You’ve sent dozens, hundreds, or maybe even thousands of cold emails and messages looking for a client and haven’t gotten a single positive response…
And now you’re wondering: What the heck? Does this even work? Can cold outreach really help me land my dream clients? It worked so well for so-and-so. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?!
Well, if sending cold emails has left you feeling frustrated, confused, and broke… you might be making one of these 3 DEADLY outreach mistakes…
Hey Posse! What’s up? It’s Alex.
And I’m coming to you this week with an exclusive interview with my good friend, serial entrepreneur, and fellow copywriter – Stefan Georgi. During this interview, you’re going to hear us riff on all sorts of juicy copywriting topics.
Things like: how to thrive in your freelance business during a recession, how A.I. is impacting the industry, if copywriting can really help you “get rich quick”, how to generate passive income as a copywriter, and of course…
What we REALLY think about cold outreach.
More, specifically, what NOT to do when you’re on the hunt for clients…
Stefan shares two of the worst cold outreach emails he’s ever received (one of them may or may not have involved a hairy butt lol). And he dissects 3 of the biggest cold outreach mistakes he sees being made over and over…
And most importantly…
What you should do instead if you want your cold outreach email to stand out, leave an impact, and get you hired.
I’ll be real with you, this video is full of some downright REAL TALK, including some tough love and unpopular opinions…
But we’re also sharing practical advice for building and scaling a successful copywriting business that ACTUALLY LASTS.
This interview was so much fun and I feel like we just barely scratched the surface. I already think we need to do a part two… let me know what you think in the comments below.
And if you’re new to the crew and you want to see more expert interviews & tutorials like this one, then make sure you subscribe to my newsletter.
In today’s interview, you’ll learn:
- What to do during the current recession…
- If AI is really going to replace copywriters…
- 3 of the biggest cold outreach mistakes…
- Tangible tips to help your cold outreach email stand out & you get the job!
Who is Stefan Georgi?
Stefan Georgi is a copywriter and serial entrepreneur who has founded or co-founded 9 different businesses that have scaled to at least 7 figures—with several of those businesses reaching the 8 or 9 figure mark.
Through his copywriting, he’s sold over $1BN worth of products online—writing for some of the biggest names in the direct response industry, including VShred and Golden Hippo.
His unique approach to market research has helped him successfully capture the voice of folks like Sir Nick Faldo, Mike Tyson, Tommy Chong, Dr. Steven Gundry, Tony Horton, Dr. Claudia Aguirre, and more.
Get ready to take notes, because this is the EXACT approach that you’re about to learn in this exclusive masterclass!
Now, here’s the interview…
Hey everybody, what’s up? I am so freaking stoked about my special guest that I have here on my YouTube channel today. He is a good friend, fellow copywriter and someone that I’ve admired in the industry for a long time. He has built many successful companies, scaled to over 7 and 8 figures. He’s written copy that is sold over $1 billion in products and services online. And now he is here joining me on my YouTube channel, where we are gonna talk about all things, copywriting, freelancing, the dos and the don’ts. Everyone, please welcome Stefan Georgi. Hi Stefan!
Hey Alex, thanks for having me on.
I really wanna start off with talking a little bit about sort of the state of the industry right now. I know there’s a lot of uncertainty. A lot of people have been coming to me with questions about, the future of copywriting, the future of marketing. So the first thing I wanna ask you is where do you think the copywriting and marketing industry is going? What is the future of marketing? And what are you most excited about?
Yeah, so a great question and great way to start off. Yeah, I think that the future is very bright honestly. If anything, my big driver right now is expanding the universe for copywriters and helping copywriters understand there’s actually, there’s more opportunity than there probably has been at any point ever, not just because of the medium of online and the internet, which we all know about, but really with crypto and Web3 with all the eComm, the explosion of eComm that happened during the pandemic and things like that and Shopify stores growing. There’s really never been more businesses online.
And there’s never been more people putting a lot of money into stuff, especially in the crypto and the Web3 space. So there’s just a massive amount of opportunity in all these ventures, whether it’s blockchain or traditional, need copywriters that need marketing help. And so to me, it’s really like a blue ocean right now.
Yeah, I 100% agree. I read something the other day that I was Googling how many businesses there are in the world or something like that. And there are over 200 million businesses in the world and that number is steadily increasing. And so, one thing that I think happens when copywriters get started in the industry, and I think this happens in the Posse and in your community as well, is they get started and then they start seeing copywriters everywhere.
And then all of a sudden, they’re in an echo chamber of other copywriters and it can really create this sense of, “Oh my God, there’s a bazillion copywriters, and there’s only this finite number of businesses who need copy. How can I thrive? How can I stand out?” And I think it really goes to show that if you zoom out, there are so many businesses out there that are looking for copy support and so many new opportunities. I mean, you mentioned Web3, we haven’t even begun to see the potential of where that can lead. Well, sorry we have started to see the potential of where that can lead, but we don’t even know what future opportunities will kind of lie out there for copywriters and marketers.
Yeah, and there was obviously a dip where crypto prices went down and things like that, the new crypto winter, although it’s already kind of rebounding a bit, but really from a copywriter marketer perspective, that’s a good thing, and I’m pretty plugged in on this, I’m an advisor on a project that’s already got, our market capital is just through my network and I’ve gotten lucky, but what they’re starting to realize is, oh, we actually have to do marketing for our projects.
We can’t just sort of throw our project or NFT project up on a place like OpenSea or get it on a listing, and we’re all gonna get rich and change the world. We actually have to communicate. So it’s really even better than it was six months ago or three months ago, because I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who are big players in that space who are like, “Oh my God, you know copywriters, I need a copywriter.” Like, “Oh yeah, we really need help with our funnel.”
