This weird thing happens when you do freelance work…
… because we work alone, and doing our work typically means disappearing into the laptop for a few hours…
No one ever sees the work getting done.
They see the results of the work, sure. But very few people have a clue as to what goes into the work.
Not our clients.
Not our family.
Not even our peers, most of the time.
Which explains why so few people understand what we do, right?
“I’m not sure… she’s on the computer A LOT. Something with the internet? Some kind of advertising, maybe?”
When I started my first blog (waaaay back in 2008), I had no agenda for it. I just assumed that if you were looking to get your name out there, you had to have one of those blogs and write articles.
So I did.
At first, I was writing about whatever was on my mind; travel, the economy, even politics (an area I never touch today, because the sport has become unplayable).
Then, I sort of stumbled on the purpose of the blog…
As a way to show my work.
I did it first out of pure loneliness.
All those hours pouring over great sales letters (obsessing on John Carlton’s work, as those early articles unashamedly detail), tapping out my own first attempts, and finally getting some cool results for my clients…
All that effort needed to go somewhere other than my own mind.
It was getting crowded in there.
And, as patient and supportive as my wife was then, I sensed one more “Carlton story” would send her over the edge.
So, I began spilling my brain into the blog posts. Writing about some of the things I was doing in my pursuit of becoming a better copywriter….
- Connecting the dots between sidewalk psychology and persuasion in print…
- How I dug the best story out of a client and turned it into an epic adventure…
- Even how I ‘snuck my way’ into a private conference and made life-changing connections…
… and people responded.
I started getting comments saying they appreciated my “transparency”, and sharing their own adventures and findings.
Even cooler, client prospects started to take note.
All this “open robe” sharing of the work I was doing out of desperation for camaraderie, was actually positioning me as an expert in the copywriting world.
And it was resulting in money in the bank, better quality clients, and even invites to more conferences and mastermind groups.
I learned three critical lessons that year that are just as important today, even more so…
- Don’t overthink what you should be writing about. There are many logical arguments to be made for not doing what I did and being a total Carlton fanboy and showing all the struggles of trying to get better. But it resulted in more work, and eventually, a friendship and partnership with Carlton himself. Oversharing is way less dangerous than not sharing at all.
- Never wait around for anyone to anoint you “the expert”. Guess what? All those hours you’re spending hunched over the laptop in the obsessive pursuit of mastering your craft are immediately valuable to others.
The fact that legends before you have taught the lessons you’re learning now is not a reason not to teach it yourself. You have a unique filter for the information and the way you talk about and teach it will resonate with the people who need to hear it now.
- Your best future clients might become your fan first. If you’re new then this won’t seem true, but I promise it is. The industry heavyweights need you as much as you need them. Your best clients and future partners might be the very people you look up to as untouchable right now. This was true for me and it’s been true for a lot of freelancers I coach.
I remember one of my mentees, Chris Orzechowski, was shocked when an A-list copywriter he considered way too important to notice him, wrote about him in her newsletter. It started off as a catfight and ended with them becoming fast friends and partnering on a coaching program together.
So, if you’ve been waiting around to become an expert and grow your authority as an expert, I challenge you to stop waiting and dive in.
It doesn’t need to be a blog. Use whatever platform works best for you.
However, I DO recommend investing in a good website to post (or repost) your best stuff. You want your own real estate where no one can remove, delete or rule change you off the map.
One more tip: go deep! Tweets are fine as one channel, but social media is a shallow relationship. If you want to establish your expert authority, take the time to dig in and really share.
And include some lessons and tips. Number them too, for skimmers 🙂
You’re already doing the work… now start showing it, and watch what happens.
If you’d like my help being seen as a respected expert, check out my freelancer coaching program called Escape Velocity.
We’re starting a new session on June 1st.
We’re looking to work with a very specific group of people who know that right now is the best time to start their freelance copywriting career.
Here’s what I’m looking for:
- You want to find out what it takes to work as a professional freelance copywriter…
- You’re committed to learning a proven system to build a profitable and sustainable freelance business…
- You’re willing to follow a plan to launch your new copywriting career
- You can commit at least 5 hours per week for 10 weeks from the start of June 2022…
- You are friendly and coachable…
If that’s you, click this link to learn more about this live coaching program (remember, this will only happen live once this year)