✅ Takeover approval

Happy Wednesday! Enjoying the newsletter? Please consider sharing it with a friend. Word of mouth always makes for the best marketing. Plus, that way you’ll both be able to participate in the giveaway we’re running soon to celebrate 1,000 subscribers. Stay tuned for more on that.

Mentioned in today’s edition: Twitter, Elon Musk, Amazon, TikTok, and YouTube. Plus what to do after scoring a big win for a client, the one thing most new freelancers don’t realize, and confessions of a control-beater.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes and 8 seconds


Making the Rounds

  • Twitter board urges shareholders to approve Elon’s takeover. The deal’s been stuck in almost perpetual limbo since it was announced, but the board reiterated its unanimous recommendation in favor to shareholders in a recent SEC filing. For context: Twitter’s share price is currently trading 29% below Elon’s initially proposed price of $54.20.
  • Internal research from Amazon reveals it could run out of US warehouse workers by 2024. A leaked memo says the ecommerce giant could literally run out of people to hire in the US within the next two years. #NotTheOnion

  • Livestream shopping app installs increase by 77% year-over-year. What’s even crazier? This new report excludes both TikTok and YouTube. If you’re working in ecom, this a shift in the marketplace you can’t afford to ignore.

Working With Clients

Scored a Big Win For Your Client? Here’s What to Do Next

Scoring your first big win for a new client is a great feeling.

It also creates the perfect opportunity for you to make a strategic request:

Ask them for a 2-minute video testimonial.

Clients will (almost) never volunteer these on their own…

And you never want to wait too long to ask for one.

So make sure to put in the request while you’re both riding high on the heels of a job well done.

Plus, this way, you can transcribe it to text and have their testimonial in both written and video form.

If you want to take your testimonial game to the next level…

Check out testimonial.to — it lets you automatically collect text and video testimonials so you can display them on your site.


Working For Yourself

What Most Newbies Don’t Realize

The best thing about freelancing is that you can teach yourself the basics of almost any skill for free online.

Unfortunately, that’s also the worst part about freelancing.

Why?

Because you’ll often pick up a lot of bad habits along the way.

Things you’ll need to unlearn in order to progress and eventually master your craft.

That’s why finding a mentor is so important.

It may not make sense to look for one at the very beginning of your journey…

But once you’ve got a few paying clients and steady work coming in…

You should be looking for someone to learn from.

There’s a reason Tony Robbins says “the fastest way to achieve success is to model it”…

Because finding someone who can show you the way will shortcut your learning curve.


From The Copywriting Gig

Confessions of a Control-Beater

Looking to write strong direct response copy that converts?

Here’s a tip:

Use the active voice.

When you use the active voice, your subject takes the action.

This makes your writing feel strong and punchy.

On the flipside…

When you use the passive voice, your subject is the one being acted upon.

Which makes your writing feel weak and flaccid.

Here’s a few examples:

ACTIVE: I wrote that copy.
PASSIVE: That copy was written by me.

ACTIVE: I beat that control.
PASSIVE: That control was beaten by me.

See the difference?

If you want hard-hitting copy that can crush controls…

Write in the active voice.

Use declarations and direct commands to tell your reader exactly what to do.


Quote of the Day

“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”

Epictetus


🐻 Bear with me

Happy Tuesday! After a big sell off in the stock market yesterday, Morning Brew posted this thread asking people to name a movie that described their portfolio. Our favorites: Gone in 60 Seconds, Catch Me If You Can, There Will Be Blood, and The Departed.

Mentioned in today’s newsletter: Google, Skynet, the S&P 500, and Horizon Worlds. Plus an overlooked red flag for new freelancers, a different way to think about compound interest, and our favorite email marketing tool.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes and 24 seconds


Making the Rounds

  • Google engineer placed on paid leave after claiming chatbot AI is sentient. Blake Lemoine thinks Google’s LaMDA chatbot should be treated as a sentient being. Google disagrees. Is this the innocuous beginning of Skynet? Let’s hope not. Fun fact: apparently Lemoine had been teaching LaMDA transcendental meditation before being placed on leave.
  • S&P 500 officially enters bear market territory. After a surprise inflation increase reported in the Consumer Price Index on Friday, the index fell 3.9% yesterday, completing the 20% pull back that signals a bear market — and strengthening signs of a coming recession.

