Stop Selling Time & Inspiring Influence

I did a training session called Stop Selling Time last night.

It focused on the last 7 months, where I’ve created an entirely new business creating and selling digital products to my audience. (Hi Charmers!)

It covered:

  • Why you should build a following
  • The key elements that speed up organic growth
  • The technology, time and skills you’ll need
  • The 5 stages of growing a following and turning it into a new revenue stream

You can find a replay of the training session here.

You can learn all about by new programme, Inspiring Influence, by clicking here.

The hidden benefits of having a following 

My recent interview with Ben Settle reminded me one of the cool side benefits of having a ‘following’.

He’s been able to leverage his following to promote his creative passion, his series of novels.

It provides a huge shortcut. Your purely creative work can ‘piggyback’ from your professional following.

Even if I made not a cent or a pence from this group, I’d still do it.

Having a following has enabled me to launch my own satirical news site, The Influential, and immediately it’s garnered a small following.

I can continually cross-promote this creative endeavour and it will continue to grow.

If I want to launch a podcast, I will immediately have listeners.

If I finally start placing videos on YouTube, they will immediately get views and engagement.

Not everyone who likes Charm Offensive will enjoy my other creative pursuits, but some will.

I’ve deliberately focused The Influential on the digital business world to maximise the crossover appeal.

However, when the time is right, I can always expand The Influential to cover other topics.

I did something similar with Charm Offensive.

I initially started to focus on my core expertise, using humour in cold pitching. I had a great hook that helped this group grow organically, “The drunk cold email that changed my life.”

I’ve since expanded the group into other areas. This post, for example, is trying to convince you to start building your own ‘following’ or ‘tribe’.

Whenever I get good at something, I can help other people do the same.

When I want to pursue something just because I enjoy it, such as writing satirical news pieces, I can and I have a huge advantage over people who are starting from scratch.

Every day I build my following. I add new group members. I add people to my email list.

Every single day, this asset becomes more valuable.

It gives me options.

It gives me more time.

It generates revenue.

It enables me to experiment and get feedback on ‘fun’ projects.

If I work hard, I know I can eventually turn those ‘fun’ projects into new revenue streams.

I’m not thinking that far ahead but I’m glad I have the option.

This is a great place to be.

You can put yourself in the same position.

You just have to start…

The best business decision I’ve made in a long time 

When people join my Facebook group, I ask three questions.

One of those questions is “What’s your biggest pain point?”

The top answer, by far, is “Need more clients”.

This is probably no surprise, as this group started out as a group predominantly about cold pitching.

I still believe cold pitching is a great way of starting conversations with potential clients.

It’s something you can start immediately and see results from immediately for no cost. This makes it a fantastic option for folks who want to quit their job and go freelance or start their own agency.

One can run a profitable business using cold pitching as their only method of generating sales opportunities.

But there is something awesome about running a group like this one. Even if it didn’t make any revenue, I’d probably still do it.

It just so happens it does. It represents the majority of my revenue now.

Starting this Facebook group, and an email list, was one of the best decisions I’ve made in business.

I think everyone who believes themselves to be an expert in their field should start building a following.

Some of the benefits:

-> It positions you as an expert in your niche.
-> You get to interact with loads of interesting people.
-> People talk about you and your group – free word of mouth advertising and social proof.
-> Prospects come to you – and they want to work with you. There’s none of that “you gotta prove yourself” fun. They are pre-sold.
-> You get invited to appear on podcasts, to speak at events, and get free positive PR coverage.
-> You get to make and sell digital products that help people.
-> You have far more free time to focus on scaling your business or to focus on stuff outside of work.

Even if you don’t wish to sell digital products, I recommend starting a Facebook group and email list.

It’s another source of leads, and these leads are easier to close.

The last two elements, making and selling digital products and having more free time, are the most important to me.

You can package your knowledge and help more people. It’s infinitely scalable.

Starting your own tribe is instantaneously gratifying than getting positive replies to a cold email blast. It takes a little longer for the benefits to show up.

But when it starts working. It’s fantastic.

I’m just trying to plant seeds. I have enjoyed seeing people get to the position where they always have opportunities due to my teachings around cold pitching.

Now I wish to help people get into the position I am right now. I have an engaged and growing Facebook group and email list, a growing suite of digital products, and new opportunities coming to me all the time.

I did all of this in the last 7 months.

I started this group on a whim. If I can make a success out of this, you can too.

Start thinking about it…

I’ll be doing a webinar on this topic next week.

I also have my “Stop Selling Time” mini guide which you can find here ->

If you have any questions, put them in the comments below. 

Thank you,


Stop Selling Time

I’ve created a PDF mini guide and I’m about to deliver a training session focusing on how to stop selling your time and start building a following, enabling you to sell digital products.

If you’d like to receive the guide and a recording of the webinar, head on over here.

