The words you write have the power to build trust and win clients, but they also have the power to bore people to death and turn away clients.
It’s your choice whether you want to put in the work to write website copy that does all the “selling” for you.
Most freelancers, unfortunately, leave copywriting as an afterthought. This creates a massive opportunity to stand out from your competitors by taking the time to nail your website copy.
This week’s guest, Rachel Greiman, is a freelance copywriter who works with nearly 100 clients per year.
Not only is she earning 6 figures from her freelance work, she’s also writing website copy for other 6 figure freelance photographers (our guest from episode #172 is actually one of her 6 figure clients).
That makes Rachel the perfect expert to bring onto the podcast to teach us all about the process behind copywriting for freelancers.
In this episode you’ll discover:
- How great copy can affect your business
- Why copy should come before your website design
- How to understand what your ideal clients are looking for
- How to package your offering so the client buys what they want and gets what they need
- Why niching is so vital to your business
- How systems help Rachel have six figure years over and over
- How to go from $500 projects to $5,000 projects
- Why some businesses shouldn’t have repeat clients
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Click the play button below in order to listen to this episode:
“Done is better than perfect.” – Rachel Greiman
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Brian: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast. I am your host Brian Hood. I'm here with my bald beautiful mustache. Co-host and his dad hat, Christopher J. Graham. How you doing today? My dude,
Chris: that was like the I'm much better now. I'm I'm good. But Brian, how are you
Chris: doing today?
Brian: It's my birthday.
Chris: It's your birthday. I know
Chris: you just told me right before we press record then. So it would look like I already, like, I hadn't forgotten how happy birthday Brian.
Brian: You literally didn't remember my birthday until like 10 seconds before we started recording and I said, oh, it's my birthday. So we have something to talk about today. So let me say that my birthday is much more special now that I'm married. And for one good reason, and it's not for what you think it is.
Brian: Today marks the day of the year, where my wife is no longer a Cougar cause we have for three months where she's older than me and we're officially the same age again.
Chris: I thought that.
Chris: was going to take a scandalous turn there for a
Brian: Oh, I mean it might, but we're not going to talk about that. Uh, We'll make it awkward for our poor guests here.
Brian: Who's politely standing by a wedding [00:01:00] for Chris and I to get into the episode. Our guest today is Rachel Grimes of green chair stories.
Brian: She is one of the first successful freelancers I've ever seen to employ the tactic of having two freelance businesses on the same website, which anyone who knows me knows that I'm adamantly against self-congratulatory selections,
Rachel: Thank you. I am virtually curtsying.
Brian: but we love Rachel already because of our pre just our pre-talk, because she's an awesome personality, but she's doing two really cool things.
Brian: First of all, she's a freelance photographer. And second of all, that led to another business because she just kinda fell into it. And we'll, we'll kind of get a little bit of her story there. She's also a freelance copywriter for photographers, which is really interesting thing. And so if you listen to our interview on episode, 172, or we interviewed uh, Sean He is a elopement adventure, elopement photographer. And Rachel actually wrote all the copy for his website. So if you are wondering where you heard green chair stories from before it was that episode, and he talked about how that, that [00:02:00] her services were one of the sole things that helped him earn over six figures a year in 20 20, 20,
Chris: Which is what
Chris: got our attention for him to come on the podcast because the copy and his website was so damn good.
Chris: The story was so compelling.
Rachel: I feel like I want that horn that like, bam, bam, bam, bam.
Brian: Our editor will throw that in
Brian: for you. I'm
Brian: sure. Like the hype horn. Uh, So anyways, we brought Rachel on because not only is she a good entrepreneur and she has some really cool stuff in her business, we wanted to dissect, we really wanted to bring her on to pick her brain on freelancing copywriting because so many people in our audience have websites where.
Brian: Their sole focus is like either themselves, their gear or they're like work, which there's nothing wrong with focusing your work, but they put no attention, effort or energy into their words. when people are trying to determine whether or not they want to hire you and pay hand over their hard earned dollars, the words on your site matter more than anything else.
Brian: And, and for us to go this long, without having a focused episode on just copywriting, I think is a major mistake on our [00:03:00] part. So Rachel, you are determined to be the expert on copywriting that we're gonna bring on to discuss the process of copywriting
Brian: for our website.
Chris: and I'm so excited
Chris: because as uh, photography,
Chris: obsessive compulsive, hobbyist, I love talking to photographers, but as you,
Chris: as a photographer
Chris: and a copywriter, I have to
Chris: ask Rachel
Chris: is a picture worth, a thousand
Rachel: No, it's not
Brian: you don't have to say anything else, Rachel, because that was such a bad question. And that was literally just Chris being Chris. You don't know him that well, but you kind of get a taste of his, his, and I'm just gonna put this in air quotes, his humor.
Rachel: I love
Chris: oh Lord.
Brian: so here we go. Now that you've been punished, let's dive into this. So Rachel, you have a really very niche service that you're offering. It is copywriting for photographers, and that's really kind of the bread and butter that you have in your website, but you have, I think, what, what are the biggest areas?
Brian: And I read through your entire site.
Rachel: That's a beast of a site. Well done.
Brian: It is, you, you spend a lot of time talking about your process and I want to dive into your process for [00:04:00] copywriting here, because I think our audience can learn a lot from how a, I want to say you're full-time I don't know if the copywriting side is as most of your time these days.
Brian: It is. Yeah. She's nodding your head. Yes. If you're listening on the podcast audio that's your main thing now. And as someone whose main thing isn't copywriting, I think most of our audience is going to struggle with this. And I think if you talk through some of your processes and how you, you write copy for so many different clients, I think it'll be, it'll be super helpful for me.
Brian: Cause I'm always like struggling to come up with, with copy for things that I'm creating, especially for websites. And I know one advantage that we have that you don't have, Rachel when you're hired is we have the best idea. We know our business and our clients better than anyone else. And I think for copywriting, that's one of the most important things.
Brian: And you have some, some hacks around that and things you do, but let's, let's dive through this when you're, when you start writing copy for a website, like where do we even do.
Rachel: I mean, that's a big ask because it depends on where it depends on the research you've done already. Copywriting. I like to say, especially because a lot of your listeners are probably DIY [00:05:00] buying their own. It is a word of encouragement before you start. It's more of. A science than an art. Like if you failed English class, no worries.
