Woke up at 6:30 AM
Nikki woke up to a “warm little hand stroking my cheek and her toddler whispering “nurse, nurse.” She “dream feeds” for about a half hour before falling back asleep. While nursing her child, Nikki used her time wisely to brainstorm.
“It’s my most creative time – I’m always amazed at the breakthroughs I have or the ideas that creep into my mind while I’m half asleep, mid-feed.”
This morning, she worked on an upcoming presentation for LearnInbound in Dublin where she’ll be speaking at one of their events. On this morning, she was able to think of a few case studies and even a few funny one liners to throw in the mix.
At 7am, her other children storm down the stairs, meaning it was time for Nikki to physically get out of bed. and I get up and putter around with them. While they ate some fruit, Nikki thought it’d be wise to get some necessary chores done.
Every morning, she tries really really hard not to check my phone because, once she see an email/Slack message that needs attending, it sets her brain in “work mode” – even though the sender won’t be awake 7 or so hours (remember, she’s in Israel and works with clients in the US).
The family all made it a point to have breakfast together and then head upstairs to get dressed. Once that’s all settled, her husband does “circle time” with the girls. That’s when she was able to finally check emails and review her agenda for the day.
Left for work at 10:00 AM
Nikki’s commute is blessedly short: 16 steps up the stairs.
Arrived to work at 10:01 AM
Her office has 3 workstations:
Her coach and mentor, Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers, likens lack of focus to insomnia. If you can’t sleep, you should get out of bed so your brain only associates your bed with sleep. Same thing with your desk. If you can’t focus, get up and do something else. Her puzzle is her something else. It’s a great way to allow herself to be distracted, but in a healthy, productive way.
As far as aesthetics, she has a bookshelf, a plant, a bouquet of fresh flowers, and a logo pattern on the wall.
Oh… and a stash of chocolate!
To help maximize productivity, every day of the week has a specific focus. This was considered a Client Day. As you might guess, that meant she worked on mostly client stuff
She turned on Spotify and Toggl, then immediately opened her interview data spreadsheet.
Last week, she coordinated and conducted customer interviews for a client. These interviews are meant to dig into the “why” – why a customer sought out a product/service, why they chose the client’s product/service specifically. This is extremely important and unconditional information needed in order for Nikki to write copy. This is called “Voice of Customer” data. Simply put, it’s compelling language that customers use that will resonate with other potential customers.
Today, she needed to organize the data, which is a pretty manual process. She copy and pastes chunks of the transcripts into an organized spreadsheet that’s populated with all the levers that she needs to pull: motivations, objections, outcomes, sticky language, etc. It sounds tedious, but she likes doing it. Every job is going to have it’s boring parts, so it’s important that you can find joy in those parts.
“I find it quite cool to be digging into real life behavioral economics.”
Yes this is a boring part of her job, but she knows being this organized pays off well because it makes the rest of her work SO much easier.. and fun!
To make the most use of her time, she also had an empty doc open so she could jot down any a piece of data that triggered a line or angle that could be used in copy.
There is a balance though, if you’re going to run a successful business, you can’t spend all of your time doing the boring stuff. Because of this, Nikki hands off the really tedious stuff to her project manager. Tasks like: double checking everything is in the right spot, pulling all the sections into a master ‘section’ tab, pulling out the really important chunks into another master ‘important stuff’ tab, etc.
So when she finished, she messaged her PM and asked her to organize the data and add it to the master list of the project’s data – the survey responses, the forum findings, client conversations, competitive messaging, etc.
Time to tackle the emails.
She received a draft of a guest post that will be going live soon so she resoponded that she’d make revisions by the end of the week. Then she messaged her PM to schedule it for her next Content Day.
Someone she’s hoping to collaborate with on an ebook responded – they’re ironing out some scheduling details.
And a client sent her some internal documentation that she asked for last week. Her PM immediately uploaded that to the right folder. Organization!
She headed downstairs to have lunch with her kids.
Her girls snuggled on the coach and listened to a podcast story while she put the baby in for a nap. Once the baby was asleep, she joined the girls for a mid-day snuggle!
After that, they made cookies, did dishes (yep, it’s a favorite activity for her 3 year old!), read books, did puzzles, and played jewelry store.
Then it was time for ballet. Nikki’s husband got the girls in their leotards and off they went to ballet.
Work… Life… Meet balance!
The fun was over, it was back to work for Nikki!
Nikki’s afternoon is her clients’ morning. She had a discovery call scheduled. The discovery call is witha prospective client and the goal is to understand their perspective and try to put the pieces together for how Nikki can use her talents to help.
On the call, they dig into the brand’s target audience, their SWOT analysis (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats), unique selling point, voice and tone, competition, and the overall goals of the project.
A lot of this call was focused on the target audience. She needed to really understand the current audience, their ideal target audience and if there was a difference between the two. And then the all the ‘whys’ and ‘whats.’ Some clients need her to help develop these things, but this client has an awesome internal marketing team and have this all hammered out already. They just needed to bring her up to point.
After that hour long meeting, it was time for some “semi-brainless work.” AKA: engaging with her network.
Social media is great for learning and connecting with collaborators, clients, students, and peers, but the trade off is the addicting nature. Therefore, Nikki blocked off specific times when she can engage with my networks.
On LinkedIn and Twitter she scrolled through her feed, hit like, wrote some comments, responded to messages… On Slack, she responded to some messages in her mastermind group and read some interesting things in her copywriter community.
