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EXECUTION ZF's progress thread

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Kid

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Glad to hear that profile gig worked out.

$100 gigs, and I got job postings that
were a lot more specific in what the client wanted
There might be a pattern here :)


investment banker
I guess that it might be hard, but not unachievable.

Having "investment banker" in portfolio would add a lot of credibility
to any of your future bids with higher budgets, in my view at least.


Keep it up!
 

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ZF Lee

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Having "investment banker" in portfolio would add a lot of credibility
to any of your future bids with higher budgets, in my view at least.
Could be. For copywriting, there's a finance niche. I've spotted a course for it on AWAI, and its the only one I might go to, if I wanted to. Plus, I'm taking a few finance units this semester. Perhaps they too will help out if I want to go that direction.

All I can remember now is Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, since he is an investment banker.

He has a WHOLE pitch to offer funding for a billion-dollar airport construction, at the end of the book.
It has the lingo of the finance world, plus some great pitch tricks in action.

When I did that business article project I mentioned earlier, I took some styles from Jay Abraham's book.

Funny thing is that I read them last year, and their writing styles just come floating to me when I need it. :)
 
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ZF Lee

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Just got this in the mail for my FIRST ever resume written for a professional.
upload_2019-3-13_22-26-9.png
I feel it's a lot more harder to sell a person's skills rather than a lifeless product. At least for a product, you can pull more on emotional aspects of the client, like laziness and fantasy.

You know what the kicker is?

Besides writing an Upwork profile and proposals that got jobs, I had NEVER gotten an ACTUAL J.O.B with my own resume yet. I have only sent one to my university business school department just for paperwork's sake.

How did I get up to speed, you may ask?

Here's what I had to do to create a tip-top resume:

1. Visited at least 3 websites of companies where she used to work at for a better idea of the impact she left behind

2. Spent at least 3 mornings and evenings talking back and forth, answering her queries, what with the different time zones and all

3. Solved at least 2 potential crisis on Upwork, which were milestone payment issues and a little bit of lateness in replying on my client's part.

4. Looked up around 5 top LinkedIn bios for some insights (found that even the top guys write their bios very poorly)

5. Revisited the TFLF resume thread for refreshers

Was I tired and frustrated at it all?

TBH, not really. In the first place, she already listed down some great work achievements, so I was pumped to bring her fantastic skills into the marketplace. Just like sending the Gospel out.

EDIT: Saw that I have 6 proposals in the pipeline awaiting clients' responses.

Would expect them to reply latest by the weekend. Yikes!
I think I'll step back for a while and 'sharpen my axe'.

Found a book called 'Making Websites Win' and some general stuff on polishing up copy from John Carlton's Simple Writing System.

Also, AWAI has an archive of articles. Will read a few of them for their writing approaches on case studies of successful writers. Never know if a client might want a case study work.
 
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ZF Lee

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What the-

Logged into my Upwork account to prepare for that interview.

Found that I had:
-60 CONNECTS instead of 50

-A clean Job Success Score of 100% (never had any before)

-My profile got discovered 3X last week. (used to be crickets)

Haven't got any email for Rising Talent though.

On the third point, I'm not sure why no one's sending me invites from their visits yet.
Perhaps I will clean up my profile write-up again, plus edit my descriptions of my portfolio to be more copy-ish.

Also, I will seriously have to do that video, if this trend continues, and the Upwork search algo kicks in more heavily.

Small victories.
 
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ZF Lee

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Not again....

Welp, this means this thread is going to be a lot more dramatic:rofl:

I've just gotten an invite for an email job with a starter pay of $400.

$400!

If there's recurring jobs, it'll go up to $700. Very close to the thousand-mark.

When converted to my local currency, its like a few hundred bucks more than my monthly allowance.
Crazy!

What's even better is that my client is:
-Singaporean. My first client was ALSO Singaporean. So I have an advantage. I've worked with his kind of people before.

-My first gig (data entry) was for an educational company. THIS new gig is ALSO for education.

Effing crazy!

Will send in my reply and see how. It's like 2/3 hours since he sent me the invite. I had better fire my reply fast!

Thanks Lex! Those threads are simply life-changing!
Alright, here's what happened following the interview:

- Upwork interview channels don't work on MOBILE (and my client is on the run, so he can only use his phone while going to his work)

-We switch to Zoom, but for some reasons it clamps. So we hop to Skype.

-The Upwork triggers do not pick up on Zoom keywords, so we just message each other on the ZOOM chat to go to Skype lol.

-Talked for 10 mins, and he'll be sending me sample emails to have an idea of his style of writing.

Odd. He doesn't talk about conversion rates, but he's more into the Russell Brunson Seinfield re-runs style of things where you take some odd joke or news story, and turn it into email material.

Phew...I'm out of breath. Had to skip one class to work to solve the communications issues, but worth it. At least I got to listen to him.

EDIT: I just noticed my Insiders ran out. Not sure if I got the time this week to renew it lol.
 
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ZF Lee

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Damn! Didn't expect this to happen:

- A client sends me a link to a reference work, and then an actual article to polish up

-I slipped-up by using the WRONG LINK, only to unknowingly find a decent article. So my polishing up and re-writing of the article is minimal.:eek:

-Client informs me of my boo-boo on my 8am class this morning. I apologize profusely and offer to redo it. Luckily, he says he'll sent me a new link to do instead.

Dunno how it will affect my ratings.:arghh:
Hopefully I can make up for it with better work, to erase my client's memory of the incident.

Good thing the starting price was quite low, or else my rep would have taken a worse hit.

Not the first time I made a mistake, but for the first gig with a new client? Probably.

I also realise that I left SEVERAL things to chance:
- actual timing and execution of studying my regular subjects at university, namely Econometrics and R-code subjects.

I only wrote down basic Habit Stacks for them, so I guess I need to touch up on them.

