đź’¦ 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


🥽 Will this VR headset replace laptops?

Happy Monday! It’s a great day to give thanks for being alive 🙏

Here’s what’s happening…


Making the Rounds

  • Twitter accuses Elon of violating NDA. After tweeting on Friday that his takeover bid of the company was “temporarily on hold,” pending an analysis to verify that fake/spam/duplicate accounts make up less than 5% of users, the company accused Musk of violating an NDA by revealing they only sampled 100 users to come up with that 5% number. We’re no statisticians… but that seems a touch on the small side.

  • 180 million people have used Snapchat’s new crying filter. Talk about going viral. Since launching a little over a week ago, a whopping 180 million Snapchatters have tried out the new Crying Lens.

  • Project Cambria: new VR headset coming to a Meta Store near you? Turns out that $10 billion dollar annual budget for AR/VR may be starting to yield fruit after all. Meta’s newest VR headset, codenamed Project Cambria, is reportedly lightyears ahead of the Quest 2 in terms of resolution and immersiveness. Zuckerberg thinks it has the potential to eventually replace laptops and workstations.

Working With Clients

Why “One” is the Most Dangerous Number in Business

One big advantage of freelancing is being able to diversify your income streams.

There’s a reason they say “one” is the most dangerous number in business…

Because if you rely exclusively on…

  • One traffic source
  • One ad account
  • Or one client

… for all of your income, then you’re in a very precarious place.

And it wouldn’t take much to knock you off your perch.

So…

A word to the wise:

Avoid relying on one client for 100% of your income.

Aim to have at least two — this way you have something to fall back on if things go sideways with Client #1.

Plus, as you build your track record…

The list of clients you’ve worked with in the past will grow…

Which can also serve as a back-up plan if you need to drum up work.


Working For Yourself

This is a Meeting-Free Zone

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

Scrap Those $5 Dollar Words

Writing copy isn’t like writing essays in college. You don’t get bonus points for using big words. 

In fact, it’s the opposite — the more $5 dollar words you use, the fewer sales you’ll make.

Why? 

It’s not because everyone reading your copy is dumb. 

It’s because simple words get read faster. 

And the easier it is for people to grasp what you’re trying to say, the more people you’ll get to take action.

So aim for short, punchy words with 2-3 syllables. And try to avoid anything with 5 or more.

Run your copy through a tool like Hemingway to see how you’re doing.

If you can spit out sales copy at a 5th-grade reading level…

You’ll be one step closer to writing winning pieces that make your client’s cash register ring off the hook.


Quote of the Day

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

— Napoleon Hill