You’ll also find out about my new course, Inspiring Influence. I’m launching to a limited beta group shortly!


Funny Writing Hack (Not me…)

My friend, Sam, used to work at Primark (discount retail store) until we took him on as a copywriter.

I asked him if he missed it.

This was his response.


This reminds me of a great exercise for writing funny copy from the book “Be A Great Stand Up” by Logan Murray where you write a “letter of hate”.

Think of something that has made you angry. Perhaps you had some bad service somewhere.

Then write a letter congratulating the owner on the bad service you received.

Instead of turning the volume up on your anger, you twist the knife by ostensibly praising someone (or something) while you’re actually mocking them.

This gets you into the habit of saying one thing and meaning another. This is a critical skill for writing comedic copy.

It also enables you to take your anger in the moment, and all those exaggerated feelings, and turn them into something funny and positive, rather than just have a depressing winge that nobody enjoys.

Letters like this (if they’re genuinely funny and not overly angry/bitter/scathing) can go viral and can lead to a response from whomever you are annoyed with. Bonus!

So start using the “Letter of hate” experiment today!

Character Matters

I’m proud of what my Facebook Community, Charm Offensive, has become. I love the types of content people submit. It’s become the unusual, amusing, ‘pattern interrupting’ place I wanted it to be. I enjoy the blend of topics that are discussed.

We cover cold pitching, sales, copywriting, advertising, growth hacking and tribe building with a focus on pattern interruption; showing people how to stand out out using creativity, honesty, humour and disarming candour. This is quite the weird niche we’ve carved out!

A lot of folks ask me what makes some groups successful and others flop.

There’s a lot of different factors.

I think first and foremost, character matters.

Everyone has content. We are drowning in it. We choose to listen to people that are interesting and do things differently.

Here are a few of the folks that I think are good examples of folks that do a good job at standing out from the crowd.

Colin Theriot from The Cult Of Copy helps other copywriters and ‘demystifies’ that particular world. His advice goes against what many others suggest, telling people they don’t have to ‘hand copy’ sales letters from the 70s to become competent. He will often engage in lively discussions with people on all manner of topics, showing his writing (and persuasion) chops in the process.

Josh Fetcher from Badass Marketers and Founders gives away his best knowledge. We all know that most lead magnets often aim to educate while not providing all the pieces of the jigsaw. Conversely, Josh doesn’t even ask for an opt-in. When he discovers something, he not only tells you about it, he gives you a point by point Google doc, explicitly explaining every part of the process. He also posts frequently about his failures and infrequently about his successes.

Katya Varbanova from Livestream Marketing for Entrepreneurs is hard to ignore. She is ambassador for the format of live streaming. She is blunt, telling people that live streaming is not an instant route to riches. She practices what she preaches/pitches. She started with 0 followers and used live streaming exclusively to grow her brand. She has many others, but she herself is perhaps her best case study.

Ben Settle is a guy that Colin pointed out to me when I first started my group. He doesn’t care if he offends you. He’d rather be loved and hated than have everyone have a lukewarm opinion of him. At first I didn’t like Mr Settle. Now I see that was perhaps deliberate. He forces you to make a decision about him quite early on. His talent for writing and his demonstrable success allows keeps people tuning in. (Heads up: I’ll be interviewing Mr Settle on November 3rd at 9pm UK time.)

Dan Meredith started Coffee with Dan to keep himself accountable. Now he helps thousands keep themselves accountable. Dan’s honesty about his personal life and frame of mind is refreshingly honest. We often see people’s highlight reel but not their ‘behind the scenes’. Dan shows both. This helps inspire other folks with similar troubles to take action. Dan is an absolute beast when it comes to creating content, and challenging people to improve their lives. His group frequently appears at the top of “Best Facebook Groups” lists and with good reason.

Vin Clancy and Charlie Price from Traffic & Copy are not an obvious team. They are different ages, have different areas of expertise and different backgrounds and personalities. But it works. It also shows that having a ‘whacky’ group name isn’t important. It is far more important to deliver great content consistently.

Having a unique angle and/or hook does help. I combined cold pitching and humour. The pinned post for the group introduces a funny (and true) story about how I wrote a cold email when I was drunk, that lead to meetings with some of the world’s largest brands. I included screenshots showing the kinds of responses I got from my drunken cold emails. People like stories. They also like to share cool places they’ve found with their peers. Without my funny story, I don’t doubt my group wouldn’t have grown nearly as fast.

I hope the examples above help you think about potential ideas for your own engaged tribe.

I’ll be posting here more often should this blog get engagement. If you’d like more free content, make a comment. It’ll give the the dopamine hit I need to write more of these posts.



Podcasts I’ve been on

Hey folks,

Wanna hear me say words?


Excellent. Check out the podcast appearances below.