And it’s not because they’re trying to sell… Yeah, you can sell anything. Ideas need to be sold, things that change the world, generally need to be sold. There’s that novel or navel, however you say it, that quote about how you essentially it’s like, “Great products should sell themselves. And if you need to do marketing, then it’s a shitty product.” And that’s the dumbest thing ever. I just hate it. I’ve never disagreed with something more. Literally, you have to sell ideas. You have to sell products, you have to sell. And it’s same thing with Web3, because that’s just really cool all the opportunity that’s there.
And the opportunity that’s there is creating more opportunity for businesses in so many other different types of niches. I mean, the online education business is exploding. The info marketing business, the eComm business, and every kind of niche within that I’ve seen just massively scaling up and it’s because like you said, there’s so many more opportunities being created every single day. And then businesses are jumping on those opportunities and no matter what, they’re gonna need copywriters and marketers to help promote their products and services.
And I agree, I often say, your product doesn’t matter with a giant star, star under it to say, of course, your product matters. It should be a great product, it should be helping people. There’s no question about that. We’re not here talking about how to sell shitty products. So that’s a given, but so many people put so much time and effort into creating the product and then it’s the whole, like “If I build it, they will come.” I put up my website, why am I not making $1 million yet?
And that’s where obviously copywriters and marketers come in. So you mentioned kind of the dip in crypto, which kind of leads me to my next question, because a lot of people are talking about that we’re entering a recessionary period and I get it, it can be a little bit scary, especially when you’re just starting out. If you feel like, “Oh my God, businesses are tightening their purse strings, they’re hunkering down. How can I really start and scale my business as a freelance copywriter or just an online entrepreneur in general?” What advice would you give to people who maybe have that fear lingering?
Yeah, so I think that the way I’ve approached this is, and this is informed by history is more or less like, don’t worry about the recession. Don’t worry about it, ignore it. So this starts with going back to the start of the pandemic and everyone was really freaked out and I started looking into alright, well, what happened during the great depression? Because that’s the greatest sort of economic crash of American history. And yeah, what you find is it was the companies that kept advertising and essentially just continued on like business as usual, they more or less pretended that there wasn’t a good depression, they thrived, right? So it’s something like GM overtook Ford, become the number one auto maker.
There was like Camel and Lucky Strike and back then, people wouldn’t know how bad a few cigarettes were, but these companies were kind of like the Coca-Cola of today. And I can’t remember if it was Lucky Strike or Camel. One of them basically overtook all the market share. There’s all of these stories of companies really rising and gaining market share and growing during the recession. There’s also even in 2008 through 2010, there was countless startups that began in that period of time and that were extremely successful. And if you really look at, I was actually just looking at the gross domestic product, in the United States, for example. So the GDP, how much are we producing. So an indicator of economic health.
And then, we’re currently at it, I wanna say it’s like 28 trillion. I’m actually gonna type it in, I don’t wanna, the key of my keyboard going here, but yeah, it’s about $21 trillion in 2020. And so, if you go back to let’s see, 2008, it was still about what, $14.71 trillion, and it’s gone up and then it- I don’t know if they’re the numbers for 2021, but the point is, okay, so recession might mean that instead of our GDP being $21 trillion, it goes down to $18 trillion. I guess, that’s trillion dollars. There are still people buying stuff. In fact, if anything, marketing becomes more important, because it’s more competitive. So people need copywriters more than ever during a recession.
Also there’s all these like industries that do great during a recession. So for example, skincare and beauty actually do really well because a lot of consumers, often women, they don’t go to a spa, they don’t do these other things, but they wanna be able to treat themselves. They want little luxuries. So skincare does great during a recession, health supplements do well, all kinds of DIY things do well. There’s all kinds of industries that flourish and thrive during recessions. So this idea that like, “Oh no, there’s a recession.” It’s just like, I get it, I get the change can be scary, but at the end of the day, everyone still buys stuff during recession.
People still spend a lot of money cumulatively and there’s still gonna be more opportunities than there were 10 years- I mean, just from the virtue of the internet and the move to eComm and Web3 and the stuff we mentioned alone, there will still be more opportunities during a really nasty recession than there were 10 years ago or 15 years ago. So there’s going back to the blue ocean, I feel like that is a fact. And I think people can use the recession as an excuse, just like people used the pandemic as an excuse. Some people kind of decided to take some time off, because of the pandemic and they were like well, I know people who did that.
And then I know people who continued on like business as usual and myself and many people I know had our best year ever financially in 2020, and then our even better year in 2021. But I also know people who just kind of used the pandemic as an excuse to not work and just sort of shut down and then those people are still playing catch up. So I think it’s really mindset and attitude and yeah, but I don’t buy for a second that the recession should affect anyone who wants to have a career as a marketer or a copywriter in a negative way.
Yeah, I 1000% agree. And I think it’s good to talk about, because let’s be honest, media, news, I mean, of course, there’s fear-mongering everywhere. And I understand that, especially if you’re someone who let’s say, has a 9:00 to 5:00 job, and you’re just about to take the leap into a completely unknown world of freelancing and working for yourself, that is so scary and that’s scary already. But then, when you hear all this fear-mongering about the recession, of course, it’s gonna be more terrifying.
And I completely agree, Stefan. Mindset, I mean, you and I have both been in the industry for so long, we’ve seen the ebbs and flows and the ups and downs. And one thing I always say is the markets will always change, that is just a normal part of business longterm, but marketing will never change. And we’re friends with a lot of incredibly smart business owners that I look to them and I go, “I wonder what they’re doing right now?” And guess what?
