- Why failure is not the end
- Starting fresh after your business collapses
- Working with major brands just by asking
- What you need to have in place before emailing strangers
- How to face rejection as a freelancer
- How to craft a cold email
- How many times to follow up if no one replies
- Brian and Colleen's original (and embarrassing) AIM usernames
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[00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast. I am your host Brian Hood. And if this is your first time tuning in to the six figure creative podcast, first of all, thank you for listening to the show, giving us a chance. This is a show where the main goal is to find ways to help you earn more money as a creative.
That's it in a nutshell, and specifically trying to do it in ways that doesn't make you feel like you're selling your soul or selling out, doing it in ethical ways. that make you feel better at the end of the night. Right? Hope you sleep at night.
If you're a returning listener. Thank you so much for coming back to this podcast. It really means a lot. and just to update you on where I'm at right now, I will have just recently flown over to Southeast Asia.
When this episode airs, it has been a 26 hour flight from Nashville. Up to New York over to Tokyo, and then down to Bangkok where we'll spend a few days. Me and my wife, doing some work, exploring the city, love Bangkok, and then flying down to Bali. one way we don't have a return flight.
Don't wanna, we're coming home. We're doing a lot of these interviews right now, before we leave. Just so I have some batched up ahead of time. So I'm not scrambling for episodes over there because the biggest. Trying to remote work while you're overseas in somewhere like Bali is it's a [00:01:00] 12 to 13 hour time zone difference.
So this airs usually at, 6:00 AM, local time for Nashville, which is where I'm from, and then this airs in Bali at like 6:00 PM. If it's noon in Nashville where I am at right now, filming this, it is midnight over in B right now. So very difficult to try to make that work.
But the podcast is something that we take very seriously here. We do not want to neglect our wonderful listeners that's where I'm at today. So our interview today is a wonderful one that we brought on, a guest that is actually not just a copywriting pro someone who is offering copywriting services.
it's someone who actually coached my wife on this. My wife is a Lance copywriter for those who don't know, she's also a freelancer. She has a wonderful copywriting business. And Colleen Welch. Our guest today is someone that actually coached my wife in her copywriting business.
And the reason we brought Colleen on not just because of that. Is because she's built a wonderful business as a typewriter for herself. And she's worked for huge brands in the beauty space. That's her niche as a typewriter. And she's worked with LA, she's worked with Gucci beauties with Daisy, Mark Jacobs, Burberry philosophy, skincare, Johnson and Johnson.
I don't know all these [00:02:00] brands are these, people, but I look them up in they're legit. I know some of them, some of the bigger names, but I'm not like a beauty person. So, if you know beauty products, then you probably know a lot of the ones that I just mentioned. she does copywriting for big companies like that. And the thing I love most about her story, and we'll get into all these things today. Is she didn. Dive right into this, and have a success instantly. She actually started and failed as a freelancer twice and failed in a pretty big way. to spoil anything worthy for you, but was forced to eventually move back in with her parents before her third attempt at freelancing third time to charm eventually worked and her biggest asset for herself, the thing that worked best for her for getting new clients was sending cold emails to people, just literally reaching out to people.
Cold. They didn't know who she was. She's sending emails out to people pitching her services and that's how she closed the majority of her clients, especially early on and that's led to a really great career as a copywriter. She's earning hundreds of dollars per hour at this point as a copywriter and that's above and beyond anything she's earning as a cooperating coach.
Again, my wife hired her and. loved the experience of working with her and got a lot outta that. And so we really dive into the process of how do you [00:03:00] make cold outreach or cold pitching or cold emailing or cold DMing on Instagram.
If that's the way you wanna do it, how do you make that strategy work in 20, 22 and beyond? How do we identify the right people to reach out to how do we craft the emails or the messages? What do we say? What do we not say? this is, I don't wanna say a full masterclass on cold emails. Pretty damn close. So if you feel like cold outreach is something that you might be interested in implementing in your business to get more clients, this interview is absolutely for you.
So without further delay, here's my conversation with Colleen Welsh. Colleen, welcome to the six for your creative podcast. Thank you so much for taking time outta your busy day to come on this show and help us out with our freelance businesses. Is.
Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to be
your background, you actually started as a freelancer you started twice and failed as a freelancer. I, I think we should probably talk about that a little bit before we get into the success that your Lance journey eventually hit and what you've done beyond that now um, as you've grown and kind of what I call graduated from freelancing, but let's bring it back to the beginning.
first started as a freelancer when, how long ago was that,
the time that, it [00:04:00] actually took was in 2017.
you said, you tried and failed twice though. Like, was there like two false starts? Can you talk about those? Cause I feel
like some of our audience might either have that or there afraid of that. And maybe there's something we can, pull away from those
false starts that you had as a freelancer.
But first tell people like what was it that you were trying to do as a freelancer when you first got started?
So I, from the beginning wanted to do something with writing because I knew I was a good writer. I had a bachelor's degree in English. I've literally, I've kept a diary since 1997. Like I love writing and I always have, so I knew I wanted to do something with that, but I wasn't really sure what, and originally I was like, I'm gonna write articles, like, know, just for like online magazines and stuff.
