Building a business can be a battle of wills… especially when you’re first starting out and learning how to communicate with clients. That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guest, Kim Krause Schwalm. Join us for a fascinating chat about boundary setting, power balancing moves, and simple scripts to help you command respect.
Kim Krause Schwalm is one of my copywriting heroes, and true to the final line in this episode, talking to her gets me all kinds of fired up and feisty in the BEST possible way. Today we’re talking about some big mistakes many freelancers make when landing their first clients, and how it robs you of your power, leading to frustration and burnout.
Look, if you’ve struggled to communicate with clients, it’s not your fault… there’s not exactly a “How to People: Entrepreneur Edition” manual out there to guide you through building successful client relationships. That’s why I love everything about this episode… Kim’s gonna take you by the hand and show you the difference between bending over backwards (and giving away all your power) and becoming your clients’ ally and trusted expert.
Can’t-Miss Moments From This Episode:
You don’t want to miss this one. Listen now!
KIM KRAUSE SCHWALM was always a marketer who could write copy. She spent more than 13 years in the corporate world in various marketing positions—from Brand Manager to Publisher to launching and running the Healthy Directions supplement business and growing it to more than $23 million in sales within 3 years—before she started her freelance copywriting career in 1998.
Now more than two decades later, Kim has built a reputation as one of the top direct response copywriters in the country. She’s racked up dozens of successful direct mail and online controls, beating legendary copywriters like Jim Rutz and Parris Lampropoulos and becoming the first female copywriter to get a Boardroom control.
Kim writes winning copy for leading companies such as Soundview, Bottom Line (Boardroom), Green Valley Natural Solutions, National Geographic, and many others both in the United States and from England to Germany to Singapore.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Statistics from Miami University in Ohio, and earned her MBA in Marketing from Loyola University Maryland. Kim credits her creative and analytical mind and marketing know-how for giving her a must-needed edge in today’s increasingly competitive copywriting world—and wants to help others gain the same “marketing-savvy” advantage.
She’s one of the few top-level copywriting veterans who’s still writing copy for clients…while being willing to share her success secrets to help up-and-coming copywriters go from “good” to “great”.
You can learn more about Kim’s copywriting training programs and read her blog at www.KimSchwalm.com. Get on Kim’s list and you’ll get future issues of Copy Insiders, “What’s in Kim’s Mailbox”, and other “dripping with gold” content and updates from Kim.
Resources and links mentioned:
Come kick ass with me:
Angie Colee (00:02):
Welcome to permission to kick a podcast about leaving self-doubt in the dust, punching fear in the face and taking bold action toward your biggest dreams. I'm Angie Colee, and let's get to it. I am here with my friend Kim Krause Schwalm, and Kim has been very influential to me as a copywriter as a marketer, as an entrepreneur. I am so thrilled to have you here today. Welcome Kim.
Kim Krause Schwalm (00:31):
Hey Angie, it's great to be here. I'm so excited.
Angie Colee (00:34):
We were, uh, getting off on some tangents and laughing a little bit before we started recording. So I'm feeling extra giggling now. So I loved your idea for what to talk about though, because I think this is a common problem, especially when starting out, especially in a service based business, when the relationship with the client is so important and that's communicating with people and holding boundaries, because it's really, really easy when you're first getting started to just whatever they want, as long as they pay me.
Kim Krause Schwalm (01:07):
Yep. And that's and yeah, and that can be the worst possible thing to do as we will. We'll get into.
Angie Colee (01:15):
I know there was once where I took a project for a sales letter and I was, so it was the biggest project that I had today. I had been working as a copywriter for probably three or four years, like piecemeal assignments here and there couple hundred bucks a pop, not, not doing very well. So I finally got my first assignment to write a sales letter with all the research that, that entails. And I let him add on reviewing some email sequences and providing critiques. I think I wound up throwing in like six press releases and some other stuff, and I agreed to do it all in a week.
Kim Krause Schwalm (01:45):
Oh my goodness.
Angie Colee (01:45):
For 2,500 bucks, I did not sleep very much for a week. I bent over backwards to do that. And it was probably one of the best learning experiences of my life. Cause I was like, never again. I took,
Kim Krause Schwalm (01:57):
where did that lead you with that client did because a lot of times people think, well, you know, I'm starting out, I'll give them a good price and then they'll give me a whole bunch of more work and I can charge more than that actually happen.
Angie Colee (02:08):
Nope we never actually worked together again.