They’re doubling down, they’re building their businesses. They’re investing in the surest asset they have, which is their businesses and trying to really double-down and gain that market share while other people kind of back away and are a little bit afraid to lean in and take action. So now more than ever, businesses are looking to hire marketing support and copywriting support. And so, sometimes ignorance is bliss and I’m kind of the same way, put on the earmuffs and I’m like, “Blah, blah, blah,” and I just stay in my zone. But I truly believe that as long as you are honing your skills, putting yourself out there, adding value and selling products and services that genuinely help people, there’s no way you can’t win no matter what the markets are doing.
So that leads me to my next question. It’s another question that I get a lot, which is, do you believe that copywriters will be replaced by AI?
Yeah, I get that question a lot too. So it’s just one of those funny things where so honestly yes, but is it gonna happen anytime soon? No. I think that AI is getting better. Can it be a tool for copywriters? For sure. Maybe it will replace really low-level content writer type of people. I don’t mean low-level as a judgment of them as human beings, but just as far as their skillset and what they’re getting paid, right?
It may replace those people faster. So that’s why we should really try to master and get great at our craft. But realistically, from all the smart people I’ve talked to, including Peter Thiel, who name drop, I got to have dinner with him a couple weeks ago. And he’s a billionaire co-founder of PayPal, very smart dude. And he was sort of just poking fun at AI basically and saying we should all calm down about it. So, it’s happening. It is there, but I don’t think it’s anywhere in the near horizon. I think, probably 10 years plus out, maybe 20 years out.
And then I think about it this way. Let’s say it’s five years out. And so, say five years, it can replace me and every other copywriter. So then you’ve got somebody who’s early on in their journey. They’re just kinda getting into copywriting and like, “Well, if AI’s gonna replace me in five years, then why even bother? Why should I do it?” And it’s like, alright, maybe, but let’s think about this. So say, you take the next year and you start getting good at copy. You don’t make a ton of money. You make I don’t know, $15,000 over the next year. It’s part-time you still have another job, whatever, but you start getting really good. And then year 2, you’re pretty solid. Now you make $50,000, maybe 55,000. Okay, say 55.
So now you’re at whatever 70,000, cool. But now you’re really good. So then there’s usually this exponential leap that happens. So year 3 is a very visible chance you make 150,000. And then in year 4, you may make a couple hundred thousand. You have some royalties come in, whatever it is. And then by year 5, the point being, in the next five years, if you invested in copywriting as a skill today you could probably make anywhere from 300 to really, I don’t wanna put a cap on it, but 300 to $500,000. I’m not saying every person will do this, non-income claim, everybody’s different. But it’s very reasonable that you could do that if you really focus to dedicate yourself to it.
And so, then in five years, when AI comes around and like, “Oh no,” You’re like, “Alright, well, I guess I’ll have to figure it out, but at least I’ve got a couple hundred thousand dollars of savings in the bank. And so, I’m in a much better position to do things.” Plus you’ve probably met amazing people. You’ve built your network, you’ve joined communities. So now you’re gonna be in a way better position to pivot than if you didn’t. And otherwise, okay, if you don’t jump into copywriting, because it really is one of the easiest ways to generate a good income. And I don’t mean that copywriting’s easy, but compared to other stuff like offer ownership and business ownership, we can always talk about that later.
I’ve got some thoughts on that stuff. It’s a pretty straightforward way to make a good living, especially if you do dedicate yourself to your craft. So and again, I don’t actually think it’s five years away. I think it’s more like 10 or 20, but even if it was five years away, wouldn’t have be worth your time to develop this stuff now?
And the last thing I’ll say Alex too, real quick, is not only that, but when you get a copy, copywriting is salesmanship and print. So, okay, AI is writing the copy, great. But now you know how to sell to other people, you can close clients on the phone, you can sell from stage, you can present, you have better communication skills. You basically, learn foundational skills that can make you millions of dollars over the next 10, 15, 20 years, regardless of if a machine’s writing sales letters or not. So that’s the other part I wanted to throw in too.
Yeah, oh my gosh. I mean, I agree with everything of course that you just said. And again, kind of going back to the, you can use it as an excuse to not get started and go in five years, “Go aha!” And again, I don’t think it’s five years away either, but, “Aha, I knew AI’s taking over,” and meanwhile, you’re still in a job you hate. It’s like not learning how to drive, because one day there’s gonna be and there already is self-driving cars.
To me, the rationale doesn’t really make sense and it’s something that I’ve always said is AI is a tool, it’s not a complete takeover. And going to your last point, copywriting is not just putting words on a page, right? And I have the opportunity actually of chatting with Seth Godin, obviously, legendary marketer. He had said at Ad World, “Mediocre copywriting is doomed.” And everyone freaked out, I got all these messages and then I had the opportunity to actually talk to him on a Zoom call. And I said, “Seth, you’ve said this at Ad World. What do you mean by that? Can you go into a little bit more depth and detail on that?”
And he said, “Look, mediocre copywriting is doomed.” Just like mediocre web design, guess what? It’s already been replaced by tools like Canva. Mediocre video editing, already been replaced by tools like Descript. I mean, AI is not going anywhere, but does that mean I don’t hire a freaking badass designer to design my branding and my website? No, does that mean I don’t hire a YouTube editor? No, of course not. It’s easy to go, Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” and freak out and say, “There’s no point in even doing this.” But like you said, copywriting is such a foundational skill, because it’s not just writing words on a page, it’s understanding your audience, being able to relate to people.
