Four Retainer Clients in Two Months Writing Autoresponders

You can learn a lot from your fellow web writers …

Ideas for getting clients … separating home life from your work-at-home life … paths others took that were successful (and those paths they took that were not successful) … overcoming obstacles … managing your time …

Sharing with others, and learning from them, will help you succeed that much faster.

That’s why when I heard Wealthy Web Writer member, Rachel Karl, went from cracking open Jay White’s Autoresponder Apprentice program, to landing four retainer clients (plus several other per-project clients!) in just two months, I set up an interview to get you the details.

Check out her story …

What was life like as a copywriter before Jay's Autoresponder Apprentice program?

Rachel: I was all over the place as a copywriter, spending a lot time trying to figure out all the different things I could offer clients but not really getting anything done or making a whole lot of money.

It was basically feast or famine. Most days, I worked all day long and sometimes at night after the kids went to bed. I was missing out on fun times with my family. My house was a mess and I felt like a slave sometimes even though I was supposed to be living “the writer's life.”

I’m sure many freelancers can relate. So, what changed all that?

Rachel: Jay White held a teleconference earlier this year. I had already begun to steer myself in the direction of writing autoresponders. And, based on the feedback I got from you, Steve Slaunwhite, and a couple of other clients, it looked like I had a knack for writing emails.

But, I knew that even though I was getting good responses to my email promotions and the ones I wrote for clients, I was still not hitting the mark. It took me about two hours to write one email because I had to go over it so many times to make it flow right and make sure I was selling people on the benefits of the products and all that other stuff. Then clients would go back and forth with me a few times on revisions.

But, when I listened to Jay, I realized it was EXACTLY where I wanted to go as a copywriter. It was a good fit for me.

What made writing autoresponders and Jay’s program a good fit for you?

Rachel: Well first, it involves essentially creative short-story writing. I love writing fiction or creative non-fiction and writing autoresponders is perfect for that.

People want to be entertained — not sold — because they're bombarded with other people trying to sell them stuff all the time. So, it's hitting them in a fun, refreshing way.

Second, once you master Jay’s formula (and it only took me about a week to master it), you can literally shoot out an email in 20-30 minutes.

Although I still have a lot to learn, too. I'm constantly going back over Jay's program materials and looking for places I can improve my copy.

And then, third, the money is great! Like I said, once you really master the formula of how to do this, you're getting a lot of money for not a huge time investment.

Sounds like the program was definitely a great investment for you.

Rachel: In a recent Wealthy Web Writer issue, you wrote about how to decipher good investments. In there you said, decide WHAT to invest in.

No matter what a copywriter decides to invest his or her time in, I agree they should be getting a good return. Because what we're going for, ultimately, is doing something we love, getting paid really well to do it, and having the free time to go hang out with friends and family, and travel, and do other fun things we've always day-dreamed about.

So, the key is to stay focused on something long enough to get good at it and make it happen. Otherwise, you're scattered all over the place. At least that's what happened to me.

Okay, so what's life like for you now that you’ve decided to write autoresponders?

Rachel: SO different than it was just a couple of short months ago! I think I bought Jay's program in the beginning of February. Since then, in two short months, I've gone from a struggling copywriter to actually living “the writer's life" that you hear AWAI talk about all the time.

You think, That will never happen to me. That stuff only happens to people like Joshua Boswell.

Now I know it can happen.

Let’s talk about getting clients for a minute. Did you go after prospects in a particular niche?

Rachel: Not so much in a particular niche, but I had my sights set on people that I felt were making a difference in the world that I would be proud to support. I just made the decision that if I was going to spend my valuable time helping people, they had better be doing the same, but on a much bigger scale.

How many people did you contact before you landed any clients?

Rachel: Before I answer that, let me just say that before I learned Jay’s method, I had to contact at least 20 people to get one client or project.

I think I was on the third lesson of Jay’s program, when I decided to start using some of the stuff. I contacted six potential clients.

How did you get in touch with them?

Rachel: I found their email address on their website or from emails I got from them promoting their products to me, and I contacted them via email.

