Copywriter Julia Reinisch is in the house for the 95th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Julia chatted with Kira and Rob about a variety of topics from how she came to join The Copywriter Think Tank to her favorite dive spots in Roatán. Long time listeners know that we like to talk with copywriters at all stages in their business, and while Julia is not a beginner, many listeners will relate to the effort Julia is going through to build a thriving freelance business. Here’s what we covered:
• how curiosity and a suggestion from her family led her from social work to copywriting
• where she found her very first client and the kind of work resonated with her
• how her background in social work makes her a better writer
• the kind of work she does as an in-house copywriter at a University
• how she learned to talk to customers and thicken her skin with a job in retail
• the unique steps she took to start her own copywriting business
• why Julia thinks every copywriter needs a great website
• what she’s done to take her business to the next level
• her thoughts about connecting with other writers in the Copywriter Think Tank
• what she’s done to pitch her employer on hiring her as a copywriter
• the advice she has for copywriters just starting out
• her thoughts about working with other writers
• what she’s doing with her business in the future
• her favorite dive spots in Roatán
To get this episode in your earbuds, visit iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. Or simply click the play button below. And if you don’t like listening, you can scroll down for a full transcript (there’s even an option to download it and read it later).
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
The Copywriter Accelerator
The Copywriter Think Tank
The Blue Cave
Julia on Twitter
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
The Copywriter Club podcast is sponsored by Air Story, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at airstory.co/club.
Rob: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the club for Episode 95, as we chat with in-house and freelance copywriter, Julia Reinish, about her move from social work to copywriting, what she did to pitch herself to a big client, the struggles of a full time writing job and the place adventure plays in her life.
Julia: Hey, Rob, Kira, thank you so much for having me.
Kira: Yeah, great to have you here as one of the members of our think tank, which I’m sure we’ll talk about a little bit more. But, Julia, can you just start with your story? How did you end up as a copywriter?
Julia: Yeah. Personally, I’ve always been a really creative person. Growing up I guess, I was the child that probably kept my parents super entertained all the time because I was always finding something new to explore and something to really learn a lot about. I know at one point I got really interested in everything about Atlantis and Lost City type things and codes at one point. I thought that I was totally going to grow up and be a spy. So just all kinds of creative things like that. But one thing that’s remained constant, I guess, is that I’ve always been really interested in writing.
I won my first writing contest at nine years old I think. From there, did a lot of writing in school and everything as everyone else does, but I was always getting recognized for it. So you would think that when I’d get to college and everything, I’d want to actually pursue that as a career, but I didn’t. I guess a part of me just really wanted to reach more of the sensitive part of myself. I would say I’m a very sensitive person and I’m always really keeping an eye out for people who are having a hard time in life. And I actually decided to study social work.
That did not make my family super happy because they thought that I wouldn’t be able to make a decent living for myself, but there’s lots of people who are doing well doing that, so I guess to kind of make them happy too, and because they know me super well, I also studied communications and journalism in college. So right after school, I graduated and I worked as a social worker for about five years. I worked primarily with folks who were homeless, housing a lot of refugees, a lot of young adults who aged out of the foster care system and that was actually really cool for me to be a part of seeing people’s transformations, seeing people in really heartbreaking situations, but seeing the resilience in them was really inspiring to me.
But the thing is, is being a really sensitive person, I would get really overwhelmed with it and I definitely, within those five years, got burned out. I would go home feeling like I had headaches every day. I would feel like I’m not even making a difference and I was just like, “Man, this cannot be what life is all about for me. Something’s not working here.” So I got really interested in learning more about my self-care and just being aware of that. Finally one day my family, they asked me, “Why aren’t you pursuing writing? We’ve always seen you as a writer. We’ve seen how much you enjoy it. Why don’t you look into it more?” So when they told me that, I thought about it and I looked back at my couple jobs that I’d had in social work. And even then, I had been finding ways to write.
For example, in the refugee program when I was working with housing refugees, a lot of these folks would be coming in and we wouldn’t know that they were coming into the United States. We would get a week’s notice basically and we would have to go out and find a landlord that would be willing to work with this family of eight or nine people and be willing to rent to them, even though they had never met them. And that’s a pretty hard sale, especially … I was in Minneapolis in St. Paul at the time. But that’s a really hard sell, so I had noticed that a lot of landlords, they just weren’t getting it. And I was getting asked the same questions over and over again. So, I had actually written up this, I guess you would say it was like a facts document, FAQ, frequently asked questions document, where I took some of the main questions that landlords were asking me over and over.