It’s being able to communicate with empathy. It’s being able to sell. It’s being able to persuade. It’s having better communication skills. It’s being more confident on calls with clients. There are so many incredibly successful business owners and marketers and entrepreneurs that I know and love today who literally got their start by learning copywriting. And then that became this beautiful gateway, if you will, into this insanely amazing world that we’re both in now, which is yes, copywriting, but then, so much more than that, entrepreneurship, marketing, business and being able to really make an impact in the world, selling more products and services that help people. And if cool, if there’s some AI tools that help us do our job faster, great, good for us. Anyway, that was a rant.
No, I mean, I rant and I talk fast. So I apologize to your viewers.
I talk fast too. They’re used to it.
I know, and especially about topics we love and also good for us. I’m namedropping, Peter Thiel, you’re namedropping Seth Godin, they’re like, “Hey, look at us.” Doing alright, two copywriting kids.
Right, exactly. And I think that’s why we love our craft so much. It’s not like we woke up one morning and said, “You know what? I’m gonna talk to Seth Godin today,” or, “I’m gonna go have lunch or whatever with Peter Thiel.” Maybe this is not part of the original questions I had thought to ask you. But I’d love to know on this note, how did you get started in copywriting? Because again, it’s so easy for people to look at what we’re doing and go, “Oh my God, I’ll never be Stefan and I’ll never be Alex.” Where did you start? ‘Cause I’m sure like many people, it was a very humble beginning.
Yeah, absolutely. So in 2011, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and I moved back home to kind of be there to help support him and my mom during the final months of his life. And I read “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss, as a lot of people did and got was like, “Oh, that’s the dream.” So I started trying to create an eComm store, but I had no idea what I was doing, I didn’t really go anywhere. And then my dad passed away in October 2011. I went to Vegas in November and I met Laura Catella, who is an incredible copywriter.
And basically, she ended up showing me what copywriting was. So I was at a poker table and somebody… This is random, basically, I was at a poker table, this girl walks in, she gets a seat at my table, somebody says, “What do you do for a living?” She says, “I’m a writer.” I went to talk to her. So I’m like, “Oh, what kind of writer?” She said, “I’m a copywriter.” And I’m like, “Wow, copywriter, how cool.” And under the table I Googled what’s a copywriter? On my iPhone 1 or whatever, ’cause I had no idea. And then from there, I took a sales job. I didn’t even dive in right away, but eventually I had this calling.
So I wrote a for hire, my first sales letter was selling my own services to write sales letters. And I put on a place called Warrior Forum, and I charged $149 for a sales letter. And I woke up the next day and I did. I had two people had bought it. whatever that, I’m not good at math, so I’m a copywriter, $290-something in PayPal. And then, I basically quit my job really quickly and dived all in. And I went on to Elance, which is now Upwork. And I would take every gig I could get. I really looked at myself more as a freelancer than a copywriter at that point. So I did a market research for a guy who wanted to create an IT server company in Bozeman, Montana. I wrote someone’s college paper, actually a couple people’s college papers for them. I would you know, I would do anything I could just to make enough money to not have to get another job, because that’s what I didn’t want.
But I struggled for a while. And then I was lucky to get hired by some different people who kind of mentored me and shared insights. And so, that was 2011, ’12 that I started. And then 2014, I started to get pretty good, so about two-year thing. I started getting pretty good. 2015, I started making really good money and I started my own health supplement company, which almost took all my money away, but I eventually figured that out and went from there. So, I think that’s what’s funny in our industry and I think it’s good for people to be aware of, is that, it’s that whole people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year or a month or whatever. But it’s really like to have copy, because you might come in and you hear about people making 10 grand a month and you’re like, “Oh my God, if I could make 10 grand a month writing, my entire life would change, everything would be different.” And you’re right, it would change.
And then you’ll get, that would become your new floor. And you’ll probably be careful increase your kind of living quality to match it and be like, “Oh crap, I’m still broke.” And then eventually you’ll figure it out. But it would be great. It would be life-changing, it would be amazing. It’s not all roses. There’s all kinds of struggle that happens as you go on your own and all that. So don’t really wanna hear it. But the point is too, it’s not like a get rich quick thing, but at the same time, how far you can go in a year and two years is amazing compared to a traditional corporate job.
You work at a corporate job for two years and maybe you go for making 40,000 a year to 50,000. And that’s a big deal. Wow, that’s a huge raise, a 25% raise in two years. You probably don’t get that unless you’re really a rockstar. Whereas in copywriting you can go from making 40,000 in year 1 to 150,000 in year 2. Stuff like that happens, and then, it only continues to build from there. So when you come in early on, just focus on becoming the best studying results, don’t even worry about the money and then just focus on your craft and then the money will follow. And that’s advice I tend to give to people as well, but yeah.
Yeah, I 100% agree. It’s funny that you used those numbers. I made around 40,000 in my very first year copywriting. And then in year 2, I made 168,000. And I know that, ’cause I just did a video where I looked up my tax returns and actually was like, “Okay, that’s how much money I made.” And it really, it’s true. I’m really careful about not ever promising that copywriting is this get rich quick thing. But going back to what you said at the beginning where, copywriting is easy, it’s not easy in the sense that like, oh, you just take one course and next thing you know you’re making six figures, but it’s easy in the sense that anybody can do it.
You don’t need to have a formal writing degree. You don’t need to even speak English. You don’t even need, ah, you don’t even need to speak English as your mother tongue, as long as you can write an English or write copy in your language. I have so many copywriters that write in Spanish or whatever. And so, it is easy from the sense that there are literally no barriers to entry and the results that you can get relatively quickly compared to a lot of other career paths is absolutely amazing. But like you said, it takes some work.
