Rich Coach Club

RCC 33: Writing Kickass Copy, Early Entrepreneurship, and Choosing Yourself with Cole Schafer

Recently, on a much-needed break from my super-amazing book tour, I watched a docu-drama about Madonna and the early days of her career. I’ve always been a Madonna fan, but watching this, I was awestruck by how relentless she was in her self-belief and her willingness to put her work out there. Committing to choosing yourself day after day and maintaining a positive mindset are essential to becoming an icon and/or a super-successful entrepreneur.

Our guest Cole Schafer is absolutely familiar with both of these qualities. Cole is the founder of Honey Copy, a copywriting company that grows brands with pretty words. After joining a small advertising agency right after college, Cole quickly realized that the qualities that made him a terrible employee could make him an excellent entrepreneur. Cole is a great example for any budding entrepreneurs that are feeling nervous about choosing their passion over a more typical day job.

Cole and I talk about the launch of his business, some of his lowest moments, and why he’d still choose the embarrassment and discomfort of entrepreneurship over working in someone else’s office. He also describes how he sent 10,000 (!) cold-emails when he was just getting started and shares some incredible tips for writing copy that converts like crazy. And we also discuss the structure of Cole’s business today and the big goals he has for his writing and his career.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why giving yourself an attitude adjustment is one of the most important things you can do to find clients and make money.
  • What made Cole want to become an entrepreneur and pursue his love of writing.
  • How he kept moving forward when he had an embarrassing encounter with the coworkers he’d left to go start his business.
  • How Cole quickly built a profitable business in the hours outside of his job with a construction company.
  • The streams of income he maintains at Honey Copy and how he hopes to diversify his offerings in the future so he can work less and make more.
  • Cole’s top tips for writing compelling copy that actually speaks to people and turns readers into customers.

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Full Episode Transcript:

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Welcome to the Rich Coach Club, the podcast that teaches you how to build your dream coaching practice and how to significantly increase your income. If you’re a coach and you’re determined to start making more money, this show is for you. I’m master certified life coach Susan Hyatt, and I’m psyched for you to join me on this journey. You’re listening to episode 33, here we go.

Y’all, I have been on this book tour and I just got back. I was in LA and then Seattle and then Portland. And, holy Toledo – which I’m not going to Toledo, at least not of yet – but at least every book tour stop, it gets better and better and better. So, for those of you who want to join me out on tour, you may or may not know, I have a new book out called BARE. We’re going to put the link in the show notes.

The next city stop is Miami, and that’s going to be Mar 4th, which is my birthday weekend. But the reason I bring it up is, I’ve been just so happy to get out there and meet so many of you on this tour and take my daughter on college visits, but let me tell you, I am equal parts wanderlust and homebody. And so I was so happy to just be home this past weekend and watch Netflix and eat meatloaf and just do regular home things.

But one of the things I watched a new docu-drama about Madonna. And it’s called Madonna and The Breakfast Club. And so, I’m turning 46. You know, Madonna hit fame when I was like 11 years old. I mean, I was telling my husband, while we were watching the docu-drama – and what that means by the way, a docu-drama, it’s a combination of a documentary with reenactments. So they had actors and actresses playing Madonna and playing members of the band that she got her start with, The Breakfast Club.

I was telling him, like, I remember every bit of Madonna’s rise to fame because I was a kid who had MTV and I used to watch all those videos and we would have slumber parties and make up dances to all her songs, Borderline, Like a Virgin. Oh my god, I was a huge Madonna fan.  I’m still a huge Madonna fan.

And so, what was interesting though, in watching this docu-drama was to hear all of these people who knew her when and listen to these interviews and hear the stories of things that make Madonna who she is today. And some things that really stood out to me, which is something that we’re going to be talking about in today’s episode, is having the belief in yourself that you can do this and being relentless in pitching yourself for business.

And so, one of the really cool stories that the members of The Breakfast Club told was that Madonna had a very clear vision that she wanted to become a star. She started out at the University of Michigan studying dance on a dance scholarship. And then she quickly pivoted, moved to New York City, and pivoted to learning bass guitar and wanting to become a singer and wanting to become a star.

