Freelance copywriting: how Samantha broke out of her cubicle and started her freelance service.

Freelance Copywriting: How Samantha Started Her Agency

Samantha owns a company called Nomad Copy; they work with businesses to create custom copy and help turn their sales process into a hands off, high conversion experience. They’re expert at sales copy, including websites, landing images, landing pages, email funnels and more.

And with that, Samantha, I’m going to let you introduce yourself and add anything you’d like. And then I’m going to ask you a million questions.

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For sure. I love a million questions. I’m glad to be here.

As Alison mentioned, I am the owner and lead copywriter at Nomad Copy Agency. As the name of the agency would suggest, I am a nomad.

I’m originally from Iowa, and am technically a resident of Texas now. I spend a lot of time around the US and around the world, which is great for my career as a copywriter. I have gotten extremely good at writing sales copy and helping people turn their launches and funnels into super hands off, super high conversion experiences for their clients. And yeah, I spend my time traveling and writing. It’s kind of my childhood dream and I just get to live it.

That’s awesome. So I’m from Houston, Texas. I don’t know if you know that. Where in Texas are you based?

I lived in Dallas for a while, and my business is in Austin.

Very cool. Awesome.

Getting started as a freelance copywriter

First of all, I love that you’re a nomad. I just got back from Belize a few days ago, and it’s the first international travel I’ve had in a long time. I forgot how amazing travel is, and how grateful I am to have a life that’s super flexible. But my first question is always, how did you get started in entrepreneurship? What made you get started doing your own thing? And how did you get started as a freelance copywriter?

I always thought that entrepreneurship was something that I definitely did not want. Which is funny, because I’ve always been a self starter. I’ve always been a natural leader.

But I saw my dad run his business for 25 years. It was brick and mortar. He got like two weeks of vacation a year and his life was just very rhythmic.

I wanted excitement. I didn’t want to be tethered like that. And even in college, I was like, “Why would I go for an entrepreneurship degree when I don’t have any ideas of what I would sell?” So I had kind of a limited view, but I knew that I valued freedom.

I traveled a bit in college. I did a multi-country study abroad program that was phenomenal. It was during my experiences abroad that I realized that my goal was to live and work abroad. So I got my degrees in marketing, international business, and French. And I thought, “Oh, I’m going to go get a job internationally and do international business.”

Who really knew what they were doing when they were 22 anyway?

I went and got a job in sales, and I really enjoyed it. I was really good at it. Moved around a bit within that space and started doing some travel blogging for Nine to Five Nomad.

I knew that I was eventually going to quit the 9-5 job and travel the world.

I just didn’t know what that was going to look like yet. So I started saving, and I was getting really burnt out at the company that I was at.

Back in 2019, I was on a beach in Vietnam, and I got a work email that just gave me a ton of anxiety. A friend was with me, and he was like, “What are you doing? You don’t have to be there. Do something else. Don’t go back.”

So I didn’t. I called my boss, quit my job, went to Thailand for two months.

During that time, I reached out to some people that knew my work, whether it be professionally or my blogging or whatever. I just said, “Hey, I’m a free agent. If you need anything, I’m here. I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t know what I’m asking for.”

Every one of those people said, “Well, we need this written, we need that written.”

That’s the origin of how I started writing content and then ultimately moved into freelance copywriting. And about three years later, here we are.

Oh, what a cool story.

I love that whole story: “I was in Vietnam and I just decided to not go back.”

From Sales to Writing Copy

I also think it’s interesting that you led with your first job experience in sales, which you were really good at, and now you landed in sales copy. Can you talk about your strengths that made you great at sales, and how that translated to sales copy?

I always loved my sales trainings. Some people would drag their feet all the way to the conference room to go do another training. And I was like, “Tell me more! What are people are looking at on a page? Tell me the tactics for writing the sales email. How do I be important enough to get a CEO on the phone. How to position myself.”

Because sales isn’t always about inspiring someone to click a button and put in their credit card information. Sometimes that conversion is, are we converting a prospect to a lead? Are we converting lead to a customer? There’s a lot of stops on that journey. So I was all about just learning how the mind worked.