Okay, so what do you see happening in the industry right now with copywriting? What do you see copywriters do that make you kinda cringe? And you’re like, “No, don’t do it, don’t do that.” Because I think there’s a lot of misconceptions and people out there teaching stuff that maybe isn’t the best way to go about it. And I’m curious what your take is on that. What makes you cringe that you see in the industry today?
I mean, there’s a good amount, honestly. I don’t mean that like in an elitist snobby way or anything like that, but yeah, I think one thing is just going back to focusing on getting good and mastering your craft, you’ll see, ’cause content marketing and marketing yourself is important as a copywriter. And I was telling you before we started recording how I was at my creek house up near Sedona and I had to run to a Walmart to get a USB mic, ’cause I don’t have one, and there was all these USB mics and there was selfie stands for recording content, with lighting.
And I was like, “Man, it’s crazy.” Half of the electronic section of Walmart is stuff for content creation, because we’re in a creator economy, right? And people say that, but it’s true. And it’s incredible when you think about it. So freaking awesome that we can, people just wanna create and express and share it’s honestly gives me goosebumps. It’s like the most exciting and cool thing ever. So it’s not that you can’t be a creator, but early on, you don’t need to pretend to be an expert when you’re not. So you’ll see copywriters who just started and they’ll try to write these sort of expert opinion pieces about “here’s three things you should never do when your copy,” but it’s just very easy to tell if you’re an experienced copywriter or an experienced business owner or marketer. Oh, this person is just speaking from theory and has no real-world application or knowledge or understanding.
And then, that generally just makes you look bad and kind of disqualifies you. It’s unlikely that anybody’s gonna see this sort of generic kind of poster video where you’re sort of talking in platitudes and be like, “Wow, I’m gonna hire you.” And it probably weakens your position in the market. So that’s one thing that kind of makes me cringe, ’cause it’s like, don’t worry about it, just focus on being good. And then once you’re good, then you can create content. You have your YouTube channel, I’ve got a whole crazy content flowchart I just made, ’cause I’m gonna really go back to pushing my organic social hard and other stuff. But where I’m doing that after over 10 years, longer than that and right. So I think there’s a time for that, but yeah, just focus on being good and not, you don’t need to be a pretend expert when you’re not.
Yeah, I think that’s a big one. And it’s tough, because we talk a lot about this in my high level programs and things like that. Hey, you wanna build up your authority, you want to build awareness around who you are and what you do. You wanna connect with your ideal clients. And I think there’s a way to do that without trying to position yourself as the expert when you’re not. And I think a lot of people get hung up on that. They go, “Oh, well what do I post, if I’m not posting expert tips, even as a beginner?” And there’s so many ways to go about it.
For example, share what you’re learning, share who you’re learning from, share conversations you’ve had, share discovery calls that you’ve absolutely flopped, share mistakes that you’ve made. You can share from a perspective of, “Hey, I’m not an expert, I’m your friend who’s going alongside doing this with you.” And that makes you more real. And I can tell you that I almost, and this is before I had the Posse, but when I would be looking to hire copywriters to bring on to client projects or whatever, I would almost never go for the people who were trying to position themselves as an expert, because I was like, “Well, what are their goals and intentions? Are they trying to be a coach? Are they trying to really get good at their craft?”
And so, almost the more personable and just real they were as people, the more likely I was to say, hey, I think, assuming they have writing samples and I like their portfolio, was way more likely to hire them. And so again, I think there’s a lot of mixed messages in the industry right now about what you need to do to stand out and get attention. And there’s a lot of spinning your wheels, because I can’t imagine as a new freelancer, how overwhelming it must feel to be like, not only do I have to hone my craft and get better at my skillset and do client outreach and apply for positions, but I also have to be on TikTok. So all sorts of social media, Instagram, LinkedIn, reaching out, that’s stressful. And I started my copywriting business or freelancing in 2012, end of 2011, 2012. And I didn’t even have a website until 2016. And so, I think there’s a lot to be said for not trying to be the expert before you are and just genuinely sharing your experiences.
100%. And I love your advice, I totally agree. I mean, when you do get a win, share the win, be like, “Wow, I’m so excited. Here’s how I approached it, here’s what I did.” Even honestly, it sounds really counterintuitive and most people won’t do, but when we have a loss, share the loss and be like, “Hey, here’s what happened. I thought it would be a win. And then looking back, we…” Hopefully maybe you have data, you’d be like, “The data, this is where I messed this up. Really glad I learned that, ’cause next time you better believe I’m gonna to do it right,” whatever it is. Yeah, authenticity, I know you and I both really are passionate about that and see, I love your advice, I think that’s spot on for sure.
Yeah, and in my opinion, authenticity creates authority, because it’s so much more believable. So again, by building, by being just truly who you are and sharing your unique experiences, wins, losses, just being you, I believe that creates more authority, because a byproduct of, or the sister of authority is trust. And so, being really authentic can really help create that authority. The more clients you get, the more you can share, and then the more that authority builds.
And that sort of leads me to, and I know you and I could talk about this forever, but cold outreach. It is a question that comes up a lot in the Posse about, and I get it, everyone wants clients. And there’s a lot of people who talk about cold outreach and how successful you can be at it. It’s personally never been my go-to strategy for finding clients. I’m much more of the relationship-building few as opposed to many kind of approach, but cold outreach, it happens a lot. You and I probably both get, God knows how many emails in our inbox, every single week from people sending cold outreach emails to us. So I’m curious, what is the worst cold outreach email you’ve ever received? And what are 3 to 5 tips of what not to do? Let’s tell a cautionary tale here of if you’re gonna do cold outreach, great, but here’s what you absolutely should not do.