So I was kind of going down that path, but. I just was not organized enough. I didn't know how to do it. I think the first time I really tried, was like, this is [00:05:00] it. I'm gonna try freelancing officially was in the summer of 2015, which is when I moved to LA with only $3,000, by the no
to get a sandwich
Yeah. I, no job, no plan.
Um, And at the time I had my own like beauty lifestyle, fashion blog, and I was starting to get
more traffic on like people would send me like products to review. So I thought, oh, I can just make a living off of this, but you can't make a living off of reviewing face masks in exchange for product.
So I quickly had to get a job. The J I just had no, no plan, no strategy whatsoever.
what was it back
then that made you want to go into freelancing versus just moving to LA
and getting like a quote, real job.
So I had a job straight outta college. Um, I graduated in
2011, so I got a job.
at the beginning of 2012. I graduated December, 2011 [00:06:00] and I hated it. And it wasn't even so much what I was doing there that I hated. I hated having to wake up at a certain time, drive to an office, eat a lean cuisine for lunch, go to meetings. I had to be there till five 30, even if I finished.
Early, I'm when I'm in the zone, I'm in the zone. Like I don't have to eat, I don't have to go to the bathroom. I don't have to drink anything. Like I can just get all my work done in three hours. So why should I have to be there all day? Right. just, and like, I hated like all the personalities and stuff and all the politics, it was very distracting for me.
So I knew I did not wanna work in an office anymore. I also didn't find it motivational. Like when I worked in a nine to five, I made the same amount of money, no matter what my performance was. And if I did like a really good job and got a raise, it would be like a 3% raise, which is nothing when you're making $27,000 a year.
[00:07:00] So , I was just like, not motivated, really miserable. I also. Have always struggled with insomnia. So having to set an alarm at like six 30 in the morning was really difficult for me because I would sometimes only have like four hours of sleep and then have to go to work. So I knew I wanted out from that.
I, but I just didn't know how to make it happen.
So you were, you were going like the traditional path of what I guess society tells you to do. You went to high school, you went to college, you got the job right outta college. The entry level, job position turns out you hated it. Like most Americans want me to the entry level jobs. I don't know.
I've never had a, like what I consider a real job. My last job was at game stop at a video game store back in like 2008. but you didn't
it. And then, so when you were moving to LA, you had three grand
bank account and you were like, I am going to just figure it out. I will be a freelancer. I don't want to have a real job again.
And it didn't quite work out because I assume you ran outta money.
Oh, like almost [00:08:00] instantly. like
but also like my roommate at the time was like, I would feel a lot more comfortable if you got a job and you could just freelance, like on the side, cuz we were gonna like sign a lease together for a year. And that was a totally legitimate concern on her behalf. So I did get a job after that.
So you, you did the job for how long before you had your second fall start as a freelancer.
Um, I was there for maybe nine months, okay. My second fall start it would've gone better
if I had planned it um, and saved some money, did some research come up with a plan? That's what I do now. And I wanna take on a big project is I do research. I make a plan, then I execute the plan. But back then I didn't have these organizational skills.
that was a very like toxic work environment and very shady stuff happening. And I ended up having to, just quit on a whim. [00:09:00] like, I was like, and I wish I could say I did it in like a really badass way, but I was just like, I'm just gonna go home now.
pull the hill half baked movie where you're just like, fuck you. Fuck you. You're cool. out.
yeah, I wish I would've done that. I was like crying and I just decided to go home then I never came back, but
I didn't have any money. I hadn't really like, saved anything and I had a, a lot of credit card debt and then like, I'm like, oh, I'll get like a part-time job this summer. And I got a part-time job as a dog Walker, which was stupid because I'm allergic to dogs.
And I love dogs, but yeah. And it was also
I was like, I'm gonna start this freelancing thing and walk dogs at the same time. But after walking dogs for four hours in the hot LA noon sun every day, I didn't really feel like, you know, working.[00:10:00]
And I kind of had an out of control drinking problem at the time.
and it was the summer Pokemon go, came with other stuff.
done that summer. Yeah. okay. So you had first fall start. It was more of a lack of budget and no plan, obviously that's kind of the running theme here. Second fall start was, again, you hated your job, which is the running theme here. And I think anyone listening to the podcast right now who wants out of their day job can probably relate to that.
But you also had some other stuff that was the issue on that. It was like the, you were not personally prepared. You had again, no finances, no plan. And you had the drinking issue that is obviously something that's gonna hold somebody back trying to freelance. And, and we said it before on the podcast I've said it so many times, but it's worth just repeating again that there's no separation from us as a human being and us as a freelancer, like we are our business.
So if we cannot take care of ourselves, we cannot have a healthy, happy business. So when did you actually make the mental switch from like. Probably employee who was unhappy to an actual
entrepreneur who can run a real business, cuz that's a big mental switch you have to have if you wanna be
And I think most people [00:11:00] listening right now who are already successful have made that switch at some point. When did you make that switch to an entrepreneur? Someone who had a plan, someone who was going to take this seriously, someone who took their mental health seriously.
oh, it's been a long journey. I, I wish I could If you could imagine like a whole switchboard with lots of switches and then they were gradually all switched over over a long period of time. in. So after the summer of dog walking, I ended up getting another job um, because my car broke down and I was so lucky like my ex boss, the good one, not the bad one.