That means I'll be 'imprisoned' in a schedule, but as things pick up, I should be able to change them again. Activities are never set in stone.

I saw a tip on Reddit to break down every chunk of notes and formula, and understand each factor THOROUGHLY, and then put them together again, before the actual practice questions.

I have never done it before, and wtfprofessor.com didn't discuss it in that manner.

I figure that it should work, as I don't want to kill myself in a midnight vigil for the next exam, when I could be doing Upwork or Fastlane work.

Speaking of studies, it's around Week 3 now, and I already see my peers coming in with dead-fish eyes and waiting for the tutors to spoonfeed them the F*cking answers.

This really makes my blood boil faster than the chicken soup I made yesterday....:rage::rage::rage:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RANT BEGINS (as told to my girl on WhatsApp, bless her)
Are you f*cked up, numbskulls?

I understand that you folks don't want to do a Fastlane, and are happy enough to sink into a F*cked-up job.

But at least do some shit in your classes!

Read the F*cking notes, pull some half-assed answer for the discussion questions, and go into class to get some help for your pathetic skills and abilities.

Even if you only understand 1% of the stuff, that's OK. You can get it later. That's what classes and tutorials and consultation times are for.

Instead, what did you lazy F*cks do?

Just sit there like the dead asses you are, and stay silent, waiting for the F*cking answers to drop from the sky.

Of course you don't have any questions for the teachers. Because you don't know shit!


I know it's 8 am, but guess what.
Folks in the real world don't care what time is it.
You just help them, or they go somewhere else, and you don't get paid.

I know because I've been there! Worked until 3 am for a copywriting project!
What jobs did you F*cks work anyway?

Rubbing your meat in front of a screen, that's that!

No wonder our batch is gonna be unemployed.
Your shitty attitude IS the very thing that will make you all poor, not robots or AI!
I'm willing to bet that most of the people 'evangelising' about AI and robots taking over everything simply have low control over their miserable lives, and simply don't want to do anything about what they can control.

I hope the marketplace chews you up, tears you unproductive rats up, and spits you onto the sidewalk.
Seriously, no company in the wide world deserves your unproductive nonsense.


I was the only poor sod speaking in last semester's Marketing class, when we were discussing Macro and Micro factors, while others were either dead or comatose in their bodies.

Do you know how infuriating it is, to have kids who buy things every day, know NOT ONE F*cking shit about the entities they come into contact every damned day, when they used their parents' money to buy shit?

Please, you F*cks who call yourself students, grab the damned notes and tutorial questions, do the work and perhaps you might get a call from the McDonalds' manager.

I'm not going to answer any more discussion questions in class any more, unless the tutors ask me for it.

And the class discussions will probably grind to a standstill.

Sorry, dear tutors and lecturers, I tried hard to be a productive student because I respect the time you took to help us out.

ENDS RANT

that was an angry old man ramble

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
...where was I?

Oh, SEVERAL things left to chance (Continued):

- My prayer journal.
For non-religious folks, its about the equivalent of having Dan Pena daily affirmations. Accountability.

Discovered that I skipped a few days. Maybe that is also why my progress slipped.

The spiritual component aside, breaking a written Habit Stack can topple the house of blocks.

I noticed that I would feel awkward doing it when parents are around.

Now I know why.

They didn't teach me to do it. I picked up the habit myself.

All they did was circle-jerk and half-a$$ stuff when it came to paying their religious dues, let alone their jobs. And I thought it was PARENTS that should hand down good practices to the kids by example.

Let that sink in.
 

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Been checking in on your thread occasionally. Happy to see the progress on Upwork and your efforts paying off.

Also wanted to let you know that seeing your reaction on how other people approach their university work tells me 2 things.

The good: you have the right mindset, you’re taking what you do seriously. And whether in a job or a business this is important. It will set you apart whatever you do.

The less good: don’t waste too much energy and negativity on other people. It does you no good. That energy could be spent better on your own path.

I did have a question, maybe you’ve answered it before, but there’s a lot of content to sift through. Aren’t you still selling time for money with Upwork? Do you have a plan to scale that? Or what’s the perceived path to the end goal of Fastlane? Just like to understand because I see you grinding hard at this, but I see myself wondering if there aren’t better roads to take :)
 
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ZF Lee

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Been checking in on your thread occasionally. Happy to see the progress on Upwork and your efforts paying off.

Also wanted to let you know that seeing your reaction on how other people approach their university work tells me 2 things.

The good: you have the right mindset, you’re taking what you do seriously. And whether in a job or a business this is important. It will set you apart whatever you do.

The less good: don’t waste too much energy and negativity on other people. It does you no good. That energy could be spent better on your own path.

I did have a question, maybe you’ve answered it before, but there’s a lot of content to sift through. Aren’t you still selling time for money with Upwork? Do you have a plan to scale that? Or what’s the perceived path to the end goal of Fastlane? Just like to understand because I see you grinding hard at this, but I see myself wondering if there aren’t better roads to take :)
Thanks for the support.

Agreed 100% on the negative energy part.

Yeah, I've said before that its just a means to earn income to build the actual Fastlane.
This isn't my real Fastlane at all! But it did open up more Fastlane-ish insights for me, as you can see.

Definitely this takes quite some time out of me, especially when I'm still building up my knowledge and confidence to formally take a solid niche.

Ideally, I'd like to see myself at the end of the day having at least 2 clients for recurring work, with at least 5-figures worth of monthly income. I know it's a lot to shoot for, but I'm not going to underestimate that the real business will be a cash glut in the first few months, even if I could get sales rolling.

Another reason why I need Upwork freelancing as an income source, is that I forsee that when I give my parents the notice that I will be dropping out of university to do Fastlane, family drama will start. I'm not sure if they will do it, but the worst thing they could do to threaten me to go back to studying is to cut off my present allowance.

