Success can be UGLY…
I’ve spent most of my day buried in project planning documents.
Actually, two separate and related documents.
The first is my internal version of The Control-Beating Project Pre-Flight Plan. This is a document to fill out BEFORE you write a word of copy (actually, before you even land on the big idea for your promotion). It’s designed to gather all your important information in one place. All about your prospect, your offer, the product, the campaign, the copy needs, the big idea, and your selling narrative.
The second is my internal process for going through a project with a client. Specifically, my process for doing this with a junior copywriter. But since the big difference is in who does the tasks, it’s pretty much the same as the process I use for my own projects. This includes the contract, the fee payments, filling out that project dossier that makes up the Pre-Flight Plan, planning the project timeline, doing research, copy planning and outlining, the writing process, edits and revisions, writing supporting copy, doing the launch itself, and what to do afterward whether or not the copy succeeds.
This is a pain in the butt.
It’s not fun.
And if you were to have asked me 10 years ago what I thought would be some of the most important factors in succeeding as a freelance copywriter, I doubt I would’ve told you that I’d be doing this.
Yet — here I am…
Your PROCESS is your most profitable boring task in your business…
Forgive me if you’re one of those demented souls who loves living in, following, and completing processes. If you are, you’re a rarity in the worlds of entrepreneurship and direct marketing that I frequent.
Most of us around here are way more interested in the artistic flair and creativity of it all — even if it’s artistic flair and creativity aimed at creating profits.
We love putting our brains to work on EXPRESSING ourselves through value creation.
Following a process? No way!
And yet, how many times has it been repeated? Working ON your business (which means, building repeatable processes) is a far bigger leverage point with far bigger profit potential than working IN your business.
And I could go on…
There are ample case studies and proven systems for building processes into a business. And yet, most of us, when we get into business for ourselves (or get into business as an employee) tend to wing it. We might follow a process someone else puts in front of us. But for the most part, we just do what feels right, in the moment.
And yet, if you identify all those little areas in your business that you do (or someone else does) more than once… Document the process… Improve and refine the process and documentation… And keep trying to execute that at an ever-higher level…
You create awe-inspiring leverage in your business…
Consider this: businesses are CONSTANTLY hiring junior copywriters to do projects.
It’s a necessary evil of running a direct response business.
You need more copy. And there are only so many experienced copywriters to go around. And today, there’s practically infinite opportunity to use any good copy you create. So you have to go to the lower segment of the talent pool, hoping you’ll get a standout star who can develop into a top pro.
But when you hire them, they don’t have your experience. They don’t have your knowledge. They don’t have your capabilities. They don’t have your thinking.
And so the classic way of doing this was to put out a call for specs, get a bunch of people to write for free, find whomever might be half-decent, and try to massage whatever they write into passable, profitable copy.
Alternately, here’s what I’m doing…
I’m documenting my process. I’m documenting my thinking. I’m putting as much as my specific thinking around a project into words on paper, that the junior copywriter can read. We can work through that document, and clarify any points that need it.
Then, I break the writing process itself up into bite-sized chunks. They write some segment. They get feedback. They write more. They get feedback.
It’s a process designed to help them get up to speed as fast as possible, to create independent skill. But also a process that can be followed by a skilled writer, for consistently-high results.
Add a layer of training to the whole thing, and it’s a potential powerhouse of a process that gives both me and clients a layer of confidence in taking on new talent, and churning out high-quality direct response copy in a competitive industry.
Make a process of everything — from the creative to the mundane…
The above example is of how I’m applying a process to the traditionally “creative” skill of direct response copywriting. And sure, there’s still some creativity involved. But process-based thinking gives creativity the space it needs to flourish.
Contrast this with everything from fulfilling books to processing refunds to monthly reporting to anything else in a small business like mine.
I’ve designed processes for each that allow them to be completed by ANYONE with moderate technical competence.
I’ve kept my operation small for now, as I’ve chosen to maintain a lifestyle business (especially until my kids are all in elementary school). However, as I look to scale in various ways (including bringing on junior writers, outsourcing admin tasks, and so on), it’s these processes that make that easy.
This is what puts you in control of your results.
This is what puts you in control of your business.
This is what allows you to create a business that will scale and grow beyond the work you as an individual entrepreneur put into it.
And it starts BEFORE you start to get those results.
It starts NOW.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,