TCC Podcast #98: Making day rates work with Tarzan Kay

For the 98th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob bring back one of the most popular guests from the first few weeks of 2017—Tarzan Kay. Tarzan’s been a great friend to us (and the club) so we were thrilled to have her back to talk about how her business has changed in the year since we last talked and how having a baby forced her to change how she worked. We talked about:
•  how her business has changed since we talked more than a year ago
•  why (and how) she has moved to day rates for most of her projects today
•  how day rates work and why clients like them
•  what day-rate clients can expect as far as deliverables go
•  what the day rate process and schedule looks like
•  the next step for clients after they book their first day
•  the place mindset plays with day rates and asking for more money
•  ideas for stepping out of your own thoughts to work on mindset
•  how you can identify your mindset around money
•  her approach to affiliate launches and what she does to succeed
•  the #1 lesson she’s learned from working with affiliates
•  how she found balance through a major life-change
•  her advice to copywriters who want to take their business to the next level

Tarzan has built a following among copywriters working on their mindsets and looking for new models for their business. If you’re like them, you’ll want to listen in on this discussion. Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript. And of course you can also find it at iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

Tarzan’s first episode
Denise Duffield Thomas
Laura Belgray
Julie Stoian
B-School
Copy School
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Outro: Gravity

Full Transcript:

The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at Airstory.co/club.

Kira:   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 Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.

Rob:   You’re invited to join the club for episode 98 as we chat with freelance copywriter, Tarzan Kay, for the second time about her business and what’s changed over the past year. What it takes to do a successful affiliate promotion, getting over money issues and selling day rate intensive packages.

Kira:   Welcome back Tarzan.

Rob:   Hey Tarzan.

Tarzan:   Thanks for having me back guys.

Rob:   We are so excited to have you back. In fact, like you’re one of the very rare few people that have come back to the show more than once. So thanks for doing that.

Tarzan:    It’s a real honor you know. I actually think you guys should do more episodes just the two of you, because I really like those ones. They’re some of my favorites.

Kira:   Awe, thank you for saying that.

Rob:   Now, we’ll let you go and Kira and I will talk ourselves.

Kira:   And this interview is over, we are done.

Rob:   Thanks, thanks for that. Hey let’s start out by you catching us up on what’s been going on in your business over the last year. Because, the last time we talked, and people can go back to that episode 9, 89 episodes ago, and check out what you said then. What’s been going on for you over the past year?

Tarzan:    Well, a lot has changed. So in August, I was surprised to learn that I was pregnant. Total surprise baby, which I wasn’t planning for at all, and it threw a major monkey wrench into my plans, in the best way though. So, I had to adapt, and figure out how I was going to take time off and really change, kind of restructure a little bit. For one thing, I used way more hours with my VA and I’ve scaled that up since learning that I was pregnant.

In January, and February since then, I’ve pretty much transitioned to day rate work almost exclusively. I have two clients who I just love the heck out of, so much, and I still do project based work for them. Everyone else, any new leads that’s coming in, everyone is exclusively day rate work. Part of that was just because toward January and February, so the baby was due at the beginning of March, and I was kind of like, the baby could come early, I don’t want to be booking a big project, that’s going to require extensive research and lots of revisions and blah, blah, blah. So, I need to do something that could be flexible and also be really lucrative.

Another crazy thing that happened, so in the meantime, we bought a house and sold our old house. Around some time mid-January, the deal went a little bit haywire and it ended up costing us an extra $25,000.00 to make all these sales go through. It totally wiped out my maternity savings fund.

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Starting in January, I have to start from zero now, and figure out how I’m going to be able to take time off. So, I did a little promo on my day rate, I did a ‘Buy one, get one half off’. I don’t know, I suddenly got really confident about selling this offer and I started… I mean I’ve been doing day rate work for about a year, but it really clicked, like the real value of it and I was just going ‘Gangbusters’ with my sales calls. I just decided well, you know, that’s what I decided to focus on. I like that kind of work, so I was able to completely replenish my fund and take some time off.  Which I am now, even though we are recording this podcast, I sort of semi-off.

Kira:   Okay, alright. So there’s a lot in there. Congratulations on having a baby!

Tarzan:   Thank you.

Kira:   I feel like this is a reason why I want to have another baby, at some point, because it would force me to develop systems and raise rates and do all these smart business changes that..kind of put some pressure on.

Tarzan:   I love when someone I follow gets pregnant. And I’m like, ‘this is so great, I can’t wait to see how she’s going to do it’.