Man, okay. Yeah, I have a ton of things on my list of what not to do. The worst cold outreach. Let me give you two. One is kind of recent. The first one is a one-off kind of. I raised about $50,000 for Make-A-Wish recently. I don’t do the whole story, but basically, I was at an airport, about to catch a flight, was sort of really self-absorbed. They announced how this little girl was when her family were flying to Disney World to meet the princesses and all that. And I kind of looked up in this moment, I saw the little girl and how she was so full of joy and happiness, and I realized how I’d been so self-absorbed, I hadn’t even noticed that there was banners on the wall like, “Hey, make a wish, good luck on your trip.” I forget her name, and all that. And I was like, “Man, what a wake up call to be?” And I thought with my daughter and how fortunate I am. So I started crying. I was just crying, and at the gate waiting to get on the airplane. And I donated good amount of money on my own.
And I started emailing my list and was like, “Hey, I’m gonna basically do this training for anybody who donates to make a wish.” And we raised $50,000-plus in 4 or 5 days. It was awesome, it was so, so cool. But as I was doing that, I had one person who sort of responded and tried to pitch me, like, “Hey, I wanna work for you. And you could hire like-” They basically, had this crappy thing to pitch me. And I respond to them. I’m like, hey dude, this is just really a bad time. This whole thing I’m doing is trying to raise money and do good and bring awareness to this thing. And then, you come across so disturbing. And you’re just replying to all this and not- Didn’t donate even. Even if you donated, maybe. It would’ve felt transactional, but I would’ve at least felt like I had to respond in a nicer way, but it was very- So don’t be that person, first of all.
You have situational awareness and I think about it. It’s like going up to somebody who’s at dinner with their kids in the middle of feeding their little kid and then be like, “Can I get a selfie?” They’re not gonna respond well. You can wait until they’re done eating and talk to them then. And so, situational awareness.
Another one is somebody recently who wrote an email for a contest we did through the mentorship program we were doing and they basically, or this person, if you watch this, I’m not ripping on you, this was just not a good approach. They sent me this email, the subject line, it was her hairy bottom. And it was this email about how there was some girl that he was really attracted to, when he was young at all this. And then they finally, got intimate, but she had a hairy butt and they tried to segue it into, “By the way, can I work for you or whatever?”
I don’t care what, what is the segue there? I can’t figure it out. What is it?
I don’t remember exactly. And then they followed up 10 times, which is a do, following up is good. But it was still her hairy bottom. So it just kept going to the top of my inbox, her hairy bottom, her hairy bottom. And I’m like, “Oh my God.” So I think I finally responded. So I guess, they get points for that. But I was like, “Hey look, I can’t help you right now.” But the thing with that, the lesson to that is, and this is one the mistakes people make, is look at your outreach sales copy too.
And so, what you’re trying to answer is for me is if I’m your prospect, this case, your prospective customer, then it’s like, “What’s in it for me?” You need to demonstrate that you know my pain point, you can empathize, you have a real solution that you’re gonna present to me, then show who you are and kind of build the rapport or the credibility of why I should trust you to do it. And then, kind of ask for the sale or whatever, give me your pitch. But what happens a lot is that freelancers, ’cause you should also be funny. You can have personality, things like that are okay.
The problem is that they’ll email and then they’ll be like, “Here’s a novel about me and my life and all that,” and can be well-written even, but at a certain point you’re like, this is interesting, but I got a million things to do. I can’t keep reading this person’s life story. So you gotta kinda capture me like I’m a prospect, just like a lead. You gotta hook me and grab my attention in the first few seconds and then keep it. And then, you can get to the stuff about you a little bit later. So huge mistake is that people don’t get to what’s in it for me as in what’s in it for the prospect fast enough, and that blows it.
Another mistake you can talk more about her hairy bottom, of course, but at the same time it’s also being generic is the same thing too. So going back to understanding the prospect and their hopes and dreams, desires, their pain point, things like that. Doing a little bit of research, like, “Hey, I saw in a podcast interview with Alex a YouTube interview, you mentioned that you had this need. I looked into your website, I saw that you’re doing this, this and this, which is really cool. Here’s something I identified that could really help. By the way, my name is whoever and here’s what I do.”
So it’s like customized, because the amount of generic emails I get and I’m sure you’re the same way. Question, would you like to grow your Instagram following? Question, do you need help with your YouTube content marketing? Question, do you need a copywriter? It’s so generic. Why would I of all the people, I run a copywriting mastermind of 200-plus people, you run a big copywriting group and mastermind. And I have 15,000 people in my Facebook group. I’ve got all this stuff, why would you, this person, I don’t know, were just like, “Do you need a copywriter?” You think I don’t know any copywriters. I’m gonna be like, “Oh my God, glad you asked. Oh my God, where can I find a copywriter? I’ve been racking my brain, I’m so happy.” You’ve gotta really, really do it.
And then, one more I’ll say, then I will shut up for a minute is going back to that, understanding them, I think, if you’re applying or are you, I really think giving someone a custom sample, even if it’s 100 words goes a really long way, because then they can envision what it would actually look like to hire you and work with you. So if you’re doing your emails, like, “I was checking out your emails, I understand your business. I saw them, they’re great. I noticed you kinda do this format a lot. So I wrote one that matches that format, check it out.” It’s like a 100-word email. You could be an email creative or something like that. It could be a new headline. It could be a new Facebook ad, because otherwise, no matter what I’m like, I have to try to be like, I don’t know, there’s this huge unknown, there’s this huge gap between me hiring you and actually gonna be, what’s it gonna be like, are you gonna be easy to work with? Are you actually a good writer? Do you understand my brand? All this stuff, but if you give me a little custom sample and then I can be like, “Oh wow, they really get it.”
