Classroom to Copy #13: Former Special Ed Teacher Chris Orzechowski Shares How to Build a Multi-Million-Dollar Copywriting Empire
3:31PM Jun 22, 2023
Hey, everyone is Tania Yeo and I'm back again on another episode of classroom to copy so today's episode is really special because I've answered you know some of the questions from teachers who want to become copywriters. I've interviewed teachers who have become copywriters and then today's special guest to me, he represents, you know, the next step in the journey of becoming a copywriter and leaving teaching and so much more than that, you know, he's where I want to be in the next three to five years and he's none other than the email copywriter. himself Chris Orr is a kowski. So he has his entire journey upon his website, but I'm going to share some of the highlights because it's pretty awesome. You know, from day one, you said like you didn't know. You knew that you didn't want to work a job for the rest of your life. You weren't sure what you were going to do. So you started studying copywriting and then you landed your first gig, you realise okay, this is the thing you want to do for the rest of your life 2017 You know you've finally quit and I think that's gonna be really exciting story to talk about he became your you became your own boss a full time email copywriter. It's been 10 years since you started so like you've you'll have you've had all these like amazing clients like Jeff Walker, neuro Jim the hustle Rich Dad Poor that 100 million dollars in revenue generated and you've helped like over 4000 students start your copywriting careers and I'm I'm definitely one of them. I've taken so many of Chris's courses, when he hopped on the college has told him that he has saved me in the nick of time so many times because you know when I'm stuck, I'm not sure what to do. I always know that in his huge vault of courses there's something there that's gonna help me Yeah, I just realised the intro is really long I'd rather like Chris tell ya, he's been featured on Forbes Business Insider. He has so much to share. We have so much to learn from him. So let's let's start from the beginning. Like your teaching background and you know, how did you get into it? You know, what do you teach?
Yeah, so, um, I graduated with my special ed masters in 2013. I got a job immediately at a at an elementary school. And I taught third, fourth and fifth. I think no, sorry. I taught fourth and fifth my first year in the second year, third, fourth and fifth. I taught special ed math and special ed ELA. We did Readers and Writers Workshop and everyday math. I remember those are programmes. And it was a you know, it wasn't bad. It was tough. It was very hard. You know, kids are awesome. You know, like the kids had some good coworkers but it just it just wasn't for me. You know, like it was very difficult. It's very difficult special as difficult as it is. Teaching two different subjects difficult. Teaching multiple grades is difficult when you combine all those things in the one you know, I showed up to school two hours early and then staying two three hours late, you know, so I'd work good you know, 12 hour a day, every single day, my whole first year and then my second year, I was still kind of showing up early and working late, but not as much. But it was hard. And I remember like there was just this one moment for me when I looked at you know, they have the Salary Guide, the step guide, excuse me, and it says you know, you're one you make this year two you make this and obviously that changes with contract negotiations and things but I looked on the one piece of paper as with every dollar I was ever going to make in my life. I was like huh, like well, you know, I added it up and I was like well number 1am I happy with it number number two like it was just kind of like, there it is. You know like there it is right on the paper. Like there's your whole life right on one piece of paper, you know, and it was just like, weird moment for me and I was like, Yeah, I'm not gonna do that. So, I actually started because I kind of had this and this and I was gonna be a career but I you know, I knew that people like making money using the internet like I had, I had a my own strength conditioning coach who he was a teacher as well. He left his job to have a gym and an online business around, you know, strength training for athletes. And, you know, I known him since the time I was 14. So, I remember like, I would always read his books, you know, his sales letters for his books in his courses. I didn't know there were sales letters at the time. I was like, man, it's like something going on in my brain. When I read these. I call them articles. In fact, when I read your article, it's like there's something in my brain like happening. Like, how are you such a good writer and I just write a lot like now that was something else going on here. Like that's not it? You know, like, I'm sure it's part of it, but that's not all but you know. So at the same time when I started my teaching thing I said Well, I kind of want to have a business exam where you know, I can have a blog or sell maybe a digital product or something or have some kind of other income stream. So that was my kind of first tumble down the rabbit hole. And you know, after two years of teaching and my first job I got non renewed which sucked and I had to get another teaching job at actually my district, my home district in an old bridge where I grew up, not at the middle school that I went to there's two middle schools and one knows that the other middle school and I remember my I was essentially like a $24,000 pay cut. So my pay was essentially cut in a third. Because when I was in my first teaching job, I had it was the highest paying district for new teachers in the entire state. You know, in terms of like level one with the highest the highest salary, plus I did lunch duty, so I got like an extra seven or eight grand on top. Plus I was a volunteer wrestling coach, but they gave me a little bit of money as like a bonus through like the booster club. So I think oh no, I made like 75 my second year and then I got a job and I was making 52 and I didn't have a wrestling stipend, and I didn't have the lunch duty anymore. So that like hurt. I was like damn, my income literally just got cut third, and there's nothing I can do about it. And so I said okay, well now I have to make this work. You know, like it's not just a hobby business anymore. It's like now I have to learn how to like turn this whole internet business thing that I've been trying to do you know, where I had some blogs and I had, you know, a couple of websites and I started doing some services here and there but I remember that year that I got let go. I only made like that calendar