Kira:   Or, if she’ll fall apart.

Tarzan:   It or both. Both are inevitable.

Kira:   Let’s talk about the day rate. I know we’ve had conversations about it in our Think Tank Group, but this is new to a lot of copywriters. So, can you explain, what it is exactly, why it’s important, and where you started with it a year ago?

Tarzan:   The thing is, with the type of leads that I get, so many of them want what they want, and they want it right now. When I was doing more project based work, it was like I have this really long wait list, and I’m turning away so many people and I didn’t like that feeling. I also did not like the idea of hiring a junior copywriter. I’m not into the mentorship role as far as teaching copywriting. I didn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s work. So, I would end up turning people away and referring them, which didn’t feel good.

This day rate work is the solution, because people can get on my calendar a lot faster and they can get the results that they need a lot sooner. The thing is with these people that I’m working with, a lot of them are either optimizing an existing sales funnel, they’re all selling courses by the way, they’re mostly women in the personal development space, selling online courses. So some of them are coming up with their first course, and some of them are optimizing an existing sales funnel.

In the case of them doing their first course, I don’t really feel that good about selling someone a huge package, if they haven’t really validated their offer. Maybe they have a small audience, that’s a big issue with a lot of people; even if they have a great course, they don’t have any reach yet, so it almost doesn’t matter how great their sales funnel is. It’s just like they are going to cap out at like $10,000.00.

The day rate work solves a lot of different issues.

Rob:   Let’s talk about how this works then. Because you’ve got clients you work with on larger projects, how do you balance day rate clients against some of your larger clients, that you’re doing work for on a regular basis and how do you make sure that someone feels like they are getting the value? When a new customer comes how much do you accomplish? Let’s go really deep into this and talk about all of the things.

Tarzan:   If I’m working on a project, I try not to have day rate clients over lapping. So, let’s say, I am writing a sales page for one of my clients who’s not doing a day rate thing. I would probably book two weeks out of my schedule for that, and I wouldn’t do any day rate people in the meantime. It’s kind of an either-or situation. Sometimes I’m doing both. Here’s the thing about day rates. I get asked about it a lot and they want to have it all figured out before they ever make the offer. And you will never have it all figured out before you make the offer in terms of: how to sell it, how much you can do, and what’s really going to delight the client, and what is going to leave them feeling like this wasn’t worth it. All of that stuff, I’ve just learned as I go. I know other copywriters that do day rate work and I think they will also say, every project is different; and the way every copywriter does it is different.

If you’re going to do day rate work, I recommend putting the offer out there. Like, whatever it is. I started with a $1,000.00 a day. I worked with a couple clients at a 1,000 and I slowly raised it and raised and started to understand the value. And also became better able to estimate what I can do. That’s really important. So if it feels scary to throw out a day rate of a few thousand dollars, well you can put out day rate that feels comfortable for you that you absolutely know you can deliver that value. Then just see how it goes.

Initially when I first started doing this kind of work, that one day would often bleed into the next day. Or I would end up answering a lot of emails and doing a lot of strategy on the side, just because I wasn’t able to keep it in the container of one day. So that really comes with practice, then learning what you’re able to do and not over-promising. I really try and under-promise so that, let’s say someone need an email sequence and I’ll say, ‘Okay, great, let’s book a day, we’re going to spend … The days 6 hours by the way, but it usually stretches to 8 because I eat lunch and take breaks and all that. Again, that’s about not over-promising.

So it’s a 6 hour day, we start by talking about the program and doing some strategy and outlining the promo sequence. Let’s say, it’s a 5 day card open time, there’s going to be a total of 10 emails and this exactly what’s going to go in each email. I make sure that they have a good strategy and that they know exactly what is the purpose of each email, why are you sending an email, what time, what’s in it? That kind of thing. It’s just a loose outline, and of course we’ll talk about things like formatting and making your emails readable and pleasant. Then I’ll do maybe 3 emails, if it’s a full day.

That’s what I’m coming to the client and saying, look you going to need an email sequence, we’re going to do this strategy and I’m going to write some of them, I’ll do the really important ones, like the cart open and cart closed. It’s really helpful if they have really good drafts. Sometimes I’ll provide them with a template, if I’m doing a day rate on a sales page, I give them a template. Or maybe they already have a good sales page, and then I can do a lot more. When I’m selling it on the call, I make sure that they know, this is collaborative, this isn’t a ‘done for you’ thing. If you want ‘done for you’ option, it has to be more of a project.

