Today, I want to talk about unbreakable rules for doing business…
Though it appears I’m going to take the long way to get to that lesson.
I just grabbed the mail from my mailbox… In it, another royalty check.
I really like April. With it, July, October, and January.
Why? Because that’s when I get my quarterly royalty checks. Payment received because the copy I wrote for clients continues to make them money. For some, years after I wrote it.
I love to see how the copy continues to pay off on client’s investments in me and my copy…
But also, of course, I love getting the money!
Royalties are pretty sweet because they feel like money for nothin’. They’re not, of course. They’re the result of the hard work it took to put together a marketing promotion that would continue to generate response. And sometimes, ongoing mini-projects to help the clients continue to make the copy perform. AND — importantly — they’re payoff from all the time and money I’ve invested in myself and my direct marketing expertise.
I realized very early on in copywriting that I wanted to charge royalties…
In the words of Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach, there are two economies.
There’s the time and effort economy, and the results economy.
Most people — including, I think, most professional copywriters — live in the time and effort economy…
That is, you put in a certain amount of time or effort, and you get paid for it.
Now, the time and effort economy includes everyone from minimum wage workers flipping burgers at a fast food joint, all the way up to Paris Hilton getting paid a six-figure check to show up at a Hollywood club on a certain night.
When you’re paid to show up, be there, put in your time, put in your effort — you’re working in the time and effort economy.
You can get paid a little or a lot, but you’re always getting paid as a direct result of your activity.
Compare this to the results economy…
In the results economy, your value is established not on being there and doing the work, but on the results the client gets.
In addition to living in the time and effort economy for some gigs, Paris Hilton also lives in the results economy.
In addition to her live appearances, she’s written a book (or at least put her name on it), which she gets paid royalties on the sales of. She’s been in films, and put out musical albums, and had multiple TV shows.
Last but not least, she’s parlayed her fame into endorsement deals on fashion lines and perfumes, which have reportedly sold over $1.5 billion and which also reportedly pay her upwards of $10 million per year, simply because they carry her endorsement.
She doesn’t have show up to earn her millions here — she simply had to give permission to have her name put on these products.
When you decide to charge royalties as a copywriter, you’re living in the results economy…
Rather than getting paid to show up, or to do a certain amount of work, you’re choosing to make your real living based on results.
Now, my general rule is that I get a fee in addition to royalties. The fee is my time and effort economy cost of showing up. The royalties put me in the results economy though.
When I got into the field of copywriting, I looked around, and saw who was having the success I wanted to have.
Very quickly I realized it was the top copywriters who were living in the results economy.
Those earning royalties.
I figured if I could get really good at direct response, that was the best way to provide a TON of value to my clients, and make a great living as a result.
Now here’s where we get to the real lesson of today…
I very quickly made it my unbreakable rule for doing business that I’d get paid based on results generated…
Although my first marketing job was on salary, I very quickly grew reluctant to be paid only on that.
And so I made my case that the results I was generating were worth a certain amount to my boss.
Eventually, he kicked me out of marketing, and into sales, where he felt it made the most sense to pay me on results.
And I earned a lot more there.
Then, when I went freelance, I was very reluctant to take any gigs where I wasn’t being paid on results.
At first, it was a bit difficult, as I didn’t have much of a reputation. But I fought for it anyway, and established a pattern of clients paying me royalties based on the performance of my copy.
Then, once I had momentum there, I simply decided to stop taking on work on any other terms…
From that point forward, I only took on copywriting work when I could get royalties for my copy’s performance…
It’s not always easy setting an unbreakable rule…
I’ve had gigs become available that would pay a bigger fee for my time, but no royalty on the back end.
I’ve had clients come through my door that I’d really love to work with, except that they refuse to pay royalties.
I’ve had to turn down opportunities I’d otherwise love to take…
But I made this decision about how I want to run my business, and the rules I want to play by…
And I can choose to do that.
The interesting thing is that while you might think the folks I turn away would be resentful, the opposite happens.
They are usually very respectful of the fact I’m only willing to work on certain terms. It may not be a fit for them, but they actually see me in a better light when I stand behind my principles and personal rules.
Sometimes, they even come back — and agree to pay royalties.
What unbreakable rules do you have for your business?
This is very important. And it doesn’t matter what business you’re in — I’m NOT just talking about copywriting.
You should have rules for your business. Unbreakable ones. The terms on which YOU want to do business.
Here’s another good one. You don’t answer work communications on weekends. Unless you’re in a business that absolutely demands it (and they are fewer than you might think), make it a rule to not answer emails or calls on the weekend. Or, if you can’t go the full weekend, pick your day of rest. I promise, this will be GOOD for your business. Even if you’ve been responsive on the weekends before.
Sometimes, this will irk clients who now will have to change their behavior. It’s better to set these rules from the beginning.
But once you tell your clients that it’s your way or the highway, they’ll either shape up or ship out. Either way, you’ll be better for it.
Make rules for how your business (and your life) works. And more importantly, for how it doesn’t work — for what you won’t do.
The earlier you do this, the better it will be for your biz in the long run.
I don’t recall exactly how much total royalties it is, but I do know that there’s work I did at the very beginning of my freelance career back in 2010 that’s still paying me royalties today. That’s powerful stuff.
One more thing…
I mentioned that — very early in my direct response career — I decided to model those whose success I wanted to have…
Let me list a few of those names…
— Dan Kennedy
— Jay Abraham
— Gary Bencivenga
— Ken McCarthy
— Perry Marshall
— Joe Sugarman
All folks who’ve made substantial amounts of money off knowing direct response marketing, and applying the principles and strategies to making a living in the results economy. (Gary B was even the first A-list copywriter to charge royalties, as far as I understand it!)
Last September, Brian Kurtz brought them and other Titans together for his once-in-a-lifetime event, The Titans of Direct Response.
And he’s finally released the recordings of that event to the public.
As Brian’s copywriter, I’ve gotten first crack at offering these DVDs to you.
When you order through that link (before midnight US Central time tonight!), be sure to let me know — by email, at [email protected].
Because I’ve made an agreement with Brian. The affiliate commission that he’s paying me for your order actually buys you something extra. In addition to the Titans DVDs and the bonuses Brian is offering, Brian is — in effect — buying you the recordings of my Advanced Direct Response Copywriting Workshop.
This was three days packed wall-to-wall with all my best copywriting, marketing, and business wisdom learned from my first decade in the biz. What to do before, during, and after every copywriting gig to maximize your chances of getting a big winner (and big royalties). Plus my secrets to succeeding in the copywriting business, if that’s what you want to do.
But you have to order the Titans DVDs by midnight to get those recordings free.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets