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EXECUTION Accepting the Status Quo No More - My Path to Fastlane by starting off as a Web Designer to Quit My Day Job

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BlackSuperman

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1.5 Week Update

Events:

1. I was hired, by the agency I worked with last week, to work on a second project this week. This time for a client who was offered a sweet deal on Shark Tank.

2. Upwork placed me in their Rising Talent Program!

Process: Put in the hours and finished both my previous contracts from last week.

In case you don’t remember -

a. Craft 30 Headlines for client’s Facebook Ad Campaign for her first book launch.

b. Draft 12 Facebook Ads and 6 Google Search Ads for Plastic Surgeon. <Agency contract>

Takeaway: Facebook ads are a nightmare to provide you-focused copywriting for. Their policy on personal attribution makes it very tough to single out a particular customer demographic. 

So for those of you jumping into Facebook ad copywriting, speak in a more general sense. Push benefits, but let the benefits speak to the customer. Don’t use you-focused language. At least when starting out.

I spent the weekend optimizing my profile. 

What do I mean?



Purchased @Lex DeVille 's course on Upwork Profile optimization (which I highly recommend you get as well if you’re using Upwork). 


The course was lengthy, but very informative. Spent a good 6-7 hours optimizing my biography. After all the work, not only is my profile optimized for a specific search term for Upwork, but looks & feels far more credible to any potential clients. 

I believe this played in a HUGE role in my acceptance into the Rising Talent program.



If you’re using Upwork and want to up your proposal acceptance rate, take both courses I mentioned in the thread. 



Not Fastlane related, but I changed my diet. 

I’m obsessed with bulking. I’m a smaller guy. Fit. Athletic. But doesn’t matter, I’m still labeled as skinny and for decades that negative label (at least to me) has shaped my obsession to bulk. 

Well….

This week I told myself I want to abolish this obsession. I still want to get bigger. But not at the expense of my health, my time, and my current freelance path.

So I performed research and crafted my own diet plan comprising brain foods, foods that keep the brain healthy, off-set dementia, delay potential Alzheimers, etc. I believe my new diet in combination with the Binaural beats I listen to daily, boosts my level of creativity. I don’t know for sure, but so far I feel far more innovative.


Key Takeaways:
There are no short-cuts ladies & gentlemen. 

Perform outstanding work. 

Provide excellent service. 

Drop poor habits. 

Create an efficient process. 


The reward will come!


PS: After talking with a friend, I'm going to start something on the side to get my Fastlane idea going (or to at least lead up to a purely CENTS-based business in the future).

I will be adding updates on that side project as well.
So stay tuned!
 
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BlackSuperman

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Whew.
It's been a TOUGH month.
Whereas last month I made almost a grand, this month I haven't made even $100.
The month isn't over yet but goes to show even when the ball starts to roll, it can hit a wall any time.

After talking with a few friends, I now know I'm spending FAR too much time typing my Upwork proposals. I spent a good part of my day drafting a bi-weekly Upwork report for myself.

The data showed me that I've sent out more proposals compared to last month, which is good, but...my interview & hire rates dropped nearly 10-15%.

Also figured out that version #1 of my framework netted me an interview rate of 54% Framework version 2...0% OUCH! Granted the month isn't over.

But I will be going back to version 1, but adding a few edits to it. See if I can't get my interview rate to 75%. I know I'm more than qualified for 90% of the Direct Response Copywriting jobs out there.

So there should be 0 excuses.

I spend about 30-45 mins on drafting a single proposal. But with the systems I have in place, it should only take a max of 10-15 minutes.

To remedy this, I revised and improved my proposal framework. It's still targeted and very YOU-focused, but I made sure to add a few "placeholder areas". This allows me to write their needs in these placeholders, without having to read the whole proposal.

Should make the process faster.

I ran the framework through Hemingway Editor & Grammarly. This way I won't need to fix grammar & spelling mistakes constantly. I believe that's been taking a BIG chunk of time. Also, I checked my framework's Felsch reading score...

