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Derek Johanson

Derek Johanson


July 29, 2013

Adventures In Cold Email Lead Generation With Rob Hanly

July 29, 2013 | By | One Comment

Here’s an interview I did with Rob Hanly.

What’s awesome in this interview besides everything?

  • his lead generation tactics via cold emails
  • how he handles his own version of the marketing audit
  • how he’d build a website if he started over as a new marketing consultant
  • how Rob structures his deals

Want a step-by-step 30-day training course on getting your first 4-figure client? INCLUDING: a proven cold email lead generation strategy & template?

After I published this interview, Rob got hit with a ton of questions from Cartel members. They all LOVED his cold email lead generation strategy & his marketing audit tactics.

Rob felt like he could go deeper and teach more about what he does… so like any good enterprising entrepreneur… he’s going into product creation mode!

Rob is currently creating a 30 day, step-by-step autoresponder training course on how to start with nothing & get your first four figure client. The emails will be sequential, each building on the last, and each containing an assignment that you’ll need to complete before moving to the next day. This will add an extra bit of accountability and structure that the training materials within the Cartel doesn’t have.

You can think of Rob’s training as an accountability add-on to the Cartel.

The 30 days of emails will cover:

  • Finding your niche to consult to
  • Finding a personal positioning for that niche
  • Finding potential target customers in said niche
  • Creating information that benefits/educates those potential target customers
  • Contacting potential target customers (Rob’s cold email strategy with example swipes)
  • Following up
  • Closing
  • Invoicing
  • Getting Scrilla ($)

The training will have short, simple missions that push you closer to your goal.

Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?

If so, jump on the early-bird list below. When the materials are ready, 1) you’ll be the first to know & 2) you’ll get a big discount.

Derek Johanson


July 18, 2013

Interview With Jonathan Taylor

July 18, 2013 | By | No Comments

Interview Ed did with marketing consultant Jonathan Taylor.

What’s awesome in this interview?

  • how he picked his consulting niche
  • how he generates his leads
  • how he uses Meetup groups to build authority and generate leads
  • and how he outsources all his work

Quick bio from his podcast site:

Jonathan Taylor is the founder and president of Buzz Mountain Media and Marketing and the author of the book The Official Small Business Guide to Marketing 2.0. He’s done online marketing consulting work for years helping numerous small, medium and large businesses establish and implement strategic marketing plans.

Visit Jonathan’s website:

Derek Johanson


May 9, 2013

Jeff Bezos & A Famous Dead Italian Woman Endorse Handwriting Sales Copy?

May 9, 2013 | By | One Comment

G1This is a fascinating guest post from CopyHour member Samuel Gentoku McCree of MindFitMove.

“Imitation is the first instinct of the awakening mind.” – Maria Montessori

What if I told you Jeff Bezos and a dead Italian woman convinced me to sign up for CopyHour? You’d probably think I was crazy, right? Except that’s exactly what happened. Let me explain.

Small Busyness

I started my company MindFitMove, a mindfulness based fitness and self improvement business, back in September. As I got things going I had the same problem so many small business have. How do I get people to check out my services?

I had lived 2.5 years at a Zen Monastery and have trained as an endurance racer so I knew I could help people get in shape in a sane and balanced way.

Mindfulness had helped me go from a pack a day roadie pothead to a business owner and tri-athlete. But how could I convince other people I could help them?

If I could talk to them, I could convince them. But I knew if I couldn’t find leads, I couldn’t get clients. And then I heard about CopyHour through the blog Hack the System.

The Curse of Cursive

At first, the idea seemed crazy. I mean learning to write copy by handwriting old letters seems a little like detention. Not to mention, I hate writing things out by hand. I had to have handwriting tutor in middle school, because my cursive was so bad.

Another Look

But just as I was about to dismiss it, I remembered my time working at a Montessori pre-school.

I didn’t teach there long, but the kids blew me away. They were independent, cleaned up after themselves, and learned crazy fast.

In that moment, I realized that the idea behind CopyHour was very similar to the basis for the Montessori method. Once I figured that out, I couldn’t wait to give Derek my money. (Derek’s note: Smart man.)

Who was Maria Montessori?

Maria Montessori started the first school back in the early 1900’s. And her approach was based on the idea that children had naturally absorbent minds.

The job of teachers – or “guides” – was to support these young minds using observation and gentle instruction that honored their independence and own desire to learn.

Dr. Montessori first developed her techniques when she was working with mentally handicapped children.

Innate Curiosity

One day she noticed some young patients playing with their food. She realized that despite their condition, these kids exhibited the same curiosity that all children do.

She thought that perhaps she could harness this curiosity. And teach these children to learn in a new way. She developed new methods and using her techniques achieved amazing results. Many of these children were able to pass tests similar to ones given to normal children.