Whether it was a market research class in college, or in those first jobs of learning the real world sales experience. It just kind of felt like a game to me.

If you play it strategically, you’re going to win.

When you left your job, when you had a nine to five and you were in Vietnam, you didn’t have like a backup plan until you reached out to clients? Or did you have like a side hustle already kind of going?

I was blogging, but I was making negative money doing it. That was just a passion project. But yeah, I just kind of jumped and built my parachute on the way down.

This is such a common question that people ask me: when is the time to leave my job?

People know, logically, “When I quit the job, I will have so much more time to focus on making more money.”

But also, we all have a window of tolerance from a mindset and nervous system perspective. Right?

So some people, they jump off the cliff and they become totally dysregulated; they can’t handle the stress of it. Other people jump off the cliff and thrive.

When Should I Quit my Job?

How did you manage stress around leaving so suddenly? What were the actions you knew you needed to take right away? And what advice would you give to other people who ask, “When should I quit my job?”

My first piece of advice is to not listen to other people’s advice, because what other people do might not be right for you. In the same way that my dad’s entrepreneurship advice isn’t right for me. He ran a brick and mortar business in a small town in Iowa that started 30 years ago. I’m running an online business, and nobody knows what’s happening in this wild world.

I knew that it was a long-term goal of mine – that to be an entrepreneur was on my horizon.  I wanted more freedom, and I was in Fortune 100 companies. That just wasn’t something that I was going to get back in 2019. That was before everybody got to go remote.

Ideally, I would’ve just moved from one six figure job to the next and been able to do it from wherever I wanted to be. But I was not in the circles that allowed that. So, I knew that entrepreneurship was the next step.

I had hoped for more direction before I quit my job.

But, I had also been saving for a long time, and setting up my life in a way that I was going to be able to leave. When all my friends in our mid twenties were getting dogs and buying nicer cars and buying homes, I stayed away from that. I knew that I didn’t want to be tied down in that way.

So I was really setting that up all along. I was childless, I was single. I didn’t have to worry about a mortgage and things like that. All that to say, my level of comfort in leaving my job and making that leap was totally different from what other people might do.

It’s such a personal decision for people to make.

It really, really is. That’s why I’m always curious to know how people process it.

Everything you said is such an important consideration, where if you’re untethered and you don’t have kids and you don’t have a house, it’s a very different decision than, “I’m quitting my job today and I’m not sure if I can pay the mortgage or not.”

So that is taking all those things into consideration. Making sure that you are safe to the level that you need to be safe. Because some people still want to jump off the ledge.

Yeah. And even in that, I had paid off my debt. I was 27 when I quit my job. For about a year, I had been trying to save anywhere between 20 and 50% of each paycheck. So I knew that I had some runway. That was a huge part of my comfort level.

It sounds risky. “Oh, I was on a beach in Vietnam and didn’t feel like going back so I didn’t.” But I had a lot of things propping me up in the background that weren’t rich uncles.

How Samantha Gets Clients

I love that. So, in the beginning, you got clients just by using connections and reaching out to people. What’s working for you today, as far as marketing and getting clients?

What’s working for me today is that I have a really strong funnel.

I offer a lot of information for free that helps people to know, love and trust me, even before they realize that they need a copywriter. So I have a lot of people who are just in my circle to learn. To that extent, up until just a couple months ago, I didn’t do marketing. I did not even show up on social media, outside of my personal profile, until January of this year. And even still, I don’t sell on social. I am just there as a credibility builder.

So if you, Alison, were to search, who is this copywriter that was just recommended to me, it’s like, “Oh, okay. She has an Instagram. She talks about things that kind of vibe with me.”

It’s credibility, rather than a client attractor.

It was pretty much exclusively referrals until the beginning of this year, either from past clients or friends who knew what I was doing. My email list when I started, because I did have that blog, was about 150 people; probably half of them were well meaning family and friends. The rest were from a travel blog. So it’s not like I started with a big foot forward.

