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Beginner: From Freelance Copywriter To eCommerce Brand

Discussion in 'Hustles, Freelancing, Bootstrapping' started by Elise, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Elise
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    Elise Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Hey y’all,

    The purpose of this thread is to keep track of my progress:

    To get my first paying client as a freelance Copywriter and keep getting clients to have funds to start an eCommerce Brand.

    Why don’t you just start your eCommerce Brand, E?

    I choose to start with freelance work because I don’t have much funds to pay for traffic or purchasing inventory right now.

    I’ve also heard that it’s easier to start freelancing by doing a service I also know how to do.

    But here’s the short version of my backstory:

    I have plenty interests and know how to do a bit of a lot of things.

    AND have been attacked by the shiny object syndrome for years. It makes me sick just thinking bout it lol.

    For the past few years I’ve been in the tech field. Mainly tech support and customer service jobs.

    My current day job is as a software tester (QA Engineer). Been in that position for a year now.

    I know the very basics of coding (python, javascript). VERY little lol.

    When I separated from the military in 2014, I found this group online on starting own SEO company - paid them bout $3K to learn. (I know, I know lol). I think the group was called Job Killin’ or something.

    I was very good at getting results by following their method: Set up website using Weebly, write all the website content for industry, create local citations, create FB group, network to exchange Backlinks, paid traffic using Google, set up certain phone service to record phone calls.

    But the reason I stopped being active with them and pursuing that is because I sucked at selling the leads I was getting from my websites.

    You see, they taught us to cold call businesses, get them to do a trial run with us then pay.

    Seemed like everyone was makin bank except for me.

    Sales just wasn’t my thing at that time.

    A year later I got a job with Apple store as a sales person basically lol.

    After Apple, I began learning sh*t ton of tech stuff.

    Last year I was introduced to copywriting and sales.

    I was attracted to copywriting because I could eventually get paid royalties by clients for successful controls, or sales letters.

    And I enjoy writing and research.

    Now I understand sales is important in every day life. And it = $

    I still like tech stuff, like creating websites with Wordpress, Shopify, etc.

    I tried dropshipping but ran out of funds to even get started good.

    So here I am.

    I read TMF a few years ago. Even joined this forum but wasn’t active for longer than a day.

    Read Unscripted. Just bought the audio version yesterday to listen to on my daily 2 hour commute. :-/

    So again, I’ll track my progress with this thread.

    Also for accountability. Because now that I said something , I GOTTA keep my word.

    :)
    -E


    @BlackMagician





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    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  2. George Appiah
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    George Appiah Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Keep movin', 'cos I'm watching ya!
     
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  3. Elise
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    Elise Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    My progress so far:

    My first client will be my husband.

    He has a local computer service biz. His main problem is getting clients. He doesn’t know anything about marketing/sales and would rather not be concerned with it.

    Basically, he’d like a system in place for getting clients while he focuses on fixing the computer issues.

    That’s where I come in to help him.

    Because we’re both techies, I’m familiar with the tech industry.

    So, I focused on his preferred clients.

    Did a bit of research on the target market. His market is small businesses with less than 20 employees in the Houston area.

    Basically Dr. offices and law firms.

    As the “Marketing Dept” for his biz, here’s what I’ve done so far:

    - wrote a sales letter with intention of getting clients in the door

    - mailed the letter to about 20 businesses in the area (I did this last month - no response from anyone)

    - had an experience Copywriter review that sales letter

    - rewrote the sales letter (today). I’ll mail those to 20 businesses today. (Since I’m on a budget, I’m handwriting the envelopes and mailing them myself. Which takes a bit more time)

    -Redid his website with the clients in mind. Focusing more on SEO.

    - Using BrightLocal to help with local citations so he can be found in local directories

    - Make sure he tells everyone he comes in contact with about his services (naturally, of course)

    If we can get at least 1 bite from my sales letters, that’s an accomplishment for me.

    And that way I can tell my potential clients I do get results lol.

    One business did find him a couple months ago. But he forgot to ask her where did she find him. (He has a FB page and still had his website.)

    Now, what I’M doing to get clients:

    -sent about 10 proposals over the weekend on Upwork

    - updating my LinkedIn profile

    - updating my website so I can be found

    I really don’t know which niche I wanna work with because I have quite a few interests.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure it’s smart to call myself only a Copywriter because I can help business with website solutions overall (creating a WP website, adding content for SEO/ copywriting).

    Sorry if I seem all over the place . This is my daily struggle .

    Either way, my #1 goal is to get paying clients.

    Any advice is appreciated :)

    Oh, I’ve been reading info from Lex on here.

    Also have been reading that SPIN selling book too...

    and audio listening to Unscripted while cleaning or driving.

    I’ll keep y’all updated.


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  4. Raoul Duke
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    Raoul Duke Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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  5. Elise
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    Elise Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks for the link!

    I think I saw that a few months ago, but didn’t go with it because I could only target the businesses by zip codes.