Rachel: You can do this. It's one of, I think Eugene Schwartz, he's like the godfather of copywriting. He says that copy is assembling more than it is writing because you're taking all the research you've done and you're just assembling it in the right order rather than pulling words out of thin air. So when I say research it's a fancy word for saying, like investigating your own business.
Rachel: And a lot of it is already in your head. It's just a matter of getting it out onto a page so you can see the themes. So if I were going to sit down and start writing a website, as we do we start with asking the client a ton of questions while they're working on that. We interview their past clients, usually three. So we will call. Their clients that have worked with them. And a lot of people think that this is to get testimonials. And while that does usually come out of [00:06:00] it, the much, much more important questions are about what made them hire this person in the first place, because if you land on someone's site, they need to be pushed over the edge to say yes.
Rachel: So we need to know what helped other people be pushed over the edge. And almost always it's something that, that client said on the call. And it's something that was not on their website, where it was an intangible that they couldn't quite put into words. and these clients that we're interviewing of theirs are their favorites.
Rachel: We always say, if you could clone clients and only work with those people every weekend for the rest of your life, who would it be? And that's who we talked to because that's the kind of person we're trying to write copy to and attract more of. So while we're talking to them, we need to see, you know, like. Tickled their fancy about the process and then really dig into that and see what words that client uses to talk about it. Because word choice is just as important as the idea. So if they're using, you know, more luxury words, like images and photographs, then that's what you [00:07:00] put on a photographer's website.
Rachel: But if they are using more casual language, then that's what you use. So it's not just the what, but it's the voice and the tone behind it. So that's where I would start is if I was doing this myself, I would call my past clients and ask them, Hey, what was the thing that made you say yes,
Brian: this is one of those areas that I, I think I have never had a good process to follow and already I'm like, this is a done no-brainer kind of thing to do is just asking my past clients mind. Why the hell did you hire me in the first place? I think one thing and just knowing, knowing our audience, as well as I know them, they'll shake their head and say, yeah, that makes so much sense, Brian and Rachel, that makes a ton of sense.
Brian: I'm never going to do it. so the question is like, do you ever have any hesitancy from your clients on giving over names, phone numbers, contact information to talk to clients?
Rachel: No, because they don't have to make the phone call. We do it.
Rachel: They are like thrilled. They are so ecstatic that they don't have to get on the phone and ask these hard questions because not only is it hard for a millennial [00:08:00] to make a phone call, it
Rachel: is also difficult to sit and listen. Two nice things about yourself and ask someone to like, be the one to be like, can you just like, get on the call with me and tell me everything you love about me.
Rachel: That's, that's hard to do. That is what I tell people to do when they're DIY in their site. I think I also get a much more unbiased version because I'm a third party that they will never meet in real life. So I'm hearing like the truth from their clients, whereas with them, I think it can get a little muddied sometimes.
Brian: Yeah. I think the angle of being like, Hey, I'm working with so-and-so, I'm working with Shauna Bolzano. If I even said his name, the wrong, I know I said his name, the wrong way there. I'm working with Shaun of peaks and valves about his, you know, I'm working with him to write copy for website. And I want to interview you and ask you some questions.
Brian: Do you mind, those are just going to open up to about that. Cause they loved working with Sean. They're like friends and they've I
Brian: get that. But also I'm thinking about from the perspective of our audience, I would love to know like what, what other questions can we ask our clients? Like if we're the ones [00:09:00] doing it and we're comfortable with our past clients, we, we, we are not a millennial or we're a brave millennial and we're going to do it.
Brian: We're going to call them. Or we're just going to text them because be honest, what are some of the things? So what did they like about the process of working with us? What made them say yes. In the first place? Is there any other kind of golden nugget questions that you
Brian: can ask
Rachel: I get kind of like a demographic sense of place, just so I can see what the thread is between all three of their clients that I'm interviewing, where they live, the kind of event that they had, usually I'm writing for photographers. So I'll just reference this in this
Rachel: example, but what kind of wedding they had Why they had that kind of wedding, what their motive is for that kind of event, because that motive for the event is also usually ties into the motive of why they hired that kind of photographer. Social media, is that important to them? Because then that's just valuable for me to get back to the client, like, Hey, step up your game. That was on, they almost didn't book you or something like that. Just to kind of get a profile. So that's that's the next step in writing? After I do a [00:10:00] bunch of the research, we create a one reader document. There is a concept I wish I knew who came up with it, Google it it'll come up. There's a concept in copywriting called the one reader. So rather than sitting down and writing your site as if you are writing to an audience you want to write to one person, that's why people create avatars. that's why all those, like, things on Pinterest exists, like find your ideal client. I think that that's a little bit silly. ' cause nobody's like Coke or Pepsi. Like we don't, you don't need 12 different avatars that you're communicating to through different channels. If you are a service-based freelancer, like your avatar is going to be much more specific than that. And I always say, use real people base this one reader on real people.
Rachel: So I will take the interviews that I've done with the three clients and the 40 question questionnaire that I've asked my client that I'm writing for. And I'll create a one reader document, which says, this is who your one reader is. This is who we are writing to. This is where they [00:11:00] live. This is their age range.
Rachel: This is the kind of job that they do. And then it gets really specific about this is their concern about hiring a photographer. This is what they are worried about on their big day or for their session. This is what they're worried about after they get their photos. This is the solution you provide that they don't know that they need, because this is what most people write about. People know what people say after working with them. And that's great, but somebody landing on your site does not know how they're going to feel after they're done working with you. So rather than basing all of your website, copy on the outcome of working with you, that should just be a highlight. That should not be the main pain point. That should simply be a benefit, an added feature. What you need to figure out is what they think they want. And that's what you want to write to
Brian: So I heard a story. the ham and the garlic, I
Chris: I'm riveted.
Rachel: cannot wait.
Brian: I'm going to butcher this because I'm not a storyteller like Chris, I'm not a natural storyteller, but I'll try my best. [00:12:00] So, and this goes along with what you just said there.
Brian: This, this young boy really wanted a dog. And he asked his parents again and again and again for this, for this pet. And they just refuse to let them do it. Eventually they caved in and said, okay, Johnny, if you want this dog, you have to take care of it. You were the sole responsible kid. You have to take care of this dog.
