Today, let’s talk about getting your first client…
And specifically, we’re going to talk about that moment of decision. When you can finally say, “Okay, I’ve learned enough that I can start acting, start moving forward, start marketing myself with confidence and conviction, start taking on client work, and really get my business off the ground…”
Specifically, I’m responding to a copywriter, asking about how to cross that threshold.
But this is a nearly universal bump in the road for just about any entrepreneur. So you may find me drifting off into references and insights that apply to you, whether or not you’re in the copywriting biz or in some other biz entirely.
Remember, this is Mailbox Monday…
And Mailbox Monday needs YOUR questions to be awesome! Every Monday I answer your questions on marketing, selling, copywriting, business-building, and more.
If you’ve been reading a while… Have a pressing question about your business you’d like to have answered… And haven’t asked a question in a while… Make sure you get it to me at [email protected]. You’ll get my response in an upcoming Mailbox Monday issue!
On to today’s question…
I am new to this. My biggest problem is getting a prospect to give me a chance, that first break, maybe multiple projects.
I’ve taken quite a few classes with AWAI including the AC, one of Clayton Makepeace’s courses and I’m taking his VSL class now. I just finished Steve Slaunwhites B2B Mastery course, and I’m taking his email course now. I’m also in Ed Gandia’s Getting Better Clients Academy.
But, that missing link, is well, still missing.
First, you are not alone!
Let’s zoom out for a minute. And I’m going to give you an unvarnished and honest take. Not on AWAI specifically (in fact, I really respect them and believe they have your best interests at heart), but on the entire “how-to” marketing and business training industry (including myself). And, in reality, this is pretty much all marketers and sellers under the sun — at least the good ones, anyways.
In fact, I’ll simply point at myself, lest some other company think I’m bashing them. I can take it.
As someone with something to sell you — especially knowledge products — I profit when I can make you feel:
“I’m not _________ enough.”
I’m not experienced enough… I’m not good enough… I’m not trained enough… I don’t have enough of funnel skills, email writing skills, VSL skills…
And so on, and so on.
(By the way, even self-positioned “benevolent” institutions like universities, government, and nonprofit organizations ALSO only exist because they can make you believe these things, too.)
The reason we are able to profit from this is because we make you feel THE GAP. We make you feel like there’s a gap between where you are and where you want to be. And as soon as you feel that gap and the acute pain of not having it filled, you’re looking for a solution. You’re looking for something to fill the gap and ease the angst and existential pain of being incomplete and unrealized as a human being.
You don’t like that feeling.
And we, as marketers, come in and play the role of hero. We come in with a solution (aka SHINY OBJECT) that will fill the gap.
— We point to your pimply complexion. Our latest glop to stop your acne is your shiny object.
— We point to the six-figure copywriting career you should have. Our latest program is the sure-fire way to fill your gap.
— We point to your suffering and self-doubt. We have self-help programs to make you whole.
But here’s the thing. Look back across your entire life. All the times you’ve noticed the gap, and tried to fill it with a product from a marketer like me. How many times has it made you feel:
“I’m enough as I am right now.”
Finally, you got that one product, one service, one program, one person in your life that makes you feel like you’re enough, just the way you are.
Hasn’t happened yet?
Maybe in a fleeting moment, but then it was gone?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
When you’re looking outside yourself for solutions, for the next product to ease your pain, for the next shiny object to help you bridge the gap…
You ain’t gonna find it, my friend.
And yet, we marketers keep Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” rocking in the background…
And you end up with shiny object syndrome. Chasing the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing… Hoping you’ll finally find that one thing that will make you happy, that will finally make you “enough” to move forward.
As a marketer, it would benefit me tremendously to NOT be telling you this, and to instead feed the addiction to the next, and the next, and the next…
Lining you up for one multi-hundred or multi-thousand-dollar sale after another. “You’re not enough, you’re not enough, you’re not enough.”
I could tell you that the reason you don’t have clients yet is that all those other programs don’t have the REAL secret to bridging the gap. That I do, and for a small fortune, it could be yours.
Cha-ching. You buy. I’m a bit richer. And in a few hours, days, or weeks, you’ll wake up and realize you want another shiny object. That you still don’t feel like you’re enough yet.
But you’ll blame it on yourself that you didn’t bridge the gap. Because surely I knew what I was talking about. Surely I wouldn’t have made that product if it wouldn’t get you results. Surely…
And you know what? I’ll make it easy to believe. Because I DO make products based in experience and proven principles. I do make products that will, in general, get the results that are promised, when used as recommended. Like so many other marketers in the space.
But still, you don’t feel whole. You don’t feel complete. You don’t feel like you’re able to bridge that gap between where you are, and where you want to be.
First and foremost, it’s time to accept and embrace yourself for who you are, as a first step toward moving forward…
The market can be a harsh mistress.
By this I mean any market. Any time you put yourself out there, for acceptance. The market doesn’t always accept you for who you are. In fact, the market can often reject your MORE for being more YOU. As-in, choosing to be yourself, instead of conforming.
Until one thing happens.
When finally stop saying, “I’m not _________ enough.”
And start saying, “I’m enough, right now, just as I am, and I’m going to be me, no matter what anyone else thinks.”
When you start acting with integrity from that place, a strange switch is flipped.
There’s a famous quote from Marianne Williamson. I think of it here…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
When you actually move into that space and embrace that you are able to take on the world, just as you are, and can act in your own power, it’s impossible to ignore.
