Josh Monen

Sharing my journey through life.

Month: January 2017 (page 2 of 7)

Why do you write?

“Reasons come first, answers second. It seems that life has a mysterious quirk of camouflaging the answers in such a way that they become apparent only to those who are inspired enough to look for them — who have reasons to look for them.”
– Jim Rohn

Why do you write?

Only you know the answer to that question. And I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. But I do think it’s important to be honest about it.

If it’s to make money, great. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed about that.

I worked as a freelance copywriter for over six years and I can tell you that there are worse ways to make a living.

But if your motive isn’t money, what is it?

Is it to express yourself? To change the world? To help your reader?

For example, the reasons why I publish a daily blog on here are not the same reasons I did copywriting work. I wrote copy to make money. But that’s not why I blog.

One of the main reasons why I blog on here is because I want to help people. I want to empower my readers to dream big, to change the world and to make the most out of their life.

I want to help people at both the strategic and tactical levels. I want to help people dream and develop powerful visions for their lives; but I also want to help them with practical action steps so those dreams become reality.

And I want to help people achieve freedom in every area of life.

Those are some of the reasons why I write. I know I don’t always do a good job at supporting those reasons. I get sidetracked and distracted like most entrepreneurs. But at least I can come back to these reasons and re-center myself when I get too far off track.

Plus when I start to feel discouraged because I feel like I’m not accomplishing those reasons with my writing I remind myself that I made a 10-year commitment to publishing a daily blog. So I have over 9.5 years to figure it out!

But what about you? Why do you write? What are your reasons?

Why I Don’t Use My Phone After 9:30 p.m.

Studies have shown that being exposed to the blue-and-white light given off by phones at night prevents our brains from releasing melatonin, a hormone that tells our bodies it’s nighttime.

So if you have a hard time getting to sleep you may want to experiment with having an evening “No Phone Buffer” time before you go to sleep.

The reason I don’t use my phone before I go to bed is because I want to give my mind a chance to unplug and process the events of the day.

I feel like it’s unhealthy to be glued to a screen right up until the point we go to sleep.

Here’s what my Buffer Hour looks like in the evenings:

I usually go to sleep around 10:30. So around 9:30 I’ll plug my phone in and not look at it again until my alarm goes off in the morning.

During this hour I usually read physical books or my Kindle (I use the Kindle Paperwhite and it doesn’t have an LCD screen like phones do so it doesn’t give off that weird light).

Sometimes I’ll journal or write down my 3 Wins for the day; or just hang out and talk to my wife.

It doesn’t really matter what you do. Just take a break from your phone!

This doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just a matter of making a rule that says, “I won’t use my phone at least an hour before I go to bed” and then sticking to it.

Then you can do whatever else you want in that hour. That’s it. Plain and simple.

If you are looking for a more complex system then go back to google and find someone who will you tell you the same thing in 2,000 words. 🙂

Have a good night. I hope you’re not reading this on your phone on your bed!

3 Things Every New Freelance Copywriter Should Do

My last post was about 3 Things Every New Freelance Copywriter Should AVOID.

Well today, I want to share 3 things you should DO if you’re serious about growing your freelance copywriting business.

A good thing about working as a freelancer is that your business model is actually pretty simple. 

I know it may not feel like it is when you’re starting out because everything is so new. But it really isn’t that complicated.

Think about it… you really only need to do two things well to succeed:

1) Get clients (sales).
2) Write good copy.

And for most copywriters #2 is not a problem. Getting new clients is usually the thing freelancers struggle with the most. 

So here are 3 things you can do to make more sales:

1) Make List Building Your New Hobby: When I talk about “list building” I’m referring to the act of building a targeted list of prospects you can email.

For example, if you want to write copy for B2B software companies then you would build a list of marketing directors, marketing managers, VPs of marketing, CEOs, and business owners in that industry. 

You’ll want to at least gather their name, email and phone number.

“Yeah, but where do you find these lists?”

That’s the catch… most the time these lists aren’t just lying around waiting for someone like you to snatch them up so you can prospect to them. 

But if you have eyes to see and ears to hear you will start to see lists everywhere!

You’ll become like Neo in the Matrix and see that our world is actually nothing more than lists (ok, maybe that’s a stretch). But you do have to get creative. Start researching associations, LinkedIn groups, conference sponsors, etc.

2) Prospect Daily: You know all those posts you read about “habits of successful people?” Well for you, one of the most profitable daily habits you can develop is “prospecting.” 

It may even be more profitable then waking up early (gasp!). I know, I may be branded a heretic by the self-help preachers for saying that but it’s true.

You’ll get more clients by sleeping in until 10 am and sending out 10–15 warm emails then if you wake up at 5 am and spend all day blogging, tweaking your website and going to networking groups.

3) Learn to Love Sales: A lot of freelancers hate selling. They prefer to hide behind a laptop and only come up for air when their eyes start to glaze over. 

But you have to learn to love sales! If you think selling is evil you will not go far in this business. Read good selling books (I recommend Secrets to Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar, Integrity Selling by Ron Willingham and The Success System that Never Fails by W. Clement Stone).

I also recommend you develop a “sales process” that you take prospects through when you get on a call with them. For example, here’s an outline of my process:

1) Source: How did you hear about me?
2) Need: What are you trying to accomplish?
3) Project: Is the project well defined?
4) Decision Process: When are they deciding? Who is deciding?
5) Timing: What’s the deadline?
6) Budget: Do they have a budget? Give them a ballpark.
7) Close: Ask for the business.

If you do those 3 things (list building, prospecting, and sales) well you will build a thriving freelance business.

3 Things Every New Freelance Copywriter Should Avoid

Someone asked this question on Quora:

“What should a new copywriter absolutely do when starting out and what should they avoid?”

I’ve been working as a freelance copywriter for almost six years now. And even though I’m in the process of transitioning from being a freelancer to being a business owner, I feel like I have enough “in the trenches” experience to answer this well.

That’s because my first year as a freelancer I figured out quickly “what to avoid.” The reason I knew I was to avoid these things (which I’ll mention shortly), is simple: they weren’t profitable!

Then after a few years of growing my business I finally hired an excellent copywriting coach for about $6,000 that helped me take my business to the next level.

That’s when I learned what “to do.”

So let’s start with the things you should avoid as a new freelance copywriter:

1) Spending too much time on your website: When I first started out I spent WAY too much time building my copywriting website and then “tweaking” it. This was the first website I ever built, so there was a natural learning curve there. But I made it worse by trying to “perfect it.”

It proved to be a valuable resource later in my freelance career. But during those first two years nobody visited it unless I emailed them a link.

My suggestion? Just get a simple WordPress site up (use the Divi Theme if you’re looking for a theme) that looks professional and upload some of your samples. Then when people ask for samples you can just email them a link vs attaching a bunch of clunky PDFs.

2) Blogging: I realize as a writer it’s tempting to try and write yourself out of a corner. But listen… you can publish 20 awesome epic blogs posts in your first year and still get ZERO new clients from it. Blogging is a long-term play and not something that will likely get you new clients right away. Eventually (I think in Year 3 or 4) my website/blog finally reached Page One for ‘direct response copywriter’ but it didn’t happen overnight.

3) Networking Groups: Ugh! I hate even thinking about how much time I wasted going to these stupid groups. Not only did they fail to produce quality leads for me they felt “slimy” and like I was stepping into some MLM Night Club or something. You knew everyone there was there to simply get leads (even if they said things like, “We’re here to simply help and add value. If we get leads as a result, great, but it’s not why we’re here.”).

Sure… that’s like an alcoholic saying “I’m just going to the bar to socialize, if I get hammered, great, but it’s not why I go.” Just be honest. You want leads. I want leads. And the honest truth is that I got FAR more leads doing things like email prospecting then driving to these lame meetings.

I’ll talk about the 3 things you SHOULD do in my next post.

How to Be More Honest without Being a Jerk

I read this article by Paul Jarvis that provoked some thoughts about “honesty.” He said:

“I’d rather be honest and open about who I am, bad attitude, unpopular opinions, controversial views and all. You don’t have to agree with anything I say or believe in (I’d actually rather you didn’t, it makes things much more interesting). But know that it’s who I really am. If we met in person, you wouldn’t be at all surprised. The normal way I talk is the way I write my sales pages.”

So in the spirit of “honesty” let me confess something… I completely agree with Jarvis. But I don’t practice it. At least not as much as I would like to.

Why is that? Well, to be honest… I’m not sure. Hence this blog post. 🙂

Maybe you’re in the same boat. If so, keep reading because I’m going to do my best to figure out what’s stopping me from being a more honest and open person. And hopefully what I learn will be of value to you too.

