#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 today’s podcast episode, my guest is Cole Schafer, the founder of Honey Copy.

Cole pulls back the curtain on how he landed clients such as Google, FreshBooks and other brand name companies — and how he did it within three years of starting his business.

Whether you’ve worked for some big names before, you’re working for some of them now, or you’re aspiring to land some of these marquee clients, I think you’ll find some interesting insights in Cole’s story.

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 your business and the clients you currently serve

After graduating with a degree in marketing in 2016, Cole worked for a small advertising agency in his home town. He quickly discovered it wasn’t for him.

He quit and got a part-time gig in construction, which gave him afternoons and evenings to work on his freelance writing business.

What did you do to build your writing business?

Cole found two big brands, Entrepreneur magazine and FreshBooks, that were willing to take articles from up and coming freelance writers.

They paid less, but Cole leveraged them to get other clients.

Today, Cole’s best paying clients are clients that most people have never heard of.

What types of work were you doing for those big brands?

Cole was writing for the FreshBooks blog, pounding out five to seven articles a week for different brands and not getting paid a lot.

But as his name grew, he was able to land better paying gigs with other companies for projects such as landing pages, website copy, and email sequences.

What types of companies are these new clients?

Cole has done work for luggage companies, health and fitness companies, video game streaming companies, snack companies, business schools and mattress-in-a-box companies.

These companies don’t have the same cachet as FreshBooks, but they pay well and are great to work with.

These smaller companies don’t want to hire a fulltime copywriter. So they’ll bring in a freelance senior copywriter and pay him/her a good amount of money to write a landing page or similar projects.

You can make a great living writing for “no name” companies. And you’ll have a lot less competition from other copywriters.

You can make a great living writing for “no name” companies.

How did you go from FreshBooks to these “no name” clients?

At about the one-year mark, Cole was tired of cold emailing clients. He wanted to figure out how to reach “hot” clients, i.e. clients that would reach to him and be ready to hire him even before getting on a sales call.

He decided to stop writing ten articles a week for these big brands and start writing quality articles for his own website. He focused on building his email list and making his articles SEO friendly. Eventually, he built up a pool of potential clients he could market to on a regular basis.

That has been his process from 2018 to 2019, and he increased his income by 80 percent as a result.

Cole also cross-publishes to Medium, LinkedIn and Twitter. He treats his articles as his salespeople.

Treat your articles as your salespeople.

What topics do you write about for your own site?

Cole uses his newsletter to sell his services as well as a few products.

One of his newsletters focuses on storytelling. In this newsletter, he tells crazy, real world marketing stories that have made companies a lot of money.

His other newsletter is Sticky Notes. In this, he shares his pursuit for creativity and talks about what learning in writing, advertising, marketing and psychology. It’s a personal newsletter that helps his subscribers feel connected to him.

With these two newsletters, he’s consciously doing the opposite of what most people do on Medium. He goes deeper and stays away from “list” articles. His audience loves it.

How have you broadened your business to develop other streams of income?

Cole has been working on a series of how-to copywriting guides. His first guide, “How to Write Copy That Sells Like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the Hottest Day of the Year,” generates $3-5K a month in passive income.

If Cole puts out a guide a year and sells them for $97 each, it takes the pressure off his copywriting business and allows him to work only with clients he wants to work with.

But it all depends on him building up his email list and continuing to write great articles.

Where can listeners learn more about you?

Cole’s website: https://www.honeycopy.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cole_schafer/

Medium: https://medium.com/@austincoleschafer


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

1.  Grab 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

2.  Download a free copy of my new 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 email me at [email protected] 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. Email me at [email protected] … put “Breakthrough” in the subject line and I’ll get back to you with more details.