And she was writing her own songs and she was performing and she really had an unshakable belief and desire of becoming well-known and being a star. Now, as coaches, that’s maybe not our thing, right? We may want to become known. We may want to be on a stage speaking to thousands. We may want to be, you know, on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah. But primarily, our goal is to serve people and heal suffering and, you know, do all those things.

I do have a desire to become a bestselling author. And not just any bestselling author; a New York Times Bestselling Author.  And so it was really helpful for me to see that, you know, Madonna kept getting knocked down and she kept going.

And one of my favorite stories of the whole docu-drama was from a prominent New York City DJ. I can’t think of his name, but he talked about how Madonna would bring her demo tapes up to the studio booth in these dance clubs and ask them to play her music, and she would stand outside of the booth until they did.

And this particular DJ wasn’t particularly into her sound. He was like, I’m totally embarrassed today to admit that I was not a Madonna fan. But he said, you know, “She would stand there until I would either say, no I’m not playing it, or I would play it.” That just stuck out to me in terms of being an entrepreneur and being a coach entrepreneur, being willing to be like Madonna and ask over and over and over again, “Hey, will you play my music?” And keep being relentless with the request until you get a yes or a no.

And so, quite often, when I’m encouraging coaches to go for it, to pitch themselves, to ask for the sale, to ask for everything, we can be, as entrepreneurs, a little shy about doing it. And so, in today’s episode, we’re going to be talking with a client of mine, Cole Schafer, who has built an amazing business as a writer, a copywriter.

I think you’ll be really interested to hear what Cole has to say. Madonna had belief. Madonna was relentless. Let’s be like Madonna, and here we go.

Here’s your Two-Minute Pep-Talk for the week. This is the part of the show where I share some encouragement and inspiration to get your week started off right. And I try to keep things to 120 seconds or less.

So, we’re going to discuss a mindset, an attitude, that might be derailing your day and your efforts to pitch yourself as a coach. I’ll share some guidance on how to shift your attitude back into a positive powerful place. In other words, this is about giving yourself a little attitude adjustment. It’s like chiropractic adjustment for your mood.

So, here’s the attitude that I want to discuss today, “It’s so hard to find customers and make money.” So, many moons ago, back when I was a real estate agent, a lot of people said to me, “Listen, Susan, real estate is such a tough profession, so much competition, only the top 10% of real estate agents make any kind of money.”

And I remember thinking, well okay, then I’ll just have to make sure I’m part of that top 2%, no problem. That was my attitude from day one. And because of that positive attitude, I became a top seller very quickly and I even got a rookie of the year award. But why did I sell so many houses while others struggled to close?

Because of my mindset. I believed firmly, like, I can be in the top couple percent, why not? And if you continuously say to yourself, “I’m never going to make it, I can’t be part of the top 2%,” then you won’t be. If you continuously say to yourself, “It’s so hard to find clients,” then it will be. And if you continuously say to yourself, “My business won’t be profitable for at least three years,” then that’s probably what’s going to happen. That’s what you’ll prove true.

Your thoughts determine your mood. Sour discouraging thoughts lead to sour discouraging mood. And if you’re in a sour mood, then you’re going to have a sour unpleasant day at work. And if you’re grumbling all through your workday feeling sorry for yourself, then yeah, you’re damn right, it’s going to be tough to line up clients.

Let’s change the channel. Instead of thinking it’s so hard to find customers, switch to an alternative thought. Try thinking something like, “I can absolutely make a living doing what I love. I can be part of the top 2% of earners in my industry. I can defy my own expectations.” Or, try saying something like this to yourself, “Some people complain that it’s hard to find clients, but that’s not going to be my story. I’m not going to have a sour attitude. I’m not going to be a complainer. I’m not going to be one of those people. I am going to radiate enthusiasm and joy and clients will be drawn to me.”