She asked me if I wanted to start working for her again. And the job was on the train line and I worked on the train line. And if you are familiar with LA there's like one train line so it was really lucky.
when you say train line, you mean like choo train? Like what are we
oh, I mean like a Metro,
So yeah, I was working there for a while. They told us they were gonna shut down the LA office. So I was, I knew I was gonna lose my [00:12:00] job
in the summer
of 2017. so I had time to plan and think about what I was gonna do.
Then in that winter, I went to China with my friend, like just for a fun trip. And I had never really been outside of the us and Canada before. And it, that just blew my mind and I was like, wow, I need to get out more. So I realized that if I made this freelancing business, then I would be able to travel full time if that's what I wanted to do.
And that really gave me a lot more. Motivation. It wasn't like negative motivation anymore. Like I don't wanna work in an office. It was like, I can go to China. I can go to Europe. I can go wherever I want. And I don't have to be held down in an office and I don't have to like, oh, you only get two weeks of vacation per year.
Which at that point I was spending, going to Ohio to see my family.
So you wanted to be a digital nomad, I guess is the term for that. We've had [00:13:00] a couple of those on the show uh, cat co Ette back on episode. Two 15. We talked about how she earns up to a half a million dollars per hour. Wonderful episode. Yeah, she's a, she's a full-time digital Noma. Yeah. Your face is like what?
Yeah. Yeah. It's wonderful episode. Go listen to that. it's not out as the time that you're on this show, but it'll be out in a couple weeks from the time that I'm interviewing you. She's still a full-time digital on that. And she's like, she's in Chan ma six months outta the year.
that's a lifestyle that appealed to you. And that's a wonderful motivator as someone, myself who has traveled a lot. And as of the time, this episode airs, I'm currently in Bali. We bought a one way flight and we don't know when we'll be home. And so like, it's a wonderful motivator, And not every freelance business model can do that, but that's the thing that motivates you. And we have to find our own motivator. Some people it's motivated about growing a family, getting the white picket fence, whatever, some people it's about just getting by and not having a soul second day job, like ruining their lives.
let's talk about that transition. Like you, you have the goal, you have the vision, you want this sort of life. You finally saw the
world, you visited China and uh, a few other places I believe you mentioned. And so What was the plan from there?
so I. [00:14:00] Establish what my last day was at work. I put some money aside and did what I thought was a good plan. to get started as a freelancer, which now looking back on, it seems insane. But the good news is that I had some things in place that were helpful. Like I was reading books, I was listening to podcast and I was actually talking to people in real life who were freelancers.
So my then roommate was in or B business, networking international. If you've ever heard of that. I don't know. She knew like a bunch of people. So she introduced me to people that were like freelance marketers or freelance copywriters. And then I got like more book recommendations from them and started just learning and putting things into place.
But. I would have failed on that attempt too, because I was so bad at money when I was younger, like so bad with money [00:15:00] and I still had a drinking problem, my parents let me move in with them in and once I made that decision, I was out of LA in two weeks. I sold everything, flew my dad out.
We got in my car and drove back. And then I was just literally in my little office, in my parents' basement for like eight months, trying to get the business off the for me, just, at the time I was not capable of working and freelancing on the side because I was too busy, like being hungover.
So I had to focus on it 100%. I couldn't do two things at the same time.
you changed one thing. This time was actually saving up money. You knew when the, the end of the day job was coming. you said you would've failed this time, but you made the decision to move back in with your parents.
And this is something that actually back on the episode, 1 58 we interviewed Rodrigo Tasca where he talks about breaking six figures within two years of moving to a brand new city, wonderful episode. If you could go back and listen to that, he moved into his parents as well, when he first started his videography [00:16:00] business.
again, as adults, as full grown adults, I dunno how old you were at that time. But I was in my early twenties. I moved back into my parents to start my freelance journey as a, music producer and home studio. It's something that is wonderful. If you have that ability, like it hurts the ego.
It hurts to move back in with the parents, you know, but
like the low overhead is a wonderful
thing to not have to have those expenses eating away at your bank account every single
month. So did you
have any reservations or you're just like, I don't care? I'm moving in with my parents. I'm gonna save that money while I try to build my freelance business,
As soon as I made that decision, I knew it was the right thing. And also I was 28. So I was kind of old when I did that, but I had moved out when I was 18 to go to college
and I never moved back in like, not even in the summers. So ready. I was excited to spend that amount of time with my family.
And also part of the deal was that they got a puppy when I
I'll move home, but I want a puppy.
So it, it was humbling though, because my parents [00:17:00] live in uh, like a small
rust belt city, and everyone that I was friends with in high school had moved
away. So I didn't have any friends there. I literally hung out with my grandma all the time I had gone all in on the freelancing thing.
So there was no way I was gonna go back now. Like I made that huge life decision and I committed to it and I was not gonna get a job or quit. I was just gonna stick with it until it worked.
the burning of the ships, I think we've, caught it on the podcast before where we've I don't wanna say burn the bridges behind us or burn the ships so we can't get back, but basically it made it, so can't do anything else, but succeed, like this is our only option. And so you've kind of taken that path as well.
