge what you're worth" so you spend your time not baking or selling and instead reading books about baking and selling. What happens? You burnout.

Everyday you should be doing things for minimum wage IF YOU BELIEVE YOU'RE ACTIVELY PROGRESSING. i.e. your muscles are gaining that muscle memory. If you're a writer, you write. Baker you bake. Roofer you roof. Take some losses just to get your hands on client work and learn the craft.

Running a business is like a video game.

You start off with 100% stamina. As you go, your stamina depletes. There's only a few things that 'refill' your stamina
- A big win
- Actual, physical proof you are getting better at what you do (if you run an ecom business, you see your CPL dropping each month)

Those wins and proof "boost" your stamina up to keep going. Then a never-ending cycle until you get out.

That's why, do that cheap work at the beginning (and, when experienced, for your best clients) to sharpen the saw and get those proofs and wins that refill the tank and keep you going.
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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THE SIMPLEST, FASTEST, EASIEST WAY TO DOUBLE RESPONSES TO YOUR ADS AND SALES MATERIALS:
(It takes an amazingly easy 5 MINUTES to do)

Most ads and sales pieces are drier than the Sahara. They all sound the same.

"Best prices in town!" "Expect great work from us!"

You've seen those worn-out slogans in every industry...it's sad because some goober sat behind a computer screen thinking they just came up with the most awesome turn-of-phrase ever seen.

These stink because
#1: They focus on the business not the customer (but that's for another time)
#2: They sound like everyone else

They sound like everyone else because they use the same, exact phrasing as everyone does.

The fastest, simplest, easiest way to cause the cash register to *cha-ching*...just use more interesting words.

You don't need to be a world-class copywriter to do this. You might hate writing, or plain suck at it. That's ok. Here's how to quickly (in 5 minutes) boost responses...

Use these 75 POWER WORDS:

POWER 75 WORDS (courtesy of Clayton Makepeace) (referenced everytime I write any 100 word ad or 10,000 word letter):

Amazing. Astonishing. Astounding. Announcing. Appalling. At Last. Bargain. Bonus. Breakthrough. Charter. Comfortable. Discount. Discover. Discovery. Easy. Effortless. Exclusive. Free. First Time Ever. Fearless. Forever. Gift. Guaranteed. How To. How I. Hurry. Immediate. Improved. Your Profits. Inevitable. Instantly. Intense. Introducing. It's Here. Just Arrived. Last Chance. Limited. Locked-In. Miracle. Money. Never Before. Nothing To Lose. New. Now. Opportunity. Painless. Premium. Prestigious. Priority. Promise. Proven. Quick. Revolutionary. Right Away. Rush. Sale. Save. Savings. Scandalous. Secret. Send No Money. Sensation. Simple. Special, Shocking. Steal. Surprising. The Truth About. Today. Unique. Valuable. Why. Win. Windfall. Yes. You.

WHAT?!?

You might be thinking..."I use these words all the time": "You," "Free" "Now"

Those are included because they're the staple for increasing response...However, everyone and their dead grandma uses 'em...

What about "Shocking" "Amazing" "Surprising" "Introducing" ...

These are the words that really stick out...

You turn:
---- "Best Prices in Town!" [used by every local biz on the block] to...
--- "The Most Shocking Savings You'll Ever Find" [says the same thing...but incorporated 4 power words that : 1) Stand out 2) Sound much more intriguing and sparks curiosity.

Notice, this example still focuses on the business (hypocrisy right?)...but adding "You'll ever find" suddenly flips the table. The customer now thinks about "Am I overpaying for X? I deserve the lowest price?"

Etc. etc.

Drop these words into your next ad and see what happens.
 

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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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Whoa this is real gold . These rules apply to so many industries . Great thread . I deff learned new tactics for my own industry
Thanks! Even if you're not a copywriter nor want to be one, these strategies and rules work no matter what position you're in. Especially if you're in a place where you're not happy or want to make more of an impact.

One BIG IDEA in copy or any marketing activity could change an entire company.

The copywriter at Ted Bates agency was looking for a new way to sell M&Ms. At first, M&Ms were a military technology made to not melt in soldier's packs. Don't want chocolatey hands while firing at the Nazis. They used the candy for "energy"



So, this copywriter sat down with the founder of the candy company and interviewed him. During the hour or so chat, the founder spilled the golden slogan: "Melts in your mouth not in your hand."