Oh, hell yes, they will be. So, if Madonna decided it was too hard to go form dance club to dance club and ask DJs to play her songs, she never would have gotten playtime. She never would have become the icon that she is today. And you, my friends, are a Madonna-level icon. Let’s get it.

Now, we’re moving into the part of the show where I give shout-outs to you; shout-outs to listeners, clients, and all the wonderful people in my business community. And today, I want to give a shout-out to Brooke Craven.

So, Brooke, you left me an awesome five-star review for Rich Coach Club and it says, “Susan, host of the Rich Coach Club podcast highlights all aspects of business coaching and more in this can’t-miss podcast. The host and expert guests offer insightful wisdom and information that is helpful to anyone that listens.”

Brooke, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review. And listen, if you have something to say about this show, please send an email to my team or post a five-star iTunes review about this show, or post something on social media, and you might hear your name on a future episode. I love giving shout-outs to folks in my community, so holla at me. Thank you for the love; I love you right back.

It’s time for an interview. And today, I’m speaking with Cole Schafer. So, Cole is the founder of Honey Copy; a creative writing shop that helps brands grow with pretty words. So, I’ve known Cole, oh my gosh, it has been years.

And it has been so amazing to watch him grow as an entrepreneur into the wildly successful copywriter that he is. Cole has taught me so much, just in terms of what it takes to create copy that converts. And I have purchased his products, I’ve learned so much from him. I know we’re going to have a fascinating jam session, so let’s move on and dive into this conversation.

Susan: Welcome to the show, Cole Schafer. Hi, Cole.

Cole: Hey, what’s up?

Susan: I’m so excited to have you here, Mr. Founder of Honey Copy. So, Cole, you and I have known each other a long time, and I’m super excited to talk to you today because I feel like you’re such an inspiration for entrepreneurs who are trying to get out there and do their thing, particularly entrepreneurs who are nervous about choosing their passion over something that’s a sure thing for a paycheck. And let’s talk a little bit about how you even got started doing what you’re doing.

Cole: Yeah, absolutely. So, I actually started Honey Copy two years ago and I had just graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in marketing. I kind of did what most kids normally do. I just went to work for a company. So I went to work for a really small advertising agency. I remember, I was about a month into that job and I was just like sitting there and I was staring at the clock and I was like, oh my god, I’m just not passionate about being here and if I have to continue to do this, I think I’m going to lose my mind.

Susan: What kinds of things did they have you start out doing? Because I actually remember being right out of college and doing the same thing, literally nodding off at my desk at a PR firm.

Cole: I think sometimes, when you think of advertising, you think of the trendy, you know, Madmen type of Netflix vibe. But it just very much so wasn’t that. It was a lot of processes and not much creating. I’m sure this resonates with you, Susan, but I quickly realized, at the age of 23, that I’m just a terrible employee. So it wasn’t like the company was bad. Actually, it’s a great agency and I absolutely adore my boss, but I just realized very quickly that I was just a terrible employee.

Susan: So, let me ask you this; what do you think made you a terrible employee and are those the things that make you a great entrepreneur?

Cole: That’s actually a great question. I would say that one is that I tend to like to do things just the way I like to do them, and I tend to be sort of a big picture thinker and a creative. So when you have processes set up, which I feel like that’s pretty standard for employees, especially if you’re a new employee and the company is trying to get you integrated into their culture, there are processes that you have to follow. But for me, when I have an idea and I want to create it, I just want to start creating it like immediately and execute. I tend to move really, really fast with what I do and I think that, at times, working for someone else felt like it was a little bit slow. So I would say that definitely made me not a great employee. And I’ve always been someone where I have to kind of make the mistake myself to learn from it, you know. And so I just felt like entrepreneurship was always something that I was drawn to. But anyway, after I started realizing I’m just not a great employee, I just quit. Like, I remember quitting that day, and fortunately, my boss and I had a really good relationship and it was kind of mutually agreed that we should go our separate ways.