I need an income to prepare for that, if it happens.

A few interesting fields have stood out for me,as possible opportunities, gained from my freelancing, coincidentally.

Two of them: supply chain management, and utility devices or tools.

Will investigate them in my upcoming meetups. Speaking of meetups, I have one tomorrow. Some show-and-tell session.
 
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ZF Lee

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Alright, here's what happened following the interview:

- Upwork interview channels don't work on MOBILE (and my client is on the run, so he can only use his phone while going to his work)

-We switch to Zoom, but for some reasons it clamps. So we hop to Skype.

-The Upwork triggers do not pick up on Zoom keywords, so we just message each other on the ZOOM chat to go to Skype lol.

-Talked for 10 mins, and he'll be sending me sample emails to have an idea of his style of writing.

Odd. He doesn't talk about conversion rates, but he's more into the Russell Brunson Seinfield re-runs style of things where you take some odd joke or news story, and turn it into email material.

Phew...I'm out of breath. Had to skip one class to work to solve the communications issues, but worth it. At least I got to listen to him.

EDIT: I just noticed my Insiders ran out. Not sure if I got the time this week to renew it lol.
Wow!

He had me do a test job. Good thing he's paying some money for it. Just around my hourly rate.

That shows he knows what to do, to set freelancers on the right bar.

After I sent him the emails, he said they were fine, and fit his desired style of writing.

But I would need to make sure they were 100% congruent with the headline and shorter.

I could ideally write 1 short email and 1 long email for every 2 emails done.

So, he formally took me on, and added me to a whatsapp group of his copywriting team.

(planned secretly using Skype lol...Upwork just has its limits)

And we went discussed a few angles to promote the seminars his company is doing.

Was this what Lex was talking about?

To be shot right into major departments of a REAL business?

How long could I have taken to climb the ranks up, as a regular employee, onto the vital positions, where the business actually marketed and sold the products?

How long could I have taken if I just sucked it up, and 'paid my dues'?

There were more things that my clients showed me, and even MORE details behind the scenes.

For me to share it though, I think I'd have to ask MJ to send this thread to Insiders lol.

But I won't do it until the ACTUAL Fastlane biz comes around.
 
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ZF Lee

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Skipped my entire Econometrics tutorial to have a 2-hour call with my email client.

He did a breakdown of my emails.

Lots of improvements needed to be done....
- I had touched on a BIG IDEA in each of them. But I didn't do my transition well.
I was still hard selling on multiple occasions.

-I was still assuming my subscriber persona had some certain skills.
The client informed me it wasn't the case!

-Don't need to always address the subscriber with 'Hi, (first name)
Email scam filters are beginning to pick them up.
Must have been overused.

-Use ONE example at best.

-If i'm using MEMES, make it more relevant to the target folks' age and background.

I could also center the entire email theme on that ONE example.

-Speak only to ONE person. Be personal. Even though I keep a You-focus in my writing, I still made some slip-ups by using 'we' and 'our'.

After I ended the call, I noticed a few things:

-I need to book an appointment with my Econs tutor for a make-up session
- I need to redo the emails (with some tips he suggested) in the 2 days he gave me
- I forgot to use the framework used by Storybranding, and focused much on emulating swipe file emails

-I had just gotten a MENTORSHIP from a guy who knew his stuff

I had gotten real feedback.

Real lessons.

Not just from an old classical copywriting book.

I'll do my best to improve my copy quickly, with what I learned.

The client mentioned his top copywriter actually took SIX MONTHS to match up to pace.
(one improvement he said I had was that my English was fine, whereas the first guy started out with bad grammar skills)

Looks like I'll have to cancel that meetup I mentioned to you, @Vigilante:bored:

EDIT: Noticed that he didn't discuss ALL my emails.

Re-checked them while I was re-arranging them into Google Docs from Word.

They fit pretty much what he said...

I KNEW I could do this.

Weird...why did my email writing went out of bounce?
 
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ZF Lee

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My reply to ZCP on another thread...

Done today!

After my client gave some feedback on how some of my past emails needed 100% focus on ONE BIG IDEA or EXAMPLE, I got to work.

I saw my swipe file of emails pilling up, as well as my own email account...

  1. Picked some emails of similar themes and desired angle...
  2. And 'cannibalized' them.
  3. Removed the non-relevant content...
  4. And replaced them with my client's industry-specific messages and content.
I figured out that other copywriters would organize their copywriting a lot more better than I do.

On a few emails, I saw certain patterns like:

First sentence: Big Idea

2nd sentence: Explanation

3rd sentence: Short example

4th sentence: Affirmative statement


A lot more patterns I saw though. Not just this one.

Sure enough, the resulting emails sounded a lot more better and convincing than my earlier ranty emails.:smile:

Transformed into 2-page punchy messages that hit home.

Actually done it in ONE hour.

Not even a few hours...

Will see if my client will like it.
 

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ZF Lee

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Skipped my entire Econometrics tutorial to have a 2-hour call with my email client.

He did a breakdown of my emails.

Lots of improvements needed to be done....
- I had touched on a BIG IDEA in each of them. But I didn't do my transition well.
I was still hard selling on multiple occasions.

-I was still assuming my subscriber persona had some certain skills.
The client informed me it wasn't the case!

-Don't need to always address the subscriber with 'Hi, (first name)
Email scam filters are beginning to pick them up.
Must have been overused.

-Use ONE example at best.

-If i'm using MEMES, make it more relevant to the target folks' age and background.

I could also center the entire email theme on that ONE example.

-Speak only to ONE person. Be personal. Even though I keep a You-focus in my writing, I still made some slip-ups by using 'we' and 'our'.