Kim Krause Schwalm (02:11):
Yeah. So what happens is when you don't show that you value yourself, others won't value you. And it's just, you know, this is part of what we want to talk about today is, you know, how do you stand up for yourself, especially when you feel like, you know, who am I like? I'm just starting out and I don't have a track record and I'm not like a big a list copywriter. Right. But you know, people like myself when I was starting out in the trenches, you know, I got pushed around. I had people intimidate me. I even had people sexually harass me. I made sure I, I stood up. I said something and you know what, whenever I set boundaries, whenever I stood up for myself, the client respected me more. Um, the two of the, two of them that I just mentioned, I won't say for what, um, are still like long time colleagues, if not people who lots of money in Royalties every year.
Kim Krause Schwalm (03:01):
So, you know, 20 years later. So it was actually benefited me early on to hold the line, stand up for myself, demand what I was worth demand, not to be treated in a way that I didn't find acceptable. And, and it's really important to be able to do that. And I was, I was just starting out. I mean, I, you know, I had established myself a fifth Phillips publishing, but not as a copywriter. So I was still looking to get that, you know, those early wins on promos. And, um, and then we were also talking about Angie kind of the opposite problem. People who are successful or maybe think they're more successful than they are, you know, their opinion of themselves might be higher than the actual reality. Um, but then they act like complete a-holes and they think they can push people around.
Kim Krause Schwalm (03:48):
They think they can go through other people's boundaries and, um, you don't want to be, so you don't want to go too far with this, right. It's knowing where do you, what's reasonable, you know, how do you stand up for yourself in an appropriate way? And if, and if anything, as you get more, I guess, power or, you know, negotiating power, if anything, you should be more conscious of that and not throw it around, if anything, be, try to be humble, you know? And because you're not gonna, you're gonna really turn people off. And I mean, I know of some very well known names and I will not name them, totally crossed the line boundary wise with clients and the way they've acted because they thought they could and it's not appropriate. So we all just, especially as women, we all need to learn to like stand up to that.
Angie Colee (04:38):
Exactly. And it's like, yeah, I've, I've made it a point to tell one of my best friends. Like I love having you in my life, especially since we share a profession and you know what I do for a living, because I never want to get to a point in my career where I'm too big for my britches, as we would say in the South where I'm walking around and making ego-driven decisions and being all full of myself, importance and forgetting that I am a tiny speck in the universe, that my impact on the world is as much as I hate to admit it is probably going to be fairly small in the scheme of things over time. So like, do what good I can in the corner that I've got and stay as, as grounded and humble as I can. I love that message.
Kim Krause Schwalm (05:19):
Oh, well, I love what you just said. And you know, you probably sell yourself a little short because I think you do influence a lot of people and, um, and hopefully I have too, and you know, but it's, we're not, none of us can change the world or we're save every, you know, you may have to figure out what is our, our small circle of influence and where we can have the greatest impact. But, um, yeah, I think we're just talking more about ego and a lot of time, a lot of times it's related to insecurity and people not feeling comfortable with who they are. So, you know, like I said, you can go the latter route where you're already a so-called success person, successful person, and you can be an a-hole. Um, but also the other end, the second, I was like, well, maybe you're looking at yourself and like, you know, we do talk down to ourselves.
Kim Krause Schwalm (06:05):
Like we don't believe in ourselves. Like I believe in you, Angie, maybe more than you believe in you. You know what I mean? Like I know you're a very confident person, but there's a lot of people I deal with who, you know, they're like, well, who am I? And I, don't never going to be a good copywriter. And these are people like something written multiple controls. And I'm like, Whoa, I was just talking with a friend of mine yesterday, who I was like, let me set you straight, you know, hello, hello. You know, and I had to kind of go through the little pep, and this is what good friends do to each, for each other, because the ability to do that for yourself, like we talk to ourselves sometimes like 10 times worse than we'd ever dream of talking to. Maybe even our worst enemy.
Angie Colee (06:41):
we're mean to ourselves.
Kim Krause Schwalm (06:43):
Angie Colee (06:43):
And that's exactly why I started this podcast because there's a lot of people out there that I've met, that they hear some of my crazy stories, my antics, and they see me speak on stage or something like that. And they think that I am this fearless person and I'm like, Oh honey, if you heard the anxiety spiral that happened just to talk myself into getting on stage, you would be like, so I did a presentation to a women's group a while back about that exact same thing where I literally told them how in my mind, the first time I wrote a letter advertising my own business as a copywriter, I logically connected all the steps between Angie writes a letter and sends it to the world, ends in nuclear, winter. And I had a sequence of events that was like, clearly I can't advertise my business because I will kill us all and end life as we know it on earth.