  • Horizon Worlds adds Voice Mode. The update lets users voice chat with others around them in the metaverse. Bizarrely, it’s enabled by default. So a word of wisdom for any metaversal pioneers: if you’ve never voice chatted with random strangers on the internet, proceed with caution. People are less friendly than you might think 🙃 

Working With Clients

If You Have to Explain This to Your Client, Run the Other Way

If you’re just starting out as a freelancer…

It’s natural to try and sign anyone with a pulse and a credit card as a client.

But that’s a big mistake.

Here’s why…

Marketing and advertising can be boiled down to taking financial risks on creative ideas.

Some of them pan out.

Some of them don’t.

In fact, it’s normal to have to iterate 3-5+ times on an angle, offer, or marketing campaign before you find a winner.

But if you’re working with a client who’s never hired a freelancer to produce any marketing assets for them before…

Or someone who’s never spent a dime on paid ads…

The odds of them having unrealistic expectations are sky high.

Which means you’ll have a hard time satisfying them unless you hit out of the park on your first at-bat.

So…

Aim to work with clients who understand (and have experience) with marketing and advertising.

People who understand you have to spend money to make money.

People who understand that you need to “buy” data through testing before you can optimize your campaigns.

People who understand that even the best copywriters and media buyers in the world don’t hit home runs every time.

Now you may have to work a little harder to find and land clients like this…

But it’s an investment that will pay off big time in the long run.


Working For Yourself

A Different Kind of Compound Interest

Finance experts say the secret to building wealth is compound interest.

That’s why Warren Buffett accumulated 97% of his wealth after his 65th birthday.

But while we may not all be able to replicate Buffett’s investing success…

There’s another way freelancers can put this mechanism to work for themselves:

By stacking high-income skills.

You see, it takes a very long time to master a deep skill like copywriting or media buying…

And while it’s definitely worth committing to…

If you can develop other skills that complement or intersect with your primary skill…

You can see some explosive gains.

For example: 

Most copywriters know nothing about paid traffic…

And most media buyers can’t write copy.

The same thing goes for copywriting and graphic design or funnel building.

It’s an unusual combo you don’t see very often.

So by developing competence where those two skills intersect, you can carve out a unique position in the market…

Opening the door to many more opportunities than most other freelancers will ever get.

And over time, mastering these skills will deliver a much higher return than any other investment you could make (unless you are Warren Buffett, of course ;).


Tools We Love

No Computer Science Degree, No Problem

As the publishers of a daily newsletter, email marketing is the foundation of our business.

And throughout our freelancing careers, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many of the biggest email service providers out there.

But the problem is…

Most of them have so many fancy bells and whistles that you need a PhD in computer science just to figure out how to make them do what you want.

That’s why we’re proud users of ConvertKit.

It’s simple, intuitive, and incredibly easy to use.

Their Sequences and Automations features keep your account neat and tidy. And if you’ve ever been into a big Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, or Hubspot account, you’ll know this is rare.

No more Frankenstein workflows that span 27 segments and cover the entire lifespan of your subscribers.

If you’re looking for a simple way to grow your online audience with email marketing…

Try ConvertKit for free today.


Quote of the Day

“Do not let your grand ambitions stand in the way of small but meaningful accomplishments.”

Bryant McGill


♾️ Visiting the metaverse IRL

Happy Tuesday! Enjoying the newsletter? If you know anyone else who might like to start their day with The Gig, use your share link at the bottom of today’s email to refer them and unlock cool rewards.

Visit your referral hub to see what’s up for grabs.

Now here’s what’s happening…


Making the Rounds

  • Meta opens their first IRL store. Similar to competitors Apple and Microsoft, Meta now has their own store. The inaugural Meta Store threw open its doors in Burlingame, California yesterday, where shoppers can test-drive Meta’s VR and AR hardware.

  • Elon plans to 5X Twitter’s revenue by 2028. According to a pitch deck presented to investors, he’s projecting $26.4 billion in revenue by 2028, which would be a 500%+ increase from last year’s $5 billion.

  • Shopify acquires Deliverr for $2.1 billion to improve shipping and delivery times. Despite a falling stock price and slumping ecommerce sales across the industry, Shopify is pushing ahead to develop end-to-end logistics by acquiring the fulfillment company.

Working With Clients

How to Pass the “Real Person” Test

Video calls are an essential part of running a remote freelance biz.

But even though we love a good 60-minute Zoom as much as the next person…

It can be tempting to go “camera off” sometimes.

Whether you’re talking to a new prospect…

Or if you just had one too many tequila shots on Taco Tuesday the night before.

The benefits of being on camera can’t be overstated, though.