Brian: So he gets the dog. He's so excited. His, family goes out of town for a weekend. He's watching the dog he's with his grandma and this dog gets a bunch of ticks. And he's like, oh no, grandma, my parents gonna be so disappointed if I, if they come back and this Duck's covered in text, like, what can I do?
Brian: And she says, oh, you, you need to, you need to give the dog garlic and that'll help the ticks fall off the dog. so the boy goes to the dog, tries to give him a garlic and the garlic in the doctors, when I eat it, he's just refusing the garlic. And the kid goes back to his grandma. Grandma's like, he's just like grandma, grandma, the dog won't eat the garlic.
Brian: I don't know what to do. I don't want my parents to be let down. And the grandma goes, oh, you poor little idiot. The dog is not going to eat the garlic. You have to wrap the garlic and [00:13:00] ham or else. The dog will not eat the garlic. So that boy takes the garlic, wraps it in the hand, the dog eats the, the garlic wraps, ham wrapped the garlic and moral of the story is that the ticks fall off the, the dog is safe and the boy moves on about his life as a responsible young kid who is triumphant.
Brian: The reason I tell that story is because of what you just said there is we try to constantly sell. What they need. And we fail to think about what they truly want. And it's not that you are selling them a false thing. You're taking what they want and wrapping it around the thing that they truly need.
Brian: That's the ham and the garlic story. And it stuck with me that because the one time I've heard this story, is that essentially what you're saying? Or did I just tell that
Brian: story for absolutely no reason.
Rachel: I completely agree with you.
Brian: Okay. Chris is just sitting there smiling. He's like, oh, I'm so disappointed in you, Brian.
Brian: You're not as good of a storyteller
Rachel: it was a great
Chris: was a good story and it sounded delicious. I want to make a cam wrapped garlic for dinner.
Brian: All right. So let's, let's talk about it in the photography world, because this is the era, you know, more than more than anyone [00:14:00] else, like, what is that cam that you're putting around the garlic? What is the thing that people are typically trying to sell and what are you actually wrapping it in this?
Brian: The thing that they really think they want.
Rachel: I mean, it totally depends on the client because different price points, photographers who photograph at different price points, their clients want different things because sometimes a photographer, if they're in a lower price point, somebody is really looking for a deal. So what they think they want is a deal, but you're wrapping that in, you know, the experience the photographer provides or something like that, or you're wrapping the, what they really want is a good experience.
Rachel: So you wrap the deal in that a lot of drivers don't want to lead with the fact that they're budget friendly though, because they don't want to be budget-friendly eventually.
Brian: Yeah. Most of our audience, we try to steer away from the
Brian: budget world and get into the premium
Rachel: And honestly, if that's a photographer, they shouldn't hire me. There's a lot cheaper copywriters out there to work with them. But I would say as you get more up into the higher end, people think that they want, you know, [00:15:00] magazine worthy images, you know, those, those portraits, the, that you frame and put on the walls and they do want those. But the need that they have that you have to wrap it around is a photographer who can get them and a photographer who their experience actually warms them up to the point with the couple feels comfortable, posing like that in front of them.
Brian: Yeah. And I think, I think, if you listen back to episode 1 72, where we talked to Sean about his, photography business, he speaks a lot on that. Where, when he's talking to someone who's a potential client, they already have so much trust and Goodwill built up from the copy on his website, that the sale is just a natural byproduct of that.
Brian: He's done. He doesn't have to sell because they're just like, you're the guy we want, assuming you're not a weirdo, like we're going to hire you. So like, what does this look like? You know, like, all he's doing is at that point is just closing
Rachel: Absolutely. And that's what a good website should do. It should bring the leads that come into your inbox. If you have good copy should be pre-qualified. And like, this is my [00:16:00] very specific question. Otherwise I would like to book you
Chris: that's a really interesting point about how copy can pre-qualify a lead. I think for a lot of people and I struggled with this for years would, you know, my inbox would fill up with all these leads and I had to dig through them and figure out which ones were worth pursuing and which ones I were just going to waste my time. And that's interesting to think about that from, from the standpoint of if you have enough copy, that's great. And that engages the right person and gets hell yeahs from the right people in hell knows from the wrong people that makes your job a lot easier.
Rachel: oh, so much easier. And we get probably five inquiries a week and people who know they shouldn't be inquiring will tell me that in their inquiry all the time, they'll be like, I know you only said that you do X, Y, and Z, but maybe could you. And sometimes I say yes, but
Rachel: you find people admitting when they aren't a good lead, which is, it saves so much time.
Brian: Yeah. So this goes back to the the one reader profile that you're talking about. And if, if people did [00:17:00] not follow along with that, you listed out a ton of things that you see you put down in this profile. So I would encourage any of our listeners right now, go back to where she was documenting everything, every single thing that she has in that profile.
Brian: And think about this for your own one reader on your website, because the, the, the word and phrase I've said so many damn times in this podcast, I'm gonna say it again. If you try to speak to everyone, you speak to no one I've said that so many times I wholeheartedly believe it. And this is a really good example of how you speak to one person.
Brian: Because if you speak to one person that person's going to say, hell yeah. Instead of everyone saying, hell no, you'll see one person saying, hell yeah. And honestly, the people that would have said, hell yeah, To the copy. That's just kind of math that, which most of our freelance listeners probably have on their site.
Brian: Those people will still say yes, because the copy still speaks to them, just not directly to them. So what I mean is, if you are a freelancer you could likely make use of Rachel as a copywriter on your website. She could probably crush it for you, even if you're not a photographer. And her website is specifically saying that she doesn't really work with you, but you'll still probably contact her.
Brian: And you'll be one of the [00:18:00] people saying, I know your website says we don't really, we only do photographers, but can you do my audio, my music production website. And you'll probably maybe say yes for some people, maybe you
Rachel: Well, I have a really long referral list. And I say
Rachel: that all the time, that is the power of niching
Rachel: because, and I tell my photo clients this all the time too, because they're afraid to do what Sean did and niche into just adventure elopements. That's scary. You feel like you're saying no to 90% of the opportunities out there, but what you're actually doing is showing excellence at one very specific thing.
Rachel: And if I am excellent at writing copy for photographers, I will get people who want me to write their music production site. Now I know that I am not the excellent choice for that, but I have a long list of people who are, and I love convincing people that niching down and picking something specific and talking to one specific person is the most financially beneficial thing you can do as a freelancer.