I think just my work pre entrepreneurship really spoke to who I am as an entrepreneur. And that has helped me to get a ton of referrals because I just pretty much go out into the world and say, “Hi, I’m a freelance copywriter,” and hope for the best, which is probably not the best marketing strategy ever, but I am also not afraid to ask for the sales.

I do ask for referrals very intentionally.

Getting Referrals

What is your process for asking for referrals?

I ask for feedback after everything that I do. Even if somebody downloads a freebie, I’m asking for feedback. I want to be part of that conversation, because I want to improve. That’s part of being a copywriter, too – when I write something for someone, I do offer revisions. I need to be great at not only accepting the feedback, but implementing it and being very coachable. Being a consultative part of someone’s success team, whatever that might look like.

So, I’m constantly asking for feedback. And in that, it opens a broad door to be like, “If you thought this was great, tell other people. I am open for business. I have space to do this for others.” And I mean, especially in a world of social media, we love bragging about what we love. So I think that’s made it really seamless as well.

I think a lot of people forget to ask for referrals, or they’re nervous about asking for referrals. I love how seamless it is in your process. It takes a lot of emotional intelligence to accept and implement feedback really well. Especially when you’re a service based business, like being a copywriter or any kind of creative or graphic designer. There’s like a lot of art and creativity; I’ve met artists who take the feedback very personally. I love that you’re able to flow in that process.

Do you think there’s anything that led you to be more resilient and open to feedback, or have you always kind of been that way regarding your work?

No, I’ve not always been that way.

I’m the first person to admit that sometimes, I do take it personally. That’s one of the great things about being an entrepreneur: you get to work with people that you really love.

Mindset as an Entrepreneur

I don’t want to sound too woo, and there’s more to it than this, but if I get a bad vibe about something, then I’m not going to pursue that project. But getting told no a lot in corporate sales really helped me as an entrepreneur. It helped me to set that mindset that they’re saying no to the offer.

They’re not saying no to me.

And that means one of two things. Maybe the offer is not right for them. I don’t want to offer something to someone that they don’t need, because that does nothing for me and my brand.

Being able to change my mindset in that way was incredibly helpful.

But also, if they are saying no to me, then that might mean that my messaging is off, and that I get to go improve. And I mean, as a copywriter, that’s something I work with a lot of my clients about too. Is it your offer or is it your messaging around your offer?

That’s good feedback.

I’m about to do a launch, and I’m processing some of that in my head. “Oh, it’s not about me.”

What are you focused on right now in your business, as far as growth and goals? Are you just chugging along and really happy, or are you in growth mode? What does that look like in your business?

Yeah, I’m totally in growth mode.

So I finally hired an operations coordinator at the beginning of this year. I held off for as long as possible. I’ve got my systems in place, and that eradicated the need for me to do some admin or to hire someone for admin.

But I’ve outgrown what I’m able to do. She is incredible. And then, to help with some of my client work, I hired a junior copywriter and she is possibly a better copywriter than I am, which is exactly the kind of person that I want to hire.

I don’t want to have to edit other people’s work or be the bottleneck in my business.

I want to surround myself with excellence, and that’s what I’ve done. So I totally have open space, and that feels really good. I was working at capacity and totally stressed for a while. And now I have room to take on more clients and help them sell more. And that’s really, really exciting.

That is exciting.

I think that’s the struggle of being a service based business. You are doing the things, and growth can include raising your prices. At the same time, when you’re a service based business, growth mode still has to happen by basically overhead. You need a team eventually.

Pricing

Can you talk to me about how you price your packages? You can get as specific as you feel comfortable with.

That’s something that a lot of service businesses struggle with. A lot of them start out hourly and it’s not great. And then they move to packages, which are better, but figuring out how to charge for packages can be hard.

What’s your process for your pricing, and how have you evolved over time?

That’s something I’ve really struggled with, because no two launches are the same. I was not comfortable going out into the world saying, “You get one landing page, one opt-in page, one thank you page, and it’s going to be this amount.”

Sometimes, people have a low ticket offer. So they don’t need the full landing page, or they need something between a landing and an opt-in page. Or they’re not going to do a thank you page, because their systems don’t require it. Or, “Oh, you want 10 emails for your free challenge funnel? Well, this person wants 8.” So it’s been a real challenge to package things up.

