Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You: A Copywriter’s (Sorta) Cautionary Tale

How’s your week been so far? Mine’s been pretty interesting, and I actually have something to confess (in the spirit of what someone mentioned over Facebook–not that I live my life by what’s on there or anything, and I have done this in the past, for sure).

Anyway, let’s get to it.

I thought about making this a Codex for copywriters only, but I think anyone who does writing work (or just service work) for anybody else may benefit from this.

I think I blew it with a client.

Not that they hate me or anything, but maybe you can learn something from it. Here’s how things went:

I did a massive follow-up with everyone that I’d contacted in the past for a business thing, at least over Facebook, to see if they needed any other writing help, or if I could help them at all.

This guy said sure he needed someone to write for him, so we set up a time to chat.

Things went well, he told me I’d have to go through a four-figure email marketing course that had the style he liked to write in for his clients, and that these were going to be fun little projects, even though they were B2B. All I would have to do is come up with the stories to put in the emails, and he would come up with the pain points to mention in each one.

All right, fine. He said he didn’t want to pay my rate per email, which was fine, because I figured, hey, if there’s consistent work, it might not be a bad thing. We agreed on $40 a piece, plus 10% of whatever he made on the campaign we were working on (he’s a copywriter, too).

So I went through that email course, and he assigned me a test email. I didn’t quite get things the way he wanted ’em, so I revised. No problem there. He paid me for my time to go through the course (something else we agreed on, even though the way he phrased it [“What number would make you smile to take this course?”] made me go way high).

And then he assigned me two more emails inside a piece of project management software called Asana (I think it’s fairly popular, but I’ve never been a good judge of that). He said he wanted me to see if I could get closer to the style he wanted, and I was happy he gave me another shot.

He also had me read an interview he did with the guys who created the product we were going to be writing about, which was cool–up until now, I haven’t really done things quite that way–a sales page and a talk with the biz owner is all I’ve gotten.

So I poked around inside the software and wrote both emails, even though one wasn’t due until several days after the other (which is part of the reason why Asana was being used–it alerts you who’s doing what, and when what’s due).

And then the hammer came (you knew there had to be one in here). Before it officially came, I sorta knew it was coming. We’re members of the same writer’s job board on Facebook, and I saw him put up an ad to get other writers on his team (which is something, in all fairness, he was already doing–he didn’t hide that from me).

The official hammer came down when he told me to invoice him for what I’d already done, and when I pressed him a bit, to put the second email on hold because he was interviewing other people. And here’s the key…he would contact me if he wanted to move forward.

And then he used the software to take the emails off my plate that he’d assigned me before.

He’s a sincere guy, and I mean no disrespect to him or anyone else. I did sorta treat this as rejection, even though he did pay for one email and my time to take the course he wanted me to.

Maybe I missed a warning sign or two, or we just didn’t click. Or maybe this is that maxim coming into play that I heard from Batman the Animated Series (one of the ones with the ninja Kyodai), “There’s always someone better.”

Will I follow up? Sure. But if nothing else happens, I got excellent free training and an introduction to some project management software that another client down the road may want me to use, too.

Tomorrow is Triple F. Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
This entry was posted in Creativity, Inspiration, Motivation, Fiction and Copy Decodes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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