year I only made $7,000 in revenue and I was like well I want to do this full time but like how am I going to look my you know my then fiance now wife you know in the face and say hey, I'm not gonna go back to work I'm just gonna do this cop or anything you know when I don't have made sense because you know it was bad enough taking the pay cut getting the other job, but to go from 75 to nothing to just doing doing the kapernick full time like that would have been that was that was tough. I know people sometimes they say like quit your job goal. And I don't know that. Maybe you know, but like, that's just not me. That's not the path that I took. I don't think that's the safe path. You know, if you're 22 Sure, screw it. Who cares? You know like that when you're not paying health insurance when you don't have a mortgage? You don't have a family Okay, yeah, you can do risk like that. But I you know, we were putting up we were gonna get married. We were my wife and I you know, we were looking for a house. I needed income you know? So sometimes, like when you have that fire under your butt, it kind of forces you to like make stuff happen, you know? So it was almost like a good thing the way that things worked out but I got that job and I said okay, it's probably gonna be a matter of time because you know, teaching like I said, like, it's I didn't hate it, but I just didn't really love it. My heart was in it and I think my probably the reason I you know, I got let go in the beginning, you know, wasn't probably wasn't a good fit for elementary and then I just didn't love it. You know, I just wasn't like a hand and glove fit. And I remember my fourth year of teaching, which is my final year it was my mid year review. I got into the first year at the new job. Fine, you know, and then I was teaching eighth grade. Math, special ed. At that point. In my fourth year, was my second year of the job. I got called in for my mid year and my principal was essentially like, hey, you know, we could tell kind of tell your horse I'm in this like, you know, you don't want to get involved with anything. I was like, Well coach wrestling you know, and he's like, Okay, well, coach, Mark's gonna be at the middle school. He's like, Well, that's not here. It's okay. Well, I would coach here, but there's no position. You know, we basically went back and forth and he's like, Well, you didn't come to the volleyball game. You didn't do this thing. Come like the staff happy hour and bah, bah, bah. And like, you don't volunteer for this stuff. And I was like, you know, I had a business like that that point, I was actually making money had like a retainer on clients, you know, but I didn't tell him any of this. So he was basically like, you know, we don't see like a change. We're gonna, we're not gonna renew your contract. So I went home and I told my wife and I said, you know, I have I had a retainer at that point for $4,000 a month, and I had a handful of other clients here and there. I was working nights and weekends, and I told my wife, I said, I'm probably going to not be working next year. At the rate that we're going unless it's like, I kinda have to choose. It's either like copywriting or teaching. And I don't think teaching is what I want to know. It's not what I want to do it might not have a choice, you might be getting non renewed from that because, like, you know how it is as a teacher, like when you're a teacher, that's the only thing that they want you to do. They don't want you to have a side business they want you to be you're going to volunteer for the plight and you're gonna volunteer for this. So you're gonna volunteer for that you're gonna be a part of the school community. Yeah, like, like, here's the thing, like, if that's just you, there's nothing wrong with that. Like, it's not like, I'm not Pooh poohing it. Like don't do that stuff. Like that stuff. I hate stuff. I don't want to do that. I don't wanna do any of that stuff. I just want to show up and get my money and leave. But like again, so I can't blame them. You know, I actually agree with them. They were they were pretty spot on like, yeah, they knew my heart wasn't in it, because my behaviours demonstrated that. So they were absolutely 100% Right. I can't fault them at all. They were on point. But I told her, I said, you know, I'm making almost as much because you know, my salary was like 52 or 50. For that second. There's 54 Three, you know, $4,300, give or take and some change, right? So I said, I'm making like, $4,000 a month on this retainer. I get some other clients here and there, right. So and that's in my worst 40 hours a week. You know, like, what if I had my business as my best 40 hours a week and I didn't have the job, because what I would do is I would take my sick days, and I wasn't like, I didn't really get sick, sick often, you know, so my sick days I would just take them off and I would just work like a regular day and like, be a copywriter like when you know if I was off on a Wednesday because I decided to get sick they I would just write copy and take client calls and like live the life of a copywriter, right? So it wasn't like LARPing I was actually like doing because I had clients, I had projects, but every single sick day, every single personal day went towards business, you know? So I said, I can be done to be done in four or five and I'm like, wow, so that's what the life is like as an actual writer. So I talked to my wife and I said, I'm going to leave my job, and I'm gonna do this, and I'm gonna make it happen because I don't have any other choice. And I have clients who have had this retainer for nine months. They love me, it's going great. They want more of me, you know, I mean, like they would have any full time if they could, you know, but I don't want to do that either. And I have more time to get clients and making connections good. Things are happening. So I'm gonna do it. So I went in, you know, I talked some colleagues I told when I was gonna do because I didn't really know I had a business I kind of like talked about here and there, but I don't want to like let too much on, you know, but I talk to like my mentor at the school and I was like, I don't think this is for me. I think there's other things for me. So what I'm doing, so I two weeks, it was two weeks after that initial conversation. I went in to my principal, hey, I'm not gonna be coming back next year, I'm going to be resigning. So I I'll finish out the year if you'd like. So okay, because otherwise it's 60 day notice. So at that point, it was only like another two months. I said I'll just finish out the year. Whatever. We will have more runway, you know, a couple extra four or five extra paychecks whatever it is. And June 17 20 Sorry, June 16 2017. As my last day ever teaching.