So what was it about this attempt that you did differently to actually start getting clients start getting traction and eventually build a real business here?
well, this will sound kind of like a duh, but I blocked off time on my calendar. I established working hours that I would work
and started working them.
which is funny, [00:18:00] cuz like we quit our jobs cause you're like, I don't want to, I don't wanna wake up at six 30. I don't wanna have to do things, but it's like, well actually it's probably even
harder as a business owner because now you are your boss
and your employee at the
like, you know, Steven, Pressfield's the the war of art, and he talks about. Resistance. And at some gets, it becomes more painful to not do the thing that you actually wanna do than to just do it. And that's how I felt at this point.
Like I just had to do it, but I could make hours that worked better for me. So I started working from like 11 to five instead of starting at eight 30 in the morning. So I could sleep in and go to the gym and stuff.
I mean, obviously to be a freelancer, you need clients. So what were you doing early on to get those clients? Cuz
I've seen things where you mentioned Upwork. I know you have a blog. I know you have an email list. You have social media, there's YouTube. You're doing, you were sending cold emails, cold pitching people.
Like what was it early on? That was the thing that helped you. Just get some
So when I started, within my first month, I had a lot of different things I was trying to do and. Luckily, I was tracking all my hours from the very beginning of my business and what I was working on because I knew that it would be good to like check my ROI later. But when you're a freelancer, investment, your investment is the time that you're spending.
So when you track your hours, then you can see like, well, what is actually getting me clients, what is actually making me money? So when I started, I had a blog, I had a Pinterest in Instagram account, in addition to cold pitching networking Upwork, and then freelance writing job boards. So that's what I started with.
Well, after a month, I was like, I'm not gonna get any clients by writing my own blog and having this Instagram and this Pinterest, like, that's not gonna help me at all. At least not at this point, it's gonna take too long to build this stuff up. So I [00:20:00] just scrap that cuz I needed money right away and I focused on.
Cold pitching networking and then Upwork. So the networking was really just like, who do I know that could use a copywriter or who do I know that I could ask if they know someone who needs a copywriter? So I did get a few clients that way, which was really great. And one of those clients I still work with today.
So it does help to just ask people, cuz you never know who could use some Then I started cold
so in my last like traditional job, I was working as a digital marketing manager or whatever at a beauty brand. And they had a blog on their website
that nobody ever wanted to update, but I liked writing it. And I just realized that there's probably like a lot of other businesses out there that have this blog on their website and nobody on the marketing team has [00:21:00] time or the skills really to update it.
So I'm just gonna start looking for these dead business blogs and emailing them and being like, Hey, I can write this for you. So I spent so much time doing that, but I came up with a really effective script and like method for doing that, which by the way, you can download all this and my cold pitch kit on my website.
Yeah, we'll have the link to that in our show firstname.lastname@example.org slash two nine, we'll have the links to that email template, which we'll probably talk through some elements of that as well. I was watching one of your YouTube videos about this.
I was on your blog and I literally have a full outline of what you covered in that. I would love to talk through some of these things for cold pitching. So for anyone that's not following, like when you're first starting out, the hardest clients to get are those first few clients, like, unless you have some really good connections or you're like someone like Michael Jana, which we had back on episode, 2 0 7 where he was like six figures within his first like eight months, because he came from a big position at a big corporate job.
And then when he went freelancing, he could just bring those corporate clients with him, working with Disney and ABC and all these bigger clients. Don't quote me on corporate [00:22:00] brands he was working with there. I'm just using those as example. I know Disney was one of them but not all of us have that background where we can just go straight off to the races at a six figure year.
Our first year, some of us don't have those connections, but you did. I think one thing that's really smart is you knew. What it was like to be in the position of the person, maybe who you're trying to get hired by someone who's overwhelmed, someone who's in a business that they don't wanna update the blog, but they know the blog is something that's powerful.
We all see this in my music production world. I see this all the time where there's really talented artists who have not put out new music in months or years, and they still are maybe trying to perfect the songs themselves. And they're not actually, or they're trying to record themselves or whatever.
And they're never putting music out in the world. Like it's the same in my world. There's every niche in the freelancing world has some version of this. And so your strategy was to just identify, find a quick way to identify these people that needed your service and approach them with a cold email.
I guess the first thing when you're sending cold emails to people, how do you get over? What I think is the biggest roadblock and this is something I saw my
wife facing and I try to talk her through this as much as I could.
But how do you get past the mental roadblock
of like bothering people? [00:23:00] No one wants to bother people, especially as create,
as sending a cold email, a cold pitch to somebody feels really like intrusive and bothersome. So how do we get past that roadblock first and foremost?
so working on a marketing team, I was getting cold pitch. Quite often by various people who had services like SEO like different marketing services. So I knew that it wasn't really like bothering the marketing team if they need this service. So I didn't feel bad about emailing them because I knew I could help them and it would make their lives easier.
first of all, just, I guess, switching it up instead of like I'm bothering them, it's no, I'm, helping them solve a problem if they want to have a blog or in my case, they want to have new songs produced and written and released, which you're also a music producer as well, which is funny, cuz that's not, that's not your main thing, but that's something you do as well.
that's something they want to do, then sending DM on Instagram or an email in your case, cuz you're working with a lot of corporate clients, which makes more sense to do the email route. The [00:24:00] mindset
switch is I'm not bothering them, I'm offering them a solution to a problem that they have.