I also have a small list of a few hundred prospects that I send a bi-monthly newsletter to, and I've gotten a couple of clients off of that for smaller projects as well. One of the most popular areas for a smaller monthly stream of income is writing e-newsletters for companies. I get a lot of requests for that.

How did you pitch your services to them?

Rachel: I just used the autoresponder info from Jay’s program and what I learned about selling myself as a copywriter from the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, and crafted the emails using that and my enthusiasm for what they were doing.

I essentially sold their own stuff to THEM and then positioned myself as the person that should be handling their emails for them moving forward.

I find that personal contact (either by directly emailing a prospect, phoning them, or sending them a personal letter) is what works the best for getting clients. The more you do it, the less scary it gets.

Jay teaches you to ask three important things in email writing:

  1. What's the goal?
  2. Who am I talking to?
  3. What will I do to get that click?

Well, I think it's important to work those things out in your head or on paper before contacting a prospect as well. At least, that's been my successful formula.

Now, you were actually able to land a few clients on retainer. Were you able to arrange this right away?

Rachel: With one client, yes. With another client, I sold them a website design and content project (I hired a sub for the design and programming), social media blasts, email autoresponders, and a monthly e-newsletter. Then I wrote their marketing plan for 2010 and offered to take on most of the projects as a remote Director of Marketing on a monthly retainer. They said "yes."

What closing thoughts do you have for your fellow web writers?

Rachel: I am really just starting to get things truly rolling and coming out from under that "first year in a new business" growing pains. So, there is a lot more to come, for sure. And, the word of mouth is growing, which is the best form of advertising you can't pay for.

My goal is to break the $100K mark this year. So far, I've tripled over last year, so I think I can do it without breaking too much of a sweat!

One thing that I think really helped me, and I probably sound like Josh Boswell here, was my clarity on the types of clients I wanted … people who understood the value of good copywriting and marketing, respected me as a consultant, and were willing to pay me what I am worth … and my total confidence and certainty in myself to get them.

I think that being really clear with yourself on those things is the KEY to having and running a successful business — no matter what you do.

I also think that what spurred my sudden growth from feast or famine to steady retainers and clients, was the fact that I focused on one main area. It's so easy to get your attention splattered all over the place because there are so many areas you can get into with copywriting. But I think it's important to Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS), and then expand once that specialty is stable.

Just choose an area that you like and go for it. In my case, I finally settled on writing emails for clients, but I plan to expand more into sales videos, website audits, and web content in addition to writing emails.

What an inspiring story! Hearing when and how people succeed — and truly living the writer’s life — is the best part of my job.

If you’ve had success landing clients, growing your freelance business, or exceeding your goals this year, I’d love to talk to you, too. Send me an email when you get a chance, with a little information about you and your story.

I’ll make sure we follow-up with Rachel again later this year for an update on that six-figure goal. If she stays on the same path she’s on, I have a strong feeling she’s going to hit it before the year is up.

And, if you’re still trying to decide which path to start down, keep in mind that Rachel isn’t the only one experiencing this level of success — this quickly — from writing autoresponders. Jay White and I both receive emails every week from people taking Autoresponder Apprentice that find landing clients very easy.

Why not check it out for yourself?

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: May 5, 2010

2 Responses to “Four Retainer Clients in Two Months Writing Autoresponders”

  1. I don't think content is a killer at all for AWAI programs. It's the self-doubt that people bring to the table. These articles and interviews do a GREAT service to AWAI and folks like myself who KNOW we can achieve our writing goals, but just have old self-doubts we deal with...until our destiny breaks, like Rachel Karl's did!

    Jerry BuresMay 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm

  2. Like Rachel I have found myself bouncing from one copywriting area to another, never sticking with a topic long enough to truly benefit from it or the instruction that AWAI's experts provide. It is really inspirational to know that if you stick with something that you love long enough the personal satisfaction, confidence, and money will come, like with Rachel. As Rachel said, "FOCUS" and "Just Do It!"

    swertzbaugherJune 22, 2010 at 6:14 am


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