Brian: Yep. So I don't take on many coaching clients as a business coach, but when [00:19:00] I do that's one of the first things I do is I ma I forced them to niche down. And if they won't, I won't even take them on as a client. Cause it's that, it's that important. It really is that important. Like if, if you can't convince one person to hire you in no way, shape or form, are you capable to actually convince all the people?
Brian: It just doesn't work that way.
Chris: yeah, one of the things that I think, as I'm thinking about everything, you're saying I'm enjoying the heck out of myself, I'm learning so much one of the things that I'm, I'm considering
Chris: someone starts a business,
Chris: when someone goes into business for themselves,
Chris: there are a bunch of things that you have to do for the first
Chris: time, in order for your business to work, you have to set up a website probably for your first time.
Chris: You have to begin making sales probably for your first time. You have to write copy for your website, probably for your first time.
Chris: You have to build systems
Chris: so that the wheels don't
Chris: fall off. When you're,
Chris: when things actually get busy,
Chris: probably for
Chris: your first time. And that is such a, a fascinating component of, I think copywriting, because [00:20:00] copywriting is one of these first things that you do when you're like, you know what? I'm going to start a business. I'm going to do this. I'm going to offer it.
Chris: I'm going to try to find a way to write about myself
Chris: and sound like a bad-ass.
Chris: one of the things that you talked about on your website that really grabbed me the copy of your website, spectacular
Brian: especially your cookie banner, by the way, anyone go there to go to her website in our show notes page and go look at her cookie banner.
Chris: Yeah, it was hilarious. Your use of the word and phrase douche burger. I was particularly a fan of that was really funny, but one of the things that you talked about in there is how difficult it is to write about yourself. Even if you're a professional copywriter, that's fascinating to
Rachel: Well, yeah. You know, all your nooks and crannies. So I think it's really difficult to sit down and say, this is why you'll like me. or this is the thing that I don't want you to know about me, you know, because you know yourself so intimately, even if you can't put it into words that when you sit down and put it out, it feels so [00:21:00] personal.
Rachel: And at the end of the day, it's not, you're birthing something into the world when you put your website out there. Like I read some of my old blog posts and I'm like, damn rich, the world did not need to know that about you, but you like, you're the only content you have in the beginning. So utilizing that and getting really personal about your own thoughts, dreams, aspirations, emotions, you know, that's what comes out for a lot of people.
Rachel: And the longer I do this, the more I realize it's expertise that sells people. It is likeability and it's trustworthiness and. You don't have to reveal anything about yourself to be those things.
Brian: let me kind of catch us back up on this whole process. We gone over. Cause I want to make sure we're staying on track with the freelancing side or the copywriting. If we're trying to, if we're a freelancer, we're trying to write copy for our websites. We're first asking questions to ourself and trying to get an understanding of like, really, who are we trying to speak?
Brian: right now, like who are we trying to go after? We're going to be interviewing our [00:22:00] past clients, our best clients, the ones we want to clone and ask them what they liked about the process, what made them say yes. And all the things we kind of covered in the interview so far, we're creating a one page kind of profile or one reader sheet, which is kind of a profile of your ideal person.
Brian: One question about that is when you're writing, do you actually specifically have one individual in your brain or are you speaking to the the made up individual on the page?
Rachel: So the Meda individual is usually a conglomeration of all of the clients that I interviewed for them. So that be, does become like its own avatar, but it's always based in real experiences and real things that people set. So this I'm giving you away a little bit of like the golden ticket of working with me.
Rachel: But after we create that one reader, I literally put it in the corner of my computer screen as I write their copy. And if I'm ever stuck, I go back to it and I'm like, okay, what's their problem? What are they concerned about? What haven't I talked about yet that I need to address for this specific person? After I write the copy and I [00:23:00] keep saying, I have a team of writers, so they all follow the same exact process. I will copy the entire. Like first draft of the copy document and I will move it over underneath the one reader profile. So now I have two documents that the client is getting, and I will color code the copy in the one reader document, according to where we got it from to show the client, and then we'll deliver it with a loom video of explaining to them how to read through it.
Rachel: So if something is an orange, it means we got it from the one reader document. And the avatar that we created, this is their pain point that we're talking about or the thing that they think they want. And then if it's in red, we got it from our client's questionnaire. If it's in blue, we got it from our conversation that we had with the client, because there's an hour long phone call in there too, that we talked to the client to flesh out their answers a little bit more.
Rachel: If it's green, we got it from a previous testimonial or from the interviews that we did with their client. And if it's from purple, if [00:24:00] it's purple, we got it from there. So that way, this document is literally a rainbow of color. They read their copy in the other blank document. And then if they ever have a question, as they read through, why did they write that they can go back to that other document and see where it came from that lets them give better feedback about why they don't
Rachel: like something. And it gives proof of like, we're not just sitting at our computers, making something up. So I would challenge people who are DIY in their copy to color code it and be like, where did I get this? Why did I write this? Do I just think it sounds cool? Or is there actually proof That it applies to the person that I'm trying to attract?
Brian: yeah, it sounds like you've put a lot of work into this and the whole time I'm thinking this girl knows her stuff and everyone can probably understand that, but I'm also thinking this sounds like a lot
Brian: of work,
Brian: As someone who, cause here's the thing I come from the background of I've, I've never really worked with major brands.
Brian: I've never worked with giant budgets. I would, I, what I call the, working the working class freelancer where like, yes. I've earned six figures, [00:25:00] but it's all been with like you know, relatively smaller projects,
Rachel: blood, sweat, and tears. That's a lot of projects to get to six figures. I hear you. And
Rachel: I know you and I am you
Brian: Yes. Yes. That's where we, that's what we get along.
Brian: But that being said that comes with some, some issues as you're building up to that you are the, like Chris alluded to earlier, you're responsible for pretty much the first of everything. And so I'm trying to think through how, how this applies to me as a freelancer who is in that stage where I'm doing it all myself right now, because.
Brian: Yes, I can interview these people, but what do I do with all these interviews? Am I just writing down notes? And then I'm trying to transfer those notes into words. Like, I'm trying to think, like, what's your organizational process to make this a little simpler for the, working-class freelancer who doesn't have a team
Brian: and, you know, all these processes
Brian: built out, like, how do you organize the.
Rachel: I would literally create a Google folder in my Google drive. And I would say website copy project. And I would house every single thing that I do research wise in that document, I would [00:26:00] ask myself some clarifying questions. I would have a document in there.