You like answered like five questions. In one breath. Yeah, I want to go back and just like emphasise some of the things that Chris brought up because it's, I think it's really important for our audience to know that, you know, a lot of teachers feel this pressure to to jump in immediately and like Chris said, it's not Oh, you know, fuck this job. I'm gonna leave immediately without an off ramp without you know, like, would you say that the retainer that you had and also collecting a few more paychecks before giving in your final notice that gave you that financial security to leave?
Yeah, I mean, you know, there's the same like, I don't know where it's from. I've never heard of many places, but it's like winning takes care of everything. And I really believe that and I think that is very applicable here. Because like, like when I had only made $7,000 You know, if we divided that by 12 That's what does that $600 Not even a month. So like for me to tell my wife and my parents and my in laws and everyone else, like, Hey, I'm leaving my job doing this. And they're like, What the hell was wrong with you? Like, no, you can't do it, you know? But if it's like, Hey, I'm making you know, four or five $6,000 a month. I'm making more doing this than I am the other thing. It's like, oh, well kind of make sense to do that. Right? Like so winning takes care of everything. So that's the thing like, you know, there's a lot of people go online and you just go to cut the cord you just got to jump in with both feet and we'll never know what and like, okay, yeah, maybe you know, that works out for the people who you hear about that it works out for you you don't hear about is the money and other people who do that and then they're screwed and then they get into some some difficulties and survivorship bias.
Works out for people nothing to lose, right?
Yeah, and you know, like, yes, there is there does come a point when you have to jump, right like it's never gonna be perfect. It's never gonna be, you know, soft and easy and Oh, no friction. There is always gonna be some friction. There's always gonna be a tough decision at some point. You're going to have to rip the band aid off at some point and it's going to hurt for a few seconds. But you can kind of set yourself up so you're good. You have client flow, you have lead flow, you have cash flow, and you have cash in the bank. These things help you know, I mean, like, my wife was working that paycheck as well. So God forbid, God forbid anything bad happened. We still have our paycheck. We pay the mortgage care bills. I've been in happen. I could get no teaching job. Does anything happen? I could go bartend I was a bartender. I was a bouncer. I could make if I could find something else to do. It's not like I didn't have any skills. Like I still had a college degree. I still had, you know, I could make it we'd survive wouldn't be eaten out of the trashcan. You don't I mean, so like, you know, it wasn't like like all or nothing we do this or we're gonna die. You know, like, there was obviously safety nets there but it was still scary. You know?