That’s the only time where I will just hire people or give them opportunities. I pay people, sign up, people watch this, please don’t pitch me, I really don’t need copywriters right now, ’cause I have my mastermind and all of that. And I’m also the worst person to pitch, ’cause I am a copywriter. People pitch me a lot, and I’m like, “I’m not the person to pitch.” Pitch to people who aren’t master copywriters, running a copywriting mastermind. But I have hired people for a grant to write a lead or something. And honestly, doesn’t even work out a lot of time. But if they followup and they give you something custom and it looks good and I’m like, “Oh hell, I’ll take the chance on them?” ‘Cause they made the effort. And then there’s the reciprocity and stuff like that. So I’ll take a breather here, but yeah, those are some, hopefully a lot of gold for people really on their journey.
Seriously, that’s so great. And yeah, ’cause it’s kind of similar. I think what really grinds my gears is when it’s like knowing your medium. I understand that we’re all copywriters, but your email to me should not read like a sales page. I’ve gotten cold outreach emails where they’re literally written in all title caps, because they’re trying to write it like it’s a sales page and I’m like, “I don’t even know who like who you are, and it’s just an immediate turn-off.”
And so, being personable. Let’s not forget, we talk about levels of customer awareness all the time in marketing. Who are you and why, and like you said, how can you help me? And let me tell you guys, appreciation, genuine appreciation goes a long way. When someone messages me and they go, “Alex, I’ve been following you for this long. I absolutely love what you’re doing, I am a huge fan.” And throw in emojis, if that’s how you normally communicate, use exclamation marks if that’s how you normally communicate. The emails that are just genuinely nice human emails. I can count on one hand how many emails I get in a month that are actually like that, compared to all of this other, “I’m gonna blow your mind.”
I got one cold outreach email from a guy that was like, “I’ve worked with incredibly well-known businesses, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Of course, he didn’t say who the businesses were. And then, I went to go check out his website and the website went to a 404 like a dead URL. And I wrote back to him and I was like, and I usually don’t do this, but I was like, “This is a teaching moment.” And I wrote back and I said, “Dude, your website doesn’t even work. So you say that you have all this authority working with all these people, but you didn’t say who. And then, when I went to go look at your website, it went to a URL that didn’t exist.” And his response was, “Yeah, obviously, because I don’t wanna use my actual website in my cold outreach emails, because it gets marked as spam.” And I was like, point in case, you’re sending so many emails that you don’t wanna use your real email address or that your real domain.
But anyway, I just think, don’t waste your time sending out a bazillion emails, because yes, while it is a numbers game, I kind of disagree with that in a way that if you have 10 people whose brands you love, companies that you’re like, “I live and breathe for this business, and you know what? I’m just gonna send them a note of appreciation. I love what you said about creating a sample.” I agree, it doesn’t take that long.
I had one student that just closed a massive client because she reached out to this NGO that she really loves. And they had kind of gone back and forth on Instagram with just sending thank you notes and commenting on each other’s stuff. And it was just very, very genuine. And then she saw something was missing in their marketing and wrote back and said, “Hey, I noticed you don’t have this.” And they booked a discovery call.
And before the discovery call, she sent the free thing that she was gonna help them with anyway, the sample, because she’s like, “At the end of the day, I’m not trying to be transactional. I’m just trying to serve and support.” And now she has a new retainer client as a result. So I really think there’s something to be said about just being a cool human. And I know that that’s not a good cold outreach. I can’t charge $1 million for that cold outreach strategy, but that’s really it.
Yeah, that’s a huge one. And then yeah, just seek to reduce friction for your prospect instead of create friction. So for example, don’t ask people to mentor you, ’cause mentoring, I always say that when you’re like, “Hey, and I would love to work for you for free and you can teach me and mentor me.” I’m like, “Dude, I would way rather pay money and not have to exchange my time.” And the secret is if you’re good and you work hard, people tend to notice and they will end up mentoring you, because they choose to mentor you.
But you’re actually doing yourself a disservice, if you’re asking people you wanna work for or with, you’re trying to offer to do it for free, you’re typically, you’re actually creating a potential friction and burden, ’cause now that they, well, God, now I have to take all the time and mentor this person I’m important to them. I don’t, I just wanna throw that in. I have a million things, we can do a part 2 sometime, I don’t know.
Every time you and I talk, we just, we could always, one day we need a Talkathon where it’s Stefan and Alex talk copy for 24 hours, ’cause I feel like we could, we could crush it.
Oh my God, we could. I know we just keep ripping off of each other. But I think again, that goes to show and I don’t want anyone listening to this to think like, “Oh God, Alex and Stefan, they’re being so shady. They’re just talking about, what’s not good in the industry.” We’re passionate about this industry. This industry and copywriting has literally changed both of our lives. We believe in it so much. And I think it’s really such a beautiful skill. And that’s why we’re passionate about teaching copywriters, how to do it right, and how to show up and stand out in the industry and what not to do. So that’s obviously, a big part of it.
Yeah, thanks for pointing that out, ’cause I just wanna say to you, I’m not throwing shade. I’m not trying to crap on anybody. I’m not trying to be smug and all that. It really is just me trying to share what not to do and what to do. And yeah, I know it’s hard because we’re so used to it. I get it for, I wanna speak, yeah, specifically to people early on in your journey, we’re here, I know Alex, you’re incredible at it, I really try to be too.
We’re both here to support you and we want you to succeed. It’s just sometimes it’s frustrating seeing people make mistakes and then especially as a teacher, ’cause we teach this stuff a lot, don’t do these things, but there’s always new people coming in. And so, you’re constantly like, but that’s part of the game, but hopefully everyone watching this, hopefully it helps people, saves them some headaches and helps them get results faster.