After I ended the call, I noticed a few things:

-I need to book an appointment with my Econs tutor for a make-up session
- I need to redo the emails (with some tips he suggested) in the 2 days he gave me
- I forgot to use the framework used by Storybranding, and focused much on emulating swipe file emails

-I had just gotten a MENTORSHIP from a guy who knew his stuff

I had gotten real feedback.

Real lessons.

Not just from an old classical copywriting book.

I'll do my best to improve my copy quickly, with what I learned.

The client mentioned his top copywriter actually took SIX MONTHS to match up to pace.
(one improvement he said I had was that my English was fine, whereas the first guy started out with bad grammar skills)

Looks like I'll have to cancel that meetup I mentioned to you, @Vigilante:bored:

EDIT: Noticed that he didn't discuss ALL my emails.

Re-checked them while I was re-arranging them into Google Docs from Word.

They fit pretty much what he said...

I KNEW I could do this.

Weird...why did my email writing went out of bounce?
UPDATE

I am afraid I have to let this client go...

Although he and I found many gaps on my part in regards to email writing...

There are MORE issues that just can't enable us to work together:

- He still cannot use any of my emails. Which is strange...I thought you could test a few on the market, rather than let one person's decision decide it all.

- I got the vibe of working as an employee than a business contractor on the WhatsApp group.

A contractor or consultant provides new value to the table.

An employee...well...

Any future prospects to negotiate pay raises or new tasks could have been shut down or delayed.

There are also several unfavourable issues in relation to copywriting...
-He deploys multiple copywriters. But most of them are 20-year old students! Is this a warning sign?

- He asks me to write angles based on past emails with high click thru rates. Which is questionable. Some topics may be evergreen, but how long?

I look at Ben Settle's free emails and they are always talking about different things!

One day it's Dan Kennedy, hating on bad entrepreneurs or sexual violence (yup)

And I've read of low-click thru rates actually leading to HIGHER opt ins and sales...you may get very less interested customers, but they pay most of your money. 80/20

So not everything may be black and white...

- He is selling Amazon courses to 30-40 year olds who hate their jobs.

I'm not sure if this is a risk of bro-marketing, but my client insists that I write emails to them as if they don't know anything about Amazon.

So I cannot write emails with helpful tips on how to get them started, and use it as a trust builder for them to join his courses.

Which is insane...

I signed up for emails from Sourcify and Danny Marguilles, on topics I DIDN'T know from scratch, and the way they wrote their emails, they left me something useful!

People are not stupid.
They know what is good for them.

I haven't mentioned my cognitive dissonance in selling courses for people who just think about 'making money' instead of providing value.

And when I write emails to advise folks to take that approach, my client says, 'It's too hard for them. They are just coming in and they will not like it.'

But well, what do I know as a beginner copywriter?

Besides, this work with my client is CUTTING my time for Fastlane and doing other more reasonable and decent Upwork gigs.

I'll just follow @Lex DeVille's advice the other day to 'leave if it makes me uncomfortable'

I might get a bad review on Upwork after this, but my slew of good reviews so far may override it.

My client wants to have a Zoom call for a feedback session, but I'll let him know I won't waste his time any longer. And I'll say 'no fee'.

I don't feel that disappointed though. Had an old client ask me yesterday to do a cover letter for her.
 
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ZF Lee

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I'm thankful for what that client taught me though.

Not everything was down the drain.

However, I'm wondering if there's a BIG difference between an Upwork freelancer and just another outsourced worker.

My guess is I went to the latter unknowingly.
Exploitation? My ignorance? My fault of assuming things? Maybe all three...

Kind of understand now what the Z***** phin ordeal might ACTUALLY mean...
 
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ZF Lee

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UPDATE

I am afraid I have to let this client go...

Although he and I found many gaps on my part in regards to email writing...

There are MORE issues that just can't enable us to work together:

- He still cannot use any of my emails. Which is strange...I thought you could test a few on the market, rather than let one person's decision decide it all.

- I got the vibe of working as an employee than a business contractor on the WhatsApp group.

A contractor or consultant provides new value to the table.

An employee...well...

Any future prospects to negotiate pay raises or new tasks could have been shut down or delayed.

There are also several unfavourable issues in relation to copywriting...
-He deploys multiple copywriters. But most of them are 20-year old students! Is this a warning sign?

- He asks me to write angles based on past emails with high click thru rates. Which is questionable. Some topics may be evergreen, but how long?

I look at Ben Settle's free emails and they are always talking about different things!

One day it's Dan Kennedy, hating on bad entrepreneurs or sexual violence (yup)

And I've read of low-click thru rates actually leading to HIGHER opt ins and sales...you may get very less interested customers, but they pay most of your money. 80/20

So not everything may be black and white...

- He is selling Amazon courses to 30-40 year olds who hate their jobs.

I'm not sure if this is a risk of bro-marketing, but my client insists that I write emails to them as if they don't know anything about Amazon.

So I cannot write emails with helpful tips on how to get them started, and use it as a trust builder for them to join his courses.

Which is insane...

I signed up for emails from Sourcify and Danny Marguilles, on topics I DIDN'T know from scratch, and the way they wrote their emails, they left me something useful!

People are not stupid.
They know what is good for them.

I haven't mentioned my cognitive dissonance in selling courses for people who just think about 'making money' instead of providing value.

And when I write emails to advise folks to take that approach, my client says, 'It's too hard for them. They are just coming in and they will not like it.'

But well, what do I know as a beginner copywriter?

Besides, this work with my client is CUTTING my time for Fastlane and doing other more reasonable and decent Upwork gigs.

I'll just follow @Lex DeVille's advice the other day to 'leave if it makes me uncomfortable'

I might get a bad review on Upwork after this, but my slew of good reviews so far may override it.

My client wants to have a Zoom call for a feedback session, but I'll let him know I won't waste his time any longer. And I'll say 'no fee'.