So what kind of like time in financial investments that you make, while still teaching to get good enough at copywriting. You're getting these retainers and clients, and that helped you feel like Okay, I'm ready to cut the cord. What kinds of so what were your How do you manage all of your time doing all of that? Yeah. Well, I mean,
it really depends on like, what stage of life you're in. You know, when I started teaching, after I graduated college, I was before 23 I forget, maybe I just turned 24. Right? So, if you're 24 Verse 44, like different stages, you know, like a lot of people I've worked a lot of people in that scenario where they are 44 they have two kids, three kids, you know, or whatever their situation might be or the spouse doesn't work. So like yeah, it's it's a different dynamic. You know, I'm not going to that I understand that, like, I'm not gonna so the advice that I give like some of it has to be taken with a grain of salt, because I'm not going to say everyone has to do XYZ like No, everyone's situation way different. I totally respect that. But for me, you know, I had, I was able to reinvest a lot of money, and I was able to reinvest a lot of time because I didn't have kids, you know, my wife and I weren't living together at the beginning eventually, you know, obviously, like, towards your three I think was when we finally moved in on the house, right? So we started but again, still like, you know, she was at work I was doing my thing. You know, kids the points like we saw a lot of free time available, so I could reinvest that night and I worked I worked hard. I mean, I worked every single day, and I'm not even I'm not like oh yeah, he's just saying that like, No, I can count on two hands. How many days I took off from working for years. Even on vacation, I would work I'd bring books I'd bring my laptop I'd bring I'd work on projects, you know, even find on my laptop with me. I worked every single day Saturday, Sunday. I worked till nine o'clock, 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock and that I went clients on the West Coast. I had clients in Europe and wake up at 5am take calls. I worked on my lunch breaks, I work all the damn time. I have to do that. Looking back, maybe not. I don't know, like maybe if I didn't do as much maybe if I did 80 or 90% of that. But I've gotten a similar outcome. Maybe I don't know, you know, I can't go back. I can't run that experiment. I probably didn't. I probably did more than I needed to. But again, I needed to make sure that I made things happen. A lot of people that I've coached I've worked with didn't have to do all the stuff that I did. So maybe I'm an avian Oh, you know, who knows, right? But that's that's the way it worked out. But what I did was I invested into a few things. Invest in skill development, obviously, because you gotta get good. You have to be good. If you're gonna get make enough money, you can't be a bum. You have to be good. So skill development is huge. Like, there's no way around that like and that takes time. It takes time it takes reps just like building muscle in the gym time under tension. But the more time you're on the machine, the more time your muscles are under tension, the stronger they're gonna become. It's the same thing with writing. The more time you put in writing, the better you're gonna get at writing. And the more feedback and guidance and coaching and instruction you get from the right people, that's going to help. The other thing that I invest in, this is very huge lot of people don't ever understand this, you need to invest that network. So I invested in Kevin Rogers I invested a lot of money into Kevin Rogers. I told myself I'm going to keep paying Kevin Rogers until he knows who the hell I am. Like you paying more and more and more until that was bested the other time we're just working with him or just everything Kevin told me to jump I'd say how high and every single thing that he did, I did complain, I didn't push myself. So why is XYZ I said, you told me do this. I'll do it right. And I think I mean I could be wrong. One of his best students. I think I became you know, so I picked a mentor who I knew was legit. He wasn't you know, there's a lot of charlatans out there. Kevin's legit, right. So I said, he's the guy. I'm gonna give him I literally said this. I said, I'm gonna keep on giving this guy money till he knows my first name. So he knows who I am. Till I stand out till you know I'm aligned with that guy because I knew he knew people. I knew he had a network. I didn't have the network right. So and every investment that I made, obviously, I made many investments with him over the years. For 567 years, however long that was right. Now we're partners right? With email copy Academy, but even like outside of that, like other communities had said, could there be clients in here like, Okay, this community this membership sites $1,000 or $1,500 a year if I join their client? And will that client be worth more than the cost of the community because I get one job for $2,000 Over the next 12 months, I only paid $1,000 I doubled my money, right? And I now have a client now have their network I have the other network of the people in the group. So I started buying my way in two networks and this so people don't get like you can make an investment into a network. And it doesn't mean you have to necessarily go to join a membership site. It could be you go into a live event and you meet people there and shaking hands now you have people who you know and people who know you, but there has to be some of that. Because you're a teacher, you're out of school knowing that the school is doing what you're doing. Most likely knowing your friends circle like I you know, we still have our teacher friends that we hang out with, you know, like, people that you know, used to work with and things I talk to you every now and again. But like they're not doing, you know, like our friend circles like there's no one doing what you're doing. Like a tech hub. It's not like you're going to you know, New York City where this business is happening like you're in a school, you know, like there's not all the copywriting going on besides what you're doing right. So you need to get into rooms, digital rooms, groups networks. You know, cartels where there are people who are sharing these opportunities, we're mixing them up who have deal flow who have lead flow who have people who you can connect with, you know, either through getting a direct referral or just being a member of the group and say, oh, you know, Susie over there, she's really good at this. You should talk to Susie right, like being that person. So, but I reinvested in a lot of those types of opportunities because I knew if I buy my way into connections and find my way into relationships, I hired a fitness coach one time because I knew that he also did copywriting and had a lot of clients and was sometimes past overflow people. So I hired this guy's a fitness coach, and he actually was just me a few clients, and this actually still something I do I see if I know someone has a high profile like business, I'll say me invest with them for XYZ service or coaching or whatever it is, even if it's outside the realm of marketing, and then I will get my way into their network, right. So again, it costs money, right? Like you can't do that if you're not making anything but once I started to make anything I said let me a certain percent of my income should be investing into growing my personal network.
While I'm seeing a lot of the people who reach out to me might not understand like, the importance of communities, and they're stuck at the level of I'm trying to find work on free Facebook groups or on LinkedIn. Like speak, like speak to that. What are your thoughts on that?