There’s the song, “This little light of mine…” That’s what this is about. When you let your light out and let it shine into the world of, “I’m not enough,” others will see it, and like you, they’ll embrace and accept themselves as enough.
And because you make them feel that way, they’ll want more of you, and more of you, and more of you.
You won’t get this from another book, program, coaching session, or whatever…
You simply have to take a deep breath and see that you are enough, just as you are right now.
That you don’t HAVE TO buy another program to go out there and take on the world.
And in fact, that putting the power to make you feel like you’re enough in another program or product actually gives away your own power. In giving away the responsibility for your success to some marketer like me, you’re also giving me your power.
Don’t do that.
Take responsibility for your own success. Recognize that you’ve always already been enough, just as you are. And in that responsibility, you gain great power to shift and shape your world in the directions you want.
“But Roy, what about actually making an income and getting clients?”
Fair question. And I’m NOT telling you to go be a monk and live in a monastery. Even though that’s where you’re most likely to hear people telling you these things.
Rather, I believe in the path of the Bodhisattva, from Buddhism. The Bodhisattva is someone who, once becoming enlightened, goes into the world to share their realization with others. Rather than being a hermit and meditating 16 hours per day, they take their awareness that we are all enough, just as we are, and use it to make life better in the world.
How does this apply to you?
Simple: the way to cross that threshold and get your break, start getting clients, is to start making offers into the marketplace.
In fact, do it a lot.
Are you as skilled as you’ll be after you have a ton of experience? No, absolutely not.
If you were trying to become a surgeon, would I be telling you to skip school and start cutting people open? Absolutely not.
But here’s the thing. If you’ve already gone through the courses you say you’ve gone through, getting paid to do some marketing communication, you’re ahead of 95% of entrepreneurs when they launch their business. You’ll create better marketing and write better copy than they would/did.
Will it all work? Absolutely not. But here’s the thing. There is not a single copywriter or marketer on this planet who knocks ‘em all out of the park.
The market is a harsh mistress.
But you’ll learn far more from getting clients to agree to a few well-supervised, lower-stakes projects than by taking another program. Plus, you’ll be getting paid to learn.
This is a painful period. If you’re serious about it, and have grand ambitions, you’ll think you’re getting paid far too little, for far too hard of work.
(Though remember that’s because we marketers sold you on the gap, where you should be, and where you are. But we didn’t tell you the pain of really crossing that chasm, because we wanted to sell you our “easy button” shiny object.)
Make more offers.
Try to get a marketing or copywriting job.
After deciding I was going to be a freelance copywriter, I worked full-time from 2005-2010 to build the skills to ensure my success. Here’s a couple articles about that: How (and why) to get an awesome marketing job and How getting a marketing job led to my successful freelancing career.
Or, put it all on the line and do anything and everything in your power to get your first copywriting experience. Including agreeing to work for free until and unless your client gets the results you promise. That’s what I laid out in How to get your first copywriting client (lesson for ALL marketers).
Yes, as an unproven consultant, you are a risk. Clients won’t invest big bucks in you up front, to make it happen.
But let’s say you’re 100% honest and transparent. You pick 10, or 50, or 100 marketers you’d like to work with. And you start reaching out to them.
You say something to the effect of, “I want to make you more sales and profits at zero risk. Here’s what’s going on. I’m looking for my first few clients and case studies for my marketing and copywriting business. Since I’m launching this new venture, I know there is likely to be some hesitation that you’re not going to get what you pay for. So instead of asking you to pay me to create a [let’s say] video sales letter for you, I want to create a VSL for you to test. If you believe it will generate more sales, test it. If it generates more sales than your current effort, then and only then do I want you to pay my fee. Which is $####.”
And so on… (See the “first copywriting client” like above for a much more in-depth example of that letter that I actually used.)
If you send that to 10 or 50 or 100 marketers, you may only get one.
But once you’ve done a project for that one, you won’t be at zero anymore. And you will start to develop momentum.
Embrace failure, take the first step…
This essay has already run entirely too long, so I’m going to wrap up quick.
When you buy another shiny object, it’s easy to feel successful in that moment. You bought it, you got it, you went through the program, you’re a success.
That feels good. But it gets you nowhere.
If you want to actually move forward and create something in the world, you have to embrace the fact that you will probably fail. And the more you dare to take on, the bigger your failures will be.
That says nothing about you, besides that you take on great things.
This isn’t an excuse to just fail, by the way. You should try to succeed. But most successful entrepreneurs have a string of failed businesses in their history.
In fact, I’ve heard numbers anywhere between a dozen and 20. Failures. All of ‘em. Until they learned enough, gained enough competence and confidence that they finally broke through. (Read about Dan Sullivan’s 4 C’s for more on this process.)
You’re enough as you are.
You don’t have to be anything more to take the next step on this journey.
You don’t have to buy anything to move forward.
Just do it.
Oh, and as you do start to move forward… As you gain the understanding that you are enough just as you are… As you embrace the journey, and recognize failure as a sign that you’re on a big enough adventure…
Information products actually play a different role. Instead of shiny objects to fill the gap, they are tools you can use to act more effectively in the world. A proven system is a proven system, and should be used. Not to fill the gap of something missing in you (because there is nothing missing in you). But because learning from the experience of those who came before you will lessen failure and increase your odds of success, for whatever you want to accomplish.
It’s in that spirit that I encourage you to use the training that you get immediate access to as part of BTMSinsiders. Click here to see all the training available today.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,