Did you have any reservations with this or are you just like,
I need to get paid. I don't care.
didn't, I didn't have any reservations about bothering them, but I was worried about rejection. But I watched a Ted talk. It's a pretty famous one. It's like the rejection therapy guy talks, like he was afraid of rejection. And then he just put himself in various situations where he knew he would get rejected and then eventually he just didn't care anymore.
And watching that Ted talk, I was oh, this could be like a really good life skill for me, if I'm just not afraid of rejection, which now not so great. It's like a superpower . So I just kind of told myself that, like, it, it won't hurt as much in the future. And you know what? I only got one snarky response from someone in the hundreds that I sent.
And a couple years later that same company was in my LinkedIn DMS asking me to work for [00:25:00] So usually people just don't answer or they're like, no, thank you. Like people aren't mean to you. I mean, they're at work. So if they're not gonna be mean.
it's funny, cuz like I used to do a bootcamp for like music producers and we would have like a cold outreach thing that we'd have these people do in this bootcamp. they had to do it or else they would get strikes and they'd be struck out. We used to call this the accountability accelerator boot camp for any of my OG listeners who were a part of that.
And one of the assignments and one of the iterations we did like probably eight versions of this bootcamp with a hundred plus people in
each iteration. so we changed it all all the time. And for a couple times we went through this, this bootcamp with these, this cohort of a hundred people. We tried to make it to where they were required to get a certain amount of rejections.
I think it was like 10 rejections that they were trying to get. the goal was the rejection that we were trying to do to try to reframe their mind that we're trying to be rejected here. The problem though, is it's really hard to get rejected by people, especially for cold DMS. You
either don't get a reply or if you do get a reply, it's
like just a, a polite, like, thanks for letting us know.
We'll keep you in mind. There's no real rejection.
And I [00:26:00] guess you said after a hundred, or hundreds of, cold
pitches, you never got rejections from, except for one
I mean, they would be like, thanks, but no, thanks. But only one
was like, you're an idiot.
then they didn't
is like, I
I just read it like that.
So we, we can get past the mindset. That's the first thing we gotta do is address like the inner critic, the demon on our shoulder saying like, Hey, shouldn't send that email. That's you're bothering them.
Like, no, you're not bothering them. if you can't add value to someone's life in someone shape or form, you shouldn't be emailing them. first and foremost, you have to be adding value. What other prerequisites do we need before we start reaching out? Like, do What are some of the things we wanna make sure we have in place before we start
sending out cold pitches to people?
want, yeah, we definitely wanna have a portfolio because the potential client is gonna judge you on two things, which is your cold pitch. And. Your portfolio, which is gonna show the type of work you can do for them. So I also recommend that you choose one particular industry to focus on before you get started with this.
you, for example, [00:27:00] I'm a beauty copywriter. So I had a portfolio of beauty samples and I was only reaching out to beauty clients. So that way, those like skills would definitely be transferable. Like they would know I could write something similar for them. You definitely need that. I also really encourage you to think ahead, like, what are you gonna do if someone says yes, and make sure that you have a system in place for the next step so that you can respond to them in a timely manner and you don't take a week while you're like figuring out how to like schedule calls and do invoices and contracts and everything, like be clear about the services that you're gonna offer.
And how you're gonna sign people on and what you're gonna do with them once they're signed on before you start sending those out.
you seem to be the very much ready, fire, aim, personality, where you're like, I'm just gonna do it and I'll figure it out as we go.
they said, yes. What do I do now? I don't know what to do next. I've been in that position before, but I'm, I'm usually the [00:28:00] ready aim, aim, aim, aim. Check to make sure we've actually loaded ammo. Let's aim again. And then I'll eventually fire. That's like the way I do things. So I'm the, I'm the opposite where I need, less prerequisites. Just tell me to do it and I'll start doing it. But if I start overplanning,
then that's how I am, but I know everyone's a little different.
So I was going around your website and just kind of souping around
on, on some stuff you said about this, but you said, make sure, have you have a professional email address you would recommend not having like a Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail? Why, why is that?
it's okay. If you have a Gmail. Address um, just make sure the user name is something professional and appropriate and it's not not like the one that you made in sixth grade, like something with your name or if you were gonna have a business name, something like that would be fine.
Yeah. You wanna know my most embarrassing uh, instant messenger name was back then. I've never said this on the podcast. So this is a six figure creative first. It was puff lips nine.
that's pretty bad?
remember my dad saying, Why is that your name? I have no idea why I don't have particularly
puffy lips. [00:29:00] I have no idea what I was thinking, but that's just like 11 year old Brian, with a, I saying, I guess I'll choose puff lips. Nine one through eight were
I have a pretty
All right. So.
too. And it's also a nine. I wanted it to be sugary nine but I spelled sugary wrong and I spelled it, sir. Gary nine
All right. Admissions from successful freelancers of our embarrassing childhoods. All right. So we've got the uh, portfolio professional email address. Do we need a website? Like, is this something we should all have built out ahead of time? Like a
website with things like, do we need logo, business cards, some of these things I'm just joking about.