Here’s my “thought plan” for this:

1) Clarify why I want to be a more honest person.
2) Define what type “honesty” I’m talking about.
3) Figure out how to be honest without being a jerk.
4) Think of how to apply this in real life.

Sounds like a plan! Let’s see if it works…

1) Why I want to be a more honest person

I desire to be a more honest and open person because those are the type of people I love, respect and connect with.

And I’m not just talking about people who agree with me. I actually appreciate people who are very honest, even if it means we disagree on certain things.

This came up recently when a close friend of mine came out of the closet as being gay. We were able to have an open and honest discussion about homosexuality without trying to convince the other person they were “wrong.” It was a great experience and I learned so much from it.

I’d just rather have conversations with people who are honest, but on the other side of an issue, than people who agree with me but aren’t honest.

So because these are the people I respect I just want to be more like that myself.

2) What it means to be an “honest” person

The type of honesty I’m talking about is being yourself no matter who is around. It’s about knowing who you are and being true to yourself, even if that means people won’t like you.

The opposite would be the chameleon who changes who they are (and what they say) based on who’s around. For most of my life I’ve been a chameleon.

And don’t get me wrong, being a chameleon has had it’s advantages. Chameleons are good at fitting in just about anywhere. This helped me navigate those crazy awkward high school years and form diverse sets of friendships.

I had friends who were stoners, jocks, goths, hippies, nerds, and hicks. And I was able to “fit in” with each group.

But the problem with being a chameleon is that it’s hard to develop deep friendships. If you’re constantly adapting who you are based on the moment, and the people you’re with, you become shallow and even start to forget who you really are.

While an honest person may not have as many friends as the chameleon, the friendships they do have are likely to be deeper.

An honest person shares more from their heart and less from their head. They could care less about being politically correct. It’s the difference between a Mitt Romney and a Donald Trump. You may disagree with Trump or not like him, but at least you know what he really believes.

Being honest means we don’t tip-toe around issues because we’re afraid what people may think. We stop saying things simply to please people. Honesty is rooted in a heart that loves and respects the truth.

3) How to be honest without being a jerk

I get annoyed at people who seem to have no respect for other people’s opinions or views. These people think they have a right to walk all over people in the name of “I just like to speak my mind.”

That’s the other end of the spectrum here. On one side you have people who are complete jerks who say things like, “What? I’m just being real.”

And on the other side you have the people-pleasing chameleons who say, “Let’s just agree that disagreeing is to be avoided at all costs.”

But I think there’s a happy medium. I believe it’s possible to be honest without being an ass if you remember to do one simple thing: honor everyone.

I know the word “honor” can seem old fashioned. But it’s a real thing and the more we can learn to cultivate a culture of honor in our hearts, the more we’ll be free to have healthy discussions with those we disagree with.

I may disagree with Obama about his politics but that doesn’t mean I have to dishonor the man by attacking him personally. There’s a fine line there.

4) Life Application: Being honest about your political views

Speaking of Obama, let’s talk about politics for a moment. Because I can’t think of any other topic (besides religion) that would be a good place to practice what we’re talking about.

We all know politics are very controversial. And unless you know where the other person stands on the issue you risk offending them. I get this. And I don’t like offending people.

So I’ve erred on the side of being “politically neutral” until I probe a little and find out where the other person stands.

But that’s the Chameleon Mindset. And we’re aiming for the Honest Mindset. If I only reveal what I think about an issue once I know you agree with me then I am not being honest.

I need to be free to speak my mind, without being a jerk, while also allowing the other person to do the same thing. So here’s how we can apply this to our life:

Next time a political issue arises and you’re in a group feel free to share your opinion on the matter, even if you don’t know where everyone stands.

But, and this is important to remember, make sure you do it in an honorable way. In other words, make sure you temper “speaking your mind” with the awareness that some may disagree with you, and to honor them in your comment.

To see a great example of someone who speaks honestly and who knows how to honor people he disagrees with look at Ben Carson. The Prayer Breakfast Speech he did while Obama sat 10 feet away from him is a great example of what we’re talking about.

Carson shows that it’s possible to be open and honest without being a jerk.

So anyway, I hope this helps you. Remember, you have a right to speak your mind and voice your opinions and so does everyone else. Let’s be ourselves and honor others at the same time. It’s possible!

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