And that night, like, I had always wanted to be a writer, like in college, and I just decided, there’s really only one time that I can just go all in and I need to do that now. And so I went to work for a construction company in Evansville and they would pay me cash. And the reason I worked for them is because it was super flexible hours and they’d let me work from 7am to 1pm. And so I would go into these old apartment buildings and tear out really nasty dilapidated carpet. There would be like cat shit and just really nasty stuff on the ground. And during this whole time, what was beautiful about it was I was working alone. So I’d listen to podcasts like the Tim Ferriss podcast and Sophia Amoruso’s podcast; the CEO of Nasty Gal. She has one called Girl Boss. And so I just listened to hour after hour of these podcasts, and then as soon as I got off work, I would go and build what today is Honey Copy. And I did that all by cold emailing.

And I remember the lowest point in that journey was my old advertising agency hired my construction company to come in and do a renovation of their office. So, like a month later, I show up, I’m in a cutoff and jeans and boots, and I’m tearing out carpet at my old advertising agency. And my previous colleagues are there, looking at me, thinking, what is this? What happened to him? I imagine they thought I was crazy. And I remember, that was kind of the lowest point for me.

Susan: Well, I just have to stop here because this story gives me so much life because, you guys who are listening, all of us have a story where on this entrepreneurship journey, we questioned our own sanity. And, some days, I still question my own sanity. I’m like, who decided this was a good idea? Oh yeah, that was me. But to go into your old – like, you graduate from college, you have a, quote en quote, real job at a marketing agency, it’s boring you to death. You realize you’re not a great employee. You want to go for being a writer, which I can tell you is one of the biggest, first of all, are all highly successful, but it’s one of those professions where people just assume you can’t make money at it, or it’s really hard to make money as a writer. So you decide to go all in on that. And then in order to fuel that dream, you take a job in construction. So, all of you listening right now who are in side-hustles, that you’re in it to invest in your own company, imagine then going to your former office to rip out carpet. This is like a movie moment. And so, when you left there that day and you were like, “they probably think I’m crazy,” what kept you going?

Cole: I think what kept me going was I just sort of had to ask myself, would I continue to do this whole construction job if it meant I could continue to follow my passion, what I honest to god was passionate about and feel like I was – born to do sounds cheesy, but just something that I feel very called to do? That’s ultimately what kept me showing up at 7am tearing out carpet, because I realized, like, if I have to do this for the next couple of years to allow me to slowly build this tiny writing shop that I just adore – I think, a lot of times in life, it’s about sort of choosing your pain, right?

So if you – it was more painful for me to sit at this office working this job that I really, really hated than it was for me to show up and be extremely embarrassed as I’m tearing out carpet and my colleagues are, like, moving their desks so we can get under them and shit. That’s painful and that makes you cringe, but I just realized, if that pain is a nine out of 10 then sitting in that office was a 10 out of 10. So I just chose the pain that was bearable to me, or worth it, you know. And so yeah, one thing I’ve discovered too, in entrepreneurship, is you’ll sort of have these moments where you get sideswiped, no matter how successful you are. At the end of last year, I lost my biggest client. They sent me an email and it ended up costing me about $60,000 this year, that’s how big of a client they were. And I had grown just massively since the carpet tearing days and I was making great money as a writer and then this happens. And again, it’s right when those moments happen that – I kind of view them like pulling back a rubber band. I feel like that’s when you sort of accelerate forward.

And literally a month after losing them, I got brought on with Google to write a book for them. So I think, the lesson in this for me – like, I try to remind myself of this, and I think really any entrepreneur should remind themselves of it is, there’s a lot of momentum in those massive drops and the sideswipes and the tearing out carpet next to your colleagues or losing a huge client. There’s a lot of momentum that can be had there. I think it’s just sort of recognizing that that’s what that’s for.