Cuz like everyone, like when they start a business are like, I'm gonna make a
logo business card website Like is there anything else we need to have
in place before we can start cold pitching people, for new
yeah, you don't need a website to get started. I do recommend that you eventually make one. And as part of my like coaching we, we do build a website because I do think it gives you a leg up, but it's not [00:30:00] necessary. And I think that a lot of people use that as an excuse to not get started.
You can have your portfolio just as some PDFs that you send to people. It doesn't need to be anything fancy
So let's move on to I think a, a bottleneck that people run into when we're doing cold outreach and that's what I would call, I guess, prospecting, like creating a list of the people you're going to actually reach out to.
So how do you find this list of people and how
do we keep it from taking So much damn time to where we're spending more time identifying who we're gonna reach out to than we do
actually reaching out.
yeah, this is another place that resistance slash procrastination. Creeps in head. So if you're doing a product based industry, it's pretty easy because all you need to do is find some kind of eCommerce website that sells your product. So beauty, that was easy. Like Sephora, Alta target, they all have a bunch of beauty brands on there.
If that's not possible, if you're more of like a service based business, finding like professional [00:31:00] like industry groups, if you wanna help therapists, like where's a, like a therapist convention or like a registry of a bunch of therapists or something, or another thing you can do is go on Instagram.
So who is a leader in this industry? Like if you were doing mental health, maybe like Headspace is a leader in the industry, just going through their follower list and seeing like who is verified that follows them because the little fish always follow the big
That's actually a good idea. I didn't think about that. So like, if I were, I'll give a couple examples if I were a, videographer who's doing, short form, social media for Influencers, I guess, I don't know. I'm just making this up. I'm a videographer looking for clients, right? I would go to this, the accounts that all my clients would be following if my clients are influencers, what influencers are influencers following? There's always some sort of like big Phish. And so you could literally go through their following list and find people who are your ideal client. I know in my space, in my world, MySpace, I can't say MySpace without thinking about MySpace rip in my old space, which is like music production.
a lot of times there's plenty of accounts that, other music producers might listen [00:32:00] to. follow on, on Instagram or on TikTok or on some of the other, other things. So if that could be a good place to source these sorts of people. So go to the, I guess the VIP, the person that, that has all the followers of your ideal
clients as well.
Is there any other tricks that you've, found over the years to speed up the time of expecting.
If an eCommerce site has a brand's page you can just copy and paste the entire thing into an Excel spreadsheet where I use
What does that mean? As far as like brands . page? So like, if you're e-commerce site, I'm selling beauty brands, cuz that was your niche, I'm selling beauty's brands. And so they'll have a list of all of the different brands that they sell on
might have to look in their site map to find it, but you can just copy and paste all of that and then start going to each individual website. like, for me, if I'm writing blogs, do they have a blog? Is it updated? Yes. No. Okay.
Time to email them. And that's the thing. As soon as you find one that matches those criteria, you email them, you do not make a huge list and analyze the whole list. [00:33:00] that I used to do that. I would waste a bunch of time analyzing the list instead of just emailing people, which is actually, what's gonna get you clients not analyzing a huge list.
that's a really good tip there. So it's like, you're creating this list of people and then you're doing, what's called, I guess, qualification. You're trying to see if they even need your services whatsoever for you it's do they have an active blog or not? And if not, then they probably need your services.
If they do, they likely don't need your services. Do you still email people if they have an active blog, maybe they're looking for other writers or do you just say
they probably are not looking right now? I will just focus on the ones who have a blog
but is not active.
At the time, I just focused on people that had a blog. It wasn't active. I didn't even email people that didn't have a yeah. Cuz then I'd have to convince them to start a blog and hire
you're trying to solve two problems at that point. That's really tough hurdle to get people over. so your trick is get the list of people. And as soon as you identify one who needs your services, just instantly reach out to them using a template. So let's, let's move on to that.
So what do you say when you're writing an email to these brands or this to a potential client where they need your
services you might be [00:34:00] a good
fit for them. Like how much do you write? What do you say? I know that you've
got that template, which will have in linked in our show notes.
But do you have just some general guidelines
on like the type of stuff you might write or how you might save time using templates? Do you template everything? Like, gimme the run down here.
I recommend that you make a template for the whole cold pitch, but you have space in there to customize it to each client. it should definitely say hi, and then the company name and then team, uh, if you can find an actual person to talk to even better, um, it's not really necessary, cuz you might spend a bunch of time doing that.
I would just say, hi blank team is good enough. Then you wanna launch directly into why you're emailing them. You're just gonna say, I'm emailing you about writing content for your blog. Marketing people are busy and they have like thousands of unread emails in their inbox. So you wanna say exactly why you're emailing them immediately and then they can delete it or not.
Then the next thing is you wanna introduce yourself and talk [00:35:00] about why you're qualified. So if you've had other clients before name, drop those clients, talk about who you've worked with. Talk about your educational experience. If it's relevant, if you're gonna write beauty blogs for people and you have like a beauty, YouTube channel, like talk about it, you have to show your expertise here.