Don’t Stop

She could have stopped there but instead she realized that if these techniques could help handicapped kids, maybe they could help other kids as well.

Based on this belief she started her first school in 1907 called the Casa. And much of modern Montessori education is based on what she learned during this time.

Coming to America

The results at her schools were so remarkable that news of her work spread worldwide.

Ever since, Montessori schools have educated thousands of children and some of the world’s brightest minds.

Some Famous Montessori Students are:

  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin – founders of Google
  • Jeff Bezos – founder of
  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis – former first lady (John F. Kennedy)
  • Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs – singer
  • Prince William and Prince Harry
  • T. Berry Brazelton – pediatrician and author
  • Julia Child – author, chef, TV cooking shows
  • Elizabeth Berridge – actress
  • Kami Cotler – actress
  • Melissa and Sarah Gilbert – actors
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Nobel Prize winner for Literature
  • Katherine Graham – ex-owner of the Washington Post
  • Anne Frank – author, diarist from World War II

Connect the Dots

Now that you know a little bit about Maria Montessori. You’re probably wondering what it has to do with CopyHour.

It relates via a technique that Dr. Montessori used to help children learn to read and write language. Specifically sand paper letters.

Montessori Language Learning

In the fall of 1907, Dr. Montessori began experimenting with cursive letters cut out of sandpaper, moveable letters, and labeled picture cards.

The children would use the sandpaper letters to trace each letter as a way to integrate language into their minds.

This process was so effective kids as young as four and five learned to read and write far beyond others their age.

“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.” – Dr. Montessori

Why it works

Though spoken language and written language are connected, they are also fundamentally different.

Spoken language is learned by human interaction, but reading and writing must be learned intentionally.

Studies have revealed that when we first learn to read we use two distinct parts of the brain. One part takes the letters and turns them into sounds. Then another part takes the sounds and turns them into words.

This is why young children often read slowly sounding out each letter as they go along.

Eventually a third part of the brain takes over that begins to recognize meaning in whole words. When this happens the ability to read accelerates quickly.

Write First and Ask Questions Later

What Dr. Montessori discovered is that writing actually precedes reading. For a child to write they only need to turn sounds into letters.

Which is much less complicated then breaking the letters apart into sounds. And then translating those sounds into words.

By teaching children to write first using kinetic exercises she improved their ability to process complex information and thus accelerated their ability to read and write.

The Theory

The theory behind CopyHour functions in very much the same way.

When we read great copy, we know it’s great, but we don’t understand why. One reason is that much like children learning to read, we break apart the ideas slowly and clumsily.

But the CopyHour technique forces us to write these ideas out before we read them. As we write them out, we see how the ideas are put together.

By recreating the process of each line, we see each piece without having to understand the whole. As each piece becomes clear, we are able to learn how to use those pieces to construct new brilliant pieces of copy.

Go Your Own Way

Another advantage of this technique, is that person learns at their own pace and ability.

If we all took a class on great copy letters, we might be asked to draw certain conclusions. Some conclusions would make sense but some wouldn’t. Because we all learn differently.

But when we write the letters by hand, we can focus on what interests us the most. We learn to draw our own conclusions and to use the pieces that come easiest first.

In this way CopyHour adapts to whomever is copying the letters. Because the process meets each student, where they are.

“Growth comes from activity, not from intellectual understanding.” – Maria Montessori

My Experience

This has certainly been my experience of CopyHour. At first, I found the process challenging, but as I’ve gone along more and more has become clear to me.

I started to see how my own mind stuck to certain parts of each letter. I was able to feel what was happening long before I understood it.

The more I wrote, the more of it came into focus. And eventually I was able to generate better and better copy.

Using the techniques I’ve created a new subscribe link for my blog that far out performed previous versions. And I learned to create great headlines that increase my clickthroughs from Twitter and my email list.

Even though I’ve only been doing the program for a few weeks and I write slow as hell, I’m sticking with copy hour to the end.

Dr. Montessori revolutionized they way that children learn and CopyHour is changing the way most people learn to write copy. Both techniques rely on the absorbent power of the mind and provide an amazing opportunity for growth and the realization of hidden talent.

Samuel Gentoku McCree is a Mindfulness Based personal trainer and life coach in Portland, OR. He is a writer, blogger, and thought leader in the Mindfulness Based Fitness and Self Improvement Industry. Toku received intensive mindfulness training as a resident and staff member at Great Vow Zen Monastery where he lived for over 2 years. During that time he studied under Zen Master Jan Chozen Bays MD (Author of ‘Mindful Eating’) and Zen Teacher Hogen Bays and attended many classes and retreats on subjects like non-violent communication, mindful eating, voice dialogue and meditation.