Because of where my clients are in their businesses, ‘done with you’ actually makes more sense, and is a lot more cost effective. Then they are learning at the same time. Even some of my biggest clients they still write a lot of their own emails, they’re still participating in what’s going on in the sales page and what the messaging strategy is. It wouldn’t be wise to outsource all of your copy right from the beginning, no matter how bad you want to. That’s part of the value of the day rate too, their learning so that they can participate in the process.

Kira:   I’ve tested it maybe once, since we had talked about it originally. What I really like about putting the offer out there is the way that you present it. Its like, ‘Hey, this is the first time I’m offering this. This may be a really great opportunity for you, or you could by a package for $10,000.00.’  It’s also a good way to sell the big package, because some clients will hear that and say, ‘oh, no, no, no, no. I want everything. I don’t just want a day of your time.’  I want you to write the entire launch. So I feel like it’s an easier way to sell the bigger packages if you have that option out there.

Tarzan:   That’s huge, and it actually works both ways. If you said something like that, the client may also look at the day rate as an inexpensive option. So even if it’s $3,000.00 for a day, well if you compare that to giving me 10. Well that’s quite a big savings and potentially I could pitch it in such a way that the outcome is similar.

Kira:   Right, yeah. So can you talk more about during that day, what is your communication with client look like? How many phone calls? Or how often are you on doing chatting with them?

Tarzan:   Again it varies. Currently, with my scheduling software, Acuity, it actually has in some of the reminder emails, there’s a schedule of how the day’s going to go. I just realized recently that I have to remove that, because it’s often different, or I need to revise it. Because what it says in that email, is we start the day with a call which can be an hour. After a full hour of talking, we both need a break for sure. Usually at that time, I will get off the phone and I will be writing for a couple of hours, we’ll have a call in the middle of the afternoon. At that point I’ll have shared a google doc with them that they could look over. So we get on the phone again and we discuss it, and then I have maybe an hour or two at the end of the day to finish up.

Sometimes I’ll say at the afternoon call, ‘look, we can have a call at the end of the day or I can just use all of our time to get the most amount of writing done possible.’ But I would recommend when you’re starting out to have a call at the end of the day because, initially I found that people would be like, ‘Are we done?’, ‘Are you doing more?’, they need that closure. Now, I’m able to give them that closure without doing the call, but for the most part, you should do a call at the end of the day.

That’s like the standard of how the day goes. Often times, I have one client that I did just recently and it was way more; she needed a lot more launch strategy, cause she had a program that was converting okay, but her strategy was a little bit broken and required too much manual lifting on her part. Also, because I have this little baby, I wasn’t sure if I could do a full day session. So I split it up into two half day sessions and we spent a full 3 hours on the phone, only on strategy and mapping things out. Then the following week, I did the other half day and she wasn’t even there at all. We didn’t even talk. I just was writing. And that’s it.

Kira:   And you mentioned that you charged $1,000.00 for the day initially, can you talk about how that price has changed over the year?

Tarzan:   So, I started in 2016 in September offering this $1,000.00 a day rate. In early 2017, early last year, it started to become a little bit more popular. I guess how was able to sell it better. I was getting more clients and feeling more confident at this $1,000.00 day rate. Quite quickly, I raised it to $1,500.00. By the end of last summer I had already put it up to $2,500.00. There was a lot of demand, and I felt I could deliver the value so I just raised it, and I’ve kept it there since then.

I’m just sort of getting ready to go back to work and I’m doing 1 day and a half day each week. I have really limited time and I have excellent lead gen. So, I decided to raise it to $3,000.00. I just sent an email to my wait list and to some of my previous day rate clients to say, ‘Hey you have until ‘x-date’ to book it at the old rate, and then it’s going up to $3,000.00.’  I haven’t actually sold it at $3,000.00 and it feels a little uncomfortable but it’s kind of in the discomfort sweet spot of, woo, that’s like ahhh – can I do it? I think I can. That’s where I am right now, it’s going up to $3,000.00.  So, that’s where I am right now. So, it’s going up to $3,000 but, I feel like I should say I haven’t actually sold one at $3,000 yet, but I can sell it $2,500 all day long.

Rob:   So, talk a little bit about how your customers have reacted to this. Once they go through a day with you, do they want to buy more days if they want to book a project? It sounds like with the wait list, they’re not being turned away from this. It’s been a good thing for you.