Angie Colee (07:28):
So like, I know what it feels like to sit there and spiral and dramatize and be paralyzed. And that's why I like talking about it so openly, like you got to get out of your head. I think that's really the problem. It's like when you get in your head and the world becomes so small that like everything, every step you make is a potential disaster in the making. That's going to impact all of humanity and you're not talking to wonderful people like you, that can give you that balance. That's where it gets into the danger zone.
Kim Krause Schwalm (07:58):
Well, I, and I think, I think a big part of it is, you know, we all have, this is, you know, where do these messages come from, that we're carrying around that are self limiting. And, um, that, that keep us from standing up for ourselves or setting those boundaries. And, you know, it's like what striving that inner belief system. And a lot of it obviously was rooted in our childhood, you know, reframe, maybe whatever's happened to you in the past, go back and think, you know, they just, because I said it doesn't mean it's true. And where were they coming from? You know? And a lot of times it's split literally has nothing to do with you.
Angie Colee (08:31):
Well, and I love, I love that for two big reasons. One exactly what you just said, that it has nothing to do with you nine times out of 10. It really is about the day they're having the way they, maybe they misinterpreted something in the email they're stressed out, everything's gone wrong. I was telling you earlier when we were getting ready to start recording that I recorded another episode earlier today where the internet must have dropped out like 10 times. And I was so mad and it, like, I had to remind myself, like I can't get snappy with someone else. And then the other part of that was that, I mean, I w I think that that's kind of at the core when people talk about this is business, it's not personal, but you just have to assume positive intent that they meant to say something in a they meant it in a different way than it came across. It doesn't have anything to do with me and let's reach out and see if maybe I'm misinterpreting things. That's like my favorite phrase, when someone has stepped on my toes, maybe I'm misinterpreting things, but that last message that I got from you. I was kind of thinking this is that accurate. And that usually is enough to defuse the situation where they're like, Oh no, no, no, no. That's not what I meant at all.
Kim Krause Schwalm (09:41):
Yep. Yeah. And that's actually a good tactic because a lot of times the problem with email is sometimes things do come across. Like not the way somebody, you know, meant, you know, we've all had that experience of firing off an email and somebody kicks completely the wrong way. And, but then it also gives them a chance to sort of save face. And they're like, yeah, I've calmed down now. Maybe I shouldn't have said that. But yeah. Also often people just, um, we don't always call people out. And, um, but you know, it's, it's really important that you do and that you, that you, um, set the record straight. I mean, I once had it, like I said, I had a client once who said something really inappropriate to me. Um, we were talking about, um, uh, uh, somebody who had a, a unique nutritional ingredient, um, that he was, uh, making available.
Kim Krause Schwalm (10:26):
I had met with this person in person, and then I was talking to my client because this other person was going to meet with him next. And then the client said something like, yeah, he's pretty handsome guy. And I said something like, Oh, well, he's not my type. And then the client said, well, maybe I'm your type. And I'm like, and I just, I shut it down right then. And there, you know, and I just said, you know, when you say things like that, it makes me uncomfortable. I want you to stop. And I actually used that line later with another client in person about another thing. And it just completely stopped it. They respected me more. It never happened again. I went on to work with them for years and years after that, you know, I learned that line in a sexual harassment, like corporate class, like a blue cross or not, no, it was at, uh, at Phillips publishing.
Kim Krause Schwalm (11:10):
And it's like this line, they tell you, you know, it's called putting them on notice. And so, you know, if you're in a workplace situation in many times, things go on and on. And then by that point, women feel too guilty is like, well, I've never said anything all those other times. So why now? You know, so, I mean, you still can obviously, um, but the sooner you just put them on notice and you just have that one statement, when you, when you do blank or say blank, it makes me uncomfortable. I want you to stop. It's called putting them on notice.
Angie Colee (11:39):
I think that's a great tactic too. And it, it is clear and direct without being accusatory or mean, it's like, Hey, had stopped hitting on me. I'm not about that. You know, like which, which would set somebody on the defensive, then you're already in that negative spiral. Whereas this one is like, here's a behavior, right? When you say this, that behavior makes me feel a certain way. I'd like that to stop. And then you're totally calm. Not accusatory. I don't know if you're anything like me, even, even thinking about saying something like that will sometimes make me teary. So I have to like,
Kim Krause Schwalm (12:12):
Sometimes you just because I'm so glad that little script that they taught us in that class, you know, it just stayed in my mind. And here I was two years later and you need to use it. And it just, it just came right out. And it was just having that little script and those words, and you're right. It's very neutral. It's not attacking, but it sounds powerful. You know, it makes you feel powerful. You can say, you can, like, you can actually say something that's going to be effective. And, and believe me, it just, it never happened again.
Angie Colee (12:41):
Let's them know where you stand it as soon as soon as the positive intent. And it gives them an effort, a way to save face and bow out and still honor that relationship. And I love it for that reason. I think the first time I saw someone use a script like that in front of me, my first reaction was you can say that? You just hope in a professional Environment. You can tell somebody that pays you money. Like I'd really like you to stop doing that. And it was an eye opener just to see, it's kind of like that Marianne Williamson quote, like seeing someone else shine their light, give you permission to shine yours. So this is meeting Kim today, giving you permission, right?
Kim Krause Schwalm (13:19):
Angie Colee (13:19):
And stand up for yourself and say, Hey, I don't like this. Or, Hey, I'd like to do this better. Or, you know, and still be really kick person that provides a wonderful service or product to your clients and love it at the end of the day. So good.
Kim Krause Schwalm (13:33):
So the, and then, you know, where does this go? Kids, obviously, you know, these are some unique situations we were just talking about, but just like every day, like, um, putting, you know, putting out a proposal to a potential client client, or, um, getting feedback on the copy or, you know, I guess what happens more often, it was, Oh, can you add this and those who can you do? Those were going back 16 times and rounds or whatever, you know, when you get in these things that you're like, this is not what I signed up for. Right. Or how do I, you know, can I really ask for that much money? You know, that, I mean, I'll tell you nine times out of 10 and this happens to guys too, but definitely more often with women is, you know, you'll be like, I just even still happens to be sometimes, I mean, not that much, but it's like, you'll be like, well, should I go this number or that number? And then, and those times you'll just like, Oh, fine. I'll just go with the big number. Right. The bigger number. And then they're like, say, okay, like right away. And you're like, I could ask for even more. Yeah.
Angie Colee (14:34):
I had a retainer client recently that I named, like what felt like an outrageous number for me in, in my mind. And I hadn't even had a chance to throw it out in the discussion. And he made an offer and it, we were doing a zoom call, so he could see my face and like I'm notorious for not being able to control my face. I must've like, like a micro expression. Kim Kim is watching me on our zoom call, but you guys, aren't going to be able to see this. Like I just move my eyebrows a.
Kim Krause Schwalm (14:58):
little bit of eyebrows.
Angie Colee (15:00):
He immediately countered himself and raised it by like another five figures. And I was like, that sounds better.
Kim Krause Schwalm (15:08):
Look, we got to, you gotta put that look like, you know, in some kind of PDF or something, we all can like, copy it. And I'll give my little phrases, my little power phrases
Angie Colee (15:18):
In the mirror making the eyebrows. Yeah.
Kim Krause Schwalm (15:20):
We gotta get you get that right. Look, I mean, we don't. Yeah. Now with zoom, you can do that. Let's do a zoom call and then you give him that look. Okay.
Angie Colee (15:28):
Okay. I've had to turn off my video on certain zoom calls too. Cause my face always gives me away. And when I'm frustrated with something and I'm like, I want to give people, like we said, that benefit of the doubt. I don't want to let my first reaction, like have them be like, Oh no, Angie's off. So usually like, if I feel myself getting some kind of way, I'm like, no, we're gonna take it. We're going to step back from this. We're going to give it a breath. We're going to assume that positive intent. And we're going to find a way to communicate this when we're calm. Cause right.
Kim Krause Schwalm (15:56):
It's definitely more, much more difficult. I mean, this is like, this is like master level, you know, to be able to do it like via zoom, you can see each other. Um, because I actually, most of them, I advise people like, you know, if you're on the phone with the client, they can't see your face. Um, don't feel pressured to give them a quote right there. And then, you know what I mean? Unless it's just like a standard projects you've done a million times and you have like, this is my rate. Right. Um, but you know, you usually, because a lot of times you'll regret what you end up saying in the moment and you'll be like, Oh I should have, Oh, I forgot about that. Or, Ooh, I should have asked for more or whatever. Right. So you always want to like, be like, say, okay, let me get that to you. I'll get your quote in the next, you know, within the next, whatever the timeframe is two hours tomorrow, whatever, usually you say by the next day or whatever. And then you have time to just kind of think about it and then think about how you want to phrase it. Or if it's a whole proposal or whatever it is. So don't feel that you have to give them a quote in the moment. Um, but yeah, I mean, you know, that's, I guess if you can throw in a little facial expression
Angie Colee (16:59):
Yeah. Read my face respects. Maybe that needs to be, I'll have some merge eventually on the permission to kick side and it should be like respect the eyebrows.
Kim Krause Schwalm (17:11):
Generally. I think it's better to have a chance to think about it and think it through and yeah.