His philosophy is based on the understanding that awareness alone is the most powerful catalyst for change. All diets, exercise plans, and self help systems work because they make you pay attention, but they all fail to some extent because they focus on rules instead of awareness. While rules can help you be more aware, they often mask the power of your own mind. He works with clients locally and over the Internet to achieve their goals of life long transformation using the tools of mindfulness and movement.

You can check out more from Samuel here:

Derek Johanson


April 6, 2013

James Schramko Interview

April 6, 2013 | By | No Comments

My interview with James Schramko. We talk about growing your online business through copywriting and online conversion.

Click here to download (.mp3)

Visit James’ website:

Derek Johanson


March 30, 2013

John McIntyre Interview

March 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

My interview with John McIntyre. John was an original CopyHour member who is now killing it as a freelancer and also a product creator. Listen to his “getting started” story.


Visit John’s websites:

Derek Johanson


March 30, 2013

Blake Sterling Interview

March 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

My interview with Blake Sterling. Blake is a CopyHour member who booked his first job in under 60 days of starting to learn copywriting. Immediately after this chat, he booked his first 4 figure job.

Derek Johanson


March 26, 2013

Ben Settle Interview

March 26, 2013 | By | No Comments

My interview with Ben Settle about getting started as a freelance copywriter.


Visit Ben’s website:

Ben Settle Transcript

DJ: Alright, I’m here with Ben Settle. And Ben Settle is a copywriter, mainly an e-mail copywriter. That’s kind of where Ben is positioned in my mind. But I wanted to wrack Ben’s mind today about freelance copywriting. He’s actually out of the freelance game, for about a year and a half now you said?

BS: Yeah.

DJ: Yeah, but that’s where he got his start, and that’s what brought him to where he is today. So Ben, if you could just give us a little bit of background, and then we’ll kinda jump into some of the questions, that’d be great.

BS: Okay, well the short version is I started in business, actually in network marketing, like a lot of people have. And I sucked at it. Really bad. And it took a couple years of failure and getting debt and all that, through MLN, to finally kinda stumble into direct marketing. And from there I found the Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, and all the names, people you’re probably familiar with. And from there I just, wanted to be a freelance copywriter. That’s what I did for about eight or nine years, until about a year and a half ago, now I just write copy for myself.

DJ: And that’s for your website, bensettle?

BS: It’s for that, and it’s for other ventures i’m in, and non business related stuff, you know, selling different kinds of products that are not business to business. Yeah, I mean it’s a skill that you can take anywhere. Even if you’re not doing client work, you can just be your own client.

DJ: Yeah, exactly. And I mean as you go, I’m sure just when you’re in the freelance game, there’s just ideas that are abundant. So if you find an idea that you like, and you think could work, if you have the copywriting skills, it’s just so much easier to get started with that venture. I mean that’s what I’ve found.

Cool, so I’m gonna break this interview into three sections, really. The first section will be your thoughts on getting better at copywriting, so how you get good at copywriting. And then we’ll talk a little bit about how to actually get clients, and get that first client, and then, the way I’ve mainly gotten clients is through networking, so I would like to get some of Ben’s thoughts on that, obviously he was in the MLN, so you should know, a little bit about network marketing. But um, yeah, third section we’ll talk about actually, once you’re out there, trying to position yourself trying to find clients, how do you negotiate fees, and what should you charge, as a beginning copywriter.

So, first section portion of this interview: Ben, in your opinion, what are some of the, just the best way to get good at copywriting, and get good at marketing?

BS: Well the best way and the fastest way is to start writing. All the time. And I know you’re a big fan, as I am, of copying ads out, by your own handwriting. Only, I think people should be very selective about the kinds of ads they do that with. But that’s a very very very good way to get fast, really fast. So there’s that.

And then, there’s studying the usual books, courses, and all that sort of thing. And then, actually writing, you know, doing persuasive writing. Now, I’m biased in e-mail. I’ll admit it, I’m very much biased, so most of the advice I give people is to start writing e-mails to your own list, persuading them to take some action. Whether it be to call you to hire you, or to buy a product you’re selling, or whatever. And doing that every day, and making that a discipline. Maybe writing articles on the internet, that not only show that you know what you’re talking about, with copywriting, as you learn things. But it’s a way to persuasively write so that you get people to click your link to get people to find your website.

And, I’ll even say this: Several years ago, I was kinda having a hard time. I had no clients, at all, at the time. And I had a few months where just, nothing was happening. And so I just started writing these ezine articles, like ten a day. And I started just taking that approach, like okay, I’m writing a sales letter to get someone to click over to my website, each article was. And that did wonders for getting really good at copywriting really fast, because, I was applying all the stuff I was learning, and just the discipline of writing regularly, gets you into the mode, so that it’s not like this hard thing, you know, when you sit down, most people have a hard time, it doesn’t, it isn’t hard anymore, it’s easy. And, if you do it right, it’s actually kinda fun, and maybe even therapeutic.