The copywriter used just that one sentence as his BIG IDEA.

M&Ms is the top-selling candy in the world today.
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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This is awesome. Thanks for all you're putting into this thread!
Wowwwwww what a story! brilliant! :)
Thanks guys...still got more to post. Will keep this thread running as more people get some value from it.

For those who DO NOT want to be copywriters: ALL these posts are still relevant to any business you run.

I'm not saying I'm some copy-guru. Far from it. I'm making mistakes everyday and writing rookie copy. But, some of the ideas here will cut 6 months of despair. Unfortunately, you're getting it for free. Fight the urge to discount it.
 
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Joe Cassandra

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I Studied A Struggling Pizza Inn Chain’s Emails 4 Months: Avoid These Mistakes & Attract Recurring Customers (Screenshots)
(Plus, proof just because someone's a VP of Marketing at a large company doesn't mean they know what they're doing)

A few months, I was emailing back and forth with an executive at Pizza Inn (website) ( a subsidiary of Rave Restaurant Group and brother to Pie Five chain).

I bought their stock after meeting the CEO...this was a few years ago...

Bad idea...since then, stock's tanked 75% and CEO out...holding the stock now for a potential buy-out...last hope!


CEO Ex-CEO of Pie Five

I had reached out to their VP of Marketing as I had heard the (ex)CEO, Randy Gier speak. Great, excitable, interesting man. [One of my questions to him was if there is a “sibling” rivalry between Pizza Inn and Pie Five since they are both pizza chains. He got a kick out of that.]

Pizza Inn has been around for over 50 years and was (at one time) a leading Pizza chain especially in Dallas/Fort Worth (where I used to work before moving to GA).

More recently, they’ve seen profit struggles and restaurants closed down. After listening and enjoying Randy’s presentation, I reached out.

The executive mentioned they were having trouble with their drip email campaigns.
A drip email campaign is a series of emails sent out periodically that go together and the end result is the subscriber BUYS at the end of it (or even better at the beginning)

Being an absolute pizza junkie, I sprung into action to help. Of course, I would need to SEE the emails. So, I signed up for their email list.

Over the next 4 months, Pizza Inn would send their emails, I would digest them and collected them overtime to see what the “story” is.

-------------------
An email chain should have a “story.” It builds on each other until at the end, your subscriber is pulling up to a Pizza Inn, grabbing a booth, and pulling apart (cheese still melting) a delicious slice. A slice not just for themselves but for the spouse and child they’ve brought. Pizza brings people together.

Can you tell I like pizza..

What I found with their emails, is there wasn’t a connection. It was a BLAST email, nothing personal about it. Nothing to say “I care about you and your family.”

This is what’s missing in many email campaigns and I saw that with Pizza Inn’s emails. I haven’t seen Pie Five’s, but would think it’s similar. Pie Five is a bit more “hip” in how pizza is served, so it’s emails should reflect that.

Why You Should Care:

You’re going to get an inside look at how an email could be bettered. You get a backstage pass so you can look at your own emails and not pay someone like me to fix 'em.

Studied for months:


Look at the Subject Lines ($%^*)

I highlight some points in the image, but let’s write them out and go through them:

  • All the email headers look similar: “Hey, WE have a discount.” “Yo, come see ME”, “Wazzup, OUR pizza is good.” These are NOT talking about the customer’s needs, but your own.
  • An example of a great subject line might be: “You deserve THIS break, this is for you.” Something that says: “We want to help you, you’re busy.”
First Pizza Inn Email:


Triple Cheezy yumminess…pizza..

  • This is a blatant advertisement. Remember, our email was meant to be “PRIVATE” communications. We’ve allowed brands into them, but to keep them in there, we have to be receiving value.
  • This theme might work in an election year (it wasn’t when it was sent”, but that’s about it.
Idea for an email:
"Choose to Give your Friend a Pizza Today. Surprise them. Just tell us who you’d like to surprise.”
With this, you give value and you may gain a new customer.


  • Their 3x cheese crust is incredible (definitely try it), but you can’t make every email an ad. Just every so often. Try an email that says: “Shh, you like our 3x crust? Ok, here’s how you can make it at home” This is all about the customer.
  • Have a contest: “Compete with your friends: Who can finish a 3x cheese first?” Take a video and we’ll put it up on our website to make your friends jealous!
Second Pizza Inn Email:


Pizza Inn: Are you spooking your customers away?!