Angie Colee (17:16):
Agreed. And I think that's a perfect example of boundary setting because I think there are a lot of people, especially these days that like they, in this day and age of speaking, getting to know someone purely over the internet, right. And a lot of us will make huge purchasing decisions. Never having actually spent time in the same room with someone else, but people will want to know the price because they've been led down a path by someone before and gotten all the way to the end where they're like, yes, and then been surprised with like a Whopper of a number. So they're going to push for price and the, and the budget. So that's totally fair. But you can always either give a ballpark or say, I've never done a project like this for more than X or less than X, give them some frame of reference. That'll make them feel better. That makes them,
Kim Krause Schwalm (18:01):
I know but I've made that mistake too. They'd like, hang on like a dog with a bone, like to that, whatever that lower numbers like,
Angie Colee (18:09):
That's true. That's true. That is true.
Kim Krause Schwalm (18:15):
You can't, you can't, you gotta be careful with that. Um, uh, but then the other, there's a couple other things too, I wanted to mention. So there's um, you know, if you think, okay, so let's say you haven't had a lot of projects or you view some of these people still have confidence issues. Many of us, you know, kind of thought of projects and, um, you know, if you quote too low of a price, the client is probably not going to respect you either, but it may even make them less likely to hire, you know what I mean? Um, because they're going to think, Oh, she must not be very good. Right. Or why is this person desperate? And they're not going to respect you because they must not be very good because they're obviously desperate or whatever. So you've gotta really make sure, you know, what the in range going rates are.
Kim Krause Schwalm (19:00):
Now, of course, if you're just out of a year or two experience, you're not going to charge what Kim Krause Schwalm charges for a sales page. Right. Yeah. But you know, what's a good, you know, intermediate, mid, you know, beginner to intermediate level rate. Right. And be in that range, um, you know, again, right from the get-go, um, obviously you want the, the gig and you want to get paid and all that, but what you really want is you want that client to respect you exactly know. And again, that's just how you put yourself out there and how you negotiate. Then the other big thing that I see happens a lot that pushes boundaries is one clients want you to do something ASAP or how quickly can you start? Right. And I, sometimes I see client or copywriters talk about how they're struggling with, you know, Oh, I don't, I've got all this work or I don't know that they feel like they have to take everything that comes along.
Kim Krause Schwalm (19:49):
Like if they, there's not going to be something else that comes along after that. And you know, and, and then as a result, they power up their plate potentially with projects. And then they do a crappy job on all of them. And then they burn their bridges and nobody wants to hire them again. And so it is much, much better to make those clients, wait, you know, if you are booked, it actually is going to give you better negotiating power to make them respect you more. They're going to pay you more money. You know, if you say, wow, um, you know, I'm booked till January, but you can, my next slots available January 15th. If you want to go ahead and reserve that, you know, or whatever it is, you know? Um, I mean only on a rare occasion, you know, eh, you know, if you feel like it's really something you can squeeze in, you can make an exception or you can even tell them, you can even kind of fake it till you make it a little bit where you say, let's say you have no work at all.
Kim Krause Schwalm (20:42):
Right. If you can tell them, Oh yeah, I can start tomorrow. They're gonna think, wow, you must not be very good. Right. So you just say, you know, this sounds like such an exciting project. I know, I recognize your timeframes are really, you know, tight. Let me reach out to this other client I'm supposed to work with, let me find out if I can move some things around and let me get back to you at promise, like soon I'll get back to you. Like as soon as I hear back or whatever, but you know, hopefully by tomorrow, whatever, like you can kind of do that. And then they're going to feel like, Oh, you're doing them a favor and you must be in demand. I mean, I know that's maybe it's not completely truthful, but you know, you don't want to just act like you're just sitting around with nothing to do. And they come along and they think, well, you know, Hey, I can just throw whatever else at this person. Or maybe I'll ask them for two more things or whatever. And then next thing you know, they're, they're not respecting you.
Angie Colee (21:29):
I love that reframe. And I love that. You're pointed out that even if you are sitting there with nothing else to do the main reason that you shouldn't just jump on someone's project, just because you're available is because of that standard that you're setting for the longterm. That if they say jump, you will immediately jump and then be like, wait, should I have gone higher? I'll go higher. Tell me to jump again. Yeah.
Kim Krause Schwalm (21:48):
Yeah. You got to change the whole power dynamic, right? From the beginning.
Angie Colee (21:51):
It's all in the subtlety, right? Because you didn't come out and say, tell me whatever to do. And I will do it, sir. But it was like the way that you responded and how immediately were available. And I'm not even necessarily talking about paint, playing power games, but recognizing that you have an equal amount of power in this relationship. Right. And it may not be attractive to think I can walk away from this, but remember that you are not obligated to take any project or any offer that comes your way at any time ever. There is no law out there that says, if someone wants to hire you, You have to go work.