DJ: And maybe even profitable. [laughs]

BS: [laughs] Well hopefully!

DJ: Were you sending traffic from ezine to just like an affiliate site? Or, what was that?

BS: No, I was sending it to my own blog. At the time, I was, you know, right now, I teach e-mail stuff, but at the time, it was more of a copywriting type blog. So I would send people there, And if they opted in, they would get a free ebook, which is basically a bunch of articles I’d written already, that I just put together in a book, which anybody can do that. And that, actually, I would say that two of the highest paying clients I ever got, came from being on my list, and they read that ebook, which demonstrated my knowledge, and demonstrated that I can write, and that I am writing. And I think people would be surprised how bad of a reputation copywriters have. I mean, just showing that you’re a responsible person, and that you’re gonna make your deadlines, and that you’re not gonna try to screw someone over, is half that battle. And you can do that, just by doing what I was just saying. Just put your own articles up, and write emails to your list.

DJ: Yeah, and I guess, you know, kinda the lesson there too, is you knew your target audience was business owners. So you’re writing articles, you know, copywriting articles that are trying to get that business owner to click through to your website, and I’m assuming you were. Was that your target at the time? Like, small business owners, or people that you know would be needing to hire a copywriter?

BS: Yeah, it was, you know what it was, it was pretty much anyone on the internet looking for copywriting. Because this is a big thing that, this is a huge mistake that freelancers make. And I’m not saying everyone makes this mistake, it’s happens so often, that I think it’s worth mentioning. And that is, when you’re trying to get clients, it’s kinda time to take off the copywriter’s hat, and put on the marketer’s hat. And it’s, you know, they’re both important, but you have that strategy, who is your audience? You know? And you wanna get out there and target them, and you wanna get them on a list, and then you wanna talk to them. Regularly.

And just the act of doing that, is gonna put you at the top of the list of people that they’re gonna wanna look at when they need to hire somebody.

DJ: Yeah, that makes sense. So when you said, just to step back, with handwriting, that you need to be careful about what ads you’re copying, what did you mean by that? Could you expand on that a little bit?

BS: Yeah, I’d be happy to. I’m very wary, and I’m not saying this is the case with all of them, okay? I’m just saying, as a general rule of thumb. I’d be very wary of copying out any of the internet type sales letters that are online. Not unless they’ve been tested vigorously offline first.

And the reason why is because, a lot of online selling, the copy is important, but like, for example, somebody will look at a very successful product launch, and they’ll say; “Well that thing did millions of dollars in twenty-four hours.” But the copy probably had very little to do with the success of that launch, and most of it was just the launch process, all the buildup and all that.

So I’m a big fan of going after direct mail ads. These are things, you know, control ads specifically. But even taking it another step farther, I think if you find a copywriter that you just gravitate toward their style, and you just like, like it’s like a pleasure to read their ads, you would read it just for enjoyment. And I know that might sound kinda strange, but that does happen. In my case, I just really like reading Gary Halbert ads. So I just focused on his. I mean I’d study other ads, but when it came to copying ads, I would just do his. And I think people should think about doing that. Find someone that you just, their style just gets you. It could be Gary Bencivenga.

DJ: Yeah, he’s one of my favorites, I love his ads.

BS: Right? It could be anyone! Now I’m a huge fan of Gary Bencivenga, But I liked Gary Halbert’s style more. So I gravitated towards that. It’s different for everybody. But once you do that, that way it’s less of a chore, it’s more like hey this is kinda fun.

DJ: Yeah. It’s funny, I was copying out a Gene Schwartz ad the other day, and he was talking about getting older, and the process of aging, like, and I was copying out this ad, I was starting to get like emotional, just thinking about getting older, thinking about my Grandfather, and all this stuff. And I was like “Holy shit, this guy’s good!”

Yeah, I completely 100% agree with that. The challenge that I’ve had actually with Copyhour, is finding the newer ads. Because a lot of people, I mean, my favorite is to copy out the older ads, I love Gary Halbert’s stuff. But a lot of people are looking for the newer, what’s working now. And I 100% agree, you know you can send people to these launch sales videos, and all this other stuff, and when it really comes down to it, unless it’s converting with extremely cold traffic, you know, you can’t really necessarily know what else is going on. There’s so much else going on. So yeah, that’s a really good point to bring up.

So essentially, you’re starting to practice writing, you’re at the point where you’re starting to think about getting a client. How do you know when you’re ready, to actually go out and get client work?

BS: Well I think you should just go out there right away. Just through your hat out there, and go at it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get paid a lot. You might even have to take some jobs on spec at first, but there’s this dude, I’m sure a lot of people know who he is, called Bob Bly. And he did an interview at my friend Michael Sonoffs(sp?) several years ago, and they did a lot, and they talked about this a lot, and I thought Bob just had a really great philosophy on this. Just go out, and get your first three ads written. If you can get paid, great. You know? If you have to barter it for some other service or whatever, fine. If you have to do it on spec, do it on spec. It doesn’t really matter, because you’re not, those first few jobs isn’t really to make a lot of money, it’s just to get your feet wet. To know what it’s like to deal with clients. To know what it’s make to meet a deadline, and to, you know, dealing with clients by itself is whole thing, but you know, and to just get yourself down there to write, and to apply what you’ve been learning, and you get those first three pieces, now you’ve got yourself a little portfolio. And, if you do a good job, and they liked you, you might have a few testimonials to help you get started too.

DJ: So do you think the first step in that process though, is getting together a website, and starting to try and send traffic to it?

BS: I think that’s one way to do it. That’s the way I would do it. And if I was starting over, knowing what I know now, no contacts no anything, I put up a very, I’d make it really simple. I’d put up a little squeeze page, and I’d offers some kind of a little bribe for people to join. Something copywriting related. Maybe it’s five or six articles I wrote, just thrown together into an ebook. And then I would start sending traffic to it however I could. If I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on buying traffic, I would article marketing, I would maybe try to do guest posts on blogs that get traffic. Maybe hit the forums, I mean I’m not a big fan of haunting forums, but when you’re just starting out, it’s a great way to rub shoulders with other people going through the same thing. And you might even be able to make some joint ventures with people. Where you write they copy, and they do the marketing. Or maybe even split the sales or something. I did that when I was starting out.

You do whatever you have to do, as far as that’s concerned. But I would make it simple, put up a squeeze page, send the traffic to it, and mail it daily, with some kind of copywriting related tip.

DJ: Great advice. And so, do you think that it’s, obviously in my mind, you’re the mail guy. Do you think it’s beneficial for somebody just starting out to try and position themselves, in the market as, you know, the “video sales letter guy”, or the “email guy”, or whatever it may be?

BS: You know what, I think that’s a good question. I think when you’re just starting out, you do what you can do. You just kinda go after, I’m not so sure specializing when you haven’t really done anything in that market, and call yourself a specialist. [laughs]

DJ: [laughs} Yeah.

BS: Unless you’re just selling your own thing. Now, there’s nothing wrong, and really, friend Dan, he’s big on this. Forget clients, just sell your own products at first. And now you have proof that you can do it, and go get clients. And you can say: “You know I’ve been selling my own stuff.” If nothing else. And you don’t have to rely on some flaky client to mail your thing, because, lets face it, a lot of these clients are not going to send traffic to your sales letter, they’re not going to do what they said they were going to do, and they’re just going to frustrate. I mean this happens to everybody. But if you can just sell your own thing, if nothing else… An affiliate product, like you were saying, just pick an affiliate product to sell. And do this while you’re also building a list of copywriters or whatever. Or people interested in copywriting. And you will at least have that experience. you can at least say: “Hey, I’ve been selling my own products, and I want to take clients now.”

DJ: Awesome. Alright, so, once you do have that first client, however you go about getting it, what’s the negotiation process like? And what kind of fees can you really expect to be getting? I know it obviously depends, but do you have any sort of advice? At least on negotiating fees, and figuring all that stuff out?

BS: I do, and this is going to probably frustrate some people, because nobody really wants to hear this, but this is the way it is. Everybody’s studying the copywriting, all the copywriting tactics, and all that. And that’s fine. You gotta do that. But when it comes to getting clients, you’re not a copywriter, you’re now a salesman. And you have to think like a salesman. And what a lot of copywriters do is come is they come out and start swinging for the fences about all these benefits and all this… No, you don’t want to do any of that. You just want to talk to them. You may not be able to help that guy, and you have to go on with this attitude that you may not be able to help this client. And you have to get that information from them. So you just want to have a conversation with them.

I’ll give you an example. I got to talking to a client. This was a few years ago. Now this wasn’t when I was just starting out, but the same basic principles apply. And we got to talking, and he was interested in hiring me to write copy, at the time I didn’t really want to write copy. I wanted to do e-mail stuff. And we got to talking, and I just started asking him about his business. You know; “What kind of challenges are you having with your copy?” You know, “What kind of numbers are you doing now? What kind of numbers would you like to do? What’s happening when you’re hiring these other copywriters? Are they not following through, or what’s the problem?” And you’ll start getting ideas of what their challenges are.

And I was talking to this guy, and I just kinda said “how are your email’s doing?”. He said “Oh they suck, we can’t get them to convert..” And I was like “You know, this is what I specialize in.” And he said; “Really, well you’re speaking my language.”