Susan: So beautifully said. And you guys are going to need to like rewind and listen to this over and over and over again because we all have those moments, me included. Like, even on this book tour and having to remind myself what you just said, that there’s  momentum in the drops, that it’s like, okay you can have a moment where, for me, like sitting on the floor with my beagle crying because my publisher isn’t doing what I want them to do, and then get up and get momentum from that and keep going. And also, one thing that you talked about that I love is the pain of embarrassment was less than the pain of sitting and doing a gig that you didn’t want to do. And I always say, if you want to make it as your own boss, if you want to make it as an entrepreneur and a creative, you have to be willing to look like a fool; let people judge you, let them be wrong about you. And I just feel like that moment, that job assignment of ripping out carpet at your old office had to be totally set up in your favor because it probably then fueled you to work even harder.

Cole: Yeah, absolutely. And I think with that too, when we choose to build something or choose to take a stand in our own life, we want to assume that the seas part and it’s just like this walk right down to our dreams. A lot of times, like, I mean, I don’t know how much you believe in manifestation and the universe and all that stuff, but I truly believe that the direction we’re supposed to go, oftentimes, is where we’re feeling the most resistance. So, that moment to me, even though it sucked and it was awful and I felt like crying as I have my college degree and I’m tearing out carpet at my old advertising agency, that to me was the universe’s way of saying, we’re putting a ton of resistance on you right now in this direction and that’s just proof that you need to keep heading this way, keep moving in that direction even though it’s just awful.

Susan: And so you created, pretty rapidly, a profitable business for yourself. So, since the carpet ripping days, talk a little bit about your business, what’s happened since then?

Cole: Yeah, when I would get off of work, back in the carpet ripping days, I would immediately go shower, obviously, and then go to Starbucks or a coffee shop and I would spend about six hours cold emailing as many brands as I could. And that’s how I built Honey Copy to the point where it could become a full-time thing. By no means, it would be anything massive, but it definitely got to the point where I no longer had to rip out carpet. And that was beautiful, and sort of like my mindset there was a piece of advice I’d heard was, like, just go out and make a dollar with my business. So, for so long, I had concentrated on trying to build this massive thing and then go sell it, but really, what I was trying to apply there was, I’m going to just cold email really cool brands, basically beg me to let me write for them, and obviously charge them. And I’m going to build this service business by doing that, cold emailing over and over again. And I bet, my first year, I probably sent out like 10,000 cold emails. I got banned from certain services and stuff I was sending out so many emails. And it was beautiful, but at the same time, at the end of the year, I’m like, I’m making good money but I’m working 70 hours a week. And that was when I realized, I need a coach. Which is when you and I crossed paths.

Susan: Right, and so, first of all, let me just back up and say, you spent six hours, after working all day, you would shower and then spend six hours pitching yourself to cold leads. And I want everybody listening to this to really hear that. And you were how old at the time?

Cole: 23.

Susan: 23 years old, going to Starbucks and cold pitching and probably pitched himself 10,000 times in a year to the point that he booked himself so solid he needed to hire me to figure out how to work less, and yes, make more. So we can talk about that a little bit. And so, Honey copy, explain to everyone listening, and then we can talk about what’s happened for you since then, but Honey copy is comprised of what? Let’s talk about the streams of income to your business right now.

Cole: Absolutely, so Honey copy is a creative writing business that works with brands on growing with words. So, whether that’s selling their products or trying to drive more subscribers to their email list, that’s essentially what I do with Honey Copy. So, folks will hire me on to write their sales pages. They’ll hire me on to write their articles, their website copy, I’ll write copy on billboards, all of that. And so my main source of income is being hired to actually write. So that still is about 90% of my business. But this year, and since working with you, I launched a copywriting guide, which eventually will become the flagship product of Honey Copy where I can sell it for $100, $200, $300 as it keeps growing and becoming more valuable to entrepreneurs and other marketers who know nothing about how to write in such a way that it sells. So it’s part education, and that’s kind of where I want Honey Copy to eventually go. But right now, it’s mostly comprised of me actually doing the work myself, which I love. Like, I love writing, so no complaints there.

Susan: When you were working 70 hours a week – so I remember when you emailed me about coaching and I learned a little bit more about your business and you emailed me back that you were already at six figures and I was like, alright now. So let’s talk about where you want to go. And so, what are your goals moving forward, just so everyone can know how proud I am of you and what you’re accomplishing at such a young age?

Cole: Obviously I know I won’t achieve this this year, but eventually, I want to get to the point where I’m making half a million a year as a writer. My big inspiration, I’ve talked to you about this a lot, is Laura Belgray. She is a phenomenal copywriter and she owns a brand called Talking Shrimp. So that’s sort of like the number. But really, I think what matters to me more is growing intentionally and thoughtfully and with purpose, versus just trying to grow as fast as possible. So if that takes me a decade to get there, I’m cool with that.

Susan: Are you kidding me right now? Cole Schafer, you are already halfway there.

Cole: Yeah, I don’t think it’s going to take me a decade, but I guess what I’m saying is I’m not trying to sprint there. I understand that it’s a marathon.

Susan: I have to keep telling myself that with this book stuff; it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Cole: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s the other thing is, I mean, have you ever read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield?

Susan: Oh yes.

Cole: Like, that book, when it first launched, it was by no means a failure but definitely not what he wanted it to be. And literally a decade later, now it’s just flying off the shelves. And I think that’s a good reminder for really anything that we’re making is sometimes we think, like, it just will immediately blow up right when we create it, but in reality, sometimes it takes a minute. You can be too early and it takes a minute for people to figure out this is the shit, you know.

Susan: That’s right, this is the shit, Cole. So let’s talk a little bit about – obviously I love what you do and I love how you do it, and copywriting is something that is an important skill for entrepreneurs to either learn themselves or hire out, because so much of what we do in terms of attracting business and clients is using the ability to communicate through words. You and I have talked quite a bit about this, but I think the audience needs to hear from somebody who obviously – I mean, you’ve worked with major brands, you’re an exceptional writer, what do you think are maybe the top three things that entrepreneurs need to know when communicating with their audience to be effective, either to get their emails opened and to, when people read those emails, take action?

Cole: Okay, so first and foremost, the number one thing that I recommend all brands should do is focus as much attention on their headlines as they do on their actual copy, or their body copy, or their emails. And one thing that everyone does, as a writer, is we might write this beautiful 1000-word article and then put it on our site. And that might take us five hours to write. And then, like, last minute, literally in the last two minutes, we’re like, what do we want to call this? And then we write a quick headline or a quick title for the article, and then we hit publish and that’s it. And I think, as creators, one misconception we have is that if we spend all this time writing this article, people are going to want to read it. But in reality, no, that’s only half of the job.

Really, in order to get someone to click whatever we’ve written, we really have to craft a headline that hooks them, that pulls them in. So one thing I recommend to writers, marketers, entrepreneurs, really anyone is, if you’re going to spend five hours writing an article, you should be spending one of those hours coming up with the perfect headline. The same goes for email. And when I say headline, that’s the headline of a sales page, it’s the title of an article or a book, it’s the subject line of an email. If you’re going to spend five hours writing an email or a sales page or an article, make sure you’re dedicating one of those hours to coming up with the perfect headline. And really, how you do that is you set a timer. And it doesn’t have to be an hour but maybe it’s 10 minutes or 20 minutes and you write down 25 headlines and just make them as crazy as you want, make them conservative, just do all kinds of different headlines.

And by the end of that, you’ll have 20 or 25 of them, you can run them by your friends or your coworkers, or if you are just an entrepreneur, you can take a look at them, get up, walk away from the page, then come back and really highlight which ones are standing out to you. And by just being more thoughtful about the time we’re putting into our headlines, you can increase conversions tenfold. Like Buzzfeed, for example, they make all of their writers write 25 headlines for every single article. And their CEO, I read it in an article, he said it’s increased open rates not by 10% and 20%, by like 200%. It’s been insane.

Susan: Oh my god.

Cole: Yeah, I mean, it’s crazy.

Susan: This is where I definitely fall down. You and I have talked about this before, is I do exactly what you said. I will put so much time into creating amazing content and then I just put something simple as the headline, and I really – I’m going to talk with my team about this as well, we really have to spend more time coming up with headlines that are interesting. You’re lighting a fire under my butt, 200% increase in open rate, hello.