  • (This was a Halloween email)Everyone is competing on major holidays and weekends: Try going after weekdays. Be in Mom’s inbox on Wednesday night: “Rough soccer practice? Skip cooking, grab a pizza. Take the family time to hear your kids and they can hear you.”
  • Throw in some nostalgia and credibility: “We’re one of the original pizzerias in Dallas. Want to taste how pizza did in the 50’s?”
Third Pizza Inn Email:


Pizza Inthusiasts is pretty clever my Inn-ions

  • Coupons are great (at times). Many forget to bring them into a restaurant, what can you offer instead? If they like your Facebook page, they get $5 off. Or follow on Twitter.
  • Use descriptive copywriting, make their mouth water.Our pizza has been around longer than Papa John’s and Domino’s. We don’t stretch ourselves thin by cutting corners. Instead, you get warm, buttered dough with melted mozzarella perfectly blended in with fresh spiced tomato sauce. The tomatoes are a gorgeous red when picked, and pressed into our signature sauce.”
  • Create content your target audience is waiting to see. Maybe just a nice note about something, thanking them for being long-time customers. It goes a long way.
GOOD THING THEY DID:
With food, having a picture tells an entire story. In this case, your copy needs to complement. Connect the dots from "Yes, I'd like a bite.." to "Why should I get in the car or order online right now?"

--------------------------
Do you see what you can do with emails. You can transform them from something “so-so” and turn them into a “Yes, I want to read that.” Where they are nodding their heads and saying “I’m glad I read that.”

Don’t tiptoe and shout in my mailbox, provide value!
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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HOW TO GET ANY CLIENT YOU WANT:

I see many folks on here posting about Upwork and such. I've tried it before and hired people from it. Look --- it's definitely a place for beginners to pick up some samples and build up a portfolio.

But...if you ever want to make $100 - $500 per hour writing copy...you need to find companies who have copy budgets. Million-dollar companies, ad agencies, info-marketers, ACTIVE advertisers.

To do that...you need to learn how to sell yourself. Upwork you wait around for some dude in a basement to post a job posting. [DISCLAIMER: Yes, you can find potential clients where you could get retainers and such, but that's few and far between]

If you want to take a more active role in finding work and quit your job as I did...here's what you do:

1. FIND COMPANIES ALREADY ADVERTISING!
Best place to find them?

Facebook.

Every info-marketer, publisher, anyone who uses long copy (long copy is where the money is), advertises on FB. There are sites out there where you can find who advertises on FB. (Maybe someone can post the best ones). I don't use them now as I know which companies (niche) I target. They all advertise around the web.

THE KEY: If they advertise, it means 2 things:
1.) They know the power of advertising
2.) More importantly, THEY HAVE A FLIPPIN' BUDGET

2. FIND THE DECISION MAKERS ON LINKEDIN OR THEIR WEBSITE

Look for their:
- Director of Marketing
- Copy chief
- CMO
- If it's a smaller company, just target the CEO/Founder

This takes some legwork...if you aren't willing to put in this work, then give up. This is the easy stuff.

3. FIND THE DECISION-MAKERS EMAIL ADDRESS:

First: Download "Streak" for gmail. You can hook up any personal email to gmail. You can find tutorials on that through your web hosting company.

Download "Rapportive" plugin (I assume you use Chrome as it's the best).

- Try variations of a persons name with their website. For example, for Apple.com, you might try: jcassandra@apple.com, joecassandra@apple.com , etc. At some point, "Rapportive" will trigger that they found this email registered to a network.

- Google "@apple.com" email and look for people's name. All you're looking for is how someone's name would be for a company email as it is typically the same for everyone.

- NOTE: "Rapportive" may not always register an email. So, you may have to send some emails that bounce. Again, if you aren't willing to put in the work...can't help you.

