💦 Twitter unleashes the firehose

Happy Friday! Formula 1 is in Baku this weekend for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. And Jurassic World: Dominion aims to unseat Tom Cruise at the box office with a projected $125M opening. 

Mentioned in today’s newsletter: Elon Musk, Walter Isaacson, TikTok, Twitter, and Ready Player One. Plus the one thing that can make or break your freelance portfolio, four ugly truths about being a digital nomad, and an old school trick to keep your attribution clean even after iOS 14.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes and 23 seconds


Making the Rounds

  • Twitter unleashes the firehose on Elon Musk. The board has finally caved to Elon’s demands and will give him access to its massive internal data stream of 500M+ daily tweets. Will Musk be satisfied? Or will it prompt him to formally pull out of the deal? Either way, one person loving all this drama (aside from Elon himself) is probably Walter Isaacson, who’s been working on a biography of the Tesla CEO since 2021.

  • TikTok introduces Avatars. Similar to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, TikTok users can now set up and “become” their avatars when recording videos. Ready Player One takes place in 2045 in a world where people spend most of their time living as their VR avatar, and so far, the timeline is looking pretty accurate.

  • Twitter launches Product Drops. As we’ve reported in recent weeks, the push into shoppable ads and content continues to heat up. And now Twitter is entering the fray with Product Drops, which allow users to sign up for reminders about upcoming launches right from the feed.

Working With Clients

The One Thing That Can Make or Break Your Freelance Portfolio

Want to increase your chances of getting the gig?

Make sure you’ve got relevant sample pieces in your freelance portfolio.

There are two ways to think about relevance:

1) Task-specific
2) Market-specific 

Task-specific relevance means that if you’re applying for a job to write emails, you should highlight email work you’ve done in the past (instead of sales pages or video scripts).

Market-specific relevance means that if you’re applying for a job to run ads for a health company, you should highlight previous work you’ve done in the health space (instead of another niche like finance or relationships).

And if you want to pull a Mike Tyson and hit the bullseye…

Aim to have both.


Working For Yourself

4 Ugly Truths About Being a Digital Nomad

The laptop lifestyle is what attracts a lot of people to freelancing and digital marketing.

But it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.

Here are a few ugly truths about digital nomadism we’ve learned the hard way:

#1: Everyone else is in vacation mode

Working from exotic locations is tough.

Spending 8 hours a day glued to your laptop while everyone else is partying, sightseeing, and having fun isn’t exactly what most people have in mind when they board a plane overseas.

Temptations are everywhere.

Staying focused when you’re surrounded by distractions is less fun than it looks.

#2: You have to work odd hours

Having clients in the West means you might have to stay up until 12-1 AM to take calls and attend meetings.

This can be brutal.

If you’re an early to bed, early to rise kind of person, this will really jam up your normal rhythm.

Which leads us to…

#3: Routines are hard to maintain

As Jocko Willink says, discipline equals freedom.

But when you’re living overseas and often on the move, it’s hard to maintain structure.

You’re always on the lookout for good coffee shops, gyms, grocery stores, etc. near your new place.

Which sucks up more brainpower than you might think.

#4: Relationships are transient

You can meet lots of cool people while you’re traveling.

But it’s unlikely any of those new relationships will compare to the ones you have back home.

You can’t recreate that kind of depth in a week or a month.

Everyone’s headed in different directions, so nothing lasts.

Now this isn’t to say that it can’t work for some…

In fact, your humble newsletter writer spent a life-changing 8 months in Southeast Asia.

But the digital nomad lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

And since it’s always glamorized so much on social media…

We think it’s important to shine a spotlight on the not-so-sexy parts of it.


From The Paid Ads Gig

iOS 14? Never Heard of It

Apple’s iOS 14 update detonated a bomb on browser-based tracking last year.

Paid ads haven’t been the same since.

And even though every SaaS company and their grandma claims to have “solved iOS 14,” the truth is that the ad tracking capabilities we used to have ain’t coming back.

But the good news is…

There’s an old school strategy that can help you combat Apple’s anti-ad agenda:

Building separate funnels for each traffic source.

If you’ve only got traffic from one source (like Facebook, YouTube, organic, etc) coming into a specific funnel, attributing ROI is a cakewalk.

There is a bit more work up front to get this set up…

But as you (or your client’s) company grows, you’ll be glad you did it.


Quote of the Day

“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.”

Harry Golden


🩸There’s blood in the Excel sheets

Happy Wednesday! If today is Hump Day, let’s hope for an easy slide down the Thursday-Friday slope and into the weekend.

Here’s what’s going on…


Making the Rounds

  • Big tech companies shed over $1 trillion in market value. Since the Fed raised interest rates last Wednesday, the stock market has been a bloodbath. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Tesla have lost over $1 trillion in market value. Our advice? Avoid checking your portfolio if you can.

