Why I traveled 28,440 km to improve my copywriting business

Saas Copywriter

If you’re reading this, you’re probably another freelance writer. Maybe you’re a content writer, a creative writer, a conversion copywriter, or a direct response copywriter. You might have skimmed through upcoming networking and speaking events online, wondering if it’s worth it the ticket price, and wishing you could get there – somehow.

I’ve been in the Copywriter Club Facebook group for two years, and I remember seeing their 2018 TCCIRL event and wishing I could get there. It seemed too overwhelming – and what would I l really get out of it? And also, that’s a crapton of money to spend to get to the other side of the world, sit in a chair for a couple of days, and fly back – all while I’m still paying bills at home.

I’m no stranger to spending thousands of dollars on courses and advanced masterminds with A-list copywriters. I love learning. I love the feeling of being capable of delivering excellent results to my clients with what I’ve learned from their sharing of strategy and knowledge. But spending that much on a fleeting event?

Not worth it. Nope.

By the time the 2019 event announcement rolled around, things had changed a little. As a specialist SaaS copywriter, the fact that Joanne Wiebe and Joel Klettke were on the speaker list hit me with instant FOMO and I couldn’t stop thinking about how this might be something worthwhile to attend. Not to mention the other 18 speakers who are all successful 6-figure copywriters, business owners, and legends in their own right.

DAMMIT, I NEEDED TO GO.

I want to SERIOUSLY improve my copywriting skills,  learn how to be more profitable, and also enjoy the freelance ride a little more. I know you’ll understand. One week you’re swamped, and the next you’re eating cold beans out of a can. Okay, I lie…it’s more likely to be a $5 frozen pizza (which is still pretty tasty).

So I bought the conference ticket. I had no idea how I was going to afford the rest. My partner rolled his eyes because I have a habit of doing this. I get super motivated by setting myself ridiculous goals, and this was right up there.

Plus, it’s tax deductible and I’d get a bit of a holiday out of it too 😉

Setting financial goals

I estimated this was going to cost me around $5,500 USD with flights (for me and my partner, because we both need a break), accommodation, food, and expenses. So I needed to earn at least this in addition to my regular weekly work.

To reach my goal, I needed to:

  • Increase my workload
  • Magically find some high paying work (or lots of lower paid work)

What my breakdown of extra work looked like between November and March (13 weeks):

Blog posts $750 x 2 (4,000 words each – ouch)

Blog posts $250 x 4 (1,000 words)

Blog post $500 (800 words)

Blog post $400 (800 words)

Ebook $1,800

SaaS website copy $1,997 (3 pages)

Total = $7,197 USD

Breaking everything down into small pieces made this goal feel achievable, and looking back it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought to get this extra income.

As you can see, there was a blend of underpaid projects and well paid projects – whatever came my way that was a good fit I took it, because I needed to get on that plane!

Life gets in the way

Just as I thought I was winning and had a bunch of spending money for shoes and cocktails in the Big Apple, the universe threw some extra goodies my way in the form of:

  • Doctor and specialist bills for the onset of random crippling stomach and back pain (Diagnosis = adenomyosis. Good times..) $310 plus 3 days where I was unable to work
  • Vet bills for my pug’s gross yeasty skin infection $250
  • A dead phone – not worth fixing. New phone $220

Plus, the engine light came on in the car (Catalytic converter? Possibly $1,700 to fix? I don’t use the car much so figured I’d think about it when I got back. I still haven’t thought about it).

Total: $780 USD

Ugh. That was all incredibly annoying. That’s 3 pairs of boots I didn’t get to bring back!

Self care

As a freelance copywriter, I know that it’s super important to check in with myself, especially when my workload gets heavy. While this extra work wasn’t too overwhelming, it was enough to make me pay more attention to my daily routine so I didn’t feel burnt out by the time March rolled around.

I made sure to take the time to step away from my laptop, read a book, meditate, eat nutritious food, and keep up my daily 30 minute run.

Tip: If you use a to-do list, put these things on your list and cross them off like you would with any other daily task, otherwise it’s easy to let things slip.

Goal unlocked!