4. SEND EMAIL:

Hi Joe,

Saw a recent post you did on X [OR ANY PERSONAL PIECE. AGAIN...RESEARCH]

Thought it was interesting and wanted to reach out. I write copy for [NICHE OF PERSON YOU WRITE TO - IMPORTANT] to help them get [e.g. more recurring customers or orders, etc.]. I've also worked with other companies like: X, Y, Z [CLOSER OF NICHE YOU WORK WITH, THE EASIER THE SELL]

Is there an appropriate person to ask if you work with outside writers?
Thanks,
Joe

KEY:
1) You keep it relatively short (less than 75 words)
2) You make it as tailored to their niche as possible. (That's why I always recommend working in one niche. LEVERAGE LEVERAGE)
3) You aren't asking "Hire me? " You're asking for a softer ask: "Who should I ask about this?"

5. NEXT POST ---> FOLLOW-UP

The key to all sales...follow-up. I'll do another post later on this.

----------------------------

Again, if you're trying to make this a career or to build up a cashflow for other ventures...reaching out to million-dollar companies will always hand you more.

That said, I'm sure you could find potential retainers on Upwork. But, you'd rather spend time actually interacting with Directors of Marketing at companies than spending an hour on a proposal and sending it into a black hole.

If I was starting out again...:

1. ) Pick a niche
2.) Find as many jobs in that niche you can ---> get good at it with samples
3.) Find larger companies who are in the niche ---> Reach out again and again
------------------

I've tried hiring Upwork people to do this research above for the emails, but they all failed miserably. I discovered it's something I have to do myself, or hire someone in-house to do, which I don't want to do right now.
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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Great write up, I've been trying something similar. Instead of doing joeblow@apple.com, I've found that hunter.io (the chrome extension) works best. It can scrape emails from LinkedIn profiles.
I tried Hunter.io awhile back and didn't see the benefit. Maybe I'll pick it up again.

Like I mentioned, I tried hiring someone on Upwork to scrape the emails...dreadful.

If copywriters, designers whoever can just *dull* themselves to reaching out to strangers, it makes life so much easier.

Just today, (Fourth of July), I ran across a potential client I'd never heard before. Within 5 minutes, I found the Director of Marketing and shot her an email using a similar script to the one above. No hesitation about "What if she says no?" "What if she tells me to $&%( off?"

No thought. Reached out. Will probably get an answer in the next two weeks. Maybe even a 5-figure client.
 

SYK

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I tried Hunter.io awhile back and didn't see the benefit
Try Contact Out Chrome plugin too. Bats about 90%. Combined with Hunter.io and Vocus.io and I get about a 98% success rate.
 

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Denim Chicken

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I tried Hunter.io awhile back and didn't see the benefit. Maybe I'll pick it up again.

Like I mentioned, I tried hiring someone on Upwork to scrape the emails...dreadful.

If copywriters, designers whoever can just *dull* themselves to reaching out to strangers, it makes life so much easier.

Just today, (Fourth of July), I ran across a potential client I'd never heard before. Within 5 minutes, I found the Director of Marketing and shot her an email using a similar script to the one above. No hesitation about "What if she says no?" "What if she tells me to $&%( off?"

No thought. Reached out. Will probably get an answer in the next two weeks. Maybe even a 5-figure client.
Does Rapportive still work for you? I used to use it but I thought they shut it down after it was sold.
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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Does Rapportive still work for you? I used to use it but I thought they shut it down after it was sold.
I believe it used to have more features. But now I definitely use it inside Gmail when searching for an email because it immediately tells me if I nailed the right email. It only picks up Linkedin profile emails, but with Linkedin, you can link multiple emails. So, if it's a personal or company email, I know I'm reaching the right person.

screenshot-mail.google.com-2017-07-05-21-22-20.png
 

PhilKowalski

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Wow @Joe Cassandra what an amazing thread (bookmarked).

Besides all modules / parts being of high interest to me (although I'm not planning a copywriting career) the one that says: Start some (cheap) work to gain experience and get a portfolio was the most amazing 1 for me.

Off to work :)
 
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Joe Cassandra

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THE EASIEST WAY TO GET RE-HIRED EVEN IF YOU SUCK

When I work with clients, I make sure to always have phonecalls with them. In fact, prospects will send me contracts before we've even talked on the phone and I'll stop them: "I don't start a project until we get on a phonecall first."

I actually wrote this to a prospect yesterday:

screenshot-mail.google.com-2017-07-07-09-26-30.png

WHY?

Because you get to know the prospect better, get them to trust you more, plus you can really dig into issues they've had in the past...

One question I ask every one of the prospects I'll work with ---
"What issues have you had with other writers in the past?"