Cole: Yeah, it’s seriously, it’s nuts. And the beautiful thing about headlines too is that as you write them more and more, you get to the point where you can – they just become easier. It’s really just practice and stuff. So that would be my first piece of advice is headlines. The other piece of advice, and I see a lot of brands make this mistake, it’s just a bullshit principle that we’re taught in marketing, but it’s find your target market, right? So generally, what people will craft for their target market is, men that play golf between the ages of 20 and 36. And that’s just absolutely ridiculous when you think about it because if you’ve ever met a 36-year-old man and a 20-year-old man, whether they play golf or not, there’s absolutely no comparisons that can be made between them. So, where a lot of writers, entrepreneurs, marketers, where they screw up is, they write to a target market and they write to sort of their audience. And that’s a huge mistake because their writing loses the tone that makes it human and conversational and personal. And so one piece of advice I give to anyone who has to do a lot of writing, with whatever they do, is write to a single person, and not just someone within your target market.

Write to your mom, write to your brother, write to your best friend, write to your girlfriend. Write to a very specific person. So every single thing I write, I have an exact living breathing person that I’m writing to. And what’s beautiful about that is if you read your writing after you’ve applied that, all of a sudden it doesn’t sound as much like writing. It sounds more like this sort of conversation you would have in a coffee shop with your best friend or your colleague. And humans tend to have more in common than we realize, so when we do get very specific with our writing, which is what happens when we write to just one person, we can find other people can relate to that. and I’ve learned that in my creative writing and then also in actual writing I do for brands and startups is, when you’re writing to one specific person, that you can literally write their first and last name down, it’s amazing how much more of a personal feel your writing can gain and an actual tone.

Susan: I often tell coaches to write or speak, if they’re doing a video online or something, like you’re having coffee with your friend and an exact person. You’re right because it just becomes too vanilla if you’re trying to hit too many people. So, what’s a third tip to leave these peeps with if they want to improve their writing for their business to get clients?

Cole: I would say my third tip would be – and I feel like you could coach on this, Susan, but don’t be afraid to be a little bit audacious and polarizing with the things that you’re writing. And it doesn’t mean you have to take a massive political stand if that’s not your style, but with my writing on Honey Copy, a lot of advertising agencies and marketing agencies tend to sound very, very similar to one another. Like, you could literally swap out their logos and not really know who is writing what because it’s all business speak and corporate BS and all that. and so, one way I think to just sell more of whatever you’re selling is to be a little bit audacious, be a little bit bold, and not be afraid to – I’m not going to say turn people off. But by not being afraid to turn people off, you’re going to turn people who are sort of like moderate about you and your brand into people who are firm believers and adore your brand and are huge advocates of it.

If you’re cool with cussing in your copy, like, I’ve found it to be very helpful for building Honey Copy, where people adore that I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder as I’m writing it. And so there’s that, and then the other thing is always, always ask, no matter what you’re writing, whether it’s an email newsletter or an article, or sales page, if you want your customer to do something, you have to ask them to do that. And that sounds like such rudimentary advice but I see so many brands that struggle with that, where they might write this email, and by the time you get to the end of the email, you’re like, well what do you want me to do?

Susan: That was nice, now what?

Cole: So, great email, but what do you want me to do here? And so, if you want someone to subscribe to your email list, ask them to subscribe to their email list. If you want them to buy your product, ask them to buy it. So that’s just something I do see a lot of entrepreneurs, like, starting out, or seasoned brands struggle with is we can’t read your mind. You have to tell us what you want us to do, you know.

Susan: It’s so simple and it’s just so true. It’s like – I was talking with a client the other day and I hear this – it’s not just this client – I hear this all the time, especially from coach entrepreneurs. They’ll say, like, I don’t want them to think I’m selling them something. And I’m like, but you are. It gets weird when you pretend like you’re not.