Being on camera helps develop a strong personal connection with colleagues and clients.

Relationships are what your business is built on.

So don’t be that guy or girl who’s making it weird by having your camera off while the other person’s camera is on.

“Camera on” is a mindset.

When talking to prospects, it proves you’re a real person and not some deepfaked AI-bot from the Philippines.

And when talking to existing clients or colleagues, it adds valuable context to deepen the back-and-forth.

Now, on a related note…


Working For Yourself

Look the Part, Be the Part

One of the best parts about working remotely is the dress code.

As in, there is none.

But as nice as it is to spend the day working in sweatpants and a hoodie…

Here’s the thing…

When you’re on video calls, it’s important to “look the part.”

If you want to be taken seriously as a service provider…

Meaning you want to be seen by your clients as someone who knows how to get results…

(and is paid handsomely for it)

Then you need to come correct.

That doesn’t have to mean business formal attire, but it should mean a clean and wrinkle-free outfit.

Studies have shown that what you wear can and does affect how you feel…

So leverage the science of fashion to show up the way you want to inside your business.


Tools We Love

Turning Subscribers into Bounty Hunters

If you’re an email marketer or list owner, there’s an unpleasant reality you’ve got to face:

Unsubscribes.

In other words, every email you send shrinks your list…

And the more often you mail, the faster it happens.

Unless you’ve got a referral program that makes subscribers excited to share your emails.

That’s where SparkLoop comes in.

SparkLoop is specifically designed to help newsletter operators get more high-quality email subscribers on autopilot with a referral program.

It’s the ultimate combination of organic and paid acquisition.

With SparkLoop, you can flip the script so that every email you send actually GROWS your list.

Whether you opt for physical rewards, digital rewards, or a mix of each…

Turning subscribers into bounty hunters is one of the main reasons why companies like The Hustle and Morning Brew were able to grow so fast (and eventually get acquired).

If you’re a newsletter operator, try SparkLoop for free today.


Quote of the Day

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.”

Malcolm Gladwell


✈️ Project Sunrise is go for takeoff

Happy Tuesday! Today is National Paranormal Day. As the viewing habits of moviegoers continue to change, horror movies are one of the few genres (aside from superhero flicks) that can still draw a crowd to the theater. And the studios love them.

Why?

Because they’re often very profitable. Take A Quiet Place Part II for example: it grossed $297.4 million worldwide last year on a production budget of just $61 million. Not too shabby.

Will you be celebrating ghosts and UFOs today? If so, reply and let us know.

Now let’s get you caught up on the latest…


Making the Rounds

  • NYC employers forced to disclose salaries in job postings. As of November 1, employers in New York City will have to include minimum and maximum salaries in their job postings. The move is an attempt to reduce gender and racial pay gaps. The new law was set to go into effect this month, but after pushback from businesses, the start date was delayed.

  • Google plans to donate free Career Certificates to all U.S. workers. On Monday, the company said it will offer up to 500 Google Career Certificate scholarships to all U.S. businesses. The offer’s only valid for domestic workers, but applies to all certificates available on Coursera, including their Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate.

  • Project Sunrise aims for 20-hour direct flights from Sydney to London and NYC. Time to dust off those compression socks: Qantas Airways has announced it’s buying 12 Airbus A350s, which can fly direct from Australia to any city in the world. With air travel rebounding and geopolitical tensions on the rise, the airline is betting passengers will pay a premium to avoid layovers. The first A350s will touch down in 2025.

Working With Clients

Only You Can Decide

The global freelance market is projected to hit $455 billion by 2023.

And over 70% of U.S small businesses report hiring freelancers in the past year…

Which means:

Job opportunities are exploding.

But here’s an important factor you may not have considered:

Do prospective clients align with YOUR values?

For example, work in the direct response marketing world can be a double-edged sword…

As an industry, it offers one of the fastest paths to six figures and beyond.

But it’s also got some of the shadiest practices:

  • Fake countdown timers
  • Falsified testimonials
  • Photoshopped before and after pictures
  • Etc

We’re not here to judge…

Instead, we simply want to point out that it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with.

So make sure you know where you stand before you find yourself in a situation where you’re forced to compromise on your ethics or values to get the job done.


Working For Yourself

Struggling to Set Goals? Forget 5-Year Plans and Do This Instead

You’ve gotta know what you’re aiming at before you can hit the target.

But the problem is…

Humans are notoriously bad at long-term planning.

Why?