It was originally a grade 13 reading score.

Shameful. And I call myself a copywriter...shameful.

There is good news though!

After the edits, I got the score down to a reading/comprehension level of grade 6. It sounds smoother. More human. I also have a friend going over my framework. With these changes...I EXPECT to double my interview rates.

Now I know what I need to do.
I need to send out 5-6 proposals/day vs. the 2-3/day. It is a numbers game!

Month's revenue: $70/2,000

That's my update everyone. I hope anyone experiencing similar circumstances finds this useful!
Cheers :)
 

Branko

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Whew.
It's been a TOUGH month.
Whereas last month I made almost a grand, this month I haven't made even $100.
The month isn't over yet but goes to show even when the ball starts to roll, it can hit a wall any time.

After talking with a few friends, I now know I'm spending FAR too much time typing my Upwork proposals. I spent a good part of my day drafting a bi-weekly Upwork report for myself.

The data showed me that I've sent out more proposals compared to last month, which is good, but...my interview & hire rates dropped nearly 10-15%.

Also figured out that version #1 of my framework netted me an interview rate of 54% Framework version 2...0% OUCH! Granted the month isn't over.

But I will be going back to version 1, but adding a few edits to it. See if I can't get my interview rate to 75%. I know I'm more than qualified for 90% of the Direct Response Copywriting jobs out there.

So there should be 0 excuses.

I spend about 30-45 mins on drafting a single proposal. But with the systems I have in place, it should only take a max of 10-15 minutes.

To remedy this, I revised and improved my proposal framework. It's still targeted and very YOU-focused, but I made sure to add a few "placeholder areas". This allows me to write their needs in these placeholders, without having to read the whole proposal.

Should make the process faster.

I ran the framework through Hemingway Editor & Grammarly. This way I won't need to fix grammar & spelling mistakes constantly. I believe that's been taking a BIG chunk of time. Also, I checked my framework's Felsch reading score...

It was originally a grade 13 reading score.

Shameful. And I call myself a copywriter...shameful.

There is good news though!

After the edits, I got the score down to a reading/comprehension level of grade 6. It sounds smoother. More human. I also have a friend going over my framework. With these changes...I EXPECT to double my interview rates.

Now I know what I need to do.
I need to send out 5-6 proposals/day vs. the 2-3/day. It is a numbers game!

Month's revenue: $70/2,000

That's my update everyone. I hope anyone experiencing similar circumstances finds this useful!
Cheers :)
I am enjoying this thread. I am starting a very similar journey to your right now and I find your insights and progress very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!
 

BlackSuperman

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Wow, it's been nearly a month since I last updated.

But it wasn't all daisies and roses. Not at all.

So April was a complete bust. I landed only 2 SUPER small copywriting jobs. Relied so much on Upwork , I had no idea how to approach professionals outside of the platform. Learned that lesson this month. Got off Upwork(need to open business bank account to get my money out since registered under LLC), and now I'm using what I learned from copywriting (direct response), my experience working with a PPC agency, & running my own ads and formed my own agency.

Lucky for me, lead generation is a big market, especially GOOOD lead generation.

So I connected with my buddy who runs his own car detailing businesses, and started finding people who need his service YESTERDAY.
All in all, it's been solid ride. And now I'm going to use the results I got/getting him, and book some more clients, see who I can help.

Found 30 more auto detailers and added them to an email list.
Warmed up my email using warmup inbox.
Automated email campaign with a VERY simple message (thanks to @Black_Dragon43 for the suggestion to K.I.S.S. basically)

I don't expect to get any responses, BUT if I do I'm ready.
I'm also going to call any of the owners who haven't gotten back to me via email with a basic - "Hey X, this is X. Sent you an email a few days go." intro approach.

So sadly, I didn't have much to report on. But now this month there should be way more updates.

Month's revenue: $0/4,000
 
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BlackSuperman

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I've been meaning to post a solid update for a while, but things have been pretty busy.