Flight day finally arrived. After 22 hours of sleepless air time, I reached Brooklyn and got to meet and spend time with copywriters I’d only seen in tiny circular headshots on their social media profiles. It was SURREAL.

As an anxious introvert, it was also nerve-wracking to walk up to these people and introduce myself, ask questions and talk about business, but I’d just spent months of my life working towards this, so I was all in.

The two days were mentally exhausting, and I’m not sure how I would have coped without the free coffee and delicious snacks that were provided during the day ←- best thing ever!

freelance b2b copywriter

The speakers

Apart from the excellent networking opportunities this gave me, I made a crazy amount of notes and few recordings to go back to. All I needed was one big idea to change my business game completely, and TCCIRL delivered tenfold on that.

How much is that single idea worth to your business? At least $5,500.

Joel Klettke – mastering the art of the sales call, and how to leave your clients better than you found them (even if you’re not the right fit) –> ONE idea from this presentation alone has already landed me a $3,000 project.

freelance b2b copywriter

Joel Klettke and his butt trumpets

Joanna Wiebeher goal is to make $10 million in 10 years. Mindblowing stuff. She laid out all the ways you can beat her at the copy game.

Tarzan Kayhow to get paid $1,000 an hour. Hello – who doesn’t want this?

Hillary Weisshow to turn your ideas and opinions into products. Notice your ideas when they happen and give yourself space to experiment with them.

Kim Krause Schwalm & Chris Orzechowskihow royalties and retainers can take you from doing okay to building wealth.

Jude Charles – how using video can strengthen your brand, your marketing, and your sales.

Rob Marsh – the importance of video games and the importance of setting the right foundations to build a successful business. Why peers, mentors, and mindset are crucial to your development as a copywriter.

Keli Chevalier – you are NOT a booty brand! A smarter approach to promotional emails

Abbey Woodcock – how to finally answer the “what do you charge” question.

Lianna Patch – the importance of using humor in copywriting for a human connection (and to increase sales, of course!)

Chanti Zakariasen – how to use quizzes to boost leads and sales for your clients

Val Geisler – specialization is the key to engaging in meaningful work, earning more, and providing an unbeatable service for your clients

Kira Hug – renovate your business by getting clear on your criteria for good clients, and then finding them. Outwork everyone else and produce consistent work that gets results. Create a business that’s where you want to be 5 years from now.

TCC founders Rob & Kira

Prerna Malik – how to be smarter with your business financials. Put the money you’ve set aside for your business tax into a high interest term deposit account so you have extra dollars waiting for you at tax time. How did I not think of this before?

Bond Halbert – research is all the power behind your marketing. Look to current ads, not past ads, to see what’s working right now.

Parris Lampropoulos – the 3 part story formula to create winning copy

Sam Markowitz – how to outdo your competition. Differentiate from everyone else. Understand your prospects and your market.

Michal Eisikowitz – getting from $2k a month to $20k a month in under 2 years is totally possible. She shared her exact steps for doing this, but these are under wraps for the people that attended the conference 😉

Emma Siemasko – Tailoring your business to your strengths is the key to more confidence in your business

Kate Toon – Mistress of SEO, packed with smart tips to get your clients’ pages ranking higher

Lori Haller – designing for high converting direct sales letters

Implementing

It took about 4 days to decompress from my travels and start looking back over my notes, and then making more notes about the notes.

I have a to-do list that’s about 4 pages long and I arrived home to a bunch of client work (yay!), so I can’t jump into changing everything I want to straight away. Poco a poco.

Things I need to focus on:

  • Building authority in my space
  • Professional web design
  • Showing up every day
  • Theming my work days
  • Putting case studies together
  • Packaging my services

There’s a lot to to unpack in my notebook, and it might take me the rest of the year to build better habits to reach the lofty goals I set after attending TCCIRL.

I’ve set a reminder for March 2020 to read back over this post and see how far I’ve come.

If you’re in two minds about showing up to TCCIRL 2020 in San Diego, you’ve got plentyof time to start working and saving for it.

Got questions? Drop me an email hello@mightyfinecopy.com

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