Copywriters: Pay yourself first

8 replies
Even though I love working with clients... and some of the very best clients I've ever worked with have come from the Warrior Forum here, I still will never allow someone else to determine my income.

Not now, not ever.

And as a freelance copywriter, you really DO owe it to yourself to put yourself and YOUR business first... not your clients.

After all, if YOU are not looking out for you, who the hell is?

I remember reading a book in my early 20's called The Richest Man in Babylon and in that book, there was a section that talked about "paying yourself first"

Most "financial gurus" practicing today all preach that same message.

But as a copywriter, you owe it to yourself to "pay yourself first" as well.

Here's how I do it.

Before I work on any client projects, either freelance or through my agency, I'll take an hour each morning to dedicate to writing copy for MY projects.

Not clients, not relatives or friends, but MINE.

That one hour in the morning, before I write for anyone else, has done more for my income than anything else I've EVER done.

Why?

Simple, when I'm writing for myself each day, building my own products and sales pages, it can add up quick.

And these projects all add up to create multiple streams of income that help me to do one thing:

have the freedom to say "Yes" or "No" to any client, any job, anything I don't want to do or anyone I don't want to work with.

When you're in the position where you can pick and choose your clients, your projects, and what you do each day... life becomes a LOT less stressful.

You're not at the mercy of any client. If they rub you the wrong way, or treat you poorly, or are more hassle than it's worth, you can just say "See ya"

It's high time that copywriters start demanding the respect they deserve... because i've seen too many damn copywriters fold and weaken at the demands of a client, simply because they need the money.

What?

Without good copy... many businesses wouldn't even survive!

So it's important you start commanding the respect and fees you deserve... because YOU, the copywriter, are often the one factor that can take a sinking business and help it rise again.

So start paying yourself first.

Start your day off writing for you, for your own projects.

Whether its an ebook, emails, membership site, direct mail, it doesn't matter.

Start each day like I do: one hour each morning is spent working on YOUR stuff.

Build your own business, create your own projects, and treat your own damn self better than any client would.

When you are a copywriter, there's simply no reason you shouldn't be using those skills to write for your own damn self... the most important client there is!

So, like the Richest Man in Babylon talks about paying yourself first.... take an hour each morning and write for yourself, your own projects, your own sales letters.

This way, not only will you have multiple streams of income coming in to help you live the lifestyle you want... you can also pick and choose who you want to work with.

when you have a decent size amount in the bank because you've spent so much time writing for yourself, it makes writing for other clients a whole lot easier.

Some people ask me why i even write for others when I write so much for myself? Simple, it's an amazing feeling to be treated so nicely by clients because of what you've done for them with your copywriting.

Even from my days as a police officer in the 90's... helping others has always been a part of who i am.

and it's quite an amazing feeling to deliver a piece of copy to someone who tells you a month later that their business has changed because of what you did, how they went from breaking even or worse, to having their first profitable month.

I love writing for others... but honestly, it comes AFTER I write for myself. There will never be any other way around that.

Because if you don't write for yourself, and treat yourself as your best client... I assure you, no one else will.
#copywriters #pay
  • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
    And... While you're at it why not fire all clients and go into business for yourself? j/k... sorta
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Jason,

    Honestly, that's something that any copywriter or marketer with good copy skills can and SHOULD do.

    Once you're "better than average"... you can quite literally write your own paycheck and make your own way in the world... because you have a skill that's literally applicable anywhere and in any way.

    One thing I noticed about myself after 14 years of self-employment and online marketing... it can be pretty lonely at times when you're not meeting with people, etc.

    So one of the biggest reasons I got into working with local business owners was the sheer social aspect of meeting business owners, chatting with clients, thinking of ways to help them, and SEE an actual payoff for doing so.

    For me, the perfect balance in my life has been working with clients, getting that reward of helping them get where they want to be a little faster, and then also taking off lots of time to enjoy my life, friends, family, travel, etc....
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    • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
      Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

      Jason,

      Honestly, that's something that any copywriter or marketer with good copy skills can and SHOULD do.

      Once you're "better than average"... you can quite literally write your own paycheck and make your own way in the world... because you have a skill that's literally applicable anywhere and in any way.

      One thing I noticed about myself after 14 years of self-employment and online marketing... it can be pretty lonely at times when you're not meeting with people, etc.

