When you actually enjoy the work you do, you can be just as happy about Mondays as you are about weekends. And I think that’s a pretty dang cool thing.
After all, what a miserable existence it is to spend your entire life “working for the weekend” — with more than 70% of your days dedicated to things you gotta do to get by.
Do I have ideas of things I’d like to do that would make my days even better? Sure!
But about 10 years ago, I set myself on the path I WANTED… And pretty much every Monday since then has been far from the drudgery that — sadly — probably more than half the people in this world face at the beginning of every week.
This is by far, the most rewarding thing you could ever learn from reading Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.
Find work where you can look forward to Monday as much as you look forward to Friday afternoon — and you’ll be rich beyond measure.
Since it’s Monday, it’s time to open up the mailbox, and answer YOUR questions.
And remember, if you want YOUR question answered in a future Mailbox Monday issue, just drop me a line at [email protected] — and I’ll drop you in the queue.
Today’s question is about the best way to learn to grow a million-dollar publishing business, and I’ve got quite a few thoughts based on my own personal experience…
I’m a consistent follower of yours. I’ve never felt compelled to ask you a question since you hit on so many difficult subjects already.
I’m breaking into the financial copy world and my long-term goal isn’t to freelance, but instead to start my own financial publishing company one day.
You probably haven’t been asked this type of question before, but as one of the smartest guys in this industry I want your two cents.
What can I do now to prepare myself to start my own financial publishing company one day? Obviously becoming one of the best financial copywriters would be a strong first step, but are there other things I can work on?
What a good question! I like the big thinking behind it. That it’s about a bigger future — NOT just how can I run a six-figure copywriting service business.
As much as copywriting is a good JOB — one where you’re working for yourself and your clients, but still a job — it’s profoundly limited.
Building a business — in whatever market or niche or industry — can lead to you having a much bigger impact on the world. Through the jobs you create, the positive impact you can have on your customers’ lives, the improvement to your community, and so much more. Plus the fact that pretty much the best path to financial security and wealth — no matter what numbers you use to define those — is building a business that is bigger than you.
With all that said, let me be more direct in my answer to the question.
The short answer is the best way to learn to grow one of these businesses is to try to get a gig INSIDE one of these companies.
I speak from experience here.
Although mine wasn’t totally intentional, and it wasn’t in the financial publishing space.
When I decided I wanted to get into marketing back in 2005, I got very intentional about applying for marketing jobs that were a bit above my skill set. I also tended to favor small businesses in my search, as I’d decided years before that I did NOT want to work in a cubicle. (That was my first criteria on my “NOT” list — a list you should have for yourself, too.)
I was also confined to a specific geographical area — in and around Eugene, Oregon. My wife and I were moving there, for her school. And so if I was going to get a job, in an office, I needed something in driving distance.
After just a couple interviews, I hit on a fast-growing technology training publisher in the area. Their marketing guy had just moved up to president, and so their marketing role (they were small enough that it wasn’t a department yet) was open.
(I wrote more on how I got this gig here.)
I got the gig, and jumped in with both feet.
Getting this marketing job inside the business ended up being an education that serves me tremendously to this day…
Maybe I could’ve started doing freelance copywriting at that time. It was already my long-term goal.
But if I had, I think I would’ve struggled harder for longer, and maybe not been where I’m at today.
When I was in the job, I started by doing basic copywriting. I wrote product descriptions, marketing emails, email newsletters, and so on.
Then, I expanded my role (notice my role in that) into things like pay-per-click marketing and database marketing, trade show management, and a whole lot more.
I also helped develop the direction of the company, through things like weighing in on strategic product development.
There was a ton going on there, and I definitely can’t claim credit for all the growth, but I was definitely a member of the “brain trust.”
I got to see how a successful, growing company is run — from the inside out.
We more than doubled the company in the just under five years I was there. We put the company on Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest-growing private companies. The owner was able to sell a chunk of the company to finance his dream home.
All of this was substantial in my education as a marketer.
But there was so much more going on.
Because the company was pretty small, I was at the very least aware of what was going on with every aspect of the business.
We were a training company, and I eventually learned what the negotiations with the trainers who created our content entailed (including things like advances, royalties, and so on).
I got to learn about customer service, and IT. Plus website development — including what it takes to have a complex website to serve all that content.
I learned about negotiating shipping contracts, and bookkeeping, and hiring ad agencies, and all sorts of things.
And I was getting paid pretty well — with pretty minimal risk — to do so.
This made it an ideal learning environment to discover what it takes to run one of these businesses.
The one thing I never got direct experience on was what it takes to go from ZERO to $1 million. That’s something that you’ll only ever really learn on your own. But in terms of running a successful business, and all the aspects of that, I got a world-class, in-the-trenches education from getting a job for a few years.
Most aspiring copywriters will never do this. They want “the writer’s life” too much. But if you want more than “the writer’s life” — if you want to build a business — you should actively pursue getting a job (for a while) in the industry where you want to build your business.
Get inside. See the gears turn. Preferably in a fast-growing, but still small business in the space.
It will teach you way more, faster, than anything else.
Also, a lot of financial publishers are formed as offshoots of other publishers…
This is a little-known secret of the industry. Most of the big names in financial publishing today formed as small, independent divisions of other financial publishers.
Being inside the bigger company is the best way to get this started. Yes, you’ll give up a stake to the parent company. But often you’ll get a ton back in terms of resources and operational help — plus, often, the all-important first wave of customers that takes your business from zero to full-operational.
For HUGE insight into this entire process — from an investment publishing industry insider — I can’t recommend Mark Ford/Michael Masterson’s book Ready, Fire, Aim highly enough.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets