Episode #206 – Chris Orzechowski On The Quick & Dirty Gateway Drug Into the World of Copywriting


Chris wanted to be a school teacher.

It took him precious little time suffering through 12-hour workdays to understand…

teaching school was NOT his future.

He started online by emulating his friend and mentor Zach Evanesh…

with a weekly podcast and blogging on strength and conditioning.

Trying to cut down the time curve, he began to focus on what he enjoyed doing best…

writing email.

The last five years he’s spent honing…

and expanding his copy skills.

Now he’s even back teaching.

Yet this time it’s email copy and client-getting skills.

He’s made all the mistakes getting his freelance copy career rolling so you don’t have to.

His students now snag retainer deals in mere weeks…

something it took him over a year to do.

Hence the value of a mentor.

It all changed for Chris when he began to place himself in the customer’s shoes.

How do you do it?

Listen now and reap the battle-tested, in-the-trenches knowledge Chris brings to this episode.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • 2 simple changes he made which immediately resulted in new clients. Are you making these same prospecting mistakes?
  • The “Where are they?”client advice Chris recieved from an “email guru”. You too will smack your forehead when you hear it.
  • Never be at a loss again for finding new clients when you hear Chris’ “Poconos” story.
  • Retainer deals: The ins, outs, and the number one idea behind finding one.
  • The premier win-win arrangement for copywriters and business owners. Greatest value for dollar and least hassle.

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 206

Mentioned:

Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

David Allan: Hey everybody welcome to another edition of the podcast I’m David Allan, we have a great guest for you today especially if you’re a copywriter – a freelance copywriter.

He’s been doing this for a while now he’s had some very public things we’ll get into here shortly I think which will be
interesting…Chris Orzechowksi, welcome to the show.

Chris Orzechowski: Thanks a lot. Super pumped to be here.

David Allan: yeah it’s really great to have you I sort of probably that’s how I became aware of you I think you had sort of a a public spat if you will with another copywriter who has been on the show in the past and it’ll be interesting to delve into the mechanics
of what actually happened here I think which will be illustrative I don’t know, cuz I don’t know really know how it exactly went down myself…

And then we’regonna jump into some talk about retainer deals structuring offers if you are a freelancer so people listen to this if you’re already in this maybe you can improve what you’re doing or if you’re looking to get into it you’ll get another perspective from
somebody who’s doing it.

Chris let’s just jump in with your origin story or your superhero origin story tell us how you got into email copywriting and so forth
and just where you were before…

Chris Orzechowski: Yeah, absolutely. so I like everyone else to know as a copywriter I actually started off as a teacher I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do I was a wrestler in
college.

and I knew I want to coach

wrestling so I was like okay I’m just

gonna go be a teacher I’ll coach

wrestling and let’s do that so as soon

as I started teaching I very quickly

realized that it wasn’t for me and I say

very quickly I realize like the very

first day I was like oh man I’ve made a

mistake I don’t know if I want to do

this I think I forgot something else to

do and at the time I had this guy that I

worked for on the side this guy’s a

Kevin Nash he was kind of like my mentor

growing up he’s a strength coach one of

the early publishers of strength

conditioning you know infoproducts of

courses and those kind of things and I

remember like watching him as I kind of

like grew up you know going to his gym

and like seeing all the stuff he was

doing online and he was like making

money on the internet I was like how the

hell does that work I was like what you

know what is this like how come this

dude just makes so much money like

selling all these things I was like what

you know I gotta learn more about this

whole world because I’m so enamored by

it so um I started kind of studying what

he was doing I actually started like

blogging and trying to do a very similar

like strand condition type thing like he

was doing you know using him as like my

model and it was kind of hard you know

it was very hard to get traction is very

hard to get started this is this years

ago but uh you know I started doing this

wrestling website and I have like this

weekly podcast on wrestling coaches

those articles I had an email list those

are any emails every single day and I

was like trying to sell affiliate

products know do all the stuff I wasn’t

really great at it I’m you know starting

to build a following get some traction

but after late you know eight months of

doing that not really making any money I

said okay this is taking a whole lot of

time um I think maybe what I should do

this whole online thing is pick the one

thing I like the most and that gives me

the most energy and just focus on that

and so I started looking all the

different options of the online

marketing landscape and the one thing I

really did enjoy the most was writing

emails to my list and the whole copy

aspect of it so I started doing some

research and apparently there’s these

people called copywriters who get paid a

shit ton of money to put words onto a

Google Doc and then saw about to a

client and I was like this is

unbelievable

like I can’t believe this is a real

thing like I can just write words and

then get paid for it get paid pretty

well for it so obviously we know it’s a

little bit more nuanced than that but I

was just so like intrigued by this idea

I said I’m gonna go super deep and just

become really really good at this one

thing and the reason I kind of chose

email marketing and email copywriting

was because out of all the different

types of copy that I could write you

know as a someone who had a day job you

know when I started off as a school

teacher I was doing my 12-hour days that

first year I was coming in two hours

early I was staying two or three hours

later I was also coaching wrestling so

like I didn’t have a huge amount of

mental bandwidth to sit there and be

like okay I’m gonna work on this 97 page

sales letter

you know like for some of these super

competitive spots right I just want to

write like 200 300 more emails and you

know I’ll do like one or two or three of

those every day and I’ll be good to go

so that’s kind of what I started doing

and past you know five five and a half

years that’s really what I put my focus

into that’s that’s very interesting

because that’s right around

I started as same time and listened to

your story is almost like staring into a

mirror for me slightly different sort of

origin story I did not have anyone to

model but you know I sort of uh I guess

I did in a way because I sort of found

out Gary Halbert it sold sold me

something something he wrote sold me so

he became sort of my model I guess in a

way but it’s fascinating to I’ve heard

of Zac of course anyone who’s been in

online marketing probably heard of him

before so that’s interesting that was

your your origin now we said we were

gonna talk about you know maybe we’ll

start with the offeror thing so when you

became a freelancer

I know I’ve always sort of like gone

back and forth on this what sort of ways

at the beginning did you try to offer

your services and and how has that sort

of evolved up until now

well it’s gotten a lot better and the

reason I say that is because I was just

not good like I sucked and I’m not

afraid to admit that I mean it took me a

very very very long time to figure out

how the structure offers how to pitch my

services I don’t even find the right

people and I shouldn’t talking to um you

know it took me probably a year and a

half of really like focused effort to

get that first paying client and then it

took me you know a long time after that

to really get steady work and it’s funny

there’s now like I you know I coach a

handful of freelancers people reach out

to me and ask me probably advertise it

but um you know I they get results in

like you know seven weeks one guy that

I’m working with got a retainer and in

like seven weeks another guy got one in

like twelve weeks I’m like Jesus Christ

I’m so jealous you guys because like you

know all my mistakes but I kind of just

did everything wrong like what I was

doing was I was you know sending direct

mail to local businesses which are just

do that to some you know get it by a

list and write a sales letter and send

to local businesses and I was sending

it’s like to look like each fax and like

you know the local pizza place like

these people don’t even know what the

hell a copywriter is what alone are they

gonna be willing to pay like five or ten

grand to someone you know so I just

wrong I was called emailing I was even

cold calling and that was humiliating as

I got the phone slammed on me like

dozens of times it just sucked like it

was just a grind because I just listened

to all these people who were using these

methods you know some of these methods

people talk about it might work if

you’re you know later on in your career

and you have experience and samples and

all these things but I I just tried

everything and learned tried everything

I rejected so many times and then

finally I started to meet people who

knew what the hell they were talking

about it kind of guided me in the right

way

so when I started doing once I started

going after number one people who knew

what a copywriter was number two who

actually wanted help with copy those are

like you know the two like stupidest

simple things but they made all the

difference in the world and then after

that it was just a matter of really you

know and this is kind of a latter part

of my journey I’ve just really got a

brand new earth understand that what are

these people’s problems and how can I be

the person that goes and it solves those

problems right because what I found is

you know before you make any kind of

offer you structure any type of deal it

always has to start with that problem

much like any sales letter any piece of

copy s to start with the problem right

like we’re always looking okay like what

problem does this product solve and

that’s where we start all over our

research and that’s what we based its

our hook around for ourselves our sales

letter our email or VSL or webinar

whatever we’re doing but then we’re

copywriters and we go and approach a

client we just say hey you want to pay

me to write copy and then like know that

sounds a burly shitty experience right

like who actually wants to go and pay

some writer that they’ve never met

thousands of dollars to get a Google Doc

with words on it like no one wants to do

that that’s not you know that’s not like

an attractive offer and that’s what

happens as most writers approach it that

way but what I and I did that for a long

time so I’m not saying I’m like there’s

only one I just figured this out after

failing so many times but I figured out

it’s like hey why don’t we just find out

what their problems is let’s look for

their pain points and figure out ways to

solve those problems and if we can solve

those problems usually when you solve

those problems they’re very profitable

experience to these clients and if we

could solve a problem make them a lot of

money then them turning around and

giving us money to do that the first

time then do that again again again make

you know it’s it’s a win-win situation

for both parties involved so that’s kind

of like the evolution of how I started

to think about all of these things

that’s that’s interesting I know I feel

the same way and that’s a great great

way you’ve put it because it’s true like

you know these are the things you learn

when you become a copywriter but often

they’re not you don’t apply them in the

same way as you’d apply them for

somebody who’s not yourself and so

things like what you’re gonna say who

you’re gonna put it in front of and

stuff is off them like the mistakes that

you make as a copywriter when you’re

trying to sell your own services yeah

and it’s funny actually got that from

then settle I was a member of his

newsletter and I you know one of the

perks of being a members newsletter

where you could ask them questions so I

reached out was like hey man like who

should I go after if I want to be an

email copywriter and he replied back and

he was like look for people who are

sending a lot of emails and I was like

Oh duh like yeah that makes sense right

like find someone if they’re doing this

you know they’re either doing a good job

or a bad job most companies they want to

approve everything that they want to do

anyway so that was very sage advice from

him which I’m very thankful for that

really you know kind of helped me pivot

in the right direction but um yeah it’s

one of those things like it’s just a

matter of finding people who have a

problem offering them you know what I

like to call a dream come true result

and then proving that you could actually

do it and then after that making it as

easy as possible to get started look if

you can you know identify all four of

those phases of your marketing you’ll

never go hungry you’ll have clients

lined up but it’s it’s at the beginning

and you don’t know I mean you’re

starting out it’s very hard to figure

out those things especially if you don’t

have a model to follow or especially if

you’re following the wrong advice or if

you’re going into your facebook newsfeed

to find value bombs and try to piece

together your marketing education that

way I’m very against that whole

philosophy I believe in you know finding

people who are at the top of their game

and learning from them and that’s what

I’ve tried to do on this I still

continue to do so I’m very big on that

yeah I think that’s a very important

point you’re making there’s like I’ve

always considered myself to a student of

students of students so it’s like you

got to put the your ego aside and

attempt to learn and they because you

can learn from base every situation

whether that’s a positive outcome or a

negative outcome in then you have to use