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Like, are these folks coming in here legally? How do I know they’ll be good renters? How do I know they’ll pay the rent? And I created this little marketing slick you would probably say, and I started using that for landlords. Then, there were just other projects here and there that I noticed that I was finding excuses to do those kinds of things, even though I was still in social work. So I was thinking, “Okay. I’ve never really seen myself as a fictional writer.” It never really interested me that much. But, there has to be a way to actually do more of this business writing. There has to be a way to do more of this. So I started doing some research online and I don’t even know where exactly I found it, but I stumbled upon the term copywriting. And I thought, “Well this is kind of interesting.”
A lot of people when they hear copywrite, they think it’s just about legal stuff and protecting property and things, but I dug more into it and I realized this persuasive writing, writing that sells, writing that’s informative and educational for folks like that, kind of writing really interested me. That was the kind of writing that I had been doing, honestly, for years. Even as a social work, I was a camp counselor, like all these different things. I had been doing that kind of writing for a while. So, I started to look into it more. I looked on LinkedIn and this is actually where I found my very first client, was on LinkedIn. They were asking for blog writers. They represented a cleaning services company.
So I started writing blogs for a cleaning company. Not exactly the most interesting stuff to write about, not very thrilling so to say, but I got a few blogs on there that actually went pretty viral for a while. I know I had one that was about 11 ways not to use vinegar to clean your home or something, and I guess that was a huge hit for some reason.
Rob: I’m going to interrupt right here.
Julia: Yeah, please.
Rob: What are they? Am I misusing vinegar at my home right now? I don’t know.
Julia: Oh, man, Rob, I would have to look it up. I know something about you don’t want to use it on your computer screen because it can remove the coating on your computer. I think it makes eggs coagulate, so you don’t want to use it to pick up eggs off the floor, stuff like that.
Rob: Good to know. Thank you.
Julia: Well, I’m glad I could save you the trouble of that. I’ll find it for you. And I can help you read that later. But, yeah, so I did some writing for them. Eventually, I got referred to a trucking company. I wrote a bunch of blogs and stuff for this trucking company, which was … man, that was a crazy ride. But I realized as I was doing this, I really enjoyed the research part. These weren’t the most sexy industries to write about per say. They’re hard to spice up sometimes. But I enjoyed the challenge of it. So I would find … I was talking to people and asking to talk to people who were truck drivers and I bought the CDL training manual just to really dig into it.
I realized how much I loved that research part of it and really trying to get my head into what , for example, a truck driver, they’re driving all the time. They don’t have a lot of free time. And when they do have free time, they’re going to eat or sleep. So it was a good challenge for me to try to think about what are these folks going to actually take the time to read in their very, very limited free time? So I really enjoyed the challenge with that. And kind of fast forward to just a couple years ago, so I was doing these blogs, I was kind of writing little projects here and there for folks, helping some folks edit their resumes.
A big life change for me happened. I had been engaged at the time and that didn’t work out. It kind of made me rethink my whole life honestly. I was thinking, I’m burned out in my current job. I just had this major life change that’s not working for me anymore. I need to do something. I need to do something big. So at the time I was still living in Minnesota and I’ve always loved the idea about Colorado. I love the mountains, I love adventure. I love being in the clean, fresh air. So I just decided, well I’m going to do that. So I packed up everything in my car and drove out to Colorado, found a little nanny job just to start and from there, that’s when I really started pursuing the writing as we know it today.
I just kind of found a few clients here and there, but things didn’t really start to pick up until I realized, I was like, “There has to be a good community of folks out here who are doing this.” So I started looking and that’s actually where I found a copywriter club Face Book group. And about two years ago is when I actually found a job working at a university. So I’m now a full time writer at the university still. So I’m still doing that and participating in the copywriter club and I don’t know, I guess things just kind of started to pick up from there. I started finding more clients and here we are.
Rob: It’s a great story. I love all of the iterations. I want to go all the way back to your social work background.
Rob: And getting to know you over the last six months or so. We definitely realized that you are very sensitive to that stuff and so I can see the appeal in working with some of these groups of people who need so much help. How did relating to these people, how has that affected your copywriting today? And how you get to know your clients, or your clients’ customers?