I don't feel that disappointed though. Had an old client ask me yesterday to do a cover letter for her.
Ok, one and done.

I got onto the Zoom call and told him the following:

- thanked him for his time, efforts and work so far

- 'unfortunately, I have to let you go...'

-detailed our clashes in ideas and how I didn't want to waste his time

- My client tries to reason with me that his style of copywriting for emails is based on stats and how he collects the email addresses from Facebook ads.

I didn't tell him, but I would argue though that as MJ found out, FB isn't exactly the best place to get people to go for Amazon courses. You instead find a poorly disciplined, shortcut-hunter crowd.

Plus, the folks aren't strictly looking for a solution, which makes selling to them more difficult as Eugene Schwartz said.

- I detailed the following procedure I would take:

- write the remaining emails for today
- tomorrow, I'll destroy all confidential materials and exit message groups
- I'll leave a review on a Upwork to paint him in the best light possible, only to mention 'we left because of differing ideas'- as some of his points weren't 100% wrong

- my client said he'll pay me for the last emails I wrote. Even though they didn't earn him a dime, I'm actually thankful for that.

I'm glad he took it well, and even wished me all the best. So we leave on a good note...

Haha I guess this may be the one of the few records on TFLF on letting clients go on Upwork. Actually this is my FIRST time exiting a contract on my own terms.

Still not sure how my Upwork review will be like, but I feel good about how I've handled things.

After this, I'll have to do more proposals to make up for the lost time lol...and do better client filters!
 

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Just reading about this situation makes me feel uncomfortable... not to mention how you must have felt.

But i think its good decision.

The thing that you client wants to pay for that one email, makes me hope that he'll leave good feedback (or at least not negative one).
 
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Just reading about this situation makes me feel uncomfortable... not to mention how you must have felt.

But i think its good decision.

The thing that you client wants to pay for that one email, makes me hope that he'll leave good feedback (or at least not negative one).
Nah....it's actually a lot better than I thought it would be!

I was concerned whether I could break the news to him in a way that didn't burn the bridge. So far, no angst or blow-ups.

It's several emails, actually.

My 'worst' feedback by client for a gig that didn't work out was actually none. Just a 5-star rating, but not comments or feedback.

The bright side is that I've got a bit of email practice on my hands, plus some portfolio samples!

And its also a good thing that I'm having these problems. Means that I've got work for me, instead of a dry spell! :)

On the decision process, I looked back at my past weeks' cash flow from freelancing gigs. I saw that this jobs was eating more time that I could use for other good-paying gigs and Fastlane!

So I suppose that even if a gig went well, this opportunity cost thing will still make you leave it, or risk having you miss out on money (an more interesting work) on the table.
 
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Ok, one and done.

I got onto the Zoom call and told him the following:

- thanked him for his time, efforts and work so far

- 'unfortunately, I have to let you go...'

-detailed our clashes in ideas and how I didn't want to waste his time

- My client tries to reason with me that his style of copywriting for emails is based on stats and how he collects the email addresses from Facebook ads.

I didn't tell him, but I would argue though that as MJ found out, FB isn't exactly the best place to get people to go for Amazon courses. You instead find a poorly disciplined, shortcut-hunter crowd.

Plus, the folks aren't strictly looking for a solution, which makes selling to them more difficult as Eugene Schwartz said.

- I detailed the following procedure I would take:

- write the remaining emails for today
- tomorrow, I'll destroy all confidential materials and exit message groups
- I'll leave a review on a Upwork to paint him in the best light possible, only to mention 'we left because of differing ideas'- as some of his points weren't 100% wrong

- my client said he'll pay me for the last emails I wrote. Even though they didn't earn him a dime, I'm actually thankful for that.

I'm glad he took it well, and even wished me all the best. So we leave on a good note...

Haha I guess this may be the one of the few records on TFLF on letting clients go on Upwork. Actually this is my FIRST time exiting a contract on my own terms.

Still not sure how my Upwork review will be like, but I feel good about how I've handled things.

After this, I'll have to do more proposals to make up for the lost time lol...and do better client filters!
OK, here's the result:
upload_2019-4-3_21-2-7.png
Definitely agree with his review, even though it's not roses and rainbows.

There's something important to note from my experience though.

Writing copy for Asians and Westerners definitely differ.
Asians are more straight forward and direct. Westerners can afford to be more elaborative.
 
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UPDATE

1. Focused on upping rates and work with repeat clients.
Just consolidating my Upwork position.
You get more interesting work that way.

2. Had uni studies again disrupt a few ongoing gigs, quite badly to the point I missed out on feedback sessions with clients and left them worried whether I had washed them out dry.

Thank goodness I rushed back in time to deliver work on time, but it's not good enough....my policy is to always send in stuff at least a few days before set deadline, for any early edits.

I better do what Vig says and mark that date with a red circle....I can't stand the uni bullshit that robs my time. This will be mid of May.

I won't drop out yet, but that is the time I officially dgaf to my uni studies.

I'll up my Upwork income as best as I can, and then give an excuse to my overbearing parents that I want a gap year.

3. Was looking to gain an SEO skill, and wanted to read Moz's guide.
But I found this article that basically suggested a great step-by-step process for writing search-engine friendly content.

It explained things SURPRISINGLY better than the online copywriting and article blogs.

Go read this. There's a lot of room to use these steps for the biz:

https://meetedgar.com/blog/you-can-write-the-internets-best-article-on-any-subject-heres-how/

I'll be documenting these steps into my Upwork marketing and will work on using them!

I guess I can save time from reading Moz, and can just go make more money! :smile:

Here's the surprising thing on finding the article above:
I didn't find it on the first page when googling the usual keyword like 'write good articles' or 'how to write articles'.

I wrote a long 'how to write an amazing article', and I found this gem.

Sometimes long-tail searches are not to be underestimated.