  • Apple targeting expansions into streaming and advertising with its Services division. The iPhone maker is reportedly gearing up to make plays for a variety of sports broadcasting deals as rights come up for renewal, following its deal for Friday night baseball. Bottom line: they’re not against ads so much as they’re against… other companies making money from ads 🙃

  • Meta’s belt-tightening may extend to news partnerships. Looking for ways to cut costs across the board, Meta may reduce the money it gives to news organizations.

Working With Clients

What Makes a Great Hook, Email, or Ad Angle

Mainstream wisdom is everywhere.

Your audience is bombarded with the same advice all the time.

But what sets you (or your client) apart from everyone else is where they disagree.

So ask yourself: what controversial opinions can I highlight?

What mainstream advice do I (or my client) DISAGREE with?

That’s often what makes for the best hooks, emails, or ad angles.

Now, a caveat:

You need to be able to make a logical case for why you disagree.

Don’t just disagree to be a contrarian or to grab attention… unless you can back it up.


Working For Yourself

Triangulating the Fulfillment Trifecta

Finding fulfillment is something many freelancers struggle with in their careers.

If you’re one of them…

Look for work that aligns with these three things:

1 – What you enjoy doing

2 – What you’re good at

3 – What you can get paid for

We like to think of this as the “fulfillment trifecta.”

Pursuing a paycheck at the cost of personal enjoyment is just as bad as choosing a career you enjoy or are good at, but has minimal market demand.

The road to happiness starts by finding alignment between all three.


From The Copywriting Gig

The Shortcut to Making 120k/yr as a Freelance Copywriter

Specializing as a copywriter is one of the fastest ways to hit 6-figures.

And when you boil it down…

There are only two ways freelance copywriters can specialize:

#1: Market specialization

This refers to the audience you’re writing for.

The “big 3” are: health, wealth, and relationships.

#2: Task specialization

This refers to the specific deliverables you’re responsible for, such as:

– Facebook ads
– Emails
– Sales letters
– Video scripts
– etc

If you’re wondering which one is more important…

Or which one you should tackle first…

Go here:

This Twitter thread explains exactly how to specialize as a copywriter so you can go from zero to 10k/m and beyond.


Quote of the Day

“It’s not about money or connections – it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone.”

Mark Cuban


🥶 Hiring freeze

Happy Monday! Reigning F1 world champion Max Verstappen was not to be denied in Miami this weekend. Despite starting from P3, he overtook second-place Carlos Sainz in Turn 1, passed pole-sitter Charles Leclerc a few laps later, and then never looked back.

He still trails Leclerc in the championship race, but it’s shaping up to be another thrilling season on the grid.

Now let’s get you caught up on what else is happening…


Making the Rounds

  • Would shoppers really pay to go ad-free? A new survey found 28.1% of shoppers would pay $50 per month to go ad-free on social media. Meanwhile, what most shoppers are actually doing these days is cancelling their subscriptions. That’s why Netflix and other streamers are rushing to build out new ad-supported tiers. Bottom line: consumers vote with their wallets, not their mouths.

  • Facebook initiates company-wide hiring freeze amid revenue slowdown. Internal memos leaked to Insider reveal the company is putting a kibosh on new hires for the foreseeable future. Something tells us the $10B per year they’re spending on AR and VR probably isn’t helping the bottom line right now, either.

  • Dwindling ecommerce sales send stocks plunging. Shopify, Etsy, Amazon, and Wayfair have all suffered big drops in share price recently as overall online sales have declined 1.8% compared to a year ago. 

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

Not All Athletes Wear Gym Shorts

Being your own boss sounds pretty great in theory…

But in practice, it’s a lot harder than it looks.

That’s because there’s no one watching over your shoulder to hold you accountable if you show up late, call in sick, or botch that TPS report.

So if you’re struggling to build momentum or hit the next income goal in your freelance biz…

Here’s some advice:

Start treating your life like a pro athlete.

Even though you may not feel like an athlete…

Your goals are the same:

Performing at a high level and sustaining that performance over the course of an entire season.

This can mean:

  • Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day
  • Developing a morning routine
  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising regularly
  • Finding ways to relax and de-stress

The more seriously you take your day-to-day habits and routines…

The better results you’ll see inside your business.


From The Paid Ads Gig

Resist the Temptation

One of the easiest media buying mistakes to make is changing too many things at once.

Especially when your ads are converting well.

Not only does this prevent the algorithm from optimizing…

But it also muddies the data and makes it almost possible for you to analyze effectively.

So resist the urge to make changes to campaigns that are crushing it.

If something’s working, let it work.

Run up the score.

Because you don’t want to end up “testing away” all your profits.


Quote of the Day

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”

Madeleine Albright


📺 New ad market projected to 2X

Happy Wednesday! May the Fourth be with you. The original Star Wars movie, A New Hope, was released almost 45 years ago on May 25, 1977, and grossed $775.8 million on a budget of $11 million. Now there’s an ROI to make the even world’s best media buyers blush.

Here’s what’s happening…


Making the Rounds

  • Elon’s Twitter endgame could be another I.P.O. As he seeks out more investment to avoid putting up so much of his own money in the deal to buy Twitter, Elon’s been telling investors he could take the company public again within as little as three years, according to the WSJ. Sounds bold, but we know better than to bet against him.