Julia: Well, I think a big thing with copywriting, there’s all these formulas that people use. Problem, agitate, solve. There’s a forest. I know there’s some really weird named ones out there, but the biggest one is being able to find out what is a problem or what is a pain that people are experiencing. I don’t see it as necessarily trying to force something on folks. I see it more as, what is a problem or a pain that they’re experiencing and how can I help them? And that’s huge in social work is that folks, people that I worked with, they are the experts of their own story. They know their situation better than anyone else.
The second that I would come in trying to assume things is the second that I would lose them, the second they would stop listening to me. So the biggest thing that I learned from that is asking a lot of questions to really understand where are they coming from? What’s their context? Where do they think they need to go? Why do they think they need to go there? What other things are influencing them in the process? And what other things are they thinking about just in general? And for me, that’s been huge as a copywriter because you can’t assume something when you’re writing to someone because the second that you assume something, again, you’re going to lose them as a reader.
You have to really be willing to listen. I think communication is way more about listening than it is about talking, so that you can understand where they’re coming from and really understand what is it going to take for this person to take action on their problem? What kind of solution is going to be interesting to them? How can I make sure that they see how easy this solution can be for them and how great their life can be after they take this action? So I think, yeah, just about really asking questions and really being able to understand people has been huge for me.
Kira: Yeah, I can see the parallel there. You mentioned that you’re a full time writer. You’ve been a full time writer for two years now, which kind of sounds in a way like this dream position. You get paid to write all day every day. So can you talk about what that really looks like as a full time writer for a university? What are the pros and cons of that type of position?
Julia: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll tell you guys now, I can write a press release like no one’s business. I can crank one out super fast. That’s actually been really great. That’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve noticed after starting this job is that my speed is just a lot faster. I kind of have little processes in how I write the different things that I do. So I get access to writing press releases. I’m currently working on a feature article for our alumni magazine, which I’m really excited about by the way, writing about some students who summited the second highest mountain on Earth. So that’s pretty cool.
I get to write both print and digital advertisements, all kinds of direct mail postcard type things. I just get access to writing a lot of different types of materials. And that’s been really fun. So I guess just having access to the different styles, being able to see what works, what doesn’t work, what’s reaching folks, what isn’t, that’s been really helpful for me. But what has been challenging is honestly, sometimes I’m very fast with my work. I’ll be done and I still have several hours left in my eight hour day and I’ll ask to do things and there just won’t be very many things to do.
That’s just kind of the flow of having a full time job anyway, is sometimes you’re going to be so busy that you have no idea how you’re going to finish everything and then other times you’re going to be really struggling to try to find things to do. For me, I’m kind of like my grandpa. My grandpa was always like this; he would never stop moving and I don’t really like to sit still. I don’t like having to wait on things. I’m very big on not wasting my time. So not to say that it’s a waste of time, bit for me, I’m kind of like, “Well, there’s other things that I could be doing right now. But right now I can’t because I kind of have to be here.” Which, part of it is that’s just kind of what you have to do.
But for me, it leaves an opportunity for me to seek something else, which is why I keep the freelance consultant idea in the back of my mind because I was like, there’s something about being able to have autonomy over my time that’s really important to me. There’s some days where I’m going to want to wake up and I’m going to want to go play my guitar for a few hours before I start my day. There’s maybe days where I’m going to want to sleep in a little. There’s maybe days where I’m going to want to wake up really early and work out. I don’t know. I’m kind of a fly by the seat of my pants creative, I guess. Very planned with other things, but when it comes to creativity, I don’t try to bog that down.
So, really kind of keeping that in the back of my mind that there’s the opportunity for me to be able to have choice and to be able to do that. So that’s been the trickiest part for me is just seeing that there’s so many things that I feel like I could be doing, but right now I’m here.
Rob: So, in addition to working full time as a writer, I know that you’ve taken on a part time job working in an outdoor store, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you said at one point that you did that so you could learn how to talk to customers better. Is that right? And what has having that kind of a position done for your copywriting?
Julia: So, yeah, that was actually two years ago. My first position that I had when I moved out here was just kind of working with a tech company, assisting them. Just to kind of pay rent at the time. And I’ve been thinking, if I could have my dream client, if I could write about something that I really loved, what would that be? For me, it was pretty easy. I love the mountains. I love the outdoors. I would love to write for an outdoor company. Now that’s a thing that a lot of people think it would be super cool to write for Yeti or Moose Jar, any of those companies, some of their copy is hilarious by the way.