I mean, I haven't been on those groups in a very long time. So I don't know what that like now. I know what they were like back then. You know, four or 567 years ago. Think there's probably good ones and bad ones and there's probably a lot of bad ones. I remember like the you know, the Click Funnels group was a notorious one, four or five years ago and it was 100,000 people or whatever it was, like every single day it was just people like spamming with these offers. You know, they had other groups that like paid groups, and those groups are good, but I know like the free open group that anyone could join was kind of like a cesspool is a mess, right.
So you know, are there good ones I'm
sure that there are I just I just don't know off the top of my head. You know, that might be needles in the haystack type scenario. I know back in the day, there were some good free ones that I was involved in coffee with Dan Dan Meredith over in the UK, like he had a big one that was you know, really generous community. I think it was 15,000 or so people I got clients I met one of my best friends Mike yonder from that group. We're still friends with to this day years later and helped him kind of you know, with his fitness business way back when with other businesses, and he's introduced new clients over the years who have a great connection. He came from a free Facebook group, that's how he initially met. So I'm sure if they're out there, you know, again, like groups are one thing. There's also you can build your own group, right? Like there's also just people who you can meet like, I mean people on Twitter all the time, you know, like people that I connect with and that obviously helps when you have a body of work and a website and these other things, but everyone starts somewhere you know, like you got to start building somewhere you guys are building relationships or building website or building articles and building all these things. You know, because then you have what's the boat you have them you know, it's like you build your castle one brick at a time and then you have a castle at the end. But if you never start laying bricks, you never had the castle, you know. So, you know, I don't know for your resource pay groups. I think the paid ones are just generally better because you have a higher calibre person because if someone's willing to invest a they have money, which means the probably making money for the most part you know, and if they're probably making money, then they're probably hiring to help them grow the business. So as long as those conditions are met, you know, you're usually in good company.
Yeah, like on coffee chief like they have to pay to the job listings on there. So it's not just any random person posting you know, kind of a, they're like pretty skimpy copy and content of listings out there. And it just it saves so much time. Like Chris said, it can be finding a needle in a haystack to look for those really good groups.
So I was also
just wondering if, like now is the period of time where teachers have a break, and maybe 3040 days before going back into the classroom? You know, not everyone's going to be ready to leave the classroom and start copywriting. What do you think would be the number one thing they should focus on? Just because you said you were using every free hour every free day vacation days to focus on copywriting, right? Like, what's the number one thing you would focus on during this like short period of time before school starts up again?
I mean, one thing, it's tough. You know, I think if you can if you can get to a live event, those are those are good, because it's a different dynamic when you're in the room with someone and like sometimes it feels like it's very hard to stand out online. But like, if you gotta get into a conversation with the person sitting next to you, and you shake their hand and look them in the eye, and there's not 1000 other people who are little profiles on the screen, who there's no differentiation, and it's just you and the person, you know, that's a good advantage and I know a lot of people who've gotten some exceptional opportunities just by literally being in the room, rather than having to compete and stand up people who, who, and this might send me in, but that's not my intention, who didn't really have anything noteworthy about them at that stage of their careers, are able to land good opportunities because of who they knew. And those opportunities help them transform into someone who had many noteworthy experiences and, and connections and, you know, projects and things under their belt. So, all it takes is one opportunity. You know what I mean? Like, that's the thing like that retainer, $4,000 retainer that I had, you know, circling back to the beginning that came from referral from a guy I knew who was a copywriter who was subcontracted work and he put out a post. His name is John. He put out a post and said, I'm looking for someone. You know, John Carlton calls like the shameless horror phase. I'm looking for someone who's in there, like shameless horror phase of copywriting, who's willing to do like, you know, some type of work on the cheap for some clients. I said, Screw it, I'll do it. Because I was taking anything. I didn't care. I was like, I don't care if I'm making $0 As long as I'm working and meeting people and people are seeing my work. I'm getting feedback and actually getting projects. The money is not important. It's kind of like the startup mentality. But like, there are startups who get $100 million in funding, and they'll make no revenue for three years while they're building the product and getting your product market fit and then acquiring users. And then once they have 50 million users, they turn on the monetization and boom, they're like a $10 billion company, right? I