I mean it wasn’t really, I wasn’t selling anything. We were just talking. But by asking questions, getting to know them, sincerely finding out if you can even help them by asking questions. Because frankly, some people cannot be helped. Some people think copywriting is a magic pill. And “Oh, if I just hire the right copywriter, everything will be fine!” And that’s not true. They need to have traffic, and positioning, a good product, and all that first.

So it’s your job to weed people out. It’s not your job necessarily to sell everybody you talk to. It’s to find out if you can actually help. When you get into that mindset, and you really can help somebody, you’re not going to have as hard a time negotiating a fee, I mean you can just tell them, here’s what I’m charging, and they can either take it or not.

One little trick I like to use, I mean there are some tactical things that people can do, and I find this to be helpful actually, it’s counter intuitive, but you just do it once, you might find it works, is, right before you even start really talking, this is basic sales. You’re like “Look, I’m not sure I can help. Alright, I just want to talk to you and ask you some questions. Get a feel for your business and what’s going on, and we’ll see. If I can’t help you, I will try to find someone that can. But just know that I’m pretty expensive. I’m on the expensive side. I can’t quote you an actual price, because I don’t exactly know what you need. But just know going in, that I’m one of the more expensive ones.”

And if they cut you off right there, you know they’re probably price shoppers, and you don’t really want that. You want value shoppers. And even if you’re not going to charge a lot, whatever you price, your quote might even seem low to them. “Wow, I thought this was going to be expensive!” So that’s a nice little tactic, you know there’s this guy, Barry Marr, he’s a sales trainer, he calls it “making the skeleton dance.” You take that thing that everyone is scared of, like they want to hide in the closet, and you make it like, cool. Like, I’m expensive. You know? Here’s why I’m expensive. I’ve been selling my own stuff… You know, and whatever!

You come out with a flaw right away. It puts everyone at ease, they’re not sitting there freaking out “Oh God!”, you know, you’ve gotten it out of the way.

DJ: Gotcha. Yeah, that’s awesome advice. So obviously you’re pretty connected within the copywriting world. Any advice for someone just starting that networking process? And whether or not interacting with a bunch of copywriters, and I assuming it does, and you know interacting with people in that world leads to working on getting projects, getting jobs, because of the network that you built with other copywriters.

BS: Yeah. Well you know what, when it comes to networking, I’ve done it a little bit. I’m pretty introverted guy, so I don’t actually go to like, seminars, and I just like hate networking. You know there’s a few things I’d rather not do. [laughs]

DJ: [laughs]

BS: But, that said, the internet does make it very easy, because, what I suggest everybody do, and I don’t care if they’re a copywriter, or whatever, is find a mastermind group to join. People like-minded, they don’t have to all be copywriters, maybe one guy does this, one guy does that, you know, whoever. Or they could all be copywriters, it doesn’t matter. I’m in two. One is just all copywriters, that’s fine. But you start joining, get into a couple of those, you wanna deal with people who are like a notch better than you, ideally. You know? I mean you don’t really want to mastermind with people that are less knowledgeable than you. You kinda wanna play with people who are a little better than you. And you can find people who are interested in this on blogs, I mean it’s not really that hard. You just tell people, look, I’m trying to build a mastermind group.

When you do that, you now have access to all the people they know. And believe me, there were times like, I needed help. And I would just go to those guys, and go, do you know of anyone who’s looking for a copywriter? And you’d be surprised. They may have clients they don’t have time to help, and they’ll tell you, hey, check out this guy. You know, you’ll have an endorsement. So that’s one way to kinda do it.

But here’s another way to do it. And I don’t know if we call this networking, but…

DJ: We call it drinking, most of the time. [laughs]

BS: [laughs] Drinking is good! If you can go out drinking with these guys, you’re good. But, just like, excelling at copywriting, like, always working to be the best. I mean, have that attitude, like “I’m going to excel at this. I’m one of the best.” And people will just gravitate towards you automatically.

And you get that way by doing the things like you teach, like copying ads out, in my opinion, writing every day to a list, persuading them to do something. You will get really really good, really really fast. And people will just gravitate towards you.

DJ: Yeah, I’ve always noticed that. You know, in the products I put out, it’s like, the better the product, the more people come to you. And the better that your copywriting is, just, the more people will gravitate toward you. And part of that, I think, is actually just having that confidence. Because somebody typed in a question that I have here that’s like; “How can I know if I’m good enough to be a copywriter? How do I become a copywriter via freelancing?”

And that, to me, seems just kind of like, a very, a low self esteem question to ask. And I dunno, part of being extremely good at something, or at least letting the world know it, is proclaiming to the world that I’m good at it, in a certain way.