Kim Krause Schwalm (22:23):
It's not like you're some retail store. Maybe something can say, well, you're discriminating against me or whatever. It's like, has nothing to do with that. Like right. You can, you can say no and say, no, don't be afraid to say no or say later, I mean, well, you know, more importantly, like get them booked. Like, you know, if you are busy, like book your schedule out and you know, there's a reason to work like a maniac for a month. And then not know if you're gonna have anything following one. Like why not just work like a normal person? And I know you already have the following month all taken care of, and then PS have the 50% advance already in hand. Like it's, it's so much better.
Angie Colee (22:56):
I love that. Especially in service businesses like ours in, in writing and copy. But I think this applies to a lot of other creative services too, where people are almost afraid to take on quote, unquote, too many projects for fear, for fear of dropping balls or disappointing somebody. But that doesn't, if you have more opportunity, you can afford to be selective, right? Because you've got more people that are interested in you, which means that you can take the best possible offers and you're in a position of strength. So yeah, you should, you should, at every opportunity you have be aiming to have way more work than you could possibly handle. And the benefit to this is like on multiple levels, because if say that their date isn't flexible, they need something right away. You're booked for another month or two, and you can't help them until that. They're not willing to wait that long where you can make an introduction to a friend of yours.
Kim Krause Schwalm (23:45):
Yeah. Yeah. I do. I do that all the time and it's just one of those or it comes around, you know, I did that and I had to meet people to refer work to me when I was starting out. I I'd do it all the time, you know? Um, but yeah, I mean, I know you're doing them a favor and then next thing you know, they want to come back later and you know, um,
Angie Colee (24:02):
You looked like that well-connected expert and then your friends think that you're amazing for passing work to them. They pass work to you when you're in a similar situation. Like it's just Goodwill all around. It's a good thing to have more work than you can handle, because then you get to set the standard and say, no, this is all the work that I'm going to do. And I'm going to spread the love. I'm going to share it with my community.
Kim Krause Schwalm (24:21):
Yeah. I have, I have a good friend who showed me years ago. She was like, you know, she's like, I made six figures this year, just with things
Angie Colee (24:30):
I'm over here, like clapping, but not too much noise in the mic.
Kim Krause Schwalm (24:34):
Um, and then another important boundary thing I think you need to do is set expectations with your clients. And you know, a lot of times, and again, this is where we also get into, they want it too fast. Like it was like, okay, so let's say you work it out that they agree to your schedule was like, I can't start that till, at least middle of next week. And they're like, great. You know, and then of course you want to tie up all your loose ends, get it in writing, you know, the contract and get the 50% advance. Even if it's coming up in a week, I always get an advance. I mean, the only time I would ever not do it would just be, if it was a long-time client, it was like a small project, like, you know, under a thousand or something, I'd be like, okay,
Angie Colee (25:13):
But did you ever deposit on a wedding venue? You know, like think of it,
Kim Krause Schwalm (25:16):
Expect to get the money, you know, and shows that they're serious. I'm not going to switch it on you. Like at the last minute say, Oh, we decided to go with something else or whatever. Right. So, but yeah. So, but you want to set your expectations about how long it's going to take and always Pat in a little extra time, if you can, because you know, again, they'll like, hang on like a dog with a bone. You said you could get it all done in a week. It's like, you know, you, if you need more time, it might be. So it's better to just be realistic, set their expectations, say, you know, this is going to be like a five week project. Right. So whatever it is, you know, you got to, don't just tell them what they want to hear, tell them the reality and set their expectations, realistic expectations.
Angie Colee (25:54):
And that's such a great point too, because I've seen so many people on the new end of the spectrum, especially of a service based business that the assumption seems to be that the clients know how this works. And so they'll have, like, they just send out their contracts and they expect that the clients read everything and knows what the next steps are. But now you've got to set that expectation. You've got to clearly communicate and say, hold on, sorry, someone's knocking at the door. So pause just a second.