Yeti has this one where they have a bucket where they call it an epic pale of fried chicken or a frog jail and stuff like that. Anyway, really fun stuff that they get to write. So, this was kind of in the back of my mind. How can I learn the skills that they would need for me to be successful in that? That’s kind of something that drives me in everything that I do is, okay. Where do I want to be next? What skills do I have? What skills am I missing and how can I find a way to learn those skills? I was looking at places like REI and Jack’s and just a few different outdoor companies. I came across Jack’s and they’re a local Colorado company, really, really cool company in the way that they’re really involved in the conservation and just very involved in the local community.
They just were very interesting to me. So I applied for a job as a camping sales associate, got invited in for an interview and kind of fell in love with the company right away. I just saw that, they have this way of treating their customers like friends, but then they also actually treat their employees like family, which is huge to me. That’s really, really huge to me. So I started working there and one of the things that I’ve really wanted to work on, I know Rob you mentioned me wanting to improve my ability to talk to customers, but I really wanted to thicken my skin. I’m a sensitive person and it can be really hard to get rejected when you’re a sensitive person. But the thing is, is when you’re pitching to new clients, you kind of have to be okay with being rejected a lot.
Actually being okay with being rejected more often than not. So the thing is, when you’re working in a retail store on the floor, you’re supposed to walk around and talk to customers, ask them if they have any questions, what they’re coming in for, if they need any help and gosh, probably three-fourths of the time, a lot of them will say, “Hey, we’re good. We’re fine.” Or they don’t even look at you when you try to say hi.
Kira: Like leave me alone.
Julia: Yeah, pretty much. I get it because I’ve been one of those customers too where I’m just like leave me alone, let me do my thing. But, now I totally get the poor retail associate who’s just trying to be helpful and do their job and say hi. So, if I can just say, folks out there, if you’re going into a store and someone is just trying to say hi, please at least just smile at them and say hi or something because you will probably make their day. But it really got me used to awkwardly going up to someone, nothing about trying to start a conversation that they probably don’t want to have with you and then being okay with the fact that they probably don’t want that.
So it got me really used to being okay with that. Then, it also got me the chance just to speak to people who are interested in that outdoor industry too, because these were folks coming in to our outdoor store. So I got to hear what kinds of things when they’re walking into a retail store that sells outdoor equipment, what kinds of things are they walking in with? Are they just coming to browse? Do they have a specific, maybe outdoor sport or experience that they want to learn more about? Are they already an expert and they just kind of want to up their game a little bit. So I got to see what are the kinds of things that our customers are thinking ground level.
Again, that was something that I was always keeping them in the back of my mind is that, I would love to write for these guys one day. I would love to be the person who helps bring them into the store. I would love to be the person who answers these customers questions. So it’s been really helpful for me to actually be able to gain more insight into, these are the folks who are actually walking into our stores. These are the folks who we would be trying to reach and it’s just been really helpful for me to gain that kind of perspective.
Kira: Yeah. I almost feel like, as copywriters, we should all work in the space where our audience hangs out, just to make eye contact and ask them questions. I mean, the best we can do oftentimes is just getting on a phone call, getting on Zoom and interviewing them to pick up as much as we can. But the fact that you could be in the same building as them feels like it’s really empowering and helpful, especially since that’s the niche that you’re focused on within the outdoor industry. I would like to hear about how you started your own business, because from what you’re sharing, you have this full time job at a university, you’re working part time at this store and learning. And I know also from you that you have other activities in the background, plus you started your business.
So what did that look like for you? How did you actually start it? What were those early days like as you started to land some clients?
Julia: I actually hadn’t really thought about creating a formal business for a while, until I first … I started gaining some clients. They were giving me a little bit bigger project. So I worked for this one individual who was a business coach and I worked with someone who was creating his own products and selling them. I started realizing, I was like, “I’m getting some cash here that I should probably look into figuring out what to do with this.” So, that’s just kind of me being the practical side of me and wanting to make sure that I’m doing things right.
So I looked into it and trying to figure out what does that look like? So I did some research and found out about the LLC process in the US. And then from there just kind of looked into how does someone actually take just these few clients and how do you grow a business off of that? I would see these folks online who, this is what they’re doing full time, on their own. They’re the boss. They are the ones directing things. How are they really doing that? That’s when I started asking a lot of folks questions. I actually reached out to a lot of different folks on LinkedIn and just asked them if I could interview them for five, ten minutes, sometimes longer if they let me, just to ask them how they did it and how they got to where they were.