HERE'S THE MAIN ISSUES:
---> Freelancers don't send work in on time
---> They tell you 'I'll send this to you tomorrow' and a month passes...
---> Slow to respond to emails (seems to happen after the check is cut)
---> They write the draft, get paid, and walk...no follow-up or help
---------------------

I met a client for coffee last week. He said he loves working with me because:
---> I get stuff to him on time
---> I provide ideas that are valuable to him above and beyond the normal scope of the work

Let's be clear... I AM NOT THE BEST WRITER THEY'VE HIRED. THEY'VE HIRED WRITERS WITH 30 YEARS EXP (I'm only 29)

But, I do these simple things the others don't.

Another client I chatted with on the phone. He had hired a guy who is pretty popular in the copy world. The writer gives talks at conferences...charges $15,000 for a 15 page sales letter... a dream writer's life.

My client told me how he hired this guy in November...paid up the 5-figures...and this superstar writer promised the work in December...my client told me this story in February and still hadn't received the work.

But, my client was so desperate for a writer, he put up with this abuse!!

I come in...less experience...not as good...and I get work on-time. I follow-up with changes quick. I pick up the phone when he calls, answer emails within 12 hours...he's hired me again and again since!

------------

---> Do the easy little things.
---> Be nice to your clients and add value where you can
---> Think long-term (not just the next check)
---> Quit job.
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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I MIGHT'VE JUST BEEN ROBBED:

I rarely work with someone unless we have contract. Only time I haven't is when I trust the company and they pay me 100% upfront.

With this client, I had a contract...but, obviously I'm not a contract lawyer.

Here's what happened: End of 2016, I signed on with a client to write a promotion. I was still wet behind the ears writing long form copy, so I negotiated for a lower fee and a higher commission. (The subscription I was selling was a semi-backend when commissions are typically lower).
(A back-end, fyi, is a product typically sold to customers who've already bought from you before and usually more expensive. E.G. You could say "The Fastlane Insider's" subscription here at the forum is a 'back-end' for MJ as those buyers most likely bought the book first).​

This client (in the small niche I work) is relatively known. These aren't some back-alley chumps. They make millions of dollars a year.

Well, I got to work. Not wanting to mess up one of my first long-form pieces.

---> First draft? "Yeah, it's just not there. Re-write it."
---> Second draft? "This isn't looking good, if we can't get this right, we will have to terminate this."
---> Third draft? (2 months later) "Yeah, we're pulling the plug, it's not well-done."

That stings. Packed up my things...moved 'Client X' in my Google Drive to the "Lost Clients" folder and moved on.

---------
THIS WEEK:

I subscribe to most of the companies in my niche, so I see when they release new sales material. (HINT: Great way to build up a swipe file)

Their daily digest email blipped in my inbox, I clicked through to the website....

1. There's my headline
2. Much of the body copy is word-for-word (others are derivatives of my writing)
3. Close at bottom is almost word-for-word
4. Entire outline of sales letter is what I sent in

All they really changed was the first 15% of the promotion.

Obviously, that's upsetting. Especially, as I negotiated for a higher commission and a lower fee.

-----------
What's happening now?

I reached out to the copy chief and the guy above who (who I first reached out to) and told them my concerns.

Should hear something this week.

Stay tuned!
----
KEY TAKEAWAY: You should negotiate in the contract --- 'if this project gets terminated, I, the copywriter, get a kill fee, plus if any of the material I write gets used, I'm entitled to a commission.'
 

focusedlife

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Hi Joss,

In response to "How To Get Any Client You Want" (great stuff, by the way), I have a similar approach with the cold email outreach but something a little less manual.

I took advantage of the AppSumo Deals for Sales Flare, Find That Lead, Mail Shake and Better Proposal.

For grunt work manual prospecting I use find that lead in one vertical (I get 1500 credits per month).

I try and dig up at least 500 usable emails targeted at top guys in B2B spots and use mailshakes tools to drip out about 20 emails a day from that.

It has automated followup protocols like IE if they open it send the next thing or don't send the next thing til they open and click a link, etc.

That just means you should string together some powerful staged email responses based on what you know about the market.

I've since dialed it into a sort of spigot for getting in front of useful potential referral sources, adding value to them in exchange for leveraging their trust and affinity with their client based assets (they serve the same folks), going for endorsement and basically greasing the sales process via their borrowed trust.

