Are Your Fingers Just on the Wrong Keys?

Has this ever happened to you …

The other day I sat down in a white heat. My mind was racing.

The “Big Idea” for my latest promo had finally hit me!

So, I ran to my iMac, kicked open Pages, and started typing in a mad flurry. I don’t know about you, but I’m up to over 100 words a minute these days. So, when I’m on a roll, I can crank out copy.

A full paragraph into this typing frenzy, I noticed something was terribly wrong. None of the words made sense! It was all garbled up — one big fat mess.

The problem? The fingers of my right hand were on the wrong keys the whole time!

With some frustration, I realized that I was putting out energy … doing the work … being focused … but I was getting nowhere. In fact, instead of moving the project forward, I was actually wasting time and getting further behind.

Sigh … highlight, delete, start over.

The Moral of the Story …

I told you this story because this is EXACTLY what I see most copywriters doing with their self-promotion marketing efforts.

There’s a lot of activity … time and/or money being spent in an effort to become that six-figure copywriter we all dream of … but the results just aren’t there.

So, what is the answer? You must shift your fingers to the right keys.

I’m going to give you three examples to illustrate what I mean by “shifting the fingers to the right keys” in your money-making efforts. Plus, I’ll give you three easy, concrete action items that you can do right now to make an instant, big difference in your marketing efforts …

Example #1: The Price War

I set the phone down and jumped for joy. Literally, I jumped out of my chair and did a little jig in my office.

I had just closed my first client … $1,000 for a 15-page sales letter!

What followed was one of the most grueling three-week periods of my life. Revisions, discussions, highs, lows, and the final blow … a review by the Board telling me how rotten my stuff was. Ouch.

Oh, and they were not sending the final $500 and wondered how they ever got talked into paying such a high fee for a letter.

Double ouch.

From that experience, I realized that it was my own mentality that was killing me. I had priced myself so unimaginably low that, of course, I would attract clients like this.

I wish I could say that I immediately went and revamped my price list and set higher standards, but I didn’t. In fact, I got burned a few more times before I mustered the courage to make a change.

It was then that I went on a “Price War.” It was not a war with clients. It was with myself.

My self-image was so miserably low that I really felt I was only worth $500 and a sharp kick in the teeth. The clients were just reflecting my inner beliefs.

So, I had to wage a war to see myself differently. It wasn’t just about raising my prices. It was about becoming someone that believed they could charge more … and believing I was worth it.

This was one of the hardest battles that I’ve ever fought.

And, in fact, you may be interested to know that there are times when I’m still fighting the battle. Today I sent out a proposal for $8,700 … and that was just to have the client sit down with me and strategize for a day. No copy — just talking. It’s the most I’ve ever charged for one day and I’m squirming a little.

You should be squirming, too. Every time you put out a proposal, it should make you a little uneasy and a little outside your comfort zone.

Yes, my first solid suggestion to you about “moving your fingers a little to the left” is this: Raise your prices. Internally and externally. Sit down right now and jot down how much you’d be willing to sell your time for … $50 an hour … $75 an hour … $200 an hour … what is it?

Get a number that you feel comfortable with … and then raise it by at least 50%, if not double it.

The next time you are asked about a project, use the new fee structure.

And long before that, simulate the conversation in your mind a thousand times over. “I’d be happy to give you XXX deliverables and handle YYY on this project. My fee is $XXX.” Say it over and over again.

It won’t stop you from being nauseated the first few real times you do it, but it will help you from stumbling all over your words.

When you raise your prices, you will instantly begin attracting different clients. You are charging too little right now, aren’t you? Yes. So, raise your prices and get better results.

Example #2: Harvesting vs. Educating

I am a Saint at heart. I don’t mean that disrespectfully or sacrilegiously … I really mean it. I absolutely love helping other people. I love serving, giving, and uplifting people.

So, when I started out in copywriting, I recognized that I had this incredibly powerful tool in my hands that I could use to raise up struggling, well-deserving, needy individuals and companies from the ashes and give them new life.

I thought of calling my company “Phoenix Rising” because I was going to save them all. True story.

And, that is who I went after — the companies that really, really needed my help.

It only took me five months of pain to realize that there is a mighty powerful difference between “need” and “want.” The needy folks and businesses never really do want help. Oh, sure there are a few … but most of them? Nah. They just want a handout.

What I just said might really grate on you and seem heartless, but it is true.

So, I had to make a small shift in my thinking … not a huge one … a small move of the fingers to the left was all it took.

I was going to stop trying to force needy companies to grow and educate them on how badly they needed a fabulous copywriter like me, and start looking for those that already understood direct response.

I got out of the “educating” business and stepped foot into the “harvesting” business. I was going to help those that were already harvesting, harvest more … and thus I could finally start reaping my own happy harvest. After all, I had dreams, wants, and a family to feed, too.

And so do you.

So, your next assignment is to give up feelings of working for free, saving the world, and lifting all the suffering souls and businesses out of their misery.

There will be a time for this … but let’s get you and yours squared away first. To do this, look for and deal with only those companies who “get it.”

Example #3: Activity vs. Results

What I’m about to tell you will take you 10 minutes a day. No more, and maybe less.

It is a very, very small “shift of the fingers,” but it is perhaps one of the hardest to master.

In the beginning days, I had lots of time on my hands. Being able to dive into copywriting and marketing myself was a blessing. It stopped me from going totally stir-crazy.

But, the danger I faced was doing a lot of activity — the kind of stuff that comforted me and made me feel like I was doing something — without getting a lot of results.

The cure for this is very easy and includes just two steps …

First, sit down and define what you want your life to be like. Be sure to include specifics. How much money each month, each year, will you earn? What kind of car, home, vacations, and lifestyle will you enjoy? What will your key relationships be like? How would you like your health to be?

I call this a Purpose Statement. It is VITAL.

Second, every night before you go to bed (or in the morning, if you must … but night is better), take 10 minutes, or less, to write down and review your specific action items for the next day.

As you do this, carefully scrutinize everything on your list and ask this one question: Will this get me closer to fulfilling my Purpose Statement?

Be brutally honest. If it won’t, then mercilessly wipe it off the list. I repeat, have no mercy on any item that does not fulfill your Purpose Statement.

Remember, all things will either get you closer to your dream lifestyle or further away. Determine to go forward, not backward.

A Word Of Caution …

Now, you might be inclined to read these simple examples and think, “Oh, that is too easy, too simple … why doesn’t he give me the REAL secrets to success?”

If you thought that, you’d be terribly wrong.

After studying the lives of extremely successful men and women for the past 15 years … and I suppose, in my own right, actually being one … I have come to the conclusion that most people fail to achieve success because of two things:

  1. They look beyond the mark for the titillating, fascinating, and mysterious.
  2. Because they “miss the mark,” they never do the simple things that help them “become” great.

We only ever get in life what we “are,” not ever what we “want.” That is why “becoming” is so vital.

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Published: May 31, 2010

2 Responses to “Are Your Fingers Just on the Wrong Keys?”

  1. You nailed it... even thinking about charging that much is nauseating! Literal stomach churning. A whole mess of butterflies!

    I guess that means I am finally thinking in the right ballpark.

    Lisa Salinas

  2. This is a *great* article. I *have* been afraid of moving forward. And, women in particular have been undervalued in society and, as a result, undervaluing themselves for decades if not century. They also have a tendency to be the Saint. This has given me much insight and inspiration. Thank you.

    Charlotte W

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