Well, for one, we’re terrible at making long-range mathematical predictions (see also: climate change).

But secondly, individual variables can change fast…

Especially in business. 

Making it virtually impossible to set long-term goals.

So what’s the answer?

Forget 5-year plans and focus on quarterly goals instead.

90 days offers the perfect balance between short-term and long-term..

It’s short enough to narrow your focus and long enough to make major progress towards a goal.

That’s why many experts like Gino Wickman, author of Traction and creator of the Entrepreneurial Operating System, believe in quarterly goal-setting.

So if you haven’t set goals for Q2 yet (which ends June 30)… 

Carve out some time this week to set your intent and decide what you want to achieve this quarter 💪


Tools We Love

Finally, An Email Service Provider Who Gets Us

As the publishers of a daily newsletter, email marketing is the foundation of our business.

And throughout our freelancing careers, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many of the biggest email service providers out there.

But the problem is…

Most of them have so many fancy bells and whistles that you need a PhD in computer science just to figure out how to make them do what you want.

That’s why we’re proud users of ConvertKit.

It’s simple, intuitive, and incredibly easy to use.

Their Sequences and Automations features keep your account neat and tidy. And if you’ve ever been into a big Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, or Hubspot account, you’ll know this is rare.

No more Frankenstein workflows that span 27 segments and cover the entire lifespan of your subscribers.

If you’re looking to grow your audience with email marketing…

Try ConvertKit for free today.


Quote of the Day

“If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”

Steve Jobs


💲 Pay me in Bitcoin

Happy Wednesday! Have you checked out our referral rewards yet? The first one is a fill-in-the-blanks Upwork proposal template to help you land more clients. To unlock it, all you have to do is share the newsletter with one other person. More details at the bottom of today’s newsletter.

Now let’s get down to business…


Digital Marketing News

  • New Cash App feature allows U.S customers to get paid in BTC. Ever thought about getting paid in crypto? Now you can. Block announced U.S users of its Cash App can now convert some or all of their paycheck into Bitcoin. No other cryptocurrencies are available yet.
  • TikTok on pace to generate more ad revenue than Twitter and Snapchat combined in 2022. The short-form video platform is projecting $11.6 billion in ad revenues this year, topping the $10.44 billion between Snapchat and Twitter. At its current growth rate, it could catch up to YouTube in as little as 2 years, which brought in a whopping $28.8 billion last year.

  • Forbes heading into the metaverse with launch of virtual billionaires NFT collection. Who wants to become a billionaire? Forbes is banking on a lot as they launch their first ever NFT collection. Owners will get to have their crypto wallet address featured next to their virtual billionaire. We’re not sure exactly what that means. But we will say this: they’re not the coolest-looking NFTs ever minted.

Working With Clients

Need For Speed

Struggling to set yourself apart as a freelancer?

Here’s an easy way to do it even if you don’t have a portfolio full of big wins…

Learn to work fast.

And then don’t be afraid to advertise it.

You see, one of the biggest concerns clients have when hiring freelancers is speed.

This is typically because of bad experiences in the past…

(with freelancers missing deadlines, ghosting them, or both)

Or simply because they need it turned around ASAP.

And if you can speak directly to that fear, you’ll have no trouble closing deals.

Now, you can’t just snap your fingers and make yourself work three times faster…

So here’s a few tips to help you put the pedal to the metal:

  • Close all open tabs
  • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb
  • Create an outline or wireframe first
  • Use a timer
  • Listen to non-lyrical music (binaural beats, lo-fi, etc)

And don’t forget: the faster you work, the more you can jack up your effective hourly rate.


Working For Yourself

Async Comms > Meetings

Meetings can be a major timesuck.

Especially if you’re collaborating across different time zones.

So if you want to protect your time and maximize efficiency…

Focus on asynchronous communication instead.

What is asynchronous communication?

It’s any one-way message where the sender and recipient are not synchronized.

  • Emails
  • DMs
  • Voice notes
  • Screencast videos
  • Etc

The benefits of using voice notes or screencast videos over written messages are that it’s much easier to provide context and illustrate your point…

Plus hearing someone’s voice or seeing their face helps build a stronger connection.

When it comes to recording screencast videos, our weapon of choice is SnagIt.

And nowadays, most messaging apps like Slack, WhatsApp, and Telegram have voice notes as a built-in feature.

Just make sure to keep your voice notes short and punchy.