I want to keep most posts more concise and try to post weekly.

After much convincing, I ended up working with this guy on Upwork. He needed brochure content done, and the reward was not too bad for 2 hours of work.

I worked hard and gave it my all. And the fruits of my labor paid off. My client provided me a 30% tip and an insane review (insane being fantastic).

It goes to show, you give as much value as you can without expecting much, and sometimes the Universe will provide.

After the job, I asked questions about tracking the brochure's effectiveness, the plan to move off Amazon's platform, what incoming marketing channels he used, etc.

This led to a lengthy but highly valuable conversation for both him and myself.
We worked out a deal where I'll be his go-to marketing consultant, strategist, and implementer.

I turned a small $150 job into a now $1000+ project. I'll also receive a % of each sale once we get everything set up.

Tip: Working with new businesses can be a hassle, yes. BUT, if you can provide value ASAP, you can then position yourself as the person who can help your client grow effectively—allowing them to focus on the operational work. If you fear pitching yourself in this way, offer your skills on a pay-per-performance model. Most clients will agree to this model.

This win brought back the motivation I needed.
Yes, 8 months later, and I still lose motivation. Entrepreneurship is NOT easy, people. So stick with it because it's always going to suck. But that's the fun, overcoming the challenges, only for another overwhelming obstacle to take its place. Understand and accept this.

That's all I've got for now.

I am excited to see where all this goes.

Cheers!
 

BlackSuperman

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Update: Had a great sales call with a web design agency who needed copywriter for a particular client. Great call. I used my ears more than my mouth, something I've been working on since my last few "failed" sales calls.

Job is booked. Going to be a great and fun piece to work on. And opens up to more long-term work with the agency if this goes well!

I'll give a more in-depth update about the job once all things are finished.
 

BlackSuperman

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A thought occurred...I think after this job, I may hit up the PPC agency I was working with. He seemed interested in working together more. I've learned a lot of new tricks I think his clients could benefit from.
 

BlackSuperman

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Minor update: Went to visit my parents. They dropped a HUGE bomb on me—a good one. I've got some catching up to do if I want to match their financial figures. Because they dropped this bomb, the whole time I was with them, I played with ideas on how I can take on more clients yet continue to provide the same quality of work.

I came up with a great solution! And so far, it's working VERY well. It's something I never thought I'd consider implementing, but so far, it's a game-changer. I'm currently implementing this new process out with my current client's project. I think it turned out beautifully. But I won't know his thoughts until Monday.

What would typically take me 3-4 hours only took me 1 1/2. As I learn this new tool, I'd imagine the results will be even better and help cut the time down by a lot.

Upwork has been a system that's worked for me to pay some bills, and I have found solid success, but I feel now I can finally move off their platform, leverage the relationships I have now, and take on all the work they will throw at me!
 

BlackSuperman

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It has been an insane week.


I worked on three contracts, two of which are ongoing for the next couple of months. The stress of paying bills & rent has diminished. Incredibly thankful for that.

The new process is fantastic.

There are a few hiccups I've run into.
But from now on, I know what needs to be done to ensure those bumps in the road disappear.

I've made more in the last couple days than the month before. It feels good to be back on the positive feedback-loop train.

Next Steps:
Thinking about it, I think it's time to leave Upwork finally. I can't quite "up & quit it" since it's paying my living expenses, but it's time to add another client acquisition channel due to all the time I'm saving now.

I need to figure out how.

Perhaps I need to go through all my current work and figure out the common denominator of my past clients to identify an audience demographic I can target. I think that will be a significant first step.

------
Side note: I'm finally taking a vacation, visiting a friend in another state for 5 days. I haven't left California in ages. Since I was 21, that's a solid 8 years!
It's about time.

And the great thing is I can work during part of my vacation!
Perks of NOT being tied down to an hourly job that requires my physical presence.

I hope all of you enjoyed the update!
 

BlackSuperman

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Great vacation. More important...PRODUCTIVE VACATION!