    And I wanted to filter it by number of employees, type of biz, etc.

    But maybe I overlooked something.

    So I’ll definitely check it out again, thanks.


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  6. lowtek
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    lowtek Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    Great work starting with your immediate network. This is often overlooked by freelancer types, but it's the easiest way to get the ball rolling.

    You may want to consider cold emailing across the nation. Check out Alex Berman's channel on YT for some great info on the topic.
     
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  7. Elise
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    Elise Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Hi lowtek,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll definitely check out some of his videos today. :)


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  8. George Appiah
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    George Appiah Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I happen to know a thing or two about this industry :p

    I've run an IT consulting business for pretty much my entire career. I'm also lurking in a few forums, mailing lists and Facebook/LinkedIn groups catering to industry players.

    I'm just curious... what's the nature of this mailing? Is it an introductory letter? Is it pitching a specific offer? Is it an educational piece?

    And is he doing mostly break-fix, or has he jumped on the MSP bandwaggon?

    The industry as a whole has changed dramatically in recent years and is continuing to change even faster... thanks, in part, to this cloud thing. This is doubly so for the sub-20-seats SMB segment that your husband is targetting. Gone are the days of on-prem Microsft SBS/Exchange servers/file servers and what not.

    The cloud is eating the channel!

    In general, the MSP model is a win-win for both parties: the IT consultant is assured of monthly recurring revenue, while the client business benefits from proactive maintenance and (often) all-you-can-eat IT support at a flat monthly fee (within the defined limits of the subscribed plan).

    And with the current breed of RMM and PSA tools out there, you can offer amazing IT support to companies far and near without frequent truck rolls. You can even deliver an entry-level monitoring-and-reporting-only plan completely on autopilot!

    If your husband is doing mostly break-fix work, it might be a good idea to get him to start looking at the business model itself and re-align the services he offers with the changing nature of IT in the SMB sector. You could then design 2 or 3 awesome pro-active maintenance plans, and launch a massive campaign extolling the benefits of pro-active maintenance and flat-rate billing... to get existing and former break-fix clients to sign up for your monthly maintenance plans.

    Could you serve a thousand husbands?

    I mean could you focus on creating sales and marketing copy, done-for-you marketing content (blog posts, newsletters, etc), and all that website/seo jazz... for MSPs and computer services businesses?

    Take a look at Pronto Marketing (dig into the FOR MSPs section).

    And are you familiar with Robin Robins?

    (No, not Robin Robbins)

    Robin Robins has carved a very tight niche and attracted a large following for herself as the go-to marketing consultant and sales trainer for MSPs and IT consultants. Her done-for-you Technology Marketing Toolkit alone goes for $3,000 (just checked her site, it's now $4,759) and that's just the front end of her funnel.

    She also has other "advanced" toolkits, a $200/month "Apprenticeship" coaching program (to implement the toolkits), and the usual big-ticket direct consulting. And she runs her own annual IT sales & marketing bootcamp, and speaks at a ton of industry and vendor-specific events throughout the year, both online and offline.

    That's just food for thought!

    Whatever services you decide to offer, whichever niche you decide to work in, and whomever you decide to serve... for heaven sake figure out a way to build recurrent revenue into your offerings. And if you can build a client base and a community of raving fans, as Robin Robins has, your funnel will never run dry.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  9. Elise
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    Elise Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    @George Appiah WOW that's a lot of info! lol I got lost a bit...

    I'll start from the top of your replies ...

    The nature of the mailing to various businesses is to pitch his IT services -- which is building custom computers, installation of computers and peripherals, wiring/re-wiring the office.

    I guess you'd call that "break n fix". He's not focused on MSP, but if that office already has the setup then he's willing to do what he can remotely.

    He doesn't want to focus only on MSP because he believes not everything can be handled remotely.


    The pronto marketing website is very detailed... I like. That does sound like an idea worth visiting.

    I've never heard of Robin, but I just checked out her website and services.

    I like the way the website is setup. Definitely designed by someone with nice sales / copywriting skills!

    Thanks for the info, very helpful!
     
  10. Elise
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    Elise Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Update on progress:

    I finished updating my UpWork profile. (Based on @Lex DeVille 's advice).

    I sent out a total of 4 proposals between yesterday and today.

    I've been conversing with a guy about one of those proposals from today.

    Since his job description wasn't too specific, it's been a lot of questions and answers back and forth. That's a good thing because he sounds interested.

    And even better because I'm very interested. lol

    Ok yall, I've been doing some thinking..

    I've been thinking maybe I should try to get a job in software sales to help improve my sales skills.

    Or should I stick to my job as QA Engineer and just try to land freelance projects on the side?

    Would getting a job in sales speed my process since I'll get first hand sales experience?

    Or am I being ridiculous? lol

    My goal for this week:

    Get 1 client.

    How?

    By submitting at least 5 quality proposals every day on Upwork.