That’s kind of how it picked up from there. I gained a lot of practical business advice and actually with that business coach that I worked with, we kind of ended up having a lot of conversations about my own business too from there. And things just kind of picked up from there. And I know one thing that I wanted to do that I hear a lot of people say that you don’t really need a website and really, that’s true, you don’t really need a website to be successful in this industry. But I know for me, just to be able to confidently share what I can do, I wanted to have that.
Because for me, that was putting what I can do in a way that looked legitimate and just public. And honestly, it was a big accomplishment for me. So I know I started like how a lot of people do, where you make your own website using one of the free programs that are out there and it was terrible. It was really bad. I think, Kira, you maybe saw the second or third rendition of it and that was still pretty bad. I’m pretty sure I have the domain redirected at this point.
Kira: I did not say that. Those are not my words.
Julia: Okay. Well, those are my words. It was bad. I don’t know. It was enough to get me out there and it was enough to get me writing jobs when I needed it, but from there, I was looking at my things and I was like, “Gosh, I just really want to stand out as a professional. I want to really feel like I am doing this in my own business. I want to feel like I’m owning this and feel like I’m legitimate.” I know a lot of folks struggle with the imposter complex, or imposter syndrome, and I definitely as a sensitive person struggled with that at times, struggled with feeling like am I going to be good enough? Are people going to see my work and actually believe that I can do what I say I can do?
That in itself has been a huge process in building up the business part. So that’s kind of where the copywriter club actually came into play for me is I found this group of folks who, when I first joined the group and started scrolling down the feed, I was just looking at this and was thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is a gold mine of information.” There is so much here, so many things that I can learn. I remember posting a few, probably strange questions at the time, so please don’t go back and search and try to find them. Probably one of the ones that I would look back now and be like oh my gosh, I can’t believe I asked that. But, really started digging into how are people doing this on a day to day basis? How are people practically doing this?
And I started connecting with a few of the folks in that group too, met with a few of them in real life, which was pretty awesome. Then from there, I remember seeing you guys mention on there, I saw about The Copywriter Accelerator and The Copywriter Think Tank. I remember looking at those and saying, “Wow.” Kira and Rob, I’m not getting paid to say this just so everyone knows, but I was like these guys are rock stars. These guys are amazing at what they’re doing. They’re very successful. I’m going to do whatever I can to be able to talk with them. So, whether it’s just applying and just being able to say hi to them, that was enough for me.
That’s what I did. I remember I applied for, I think it was the Think Tank at the time, that I saw the advertisement for, and again, there was a lot of doubts in my mind of, I have clients. I’m still writing full time. I kind of have my own business. I have a few clients that are paying me for things, but it’s nothing huge yet. But I really think that there’s a lot of things that I can learn from the folks that are going to be in here. If I could just be a fly on the wall and really just sit and listen and soak up the awesomeness of all these people, like that would be a dream for me, honestly. So I remember I applied for The Copywriter Think Tank and I don’t know what other people wrote when they applied, but I’m pretty sure mine was super weird.
Kira: That’s probably why I liked it.
Rob: Yeah, it might be why you’re in.
Julia: Maybe. I don’t know, maybe. Yeah, you guys keep me around for the entertainment. No, I’m totally kidding. But, yeah, I remember applying and when Kira replied to me and said, “Hey, we’re interested. I’d like to get to know you a little bit more and just kind of talk about where you’re at and see if this is a good fit,” I was ecstatic. I’m pretty sure I actually had tears in my eyes when I read that because I was so excited for it. And I guess, yeah, we had that conversation and just kind of shared with you guys my story and ended up being in The Think Tank, which was, gosh, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to be in there right now.
Rob: Cool. Okay. So I know in your business, you’re writing full time. I also know that you’re starting to explore expanding your freelance business. So you’ve been doing some things there. Will you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing to get clients? And maybe even talk a little bit about what you’re doing to try to write for Jack’s.
Julia: Mm-hmm….So a lot of what I’ve been doing right now is just practicing cold pitching, honestly. I work out of Asana, and I have this whole work space dedicated to pitches and dream companies. I just have the contact information for tons of companies on there that would be amazing to write for. Each week, I’m trying to set a goal to write to a certain number each week, just to practice cold pitching. It’s kind of like practicing walking up to those customers again and being okay with being rejected. But, just to get myself out there. I’m trying to participate in some online groups, talking more with people. And then just in general, I think the biggest change has been, really once I started identifying myself as a copywriter and being able to own that a little bit more, is when I realized that I started getting more business.