Tarzan:   Yeah. Oh, it’s been a really great thing. So far, I haven’t really gotten a hang.  I’m just right now getting the hang of selling multiple days because up until now, it’s been a one off. We’ll do this one day, and then sometimes at the end of the day, we’ll see where we’re at. The thing is, I don’t want them to book a day and then realize like, ‘Whoops! I actually needed three.’ So, I’ve always been really cautious about what I promise and what I tell them I can do in a day. Up until now, it hasn’t included saying, ‘By the way, you should do three,’ because to me, it feels a little bit scary to do three days for $9,000. I’m still working through that as well, even if I feel I can deliver the value.

Rob:   Has it changed the way that you price your other projects?

Tarzan:   Yeah. Actually, that’s part of the reason why I’m not doing project-based work anymore. I have these two clients that I love, but the day rate work is so lucrative that the project-based work, I can’t keep up. I end up earning less, and I also for big a project … I don’t know. Maybe it might be that I’m insecure about my skill level or something, but I’m not at the place where I feel comfortable charging $20,000 to write a launch funnel. The thing is, at the same time … I mean, that doesn’t feel crazy to me, but it feels like a lot. So at the same time, I could. If I’m going to do a $20,000 launch funnel, write all the copy, it’s probably going to take me a month, but I could make the same amount on a day rate with a couple of day rate clients, and I would be working less. So, that’s another reason why I’ve put a huge focus on a day rate work. It’s just as more lucrative and it makes more sense to me.

Kira:   Right.

Rob:   That makes a lot of sense.

Kira:   Then, it creates more demand for the big launch packages because you’re offering less of them. So, more people are likely to pay the $20,000 for it.

Tarzan:   That’s true too, but I’m also not sure I really want to do that. It’s so much work and it feels like there’s way more on the line. If someone’s going to give me $20,000, and I feel responsible for their success of their launch, even though they could have some epic mess up behind the scenes and get no show-ups to their webinar and it crashes the whole launch. I’m still going to feel like it’s my fault and they paid me $20,000 and didn’t see ROI. So, it’s scary for me and there’s more variables.

I don’t know. I recognized that it’s a mindset issue, and the day rate is where I’m most comfortable. I know, people are going to get the value and it’s less of a risk to them like $3,000. With the type of client I work with, it’s an investment, but it’s not a ton of money. You’re not going to go cry if it’s not perfect.

Kira:  This makes so much sense for where you are in your business. I’m sure, other copywriters who have that demand and have a wait list, do you think it makes sense to start with an offer like this if you’re a relatively new copywriter. Let’s say, you’re in your first year?

Tarzan:   Well, I think it can work. Probably in ideal scenario, you have really good lead gen. Of course, it’s always easier to sell anything when you have good lead gen because you’re not showing up to a call like desperate to make the sale and so nervous. If they say no, ‘Oh my God, where is my next lead going to come from?’ So, it’s easier to sell anything when you’re more advanced in your practice. When I started this offer, I wasn’t that experienced. I was eight or nine months into my business. Of course, you can do it in your first year. It’s all about confidence and your belief in your own ability to deliver.

Kira:   You mentioned mindset a couple of times. How do you work through your money mindset, especially as you went from $1,000 to now putting an offer out there for $3,000 a day? What do you have to do in your own business and internally to continue to grow?

Tarzan:   Well, I think it comes down to your own self-care and spiritual practices. Those are really important, and your willingness to challenge yourself and beyond comfortable because working on money stuff is often very uncomfortable. So, you have to be willing to look at that and be told no. Actually, even as I’m saying that I don’t get told no very often, but I take courses. I just promoted this program Money Bootcamp with Denise Duffield-Thomas, and that’s all about working through your money stuff and really examining where you may be sabotaging yourself and looking at your old stories around money like what your parents taught you, all these sort of memes that are running in your head all the time.

I’m actively working on that all the time, and not like a ton. It’s not like I’m listening to videos and meditating on it every day. I’m not at all, but it’s always running in the background like what am I doing to improve myself when I’m pricing something, or pitching a client. I have a dialogue going on all the time. Its like ‘What is motivating this decision?’ I realized the other day how the people who I know who are really successful, I measure my rates against them. One of my big things is I can’t charge more for a day than Laura Belgray because I think she’s so great, and I’ve done some time-based work with her. She’s so much more experienced than me. That’s something that’s running in the background like, ‘Don’t get too close to her rate because you’re not there yet.’

Kira:   What is she charging these days?