After that it's just a numbers and consistency game.

If you can reach out to 20 folks a day (warm them up so to speak), chat with at least 1 or 2, odds are (assuming you have a damn script, you sell something that want/need and you can communicate your value to them) you'll land a dang deal or 3 or so this way per month (assuming you want clients).

500 calls x 10% chats = 50 convos

50 convos x 2% close rate (you suck at this) = 1 deal.

Sound doable?

I promise, it is.

SalesFlare for managing contact opportunities and accountability.

BetterProposals to make my proposals not suck, lol.

Hope that helped someone.

Regards,

Los
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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Hi Joss,

In response to "How To Get Any Client You Want" (great stuff, by the way), I have a similar approach with the cold email outreach but something a little less manual.

I took advantage of the AppSumo Deals for Sales Flare, Find That Lead, Mail Shake and Better Proposal.

For grunt work manual prospecting I use find that lead in one vertical (I get 1500 credits per month).

I try and dig up at least 500 usable emails targeted at top guys in B2B spots and use mailshakes tools to drip out about 20 emails a day from that.

It has automated followup protocols like IE if they open it send the next thing or don't send the next thing til they open and click a link, etc.

That just means you should string together some powerful staged email responses based on what you know about the market.

I've since dialed it into a sort of spigot for getting in front of useful potential referral sources, adding value to them in exchange for leveraging their trust and affinity with their client based assets (they serve the same folks), going for endorsement and basically greasing the sales process via their borrowed trust.

After that it's just a numbers and consistency game.

If you can reach out to 20 folks a day (warm them up so to speak), chat with at least 1 or 2, odds are (assuming you have a damn script, you sell something that want/need and you can communicate your value to them) you'll land a dang deal or 3 or so this way per month (assuming you want clients).

500 calls x 10% chats = 50 convos

50 convos x 2% close rate (you suck at this) = 1 deal.

Sound doable?

I promise, it is.

SalesFlare for managing contact opportunities and accountability.

BetterProposals to make my proposals not suck, lol.

Hope that helped someone.

Regards,

Los
Thanks for this Los.

Here's the kicker...

When you narrow down to one niche. I mean really hone down...
You'll find there won't be 5,000 companies to reach out to. There will only be 500-1,000. Sure, this limits your scope, but let me explain:

In your first 10 years of writing (I believe), you need to master writing copy. The best way to do this: Find a niche you'll learn backwards and forwards. Because guess what happens then?

You're spending less time learning about the market and the industry, and more time typing away and editing your copy. So, yes...automating your outreach could save time. But, if you work in a small niche, you don't need to send out 500 emails to get 2 sales. I sent out 15 emails last week and have 2 new clients, and another on the fence.

That's the power of a niche.
 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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SEE JAW-DROPPING EMAIL OPEN RATES WITH THESE 2 EMAIL SUBJECT LINES:

In good ol' copy school (note: this doesn't exist), you're hammered over the head: BENEFITS NOT FEATURES!
So...whenever you approach an email subject line, you're supposed to approach it with the same mindset --- write a 'benefit' headline not a features headline.

Examples of benefit headlines:
  • How to lose stomach fat
  • How to start a business with $0
  • Look 35 when you're 70
  • How to get hired by Elon Musk
These are good benefits...no doubt. The issue is: Everyone's pushing these benefit headlines nowadays. They work...but your list will slowly start tuning these benefits out unless you're paying them off with mind-blowing information within the email. Let's be honest: most emails don't have great pay-offs.

Instead...

Today, you will be able to both mix up your messaging (thus boosting your opens), and stand-out from the other emails hounding for your prospects attention (another boost!)

#1: The Contrast Subject Line:
  • Melt belly fat with McDonalds
  • Build the next huge iPhone app without writing a line of code
  • Smoke that cigarette and look half your age!
  • A man with an IQ of 64 just got hired by Elon Musk
It goes against 'common beliefs.'

#2: [Most powerful] The Curiosity Subject Line
  • Marathon runner drops dead from a McDonalds cheeseburger
  • If you build this application, you'll be rich in 5 years
  • 3 At-home exercises that drop 20 pounds this month
  • Elon Musk's $10 million dollar mistake
As humans, we crave a good tease. Curiosity provides the tease...

Use these headlines responsibly

 
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Joe Cassandra

Joe Cassandra

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SHOULD I SHELL OUT MONEY I DON'T HAVE TO LEARN COPY?