The McMethod –

The Truth About Marketing with Kevin Rogers –

The Unconventionalists with Mark Rustle –

LinkedInformed with Mark Williams –

The Sales Evangelist with Donald Kelly –

City AM with Emma Haslett –

Happy listening!



How to get the attention of your dream clients

It’s hard to get the attention of senior decision makers at the world’s most famous companies. They are inundated with people vying for their attention.

Many of these are your competitors who may have fancier officers, ostensibly better case studies, bigger client names and other advantages of scale.

These advantages are by no means insurmountable.

You can tackle this by employing ‘predatory thinking’. Dave Trott explains this with the story below:

“There’s the story of two explorers walking through the jungle.
Suddenly they hear a tiger roar.

One explorer sits down and takes a pair of running shoes out of his back pack.

“You’re crazy, you’ll never out run a tiger” says the other explorer.

“I don’t have to out run the tiger” he replies.

“I just have to out run you.””

Creativity is the last legal unfair advantage over the competition and you should abuse it with reckless abandon.

So let’s look at the problem…

Senior decision makers at large brands often have a ‘filter’ for cold pitches.

They cannot possibly dedicate much of their time to looking at messages from strangers.

One way of breaking through this is to be creative. Use unusual lumpy mail, cold email or some combination of this. You can be novel, entertaining and/or interesting.

Another way of breaking through this is brute force. Dan Meredith talked about this in our Pitch Perfect webinar. Sheer persistence works. You can out-work the competition.

The third way is both cunning, and lazy.

I call it “The Charming Opening Letter Technique”

Instead of trying to penetrate the senior prospects sales firewall, you penetrate their ‘intimate circle’ instead. (Lol.)

You can generate a response using equal parts charm and well… peer pressure.

This works better for creative agencies/professionals, but I can see it working elsewhere too.

Here’s the process:

1. Develop a (hopefully compelling) idea for a company.

2. Write an ‘open letter’ as a blog post. Write why you love their brand, their mission and your ideas for them. If you can, try to make this light-hearted, funny and endearing.

3. Add a polite request in the blog post for their colleagues to forward your blog post to the right department/person. (They may end up knocking on their office door and telling them about it face to face…)

4. Make your ask and sugar coat it “We’d love to take you for coffee, lunch or tequila shots. We’ll even give you more ideas of varying quality you’re free to humour or steal as your own!”

5. Put your email address and phone number – make it easy for them to get in contact with you.

6. Create a LinkedIn Ad targeting all or a segment of the employees of that company – directing people to your post. (I used to suggest Facebook ads for this, but it looks like the employer targeting isn’t possible anymore, at least in my 30 second attempt…)

7. Alternatively (or in addition), you can cold message more junior employees at your client’s company with a link to the blog post.

You can be quite specific with LinkedIn Ads. I just set up a sample campaign where I’m targeting Red Bull employees in the USA who work in the marketing department. LinkedIn tells me this targets around 600 people.

Amongst those 600 people, you can guarantee that someone is going to have a conversation about you. You can be sure of that much…

If your letter and idea is good enough, you are likely to get a response from your target.

Even if you don’t, someone else at the company will likely get in touch. You have your ‘in’. BOOM!!!

A few side points:

1. Try to be specific with who you want to get in touch with. When dealing with big brands, never make assumptions. For example, many big brands often have multiple Marketing Directors. The same is true for other senior roles.

2. Include a video of you and your team in the blog post. This makes getting a response even more likely. It’s the closest thing to getting a meeting – you can even joke “This would be a lot more fun if it were a 2-way conversation…”


Do let me know how you get on with this…

Happy Friday folks,


Writing a book

I’m going to have an ugly first draft done of my book, “Have Your Way With Words” on the 24th September.

I hit on something when I launched my Facebook Group at the end of March this year. There’s plenty of resources and courses and books on sales copywriting. There’s less material available on how to use words to introduce yourself in a way that stands out and compels a response.

The advent of the Internet has made it easier than ever to contact busy people. Getting your message read and responded to is another matter entirely. Most resources focus on communication and persuasion, leaving out the crucial first step, getting attention.

You don’t need bells and whistles. As one person once said in response to one of my letters, “Another agency sent me a jumbo packet of chocolate biscuits. I can’t even remember their name… Your letter was captivating and made me laugh. This is worth far more than biscuits.”

There is a style of writing that is disarming and endearing and I believe it to be teachable.

There is a framework for the type of humour that works when making an ‘ask’. There are rules of thumb and formulas that one can follow, without having to pretend you’re someone you’re not.

I’m still piecing together the exact outline. I want to write a book that is accessible to everyone. A “mainstream” book.

The right words in the right order to the right people can get you anywhere in life. I want to help people find those words. I want to give people the tools to change their life for the better. But most of all, I want to be able to tell people I’m a published author. 🙂