Tarzan:   She just raised her rates to $5,200, but two years ago when I worked with her, I just did like a one hour with her, but her rate back then was $3,500. So even me, I’m approaching that rate that she was two years ago, and it brings up all this stuff for me. Some of the people I follow online, were really doing successful launches and doing all kinds of things. Another one of my big things is I’m not as smart as that person. Subconsciously, I’m not saying like, ‘I can’t do what this person is doing because I’m not that smart,’ but it’s running in the background.

So, taking the time to look at what’s motivating your decisions around pricing and money is really important because you come up with stuff like that. Those are big aha for me a couple days ago. I was like, ‘Oh wow! I actually have this belief that I’m not smart enough,’ which I didn’t think I did, but I do look at one of my Facebook friends, Julie Stoian, she’s big in ClickFunnels in the Russell Brunson world. She does the most epic, awesome, Facebook posts, and every time I read one, this thought is echoing in the background like, ‘I can’t be as successful as her, because I’m not as smart and I’m not as clever.’

So, we all have those. They’re running somewhere and they need to be dealt with because they don’t go away. It’s this old friend that pops up at every level. It’s like, ‘Oh, this old friend again. Now, I thought I wasn’t as smart as this person, and then I got to their level of success, but now I’ve decided I’m not as smart as this person, so I can’t get to their level of success.’ They come back again and again, and you have to know what those triggers are so that you can work around them.

Rob:   So, I want to come back to this idea of mind setting just a second, but I have one last question about day rates before we leave that. Is there a business, or a type of project, or copywriters who should not consider day rate, or do you think it could work for anybody?

Tarzan:   Well, I only know from my own experience. So the only things I’ve done on day rate, I do strategy, emails, sales pages, and very rarely but on occasion, I do work on people’s websites. So, I know it works for all of those things. Once they’re at the level of seven figures, I don’t think they really want that quick and inexpensive option. If you’re planning your launches, say six months in advance, and you’re launching a new program and you have a history of seven-figure launches, you should not be booking me for a day rate. We need to do a proper project and I have to do customer interviews and really spend time on this thing and do it justice because you wouldn’t be serving the success of your program to do this, done with you kind of option.

Also, if they’re really super busy and they’re not going to be able to help you and be there during the day, then that’s another red flag. Another thing to know is all of my clients, they are personal brands. I don’t know how this would work if it was a company, if I were representing some corporation. I can’t speak to that but I could definitely see how it might be a bit of a red flag.

Rob:   All right. So, let’s jump back to mindset. When we talked to you in episode nine, we talked a little bit about money and some of the crazy things that we think about money. You’re going even deeper. It’s not just about money. It’s all of these limiting beliefs that we have, but my question is, because all of these things are going on inside our head, I think Perry Marshall calls it head trash. They impact the way we think and oftentimes, it’s really hard to see that’s even there. So, how do we step out of our own brains to get an outsider perspective and say, ‘Oh yeah. I am dealing with a problem with my own belief and myself, or with money, or with my thinking about my capabilities as a speaker or on onstage.’ I don’t look as good as somebody else. How do you even step away to see all of that stuff?

Tarzan:   Well, I mean we’re doing it right now by having this conversation. I think a lot of us just get so busy in our lives and I definitely feel that now with two kids and a young baby. It’s easy to just show up to work and do the work, and come home and not think about it, but it has to be part of your daily routine built into your life that you invest and working with coaches, and taking courses, and reading books on your money mindset. I mean, we all have tools.

For some people, they use meditation. I’m not going to recommend that because I know I have been a really lazy meditator in the last couple of years, but for some people, that really works and that’s definitely on my to do list. It’s something I should be doing and is the ultimate in stepping outside of your daily experience and being able to look at what’s going on there. We all have our own tools, and I think a lot of us know what we should be doing, but we’re probably not doing it. So, like meditation.

I do other things. Right now, I mentioned this program Money Bootcamp. I bought it years ago. There’s a live round going on right now. So, I’m working through that program again because I know new stuff has come up, and I should probably examine my old stories and revisit where I may be newly sabotaging myself now. Even just like putting some dedicated time aside to look at these things, the same way you put aside time to go to the gym. You have to do your spiritual gym work as well.

Kira:   Before we started recording, we were talking about your pool. I think it’s inspiring for copywriters to hear from successful copywriters like yourself that you can buy a house with a pool and you can do it as a copywriter. So, beyond the fact that I just want to talk about your pool and when are you going to get a slide, and all of that. My question here is, what do you think your money personality is? We were talking about a little bit earlier, but do we all have different money personalities? Do we need to think about that and can we change our money personality, or is it who we are?

