Copywriting Tips to Keep Up With the Best of Them

For most people, writing is a fairly binary skill: They feel that they either have a way with words, or they don’t. Grammar either clicks, or it doesn’t. Unfortunately, this can lead to scenarios in which people feel they “aren’t writers” and therefore make the decision to not even try to improve – and that’s far from ideal!

Regardless of your current skill level, there are always places you can improve. Plus, having decent copywriting skills, even if they aren’t perfect, can help you from having to hire a writer for every small change and headline adjustment you want to make to your marketing campaigns, without having to take a huge hit on conversions because you chose a DIY route.

Here are just a few things to keep in mind that can help you improve just about any kind of copy:

Less is more: One of the things many of us naturally do when writing is get caught up in being overly descriptive. While it’s important to tell your stories and make your pitches in a descriptive way, most people use way too many words.

Think about how you can say things more concisely, and recognize that in copywriting every single word has a purpose; if it doesn’t seem like a word or phrase really makes your offer more enticing to your customer or has a very clear purpose in being there, throw it out.

Lower your writing level: You always want to sound professional when you write, but this doesn’t mean writing in big, complicated words as many might assume. In fact, making your words easy to consume and gloss over is preferable to making people stop too often in your sales copy to digest everything they’re seeing.

There are many different ways of scoring the complexity or reading level of sentences, but in general keep sentences at a maximum of 10-15 words and don’t use too many words you didn’t know in high school.

Demand action: Never write passive copy. If you have a button that could say “Create Account” or “Get me started!”, go with the latter.

The idea here is to get the reader to imagine themselves as the voice of what you’re writing, which makes it easier for them to take action.

Remember, the more your reader can identify with your copy and see how it can help them take beneficial action quicker, the more effective it’s going to be. For this reason, you also should talk about “you” and “your” a lot in your copy rather than “people”, “they”, or “folks.”

And there you have it, tips that took you just a few minutes to take in, but you’ll now have with you forever. Just make sure you put them to use!

Why You Should Freelance, Even When You Have A Job

It’s the age old entrepreneur’s dilemma: “I have a job, but I also want to be my own boss/found a company/pursue my passion. Of course, I also don’t know that I can give up the security of a full time job in order to pursue my dreams, what do I do?”

This question is posted in the subreddit for startups probably every single week, and many more times across forums and blogs dedicated to internet marketing and entrepreneurship. Everyone wants a magic answer, or the nudge they need to tell their boss where he or she can stick it, as they strike out on their own, destined for great things. The truth, however, is something that no one really wants to hear: you should do both.

At least in the beginning, the best balance is to sacrifice other areas of your life to pursue your self-employment goals while at the same remaining secure in your employment. Believe it or not, the reasoning for this extends beyond the financial. Often, one of the things people realize when they start pursuing both options at once, is that there is amazing potential for the cross pollination of skills between both pursuits. Skillsets you develop when working on your own and with more freedom and choice of tasks may teach your new skills that boost your on the job results. Likewise, your current role will likely offer you skills and expertise that you can carry over to your freelance and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Additionally, many people can use this lifestyle as a stress test to figure out how bad they want to live the life of an entrepreneur. The truth is, those that are successful in this lifestyle often work far more hours per day than those who work a 40 or 50 hour per week job.

When you continue regular employment and have to come home, tired, and still pour in several hours to your own business, you’ll start to get an idea of how badly you want it. If you find yourself unable to rally from 6pm to 11pm every night, you might be getting an indicator that quitting your job to pursue what you thought was your goal could have been a huge mistake in the first place.

Now, there are exceptions to this rule, just as there will always be people who are exceptions to any mantra or rule, written or unwritten, that will ever exist. That said, many people seem to not be able self-audit and realize that it is the exception, not the norm, that someone can jump straight into their entrepreneurial pursuit, throw caution to the wind, and come out on top. Ninety percent or more of startups fail, and your own personal brand, be it for freelance, affiliate marketing, or otherwise, falls into this category.

Of course, you may just be the exception that proves this entire sentiment to be invalid in your life, so don’t take anyone else’s word for it, right?

Consider Living Abroad As an Entrepreneur

While the millennial generation is one that is blatantly fond of travel (and will show as much constantly through their Instagram and Snapchat pics and videos), most of the population will still live out their life in one country without ever living in another place. A smaller though far from insignificant portion will never even make it out of their country for so much as a trip.