those almost like little mini parables

for yourself to move forward yeah I mean

I know for me personally I can only

speak for myself but I feel like the

deeper and deeper I go into this whole

copywriting marketing thing the less and

less I know you know it’s like more like

you you become aware of everything

around here like I know so little you

know but it’s a cool thing because

there’s just there’s there’s so many

thanks to the internet and thanks to

where the world is now there’s just so

much you know ability that you have such

an ability to learn so many different

sources and to really you know

it’s kind of cool like going from the

public education sector to what I would

now considering it’s like the private

education sector with you know a lot of

the clients I work with we we sell

information you sell coaching yourself

expertise we sell those kind of things

it’s really cool to see that you can pay

you could learn whatever you want right

like whatever skill you want to learn

you know you have an opportunity to buy

that knowledge and to apply that your

life and to transform your life that’s

kind of what I’ve done I have invested a

lot and uh that’s something I’m also a

huge on but yeah I mean that’s that’s

kind of what it takes now yes so like

maybe speak to like something else that

I get a lot of questions about that and

I’ve have my own opinions but what do

you say to people like I’m sure you get

the same questions which was like should

I knees down what me should I go after

these kind of nice questions that’s a

good question you know I’ve heard

arguments on both sides and it really

imma give it crap the answers say it

depends you know personally I know for

me my evolution I was like a general

copyright or I was like hey you pay me

and I’ll write your copy and then I was

like maybe I’ll just focus on emails

because that’s what I really like and it

seems like there’s a need for that and

once I started doing that jobs that

easier and easier and then I kind of

switched my niche to you know I started

getting an ex to do LAN launches and I

became this like a lunch operator that’s

still kind of what I do a lot now and

then you know all my clients to me the

launch is also started you never green

stuff so I’m starting to become known

now someone who could turn launches and

evergreen stuff so like I think number

one it’s a matter of picking something

and then just being okay with that

evolving over time because I know a lot

of people I know even for me now some

days when like oh I’m thinking about how

i market myself I’m kind of scared to be

like oh I’m gonna be the you know the

person who specializes this because as

soon as you say that to yourself you

start to think oh that’s the only thing

I can do and I can never do anything

else what if I six months down the road

I hate this and I want to change and you

sort of freak yourself out right and I

think a lot of people have that fear and

have that someone blocked but the way I

look at it it’s like it’s okay to pick

something start doing it and if you love

it then you’ll keep doing it and if you

don’t love it you’ll probably find a way

to pivot to something that you like a

little bit more in terms of the actual

nitty-gritty of like finding what you

want to do I’m a big believer and this

is just my personality everyone is not

like this so you don’t have to take this

advice but me personally I was always a

big believer that’s a lot easier to sell

when you niche down by

medium of what you’re selling rather

than the industry you know some people

like oh I write alternative health copy

and if you’re one of those a-listers

you’re at the top of the game and you

know there’s 10 or 12 companies and they

pass you around you just write controls

rolling them like yeah that’s probably

pretty cool but I knew for me starting

out I didn’t have this connections I

don’t have that experience so what I

said was I’m gonna niche down by the

medium I’m gonna become really good at

email that’s one thing right this one

kind of project because it’s very easy

for someone who’s a business owner to

turn around and you know I don’t know if

every business owners like man I really

wish I could find a writer who

specializes in you know I guess I guess

they do right like if someone’s like oh

you know I have a software business I

really wish I could find a copywriter

specialized in software and people

definitely say that I’m not saying they

don’t it’s probably pretty common they

say that but I think it’s also pretty

common that people say man our emails

really suck we need to find some look at

help this or man you know our web copies

just terrible does not think the kid I

rested at all we need to find some that

would help us with this so I almost felt

like it was easier for me to grasp to

kind of get started marketing myself

if I choose chose a medium and then I

could go really deep in that one

specific medium and the thing is it’s

like even with that you know people

still might have the fear of like oh I’m

just gonna do this one thing and what if

I want to write a facebook ad or what if

I want to write a video script like you

could do that stuff too

but I’ve always found this like yeah I

specialized an email and then clients

hire me to do that and they say hey can

you help us to and I say absolutely I

can

and then there’s project number two

number three number four number five

yeah I agree I agree completely because

I think that’s why I started with email

and continue to love to do email

probably the most is because it’s kind