I tell everyone that I meet, well anyone who cares to listen, that I’m a copywriter and I explain to them what I do and how I do it and I’ve actually gotten a lot of referrals through friends, through past clients. They’ve been passing me on if they enjoy what I’ve done. And then just being in The Think Tank as well. A lot of the copywriters in there have been very generous and allowing me to work with some of their clients as well. Then again, I’m still going back to the Jack’s thing that we talked about before. I’m still there. It’s been two years since I started working as a sales associate there.
I started thinking, I’m getting all these projects, my time is getting smaller by the minute. I need to find a way to start making something happen with this, it’s time. So I started thinking about how could I actually pitch the idea of doing some writing work to my current employer. And that’s, again, that’s kind of an awkward situation for me because I’m just a sales associate right now. But during my time there, I’ve really developed some good relationships with management, some of the higher ups in the company and just … I’ve made sure along the way to let them know how much I really enjoy being there and just to get to know their philosophies for the company, where they see the company headed. So, more recently, I reached out to one of the higher ups in Jack’s and just said, “Hey. I’ve been here for a long time. I’d like to talk to you about maybe some ways I can help Jack’s grow. Do you have a few minutes? Can we have a phone call?”
So that took a few different tries to get ahold of him. He’s very, very busy. And I knew that I was reaching pretty high by doing this. But, eventually we were able to get on the phone and started talking to him about how … because he knew I was a writer full time. And I just started sharing about these things that I’d noticed that are opportunities that I think Jack’s could start taking advantage of. Just different copy things, different content strategy type things. It was a really good conversation. Originally, I was kind of going into that conversation with the idea that maybe I could do, just some freelance work for them to start and then transition off the sales floor and just do some of the writing freelance, but the gentleman that I talked to surprised me and said, “We would actually probably prefer just to hire you full time to do that.”
Which really surprised me. I was not expecting that. It made me think about where could this go? What could this look like? So then he said, “Why don’t you write something up, present it to me and we will see what we can do from there.” So, kind of a vague answer, but also a very exciting answer for me because it meant that he’s willing to at least hear me out and just to see what I have to offer. So, gosh, I think it took me a couple of weeks to really pull together this presentation and I know I showed you guys what it looked like and put a lot of work into just kind of explaining that I understand their story. I understand the customers and these are just some different things that I think that we could start taking advantage of that would be really beneficial to our customers.
So, that was two weeks ago. I sent in that presentation and I’ve been following up, again, ever since, again. He’s a very busy gentleman, but I’m really hoping that soon I’ll be able to hear back and we’ll be able to have a better conversation about that. But I’m really excited about the opportunity. I don’t really know where it’s going to lead, but if anything, it’s been a really good experience figuring out how to pitch, what could possibly be a dream client for me.
Kira: Yeah. Its suspenseful waiting to see if they want to work with you. And you’ve been very patient and kind of humble throughout this process. But what would you say is the takeaway lesson. Let’s say it doesn’t work out with Jack’s, they don’t bring you on as a consultant. What would you take away from this that you feel could be valuable to other copywriters who are pursuing their dream clients?
Julia: Well I would say, one is don’t be afraid to go for something that you think is out of reach. I never thought that I could be pitching pretty much the second in command at a pretty large company and that they would personally want to talk to me about this. So there’s really no company that’s out of reach. Also, for companies like that, to be able to do things like that, you really have to develop relationships and you have to really understand where that company is coming from and where they’re going.
I could reach out to Yeti today and say, “Hey. I think your copy is awesome because every time I read a new product that we put on our shelf, it makes me laugh.” But what value does that bring unless I really show them that I understand them and if I get to know where they’re coming from too. So I think just taking the time to play, for me, just being able to play the long game with that and being patient with that and biding my time with that, has been very valuable. At least research just to be able to understand kind of what that looks like.
So I would say yeah, just not being afraid to go for something that you think is too big for you is a big thing. But at the same time, learning patience. You’re project is important as it is to you. It is not the first thing that’s on their mind because they have a whole to-do list of things that they have to accomplish before they even think about you again. So, understand that it’s okay to keep reminding them. I’m reminding this guy once a week that, “Hey, I’m still here. Just so you know, I’m just going to keep following up until you tell me either to stop or we have a conversation about it.” But being okay with being persistent with that and realizing that as long as you’re not doing it every day, you’re not being pesky and it’s okay. It’s okay to do that.