Kim Krause Schwalm (26:21):
Assume They read the contract and you know, honestly I always make them sign it. I have, I have a signature page. They send back and sometimes they have their own contract. And I talk about this, um, in some of the trainings I've done, but you know, there's not even like in the most, you know, standard type of contract, big company, publisher, client contracts, whatever. There's a lot of points that you can negotiate. So people need to not be worried about doing that. Um, but yeah, I mean, and of course you're going to have more sway when you get to have more successes under your belt and then it also just cause you do, like we talked about earlier, you don't want to be an about it. Um, you always wanna just be a professional and think of yourself as a professional. Absolutely. Like I wouldn't even have like, you know, a remodeler guy come in, you know, and do anything without a contract without paying him in advance or whatever you need for materials or whatever. Like I just won't even dream of it. It wouldn't be like once you come in and remodel my whole kitchen and then if I like it I'll pay you freaking kidding me
Angie Colee (27:26):
Because people that work that way in the creative industry and it's like, no, this is not a test. This is a profession. So, you know, the way is that you pay for the work and I deliver the work and then we figure out if we're satisfied and if any adjustments need to happen from there, but no, you don't get to judge something subjective after the fact. That's what my whole portfolio was for, for you to determine whether you like my style. Um, and, and you wouldn't invite someone into your house that like makes you guess when they're going to be there, what they're going to do, what they need from you. So,
Kim Krause Schwalm (27:55):
So I think a big part of it too is, you know, so how do you get to that point? And this is one thing I always tell copywriters. And obviously we talked about all this head game stuff that you've got to work on, but also it's, you know, let's say you are a copywriter and you'll send it this. I know, I realize you probably have marketers and other people to, um, get really good at copywriting, you know, really devote yourself to learning your craft. And we, you don't have to necessarily buy all the expensive courses like mine that are out there. I mean, there are great books that you can read. You, you didn't even read, like one of my favorite books to recommend is Claude Hopkins scientific advertising. You can just download that online and read it for free. The first book I read when I became a freelance copywriter and I still consider it one of the most valuable, um, so really get good at copywriting study, successful promos.
Kim Krause Schwalm (28:41):
You know, you can do that just by getting on opting in the email list and seeing what they keep sending out or whatever. And, you know, because the better you get at writing copy in, and when clients are really happy with what you do, you know, you'll get more work from them and you'll get referrals from them. You'll make, you'll start to make that name for yourself. And, you know, while there may be, the other thing you have to remember is that there's more copywriters than ever before, like that you're competing against, like, I'm always amazed just how many people are, you know, doing copywriting now. And, but, you know, there's a lot, a lot of them who just really don't know hardly anything about copywriting. They just heard, Oh, there's this thing. And I can make money and I can write letters and I can be on the beach or whatever. It's like, you know? Yeah. Right. You know? Um, so
Angie Colee (29:25):
And worse They parrot someone else's style.
Kim Krause Schwalm (29:28):
If you can, if you get to actually understand what you're doing and you can write decent copy, you're going to have a huge edge right there. And the other thing is there's more clients than ever before that need copywriters. And the biggest pain points con you know, complaints I hear from them is that they hire people and they just, they turn in stuff that they just can't use. Or they've got to do so many edits and they don't like proofread and make sure everything is perfect before they send it in and not just proofing, but just like making sure the copy is good, obviously. And, um, so yeah, if you can just do those things, like get knowledgeable and decent at copywriting and everything you send to a client, you've made sure it's, you know, as good as it can be before you send it out, you know, they're going to love you and you're going to have plenty of work and you'll be able to stand, you know, stand out in a sea, a copywriters.
Angie Colee (30:16):
I think, I think what you said was so smart and it applies to people in so many industries. Like I could see every creative entrepreneur out there from a photographer to like a cake Baker using that advice, get really good at your craft, develop your own taste and your own style and your own approach. Because not only is that going to attract the people that resonate with you that want to pay you a lot of money because they like your style and they want you to do it for them. But it's also going to allow you to develop those boundaries. And when somebody tries to pull, uh, Oh, well, if I like it, I'll pay you, you know, I've got like five people on the wait list that are already ready to put down their deposit and buy it. I don't need this and walk away. Cause you already know what you deliver is good.
Kim Krause Schwalm (30:54):
And yeah. And you, you know, think of yourself like, okay, so I'm a business. And like, um, I'm sorry. My policy is, you know, that I get paid 50% upfront and I don't do any work unless I've received the deposit and, you know, blah, blah, blah. And you say, you know what, the way I work is, you know, and just feel secure in saying that, you know, and if you have to start saying, well, you know, I, um, uh, you know, my fee for that is blank, right? If you are in a situation where you're going to give a fee over the phone, like, well, I charge, you know, like figure out what is my rate for this. Just know that in advance and then feel comfortable saying that, like putting that number out there, you know, stay practice in front of the mirror. If you have to, you know, um,
Angie Colee (31:35):
Practice helps a lot, people discount that.