4. I realised my writing style was getting old, especially for clients, so I need to go back to writing on Quora. A few posts a day should do...
 
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Due to a few botched gigs, and some less-than-stellar feedbacks from the subjective opinions of a few clients, my Upwork ratings have turned to 80%.

Should be a good challenge to see how to rank it back up!

I would need to do more gigs that rope in 5-star reviews.
But many high-dollar gigs take my time to complete, and of course wouldn't rope in reviews quickly to rank up faster unless I negotiated a break-down of milestones, and ask my client to review each milestone.

So I'd have to go back to low-dollar gigs, who are more likely to have clients who don't know much, but will be extremely pleased by even the SIMPLEST value to give them, and then rank up with their reviews.
Something similar to a Fastlane post here about selling low-dollar items on eBay or Shopify, and then stack up on the good feedback...

Also, my present freelancing protocols and project methods are being severely stretched for a number of reasons. Maybe that's why a few clients of mine felt my work could need a bit more...

I'll go troubleshoot and solve them, and come back with a detailed report on what went on. :p
 

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Oof, I wonder if there was a common thread among the botched gigs, like expectation management, unclear on what the deliverables are, etc.

Sounds like you're up for the challenge though!
 
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Oof, I wonder if there was a common thread among the botched gigs, like expectation management, unclear on what the deliverables are, etc.

Sounds like you're up for the challenge though!
Well...it depends. Not every case is the same.

I'll just share something from one of my gigs...

Now, I had a copywriting client. I have mentioned him before on this thread before, and I had many issues with him.

One was that he refused to put my suggested headlines and copy for email to the market tests. Instead, he kept comparing them to his other copywriters' work, which is of course, a poor benchmark, even if they are earning coin.

He only suggested that we send the copy drafts to the market test WHEN I was saying I would be dropping the towel. Pretty weird for anyone who uses sales copy to not to put their selling materials to the test as a PRIMARY focus. I could have suggested that in the first place, but he was already not accepting many suggestions from me when we first started working together after the 'trial gigs'...a red flag?

But whatever. Sometimes even measures like client reputation on Upwork and ad-hoc test gigs cfan only do so much to give you the best client to work with.

Lex would say, 'Test, test, test.' Yeah, do that.

For now, the best bet is to work hard to find a group of clients whom you are sure can forgive some slight errors on your part, as well as being always welcome to suggestions from you.

And use their fees as a kind of a safety net when you go looking for other higher-paying clients.
You can work on increasing your rates with repeat clients, but that takes time, so you'd have to find new clients to fill in the cashflow need.

I find this very B2B-ish....
 

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He only suggested that we send the copy drafts to the market test WHEN I was saying I would be dropping the towel. Pretty weird for anyone who uses sales copy to not to put their selling materials to the test as a PRIMARY focus. I could have suggested that in the first place, but he was already not accepting many suggestions from me when we first started working together after the 'trial gigs'...a red flag?
Iiiinteresting!
At my last job, I was having to write copy for email collection tests for clients. I'd done it for hundreds of sites, and in some cases increased their email signups 3X in a single test.
Still, I'd always have clients that would ask for revision after revision because they didn't want to send something inferior live.

In reality, we could run the test over the course of a few hours and know if it really was inferior or not, but they'd always be scared.

I solved the problem with future clients by just assuming the role of an expert (since I freakin' was!). If they thought of me as the expert with the master plan, then they were at least a little more willing to take my advice and test copy they weren't 100% sure about.
To position myself, I always had a few good case studies in my back pocket.
My spiel was usually "I always set things up according to best practices, but every site is different. Any time I make an assumption, I want to always back it up with data. For example, on site xyz.com, the owner said her audience would never respond to a 10% discount, so we ran the test over 1 weekend, and she collected 1200 emails (a 92% increase to her list). She knew that each email on the list was worth $4.00 in revenue, so even if every single person that claimed a discount used it, that one change over 2 days earned her an extra $4320"

Stuff like that, obviously numbers and concrete results can help. I bet there's a way you can tie customer sales to your copywriting. Still, as long as they think of you as an expert (and not just some guy on upwork that they are trying to get cheap work out of) then you might have them be more receptive to your suggestions.
 
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I solved the problem with future clients by just assuming the role of an expert (since I freakin' was!). If they thought of me as the expert with the master plan, then they were at least a little more willing to take my advice and test copy they weren't 100% sure about.
To position myself, I always had a few good case studies in my back pocket.
My spiel was usually "I always set things up according to best practices, but every site is different. Any time I make an assumption, I want to always back it up with data. For example, on site xyz.com, the owner said her audience would never respond to a 10% discount, so we ran the test over 1 weekend, and she collected 1200 emails (a 92% increase to her list). She knew that each email on the list was worth $4.00 in revenue, so even if every single person that claimed a discount used it, that one change over 2 days earned her an extra $4320"
Yeah...case studies can help the client reframe their approach and mindset.

The thing was that this client asked me to do copy for emails for the first time. I had only done web copy and product descriptions so far, and I hadn't cranked up on the testing focus even back then.

Being a newbie to email copywriting, I just jumped in, even without detailed case studies with conversion results to back me up (just had a few writing samples as proof of my value). Now, I know one way to prep myself better, should I come back in to that sector.

Thanks for sharing!
 
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Due to a few botched gigs, and some less-than-stellar feedbacks from the subjective opinions of a few clients, my Upwork ratings have turned to 80%.
Raised it to about 82%. Still getting jobs from repeat clients though, even though I haven't sent out new proposals for weeks to refreshen the stock.

More work can be done though, but a few uni assignments plus upcoming exams took even more wind from my sails.

An old client this time wants me to help him polish up a WHITE PAPER on the oil and gas industry.
I'm now reading a few blogs and Reddit posts (they focus on crypto white papers though, but structuring tips to engage readers should be the same) to learn on the fly how to improve his white paper.