For some, that’s safe and comfortable, for others, it’s a bit depressing. Whatever your perspective, this content is going to dig into a few ways in which living in another place might just be the key to unlocking the full potential of your entrepreneurial self. Please note that this list is far from exhaustive.

You’ll gain a new perspective (and on more than just business).

Do you remember your friends who went to study abroad in high school or college and then came back and it was all they could talk about? They acted like something was ‘missing’ for them now that they were home. It was annoying, right?

Well, there’s some truth to that sentiment, actually. Sometimes, gaining outside perspective can help you get more clear about defining your own goals, what you want in life and why exactly you want it.

Plus, sometimes you’ll learn of business practices that are common in another country but might not have made it back home yet – could you be the one to seize those opportunities?

You might find tax law easier or more favorable.

This is obviously a highly country by country bullet point, but some aspects of US tax law punish entrepreneurs, especially when they consider themselves still to be freelancers or consultants. Some other countries take a view that more encourages entrepreneurship, though setting up your own business abroad for a visa can also be tricky.

This is probably the lowest in terms of importance on this list.

Cost of living can be lower.

In many countries, entrepreneurs who want to be able to bootstrap their companies and not take outside investment may find it easier to cover costs of living than in the US. It’s no secret that many “internet marketing gurus” live in Thailand (whether that’s because they just needed a good place to get started or that they’re faking their wealth and have no choice, that remains up for debate). Even so, this can be a serious boon to someone who is early in their business. Plus, the internet removes many boundaries from selling somewhere you aren’t actually headquartered, so you won’t have to worry nearly as much about the potential negative implications that this type of move would have brought around 30 years ago.

A change of environment can be stimulating.

Last but not least, everyone from writers to artists to purebred entrepreneurs in the world of business have been inspired by their travels abroad. It’s hard to quantify exactly what stirs within people when they travel, but – at risk of sounding a bit ‘out there’ – there’s a chance that things will just click for you.

Go big with your business, or at least, go further.

Tips For Hiring Remote Employees

Day after day, month after month, and year after year, and interesting shift in employment is occurring. It’s the rise of companies built partially or entirely on remote staff – that is, employees who work from home or who don’t need to be in any physical proximity to their boss or business’ headquarters. In many cases, like that of popular customer support software Groove, the business itself may not even have a headquarters, making for an entirely remote team.

Why has this trend been rapidly growing? For one, it cuts costs; if you’re able to put the money saved from office rent and associated costs each month right back into your marketing and advertising budget. Plus, this can allow a company to more easily source talent that isn’t available locally, and might not be able to immediately relocate due to family, finances, etc. Many companies find as well that there workers may be happier if they’re able to work their schedules around their family life, hobbies, or other things that make them happy and may not always coincide with a strict 9-5 schedule.

If your entrepreneurial pursuits ever reach a point where you’re needing to take on some actual staff, this may be a way for you to take the step earlier and in a less costly way. That said, there are some things you should consider implementing to help make sure that remote employment is beneficial to both you and your employee.

1. Have a schedule.

While the schedule of a remote employee might be different as discussed earlier, they should still have some schedule made up so that you know when they will be working and when they will beoff. This helps respect both the company by letting other team members know when they can easily reach someone, and the employee by setting boundaries so that the time they aren’t ‘on duty’ can be respected by their boss and coworkers.

2. Use collaboration tools to organize your tasks.

Honestly, there are a ton of these things out there, and which works best for you is something you’ll have to experiment with. The point is to simply have a digital space that stands in for a whiteboard or calendar type space that you might find in a traditional office.

This will help everyone get an overview of what everyone else is working on and when projects will be completed. A good free tool is Trello, while a paid one would be something like Dapulse. Even if you go as simple as a Google Docs spreadsheet, make sure you have something in place.

3. Focus your hiring practices on motivation.

In traditional hiring, you’ll be focusing on qualification. While this is still important, keeping remote workers delivering at a level that justifies their salary means they need to be well-motivated by their work as well. For example, picking people who are excited about your specific product or mission is a great way to ensure that you will actually have a remote employee that puts in the hours when they need to. If you suspect motivation is waning, address it. If that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to tell someone it isn’t working out.

With these tips and a keen attention to finding the right people for your company or project, you should be able to cut costs and boost your workforce at the same time with remote employment.