Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Sana A Ahmed, Strategist & Ideator. The interview awas like on her Twitter Spaces she hosted. The subject was one that I have lived as a freelance financial copywriter:
- Selling the golden dream of wealth and riches, and
- Monetising my life
Because the interview as over two hours long, I had a transcript made that you could read and skim through.
During the interview you’ll learn how I got in the business, how I approach projects, and the kind of success I have had. All of which forms the foundation of my Million-Dollar Copywriting Formula.
If you are new or a seasoned copywriter, I hope that you will find it inspirational that you, too, can rise to the top of the A-List.
All good wishes,
Doug D’Anna, Copywriter and Creator of The Million-Dollar Copywriting Formula
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Sana: All right. Welcome, welcome, welcome, everyone. I’m super excited for today’s call. I just like to start off really small, with the small talk. We’re going to start with the foggy weather in Boston, it’s super foggy here. But besides the fact that it’s foggy, I hope you’re as energetic as I am this morning. We’re really going to dive into some really interesting topics today. And I can’t believe that I got Doug D’ Anna to come on this call last minute, it’s just awesome.
And we’re going to get started in just a few. I just want to make sure that Doug can come into this conversation, hmm. All right. What we’ll be doing though is once we get Doug in here, we’re going to be going through a bunch of different questions, literally, around how to monetize your life, and how to sell your dreams. I’m not sure why he can’t get into this call, interesting. Hmm.
Let’s see. Why isn’t he able to come? There’s a glitch somehow. So Doug is telling me that he’s only able to see a reminder, and he’s not able to actually get in. So let’s see if I can troubleshoot on the backend. But if anybody wants to help me out and if you know Doug, can you send him a link to this call and see if he can get in from your link. That would be amazing. I’m just trying to send it to him, and it seems that he keeps seeing a reminder.
All right. Well, I want to keep you guys energized. Thank you so much for being here on a Friday morning. We are going to get started shortly once we get Doug into this space. But he still is clicking, and he’s going to the reminder. I wonder, Doug, if you have to shut down the app, and then restart it. Maybe it will work because this seems like a glitch. Thanks, Oz, for sending him the link. I really appreciate it. Awesome, awesome.
So while we’re trying to see, I’m back channeling with Doug. Let’s see if he can get in here. I hope you have your notebook and your pen ready because I love listening to Doug. We’re going to go through a bunch of questions, really not related. He’s super-specialized in talking to other copywriters, but I want to bring him on to talk to our audience. We’re a little bit more introspective, we’re trying to grow our personal brands.
We have a variety of different things that we want to do. But we’re passionate, and we want to monetize those passions. The only way, really, that you can do that is to really understand a few key pieces. One of the number one skills to acquire is going to be the one that Doug is going to be sharing with us today. So if you have any insights from this call, I want you to make sure you write them down. We’re going to have a really great conversation in just a few. If you want to take a second, DM me where you’re at. It’s a really chill conversation, I’m trying to open up the backchannel for my community and for my friends. I want to get to know you a little bit better. I think we got Doug here. I’m going to bring you up to co-host, Doug. If you want, DM me where you are in the world and tell us how you’re feeling with emojis. Doug, I brought you up as a co-host, I’m going to try it again. Let me add you as a speaker first. Hi, Doug. How are you?
Doug: Hey, great. I finally made it in. I kept pressing the button, and I kept going back to the reminder.
Sana: Oh, my gosh. It looked like a glitch. And on my side too, it said, “Reminder.” And I thought if I send it again, maybe it’ll switch. But I’m glad that whatever happens– did you have to shut down your phone and come back?
Doug: I just canceled the Twitter app.
Sana: Okay. Yes, sometimes, that helps and works for me too because it can be a little glitchy sometimes. It kicked me out one time, and nobody did that. I’m just glad that you’re here. But I’m just warming a few people up here and getting them excited about this conversation. I’m very excited about this conversation. I feel like when we think about the number one skill to have and you talk about having a license to print money, this is something that is just going to excite a lot of people and open them up to thinking about how they want to monetize what they love doing.
I just want to give a shout-out to our friends here. Noel, hi. Jeff, thank you for being here. Oz, Jeremy, I see Anyo. I see Mark here. Mark is one of my topmost listeners. I appreciate you, Mark. All right. If you want to keep engaged in this call– I just want to give a little bit of a setup before we actually start. If you want to engage with me or with Doug, I want to make sure that I have Doug really present for this call.
So, if you have a question, please DM me in the backchannel. DM me a question that you have for Doug, and maybe, we can get you up here or ask it for you live. And if you are feeling anything that Doug is saying, give him an emoji. I want him to feel like there’s something resonating with you, guys. So make sure you have a finger on those emojis.
