I’m friggin’ exhausted!
I was up at 2:30 this morning (don’t ask!), and no matter how much caffeine I imbibe, there’s no getting rid of this tired feeling.
That said, I almost always have the energy to answer questions for Breakthrough Marketing Secrets readers.
So good thing I was planning on catching up on Mailbox Monday issues all week!
Before I get to today’s question…
This is really important. I’ve counted my questions. I know how many I have left. By the time this catch-up week is over, the queue will be EMPTY.
That’s really good news for you.
Because that means the first person to submit their burnin’ question for me to answer here will get it answered next Monday.
And if you don’t get it in first? Well, it will be answered very soon — within the next couple weeks.
So, what’s your single-biggest question or challenge getting results in your business, with your marketing and selling, from your ads and sales letters, with your copywriting, in your copywriting business, or out of life in general?
Let me know at Roy@RoyFurr.com.
Okay, on to today’s question…
My question is: How do I find new clients to talk to?
BAD NEWS: I can’t help you…
Why the heck would I put a question in an issue, and NOT have an answer?
You’d think I could just BS my way through, and call it good, right?
That’s not quite where I’m going here.
What this person wants is a tactical answer, but I’m going to deliver the even-more-important STRATEGY…
No matter how many explorers’ lives were lost lookin’ for the Fountain of Youth, they were never going to find it.
Because it doesn’t exist.
Just like there’s no magical place I can point you to that will provide a never-ending fountain of new clients. Not for copywriting (which I think this person was asking about), and not for any business.
Let’s take a journey into the mind of the rookie copywriter.
We discovered copywriting. We were sold on this opportunity. Maybe by my friends at AWAI, who helped get me into copywriting. Maybe by someone else.
We hear that we can get paid to write stuff.
Not only that, there’s a ton of demand for these strange creatures called “copywriters.” And if we call ourselves one, the money will start flowing to us.
This isn’t necessarily WRONG, per se. It’s simply the best part of the truth. It’s an ideal selling story for this opportunity.
You can get paid to write. Skilled copywriters practically have people throwing money at them to write for them.
But there’s a big gap between the first discovery of the opportunity, and you reaching that mountain top.
(And really, this applies for ANY business, and ANY opportunity.)
It’s a gap many have bridged successfully in the past. And it’s a gap you can bridge, too.
But if you go searching for the “Fountain of Clients” that pours out business for new copywriters, you’re going to spend a long time on the wrong quest.
I may be wrong…
I may be wrong about the person who wrote this question to me.
They may have a better grasp on this than I’ve assumed so far. They may not believe that there’s a magical “Fountain of Clients” to be had, that I’m going to point them to because they asked.
And yet, the brevity of their question leads me to believe otherwise.
I actually had to edit the question above to ADD things to it, so it read like a nice note sent to me. The original email was only the second half of the question, and factory default signature (and embedded Apple ad), “Sent from my iPhone.”
I put about an hour of my day, every working day, into over-delivering on value, and they couldn’t even take the time to write my name and sign theirs? I’m guessing that’s a shortcut-seeker.
Bad news: most shortcuts don’t work.
Let’s imagine for a minute that this magical “Fountain of Clients” existed.
Here’s what happens in any market, due to the natural forces of supply and demand. Anywhere that supply overwhelms demand, prices plummet. Anywhere demand overwhelms supply, prices skyrocket. Or, in the words of Doug Casey (once a client), “The cure for high prices is high prices. The cure for low prices is low prices.”
If there were a magical “Fountain of Clients” I could point you to, eventually, word would have gotten out.
Copywriters would flock, and drink merrily. Until the fountain runneth dry.
What’s that line from There Will Be Blood?
“I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!”
Pretty much any time there’s a situation where there’s a ton of clients congregating in one area, willing to hire someone who is not a specialist or expert, the fools rush in and destroy the ideal setup.
Just look at all the gig sites out there.
They were built to connect clients in need with freelancers in a state of poverty, willing to work for table scraps.
Clients who don’t know better pour in to hire freelancers who don’t know better, and market dynamics drive the fee through the floor. Nobody’s getting top-class anything, and they know it. But there’s a ton of gigs happening for a pittance apiece.
Or, check out Fiverr. Five bucks. Get something done for you. If you’ve got $5 and a task you need done, it’s heaven. If you want to make real money (I don’t really move for clients anymore for less than about $300/hour), you’re barking up the wrong tree.
(For all those folks who’ve used these sites to get a few paid samples then moved on from them — BRAVO. You did it right. But don’t stick around too long — it will kill ya!)
You should be looking for long-cuts…
Here’s where I lay out the actionable advice. Though note it’s mostly STRATEGIC. Not git’er-done today tactical.
First, narrow your target market. “Clients?” That’s all you got? You have to get much more specific than that. Tell me who, exactly, you want to serve. Get crystal clear on the who, because without it, everything else is irrelevant.
Once you think you’ve targeted a small enough group of ideal clients, go narrower. You will NOT serve the world. If you’re freelancing, 50 clients is more than you need to be well-fed for life. The best freelancers spend 95% of their career working with 10 or less clients. They find the really good ones, and make an impact there.
Next, figure out what they want. What’s the biggest challenge, problem, desire, or roadblock of this very small group of clients? What do they most want? What outcome could you create for them, that they would place immense value on?
Then, how — specifically — are you going to get that outcome for them? Don’t just say, “copywriting.” Or whatever you do. Identify an effective method, a proven system.
Finally, spend 10,000 hours of study and practice getting really, really good at that.
Most of this study and practice can be learning on the job. Get early clients — small ones, as you learn — that understand you’re still learning. There is always someone to match your progress on the journey, who is a perfect fit. Find them, work with them.
Get 1% better every week. It’s a lesson I learned from the world’s best copywriter and a mostly-distant mentor, Gary Bencivenga. And it’s the basis of why I write to you every day of the week. 1% improvement, compounded over years and decades, is how you move mountains.
Then, as you get better, move up. Some of your clients will move up with you. Some you will have to leave behind.
Your reputation will grow with your skill.
In the beginning, you’ll have to chase the clients you identified as ideal. (You can use the lessons from The Copywriter’s Guide To Getting Paid to do this.) But because you know who they are, you won’t have to come asking me where to find them — you’ll know where they are. You’ll just have to go get them.
Later, you may discover that you’ve built that “Fountain of Clients” — but it’s not magic. It’s the result of putting in your 10,000 hours, and becoming the recognized expert at getting your small circle of clients the result they most want.
The good news is, this starts to pay dividends immediately. And then, it starts to build and snowball.
It’s a “shortcut” in so much as it’s a lot shorter than pursuing a bunch of paths that will never work. But you have to be committed to the long game to make it pay off really big.
I don’t know — “K” — if this is what you wanted to hear.
But it’s the best answer to your question. And it will provide the biggest breakthroughs for those who follow my advice.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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