Basically, I have an a la carte price list.

When people need more than one service, I just do volume discounts.

I just take those set prices, and discount from there. Because if everything were a la carte, it wouldn’t be reasonable for anyone and it wouldn’t feel good for me either.

Basically, I just do volume discounts, and then if somebody needs to work with a pricing package or to pay over time and that’s reasonable, then we do that as well.

That makes so much sense. I love that idea.

What you’ve done is take a process that can be really unknown and kind of flowy and subjective, and you systemized it. I love that you just came up with a la cart pricing and then bulk discount. As the person buying the service, I feel like that would feel good to me. I bet as a service provider, that feels good to you. You’re charging fairly, but I also understand if you’re doing a shit ton of work, that it doesn’t make sense to buy a la cart. I think that makes so much sense.

Yeah, totally. That’s the thing with entrepreneurship too – you can always throw something in if you need to.

I love over delivering. I just adore the people that I get to work with and it’s like, man, they didn’t know in advance that they were going to need an email to explain that they’re moving platforms or something. I’ll throw it in.

Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. And I can say, “Hey, you should do this. And also here’s some help.” Most of the entrepreneurs that I work with are solopreneurs or on very small teams. To feel like you have somebody who’s really in your corner is just so important in the online business world.

I’m sure that’s why you get so many referrals too.

Yes. Yeah, I would think so. I think I’m fun.

It certainly doesn’t hurt.

Getting Exciting Results

I’d love to know a project that you’ve done that you were really excited about, or where you did something really innovative, or there was a result you were really excited about.

Can you think of any stories along those lines that you want to share with us?

Good question. I’ll say the first one that comes to mind is a person had come to me previously; she was rolling out a VIP day program.

I had worked with her VA on different projects. So her VA connected us, and she rolled out a very successful VIP day program. She’s a coach for executives. So she kind of bridges that small business to large business space, because she kind of grew up, so to speak, in startups. So that went really well.

And she came back to me a couple of weeks later and said, “This went so well that I would like to roll something similar out as a small group coaching.”

She had an idea for what she wanted it to be. Through our conversation and me asking questions, I was able to tell her some things that I had seen go really well and go really poorly in the industry recently.

That’s kind of a thing with copywriters – we know of things going on in design and in coaching and in whatever, because I work in professional services and that tends to include coaching.

So I know the trends going on in this space.

Through our conversation, she changed the way that she was going to deliver the program – from fully online group coaching to a hybrid small group coaching.

And, rather than blasting the program out to her list, she decided to send three emails. She sent them all personally, more or less copy and pasted, but personally.

We’re told in online business, automate as much as you can. Send it to everyone. You want exposure. You want all these things. And we kind of took a step back from that. She went at it from a really personal space, and she wanted to open up six spots on her program. She emailed, I believe six people. Either from them, or from a direct referral of asking, do you want to join this? Or do you know someone who should? She only sent those emails to six people to rebuild her program.

It’s not big numbers, it’s not wild and impressive. I don’t know if she could have earned more or something if she did it differently.

I think it goes to show the value of having a copywriter on your team who really knows what they’re doing and what’s going on.

Also the value of letting a copywriter in, and getting to know you and your heart and what you want out of your business. I would consider her a business friend as well as a client now.

Where to Find Samantha and Nomad Copy

Where can we find you? Tell us where we can find you online and your favorite place to engage with people.

I’m on Instagram way too much. That’s who I am. So you can find me on Instagram at nomad.copy.

My website is nomadcopyagency.com. That’s where you can apply to work with me or just click around and see what I’m all about. I have an opt-in freebie right now.

For my freebie, if somebody wants to send me their opt-in page, I will opt into whatever your freebie is.

I will receive it and I will receive your follow up emails for about a week and then send you an audit of where you can improve your copy so that you can convert at a higher rate. That’s been super fun for me recently, just connecting with people. And also, like I said, just serving without asking for more than some feedback in return. And then if people want to work with me, that’s great.

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