kind of took that similar thing where I was, in the beginning, the money's not important because I have a paycheck because I have a job. I have a teaching job. I have paycheck coming in every two weeks. So yeah, obviously I want to make money. That's why I'm doing it. But I'm doing it to acquire clients to acquire experience to acquire testimonials and success stories and case studies and knowledge and confidence and belief in myself that I can actually do this. And once I had that, when I turn to monetization, everything went through the roof, right? People don't get that because they don't really understand basic business concepts, especially teachers and why would you because you're not a business person because you're a teacher. You probably didn't go to business school. Neither did I. But that's why when you're reading and learning, you start to think differently. You start to think with this different mentality. So that's actually necessary. So this guy, John, you posted that gig in a free Facebook group that I was in. I said, Hey, I'll do it. I wrote like a 20 page sales letter for like 200 bucks. It was one talk about shameless horror copy work. Oh, yeah, it took the box. Definitely. But I said screw it. I don't care. I don't care if you give me $5 I don't care. I'll do it. I will do the gig. And people hear that people don't like when I say that. They want me to work for free. You want me to work for nothing? No, I'm not saying that. Your situation might be different, depending on who you are listening to this. But for me, I just didn't care about the money as much as I cared about those other things. There's other things were more important assets than the actual dollars in the bank account. Because I knew that if I got really good and knew enough people, that the bigger opportunities would come down the road. And then I would just continue to charge more and more. That's why I started doing so he brought me on because he knew I was good. He knew my stuff was great. Introducing the client. Eventually he left the gig and then it was just me so I was reading all the comments that helped me I became the head copywriter. And I worked with that client for 31 months. So I probably made let me see if I do the back of the cocktail napkin math, because at first was $4,000 for a while and then it moved to a variable retainer where they had so much more work and I said can we pay you based on how much work we give you? I said absolutely. And $100 an hour so there were months when I was making 5600 6200 6800 $7,200 from that one retainer client. And then okay, maybe every now and then there was a month when there was only 3600 but it was very rare most of the time was over the $4,000 retainer. So if I add up over 31 months, how much money it was easily 150k Maybe closer to $200,000. I got from the one client over the course of two and a half years right. But again, like that was one opportunity. If I just said no to that one thing. Imagine the trajectory imagine the change because once I got the job and that client, people that company started going to other companies, big companies, right? And I would I had five people I knew six people I knew who would go to the company who say hey, we need someone like you over here too. Can you help with these projects, and I still get people this day from that company that I haven't worked with in five, six years, however long it's been and every now and again once a year I'll hear from them, they'll hit me up Hey, do you know anyone for this? You know, can you help us out with this project? still paying dividends right? And all those people who they introduced me to those people to introduce other people so again, this is what I mean. It's like one opportunities that you plant one seed in the ground and then a tree grows and and all these branches grow and then what happens they drop seeds and more trees grow the whole forest built. That's how it happens.
Did you have like a way of knowing plant those seeds because I'm sure there were some like bad seeds along the way, right? Oh, yes.
Oh, there were tonnes of people who were just took advantage of me and you know, people were just jerk offs, but like, you know, I don't know, you know, I was willing to get taken advantage of because I knew again, I knew if I had one good opportunity. So I was I said again people don't like when I say this, they don't like it. They say no, you should know your worth and charge for your value and hey, they're not wrong. But I don't know. Like I said, I was willing to do it all I will do any projects. I don't care a price. Obviously I want to charge a good amount. But if the client came back and countered, gold's good 50 You know, if I say 75,000 email and they said 50 Okay, screw it, whatever, just PayPal me the money. Let's go. Let's get it on. You know, I'm not I'm not going to haggle. Let's get the project done. Let's make this thing assess and move on. So yeah, I mean, what does it say? You kiss a few frogs and get to your prince Right? Like I think that is applicable. Sometimes.
This is why you mentioned I think in one of your majors something about you if you want to become a copywriter. Go be like super reasonable and like your belief in herself. I think this like really demonstrates that. I want to backtrack for a bit so for listeners who don't know what retainers are, Chris has like a really great course on them like retainers royalties. And revenue with Kim kharazi. Schwalm. Do you want to share a bit like what a retainer is? Because I'm realising a lot of teachers are still in the mentality that Oh, copywriting is another job. I need a resume. I need to know how much they're paying and things like that when there's actually so many different ways to get paid as a copywriter. Do you want to share what a retainer is?