Rachel: Like I would ask myself why I want to do this, why I started what my favorite thing is about the work that I do and the people that I serve and what, what I think their favorite thing is what I, how I think I am changing their business or their life. So that would be one document, you know, Rachel's perspective on my business.
Rachel: Then I would have my interviews in separate documents in there.
Brian: And this is just the notes you took as you go through. Do you, I assume you record the interviews too, like through zoom or
Brian: just to have a recording on.
Rachel: had literally typed like 120 words a minute, so I just type as I do it. My writers though, I think recorded and go back and look at it, but you're quickly going to see themes coming up. It's going, it is second nature.
Rachel: That is not a copywriter thing. That is a human thing. If you are listening to the answers, people are giving you, you're going to be like, oh, Stephanie said that when I called her to like, this is obviously a common thing that's coming up for [00:27:00] me, I would also copy and paste all of my best reviews into a document so I can see what themes come up in those reviews.
Rachel: I would bold lines that make me feel good about my job or lines that I see repeating over and over from client to client. I mean, I have a guide, it's a DIY guide called the photographer's guide to write your site, right. It literally lays out every step of the process of how to do it for yourself.
Rachel: And this is exactly what it says, and it works for any freelancer. It's basically, you need to look at what you're doing as compiling research. And once that research has compiled, then you create a first draft of a document. And you always, always, always want to write your copy before you're in design, never, ever, ever opened your website and write it in the back end, because then you're
Rachel: limiting your ideas to an actual box, like boxing yourself in this is the definition writing in the backend of your Squarespace or show it say, or whatever
Rachel: you're hosting on.
Brian: that was a mistake I made on my
Brian: first, like a couple of websites, which was the same mistake. [00:28:00] It's like, I'm going to load this template up. And here's all the spots where they have words. I'm just going to replace them with what I think I should put. And now I'm done with my website.
Brian: Copy. Like
Brian: that was the extent of my
Rachel: everybody has to start somewhere. And I think that's a good place to start. Honestly, I am giving you all of these, like do's and don'ts and absolutes, but you have to start somewhere and done is better than perfect. So get the template up right in the back end. If you need to, the best research you can do is working with actual clients. Like I know there's like 10% of your listeners that are like, I'm going to go do this before I accept payment from anyone. I am just good. And they're going to have to have it. Right. That is the exact opposite of what I'm saying.
Rachel: yes, what I am saying is important.
Rachel: It is not revolutionary or necessary for you to take on a client.
Brian: I'm the type of person where I want all my ducks in a row before I do anything. I'm like trying to get level two through 100 done before I do level one. I posted this in our Facebook community. It was actually a relatively popular conversation piece because everyone can relate to that where [00:29:00] we're over.
Brian: We're overdoing it on the front end because we're afraid to take a step. We don't want to take is typically the thing half the time. I think it's a good time to actually shift into talking about running your business as a freelancer, because you do some interesting things I think are worth pointing out and discussing with you.
Brian: One of those things, being your packaging and pricing. this is an area that I think our audience struggles with. It's an area that I don't consider an ex being an expert in. And one of the things that you do, I think really well is having different price points for people at different points in their lives.
Brian: So can you talk through a, what your packages are and B how you came up with those packages specifically on the copywriting side, but we can also get on the photography
Brian: side as well, because it's very similar.
Rachel: Yeah. Well, copywriting principle 1 0 1 have three packages. Like that's always what you want to do if you have services. But I did not start that way. I started as a photographer in 2014. I mean my whole background is in writing and photography, my degrees in photojournalism from many moons ago. but I thought writers don't like money. I'm going to do [00:30:00] photography. So I started photographing families and I loved it, but I was in all these Facebook groups and people kept asking me for help with their writing. And I was like, oh, easy peasy. That's like the easy part of my brain. I can just do that. And then people started asking me for help more and more and more. And I had no formal process. I had no training as like a digital marketing copywriter. I had a 10 year career in nonprofit copywriting, fundraising writing, but I was using those principles and kind of translating them, but I wasn't really trained.
Rachel: So I was just kind of making up pricing and making up, like I was writing about pages. I had no idea that that can be so detrimental to someone like just writing one piece of the website And not giving them the full experience. So in 2016, I started doing that. And then over the course of 2017, I really. Understood how valuable it was to give them the whole site. So I fleshed out that package to become, you know, five pages of website copy from [00:31:00] beginning to end. And I just started doing that for probably the next year or two that way. And people would email me all the time. And as my prices started to increase and I hired people in 2018, I was pricing myself out of my original audience.
Brian: And this goes back to the famous chase, Jarvis quote, your $500 customer would never be your $5,000
Rachel: I think I charged $500 for my first full five-page website. Count
Rachel: on that's a hundred dollars a page.
Brian: And now you're closer. to the $5,000 point, which
Brian: different, different client pool.
Rachel: absolutely. So that perfectly applies to me and I love Jeff Chase Jarvis. But I started to price myself out of that and people would reach out and I, and I just felt guilty. I was like, I want to be able to help you.
Rachel: I truly want to be able to help you, but I do not think this is a wise investment for your business at this juncture. Thank you. I said it with a lot more personality than that, but so I started compiling what I did for the full process, into a guide [00:32:00]
Rachel: and into a kind of DIY step-by-step guide for how you could do this by yourself.
Rachel: If you know nothing about copywriting. And that took me like 18 months to write. And finally, I went away for a weekend to get away from my kids and my husband and I was in the woods and I just finished it because I really, really wanted to be able to provide that to my clients. And then, so it was like I had a Like do it yourself, done by you. And then I had a done for you model the full copywriting, and then I was just missing the done with you piece. And that is where my audits came in because I had a lot of people that came to me that were great business. People been in business for 10 years. They knew their people.
Rachel: They knew what they wanted to say, but they just needed help getting to the finish line. And that's where my audits came in. They would bring me, you know, kind of like a half-baked website or an outline. And I would just tell them what's working. What's not what idea to agitate a little bit to pull on that thread a little bit more, write a couple [00:33:00] headlines for them, edit some of the copy that was already really good, but could be improved.
Rachel: And then that's when my audits came in and now those, I probably do, I don't know, like 25 a year. And I primarily do those. I very rarely write web copy anymore because I'm very expensive. It's much cheaper to hire my associates. and I want to keep them busy.