Cole: 100%, that’s so true. And I think that’s another area of improvement, sometimes I think people think selling is inauthentic, and it’s not at all. Like, I think what’s beautiful is when entrepreneurs say, you obviously know why I built this business. It’s to help you but to also make money. And I think when you’re authentic about that, people appreciate that.

Susan: Right, like hello, this is not a not-for-profit. We’re in business. Restaurants who post their daily specials are posting those because they hope you come buy a meal. What is going on, people? Don’t hide that you’re selling things. Say I want you to buy this.

Cole: Exactly, and I was going to just leave one last tip that, if you feel like you’re struggling with finding your voice as a writer, one thing that’s very helpful is pull out your phone, record – it doesn’t have to be a video, but do an audio recording of you selling whatever you’re trying to sell to, like, your friend. And maybe you riff for five or 10 minutes. Play it back and I promise you’ll be able to pull out three or four gems in that audio recording where you’re like, that would be a great headline, or that actually is pretty good, I think I’m just going to turn that audio recording into an email. And that can immediately make your copy take on a more conversational tone, versus the buttoned-up type of style that we tend to write in when we have to do some sort of marketing email and stuff.

Susan: So good. So, Cole, you’ve been so generous with your personal story and these tips. It’s already impacted me because I have, on everybody’s to-do list on my team, to brainstorm headlines. I’m sure they’re thrilled.  But how can people best find you, hang out with you, learn more about you and Honey Copy?

Cole: Yeah, absolutely, so if – I don’t do any of the social medias except Instagram, which is just @cole_schafer. So if people want to follow along there, they can. I do more creative writing on there, which, if you’re into that kind of thing, go ahead and connect with me there. And actually, I am on LinkedIn too, so you can find me there. And then as far as Honey Copy goes, if you just head to, you can poke around the site there and sign up for Sticky Notes, which is my free email that I send out like every single week. And it’s a pretty in-depth email that covers everything from marketing to writing and how, as brands and entrepreneurs, we can do a better job of writing really cool shit that people want to read. So I think that’s where I would point people.

Susan: Awesome. Alright, we’ll make sure to have all that in the show notes. And one last final question before we say goodbye. My favorite question that I ask almost everybody on the podcast, what’s something that makes you feel rich that doesn’t cost any money or very little money?

Cole: Gosh, that’s a good question. I would probably have to put in coffee, great conversation over coffee with close friends. I would say that’s probably something that makes me feel very rich. Hot yoga too, yeah.

Susan: Nice, alright, I love it. I always joke that what makes me feel rich – this is so ridiculous – is an overwhelming stocked amount of toilet paper, Nespresso pods. I like having things stocked because when I run out, I get freaking cranky. So right now, I’m out of my Nespresso pods, which should never happen. And you know I need my coffee today because I got three hours of sleep.

Cole: Yeah, make sure you’re chugging that coffee.

Susan: It’s got to happen.

Cole: That’s next to no sleep.

Susan: Alright, thank you, Cole.

Cole: Awesome, thank you so much.

So, on today’s episode, I framed this as be like Madonna. And didn’t Cole blow your mind with the amount of pitching that he did? 10,000 cold emails sent. I mean, come on, come on now.

So, here’s the thing; if you want to grow a successful coaching practice, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable. You have to be willing, like Cole said, to look silly or stupid or crazy in front of everybody you know. Hello, ripping out carpet in front of your former coworkers. And you have to be willing to diligently, relentlessly, like Madonna and Cole, ask for the business. Thank you for listening to today’s episode. Go get it.

Alright, thank you so much listening to Susan Hyatt’s Rich Coach Club. If you enjoyed today’s show, please head over to where you’ll find a free worksheet with audio called Three Things You Can Do Right Now To Get More Clients. You can download the worksheet and the audio, print it out, there’s a fun checklist for you to check off. Just three things to do. Check, check, checkidy-check.

This worksheet makes finding clients feel so much simpler and not so scary. So head to to get that worksheet. Over there, you’re also going to find a free Facebook you can join especially for coaches. Bring your coaching practice and your income to the next level at See you next week.

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