Yeah, this has been great! I’ve kind of exhausted my list of questions, but um, nice. Short and sweet. Ben, is there anywhere that people can find you? I mean obviously your website Are there any specific products that people should check out?

BS: Well I just recommend that people go to and you know, I have like eight, nine hundred pages of content up, and a bunch of interviews like this that I put up there. It’s all free. If you do decide to opt in, you don’t have to, but if you do decide to opt in, I give away a free issue of our e-mail players newsletter, a PDF. I mean it’s a print newsletter, but I give away the first issue as a PDF. And there’s twenty-four ways in there to use e-mail to rack up your sales pretty quick. You could use it to get clients information in there. And that’s free. And that gives you an idea, just being on my list, you know, I have other products too, but I just want people to do that first. If you like what I have to offer, you’ll find other products that I sell. But that’s really the only step anyone has to take if they want to learn more.

DJ: Awesome. Alright, thank you so much for taking the time, and I hope everybody found this pretty valuable. Thanks a lot Ben!

BS: Thank you, I appreciate it!

Derek Johanson


March 26, 2013

Ashley Ambirge Interview

March 26, 2013 | By | No Comments

My interview with Ashley Ambirge about getting started as a freelance copywriter.


Visit Ashley’s website:

Derek Johanson


January 9, 2013

Aussie Expat Uses CopyHour To Replace His Job In 8 Months

January 9, 2013 | By | One Comment

(Written by John McIntyre)

As the clock dings 12am, the crowd erupts around me.

Scantily clad bodies, in various states of inebriation, cheer and scream. Fast-paced dance music pulses through the crowd. Fireworks explode overhead in a dizzying array of colors.

I’m on Haad Rin Beach in Thailand. It’s NYE and we’re kicking off 2013 with a helluva party.

“Happy new year!”, someone shouts at me as they head to a drinks vendor. They’ll grab a bucket of red bull, Thai whisky and coke. It’s what everyone drinks here.


Over 50,000 people have swarmed the beach for the party. As I move through the crowd, I wonder… what are they celebrating?

It’s an interesting question.


I’m celebrating my newfound freedom.

That’s right, baby…

In 2012, I replaced my day job.

. . .

In 8 months, I replaced my day job. I now earn more than enough to live a comfortable lifestyle in Sydney, one of the most expensive cities in the world.

But since I don’t have a day job, I can live wherever I want… For now, that means Thailand, an amazing country with some of the world’s best parties.

In this article, I’ll tell you exactly how I did it (and why I think you can do the same with the information I give to you).

It All Starts With Copywriting

I had a website. It was mildly successful. After changing the title of one of my products to something result-oriented, sales tripled.

That’s when I realized the exponential power of copywriting.

I decided to become good at selling stuff. Really good.

So I joined CopyHour. Following the advice of copywriting legend Gary Halbert, I began writing down classic sales letters by hand.

The date was 23rd April 2012.

In June 2012, I sent my first invoice for my first sales letter. I made $100.

By November, my sales letter fee had jumped to $1,000 (just 5 months after beginning).

In December 2012, I made more than enough money to live in Sydney, Australia; one of the most expensive cities in the world.

And I only worked for 20 days of the month.

On December 20, I turned my laptop off and spent three days exploring the mountains in Northern Thailand. After my brief mountain retreat, I high-tailed it to Bangkok and spent the rest of December partying with friends.

In 8 months, I went from charging $100 per sales letter to $1,000 per sales letter. Throughout it all, I set my own schedule… I traveled and took time off whenever I wanted to… and I now earn more than enough cash to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

…and I did it all while living in Thailand.

Cool, eh?

I get paid to write.

The funny thing?

I dropped out of high school AND college. I’ve never had any formal writing training and I never had a job for more than a year.

Tell that to my high school English teachers!

How I Replaced My Job (And How You Can Too)

In a moment, I’ll explain how you can replace your day job, fire your boss and do whatever the hell you want.

But first, let’s get something out of the way –


“Hustle” is a fancy word for hard work.

Without hustle, you are guaranteed to fail.

If you don’t work hard (either because you make excuses or because you’re lazy and like to sleep in), keep your day job because this is not for you. While you’re at it, read 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person.

The process I’m about to share is simple and straightforward.

But without hard work, it’s bound to fail.

Time to get your hands dirty.

STEP #1: Become Really Good At Something

I chose copywriting.

I signed up to CopyHour in April 2012. CopyHour is a simple program that teaches you how to write great copy. You get a list of books to buy and read. Plus, a classic sales letter from the ol’ days is sent to your inbox. When it arrives, you take a pen and write the sales letter out by hand.

That’s all it takes to be a kick ass copywriter.

Reading a few select advertising and marketing books, plus putting in the time to write out sales letters by hand.

It’s simple, but HARD.