And then in the last paragraph, just be like, here's examples of my work linked to your portfolio. And then just let, if this is interesting to you, let's set up a call and I really recommend that you sign up for a service like Calendarly, where you could just have a link right there. They could just click on it, like eliminate the back and forth because the less back and forth you have.
did you see people that were, booking calls straight from that cold pitch email or, were they replying to that or would you recommend just getting
any sort of initial response and then sending ly link? Like what's the kind of
back and forth there.
usually they would email back and be like, what are your rates like? And then I would send the rate sheet and the Calendarly link
well, I just always wanted to like, give them a [00:36:00] ballpark of how much it was gonna cost, because if they don't have that much money in their budget, I don't wanna spend any time talking to
Which makes sense. Like at least they know a ballpark of like what the rates will be. So you're not getting on the, call with them, wasting both of your time and then realize it's way out of their budget. And we shouldn't have even gotten the phone in the first place. So that makes sense, especially in this strategy.
So how many of these are you sending? Like, is it, is it a hundred a day? Is it a one a day? Is it 10 per day? Like I know it's gonna differ for everyone in every industry and how, good the actual pitch is and how much time you take the
spin on it. But where did you kind of land as you got this turned into a well oiled machine?
So I was trying to do five per day, five per weekday. So that's a hundred per month if you don't have any clients yet though. I mean, you just send as many as you can per day, because you don't have anything else to do. like at your job so far. So just send a bunch of
I caught this, the client acquisition tax. If you don't have enough clients to fill your calendar 100% full with your ideal perfect client. Then you have to pay the [00:37:00] client acquisition tax. You have to go out there and actually put in hours, to get those clients. you recommend getting into a, groove, five per day.
the sustainable, not gonna burn you out. You can do more if you want, but just try to make sure you're maintaining that cadence. what is the, the results from
that? Like is there any sort of remote benchmark we can get
on like reply rates or how many clients will get from this?
Like do you have any sort of stats that you kept track of for this sort of cold pitch method?
I don't have like exact stats. I still have the spreadsheet and I could crunch those numbers. I should do that for like a something. expect it to be a low number. I would say if you're turning 5%
of those emails into clients, you're doing an awesome
historically from the people in my community, I've seen it's about, one to 5% tends to be the clients. And honestly it depends on how much work you're putting in. If you just send the literal copy paste, email to everyone, you're gonna have a lower percentage. If you're going after more of a conversational approach, you might turn more conversations in a clients, but it's much more time consuming to do
this [00:38:00] approach. You're going straight pitch, which is the way this is gonna have a lower conversion rate. But the thing about it is if you, turn into this well old machine, this process, how long would it take you to, find five people, email five people in a day?
so like an hour a day. actually if we do some quick math, just benchmark numbers,
So it's a hundred a month. So you might get five clients a month from a hundred hours of work. do you know, like roughly what a client would be worth to you?
Like if you get five clients in a month, like, do you have any numbers or ideas of what this turned into as far
as income for your copywriting
Well at the time, let's say that doing, I was 20 cents per word, and they were doing the minimum package I offer, which is 500 words for a blog post for per month. That would be $400 per month per client. So that would be $2,000 per month. If I signed five clients like
part of the reason you're so, so successful in TikTok as a cop operating coach where you're very transparent about your numbers. And you'll say like, you'll make six or $7,000 in a month.
And a big part of it is that's appealing to people is because of the, you [00:39:00] show your hours tracked and it's always like 150 plus per hour.
So it's very appealing to people to see those sorts of numbers, especially when they're
day jobs, earning them 20 to five to 30 bucks an hour. early on, this is how you got started and you started working, like, what brands did you end up working with as a copywriter?
Like you've landed some pretty big clients over the
Yeah, with Ole was my first, really big one. And once I had that on my portfolio, my career really took off. So I started working with them probably within nine months of starting my freelancing business. The third time I tried, yeah, I've worked with Ole Melan. I did a bunch of projects with Cody, so.
own. So that includes like Gucci, beauty, Daisy, mark, Jacobs, Burberry, all the, all those fragrances are all owned by Cody. I've just started working with philosophy, which is another skincare brand. That's also owned by Cody. So yeah, I've done stuff with P and G Johnson and Johnson church in Dwight.
I just put my [00:40:00] name in the ring for an essay Lauder project, which I'm excited about. So the, all the big players in the beauty industry.
And it all started from this approach of cold outreach, cold pitching, not being afraid to be rejected, I guess, is the big thing that you, that I want our listeners to take away here is like again, your reply rate may be completely different than this. It may not be, You may not get 5% of the people to become a client for you that you reach out to. You may need to reach out to more than five per day to bring these sorts of numbers. You may not get any of this because it's it's all gonna hinge on whether or not you're a good fit for the person, whether or not you're reaching out to the right people.
But I think the results speak for themselves where you've built a successful copy business, and you've actually even graduated further and built a successful talk, talking about being a copywriter. And you now have courses in coaching around copywriting, which is again how my wife found you and how I've kind of gotten connected with you now.
And To me, anything is better than nothing like cold pitching may not be the best approach for every freelancer. It's probably not the best
approach for every freelancer, but it is an approach. And
it's the one you took and it's the one you used to build your business. and
it's the one you used [00:41:00] to be able to build something that allows you to
do what you wanna do. Cuz I imagine you travel more
now because you're your own boss. You probably aren't sitting in Ohio all the
I, well, I travel a lot and then I decided that that actually wasn't really for me anymore. And I bought a house in Cleveland and now I don't go anywhere. Except
sometimes I go to Florida to visit my aunts. like, but I like that. Like, I'm happy. That's what I want is to like, not travel as much anymore.
