#151: Jared Kessler on ‘Upleveling’ Your Copywriting Business

Before we get to this week’s episode, I wanted to let you know that I’m about to start coaching a small group of established writers and copywriters.

If you’re already earning $2k – $7k per month (or the part-time equivalent), we’re going to focus on doubling your income … or getting more free time without sacrificing your income … or both!

If you’d like to join us, send me an email [ed at b2blauncher dot com] … put “2X” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with all the details.

And that’s a good segue into our episode, because today we’re going to talk about how to uplevel your copywriting or writing business.

I’ve found that if you’re already earning $2k to $7k a month consistently as a writer or copywriter, doubling that income is not as hard as you’d think. I’ve been saying this for years.

Today you’re going to hear from a very successful copywriter by the name of Jared Kessler who’s going to share how he’s built his business so quickly.

Jared is proof that growth doesn’t have to be linear. He’s been a copywriter for about 10 years, but he’s a relatively new freelancer. And his story of how he’s been able to grow his income fast is a great example of why earning more—WAY more than you currently are—is not as big a challenge as you might be thinking.

(Hint: it’s not about effort as much as it is about a shift in strategy.)

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Tell us about yourself

Jared Kessler got his start in copywriting in 2008. Before, he had worked in a wide variety of jobs. Around 2008, he had a friend who quit his job to blog fulltime. When he talked to his friend about it, he gave him the book The Copywriter’s Manual.

He felt that he was meant to be a copywriter. He has a degree in psychology. And copywriting allows him to combine his interest in how people think with his love of creative writing.

So Jared started playing around with copywriting. He took on some clients and launched a few programs. After a few years, he used this experience to get a job with an ad firm.

By 2016, he had worked for a number of ad firms and developed his copywriting skills. In the meantime, he was getting more and more inquiries.

He started to charge enough for his services to make going out on his own worth his while. Today, he’s been running his own copywriting studio for about two years.

What types of clients do you typically work with?

Jared can divide his clients into three general categories:

1. Higher caliber business owners / consultants

2. CMOs and CEOs who already work with an agency

These clients work with an agency but often find it takes too long to get things done. With Jared, they can get what they need without having to go to their agency.

3. Smaller ad and design firms

These firms may not have a copywriter on staff. They can bring Jared on as needed.

Tell us about how you’ve positioned your business

When Jared launched his first website, he was the H&M (the clothing company) of copywriters. He was cool and inexpensive.

In his second iteration, he was the Urban Outfitters of copywriting—cool but expensive.

In his current iteration, he’s the Barneys New York of copywriting.

The “packaging” of your website has to match what you’re selling.

As he increased his prices, he had to revamp his website so that it matched what he was doing.

You might lose prospects by pricing too high. But you can also lose prospects by pricing too low.

Companies choose the least risky option—and pricing that’s too high or too low can be seen as a risk.

Try to remove any excuses that people may have for not hiring you.

How do you set yourself apart from other copywriters?

Listen to what your clients say about you. When they hire you, ask why they made that decision.

Generally, Jared sees four groups of copywriters:

1. Cheap and scary

They charge less and have less experience. You’re not sure what you’re going to get.

2. Experienced but average

These people may be excellent writers, but they’re not necessarily good copywriters.

3. Big, slow and dated

This can include some agencies.

4. An agency level copywriter without the agency headaches

This is how Jared positions himself. To qualify prospects, Jared will have prospects complete a questionnaire before getting on the phone with them. If they don’t complete the questionnaire, they’re either shopping around or aren’t seriously interested.

Many copywriters feel they have to convert everyone into a client. But you don’t!

Even Walmart isn’t for everyone! Your small business is no different.

Jared will observe what other copywriters are doing and try to position himself differently.

What you say you are and what other people say you are can be two different things. Listen to what people are saying about you and your business.

You’ve positioned yourself as a copywriting studio. Tell us about the reasoning behind that and why it works for you.

“Creative copywriting studio” carries more weight than “freelance copywriter.” Jared wanted to bring the concept of design studios to copywriting. He sees himself as  a copywriting creative director.

“Freelancer” sounds cheap. “Studio” sounds more expensive. “Copywriting studio” sounds more full service.

He doesn’t see many other copywriters going this route. Mostly, he sees a race to the bottom.

How important is design?

Jared is a big proponent of design. Every morning, Jared checks out the top apps on iTunes. Right now, the top app is Instagram. People love looking at pictures.

So it’s not just about content. It’s also about how it’s presented.

None of us are “just” copywriters. We all have unique skills and talents.

We all have the opportunity to think of something “out there” that solves a client’s problem. We can then give it a name, package it and sell it.

When you charge for higher priced services, it’s not based on hours—it’s based on outcome. You have to take the time to understand the client. Ask about their competition, fears and frustrations. Find out what’s working and what’s not. Then base your copy on that.

You have to evolve with the times. Stay one step ahead. Listen to feedback and adjust accordingly.

Where do you plan to take your business?

Jared used to write down goals and have a plan. But now, he mostly listens to feedback. He monitors the marketplace to see what’s happening. He’ll try new ideas and then see if they work.

It’s easy to fall in love with an idea. But you have to put it out there and then correct course. Get feedback. Keep tweaking and fine tuning.

But lowering your fees is a losing proposition. Anything you can do to rise above the competition is the way to go. And this may look different from year to year.

Where can listeners learn more about you?

Jared’s website: https://www.jaredkesslercreative.com


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

1. Grab a free copy of my training class for writers who are new to freelancing.
It’s called “The 3 Magic Levers: How to Get Your Writing Business Off the Ground and Land Your First Paying Client.” Click Here

2. Download a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here

3. Join our “Get Better Clients Academy”
You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here

4. Get your website DONE!
If you’ve been struggling to get your website done … or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got today… let my team and I build you a beautiful website for your writing business. We’ll do all the hard work! Email me at [email protected] … put “WEBSITE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with the details.