Yeah, so a retainer is a deal. It's a contract that you make with a company where like, if a company needs help with copy, marketing, anything, anything, it could be fulfilment, it could be customer service, really any kind of position, but let's use the term copywriting and marketing, right? They want to build out a marketing team. They don't want to go to an agency, so maybe they go with a freelancer, but they want the freelancer to be around to do certain things. They don't want to just do one project and then see like a freelancer, right. They want to keep that person, but they don't want to make them an employee. The reason why they might not want to make an employee is because maybe they don't need a full time. Person. They don't need a 40 hour. Week w two person maybe what they need is only 10 hours a month or 15 hours a month worth of work. And not that you have to sell by hours. I'm just for the sake of of just easy, you know, discussion here, I'm just using that framing, right. Or maybe it's we just need someone to do 10 emails a month and how maybe it takes you two hours, like whatever, it doesn't matter, right? So they say, well, we need these things done. We don't want to hire employees who want to put them on a contract. So the contract is essentially just another word for like a contract like a retainer where it's like an ongoing thing. So like it's like, okay, I'll come in, I'll do 20 nos for you a month, and I'll charge you $5,000 And on a retainer, right. So they retain you, you stick around, you become kind of part of the team, but you're not w two, you have the contract, you execute the deliverables every month. And that's the essence of retainer. There's obviously nuance to that in terms of how you structure these payment terms. There's a lot of nuance behind all that, but at its core, that's where retainer is what I would do, and again I don't necessarily recommend this for everyone but I would do buffet retainers like all you can eat buffet like you know you pay one fee you get everything. Hey how much coffee I'll give you give every piece coffee. This is why I was able to charge so much. Because I'd say yeah, okay cost me $4,000 All right, all the coffee. Give me as much coffee as you can. Because what I found was a I was an exceptionally fast writer and still I'm probably one of the best writers ever meet. And I'll say that I'll go toe to toe with anyone I'm fast. Be can write so fast that I could ship like cool. I had months when they give me 50 emails and I ship them all the few pages because by the time I gave them all that stuff, then they'd have 50 emails, all these pages and then have to get a built and have to get implemented after the launch. So the next month would be easy because they'd have this backlog of stuff that I had to get through and like, people don't get that. I could never do that. I can never do a buffet. I'm like okay, well maybe depending on the client, but like for me and the client, like cool, you love me up on month that's totally fine. Now you're gonna spend the next month and your whole team how's it gonna work? So there's a bit of like a protection built in there ebbs and flows and things like that. So again, I don't necessarily recommend that what I recommend now is you know, you have set deliverables for a set fee and then that makes the variables easy, but the beginning I was playing fast and loose and I was like, Screw it, whatever the students could do going, cut the check. Let's get it going. Give me that money. I'll give you whatever you need. I'll stay up late. I'll wake up early. I don't care. I'll get it done. And that's how I kind of like got that initial momentum
like the maximum number of retainers you had going at one time
three or four,
you know, it's probably around three or four. You know, it's tough to remember. I mean right now I have wide consulting retainers now. So I have for those I think a few more that I'm like, working on those a little different because it's more brain work most writing work. When you can have multiple retainers, I mean, again, like I have I have one of my students right now like he does daily emails for clients. So like it might take him 20 to 30 minutes writing about our client client pays him $5,000 A month plus performance. And, okay, so you have four clients, and it takes you half an hour write email, and you work two hours a day and that's $20,000 Plus performance, you know, I mean, so it just depends on what you're doing. It depends on how you structure the deal and what you put into it. So that can be very lucrative. I like them.
Yeah, I just brought this up. Because like I suspect a lot of teachers are still stuck in the job mentality right just looking for the one thing with regular pay every month but there's like like Chris said, layering on different retainers, there's there's really no limit to the amount of like income other than like your time and your you know, other constraints. i What would you say to a teacher who thinks it's impossible to command like so much authority and income and copywriting especially coming from a field where it's like the opposite we we didn't have much. I mean, a lot of us don't face a lot of respect in the classroom or in schools. And like the income wasn't great either.
Well, life is kind of what you make it right. It's all what you choose to accept. And wants sound like glib when I say that. I hope it's not come across the line, but it is the truth. Like yeah, sure people might people saw me that way. And now they don't. People don't even know as a teacher, you know, they have no idea unless I tell them I said Wow. How do you How did you build all this? How did you do that? Right? Because I made it happen, you know, we live in a will to power world, right? Like Nietzschean concept, right? Like, are you going to exert your will upon the world? Do you want to make this happen? Now, are you going to make it happen or not? Are you going to put the steps are you going to overcome the steps and action to overcome any obstacle? Are you going to change people's perception of you are going to upgrade every aspect about you to become this new person that you want to be? Can it's a choice, it's difficult. It's not easy. You know it's not push this button and sit does not retainer in the next seven days or your money back. You know, that's what a lot of people want. A lot of people want that. Don't blame them. Most promise. Not always how it works out, right? But it really just depends like, you know, you're gonna live or you're gonna die. Some stuffs gonna happen between you to determine a lot of a lot of that stuff. You get to determine whether you're gonna make this happen. You have you have a vote you ever say you're allowed to determine what happens with your life? Most people don't ever realise that. Maybe they like consciously like no it's a possibility but they don't realise it down in their DNA with every fibre of our being they don't ever make a change. And, again, not to be addicted, but there's winners and losers in life and you got to choose Are you going to be one or are you going to be a loser? And again, it goes back to that idea of choice like you have the choice you are allowed to choose. So your quiz was easier for you to say because you made it like yeah, I made it. Because I made it. I made it happen. I worked every day. Work 80 hours a week for years and made it happen. I use my sick days to write copy. You know, I woke up at 5am take calls from Europe. They call from everywhere. I'd stayed up late I was on the West Coast, our clients own place. Every lunch break. I was in my car on the phone listening to podcasts. I read hundreds of books. I bought every single course out there. I invest every single dollar I had, like for going starting a retirement account at 23 You know, which probably would have been a good idea but I didn't do it because I said that money I'm gonna invest into Not that I'm saying that's not financial advice, right. But you know, I said screw it. I gotta make this happen. I gotta
make it happen. So, you know, it's, it's,
it's not easy. It's not easy. I'm not going to sit here and say it's easy. It's very difficult road you have to decide if it's worth it. For me it was worth it. I think it'd be worth it for a lot of people listen to this too. But you've got to make it happen. Yeah, it's winning takes care of everything. Winning takes care of everything when it takes care of everything. Are you gonna be a winner or loser
you get to decide.