Going to keep this update short though.
Things that happened:
1. Landed another 2 clients from Upwork.
2. Started & Finished my website.
3. Wrote my first complete blog article. Educating prospects about Content Strategy, Why Content Strategy is Important, The Benefits of Content Strategy, The Different Types, and How To Create/Implement an EFFECTIVE Content Strategy.
4. Sent that baby over to a few friends who are business owners. They found it valuable. I plan on sending it to my current clients/past clients I've worked with as well.
5. Finished my LinkedIn Profile & started building genuine relationships.


I'm back in L.A. in one day and I'm extremely excited to get the ball rolling again (in terms of doing more paid work)

Thanks @Raja for keeping me accountable during this whole trip! Otherwise I'd be so far behind.

PS: Guys, It's been almost a year since I started this journey. And by no means am I rich. But I have been able to live without the requirement of a slave-labor position at 15/hr. If your excuse for NOT TAKING ACTION is related to your job, then you've got to take responsibility and PLAN YOUR EXIT!
 

BlackSuperman

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Interesting week!

To start, I had one client re-schedule a call with no future date.
I messaged her with a future call date and no reply. Ghosted? Busy? Who knows but I won't let this setback hold me back.
Instead of wasting my time, I sent over a Calendly link with my schedule. Now it's in her hands to make the choice. And it's out of my hands to devote any more potentially wasted time.

So outside of that, things were slow.
I sent out more Upwork proposals, built more content to share to my social channels, spent 30mins/1hour each day answering questions on Quora, and added targeted, relevant contacts on LinkedIn.


On a side note - I'm considering making a Twitter. So I can follow a few copywriters & content writers who post awesome tips/tidbits.

Now for today's news.
Very slow in the morning and early afternoon.
But then I received 2 messages on my Upwork app.
2 clients were impressed with my proposal and have booked calls for tomorrow.
The plan is to solidify these contracts and curate a long-term relationship. I'll do this by providing outstanding service & high-quality original content for their blogs. No shortcuts. No B.S.

This is exciting. I thought I was going this week with minimal work.

Moral of the story: As MJ would put it - If you turn the gumball machine enough, a few of the gold ones WILL come out.

Persistence is key.
To persist you need a working process.
To create a working process you need a strong mindset.
To reach a strong mindset, you must adopt healthy habits.
 

Edgar King

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Haha, this is inspiring! I'm also trying to learn copywriting and ppc. Best to just jump in the action with some sort of treasure map and keep at it, great job men!
 

BlackSuperman

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Big News!

Both sales calls went great!

One of the clients is doing exactly what I'm trying to do, but he's doing it on a larger scale. He's looking to pay $250 per article. With a demand of 10-20 articles per month. This is the contract I REALLY want. Not for the money. But to learn how he moved from content writer to a full-blown content agency.

Fingers crossed!

He expressed major interest in working with me, but I won't lie, I'm nervous that my current "portfolio" isn't going to speak to his needs. So I emailed him my past work and also added a note expressing my interest in working with his team. I also offered to write a small 500-1000 word sample to show that I AM the right writer for the job. Again...fingers crossed!

The second client was a done deal. I asked her questions outside of the job she needed. Questions about her marketing strategy. She was blown-aback. She hadn't thought of any of the questions I asked. So instead of working with her as a content writer. I'll be working with her as her Content Strategist!

Very good day so far.

Also, the client who rescheduled a call but never did? Well, she just scheduled one for Monday!
More gumballs added to the collection!

Why am I seeing sudden potential success?
I can't say for sure, but I made some changes in my life which I feel is reflecting in business.
I've been focusing on making my days not only productive but filled with good habits and eliminating negative ones.

Over the last 6 months, I hadn't seen much of a result.
Now I am.

Incremental growth leads to exponential growth.
No Youtube. No Twitch Streams. No Smoking Weed. No Laying Around Doing Nothing.
Working Out on a Routine. Eating Only Natural Foods. Meditating Daily. Increasing Meditation by 30 seconds/day.