    And complete the Hubspot Inbound marketing certification course so I can put it on my Upwork profile.

    My goal for November:

    Earn an extra $1K.

    How?

    By submitting at least 5 quality proposals every day on Upwork.

    That's it for now.

    Until next time yall!
     
  11. Lex DeVille
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    Lex DeVille CAUTION! I hurt people's feelings... Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Glad to see you're already getting responses. It's best when clients are willing to answer questions. The more detail you get the easier it is to deliver what they want. Once you get a feel for the questions, get them on a call and use those SPIN Selling skills.

    You don't need a sales job to learn or earn sales. Most freelancers only need to do one thing to sell...ask questions. Sounds like you've got that part figured out. The key is to do it on live calls. Ask questions about their business until you know enough to determine what they actually need help with and whether or not you can help them with it.

    All I ever did in the beginning was ask questions. At the end of the call when there were no more questions, and we both felt comfortable, I'd let them know the next steps (once you fund the contract in Upwork I'll get started on your writing). Usually they'd do it right on the call.

    One of the hardest parts for new copywriters is stabilizing their income from month to month. If you switch to a sales jobs (that you may not like) you would disrupt your current income, and add a distraction from your copywriting income too. That isn't to say it's a bad idea. To be honest, it would be easier to earn a living as a good salesperson than as a copywriter because the skill translates to any industry and doesn't require the same creative elements as copy.

    Copywriting can be a good side hustle. It can create a nice full-time income if you commit to it as a business, niche down, and learn to write and sell (also helps if you get clients results haha). My question for you is, does this path make sense for your goals?

    Most people can earn money with copywriting. How much do you need before you can start your ecommerce brand? Is there any faster way to get that? Since you have a job, does it make sense to spend time on copy when you could focus that extra time on ecommerce? I don't think there's a wrong answer, but it's worth considering which path makes the most sense for what you want to accomplish.
     
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  12. Elise
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    Elise Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks for the reply, @Lex DeVille .

    Does this path make sense for your goals?

    Great question.

    My goal is to work remote 100% with the option of visiting my family next door (Louisiana) without needing anyone's permission.

    (I won't drag on the typical "i want to travel nonstop". While that IS true, my main focus is being available for my momma - and husband of course haha ).

    And I don't *need* $10,000/month to make it work. Of course, that's a goal down the line.

    But honestly, earning $4,000K/month would be sufficient for living with my current lifestyle.

    Because writing has always been a strong point for me...and I've developed an interest in marketing/sales content over the year, I figured copywriting would be in that general area.

    As for the eCommerce brand >>

    From my experience with trying to do dropshipping and white label, I ran out of money to even TRY to put a dent in it.

    Also, most ppl with experience in those areas say it's best to have some money to even start with eCommerce -- at least $1K , which is mainly for paid traffic and buying inventory.

    Another reason I wanted to start w/ Copywriting is because the 'experts' say that skill can be helpful when writing product descriptions and ads..

    Of course, both avenues require work upfront (anything worth doing doesn't come easy).

    Stepping back and looking at my situation, for what I want (freedom to drive back home when i want or need to without needing permission + earning a monthly income of at least $4k), eCommerce would be the most beneficial for my lifestyle.

    I mean, I do know the basics copywriting now. I think now, it's just a matter of proving those skills by clients paying me to do it.

    I hope that wasn't too confusing to you!
     
  13. Lex DeVille
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    Since you already write pretty well there's nothing stopping you from hitting $4k a month. Even if you just use Upwork. If you go that route you can do it with one to two clients if you write for the right niche.

    Personally, I would write for female coaches if you know a bit about copy. They prefer hiring females and because they're usually selling a high-ticket product, they're willing to pay more. It's normal to bill $2500 - $3500 a month to a single client in that niche.

    The trick on Upwork is you may have to wait the entire month to find a client that's an exact right fit for you. But when you find that one client, they'll pay 10X what all the others will. Set your profile up to target those people. Usually they'll come to you.
     
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  14. Elise
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    Great, then I’ll set up my Upwork profile to target that market.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    I’ll continue to document my results here.


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  15. Elise
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    ****Mid-Week update****

    Haven’t received any bites yet from the sales letter I mailed to local businesses.

    No official offers on Upwork either..

    On a positive note:

    This past weekend I was able to put funds to the side to start an eCommerce Brand.

    My first eComm brand will be around females in the outdoors lifestyle, specifically extreme sports.

    The past 2 days I’ve been doing a bit of market research, writing down everything and anything about that market.

    I didn’t want to start w/ a product first because market research makes things easier.

    Once I know my market more, I think I’d be able to swing almost any product in there (along with good copywriting).

    One thing I’ll implement for sure is for every order’s total, I’ll donate 10% to a nonprofit org for female athletes or something.

    Reason: (1) I like helping whenever I can and (2) to create that tight community feeling for my customers, a sense of belonging to a tribe.

    I’ll keep y’all updated.
     
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