It requires that all important ingredient… hustle.

You’ll need to set aside an hour day, for at least two months, to get really good at it.

But if you do it… well, you’ll be a better sales copywriter than 99% of other people, including many people who call themselves copywriters.

You see, most people would never do something like write sales letters out by hand.

“WTF? Who does that!?!?!?”

Those people are weak.

How do you get an instant advantage over your competitors?

Work harder than they do.

Does it have to be copywriting? No. You could get really good at website design or programming.

But if you have a choice, go with copywriting. Copywriting is written sales. Sales is about bringing in the money. And if you’re good, you can demand ridiculous fees. You can make your clients thousands of dollars.

STEP #2: Strategic Networking

There is a lot of hoo-hah on the topic of networking.

But here’s the thing – there’s only so much time in the day.

You can’t network with each and every person you bump into. You don’t want to be the guy sending emails all the time, to all sorts of random people.

You want to be strategic about it.

To make money as a copywriter, you need clients. To get clients, you need to start a relationship with people who need your services.

You can do this with cold-calling, cold-emails and advertising.

That’s what most people do.

But as Mark Twain says, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”.

For me, a CRUCIAL step in my journey was becoming friends with an influencer. An influencer is someone who is friends with many other people. They are a connector. I became friends and made myself useful to someone.

Eventually, he offered me paid work. I made sure I kicked ass. Next, we did a podcast together. That podcast positioned me as an expert in the eyes of his audience. It shot me out of the gate and got me to where I am now.

You can do cold calls or follow some other marketing strategy.

But the quickest way to move up the ranks is to find people with an audience and find a way to get in front of them… period.


Think like a copywriter.

You have to give them what THEY WANT. What do influencers want? What everyone wants…

Find out what value they want and give it to them. Eventually, you’ll find a way to get in front of their audience.

It’s essential that you don’t try and do this randomly.

Think about your target prospect. Then find someone who has an audience full of those target prospects.

For example, don’t waste time networking with people who teach beginners. Beginners are notoriously cheap and are unlikely to spend money. Find people with money and get in front of them. People who recognize the value of sales and marketing.

If someone doesn’t see the value in copywriting and marketing, they’re not your target prospect. You don’t want to work for those people. Nor do you want to work for cheap people. Don’t try to teach people about the value of marketing, nor convince them to spend more money than they’re used to spending.

It’s a waste of time.

Focus exclusively on people who a) recognize the value of marketing, and b) have money to spend.

Replace Your Day Job With Two Steps

Remember the formula?

  1. Become really good at something.
  2. Strategic networking.

These two steps are the ticket to replacing your day job.

Pick a skill that is related to profit or income generation…

Marketing and sales is about making clients more money. Web design is about building websites. If you’re the guy that knows how to make other people money, you can command ridiculous fees. Forget web design and become a marketer.

Start with copywriting. Follow Gary Halbert’s advice.

Join CopyHour.

I’m currently based on Chiang Mai, Thailand. If you’re in the area, get in touch!

Catch me on Twitter:
Or hit me up on my website:

Derek Johanson


January 8, 2013

#2 Headlines & Ads

January 8, 2013 | By | No Comments


How was your day 1 assignment? Did you power
through the, ironically titled ‘Lazy Man’s’

Does your hand hurt? When was the last time
you hand-wrote that much?

If you haven’t updated your progress log…
then WTF?

Get on it.


Something to keep in mind during these
assignments – you might not “like” these ads
or even the products they promote.

It’s important to keep an open mind and just
learn from them. Think about the audience
it caters to, and why it works so well to
compel them. Think about how you could take
a similar concept and make it fit into your
ultimate plan and the image you’d like to

Look at the words, language & the common
themes that modern advertisers are using.


Assignment #2 will be a pretty quick one.
I compiled a PDF filled with some banner ads
and text ads from around the web.

Many of the products they promote are very

I can’t say for sure that the ads themselves
are best of the best but I know this: I’ve
seen these ads everywhere and for a long time.
It’s safe to assume that they’re accomplishing
the advertiser’s goal.

I have chosen these ads for 2 reasons:

1. It’s great headline practice to copy ads.
In a lot of cases, an ad is simply a headline.

2. We’ll be copying a few sales letters and
sales video scripts for the products these
ads are promoting… starting with 1 for
tomorrow’s assignment.


1. Wake up.
2. Take out a pad of paper and a pen.
3. Set a timer for 1 hour.
4. Write these ads out by hand:

5. Post to the forum:

6. iPhone users: Check-in to the “Learn
Copywriting” group in Lift. Give your CH
friends “Props”.


Derek “Don’t judge my ads” Johanson


P.S. For extra credit, model some of
these ads and write your own using your
product(s). Post them to forum &
let us take a look.