of like I think of it as like a gateway

drug you’re a drug dealer you know it’s

like because email still has the highest

ROI there’s cost nothing to send an

email really but also it’s like a lot of

people are neglecting that side of

things and then it leads to

conversations about bitter things that

they may be neglecting or that aren’t

honed in sharply oh yeah – like with

email that by the way email the gateway

drug would be a great I also think I

mean I just know for me like I

especially when I started to shift my

focus to wanting retainer clients where

I get paid month after month after month

I knew that okay all these clients like

what’s the one thing they’re going to

always need right like they might have a

webinar that converts or a control ad

that converts and/or for their main

products right and maybe they make small

changes but they’re not overhauling that

but the one thing they’re always going

to need month after month probably we

have to read sometimes day after day is

they’re gonna need more emails right

and they’re probably not gonna want to

write them all themselves and sometimes

it’s a matter of they don’t know how to

do it themselves so they need to bring

in you the specialist or sometimes it’s

they need an ass in the seat because

they don’t have the bandwidth to do it

themselves and they need someone to fill

that role

so yeah just like you’re saying I always

found that was my way to get the foot my

foot in the door and that’s kind of like

one of my first retainer clients that’s

how I started I started just doing email

stuff I started like rewriting affiliate

emails for our list and it was kind of

like you know the grunt work but then

there was another copy right in front of

me there’s one company and he ended up

leaving to pursue some other some other

things in life and they were like oh we

need to find something to write all the

front-end front-end acquisition stuff

and I was like hey I can do it I know

this company I know the market you know

I know the products me and then I

started to write to be a script the

sales pages working the webinars and I

started working the Facebook ads and all

the other stuff so yeah it’s the perfect

gateway because people that’s a need

that they will always have and he knows

never gonna go away I don’t care what

anyone says it’s just not even if they

put computer chips and our brains I

don’t think it’s right there’s some

place where that’s private that’s your

own stuff that you sign up for you know

it is the perfect gateway you know most

people most business owners because they

have their what they do best they’re

they’re usually especially if they’re

serious they’re usually good at like

delegating to something that somebody

else does best and they want like the

best you know they want to form a team

of like best at certain things and they

don’t want to waste their time doing

what they’re not the best at let’s talk

more about retainer deals and stuff

because now I’m certainly like that now

and it sounds like you are maybe let’s

talk a bit about how you go about doing

that the way you sort of present it and

so forth yeah absolutely so real quick

the way I define a retainer is you know

just a job where you get the point to

say yes one time and they keep paying

you over and over again and I’ve really

started to shift my business toward that

model not for every client you know

was obvious I’m always evolving and

Everett operators in the bobbum but when

I was trying to leave my teaching job I

realized that I needed recurring income

because you know I had a mortgage I had

a life

I couldn’t just be like hey I’m just

gonna take this big risk and hopefully I

get some gigs you know it’s like no I

needed to check at least one check

coming in every single month and you

know it’s just nice to have that

stability so what I started doing was

saying how could I be the person who

fulfills that role on the team and how

could I be the person who doesn’t have

to how do I be that kind of copywriter

who every time I do a project I don’t

have to spend hours and hours and hours

of research and learning a new market

and learning a new company structure and

learning about the client their origin

story and learning all about the

business right because that’s that’s the

most exhausting part for most writers

like that’s the part a lot of people

like is the research stuff right about

what happens when you’re doing just

one-off gigs over and over and over

again is that you know half of your time

to spend doing all the administrative

onboarding off-boarding stuff it’s been

doing the market research and doing all

those other things with retainer client

you even spend most of your time writing

which is what most of us got into this

game to do anyway right everyone wants

to write they want to get results they

want to test campaigns they want to try

all that cool stuff but it’s very hard

to you know wedge yourself into a

company like that if you’re only gonna

stick around for a week to do a job and

then you’re out so I started really just

focusing on getting those kind of

clients and I found is number one the

people who are ready to hire a retainer

client you usually make more money and

you know some people reach out to me and

they say hey you know I got this client

you know I want to pitch then a retainer

what should I do I say okay let’s look

at the numbers right like how much

revenue is this client making and they

say although client was making you know

three hundred fifty grand a year

I say well they’re not how much they’re

