📻 What’s Alexa listening to?

Happy Wednesday! You know what they say: the early bird catches the worm. But then again, the bird who sleeps in probably feels more rested. Plus maybe they’re intermittent fasting anyway? Who knows. But whether you’re an early bird or a not-so-early bird, we’ve got the latest freelance news fresh off the presses and ready for your reading pleasure.

Mentioned in today’s edition: Amazon, Alexa, TikTok, Twitter, and Elon Musk. Plus how to make unpaid invoices slightly less painful, when that portfolio site looks tight, and what to do when traditional copy frameworks don’t convert.

Read time: 4 minutes and 27 seconds

Together with AdSkills

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Making the Rounds

  • Alexa users sue Amazon over allegedly using voice recordings to target ads. In their defense, the company claims that while purchases made through Alexa are used to inform interest-based targeting, recordings of conversations are not. Something tells us this will be difficult for either side to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • TikTok planning to build ecommerce fulfillment network in the U.S. Based on over a dozen new LinkedIn job postings, TikTok is gearing up to build an “international ecommerce fulfillment system” that could eventually pose a threat to Amazon.
  • Twitter and Elon Musk almost struck a deal at $50 per share. If it had come together, the deal would’ve saved Elon roughly 8% on his original $44B offer to buy the company. But the deal reportedly fell through because he was unwilling to accept concessions. 

Working With Clients

How to Make Unpaid Invoices Slightly Less Painful

If you’ve ever had to chase down a client just to collect on an unpaid invoice…

Then here’s a simple tip to soften the blow next time:

Ask for a deposit up front.

It can be 25%, 50%, or even more.. 

Use your judgment, of course. 

But the more established you are (and the bigger the project is), the more you should be asking for up front. 

So even if the project drags on, or you have trouble getting the rest of your fee paid in a timely fashion…

At least you’ve collected some cash up front.

Plus, if a prospective client scoffs at the idea of putting down a deposit, that’s a red flag.

Working For Yourself

When That Portfolio Site Looks Tight

One question you may be asking yourself if you’re a new freelancer is…

Do you need a portfolio website?

Especially considering freelance sites like Upwork have built-in portfolio functionality…

Along with the ability to collect social proof through ratings and reviews.

So here’s our take…

Portfolio websites make you look more credible and professional.

They also demonstrate some added overall know-how…

Because to set one up, you’ll need to: 

  • Register a domain
  • Sign up for hosting
  • Choose a content management system (WordPress, Squarespace, etc)
  • Set up your website to display your work

Now you may eventually get to the point where you don’t need a portfolio site to close deals…

But in the early going, it’s a great way to position yourself as a true professional.

Plus it doesn’t have to cost much to set up.

You can register a domain for less than $20 on Namecheap

You can sign up for hosting at Siteground for less than $5/mo…

And WordPress is free to install.

So even if you’re just getting started in your freelancing career…

Setting up a portfolio website is well worth the effort.

From The Copywriting Gig

Traditional Copy Frameworks Not Converting? Try This

P-A-S and A-I-D-A aren’t the only copywriting frameworks that convert.

The movie industry generated $21.4 billion dollars in 2021.

Here’s the 5-part storytelling structure behind Star Wars, LOTR, and all your favorite Hollywood movies (and how it applies to selling stuff):

PART 1: Inciting Incident

Think of this as the hook.

It’s the ONE event that sets the rest of the story in motion.

Let’s use the Matrix as an example…

The inciting incident is when Trinity contacts Neo through his computer in The Matrix

Now in the case of a product or service…

It’s usually a high-stakes “trigger moment” that brings the problem to the forefront.

– getting dumped
– losing your job
– having your card declined
– ripping your pants in public
– etc

PART 2: Progressive Complications

The inciting incident creates an imbalance in the hero’s life…

So they try to restore balance.

But this only takes them further from their goal.

Like when the Oracle tells Neo he’s not The One.

For marketers…

This is where the prospect explores other solutions, but continues to fail.

– tries keto, atkins, IF and whole30 but doesn’t lose weight
– tries trading stocks, crypto, and FX but doesn’t make money
– tries paid ads but doesn’t get clients

PART 3: Crisis

This is the hero’s “do or die” decision point.

After Morpheus is captured, Neo is forced to decide:

Should he let him die or go back into the Matrix and save him?

In an ad or promotion, the decision point is: 

Should the prospect continue? Or are they finally ready to give up and abandon themselves to their fate?

– being overweight
– being broke
– being single
– working a 9 to 5
– etc

PART 4: Climax

The climax is the OUTCOME of the crisis decision.

Neo decides to go back into the Matrix and save Morpheus.

For products and services…

This is typically the “moment of discovery” where they stumble across the new solution.

– new diet / training program / special nutrient
– new trading / investment strategy
– new approach to landing clients
– etc

PART 5: Resolution

The climax brings the story’s conflict to an end.

The resolution is what follows.

Neo realizes he is the One & sets out to free more minds.

If you’re writing a sales letter or VSL…

The resolution is what leads your hero to share their solution with others, which creates a “reason why” and helps position the offer/solution.

Put this storytelling formula to work next time you’re writing a long-form piece of copy and let us know how it goes.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

Quote of the Day

“Almost every significant breakthrough is the result of a courageous break with traditional ways of thinking.”

— Stephen Covey