Tarzan:   Or what do you want to? So, this is not a topic I’m very well-versed in. I just took a quiz like last year at some point and it was a really interesting quiz, and the result of my money personality was the celebrity. That totally resonates with me. I want to be on stage. I want the applause. I want people to be telling me like I’m so great, and Tarzan’s so awesome. If I could afford a Phantom Rolls-Royce, I would probably drive one, or I would have someone drive me around with mine actually.

I know that, that’s my style and I do need to sometimes question. Is this something I really want, or I might just trying to look good, and sound good, and have more people pat me on the back? I won’t speak anymore to that because I haven’t done a lot of research, but I do think definitely people have a money personality. My partner, he’s a real caregiver, so he spends money on things that are going to help the family. Yesterday, we were shopping for a fence for our backyard. I’m totally scared one of my young kids is going to run into the pool.

So, we’re shopping for a fence and he wants to build the fence and I was like, ‘Well, that means I have to take a day off work, so that’s going to cost us $3,000,’ which is basically $4,000 Canadian. So I’m like, ‘Why wouldn’t we just pay someone to build the fence for us?’ For him, he’s like, ‘No. Building the fence, it’s an experience. I want to give the kid a hammer, and we’re going to build it together.’ He does a lot in our house, a lot of work because he wants to put his own energy into it. So, he doesn’t want to spend money to just get out of a job because his personality is the caregiver. Does that make sense?

Kira:   Interesting. Yeah, I know.  It makes complete sense. My husband’s the same way.

Rob:   I’m sitting here trying to figure out what is my money personality because-

Kira:   You need to take the quiz.

Rob:   Probably, I think I’m a money hoarder. I really hate spending money, which maybe means that I’m cheap, but I don’t know. It’s making me reexamine like, ‘Okay, what’s the stuff that’s in my head around money? How do I need to rethink it? Do I need to have the mantra that money flows easily to me, those type of things in order to be able to overcome that? Do I just deal with it and say, ‘Okay, I’m cheap and I’m always going to be that way,’ right?

Tarzan:   I doubt that you’re cheap and you’re always going to be that way, but I know like what some of the people I follow would probably point to potentially I believe that there’s not enough, and that you have to save and hoard because things could fall apart at any time. A lot of people that have that tendency to hold their money and not spend freely, maybe came from a family who didn’t have enough, so you are trying to get more, and get more, and accumulate it because you never want your kids to be in a position where there’s not enough money and they have to wear tattered clothes to school or something.

Kira:   This is why Rob, we’re a perfect partnership because I’m a spender.

Rob:   Right.

Kira:   So, we balance each other out. This is good. We couldn’t both be spenders.

Rob:   Or one of us dominates the other and, ‘Oh wait, where do all the money go?’ Who knows?

Tarzan:   I hear that because I am a spender too, and while I may have learned to earn money, learning how to keep it and grow it is totally new for me, and it’s the frontier that I’m now working on.  Totally new for me, and is the frontier that I’m now working on.

Kira:   Yeah, we’ll bring you back for round three when you’ve conquered that. So, let’s talk about, you run a successful affiliate, launches and promotions. So there’s a lot we can ask you about that, but to start, what have you learned about launching, period, like the biggest lesson, from working on these affiliate launches?

Tarzan:     Well, the biggest lesson? Well the reason that I wanted to talk about affiliate launches is because for people who are working in that space or copywriters who want to work in that space, it is a really great way to practice. I mean, whether you’re doing an affiliate launch for someone else or for your own product, it’s a lot of work, and to then finish the launch and immediately have to start delivering on a course, it’s a lot and it can be high stress, particularly if you’re launching something for the first time. So, I think an affiliate launch is a really awesome training ground, and I really recommend that people do that. And also when you start doing affiliate launches, you realize you start making money from your email list, so it makes the motivation to actually grow your email list a lot stronger. Now every time I run an email launch, I’m like, ‘Why don’t I do more list building?’ Because I probably could have done double the sales if I had double the list. That was a big takeaway for me and I recommend that people try that, try promoting something if they have even a small list, even a few hundred people, it feels wonderful. The first time you make an affiliate sale and you get a commission on something that you don’t have to deliver on is the coolest feeling and you will want more of it for sure.

