Our Top Episodes and Articles of 2020

What a year 2020 has been!

This year more than ever, I’m thankful to all of my podcast guests for sharing their experiences and insights with my listeners. We had so many fantastic guests again this year, including Danielle Hughes, Jude Charles and Nikki Rausch, to name just a few.

We also published a lot of shorter podcasts to address specific topics, such as how to build strong and lasting client relationships, why you should stop worrying about low cost writers, and two imperatives for a fun and profitable business.

Our articles also covered a lot of ground, with a renewed focus on delivering value to clients. Topics ranged from how to make better decisions about clients and projects to brainstorming adjacent market opportunities.

If you happened to miss one or two of these, now’s your time to catch up.

Here’s a roundup of our top episodes and articles for 2020 to get you started.

Top 5 Podcast Episodes

#203: Joanna Penn on How to Leverage Your Writing Skills to Develop Multiple Streams of Income


When you play your cards right, you can earn more as a writer than many doctors and lawyers.

Crazy, isn’t it?

But if all you’re doing is providing services to clients, you’re still just trading hours for money.

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She’s also a podcaster and award-winning creative entrepreneur. Her website, TheCreativePenn.com, was voted one of the top 100 sites for writers by Writer’s Digest.

Over the past decade, Joanna has built a very lucrative business that includes multiple income streams with a compounding effect.

As a result, she’s doubled her income twice in the past few years — all without having to write for clients.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to create assets that generate income 24/7
  • Which assets to create
  • How to build an audience
  • Which income streams to avoid.

#206: Offering X as a Service


I used to get massages fairly regularly.

But it started to feel like a luxury, so I stopped going.

Yet massages have great health benefits, so about a year ago I decided to recommit.

I went to Massage Envy, a nationwide franchise that offers massage and skin care services.

Turns out, they have a membership program that’s brilliant—and that we can learn from.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What Massage Envy’s membership model can teach us
  • How to frame your services differently
  • The question you need to ask yourself to get more recurring business.

#211: Pamela Wilson on How to Create Your Own Content Faster, More Consistently and with Less Stress


Coming up with a steady stream of topic ideas for your own newsletter or blog can be difficult.

And even when you have ideas, you wonder if they’re worth writing and publishing.

I mean … what could you possibly contribute that hasn’t already been said?

If this inner dialogue sounds familiar, you’re going to get a lot from this episode.

Pamela Wilson is the founder of Big Brand System. She helps people build online businesses they love.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why the tasking of creating their own content is difficult for so many writers
  • What to write about when it feels like everything’s already been said
  • How to create your own content faster
  • How to publish more consistently
  • Common mistakes writers make when choosing topics.

#212: I’m the Guy You Call When…


A few years ago, I listened to an interview with Tony Robbins, the well-known business strategist and motivational speaker.

He talked about the people he works with one on one.

These are people at the highest levels of society and industry. People who can contact his office and get a call back from him within a few hours.

In that interview, he talked about how he defines the value he brings to his clients.

And that conversation stayed with me.

In this podcast episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Tony Robbins expresses the value he brings to his clients
  • How you can follow his example and apply it to your own business.

#217: Cole Schafer on Going from Zero to Writing for Google in Less Than Three Years


If I told you that I’ve written for clients such as Google, IBM, Oracle, UPS and The Home Depot, you’d be impressed, wouldn’t you?

I haven’t written for these companies.

But when I meet writers who do have that kind of client roster, I’m immediately impressed.

And so are their prospective clients.

But is working for big name clients really that important?

It depends.

In this podcast episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Cole managed to land these big brand clients so quickly
  • How Cole broadened his business to include other income streams.

Bonus Episode Suggestion

I was particularly touched by my conversation with copywriter Matt Brennan. He join us when the pandemic took us all by surprise in the spring.

In our discussion, he shared with us his personal experiences of living through these early days of the pandemic with his young son.

It’s a heartwarming episode, filled with hope for these trying times. I encourage you to give it a listen.

Top 5 Articles

How to Narrow Your List of Prospects


I often talk about the importance of prospecting for new clients—even when you’re busy.

Generally, it’s not that hard to do some research and find lists of companies in your target market.

But once you have a list in hand—a list that has hundreds and hundreds of prospective companies you could target—what do you do with that?

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to cull that big list of prospective companies
  • What sizes of companies you should target
  • What types of products or services you should look for.

Your Typical Workday


Take a moment to think about your typical workday.

How much control do you have over what you have to do—and when you get to do it?

And when you think about each day, do you feel energized, excited, happy and anxious to get to it?

Or do you feel drained, stressed, unhappy, worried or depressed?

This assessment is important.

Because in working with hundreds of solo creative professionals, I’ve found that two of the biggest sources of happiness are 1) having control over our schedule and 2) work that’s interesting, challenging and engaging.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • Why so many of us would gladly trade some income for more control
  • Why you need to get crystal clear on what your ideal day looks like
  • How to start moving closer to that ideal.

What to Do When You Have No Experience Writing What Your Prospect Wants?


Everything was going really well.

You hit it off with the prospect, she seemed ready to work with you, and she could afford your fee for the white paper she needs.

But then she asked the dreaded question: “Can you send me a couple of samples?”

The problem? You don’t have any.

You know you could do a great job for her. Your confident in your abilities and have the instructional materials on hand to put together a great white paper.

But this will be your first one.

So how should you respond?

In this short article and accompanying video you’ll learn:

  • Why you shouldn’t be discouraged by a lack of direct experience
  • How to draw a line from your experience to what the prospect wants

How to Effectively Combine Warm Prospecting Emails with LinkedIn Outreach


Students of my coaching programs have been using my warm email prospecting (WEP) process successfully for years.

But the landscape has changed with the growing popularity of LinkedIn.

And today, it makes sense to combine WEP and LinkedIn to reach and follow up with more prospective clients.

In this article and supporting video, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should combine warm email prospecting with LinkedIn
  • Two prospecting sequences you can start using today.

When You’ve Priced Yourself Out of a Client’s Budget


I often encourage my coaching clients to raise their prices.

When they do, a lot of good things can happen that go beyond just extra income.

But when they raise their prices consistently over time, they may eventually price themselves out of a client’s budget.

And they get the “Sorry, I can’t afford you” email.

If this should happen to you, you have a couple of options to deal with it.

Some options are good. Some are bad.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • Why you shouldn’t reduce your quote
  • How to counter with a “less for less” offer
  • Why you also need to start targeting other markets.

Bonus Article Suggestion

We’re all hoping that this pandemic will come to an end soon, of course. But we’re not at the end of the road yet.

If you’re feeling drained these days, here are five movies to feed your soul.

Thank You for Your Kindness and Support

As we wrap up this humdinger of a year, I want to take a moment to say thank you to all of my readers and listeners.

So many of you have reached out to say hello, express your appreciation and send your best wishes during these uncertain times.

Your continued support and interest mean a lot to me.

So thank you. It feels great knowing we’re all in this together.



By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers.

You’ll discover a different way to think about your challenges during this crisis. Plus you’ll get clear recommendations to get you through the storm safely … and to come out the other side stronger than ever. — Click Here

2. Download a free copy of my book for writers who are NEW TO FREELANCING.

I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster.  Click Here

3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories) … just hit reply and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

4. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just hit reply, put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.