📲 Is TikTok a national security threat?

Happy Monday! This is your friendly reminder that you can’t control circumstances, only how you react to them.

Mentioned in today’s newsletter: TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Plus what we’d do if we had to restart our freelance business from scratch, diversifying your client & income streams, and a common retargeting mistake even seasoned advertisers make.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes and 47 seconds


Making the Rounds

  • Leaked audio reveals U.S. TikTok user data accessed from China. The recordings of 80 internal meetings exposed multiple instances where U.S. employees lacked the permission or knowledge to access local user data without help from Chinese colleagues, and to a Master Admin in Beijing who apparently had “access to everything” — disclosures that amplify fears about TikTok’s potential threat to national security.
  • Instagram tests new full-screen mode to compete with TikTok. Members of the test group will see videos full-screen in the feed, mirroring the user experience on TikTok (but hopefully without the foreign data breach that comes with it).

  • FBI warns of cryptocurrency fraud schemes on LinkedIn. Fraudsters gain trust by directing victims to legitimate investing sites first, then convince them to move to a fake site where their assets can be drained. The World Wide Web can be a dangerous place. Stay safe out there.

Working With Clients

What We’d Do if We Lost it All and Had to Start Over

Hypothetical scenario:

We lost it all — skills, clients, connections, crypto portfolio, testimonials, etc…

What would we do to rebuild our freelance biz as fast as possible?

Here’s the gameplan:

STEP 1: Pick one high-income skill

High-income skills give you proximity to the sale.

This means your work has a direct impact on whether someone buys or not.

And the closer you are to the sale, the more money you can make.

Our top suggestions:

  • Copywriting
  • Paid ads
  • Remote sales
  • Graphic design

Choose the one that aligns most with your personality (introverted vs extroverted) and strengths (creativity vs analytical).

STEP 2: Daily study & practice

The next step is to map out a daily plan to study and practice your high-income skill.

Aim to spend at least one hour a day on this.

For example:

  • Read a sales letter
  • Write an email
  • Find an ad to include in your swipe file
  • Design a IG story for your favorite brand

Daily practice is the fastest path to mastery.

STEP 3: Pick one client acquisition channel and go all in

There are two main ways to get clients:

  • Freelance platforms / job boards
  • Cold outreach

Each has its pros and cons…

But we’re partial to freelancing platforms.

Why?

Because we believe in going where the paying clients are when you’re just starting out.

These are people looking to hire ASAP.

But cold outreach works too.

Either way, pick one and spend at least an hour a day on it until you’ve landed your first client.

Then rinse and repeat until your roster is full.

BONUS STEP: Diversify

There are a few ways to diversify your freelance business and income once you’ve established a baseline level of security:

  • Build an audience on social media
  • Promote other people’s products
  • Create your own digital products
  • Start a side business

Keep reading for more on how to do this 👇


Working For Yourself

Diversifying Your Client & Income Streams

People follow leaders, not experts.

That’s why creating content on social media is so important for freelancers…

Because content creation is leadership.

And even if you’re not an A-List service provider with a track record full of big wins…

Sharing your perspective on social can help establish credibility and authority…

Which can lead to lucrative deals you may not have landed otherwise.

You never know who’s watching.

But here’s an important piece of advice related to our “start from scratch” plan above:

Pick one social media platform and go all in on it.

Don’t try to be on Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram all at once.

Each platform has their nuances…

And unless you’ve got 2-4 hours you can dedicate to creating content every day…

The sacrifice isn’t worth it.

So take the time to learn the ins and outs of your platform of choice.

As an added bonus, once you’ve built a following and created some top-performing pieces of content…

You can easily repurpose them on other platforms.

For example, Dickie Bush recently shared these impressive results just from posting his top 50 tweets and threads on LinkedIn.

Moral of the story:

Focus on getting traction one platform at a time.

Then move on to conquer the next one.


From The Paid Ads Gig

Avoid Making This Retargeting Mistake

Retargeting is a key part of any paid ads strategy.

Even in a post-iOS 14 world.

But there’s one common mistake we see even experienced advertisers making with their retargeting strategy:

Not retargeting people to a different offer.

If someone sees your ad, clicks on it, hits your lander, but doesn’t opt-in or buy…

Retargeting them with same offer again and again amounts to saying:

Hey, I know you decided you didn’t want this the first time you saw it… but how about now??”

Can this approach produce *some* results?

Yes.

But as a skilled media buyer, you can do better…

By retargeting them to a different offer (and ideally, one that lowers the commitment.)

For example:

  • Retargeting ecom buyers with a free + shipping offer
  • Retargeting info product buyers with a quickstart guide
  • Retargeting SaaS buyers with free 7-day trial
  • Retargeting coaching clients with a low-ticket group challenge

Presenting them with a new offer creates a “reason why” for your ad…

And increases the chance they’ll take action.


Quote of the Day

“Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.”

Seneca


🔎 LinkedIn loses (again)

Happy Wednesday! Today is 4/20. Cannabis is currently legal for adult use in 19 states. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to make the devil’s lettuce legal at the federal level earlier this month, but the Senate has yet to take up the bill.

So depending on where you live, you may still need to be discreet as you celebrate Elon Musk’s favorite holiday.

Now, here’s what’s going on…


Digital Marketing News

  • Scrape all the LinkedIn profiles you want. For the second time in three years, LinkedIn has lost in court. The platform’s case against analytics firm hiQ Labs argued scraping public profiles violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Good news for anyone using cold outreach to land clients.
  • Florida judge strikes down mask mandate for travelers. Digital nomads rejoice: masks are now optional on planes, trains, and automobiles in the US.

  • Plan B for hostile Twitter takeover. Elon is reportedly winning over other investors in his attempt to buy the social media platform as the SEC investigates his business activities. One thing’s for sure: there’s never a dull moment in the life of Tesla’s Technoking.

Working With Clients

3 Magic Words to Make Clients Trust You

If a client asks a question, you should always have the answer… right?

Wrong.

In fact, trying to weigh in on something when you’re out of depth is the fastest way to make yourself look silly.

So, what’s the answer?

Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.”

Being open about what you don’t know shows honesty and will give you credibility.

This is known as the “damaging admission” in copywriting…

And it’s often used on purpose to build trust and reduce skepticism.

Plus it creates an opportunity for you to find the answer and demonstrate your resourcefulness to the client.

A win-win for both of you 💪


Working For Yourself

Get Your Head in the Game

When the kitchen, the couch, and the TV are all just a few steps away…

Or the hustle and bustle of the coffee shop rises up to the level of a dull roar…

It can be tough to focus on work sometimes.

That’s why listening to non-lyrical music can help you put the blinders on, drown out distractions, and get sh*t done.

Some of our favorites include:

  • Lo-fi
  • Chillwave
  • Binaural beats
  • Atmospheric sounds

Experiment with each and see what works best for you.

If you’re looking for an eclectic mix of lo-fi, chillhop, house, and spacey vibes, check out The Future Beats Show.


From The Paid Ads Gig

What to Do When Your Ads Won’t Perform

Ads not performing?

First things first: check to make sure the link isn’t broken 😂

But assuming that’s not the problem…

The next step is to analyze the leading metrics so you can figure out where the dropoff is happening.

This includes:

  • CTR/CPC
  • Page speed
  • Landing page conversion rate

A sub-1% CTR + high CPC could mean a market-message mismatch or a weak creative.

Slow page speed could mean visitors are exiting before the page loads.

And if your landing page is converting at 20% or less, that’s a sign you may need to do some conversion rate optimization (CRO) before the campaign hits your KPIs.


Quote of the Day

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas Edison