I'm more focused on building community here.
most people don't even know whether they would want to travel, not, they love the idea of it, which is kind of where you are at. And then you got to actually experience it. And you realize probably not for me full time, I'm not gonna be a full time digital Nu at anytime soon. Instead I'm gonna buy a home and, and settle and do my thing, which is again, it's about building the life that you want and then
shaping your business around the life that you want.
think you've done a really good job of doing that. Is there anything like around this process that we need
to go on, like, do you follow up with these people? By the way, like, if I reach out to
somebody, a cold pitch like this and they [00:42:00] don't reply, do, should I follow
you should. Yeah, no, you're not bothering them because like I said, thousands of unread emails in their inbox, so you're not bothering them. They probably just didn't see your email. So it's not inappropriate to follow
up? to three times.
I had like a spreadsheet where I, I had what day I had emailed them.
So then I would just sort it by date and see what was seven days ago and just email them
So you weren't using any sort of CRM or anything like this. You just had a spreadsheet, you were tracking this all in
Yeah. I'm a spreadsheet type of lady. I like a good spreadsheet.
Yeah. Again, I've seen your TikTok and you love showing the spreadsheet stuff. So I'm, I love spreadsheets as well. Not everyone's thing. My wife will have a panic attack if you show her a spreadsheet. So
I, I folded respect and understand that side of our audience as well. So if that's you great. But is there anything else in this
process that we need to note in
order to have a successful uh, cold pitching process?
I think it's also important to know where to find the email addresses. So you don't wanna use the contact form on the website because you want to be able to follow up [00:43:00] on the same email that you originally sent. So try to find their email address. If they don't have an email address listed on their website, it's almost always on their Facebook.
So it's okay to send it to the customer service email, because most of these businesses are far smaller than you think they are. And the marketing person might be sitting right next to the customer service person. So it's easy for them to forward it on. And that's usually like part of. Job is they don't get to like make the decision like, oh, is this a good pitch or not?
They just have to forward it to the right department.
First of all, get over the mindset issue of feeling like you're bothering people. Right. Then make sure you have your portfolio together. You have a professional email address, ideally. You've create your list, your prospecting list of people that you need, your services. You've qualified them in a way that, you know, they need your services. You immediately reach out to them. And you're not just creating a list of people to reach out to at some point, cuz you never will. and you're wasting a lot of time.
You write an email out to them [00:44:00] and I believe your on your website, it said longer's better. I think you, you quoted a staff that said 8% of emails over 800 words or something like that. Get replied to, and only like
2% that are like 400 words. So basically like to an extent, longer emails tend to, work better.
And your template's a pretty long one.
Right? You can get the template again on our show notes page. But is there anything else around the length of the email that our audience should
know before I move on from this kind of sum
I, I the, the numbers are lower than what you're saying. Like, I think it was maybe like one was like 80 and one was like 200 is 800 words is
800 words is like a blog article.
Yeah. But, but this is like your time to shine and it's better to share more, but at the same Like I've gotten some insane cold pitches
that are just so long.
And like they're really trying to do that. Like cheesy, like direct sales stuff. Like they must have taken some like direct sales course online and they're trying it out. Don't do that. Like just be direct, simple, clear,
and also keep in mind the way that you [00:45:00] sell yourself in this cold pitch is gonna give a huge indication to, well, at least for copywriters, I know you have all kinds of different freelancers on here, but if you're a copywriter, you better be able to sell yourself and you're words because that's exactly what they're hiring you to do.
So , if you can't do that, you need to maybe think about trying a different freelancing career.
and if you're a copywriter listening, I am currently looking for a copywriter that is a conversion
focused copywriter. So if you wanna cold pitch me, just email Brian at six, figure creative.com and I will analyze your pitch to see if it's something that might make sense for us. let's go on down the summer here.
You've got the email written you're following up. How many times? Two, three times maybe you
Yeah. Two, three times.
And you're looking for a 95% rejection rate. That's how I'm gonna word this. you're looking to be rejected 95% of the time, and you're just tracking all this in a spreadsheet.
It's a pretty simple process, but it was effective for
you. It's been effective for your clients that you work with as a, as a copywriting coach.
I guess this on this stuff, is there anything is anywhere you wanna send people that are listening to connect with you or to take a next step with [00:46:00] you or reach out to you?
Like, do you want our audience to do? That's listening.
Yeah. So if you wanna learn more about freelance copywriting specifically, I'm all over the place in the internet. I'm a, I have a
talk, I have a YouTube channel. I have a website with a blog
on the website.
We also have freebies, including the cold pitch kit. Additionally, I have a chorus called the freelance writer's guide to the galaxy,
if you're a fan of, hitchhikers guy of the galaxy, then you know where
I definitely am. Um, Then that's really like step by step. This is what you need to do. Step one, do this, now do this. And it takes you all the way
through when you launch your business
to the freelancing end game, I call it where you're going into an agency model. So I have that and I also have one-on-one coaching, which I can help you launch your business.
And that's what Megan did with me. And it was super fun. I loved working with her.
That's great. Well, thank you so much for taking the time outta your day, Colleen, to come on the
for having me.
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