Habits are EVERYTHING…
Here’s my personal experience:
— All of the best things I’ve wanted and gotten in my life have come about because of my best habits.
— All of the areas where I’ve watched myself come up short of my goals have been because I let my bad habits take over.
To get more of what you want in life, your biggest challenge and opportunity in self-development is to substitute more productive habits for less productive ones.
My favorite habits I’ve picked up in the last few years:
— I weigh myself first thing every morning. When I started, I weighed 207 lbs and had lost touch with my fitness. I dropped as low as about 172 and am back up 185 with more muscle and as lean as I was at 172.
— After I started weighing myself daily, I developed a regular exercise habit. This was a huge part of the weight loss and now strength and fitness goals. I feel about as fit now as I ever have been.
— After I weigh myself every morning, and before I work out, I meditate. This time is great for introspection and self-development.
— Every Friday morning I meet with my coach, Joseph Rodrigues. He helps me reorient and think and reflect on things from an outside perspective, also dedicated to my success.
— And every day as I start work I fill out a form with basic time tracking and financial information from the day before. This keeps me oriented toward productivity and cash flow in my business.
The amount of time any one of these takes is very small. They are little habits. But they set the course for every day and are very powerful.
The question is — what are YOU doing daily to get you closer to your goals?
And, importantly, what could you be doing?
That’s the topic of today’s Mailbox Monday question.
Remember: every Monday I answer your questions. About copywriting, marketing, selling, business-building, and more.
If you’ve got a burning question, I’ll give you my best answer — just click here to submit your question.
Here’s today’s question…
I enjoy reading your emails and your videos.
As a freelance (professional but fresh (2 years in the game)) copywriter I wonder:
What can I do every single day as a habit to make my copy ever-better and gain compounding interest on it?
I know how this process works with language learning or programming etc., but I can’t find the lever for copywriting yet.
I’ve done copying by hand and frequently read books on the subject. But those methods seem to lack the practicality (imagine a basketball player just shooting 50 hoops each day).
What do you think about this topic?
All the best,
This question reflects a true success mindset…
Here’s the opposite end of the spectrum. “Uh, I’ve just discovered copywriting and I hear you can get rich as a copywriter and I just want to know the one book I can buy — but probably not even read — that will make me rich as a copywriter. And my rent’s due on the 1st so the faster it works, the better.”
Copywriting, like any valuable skill, takes time to master.
Sure, you can have a persuasive success and make a mint overnight. It happens. Sometimes you’re so attuned to your market that even a casual attempt at a sales letter absolutely kills it.
But to be able to write profitable and even breakthrough copy with consistency, there’s a learning curve.
And let me give you a hint…
The only way to REALLY learn to write copy is to write copy…
You have to put all the thinking and hard work and effort in… Put it out into the marketplace… Get the results… Learn from them… And do it again.
That really is it.
Everything else you do can help you with this process. You can read a book, or go through training, or hand-copy other copywriters’ work.
And those are okay as supplements to the core process.
But ultimately, it’s about writing, testing, and repeating.
The only way to get good at copy is to do it, over and over and over again.
Using that basketball metaphor, the best players in the game will have shot 50 hoops before the other members of the team are even in the locker room for morning practice.
It’s the same thing with copywriting.
All the learning and studying of others is your warm up to your warm up.
Here’s what one of the world’s most successful copy-driven businesses asks copywriters to do daily…
I actually wrote about this earlier this month, in Do this regularly to boost your copywriting skills.
There are three things Agora Financial asks their copywriters to do every day.
The Agora method…
First, study a promo. Look at something that’s working in the market today. Read it. See what jumps out at you. Try to decide why it’s working, what’s making people respond. Perhaps even consider what would make it more appealing.
Second, write at least a page of copy. This is whatever copy you need to get done today. Just make sure you’re writing, all the time.
Third, develop a big idea. Try to turn a raw idea into at least journal-level copy, where you’re constantly playing with ideas and retelling them in the most appealing way you can.
This process comes from Joe Schriefer, and I believe it played a huge role in helping them build a 9-figure publishing business.
Here’s a simple exercise you can try…
Since I’ve written about the above from a different angle recently, I don’t just want to repeat what I said before.
So instead let me offer you this exercise…
First, come up with an avatar of who your ideal prospect is. This is a one-time task, so you can spend some time on it. Really flesh them out as a 3D person. Find stock photography if it helps (I actually use this picture thinking about financial prospects, and found it by searching Google Images for “elderly couple worried about money.”)
Think about all the superficial details like age, health status, work, net worth, homeownership, location, and on and on. But then think about what they think, feel, and believe. What are their truths about the world and the way it works, and about their life? Where are they blessed? And where has life been unfair? What are their fears, frustrations, and failures? What do they dream of and desire? What destiny are they pursuing for themselves?
Importantly: Think really critically about their secrets. What are they ashamed of? What mistakes and shortfalls are they embarrassed about? What do they feel guilty about doing or not doing? Where are their deep emotional wounds and trauma? How are they f-ed up, broken, and insecure in ways they don’t even want their spouse or best friend to know about?
The better you get to know these things — especially the deep emotional stuff, as it relates to the problem your offer solves — the more powerful the daily habit will be.
Once you have that avatar, and you really feel like you’re getting to know them, your job is to write them a letter every day.
It doesn’t have to be a big long sales letter. It doesn’t even have to read like a sales letter. Make it a personal letter. But make it about an idea that you may write sales copy around.
At the risk of a complete fail and face plant, I’ll write a quick example of what I’m talking about to Fred, my financial prospect…
Have you been watching pot stocks recently? It seems like they’re all the investment news is talking about.
I know you’re probably a little hesitant. After all, marijuana is still — illegal. But all personal and moral considerations aside, they’ve sure looked like a good investment, haven’t they?
I mean, when Canada legalized, some of those stocks shot up 10-times, 20-times, even 30-times.
Even if you’d just put a little stake in that of — let’s say — $1,000 — it could’ve grown to as much as $30,000.
That’s freaking impressive.
Yeah, I know you’ve gotten burned before. One hot stock tip after another doesn’t pan out. You make a few bets and suddenly you feel like you’re in Vegas — broke and feeling like a loser.
But let’s be honest, this is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing going on, right?
I mean, pot was illegal. It’s pretty much a matter of time — and not that much time — before it’s legal nationwide in America. Popular opinion has already shifted. Politicians will follow the votes. And pretty much every candidate for 2020 — including Trump! — has come out in favor of decriminalization at the very least. But even more likely is the steady march toward full legalization.
It’s what happened in Canada. It’s what’s happened on a state-by-state basis, and with medical marijuana.
And in every situation, investors have just been rolling in the profits.
Now I can’t make the decision to invest in pot stocks for you — you have to decide what you’re comfortable with. But there’s a good chance that a handful of these companies are going to absolutely take off. And when they do, the investors are going to make a fortune.
Would you like to know more about which companies are best-positioned for US legalization?
Let me know…
That’s not A-level copy, but it’s not terrible, either…
And, it’s good practice.
As I was writing, it forced me to be conversational. It made me think through my arguments. It made me develop a logical flow.
It got my fingers moving. And a whole lot more.
That’s what I could write in about 6 minutes, on a really quick whim.
If you were to spend 30 minutes every morning writing something similar, you’d be a constant fountain of ideas and copy.
You’d get a ton of practice.
And you’d develop quickly.
Combine that with studying other people’s work and winners, as well as writing your normal day-to-day copy responsibilities, and you’d quickly notice your copywriting abilities getting better and better.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,