Kim Krause Schwalm (31:38):
it like, Oh, well my rate for that is point, you know, and, and just kind of understand it. I had, I remember one time I, um, I might tell the story once before, um, this, this woman that I was, uh, one of my first people that I did Pappy coaching with, you know, we're mentoring like three, maybe four years ago, at least. And she was telling me how with a client she'd worked with before, um, they wanted her to write a promo and she was really excited. And she, you know, she was hoping it would be her first chance to negotiate a royalty. And then she told me she had replied back to them, well, what do you pay in royalties or something like that. And she told me about this and I'm like, you know, you probably should have done it this way. You want to put out there. Well, here's what my fee plus royalty is. You know, if you ask them what they do for a royalty, then you come across like someone who hasn't done it before.
Kim Krause Schwalm (32:28):
And I didn't hear, I heard like this dead silence, silence on the other end. All of a sudden I hear this and I'm like, hello, are you okay? And she's like, are you crying? And she was sobbing and the phone. And she's like, hi. And I'm like, no, you don't suck. Everybody makes this mistake. That's okay. And I was like trying to reassure and all this while I saw her, like, um, I guess it was like six or eight months later at a conference. And she told me, she's like, every time you made me make, every time you made me cry, my income went up 25% and now she's making over six figures and she can't even get into her schedule.
Angie Colee (33:09):
Aww that's fantastic.
Kim Krause Schwalm (33:12):
So as we all, well, screw up, I've done it too, for sure. A million times. Um, and that's why it helps to have that little script in your head. Well, I charge this or, you know, when you say things like that, it makes me uncomfortable. Or, you know, the way I work is this, or, you know, and just get comfortable saying that and standing up for yourself.
Angie Colee (33:30):
Yeah. And let it be a conversation because just because you said it doesn't mean that they have to accept it just because they said it doesn't mean you have to accept it, just put out, put it out there with your best intention there and trusting that their best intention is they want to work with you. And that as two adults that give a damn, you're going to come to something that works for both of you. Like that is a position of power right there.
Kim Krause Schwalm (33:52):
I agree. And I think what makes it even more powerful is if you kind of have the sense too, that if they don't like it, you're going to be fine. And they can just go take a, you know what.
Angie Colee (34:01):
Kim Krause Schwalm (34:02):
because that's in a way kind of what it implies too. It's not necessarily an invite to say, yeah, well, but here's my no, it's like, no, this is how I work. When you say that, blah, blah, blah, whatever, you know, you're making your statement. And honestly, it doesn't matter. I mean, it's kind of a take it or leave it. I mean, I don't mean it. Like you want to get into negotiation like that and have it be, but it gives you the power that it's like, I'm confident enough to say this because even if you say, no, I'm going to be fine.
Angie Colee (34:29):
Yeah. I love that. That's no one project you never want to build your business to the point where you are depending on one project or one client, like the next one is going to be, make or break. And that's, uh, I love everything about this. So Kim, this is a fantastic conversation. I could talk with you about this all day. So I think we're just going to have to settle for scheduling a second one about this, because I love this idea of boundaries. You want to tell? Yes. Super excited. You want to tell everybody a little bit more about?
Kim Krause Schwalm (34:58):
Sure. Um, so yeah, I, um, I have a variety of copywriting training programs that I offer. And I also work with mentees, although my mentoring program is full for next year, but, um, you can get on my email list and I sent out a lot of great content and I have a free weekly e-letter called copy insiders. So if you want to get on my list, I also have this, um, A list copywriters checklist that you'll get when you, um, give me your email. So if you go to Kim schwam.com, it's K I M S C H w a L m.com. It's like a yoga chant or something. And then you, uh, get on my
Kim Krause Schwalm (35:38):
List right there and you'll get all sorts of goodies from me.
Angie Colee (35:41):
I am on that list and I can verify it is very, very awesome. And you will get a lot of solid gold from that. I'll make sure that they have a link that they can click in the show notes too. Sounds great. Thank you so much for being here with me today. I love it feeling very feisty and fired up now,
Kim Krause Schwalm (35:55):
Angie Colee (35:59):
So that is it. Another awesome episode of permission to kick on the books. If you want to know more about the show, if you want to know more about me, Angie Colee and the mission I'm on to help entrepreneurs punch fear in the face and do big bold things, then head on over to permission to kick ass.com. That is all one word together, permission to kick ass.com, make sure to sign up for my email list so that, you know, whenever there's a hot, fresh and ready podcast episode out for you. And also on Mondays, I like to send out a little newsletter called kick Mondays ass I'm sure you're totally, totally surprised by that. So thank you for being here with me today. I'm Angie Colee. Make sure that you share this with a friend that needs to hear this message today. Like it, share it, comment wherever you're listening to this today and let's go kick some ass.