Yeah, I think it will. So real quick to wrap up. I know, again, this is something that we can talk about for probably hours, but it’s a question that I get sometimes, or it’s an objection that I hear a lot like, “Hey Alex, really the only way to make passive income as a copywriter is to create your own offers or products.” And I disagree with that statement, because I built a very successful copywriting business long before I ever started the Copy Posse, and a large part of that was passive income that I was getting as a result of the copywriting I was doing. But I’d love to kind of hear your quick hot take on that and how, as a copywriter, you can really scale to that point of making, let’s say six figures, part of it passively, without having to create offers and products.
Yeah, so I think that first get good at copy, obsessively study and try to master the craft, get wins, get momentum, get traction, get known in the industry. Then you can either negotiate royalty deals, performance bonuses, things like that, which can be passive. When you do those, be careful. Do that with people who are established business owners, established offer owners, whatever it may be, they have a track record of actually paying, that is a mistake early on. There are clients who will sort of be predatory and promise you everything, because they want you to work for free for them. So those aren’t the kind of deals you want, but there are countless established offer owners and entrepreneurs who would love to have somebody incentivized on a performance basis.
So they should be paying you a little bit still upfront or even a decent amount, but the big upside is there. And then ultimately, you can even, I think the next step from there is really to JV, to do joint ventures, where as you’re doing this, you get really good, you can come on with a company and get a percentage of equity or a profit share or a rev share and help them to grow. And you can be upfront about it. You’re gonna do the copy at the beginning, but then ultimately, you’re gonna build a team or you’ll oversee other copywriters. And basically, that they’re bringing you on to be responsible for the results, not the method or the process, but the outcome.
And as you do that, you’re going to learn holistically a ton about running a business or running an offer, what works, all of the headaches that go into it, all of the expenses and surprise expenses and the iOS update issues and ad costs, and all the things that happen. But you can start to make a nice amount of money passively. And then from there, if you really want to start your own offer, and that’s the goal of yours, then I think you should start the offer.
I think that, it’s just like 95% of small businesses fail. But if you look at the ones that don’t fail, a lot of time, it’s people who were the right-hand woman or right-hand man of a successful entrepreneur for 5 years or 7 years or 10 years, or even maybe 3 years. And so, they really understood it. And then they launched their own business and they had the network and they had these other entrepreneurs who they’d worked for supporting them and they, right? So then the failure rate goes drastically down.
And I think it’s the same thing here. So this idea that. It depends if your offer is like, I wanna get 10 people to come hang out with me at my house for two days, once a year I’m charging $1,000 per. I’m gonna spend all year doing that, sure, you could probably make that happen. And again, you might have to take some time to figure it out, but if we’re talking about anything with physical products, even informational products, there’s just a lot of learning curves. And then you’re gonna need to hire people. There’s a lot of money. And if you’ve never really run a business before, there’s a lot of learning curve and you’re gonna spend a year or two learning stuff and burning through money and really being stressed out, which you may have been better served just actually focusing on copywriting. And so, I’d rather do it the way I described at the beginning.
And I think I share this in a Facebook group and it was controversial and I didn’t think it should have been, because I wasn’t trying to crap on people’s dreams, but it’s also, it’s just not, I don’t wanna be realistic about, it’s not like anyone can just magically start an offer and become a billionaire, this is not how it works. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. And I’ve seen too many times people try to do this before they’re ready and on their own and end up regretting that decision.
I agree. Yeah, and it’s tough because again, speaking of misconceptions in the industry about how easy it can be to create a course and make a bunch of money. And I think what’s missing from that statement is yes, once you have the skills and experience and the authority and the support network and all of that to then go and create a course and make money, creating a course, is not a shortcut to making money. And in fact there are days. I mean, I absolutely love what I do, but there are days that I miss making multiple six figures traveling the world with literally 1 or 2 meetings a week writing on my laptop while sipping an Aperol Spritz in Italy.
And I go, “Wow,” building an offer is not just building an offer, it’s building a team, it’s building the systems, it’s building the framework, it’s doing customer support, it’s managing communities. It’s literally, it’s like a whole different ballgame. And so, I think for me, my success was a direct correlation like you to the amount of hours and time that we put in to honing our skills in our craft. And then, when you get to a point in your business where people start coming to you saying, “Hey, can you help me?” And you can no longer serve on that one-to-one level, I think then, it makes sense to then go, okay, how can I start serving on a one-to-many level? And it takes a bit of time to get there. And so, yeah, I love that.
And again, it’s just real talk. It’s not poo-pooing on people’s dreams. It’s saying, hey, we’ve been there and I’ve seen so many people try to launch a course, right after finishing a copywriting course and they go, “Hey, what’s happening? It’s not working.” And it’s like, yeah, because there’s actually a lot of pieces that go into it and you don’t wanna burn yourself out just as you’re starting to get that momentum to exit the Earth’s atmosphere. So I love all of that.
Well, Stefan, thank you so much. I know this went longer than initially planned, but like we said, we could do a 24-hour Talkathon and we still probably never run out of things to talk about, but I appreciate you being here so, so much. Where can everyone go find out more about you and connect with you?
Yeah, absolutely. So thank you first of all, I love this conversation. It’s a blast. You can go to my website, stefanpaulgeorgi.com. You can find me on Instagram @stefangeorgi and you know, I’m around, find me on Facebook too, other places, but really Instagram and my website are two great places to start.
Awesome, well, thank you. I appreciate you so much for being here. I know the Posse will absolutely love this.
So, what do you think, do we need a part 2?
Let me know in the comments flow!
And until next time, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!
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