  • Advertisers spent 57% more on streaming ads in 2021. The Connected TV market is projected to double in size from 2020 to 2022. And Netflix hasn’t even launched their ad-supported tier yet.

  • EU says Apple violated its antitrust laws. Limiting the iPhone’s touchless payment system to only support Apple’s service was a no-no, Axios reports. The newly agreed-upon Digital Markets Act could force Apple to allow people to download apps via 3rd-party platforms in Europe. Not exactly what they want to hear from the world’s second largest economy, we’re guessing.

Working With Clients

What to Do When a New Client Questions the Strategy

Kidding.

While you may want to Force choke a client on occasion…

(we’ve all been there)

Truth is, client success can be boiled down to one thing:

Learning how to manage expectations.

It’s the bedrock that long-lasting relationships are built on.

Here are some tips to help you to do it better:

  • Be transparent about the process
  • Offer multiple options or strategies
  • Set deadlines with wiggle room
  • Overcommunicate
  • Avoid getting carried away with too much excitement or enthusiasm 

And if a client is eager to pursue their own strategy instead of the one you’ve suggested…

Make the potential risks clear.

Explain that it’s your job as the expert to speak up.

Then establish clear criteria to determine whether the strategy is successful or not.

If it pans out, they’ll appreciate you pushing forward despite disagreeing.

And if it doesn’t, they’ll respect your judgment for being right.

Win-win.


Working For Yourself

The Force is Strong With This One

Spoiler alert: sitting for 5+ hours a day isn’t good for you.

According to Stanford neurobiologist Dr. Andrew Huberman, sitting for 5 hours or more per day is enough to erase the benefits of doing 180 minutes of cardio per week.

Fortunately, you can use a standing desk to avoid sitting for so long…

But one thing you can’t avoid?

Typing and mousing all day long.

That’s why it’s so important to have a daily strength and stretching routine for your hands and wrists.

Luckily, our friends at GMB have got us covered with this excellent tutorial on how to keep your wrists healthy and injury free.


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 advertisers make 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

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

Jim Rohn


🏴‍☠️ Walking the plank

Happy Tuesday! Trekkies everywhere are celebrating First Contact Day — a holiday in future history to mark the date of April 5, 2063, when humans made first contact with the Vulcans in the movie First Contact. 

And if you’re not into Star Trek, well, it’s also Deep Dish Pizza Day. So today’s got a little something for everyone.

Here’s the latest…


Freelance Economy News

  • Anti-piracy bill may be lost at sea. Pinterest, Etsy, and Vimeo have come out against a new anti-piracy bill that would force them to use government-developed filtering tools to combat copyright infringement. 
  • 3 new Twitter ads to test. The social media platform is experimenting with new ad formats: Interactive Text, Product Explorer, and Collection Ads (similar to carousels on Facebook).
  • Meet the purple squiggly. Google Docs is rolling out a new feature to improve your writing. In addition to fixing basic grammar and spelling errors, the purple squiggly will soon help you write punchier copy.

Working With Clients

The Secret to a Successful Sales Pitch

… is to ask a barrage of questions during the “discovery” process.

Here’s why:

What’s important to a new client may not be the same as your last client.

So by asking things like:

  • What’s the #1 biggest challenge right now?
  • What makes this a priority right now?
  • Have you hired anyone else to help with this in the past? How did that go?
  • Is there anything else you think I should know?

… you can tailor your pitch to address their specific concerns and desires.

On a related note —  if you want to take your sales pitches to the next level, refer five friends to The Gig and we’ll send you a free copy of our Ultimate Freelance Sales Call Cheatsheet ($97 value).

It’s a step-by-step roadmap to closing freelance deals over the phone, complete with specific questions and word-for-word transitions to help you navigate calls like a pro.

More details on that at the bottom of today’s newsletter.


Working For Yourself

The Downside to a Short Commute

Blurred lines are an occupational hazard when working from home.

Sure, the morning commutes may be a breeze…

But when the office is always just a few steps away, it can be tough to turn off your work brain.

That’s why one of the best ways to stay sane is…

Create a structured work schedule and stick to it.

That means getting up, starting, and finishing work around the same time each day.

Establishing boundaries like this will not only help you be more productive…

But you’ll sleep better too.


Tools We Love

Achievement Unlocked: Ludicrous Speed

Page speed is a hidden conversion killer.

According to Hubspot, conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% for every added second of load time 😬

So if you’re running traffic online in 2022…

There’s no excuse for having a page that doesn’t load in two seconds or less.

Enter PageSpeed Insights.

Developed by Google, it analyzes your website’s page speed and identifies opportunities to optimize it by:

  • Compressing images
  • Reducing unnecessary JavaScript & CSS
  • Avoiding redirects
  • And more

If you want to achieve Ludicrous Speed so you can maximize sales, conversions, and profits, try PageSpeed Insights for free today.


Quote of the Day

“You only have to do a few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”

Warren Buffett