I got a question today where someone asked 'How much should I pay to learn copy?"

They were looking at a copy product online and it was into the thousands.
I get asked all the time by copy chiefs/marketing managers where did I learn copy. Most assume I started out (as most) in an agency or on a copy team at a company. And now I've spread my wings to work for myself.

Actually, no... I simply made the decision in 2015 to focus on writing copy because it was cheap, I enjoyed it, and now, in this age of the internet, amazing copy is needed more than ever. But, I learned myself.

How did I do it?

1.) I found my love for writing copy while working on failed businesses for years. Everyday, I'd write ads or reach out to someone for advice. All of that flows from the power of copy.

2.) It all started with one key book. READ THIS BOOK FIRST:
influence.png
Notice the date: 2012: While on the first steps to learning about entrepreneurship...this was one of the first business books I ever got. It's interesting how it plays SUCH A HUGE PART of my life now. Back then, I had no idea.

dankken.png

boronlet.png
Notice the dates: I didn't find Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert until 2 years later. In the meantime, I was trying to build a blog and a podcast. Failed.


Here's where I really started to get hooked on copywriting in 2015. July and August I really started getting serious. These books are a MUST READ:

cash.png

At this point, I had tried 2 ventures and failed. Here's where I began looking more into writing rather than creating a product.


double.png
At this point, I had started getting very serious about making this a profession. Had already picked up a client. THESE BOOKS ARE A MUST-READ:

ogilvy.png
Here, in 2016 last year, I had already quit my job and still learning 'trial by fire'
garfinkel.png
And, still today, I get books and learn. Even 1 or 2 insights out of the whole book is worth the price. Look how cheap these books are !

KEY POINT: Don't buy a course until you've read at least the books contained in this post

3.) I began building my swipe file. If you're not sure what that is...a swipe file is a collection of advertisements PROVEN TO HAVE WORKED, that you save. I have a Google Drive folder that's bursting at the digital seams from swipes I collect in multiple industries. To start building your swipe go to this nifty site: swiped.co (FREE). Do this second. Read WINNING COPY every day. Even weekends.

4) It wasn't until June 2017 (last month!) that I bought my first full-fledged copy course for $1,795. It's a more advanced course plus could be a great opp to meet some key players in my industry. AWAI (american writers & artists inc.) has a ton of good content for copywriters and sell courses for cheap up to many thousands. They also hold conferences regularly. I've dragged my feet about going to one but heard you could easily pick up a handful of clients in just one event. AWAI - American Writers and Artists Inc. - Expert Help on Writing for Money and Freelance Writing Jobs

----------------------------

VERDICT:

Here's the rub...if you're absolutely new to copy. Meaning you've made less than $25,000 writing copy, you need to first read by yourself. Then, build a swipe file and start reading winning copy everday.

DO NOT THINK one copy course will suddenly turn you rich overnight. I know many people have tried getting onto Upwork as a 'copywriter' and have been rejected due to the surge in the 'get rich from a beach writing' crowd.

99% of those people fizzle out because to write copy, you gotta love the craft, respect it, and you gotta love some research. Writing copy isn't like learning how to put oil in your car. Changing oil, there is really only a few ways to do it.

With copy, YOU come up with the ideas. YOU come up with the structures. There are a zillion things to do when writing copy. This comes from experience, and experience alone.

Your reputation can get thumped quick if you write crap copy and hope to get rich. Writing copy is hard. I'm still a 'rookie' compared to many in this space who have written copy since before I was born.

Again, one course won't turn you into a 6-figure writer. For me, it took years of slow progress. Reading books, writing failed copy for my own projects, picking up clients who didn't know better, and learning on their dime. [and I'm still learning, and I still get fired from jobs].

If you only have $1,000...do not buy a course. If you only have $5,000... do not buy a course.

READ THESE $10 books first. Once you see improvements in your copy, THEN AND ONLY THEN, go out and buy an expensive course to 'UP' your game, NOT to magically learn copy.

SIDENOTE: However, if you can find someone cheap to critique your copy as you go, that would be helpful. I pay my copy-reviewer $100/hour (a price I set) because I only wanted the best to read my work. But, when starting out, if you can find someone for $25 to take 10 minutes to look at your ad, it's worth it.
 

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