Yeah, especially you know, teachers who are still like stuck knee deep in in all of it and cannot picture themselves outside of it. I hope that you know Chris's story, helps you picture it but also see how much work and time and money actually goes into it.
So why wait
for like teachers. So this last question like What What about for teachers who have already broken into copywriting and you know, hope to build an empire like yours one day
I guess I would say is really have to take that advice of like, no, it is a matter of capital allocation, which is just the concept of just means like, where do you put your dollars you invest your dollars and then there's different things that you invest your dollars in, right like within the context of business I'm not talking about like 401 K's or four three B's or any of that stuff, right I'm just talking about in the context of like, you're building a business. You could put your dollar in adequate your dollar and then getting website built you could leave your money in your bank account, you can cut yourself a check. You could invest in a mentor, you could join a community you could buy a piece of software like there's infinite places for you to put your dollars. I think that you need to put your dollars buy into something that helps you build your network. Because you need people like you can't do this alone. You need people know who you are, you're gonna need referrals. You're going to need you know, people who are going to like Kevin Rogers says that simply because they know oh, you know, Tanya is really good XYZ like you should go talk to her about that. If no one knows who you are, that's never going to happen. You need even if you're an introvert, you need people know who you are. You need opportunity flow, you need deal flow, new referral flow, you new client flow, which all those things lead to cash flow, right? And cash is oxygen. So like I would like this is why I'm so big on copy chief like you should be in copy chief like if you want to do this. That's where people who are careerists go like when you want to have a cop coat that's where you go. That's why you go there because you're not following some 19 year old dipshit on Tik Tok and saying I make $80,000 a month as a copywriter and they're just completely lying because I would know them. I know everyone I know 10s of 1000s of people I have a lot of money. I have just I had 21,000 people on my email list and just chiselled a bunch off right like I know a lot of people in this industry full of shit. Kevin's not calm he was not a college he was legit as hell. So you know are there other communities that are legit Absolutely. There's there's definitely a few more right off the top my head. That's one that I joined and it was absolute terrible for me. So you know you got to just you got to I always say like the world is run by cartels. You either got to build one or you got to join one but you can't do without one.
So under cartel. Do you also share a bit?
I mean, technically you build your cartel to write with your email list. Like we talked about the power of that scaling, Chris Arza kowski. Yeah, well, I
mean, it's just it's just documentation. Of what I've done. You know, I just I just started writing about things that I it's funny, like writers don't do this. A lot of them don't do this themselves. It's like they'll write for clients, but they won't write for themselves. Like, you know, I'm a good writer. I'm gonna write about the stuff that I'm doing because it's like, you know, you watch much like, Flip or Flop or one of these home no renovation shows and what do they do? They, they renovate the home and they sell it. They make money there. They also get money from a TV show from people watching what they're doing. Right so like, I'm gonna write, copy and do these projects, and then also make money by letting people watch me do those things. When I say watch I mean, in terms of, oh, they read my blog, or they join my list, or maybe I launch a product or maybe I do consulting, to build the TV show that sort of Caskey show that people can tune into right and there's no reason why you can do that for yourself. Like no one invited me no one not domestic press no be really cool. If you start a blog you do that please because we'd love to read your articles and and help you build this empire. No one did that. I kicked down the door. I took it for myself, and you are gonna have to do the same thing. No one's gonna invite you to start doing this. You have to just start doing it. If you want to go
down that path.
Awesome. Where's the best place people can find you and see what you're up to.
If you go to that email, copper or.com. That's my site. You can get on my list and get a free copy of my book there. And you guys follow me on Twitter at Chris or z or z EY.
Thank you so much for joining us today. Chris. This has been really exciting. I think it's gonna be something I'll remember for a long time. So I'm gonna sign off now and we're going to have another episode in two weeks. Thank you so much for listening.