Rob:   Yeah, so can we get specific on a couple of launches that you’ve done? I know you did one for B-School a year ago. I don’t know that you necessarily won the top prize but you did really well as a first timer, right? Tell us some of the specific things you did.

Tarzan:   Yeah, okay, so, B-School was my first affiliate launch and I did that last year and again this year. In retrospect, I didn’t realize that it was a really brave thing for me to be doing, because there is a lot of competition for the sale, and the competition is really big names who have huge email lists and who are tough to compete with, because they’re really awesome. So I don’t know that I would have chosen that if I could have a redo, but it ended up being a really good thing, because I put my all into that launch knowing that it would be a total waste of time if I didn’t fully show up to it. So the first thing I did, and this is something that a lot of people don’t do with affiliate launches is I had a dedicated sales page. And I’ve only done this for B-School, I’ve promoted a few other things and I haven’t done the dedicated sales page, and it really makes a difference. And B-School, if you don’t do a dedicated sales page, maybe you’ll get one or two sales, but you have to because that’s, the competition is so high.

So on this sales page, it’s not a sales page for the course, it’s a sales page for why you should sign up to this course through me. You kind of presume that they’re already sold, because they know they’re going to buy it and now they’re bonus shopping. So I’ll tell them what my story is, why I think they should sign up through me, here are my bonuses, and then make the case for why they should choose my bonus over someone else’s bonus. So that is a really important piece of it. This year, even though it did pretty okay last year, I redid that sales page, redesigned it, and I didn’t reuse the sales page, I just felt like I wanted something stronger and more beautiful. So I did, and it worked better.

So I did that, and then I did an email sequence just the same as I would have if it were my own launch. So Marie Forleo does a PLF-style launch with a webinar, so there’s this three-video series and there’s a webinar. So I wrote emails for all of that content, also hosted my own webinar, this was something that I tried out this year. The webinar was technically a total disaster so I can’t speak to how effective it was, but I’m definitely going to do it again next year. So I hosted my own webinar and talked to people about, again, sharing my own story of B-School and what my bonuses are, why they should sign up through me. And then during the launch period, the cart open time, I sent emails every day and several emails a day toward the end. So I treated it like it was my own launch, and I did all the things. Like, I’ve done my own launches and not even sent that many emails or done a webinar or all that. So I almost treated it more seriously, because you have to, in that sale, again, is really competitive, so you just show up all the way or don’t bother.

But for other affiliate promos, we both had promoted 10X Freelance Copywriter last year. For that, I just sent out five emails, I think. It was a five day cart open time so I sent out five or six emails and then I also did another promoted money boot camp recently, and I had intended to go all the way because I know I could have really crushed it if I had had that dedicated sales page and done all the things, but I was also, I actually would rather just hang out with this newborn baby than write a sales page. So I didn’t go all the way, but I mean, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it, like any launch. I think you have to offer bonuses for sure, because no one’s going to take the time, or very few people will take the time to sign up through your link unless there’s some incentive for them. So no matter what, always bonuses and for B-School, because it’s so competitive, I offer one-on-one time with me. And depending on the commission, on program, I’m happy to offer time but if the commission is any less than a thousand dollars, really, I will try and focus on stuff I can deliver that doesn’t require time for me. Maybe extra VA time.

I am weary of offering a free program when they sign up for another program. Even though I know it works, but I feel like morally I can’t get behind it because when people don’t pay for a course, they’re a lot less likely to do it, and for a course like B-School, which is already a big eight-week program and is a lot for most of the people that take it, piling another course on top of it is not only not helpful, but can sometimes even be detrimental.

So I try not to do that, but by the same token, I know it works, so this year with B-School, one of my bonuses was that they could choose one of three programs and it’s not released until B-School’s over and I threw it in there because I know people want it, but the most of my bonuses like the one on one time, and like a website audit, that’s what they really need so you have to strike a balance between the bonuses that people need and what’s actually going to be tempting and cause them to actually sign up through you.

Kira:   It is funny how you take affiliate launches almost more seriously than your own launches. I feel like when we promoted the Copyhackers 10X Freelance Copywriter, we went all in, way more than we do with our own launches, and gave away just about everything. Take us to the event, one-on-one sessions, lunches, wine-and-dine, we did all of it.