gonna pay you right like what I’m gonna

pay you five grand a month I can pay you

you know one sixth of their Copland

pre-tax pre expense revenue like of

course not all right so the numbers just

don’t work out there so you start to

think okay who are the companies that

have will hire writers on retainer and

what I found it’s not a blanket

statement I’m sure there’s someone we’re

not an example right but I’m just

generally speaking usually they’re gonna

be a seven eight nine figure company

right those the kind of companies who

have the resources they have the

infrastructure and and more importantly

they have

proven offers right to get to that level

right company can’t just be like hey we

got this thing selling well and I hope

it works next month but we don’t you

know like a company by that time they’re

proven they know they’re things selling

right and they know that they’re scaling

up they’re optimizing they’re doing all

my doing

you know CRO they might be split testing

they’ve been doing all the stuff and now

they need someone to fulfill that role

because maybe that was the CEO before

maybe that was the marketing manager and

me now they’re growing the team so those

kind of clients are the best for me I

think that’s a perfect example is going

about going after the right people it’s

like who can afford to pay your retainer

deal I mean that’s a big deal you can’t

find just like Joe Blow local guys that

probably got hakama before that unless

they’re like to say making over seven

eight nine figures and so you got to be

smart about who you target and yeah I’m

with you on the starting from scratch I

mean you’re trying to catch lightning in

a bottle and I’ve done that myself and

people you know some people I think are

delusional when they come to you they

thinking I mean there’s so much that

goes into that it’s not just as simple

as like you’re gonna write the copy

we’re gonna run some Facebook ads and

it’s like tada all this is gonna work

out for everybody you know yeah they’re

like lottery captive clients you know

they’re the ones who come to you and say

they and a lot of time when they’re good

people obviously like I’m not knocking

them but what their worldview or their

beliefs they over that well I understand

the important copy everyone tells me

conquer is important they’ll hear these

stories like I always you know there’s

that story about Jean Schwartz the guy

who found a boardroom a camera one’s

name is but he hired Jean Schwartz and

you know Jean wrote in this letter and

it launched this huge company that you

know it’s still around today and like

it’s a nice romantic story that doesn’t

happen every day right yeah definitely

happens but that’s lighting a bottle and

it’s very hard to do that very very hard

because it’s not just about the sales

lending right it’s not just about the

launch campaign it’s about the ability

for the owners of that company to have a

growth mindset and to have all the

infrastructure and the team and the

finance and all that stuff in place and

so it’s a much bigger equation than just

the copy so that’s why you know I’m just

so big on goat you know fishing in the

stock lake you know my my

family we used to have the Poconos and

there was this lake I remember and every

year we try to catch fish and there were

like there was like no fish in this lake

I eventually found out years later I

don’t get so pissed off for myself the

best of my dad just like listened me

like he’s like next year they’re stock

in the labor in catch some fish we did

right but all those years I was getting

so angry myself because we were going up

there and for hours I’d be standing out

there with my pole trying to catch fish

and there’s no fish in the freaking lake

right so people do that copiers do that

to themselves they get pissed off

because they’re like man I can making

Steel’s work I’m like look who you’re

talking to right like you’re talking to

people with no money and it’s not that

you know it’s nothing wrong I’m sure

they’re great people but if they don’t

have money to pay you then you’re

wasting your time talking with them

unless you’re you have got like

copywriting abilities and can make money

appear and I literally appear out of

thin air then yeah that can be a

profitable relationship but otherwise

you got to go to people who have money

and who want to hire someone who want to

pay someone to fill those roles now as

we wind down here let me give people

ways they can get touch with you work

with you you know what’s the best

situation in touch with Chris or

Zukowski yes so you can check out my

website it’s WWE male copywriter comm

and the reason I chose that is because

or Zukowski it’s kind of a nightmare to

spell and you know my website so I chose

the email copywriter calm yeah

so I’m actually publishing a book on

email marketing should be done that’s a

couple weeks but that’ll be my new lead

magnet so if you have my list I’ll make

sure you get that

yeah but uh-oh than that that’s what I

got awesome man you know I want to

really thank you for coming on the show

and we had a delay getting you on I’m

glad we were able to do it the next day

you’re a real attribute to the

profession I would say and I enjoy

reading your emails and your and your

posts and I want to thank you for coming

on the show thanks Dave I will

appreciate that I had a lot of fun and

we’ll appreciate you having me for

everybody else we’ll be back again next

week hopefully someone is insightful fun

and argumentative maybe that’s or is it

Kowski until then

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