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

Discussion in 'Hustles, Freelancing, Bootstrapping' started by Joe Cassandra, May 12, 2017.

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  1. SYK
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    SYK Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Try Contact Out Chrome plugin too. Bats about 90%. Combined with Hunter.io and Vocus.io and I get about a 98% success rate.
     
  2. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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.
     
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  3. Joe Cassandra
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    Joe Cassandra Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    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
     
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  4. PhilKowalski
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    PhilKowalski Always gets what he deserves Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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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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  5. Joe Cassandra
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    Joe Cassandra Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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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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  6. Joe Cassandra
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    Joe Cassandra Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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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.'
     
  7. focusedlife
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    focusedlife New Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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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
     
  8. Joe Cassandra
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    Joe Cassandra Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    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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  9. 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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  10. Joe Cassandra
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    Joe Cassandra Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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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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  11. Joe Cassandra
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    Joe Cassandra Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    YOU MAKE MORE WITH LESS IN THE COPY INDUSTRY:

    I got a recent PM asking about a specific niche for writing copy in. For myself, I write in the 'financial' niche. Meaning, I've written for advisors, consulted banks, financial publications, etc. It's enjoyable for me.

    When it comes to making bank writing copy...you absolutely must, must, must choose a niche.

    "But, then I'll miss out on other companies not in the niche! I want to write copy for Coca-cola!"

    Okay...back the coke truck up. Here's the honest truth... Writing copy is a results business. This isn't like being an accountant where there is a tax code to follow, and you simply look up what's a write-off or not.

    If you can't produce sales with your copy...you're out of work. Thus, NOW more than ever, companies NEED to know you have experience in a niche before hiring you. (at least the good ones)

    I'll touch on more of what I mean in a second.

    First... here are the top niches to write- in today:

    Don't have a niche? Pick one of these:
    • Alternative health market
    • Financial market
    • Self-help market
    • Travel market
    • Wine and food market (think cupcake explosion!)
    • Small business software market
    • Commercial construction market
    • Baby products market
    • Senior healthcare market
    • B2B (could write white papers for $5,000 a pop)
    • Green/Eco clothing market
    • Gurus of anything (they regularly must market themselves)
    • Education market (colleges and universities)
    • Home maintenance, repair, renovation market
    • Jobs market
    • Magazine subscriptions/ Newsletters
    • Survival niche
    • Internet marketing/courses
    • Solar commercial solutions market
    • Commercial or residential furniture market
    • Christian market
    (Any others? I'll edit the answer to add it. PM me)

    What if I know nothing or don't have experience in an niche?

    Here I'll touch back on the point above about companies needing to know YOU have expertise in a field. This is awesome for you when you believe the 'power of a niche' because you leverage your work with one company into another. If you did well writing copy for Coke, Pepsi would hire you on the spot.

    If you don't have experience in a niche, but want to get in...it can be tough. For example, I write in the financial niche, as mentioned. This is a cutthroat industry. I get fired all the time from jobs because they say "umm..this sucks" . There's no BS here. Thus, if you have ZERO experience...you'll get metaphorically laughed out of the room.

    What can you do?

    - Build your own samples. Find running promotions and create your own spec ads around them, etc.
    - Sell them with your own ideas. : If you have BIG IDEAS, they might just give you a shot

    But, I would start with this last tip...

    FIND COMPANIES WHO ARE ONLY LEARNING ABOUT COPY, SUCK AT THEIR COPY, OR ARE TINY.

    1
    . If they are just learning copy, they most likely don't have copywriters lined up out the door. Thus, you win by default.
    2. IMPORTANT: Make sure a company is using copy. And not just on their website. Find their ads on FB, etc. and reach out about how to improve them.
    3. Start with small companies with smaller budgets. Not as fun as landing 5-figure gigs, but this experience you leverage to bigger companies.

    In other words (for Point #3), don't chase after the big dogs first. Start with small companies, build a portfolio, experience, and track record. (Big names already get pitched by 30-year pros, if you have ZERO track record, you're wasting your time reaching out).

    [I'm currently collecting survey data about those who want to write copy full-time from home. I need your expertise and opinions. See what I mean -- Click here for survey.(Nothing to buy or spam)]
     
  12. mThree2K
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    Joe, this info you are posting is absolute Gold for anyone starting out, thank you so much!

    Enviado desde mi Mi Note 2 mediante Tapatalk
     
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  13. Argue
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    Argue Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Joe, excellent posts day after day. You're giving us so much value! This will definitely help me out in my own processes.
     
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  14. ecommerce_lovin
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    ecommerce_lovin New Contributor

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    Please make this GOLD! Joe, thank you for taking the time to write all of this out. The information you have laid out in the thread is pure gold.
     
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  15. Joe Cassandra
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    Joe Cassandra Gold Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    GET YOUR PROSPECTS TO PAY YOU 30% MORE THAN YOU QUOTED [without asking them to]:

    I just got off the phone with a now-new-client about 90 minutes ago. He was late to our phonecall for the 2nd time. I get ticked by very few things...stuff like that irks me. I was literally in the middle of typing up an email telling him 'forget it Jack...bye bye'.

    Then, my phone buzzed.

    He's on the other end and apologized a bunch for doing it a second time. I'm a gentle (maybe foolish) soul and forgave him in 5 seconds. Back to business.

    We were discussing taking his old LIVE webinars and making an evergreen webinar that runs 24/7 to bring in some passive sales. Awesome idea, check! They're a smaller company with obviously a limited budget.

    He's ready to sign a deal...

    I spent 3-4 hours putting together IDEAS, STRATEGIES basically everything I would do...free...with a bow. It's no wonder

    Let's rewind...
    ------------------
    Our intro call he wasn't sure exactly what he needed, so I guided him. Then, when it came down to discussing price, he said he was comfortable paying $2,500 + 1% for a project like this.

    *THUD*

    In this space, one new customer could be worth $2,500...so the value is there for a great copywriter to charge more. In my head, I was thinking around $5k - $7k with a 3-5% commission. Hmmm....

    NEW PLAN...

    GOT IT! I'll put together an entire playbook for them to look at. I'll include:
    - IDEAS
    - OUTLINE
    - STRATEGY
    - THE WORKS!

    After I provide all this value, I'll dive into the pricing and why $2,500 is diddly poo for a price. 8 pages later, at the very end, I stick in: $5,000 + 3.95%. [This company could be a regular, ongoing client. Happy to chop my fees a bit].

    Fast forward to 11:30 am today...

    ------------
    He's apologizing about being late again. All forgiven. He's excited about all the ideas. At this point, he says: "We actually feel comfortable paying $6,500 + your commission if we can delay paying out the commissions until we see the webinar works..."

    I'm confused. He offered to pay more just to delay the commission a bit...

    I wait in silence to make him feel I was thinking deeply about countering...really I was just doodling on my notebook...

    After 30 seconds of silence...I follow-up: "Well...let me see...okay...you know what? I believe this will be a big hit and we'll do work together for awhile. Let's do it. "

    He says: "Okay...we are also willing to pay you all upfront." [Oh, the cherry on top...]

    I'm holding back my grin...I say:"Hey, sounds good. Let's get this contract done today, okay Mr. New Client?"
    ---------

    DON'T BE AFRAID TO PROVIDE VALUE UPFRONT...
     
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  16. Olie Sins
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    So, the thing I'm not understanding is, how exactly do you reach out to a company to tell them you want to write copy for them? Which phone numbers are you calling when you call these companies, and who specifically are you asking to talk to?

    Great story by the way. It's making me feel better about my decision to quit my job to pursue copywriting full time.
     
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    Invictus Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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