Brian: So this is, this is interesting. You, you talk about the three, the three kind of models. And I actually had those written down in my notes here. So you brought them up without me having to say, but just to clarify everyone, there's the, do it yourself model, which for you is that copywriting guide. It's how to write, how to write the copy for your website and that on your website you publicly price these.
Brian: So I'm just gonna to them out as $199. Yep. The done with you is your website audits, and that's where you'll go through with them on a call it's done with you and you will essentially walk them through everything you just talked about, which is the, You'll do a little of the work. You'll do it with them, but you're not sitting.
Brian: You're not spending weeks on this or the full package. And that's around two grand is what you're charging for that. And that's a little more affordable for the average freelancer I would imagine. And [00:34:00] then you have the done for you, which starts at $4,500. And that is the thing where you're, you know, the, the full package is the thing where you're doing everything, which is a personality test, and you're doing all of the interviews and the profiles and all these fun things.
Brian: And then you're just, you're essentially saying there are the clients essentially saying with this one here's money in exchange for this money, I will get a clear deliverable, which is all the copy for my website, which is a really a good exchange of value and really valuable for certain types of clients, more than others, which is why not.
Brian: Everyone's going to hire that, with pricing. How do you think about pricing on these sorts of things? Because there's a pretty big gap between the $199 do it yourself and the $2,000 done with you and then the $4,500 plus on the done for you kind of pricing packaging. What w what lands you, what landed you at these pricing?
Rachel: I mean, my writers have been with me for three years now. And so I like to honor that seniority and that talent that they have accrued along the way. My longest writer has written 75 websites for me. And so. as his talent goes up, his pricing goes up [00:35:00] and he needs to make more. And so every, I would say every year, at least maybe every six months, I mean, he wrote 20 websites this year, so I need to charge more for him. The way I kind of find the value is the guide is a digital product. 1 99 is actually on the higher end for a lot of digital products where you get no assistance. But I am, it's so specific that they're not going to find a more specific guide to writing a website for their niche.
Rachel: If you are a photographer, like I'm the only one of its kind. And so like a lot of other DIY guides for writing your own copy is generic for a creative, but this is has examples of photography sites. Everything is super specific in there. And then I also should say, if people hire me for a glow up or full copy after they buy the guide, they get the discount.
Rachel: I just take off 1 99 from either of those packages. Because if they can't do it themselves, I'm not going to have them pay for it. I landed on those because especially for a photographer, most of them charge more than five grand for one. And our [00:36:00] copy should easily book them five weddings. They would not have gotten.
Rachel: So they're going to quadruple their investment which I'm proud of. And I like that. I, it feels very affordable to me when my clients are charging the same for their services.
Brian: that's like four or five clients I would imagine per year would otherwise not come in. So that's every single year they're making four to five X their return on a one-time
Rachel: absolutely. So that's where that pricing kind of comes in. I've honestly, I have mirrored our pricing to the clients that we're attracting and the
Rachel: longer we're in business, the more we see our clients charging for weddings. So that's something I look at when an inquiry reaches out. If they have pricing on their website, I'm like, why are you so low?
Brian: So there is, there's an interesting, another quote I heard recently on a podcast I was listening to because I'm a, I am, I'm such a podcast. I'm an, which is why I have a podcast. the higher, the quality of your prospects. Is the higher, the quality of your product. And, and what they were talking about is, is directly [00:37:00] applicable to us as freelancers, the better clients we get, the more valuable our service becomes.
Brian: And here's why I'll use you as an example, when you're working with higher and higher caliber photographers, the copy you write is generating more value value for them, which then in turn helps you create more value in the world, which then you get directly paid for. So just to give another example, like if you were, if you were doing copywriting for.
Brian: Those really cheap budget photographers. They're getting like a hundred dollars a gig. You're not gonna be able to charge very much for that because at the end of the day, you're not providing that much value to your client. So the more, the better client you get into your business, the more valuable you become, which literally means you can start charging more.
Brian: So for our listeners right now, if you're not able to charge much for your services, it's likely because you're getting bad clients. And that, that can just as easily start to go downward. As it can go upward the worst clients, you start to get the less value you bring into this world, which your product is even worse.
Brian: And the same as in the audio world, where as we get musicians in the world, in the music production world, we get clients that are bad at their [00:38:00] instruments. They're bad musicians. They're writing bad songs that makes for a bad product, which makes our services less valuable because now people hear that and associate music with our work.
Brian: And the opposite is true. Also when you're bringing really high quality, high tier people into your studio and providing really high tier top-notch work with those musicians, your work sounds better and you can charge more for it.
Chris: I love that a couple ideas come to mind. Brian, as we're talking through this one, I think we could simplify everything that we're talking about right now that clients be get clients. If you are good at your work, you will get more of the same. And I think where that starts to become challenging for people And we've, we've sort of hit on this already, is that repeat customers are much more price increased, sensitive, the new customers, you can't take your $500 customer tenement or $5,000 customer. I think a lot of people get stuck there when you've got new customers coming in the door, you have a lot more opportunity to experiment with
Chris: pricing, especially if there wasn't this, like, [00:39:00] Hey, I'm reaching out because my friend bill worked with you and he told me the price that you charged him. And now I have, I've anchored myself on, on this expectation. And I
Chris: think it brings up an interesting question. I get in this conversation
Chris: with a lot of people that I work with all the time
Chris: of what
Chris: is the proper ratio.
Chris: Of new customers
Chris: to returning customers. Should
Chris: you have all returning customers?
Chris: Should you have all new customers should be a, B 50 50,
Chris: and this ability to sort of raise your
Chris: price and to
Chris: get the more of the type of customers that you want is really integrated into this idea
Chris: of clients get clients.
Chris: And if you want to completely change the type of person you're servicing and the price point that you're at, you got to do
Chris: something new. You got to find a new person, you have to find a new funnel that gets them
Chris: in your zone so that you can experiment with raising your prices.
Rachel: know how people say, like hashtag no new friends. I always say hashtag only new clients, because we don't do repeat clients ever. Not because I won't, but because [00:40:00]
Rachel: if I did my job well, the first time they're not coming back.