      So one of the biggest reasons I got into working with local business owners was the sheer social aspect of meeting business owners, chatting with clients, thinking of ways to help them, and SEE an actual payoff for doing so.

      For me, the perfect balance in my life has been working with clients, getting that reward of helping them get where they want to be a little faster, and then also taking off lots of time to enjoy my life, friends, family, travel, etc....
      The "loneliness factor" is one of the biggest reasons why I work with a JV partner on almost every project I do.

      The reason why I don't do freelance is because it's not worth the time and energy for me to convince another business owner that I can sell his stuff. Especially when I'll make more money from writing an ad for my own stuff or for a joint venture.

      That doesn't include major mailers obviously... I'm sure you can make insane money if you're an A-lister. I'm not good enough to write for them at this point in my career anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    I was actually going to start a thread asking how many copywriters make a living selling their own products. I'd be curious to see the answer.

    You hit the nail on the head. Copywriters should always, first and foremost, use thier skills to create and sell their own products. Another key point is: If you are going to take on client gigs, you can ask for what you're worth and easily walk away from a potential client when/if you're too far away from a final budget.

    I've been working on two products for over a year and still haven't gotten them done. And there is a lot of money on the table, waiting for me. I've busted my butt this year writing more sales letters than I ever have in such a small amount of time, and now, I've finally got some much needed time to work on my stuff.

    You're right though, it would be ideal to set aside an hour a day to write my own copy and content. I just don't shift hears from one thought process to another. Any advice?

    Mark

    P.S. If you don't at the very least pay all of your bills from the passive income your products create, fire your clients and make it happen.
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    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

      I was actually going to start a thread asking how many copywriters make a living selling their own products. I'd be curious to see the answer.

      You hit the nail on the head. Copywriters should always, first and foremost, use thier skills to create and sell their own products. Another key point is: If you are going to take on client gigs, you can ask for what you're worth and easily walk away from a potential client when/if you're too far away from a final budget.

      I've been working on two products for over a year and still haven't gotten them done. And there is a lot of money on the table, waiting for me. I've busted my butt this year writing more sales letters than I ever have in such a small amount of time, and now, I've finally got some much needed time to work on my stuff.

      You're right though, it would be ideal to set aside an hour a day to write my own copy and content. I just don't shift hears from one thought process to another. Any advice?

      Mark

      P.S. If you don't at the very least pay all of your bills from the passive income your products create, fire your clients and make it happen.
      This is exactly why I'm learning how to write copy! I've created some products, and need to sell them. Of course I have a huge desire to learn copywriting because I'm fascinated by it, but I also can't really afford to pay a good copywriter for a good sales letter. So the next best thing is to learn how to do it myself.

      I believe it will benefit me to learn it myself anyway. Not only will I be able to write my own copy for my own products, but I'll be able to write for other clients, and therefore make even more money.
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Mark,

    That's a good point... how it can be tough to switch gears from one project to another.

    That's why I give myself the first hour of each day... when i wake up, to write for myself. That seems to be when my noggin is clearest and can focus on stuff without many distractions.

    Then, anytime I switch projects/letters... I do so ONLY after I've taken a short 30 minute, or even an hour break, to recharge.

    I call it my "ebb and flow" or "roller coaster" way of writing copy that I learned from reading the Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz.

    After I write for an hour or two, i'll break away and go do something else for 30 minutes to an hour, just to clear the previous project from my mind.

    that way, when i go back to work an hour or so later, I've got more of a "clean slate" than trying to jump from one project right into another.

    This is also why i like doing a few other things, like training some of my writers here at the agency, or coaching students, etc... just stuff that helps me break away from a project.

    But Mark, give that a shot.... in between each project... take a nice hour break and do something fun, so you can "clean the slate" of the previous project and try to approach it anew :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author RogozRazvan
    This is a very good idea and it should be adopted by everyone. And why limit it to copywriting?

    Whatever you do, in your life, you must pay yourself first. Health before job, relationships before money. You need to remember why you are doing what you are doing and not fall into the trap of forgetting what is at the cause and what is at the effect of things.

    I've seen so many people simply lose all real perspective on their life by not following this rule. They started something because they wanted to travel more or to have a better lifestyle or simply to help someone or care for someone. And in time, they spent they spent more time working than actually traveling, they lost all their friends and they ruined beautiful friendships and relationships, the same friendships and relationships that were their muse.
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