Tarzan:  I was so blown away. I was watching the promotion and I was like, ‘I don’t know how they are doing this. This is amazing.’ And actually, to be honest, sometime mid-week, I unsubscribed because I was like, ‘I can’t watch this, I really can’t, this is too much for me.’ And that’s the hard part of doing an affiliate launch, so this last launch I did, they had a private Facebook group for the promotional, the JV partners, and every single day they would post stats, like a leaderboard, of who’s sent the most leads, and then thankfully they didn’t do it during the cart open time, it was only when they were getting leads. And I was like, ‘I am dying right now, this is so hard to watch, like, what’s happening with the competition, exactly who’s doing what.’ I intentionally tuned it out, especially, I mean, I loved that promo that you guy did. I thought that the emails were so well written. I even saved some of them so I could make templates out of them. It was such a great promotion, I really noticed how much work and love you guys put into that. And, I think it was just you guys and me that were promoting that course.

But with B-School, there’s so many more JVs and they are established businesses with teams of seven or eight people and their Instagram game is ridiculous, and they’ve got so many arms promoting the program and anyone who’s promoting it that’s in my inbox, I’m just like, unsubscribe, delete, I can’t look at this, because it’s just too hard.

Kira:   I think that’s probably a good philosophy in general for just dealing with competition at times in business. So Tarzan, I want to ask you one more question because I know we’re almost out of time, but because you’re in the middle of it, your baby is two months old, what would you say to another parents who’s about to have a baby or thinking about having one? Like, what is your best piece of advice around dealing with maternity or paternity leave, lesson learned from your current experience?

Tarzan:   So I think much the same as I would say about doing a day-rate. It’s like, if I had planned this child, this child would never have come into the world, because it was too scary to think about putting my business aside for any period of time and I felt like, ‘I’m going to lose the momentum.’ It was just way too scary. So I don’t know that I would’ve come up with the courage to actually do it, but because of the way it turned out, we had this beautiful surprise baby, and I just figured it out. So that’s the first thing, like, our first child was planned, and we were much, like, financially we weren’t doing well at all, our relationship was very new, I don’t know how we found the courage back then and then now it seemed more impossible. So my first bit of advice would be just if you want to have another child, you have to just go for it and trust you’re going to figure it out.

But in terms of how we actually did plan, I think day-rate, being able to do day-rate work is really great, or having some small clean packages, maybe a product has service that you can do, if you can step away from your baby. Like, I’m fortunate that my husband is full-time stay at home dad. And I know not everyone is that lucky. But if you have something that you can step away for a product that can sell in the background for you, and you can just crank it out in an hour or two and make some good bank, that would be a really great option. Also, so that’s for me this day-rate work has been really great.

And the affiliate promo as well. So any time you’re promoting an affiliate program that has a good commission, you’re creating passive revenue, because with affiliate programs you get paid as the course creator gets paid, so usually after the promotion, you get a lump sum payment from all the students who paid in full, but most people are on a payment plan, therefore, like with B-School, lump sum check for the people who paid in full and then for the next twelve months, I have some recurring income coming in. So any way that you can generate that recurring income is really helpful. And that might be some templates that you’re selling or whatever. There are so many different ways to do it but that’s what worked for me.

Rob:   That’s good advice. So Tarzan, I have one last question for you. You’re in our group. You see the kinds of questions that come up there, the kinds of people asking for help. What general advice do you have for copywriters who are starting out or just starting to get their feet underneath them in their business that will just help them take their business to the next level much like you’ve done over the past year?

Tarzan:   I would really like to see more copywriters focusing on being an awesome service provider. I think, I see a lot of people wanting to take more courses, and that’s really great, and that’s to me, that’s a little bit of a struggle and sore spot for me, I always think I should be learning more about copywriting. So that’s really important, I’m not saying it’s not, but it’s not what makes you money when you’re starting out. Like, you have to get the money in the door, and it’s also a way of procrastinating, like, ‘I can’t put my offer out there until I’ve taken five billion more courses on how to do copywriting.’ You’re really going to learn the most when you’re actually on the job doing work for people, so I would like them to focus on getting great at sales and providing an A-list service. Like, really showing up for the client and adding those sort of special touches that make people want to, make them want to rave about you to their friends and family and colleagues.

Kira:   That’s incredible advice to end this conversation on. So thank you, Tarzan, for taking time, time again to hang out with us and share all your insights and be so open about everything in your business and life.

Tarzan:   It’s a total pleasure.

Rob:   Yeah, we’ll have to have you back, we’ll have to have you back in another 89 episode.

Tarzan:     Round three, yeah, for sure. We’ll do 2019. I can’t wait.

 

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