Brian: It's like the wedding photography. Like I joked about that and their wedding photography world. You're likely not going to get repeat clients unless you count. Like if you counted wedding planners, that would be someone who's going to give you a lot of work over
Rachel: It's like a vendor refers you a lot for sure. Or I have several friends who will do a wedding and then a baby announcement and then the baby and the newborn and the family photos. So you can travel with families that way, but when it comes to this, I, and I think that is such an important question to ask yourself when you're starting a business, it does not matter what you're doing, figuring out how you want to structure, getting paid.
Rachel: Some people love the idea of retainer work, where they have somebody on retainer that, that pays them every month, a minimum amount of hours. I mean, technically all of my writers are retainers because they're associates. So I am their retainer client and my assistant, same thing. She knows she's going to get a certain number of hours from me every [00:41:00] month.
Brian: there's comfort
Rachel: There's comfort in that, for sure. I personally knew from the jump that is not how I wanted to run my business. I didn't want to be doing blogs. I'm not great at boundary setting outside of a one-time interaction. So I nailed my process down to 11 days and I love on that.
Rachel: client. We only take one client at a time, so I will never be writing for two people at once. And so they get my full attention for 11 days and then they go gently into the night and we love each other forever. And there's no chance for conflict. So if you're truly conflict diverse like myself, you can structure your business that
Brian: I was going to say that's actually a really good point to make. And this is an area that I see. And we were joking about this ahead of time, which is the, the, I don't remember what the title, the joke title of the episode was, but the dangers of being too nice or something like that, where we were talking about how, when you're too nice, it can be really easy for a client to take advantage of you.
Brian: And you just, you just really touched on that really in a clever way, which is if you're, if you [00:42:00] know your weaknesses account for that in your business model, because if you are the type of person that you have a really hard time setting boundaries, you're really nice. You really have a tough time saying no to things into clients.
Brian: Then a re recurring work, a retainer is not the right business for you because what's going to happen is your clients are gonna ask you for ridiculous things all the time. And you're gonna say yes all the time. And I hate to throw my wife under the bus right now, but she just had a client ask her to do basically a month's worth of work and like less than a week.
Brian: And she said, yes.
Rachel: It's called scope creep.
Brian: And so, and so that'd be the one time I say that and she's going to give me hell for that, but it's okay.
Rachel: You're doing great. Brian's wife. Ignore him.
Brian: just because she's so nice. And it's just like, when you have a very set deliverable, which is this 11 day process, you take people through, it is very cut and dry.
Brian: There's not a lot of room for scope creep because it is like a clear deliverable. If, and if that's the way you set your business up, there's not a lot of room for people to take advantage of you. So I think that's a really good thing to look at when you're, when you're setting up your business and your business model.
Brian: One thing I want to touch on before we wrap this up, because we're kind of getting towards the end of the interview here is your marketing is a freelancer. [00:43:00] I heard another interview that you are, you'll be doing nearly a hundred clients a year, which if people did the math and you said, you'd only do one client at a time at 11 days, that means you can only maybe do about 30 a year.
Brian: That's just a full big project. So you're still new these
Brian: These website audits as well
Brian: and all these other
Rachel: my writers are with one person at a
Rachel: So that's how we get those bigger
Brian: So I want to talk about this because at a hundred clients a year, that's 20 clients a month that you're bringing, I did the math wrong.
Rachel: I was like, oh God, no.
Brian: That's like eight clients a month, eight clients a month if I did the math. Right. And, and that, that means you need to have a pretty good lead flow as a freelancer.
Brian: I'd love to know what your process is and I'm going to guess maybe some of it has to do with coming on podcasts because I've seen on a few podcasts. Okay. Talk through your, your thought process around uh, your marketing process.
Rachel: Podcasts are. First of all, I really do enjoy doing them.
Rachel: I think talking
Rachel: is the easiest way to market
Chris: really good at it.
Rachel: oh, thank you. You're very kind. It's also practice. I probably been on like 25, So I'm [00:44:00] hopefully getting better.
Brian: now you upped your audio game. You've got the nice
Brian: microphone and everything,
Brian: which a lot of people don't do. that.
Rachel: I mean, nice. It's the hundred dollar Yeti that everybody has,
Brian: better than a lot of our guests. It's.
Rachel: it's true. It's.
Rachel: true. So podcasts are a big one because they're so niche, you know, this is probably the most outside of my genre podcasts I've ever been on. I go on like, everybody has a podcast now and it's free marketing and I get tons of leads through there. Word of mouth is huge. Happy clients are one of my largest referral sources. Another copywriter Ashlyn Carter from Ashlyn writes who is. The godmother of copywriting for creatives. She said to me, once Rachel, there are as many photographers as there are grains of sand on the seashore and she's right.
Rachel: There are so many photographers and they all talk, they all go to the same conferences. They're all in the same Facebook groups, you know, it's, it's a huge industry. And that wasn't the reason I picked it [00:45:00] as my niche, because I think people thought of it as small. It is not small at all. Hundreds of thousands of people are photographers. So I mean, I should check my stats, but I don't think I'm wrong about that number. At least it feels that way because there are a couple other copywriters I can think of who are copywriters for photographers and there's enough room for all of us. I've referred people to my direct competition all the time, because I'm Not right for everybody. Anyway, that word of mouth is a big one. Podcasts are a big one and unfortunately Instagram is a really big one. I got offer eight months. I had a baby in June of 2020, my second. And you know, pandemic times were not. Thank you. They were not very fun on the IgG.
Rachel: It was really overwhelming.
Brian: not a lot to do and to post about on, on
Brian: IgE around those
Rachel: No. Well, and it was like, there were so many social movements that I felt were so important and I was living in center city, Philadelphia at the time. And so like the week I gave birth was all the black lives matter riots downtown. And [00:46:00] so literally I would have had to get a police escort if I had my baby, like three days before, because there was no way of getting to the hospital. And it was such an intense time where I felt like we were all being called inward and to reflection and to just kind of put agendas to the side for a second. And for eight blissful months, I got off Instagram entirely. And the generosity of my clients really showed up for me and they referred the crap out of me. And I got really, really good at my email list which is another great. I, I consider that. Not hot leads, but like warm leads because it warms people up to me. But it just like builds that like know trust factor. It's not like converting for people reaching out
Brian: are you building that email list? If you don't mind me
Rachel: by being good at it, by writing good emails that people want to read. I do not advertise it hardly ever. I have a lead magnet on my site that
Rachel: people definitely [00:47:00] like, and podcasts are a great way to build my list. But I really focused on what I wanted to be communicating and what I wanted to be talking about. And it just helped me practice my messaging a little bit in a different form. But now that I'm back on Instagram and reels are a thing, God damn it. It's helpful. I have to do it. And the more I do it, the more leads we get,
Brian: do you enjoy, did you enjoy the process of creating real.
