The Non-Obvious Alchemy of Success

Back in 1 FM, I laid out the “Golden Triangle” for anyone starting a career writing online. The APEX of that triangle is a service offer. Now, to make a service offer successful, you need to get comfortable charging good money. The problem is most writers are WAY OFF when it comes to pricing.

Wait, let me be more precise:

They price themselves fairly for the work they do in the market. But they are WAY OFF in estimating the size and value of the problems they are capable of solving with good writing. And there’s another reason writers struggle as freelancers.

First, some context:

In the 2014 movie The Gambler, John Goodman’s character Frank is dishing out some hard-earned wisdom to degenerate dicer Mark Bennett:

“You get up two and a half million dollars, any a**hole in the world knows what to do. You get a house with a 25-year roof, an indestructible Jap-economy shitbox, you put the rest into the system at three to five percent to pay your taxes and that’s your base, get me? That’s your fortress of f***ing solitude.”

I like that phrase, fortress of solitude.

As a writer, your service offer is your fortress of solitude.

But – and this may surprise you – it’s not all about the money.

It’s about honing your skills, growing a reputation and getting a look under the hood of bigger business. It’s about accumulating experience, collecting testimonials and nurturing confidence. It’s about rubbing shoulders with knowledge and intellect, finding mentors and absorbing wisdom.

Yes, your personal brand matters in the long term.

But . . .

If your only aim is to grow a Twitter audience, you’ll soon learn the difference between attention and transformation.

The way you are going to make your first $10,000 writing online is not selling 400 ebooks. It’s providing a service.

Use your service skill as a discovery mechanism for your first product.

The PROCESS of providing a service forces you to work out what problems people are struggling with.

The EXPERIENCE of solving these problems smooths the way for you to create a product that can scale.

This is the difference between hypothesis and reality. This is the difference between “Will it sell?” and “This will sell.” It also gives you two things money can’t buy:


Ironically, the reason people want to skip straight to selling ebooks is they’re scared of selling in real life.

And here’s an even DEEPER reason . . .

This is the important bit:

The “meat and potatoes” . . .

Copywriting and Sales are complimentary – but different – skillsets.

Copywriter and Salesman are two different characters.

Two DIVERGENT psychological profiles.

Copywriter: introverted, likes tinkering and editing, researching and drafting, going for wild and wistful stomps under the sky and coming back to his desk clutching the words he needs to uncork the matrix.

Salesman: extroverted, always hunting, sharking and closing, upfront, competitive, confident, resilient, performance and commission driven. The beating heart of all business, whether you appreciate the stereotype or not.

These are two different people, but to thrive as a freelancer?

You have to get in bed with them both.

P.S.P. French

P.S.P. If you’re enjoying these memos, please take a moment to get your name up in lights on my website by leaving a quick review. Also, I’ve turned ON Gumroad’s PPP (purchasing power parity) option for my products. This offers customers in lower-cost-of-living areas the same product for a lower price.

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