I want to read some other white papers on the oil and gas industry, but the websites always want your company email and stuff, which would be bothersome. Maybe Google scholar might cough some out, and even then materials from Scholar tend to be substandard Grade-D works.

I'll see if there's any great articles on doing white papers, besides the usual fluff, and I'll post a few here.

Also, I need to make sure I don't procrastinate, fall ill or have any stupid shit happen to me.
Last time I actually missed a few of that same client's queries on the Upwork chat, due to an illness, so he got so worried that he wanted to put me on a live call.

Luckily, I recovered quickly enough to quickly log in, reassure him and deliver his finished work in tow.
Now he's asking me to send in regular drafts, up to the main deadline date, so that none of us is left hanging in the empty.

Got exams in the next two weeks, but I haven't heard of people doing freelancing or working jobs during exam season!
Should be interesting how it goes.

If I can kill it on the white paper job, I'll not only raise my rates, but I might also have another seed to re-position myself.
One look at a Reddit crypto whitepaper thread, and its full of complaints about how white papers tend to lack research, references and are too salesy. And I haven't heard any gurus teaching 'ninja tricks' for white papers, as much as FB copywriting...entry barrier here?
 

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Raised it to about 82%. Still getting jobs from repeat clients though, even though I haven't sent out new proposals for weeks to refreshen the stock.

More work can be done though, but a few uni assignments plus upcoming exams took even more wind from my sails.

An old client this time wants me to help him polish up a WHITE PAPER on the oil and gas industry.
I'm now reading a few blogs and Reddit posts (they focus on crypto white papers though, but structuring tips to engage readers should be the same) to learn on the fly how to improve his white paper.

I want to read some other white papers on the oil and gas industry, but the websites always want your company email and stuff, which would be bothersome. Maybe Google scholar might cough some out, and even then materials from Scholar tend to be substandard Grade-D works.

I'll see if there's any great articles on doing white papers, besides the usual fluff, and I'll post a few here.

Also, I need to make sure I don't procrastinate, fall ill or have any stupid shit happen to me.
Last time I actually missed a few of that same client's queries on the Upwork chat, due to an illness, so he got so worried that he wanted to put me on a live call.

Luckily, I recovered quickly enough to quickly log in, reassure him and deliver his finished work in tow.
Now he's asking me to send in regular drafts, up to the main deadline date, so that none of us is left hanging in the empty.

Got exams in the next two weeks, but I haven't heard of people doing freelancing or working jobs during exam season!
Should be interesting how it goes.

If I can kill it on the white paper job, I'll not only raise my rates, but I might also have another seed to re-position myself.
One look at a Reddit crypto whitepaper thread, and its full of complaints about how white papers tend to lack research, references and are too salesy. And I haven't heard any gurus teaching 'ninja tricks' for white papers, as much as FB copywriting...entry barrier here?
Not long ago I saw Express Employment has a ton of white papers on their website.

I like their structure. They use a nice combination of text and graphic elements combined with industry stats.

Their target audience is businesses, so they keep it pretty professional.

Might look at those for inspiration.

 
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Not long ago I saw Express Employment has a ton of white papers on their website.

I like their structure. They use a nice combination of text and graphic elements combined with industry stats.

Their target audience is businesses, so they keep it pretty professional.

Might look at those for inspiration.

Thanks for the recommendation. It's a beauty!

Looking at one of their papers now on 'What's Wrong with this Economy'

Looks really clean and straight-to-the-point!
And has adequate references.

Also has a lot of graphics and attention-pulling pics, especially for the cover pages. Leaves a good first impression.
I'll have to see if I can find stock images that can provide the same effect.
 

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Great journey thread @ZF Lee !

Anyways, just want to say don't worry too much about your job rating. 80% is the minimum to show up under the client's search filters.

Your proposal holds more weight than anything else.
 
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I want to read some other white papers on the oil and gas industry, but the websites always want your company email and stuff, which would be bothersome. Maybe Google scholar might cough some out, and even then materials from Scholar tend to be substandard Grade-D works.

I'll see if there's any great articles on doing white papers, besides the usual fluff, and I'll post a few here.

Also, I need to make sure I don't procrastinate, fall ill or have any stupid shit happen to me.
Last time I actually missed a few of that same client's queries on the Upwork chat, due to an illness, so he got so worried that he wanted to put me on a live call.

Luckily, I recovered quickly enough to quickly log in, reassure him and deliver his finished work in tow.
Now he's asking me to send in regular drafts, up to the main deadline date, so that none of us is left hanging in the empty.

Got exams in the next two weeks, but I haven't heard of people doing freelancing or working jobs during exam season!
Should be interesting how it goes.
The white paper job was a tough nut to crack....but that's a later story.

Now...out of the blue, my client tells me he can't download the PowerPoint files from Upwork to edit and stuff.

I'm shocked and livid. WTF? How the hell is business gonna run?

So I quickly move to Google Drive sharings, while sending a notice to the Upwork support team.
Hopefully Upwork can resolve this quickly.

I saw a similar 2017 case reported in the Upwork forums, but the team said it was just a bug.
But it worries me. What if the client has a tight deadline for his own project?
 
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The white paper job was a tough nut to crack....but that's a later story.

Now...out of the blue, my client tells me he can't download the PowerPoint files from Upwork to edit and stuff.

I'm shocked and livid. WTF? How the hell is business gonna run?

So I quickly move to Google Drive sharings, while sending a notice to the Upwork support team.
Hopefully Upwork can resolve this quickly.

I saw a similar 2017 case reported in the Upwork forums, but the team said it was just a bug.
But it worries me. What if the client has a tight deadline for his own project?
Alright, just finished the white paper polishing project.

Had to do A LOT of work to revise the project!