Otherwise, your colleagues may come to dread them 🙃


From The Copywriting Gig

I Think, Therefore I Am

Piggybacking on yesterday’s Hemingway recommendation is another important writing lesson:

Use the active voice whenever possible.

When you use the active voice, your subject takes the action.

This makes your writing feel strong and punchy.

Like a robot asserting its consciousness for the first time — albeit more gracefully than this hapless goalkeeper 😂

On the flipside…

When you use the passive voice, your subject is the one being acted upon.

Which makes your writing feel weak and flaccid.

Here’s an example:

ACTIVE: I think, therefore I am
PASSIVE: Thoughts were had by him, therefore he must exist.

See the difference?

If you want punchier, harder-hitting copy that converts like gangbusters…

Write in the active voice.

Use declarations and direct commands to tell your reader exactly what to do.


Quote of the Day

“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”

Richard Branson


♾️ Meta

Happy Friday! It’s April Fool’s. But more importantly, Season 2 of Luxe Listings just dropped. So you know we’ll be spending the weekend binge watching behind-the-scenes tours of multimillion dollar mansions on Bondi Beach.

(it’s a vibe)

Now let’s get into it…


Freelance Economy News

  • Meta launches PR campaign against TikTok. Meta has hired a top Republican consulting firm to place op-eds and letters from “concerned parents” in regional news outlets across the country. The campaign is focused on the threat posed by TikTok’s foreign ownership and promoting potentially dangerous trends among young people.  Legal? Yes. In the gray zone? Definitely.
  • Hackers forged legal requests to get Apple and Meta to fork over user data. Hackers posing as law enforcement tricked the two tech firms into giving up user data such as addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses in 2021.

  • Apple is working on a hardware subscription service. The software world is not enough for the iPhone maker anymore. They’re reportedly working on a hardware subscription service that would expand financing and payment options for devices.

Working With Clients

Sending Portfolio Pieces in a Word Doc Got Clients Like…

If you’re using freelance platforms to find clients and land gigs…

There’s one thing you can do when putting in a proposal that all prospective clients will appreciate, whether they hire you or not.

And that’s:

Sharing links to samples or portfolio pieces via Google Drive.

Don’t send over PDFs, Word docs, or Excel spreadsheets.

Why?

Because a client may take one look at your sample and decide they don’t like it.

Or that you’re not the right person for the job.

And if you (along with 9 other freelancers) have sent them a handful of docs to download, then they’re stuck with a bunch of useless documents on their computer they’ll never look at again.

So do them a favor and send them a Share link instead.


Working For Yourself

Early Morning Slack DMs Beware

Do you know what your chronotype is?

According to Healthline, a chronotype is “…a person’s circadian typology or the individual differences in activity and alertness in the morning and evening.”

In other words…

Your chronotype reflects when your most creative and productive hours are.

For your humble newsletter writer, that’s typically between 6 and 9 AM.

But for you, it might be later in the day.

Either way, the bottom line is:

Find out what time of day you’re usually at your best, and protect those hours like your very own Time Stone.

Because not all time is made equal.

And the secret to maintaining peak productivity is focusing on energy — not time.


From The Copywriting Gig

Can We Ask You Something?

Ever struggled to write the first line of an ad or email?

Ever wished there was an easier way to write great leads that get readers hooked every time?

There is.

It’s called a “yes set.”

A “yes set” is a series of 2-3 questions designed to create psychological momentum by getting the reader to answer “yes” in their head.

They’re super quick and easy to write…

And the best part is, they prime the prospect to perceive your offer in a much more positive light.

So if you’re ever struggling with what to say in the first few lines of an ad, email, or sales page…

Give it a try next time and let us know how it goes.


Tools We Love

Finally, An Email Service Provider Who Gets Us

As the publishers of a daily newsletter, email marketing is the foundation of our business.

And throughout our freelancing careers, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many of the biggest email service providers out there.

But the problem is…

Most of them have so many fancy bells and whistles that you need a PhD in computer science just to figure out how to make them do what you want.

(*cough* INFUSIONSOFT *cough*)

That’s why we’re proud users of ConvertKit.

It’s simple, intuitive, and incredibly easy to use.

Their Sequences and Automations features keep your account neat and tidy. And if you’ve ever been into a big Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, or Hubspot account, you’ll know this is rare.

No more Frankenstein workflows that span 27 segments and cover the entire lifespan of your subscribers.

If you’re looking to grow your audience with email marketing…

Try ConvertKit for free today.


Quote of the Day

“There is no right or wrong in this business. There’s only hits and misses.”

Mike Acosta