The secret is micro habits.
Small incremental changes that lead me to my goal.
 
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BlackSuperman

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What a day!

I've got to keep this short, but I'm officially working with six clients -two as a Content Strategist, three as a Content Writer, and one as a Copywriter.

I think I overdid it as I will have to be highly coordinated with my schedule to get all the work done.

They are all long-term projects too!
Each client will need about 2-8 articles per month.

But, this is what I wanted.

To be overwhelmed.

I thrive in situations like this, and I'm excited to share this big personal win with everyone. :)

Now for the key takeaway:

IF YOU ARE A FREELANCER, DON'T ACT LIKE ONE! ACT ABOVE YOUR SKILLSET.

If You Are a Freelancer in Contact With a Client, Guide the Client, Don't Let the Client Guide You!


There are exceptions, but when you go above and beyond your skillset to help potential clients out, you'll know they will infinitely be more open to working with you on bigger & better projects that also happen to pay more.

P.S. - @Andy Black can you or another mod change the title to "From Employee To Independent Freelancer - The Power of Perseverance" Thanks :)
 
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BlackSuperman

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Well. It's been a hell of a week.
I'm also officially comfortable stating my MRR.

But first a few things I'd like to say.

There is a common misconception that the harder you work, the more you'll earn. That is true. Hard work is required. But once you've worked hard enough to get your foot in the door, it's time to transition to working smart.

When I started this journey, I put my body through the grindhouse—tirelessly working moved me from point A (no clients) to point B (some clients). Recently, I transitioned away from hard work and am now entirely focused on smart work.

What do I mean?
I've upped my prices to match the value I provide—no more cheap, shitty work.
I've created a full-proof research, outline, writing, & copyediting system -- resulting in work my clients love.
I've become more adaptable. I adjust my process when needed. I take in information when required. I go where I'm needed.
I'm starting to leverage win/win relationships. It's time to let go of the notion I need to do everything myself.

The point I want to drive home is this.

Whether you're just starting your journey or you've been in it for a while and looking for the next leap forward, it's time to take a step back and start thinking about how you'll go from working in your business and how you'll begin to optimizing processes to work on the business.

Now on to the juicy stuff!
I'm a content writer for 4 clients.
I'm a content strategist for 3 clients.
I've got 4 leads looking to work with me
(I'm hiring a team of partners for this, so if you're interested, message me)

Current Monthly Revenue: $1600
Goal Monthly Revenue for the end of 2021: $5,000

P.S. - If you're a copywriter, content writer, SEO keyword specialist, or social media specialist, and you're struggling with client acquisition, let's partner up. Please shoot me a message! WIN/WIN Relationships = Success
 
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BlackSuperman

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Big news. Huge news.

I've finally transitioned from freelancer to agency.

Landed my first gig as a Content Strategist with a pretty big eCommerce SaaS company. My team and I (feels great to say that) are taking over their whole content marketing channel. We'll perform research, plan their content over the next 30-days to 6 months, and handle the creation and promotion of all their content.

This is huge. Not just for the money but for the experience. It's also forced me to adopt a team (who are killer at what they do) while also minimizing cost & maximizing value. Moving the needle closer to my ultimate goal.

@Speed112 also suggested I transition a few of my current clients who aren't investing as much into their content strategy to be used as a platform to test new writers. Genius. So far, I've identified 2 new writers at a pretty fair price. Testing out their skills Wednesday.

This is exciting! Almost a year in, and I'm far closer to where I thought I'd be.

Shout out to @Madame Peccato for being a phenomenal writer, @Edgar King for crafting a fantastic blog article, and @Black_Dragon43 for convincing me to up my prices in order to get higher-quality clients.

This celebratory post goes to you!

Cheers.jpeg
 

Black_Dragon43

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Awesome man! This is fantastic, super pumped for you. Remember when you first started chatting to me on Discord you were still uncertain if you could make it, but you kept at it and you did make it. Really proud of your journey so far, and a lot of lessons here for everyone.
 

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