The Single Most Important Element for Freelance Success

I was shocked by the four words that came out of Joshua Boswell’s mouth this morning.

And, as I looked around the room at the faces of my fellow copywriters, I could tell they were just as surprised.



Because those four words spell out exactly what you need to succeed at copywriting – and more importantly – they are key to achieving any other dream or goal you might have.

Better yet, it’s so obvious (it was practically staring us in the face) you’ll be surprised at how basic and simple it really is. More on that in just a bit.

Guillermo here, reporting live from Las Vegas at AWAI’s Web Copywriting Intensive. It’s Day Two and what an event it’s turning out to be!

For example, just yesterday afternoon I picked up a neat tip that wasn’t even part of the main presentations. It was Nick Usborne’s personal pricing strategy.

Here’s what he does … and it’s something you should follow if you’re the type of personality that has trouble talking price:

NEVER quote prices over the phone. Instead, Nick tells his clients he’ll get back with them in 24 hours with a proposal detailing everything.

Write a detailed breakdown of the job. For this, Nick includes things like research, writing time, revisions, and even administration fees (time spent sending emails, making phone calls, invoicing, etc). For each item he assigns a dollar value to it and comes up with a grand total. Then, he lets his proposal sit on his desk for a few hours before coming back to it.

Come back to it. After letting his quote sit for a few hours, he comes back to it. This is when Nick usually realizes he’s priced the job way too low and raises the prices on each individual item, to come up with a bigger grand total. He then lets it sit and comes back to it one last time to it. By this point, he usually ends up with double the fee he originally thought he’d quote.

The lesson learned here is to be careful about undervaluing yourself. Nick shared how he lost a big corporate client after submitting a proposal. When he asked someone within the company why they didn’t accept his proposal, they responded that his fee came in way too low, which lowered the company’s confidence in his abilities.

And that’s just one tip I picked up yesterday. This morning Joshua shared those four words I told you about (which I’ll reveal in a moment) and then Matt Furey took the stage. He gave us a lot of great email-writing tips along with …

8 Powerful, Proven Email Templates

There are only eight different kinds of emails Matt writes. And they fall into one of these templates/categories. I recommend you write these down. Then, when it’s time for you to write an email, you’ll never be out of ideas. Here they are:

  1. Conversation/Dialogue – This is one of the most popular email types he uses. Simply be conversational, tell a personal story, act as though you’re having a conversation directly with your reader, and then gently relate that story to the product you are promoting.
  2. Media Superstar – Tap into something in the news about a celebrity. For example, just recently Tiger Woods could be used as a theme to an email along with a moral or lesson that can be learned. This is then tied to the product.
  3. Current Event – This is just like number 2, except instead of using a person, use a media event. For example, talking about the Winter Olympics or the crazy snowstorms in the northeast.
  4. Question & Answer – As the name implies, this email is just a mix of questions from readers along with appropriate answers. Again, always segue into a push for the product or service of your client.
  5. Endorsement – This is where you feature an endorsement from someone who’s used your product or service. It can be a touching story of someone who used your client’s product or service with life-changing results.
  6. Combination. This is where you combine the Q+A style and endorsement emails into one. The premise is simple. Have questions and answers and make sure one question is an endorsement. For example, “Hey Matt, I bought your product three months ago and so far I’ve lost over 30 lbs and I’m in the best shape of my life. Thanks!” Answer: Awesome. Great job. Keep up the good work.” And then move on to the next “real” question. By doing this, you are subtly promoting the product or service.
  7. Interview – This is simple. Find someone to interview. Gently segue at the end into a pitch for the product or service your client is offering.
  8. Special event – This is usually an offer or sale. It can be a Thanksgiving Day sale, for example … or an “it’s my birthday, half-off sale.” Basically, any fun or creative excuse you can find to have a sale.

The key thing to note with these emails is to provide value. You do this by entertaining and informing at the same time.

Four Words Critical To Your Success

Earlier, I told you about the four words Joshua Boswell said that surprised everyone in the room.

Nothing else matters. You can have all the skills, take all the action in the world, have the best marketing plan in place, etc. But until you figure out how to do what these four words describe, you won’t get very far.

Here they are:

“You need paying clients.”

Painfully obvious, yes. But, it illustrates what you should focus 80% of your efforts and time on.

After all, unless you have clients who are willing to pay you for your services, you’ll never be able to live the life of your dreams – regardless of how much skill or talent you might have.

So, make finding clients a priority.

Because, as Joshua put it, the society we live in requires money. And 99% of the time, any one of your dreams or goals is going to require money to obtain it. (Even if you want to feed the homeless, you need to buy a car to get there, or buy gas for the car, or buy clothes to wear before showing up, etc.) It’s just the nature of today’s world.

And that’s why getting in front of paying clients is CRITICAL to making your dreams come true. Everything else is secondary.

So here was Joshua’s challenge to the audience, which I am now extending to you …

Make it a point in the next week to land one new client.

Do whatever it takes. Cold call. Send out emails. Maybe you have a friend or family member that owns a business and doesn’t even know that you’re a web copywriter who can help them get better results.

Make a list of ways to get this challenge accomplished and then go out there and do it.

You can be sure I’m taking Joshua up on his challenge … and I highly recommend you do, too.


Guillermo Rubio

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