Rob: I think that’s really good that you’re working hard to follow up and make things happen, which is impressive and I think that’s one place where a lot of writers, after getting a little bit of traction, they sort of back off of that and it’s really hard to keep your business growing and moving forward if you’re not willing to keep putting yourself out there and going after what you want.
Julia: Yeah. And also, just in the process not forgetting the other clients that I’ve been working with and not still building that side of my business too. Because yeah, pitching and working for Jack’s would be phenomenal, but if it doesn’t work out, what am I going to do? Not necessarily what’s my plan B, because this whole thing is a part of my plan. Writing is my whole plan because that’s what I love and that’s where I feel like I’m meant to be and what I’m meant to do.
So really building into other client relationships that I’ve had. For example, actually just this last week, a client that I haven’t worked with in over a year I think, reached back out to me and mentioned that they’re interested in some blog posts and jumped on a call with them and what started as blog posts became the possibility of having welcome sequences when folks purchase their products and running different surveys with their current customers just to understand what’s working well for them and how they would like to be reached out to. And just numerous things came out of that conversation. Just being open to the fact that clients that you haven’t worked with in a while, a lot of them still have copy needs. A lot of them still have strategy needs that they aren’t even thinking about.
So staying in touch with folks is huge too. Then just really putting myself out there. Again and TheThink Tank, these are folks who are very busy and very successful. So just doing my best to offer value whenever I can. Sometimes it’s … I’ve worked with a few folks in there to help write some email sequences, or just to get them started for them and they take it from there. Being open to opportunities like that and first and foremost, really just wanting to be helpful to people I think is the biggest thing. Never going in there wanting something for myself, but always just trying to be helpful to others has been huge.
Rob: So Julia, if you had a time machine and you could go back three years and talk to Julia of 2015, what advice would you give her about copywriting and building a business?
Julia: I would say the first thing is really try to reach out to folks who are already successful now. I think I did a lot of the lone wolf kind of thing and doing a lot of research on my own and trying to do it on my own and thinking I’m smart, I can do this if I work hard enough, I can do this. But the fact is, there’s a lot of people who are already out there doing really, really well and it’s silly to think that I should just have to go through all of that again on my own. Every person’s journey is different, but why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of their expertise and really just try to understand their journeys too. So I would say start reaching out to folks sooner.
Start asking questions sooner and start putting myself in situations where I’m uncomfortable sooner. There’s time when, even in The Think Tank, I’ve been worried that … I feel like I don’t have enough to bring to the table because I feel like I’m not quite as successful as the other folks in here. But, just the fact that I was putting myself in this situation where I felt uncomfortable, I know that’s where I’ve grown the most. So I would say, yeah, really being willing to get to know other folks, being okay with being uncomfortable. And then lastly, just owning the fact that I know what I can do and I know that I can do it well. Chances are, if there’s one person out there that enjoys my work, there’s got to be more people out there. So just, kind of being okay with that and resting in the fact that I know what I can do and if I’m patient, things are going to happen. And if I’m persistent, again, things are going to keep happening.
Kira: I love that. You are patient and persistent and humble too, because I think you need to be humble in order to really improve and kind of assess where you are and be really honest with yourself. Like hey, I’m not quite where I eventually want to be, but this is where I am today. So how can I maximize where I am right now? And what I really appreciate from working with you, because you and I have worked on a couple projects together already, is that you constantly want to improve and you’re asking for feedback.
And it’s not easy to ask for feedback and it’s not easy to get that type of criticism and critique from other copywriters, but you always ask for it. So, I guess my question here is just, how do you approach these relationships with other copywriters as a sub-contractor? How do you make the most out of it so that it’s a positive experience for you and for the copywriter you’re partnering with on that project?
Julia: Well I would say the first thing is just to, in everything that I’m doing, just to remain really grateful for that opportunity to work with them. Because again, if I’m working with them, chances are they’re doing things that I don’t know about, they’re doing things that are working really well and they have a lot to bring to the table. So just coming to it with a very open mind and understanding that, when I first step up to bat to write my first project for them, I’m going to try my hardest to knock it out of the park, but it might not. And it might not be the greatest first project I’ve ever done, but as long as I’m willing to explain to them up front, like, “Hey. I want to build in some time for revisions. I want to make sure that I get this right. I want to make sure that you and I have a good working relationship and that we’re working in a way that’s working well for you, but also that I’m delivering work that you think will work for your customer.”