Rachel: if it was my only job, it would be so fun.
Brian: can you track the leads you're getting like, are you, you know what, there's an ROI on the time you're spending on that. Cause that's, that's one thing we have a tech talk for six figure creative,
Brian: but all our guy does is cut clips off from this pocket.
Brian: I don't put any time
Brian: effort, energy into, cause I don't necessarily believe in it.
Rachel: Yeah. I get, I know when people are coming from Instagram and at this point, I know people are finding me on Instagram because of reels. It's not like a scientific thing, but
Rachel: if I don't post reels for a week, I will not get new followers.
Rachel: and I don't know if that's across industries.
Rachel: I do think it's similar for photographers at least. But yeah, it's a game changer. And I just saw, [00:48:00] I got back on in June and once Instagram saw me posting content again for a month, it was like, we're going to put you in front of people. And so, and it was a dramatic difference in
Rachel: leads. I mean, I just hired two new writers because we're so inundated.
Chris: Ben Harley told me the exact same thing. He's, you know,
Chris: been on his show in the past. Yeah, dude. He, he does reels all the time and he was telling me about his process. I hope I'm not like sharing any secrets of
Chris: his, but he was telling me about he'd make these reels.
Chris: And at the end of the reel, there'd be a call to action
Chris: of like, Hey, if you want my free guide for blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, DME with a word, you know, DME, you know, client guide. it sounds inefficient, but it was so effective for him. He would manually reply back to
Chris: them with a video for that
Chris: person. He'd make a quick video for that person. Like, Hey Joe, thank you so much for reaching out. You know, I hope this is useful to your, to you. Let me know if you have any questions and then he would send them the link. And he was telling me I mean, it was wild to watch
Chris: just his vigor and excitement [00:49:00] as he was just
Chris: like D I
Chris: mean, like back and forth with people and recording all these things.
Chris: And he said the exact same thing that. About
Chris: just bonkers for him. The leads out the
Rachel: And that kind of personalization. I do that occasionally when I have time and bandwidth that like personalized video is so huge and that is a trick that a lot of photographers do and it's so important, but that's what I mean, I would, this would be my full-time job if I did that for everyone. And I am still very much hands-on in my business and I'm still very much servicing clients one-on-one so I need to, I have to reign it in sometimes because that's the fun stuff that I get to do.
Rachel: And sometimes I'm like, I got to go sit at my computer and write
Brian: What's it's, it's funny as freelancers, I feel like a lot of people are the opposite. They're like, I just want to sit in my cave and do my thing, and I don't want to have to go to the outside world and show my face on Instagram. So I think depends on the type of person you are. And I think knowing your strengths is really
Brian: when it comes to
Rachel: Yeah. I mean, if you're a [00:50:00] narcissist like
Rachel: me, you love Instagram. You love putting your face out there.
Brian: where you get to talk for an
Brian: hour, you know, like
Brian: I get it.
Rachel: I just feel like talking is so much easier. Like marketing. If I can talk is so much easier than creating this digestible. Interesting. Produced seven second reel. That's going to make somebody like convince someone to hire
Rachel: I would much rather
Rachel: be like, can we just talk on the phone? I promised them more of that.
Brian: agree. A hundred percent.
Chris: I'm the same way I won one kind of quick tip for people since we're talking about, since we're talking about copywriting is one of the ways that I have overcome my copywriting itis is I use an app called descript. I like talking and descript is just the coolest thing I've ever used.
Chris: I can talk into a microphone
Chris: or into a camera descript
Chris: puts that video or audio uh, into a document.
Chris: And then I edit that document,
Chris: like a normal document and that edits the audio and the video.
Brian: It's really cool. I'm using it right now, by the way. I don't use pro tools anymore for our audio nerds here. I just used a script for our
Chris: It's so
Chris: And I think what
Chris: I've my [00:51:00] favorite part about it,
Chris: is I hate writing emails. I hate like responding to a customer or a potential customer or someone I'm working with,
Chris: but to make a quick descript video,
Chris: talking to camera,
Chris: really quickly, edit it. I can hit the button
Chris: that says, you know, remove all ums.
Chris: all of a sudden
Chris: it looks like
Chris: real copy
Chris: and I'll, you know, do some basic editing. And then I'll send that video to the client in an email, similar to what Ben is doing with a, you know, this DMS. And what I love about that is it elevates the conversation. It elevates the communication because it gives them something else to work with.
Chris: But it also has been an easy trick for me to actually get my own voice because it is my own voice. And then when people watch that video there's like a little
Chris: goes through the script
Brian: It's like karaoke.
Chris: Yeah, it's just a karaoke. So they're watching me, but also reading at the same time and really getting like, I can hear him. I can see him, but I can also read what he's saying at the
Rachel: also Chris, you didn't, you didn't know that, but That's like the number one [00:52:00] tip that I give for people who are intimidated by blinking cursor. If you cannot physically get yourself to type the words for your website, I always say, record a voice memo, or you can do it in Google docs. There's like a little translator tool.
Rachel: You can hit the mic and it does it for you. And just talk for 10 minutes because that is going to get your true voice and you're going to delete most of it, but you're going to get little golden nuggets that sound just like you. And you're like, oh my gosh, that can be writing on my site. And it, it gets your voice and tone down in a way that some people have a really hard time with typing.
Chris: I'm going to
Rachel: Yeah, you absolutely
Chris: I will.
Brian: So as we wrap this interview up here I would just want to say thank you for coming on here and sharing your golden nuggets with us to talk about everything from the copywriting side to the actual, the freelance side. And I know we didn't get a good dive deep into some of the things that I would like to talk to you about because I probably could have got another two hours with you, is there anything that you would like to share with our audience or center audience to as far as a call to action for people to take if they want [00:53:00] to learn more about you or what you got going on?
Rachel: yeah. I mean, you can check me out on?
Rachel: Instagram. It's just green, like the color chair, like the piece of furniture and stories. You should know how to spell that. And I'm there all the time and you can check out my website if you want. But yeah, I am very, very active and very responsive. If you have any questions for
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