1. Read White Paper for Dummies by Gordon Graham. He's also has a whole website of resources, samples and tips for that!

2. Found white papers online on the similar topic I was working on. Had to give an email address to one,but thankfully, it got through, and the free white paper I received had a writing style and explanation approach that I liked.

Realised that I was messing up with my client's white paper because I DIDN'T ASK IN THE BEGINNING WHAT WAS IT FOR in the beginning. (shameful mistake)

Thankfully, the Dummies book identified it as a 'vanilla flavoured' (go read the book if you want to know what vanilla means)- a backgrounder. So I had to explain stuff based on interpreting data and general stats, using their meanings to form a story.

I realised many of the graphs and insider quotes in the white paper didn't add value to the discussion.
They could go without them, so I just deleted them.

The paper became a lot more readable.

So, there is such a thing as 'too many graphics'. The walls of tables and charts can just cause readers' focus to spiral out of control. Use graphics sparingly, especially for white papers.

Sometimes a text write-up about a summary of implications can do the explaining job quite well.

I saw this format of white paper text write-ups used in many white papers, as well as recommended by blogs:

Basically, instead of putting text in Just divide the entire write-up into two chunks
one paragraph that stretches across side by side like this! That way, readers' eyes can
the page... just move left to right, and scan them quite intuitively!


Not only did my client like the improvements...

He offered me another white paper job, and raised the rates by double.

I thought of asking to raise it more, but it's the first time he's doing it for me, and I didn't ask for it in the first place.

So I'll just accept the new rates and job, out of goodwill. And anyway, I don't intend to do white papers as a focus, although there should be demand for it on Upwork.

Will raise the rates though in the future.

On the other side of updates...

I had to waste devote a lot of time and energy recently to study for exams.

Would have loved to work on new Upwork projects during that time, but I couldn't.
I had to be contented with repeat clients.

Two of my units for exams, which were econometrics and business modelling were cutthroat.
I could rant forever on the pitfalls of the learning material, textbooks and lectures.

But basically, if a 5-10 minute sample question video from India (God bless Indian math teachers!), some Reddit ELI5 posts and Chegg tutor questions and solutions can beat an 'organised' set of unit teaching regimes, I might as well not go to university at all, even to learn up complex stuff like statistics.

And that's what I did.
Youtube, Reddit, Chegg and textbook to study for units that I skipped a considerable amount of lectures and tutorials for, because those sessions were shitty.

Really disgusted.

If I can score well even with such a ragtag effort, I'll read the student marking reports with sadistic glee when they come out.

I'll be working on arranging a gap year from school, but that would need some paperwork, bureaucracy and counselor meetups.



 
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Update...

LESSONS FROM THE WHITE PAPER PROJECT(s)
1. Raise the damn prices up to $500 or so (if the white paper goes without insider interviews) because it takes a damned long time to research everything.

High returns have to come with high price.

Even just 'simple' research like looking through government archives, industry reports and scientific journals is bloody tedious.

I'm tempted to do an entire 1-hour vid of myself doing a white paper section from start to finish just for prospects to see...but nah, might be too costly.

2. Before the project starts, set out a blueprint of how you will arrange the sections for the client to see, and place a fixed deadline for each section's completion.

If possible, get the client to promise that he'll look over and give his feedback at a fixed deadline as well. (which I didn't do, so the project dragged on a bit)

3. For one concept that you aren't sure of, read 4-5 articles on it to crosscheck multiple points of view, or see if additional info for the context can be found.

For a white paper, the research process is probably 3-4X as much as that for regular copywriting.

Now for my general copywriting...

Here's a new practice I'm conducting to polish up my copywriting skills after I found my research skills need more polishing after consulting an online course or two:

1. Take a few emails from the greats like Ben Settle and others, and break them down.
See if they follow the AIDA or PAS formula, identify hooks, objection killers and so on.

Perhaps I might google some key phrases to see if they turn up on customer review sites and forums, to spot if the email writers actually trail those sites.

And perhaps those customer sites could send me to more links and places where the market discussions are going on.

Then I take the concepts and try to write a similar email for a different industry with a similar problem.

2. Go visit other customer review sites on my own and grab at least 5 new insights or comments with potential 'ammunition' to write copy around, as long as its related to the product.

Presently, my best sites for looking at what the market is thinking are Amazon reviews, niche forums (got to get the keywords right to find them) and of course, Reddit.
Facebook groups suck though. Full of scammers, parrots and crickets.

I have compiled my findings in an Excel file, and also wrote some notes on potential headlines or copy phrases I can use for the future.

In a way, its a swipe file of sorts, but not to compile other's sales letters.
More of a swipe file of 'market speak'.

That way, I should be able to follow the saying 'Copy is assembled, not written'.
I would be able to write copy that is not based on bingo-banging by my own instincts.

I regret not paying attention to my last copywriting client who actually showed me an ENTIRE EXCEL FILE filled to the brim with their winning hooks, angles and notes. Could have implemented their stuff immediately, but I just continued my old methods until months later.

Some stupid guy I am.
This means I will be forced by default to only collect intel based on a select few markets, instead of everything under the sun, like most general copywriters do.

I finally finished up my Upwork specialised profile write-ups, after looking through the Warrior Forum posts (spotted a good thread on folks' complaints on hiring copywriters), as well as feedback by Upwork clients (looked as far as 15 pages, because some of the feedback gets repititive).

Then I took the key phrases of pain points by the customers, and then slotted them in my copy.

Will see how this works out. Upwork doesn't registers changes until maybe a day or two later.

Also, I'm thinking of trying to send out VIDEO RECORDINGS, tailored made, to each
Upwork prospect. Would be go to differentiate myself, by having them see my face.

I tried it out first with one of the Fastlaners who called me up, and I think there's a shit ton of improvements to make in the video area...
 

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