When the girls got home, she tag teamed with her husband to give them baths while he made dinner.
She doesn’t stop after dinner. Nikki then met with her project manager on Zoom. They go through all the tasks that need to be done. Usually they have this meeting on Monday’s, however they had a scheduling conflict, so they had it today.
Before writing any copy, a copywriter defines the Rule of One for the project. She pulls up the project’s master sheet of data and starts sketching out the project’s:
1) One Reader- This is who they’re trying to sell the product to. She needs to find answers to questions like: “What is the pain in her life that’s driving her to seek a product?” What are her motivations, her objections?”
2) One Offer- This is what they’re offering as a solution to the reader’s problem. Nikki had a few bonus ideas to pitch for this part.
3) One Promise- This is the guarantee – what the reader will get and what happens if she doesn’t get it.
4) One Big Idea- This is the hardest part, and many projects don’t have a true big idea. In critiquing work for students and peers alike, Nikki has seen a clear difference between projects that do and don’t even have a Big Idea. It’s an important part of the process. The Big Idea doesn’t come right away – it usually needs a few days of back burner brainstorming.
Her Project Manager pinged her on Slack about a hot lead who is read for a vetting call now! Her Project Manager already “pre-vets” the prospect, so the next logical step is to set up a Zoom call where Nikki can ask more questions and vet them further.
That Zoom call happened and during it, she listened to the prospect talk about her project needs and goals. She seemed like a fit, so they schedule a deeper dive call for next week, after which, if they decide to proceed, she’ll send a proposal.
After some more mindless activity, she checked Airtable, checked off some items off, added on new ones, sent a few last things to her project manager to take care of, and then she called it a day.
Fell asleep at 11:00 PM
What were your first career goals and how have those goals evolved over time?
As a kid, Nikki was a dreamer. Her dreams, and there were many of them, ranged from becoming a fashion designer, neurologist and she even remembers aspiring to be a creative copywriter! (Guys… dreams do come true!)
During her childhood, she recalls when Heinz ran a marketing campaign called “Talking Labels” where every ketchup label had a quote. The quotes were mostly from celebrities – but also from ordinary contributors. Nikki was obsessed. When her family would go grocery shopping, she’d plop herself down in the aisle and read them all. It was her when her mom actually told her that this was an actual job…that people are paid to do this super fun creative writing for brands and companies.
But it seemed to far off . She would think, “how could little old me write for Heinz?”
“As a kid, I definitely had a lot of fun with career dreams… but then once it actually had to happen, I kinda stumbled into everything.”
When she first began her career as a freelancer, her goal was to do really awesome client work for really awesome brands.
Along the way, she realized that she had a business of her own and that her brand was JUST as important (and awesome). Suddenly she realized that she could also teach other aspiring copywriters. She could create products, courses, relationships.
For Nikki, it’s not just about client work anymore. It’s about empowering other copywriters, empowering other parents – and yes, still doing awesome client work for really awesome brands.
Can you name one experience that significantly impacted your career?
Last year, Nikki joined The Copywriter Mastermind by Copy Hackers. It’s impacted so many facets of her life and business, in so many ways. It’s a collective group of copywriters who come together to discuss and learn from each other. Topics include: Mindeset, Strategy, Skills, Relationship Building and so much more.
She cannot recommend it enough to find and join a mastermind or like community in your industry. She describes it as a shortcut to success. You learn so so much when you can talk to people who have “been there and done that.”
At heart, Nikki wasn’t a freelancer, she loved the collaboration and teamwork that comes with working at an agency. But through participating in this mastermind, she realized there are ways to collaborate and share goals and work together even as they’re all building their own things.
How did you get your current job?
During her career, Nikki was working for a startup agency. Suddenly it closed down and Nikki founder herself at a crossroad. So rather than beginning the job search, she decided to start freelancing. Once she was “free” from location constraints, she decided to take the opportunity to act on one of her dreams: to move to Israel for a year.
“Well…it’s been 5 years and we’re still here. And I’m more than freelancing…I’m running my own business.”
Reflecting on her career journey, Nikki admitted that she tends to blame the agency closing for her jump to freelancing, but she also did reach a crossroads because her baby was growing up. The agency amazingly let her baby accompany Nikki to work, but it she was getting to an age that made it not feasible. Because of this, she was considered taking the jump anyway.
How do you define your best work?
Nikki said her best work is meeting the goal of the copy. Copy isn’t written just to be written. She wants her copy to work, so whether that’s getting users to sign up for a paid version after experiencing the fee trial, or getting people to download an ebook from a landing page. She wants to know that her copy is working and converting into customers for her clients.
“I feel really good about when it’s research-based work but it also sounds really good and it’s super engaging, and exciting to read!”
What is your advice for those who aspire to be like you?
Definitely, check out CopyHackers!
When Nikki was writing one of their email funnels, she did some customer interviews and one customer said: “Why would I not just take a short cut? Why would I take the time, energy and money to figure this out, when I can just have an industry veteran copywriter teach me everything she knows in a period of months.”
Yes, you may need to shell out $2000, but wouldn’t that cost me in the long run over the months of losing clients? So take this course and take a shortcut to success. She really feel it’s important to take opportunities even if they cost you money because they’ll potentially jump start you and your career.
If you don’t want to go that route, Nikki advises that you just network and don’t be shy. Follow up with people and just ask because people aren’t just going to come to you. You have to make yourself known and available for opportunity.