I set that expectation up front in really trying to be clear that I really want to work hard to make sure that what I’m giving you is high quality work and work that works for you because I want to continue to work with you. Not only because I want to have a chance to write these projects, but also just the fact that I enjoy everyone as people. I enjoy working with them as people. So, yeah, I think going into it remembering that there are things that I’m not going to be getting right away and that’s okay.
And that I should be willing to accept what can sometimes be hard feedback to hear. And just be okay with that and learn from it and move forward. And yeah, I would say kind of that, just being open to learning in everything that I’m doing.
Rob: Julia, what’s next for your business? Where do you go from here?
Julia: That is the trick question there, Rob, because it kind of depends on what happens with the Jack’s situation. That’s kind of a big one that’s in mind right now. I have quite a few clients in line right now and that’s been really cool. So just kind of seeing where my timing is going with there. Oh my gosh, I have to mention this just because this is kind of a random side thing that I know I mentioned in one of our hot seats, but there’s a part of me that, again, I’m an adventurous person. And I’ve always wanted to be a scuba diving instructor. I know that’s crazy and really has nothing to do with writing. But that’s always just been really interesting to me.
On a recent dive trip, I got to know some local folks that went to Roatan and I actually got offered the opportunity to go do a dive internship there. So that’s kind of another option that’s in the back of my mind is I can go do a dive internship and still have time to do my writing, because I talked with them about the schedule and that would allow me a little bit more free time to continue to pursue writing and clients. So there’s just a lot of things in the works right now. A lot of it is kind of dependent on what happens with Jack’s but I’ve kind of given myself the deadline of mid this Summer to re-evaluate if things aren’t moving forward with that to see, “Okay. Now do I maybe want to go do this dive internship, which is totally out of left field, but it sounds awesome and would be really cool to do.” Or do I keep pursuing more of these freelance clients?
Do I move to a part time job doing something while doing these freelance clients? Will I get to a point where with these side projects, that will be enough for me? I don’t know. I’m kind of open to having all these possibilities, just kind of being out there. Yeah, I’m just kind of open right now.
Kira: All right, Julia. My last question for you is, what’s your favorite spot, your favorite dive spot?
Julia: Oh gosh. Oh, that’s hard. I probably have two that are my absolute favorite. They’re both in Roatan actually. One was, it’s this place called Mary’s … I’m trying to think of the actual name of it. We all call it Mary’s crack, because it’s like this crack in the rocks. It sounds weird. Anyway, Mary’s crack. Oh, it’s Mary’s Place. See, that’s just not as exciting.
Kira: That sounds better.
Julia: I know. Someone is going to listen to this and they’re going to think I’m nuts. But, that is just a really cool dive. There’s two cracks that go in between the reef that you kind of swim under and you feel like you’re in this really cool other worldly tunnel. It’s very alienesque diving. You just feel like you’re a visitor on a whole new planet and that’s really cool. So Mary’s Place, I’ll say is pretty cool. My other one is this little spot, it’s called the Blue Cave and it’s just this small little cave. It’s very inconspicuous and if you were swimming around and you went by it, you probably wouldn’t even think twice to look at it just because it looks like there’s just a little opening there, whatever.
But, when you go in there when the tide is low enough, you can actually surface up under the cave. I did that this last time in Roatan and just kind of hearing the waves in there, there’s this really cool echo and it just is a really cool experience to be able to surface up under like that. And just to see this place that no one else would be able to see this unless they were diving, just because of where it is. That place is just really cool and I just kind of have some cool memories with other folks there.
Rob: Sounds like we need to book a copywriter club dive trip there for all of the writers that want to go.
Kira: I would never come back.
Julia: Oh, please, let me know. I’ll be the first one to sign up for that. Please.
Rob: It’s on the calendar. We’re going to do it. So, Julia, if people want to connect with you, where can they go to find more about you?
Julia: Sure. Obviously I’m in the copywriter club Face Book group, so you can find me on there. You could follow me on Twitter or Instagram @JuliaRaeWriting. And then my website is momentumcopy.com. Please don’t judge me because it is still in the works, but that’s my website for now. So, yeah.
Rob: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Kira: Thank you Julia. We really appreciate it.
Julia: Thank you so much you guys.
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