All right, guys, we’re going to get started here. So I want to welcome you to this call, “How to Sell Your Dreams and Monetize Your Life.” My name is Sana. I’m a brand consultant turned content creator. And what I’m basically here for is, I want to get into the mind of Doug and his life experiences. Doug D’ Anna is literally a copy legend. He’s generated over $100 million in online and offline sales. And now, he’s teaching high-level conversion strategies for copywriters, but specifically, he’s apparently the biggest copywriting god there is on emails, funnels, video, sales letters, and landing pages. I’m just really pleased to have you here, Doug.
And for those who don’t know, I’m in a community with the art of purpose. And Doug D’Anna was on yesterday, going in and chatting about stuff that he’s done on Twitter. And I think you’re utilizing Twitter in a really, really cool way, Doug. So I just want to give you an amazing warm welcome here for being on this call. So welcome, Doug. How are you doing?
Doug: Hey, I’m doing great. Thank you very much. I always like to try to reflect every day at the beginning to count my blessings that put me in a place to be on this call. I’m so blessed that I found something that I could do, and I was really good at it. Essentially, I worked from home, I typed the letters for a living, I got paid like an author. I took my kids to and from school, went to jiu-jitsu at lunch, picked them up, coached their sports, went to the grocery store, bought food and made sure there was something on the table when my wife got home from her work, and started it every day. I wasn’t in a commute. I didn’t have to go to an office. I walked downstairs. I went for a run in the morning. I have totally had a great career working from home as a copywriter. And I worked from home as a copywriter, number one, before people worked from home.
I was afraid to run out in the afternoon because they didn’t know what the retired neighbors would think, “What’s this guy doing?” I was a copywriter before anybody knew what a copywriter was. And my clients were all over the country. And my buddy, Bob, worked at a Body Shop. He says, “Can’t they find somebody who’s down the street?” And I said, “Well, apparently not. Apparently, I’ve got some specialized skill set.” And we would laugh about it. And I said, “Yes, I’m on these conference calls with these big, powerful people in Washington and New York, and wherever they were located. And I’m sitting in my garage office, and I’m giggling to myself, they’re listening to me.” So no, I had a great career. And you’ll find that when you achieve a certain level of success, you feel a compelling need to give back.
Sana: Wow. That’s amazing.
Doug: You want to help people. You feel like you want to help other people because– I go to jiu-jitsu at lunch. And I’m standing there with a guy I work out with, who happens to be a priest. I’ll lean into him and put my head on his shoulder because he’s bigger than me. And I’ll say, “Dude, man, it doesn’t get any better than this,” as we see the cars all driving up and down the main highway, not knowing where these people are going, or what they’re doing, or maybe they’re traveling on their journey to some office with some awful boss, doing work that’s just unfulfilling. And I didn’t have that journey. In a way, sometimes, you feel a little bit guilty about it but on another level, it was something that you did, and you earned it. And I wish the same successes for everybody else.
Sana: That’s amazing, Doug. I appreciate that. I love this message, I’m so in line with it. And there’s something about what you’re saying about doing a lot of the work, and then you want to give back. We’re going to definitely dive into how you switch from being a service provider to more of an educator and a coach, but I just want to preface everyone here. When you listen to Doug, he’s got a lot of experience and storytelling. And I want you to lean in to what he’s saying. It’s different when you listen to somebody who’s really, really experienced. And if you have a question, make sure you DM me what that is, so we can see if we can bring you up here, or at least ask it live.
But Doug, to start this conversation off, what’s the most controversial professional opinion you’ve got over how long you’ve been in work for as a copywriter? I want to know because a lot of us, when we start to get into understanding who somebody is, they usually start to catch our attention, and most of us are very introspective, we’d like to lean into our guest speakers. So do you have a strong opinion, something controversial, that you’ve adopted over the experience that you’ve had as a copywriter that you could share with us, as you know it’s the truth, and we can dig in?
Doug: That’s such a broad subject, and it brings to mind many things. The first thing that it brings to mind is having a code, a code that you live by.
Sana: Oh, my goodness. I really want to know more now, please.
Doug: Well, the number one code is, I treat people like they’re important. Everybody is important. I don’t screw people over. I do more than what’s expected. I appreciate people for who they are. Sometimes, I’m a little bit less appreciative of them. Maybe their mother appreciates them, and I appreciate the fact that they’ve got a mother. But yes, I have a code, a code to live by. You don’t screw people over. You treat people fairly. You do the right thing.
Have I always done the right thing? No, but I certainly do the right thing now. I think the difference can be spelled out when you’re 10 or 11 years old. You go and buy a candy bar, and you give them a $20, and they give you $17 back, and the $20. You walk away and you keep the 20 because you’re 10 or 11 years old. When you get a little bit older, you go, “Hey, you miscounted here.” And you hand the money back. You do the right thing. You do the right thing.
I’ll give you a good example. For a while, I sold real estate. I had a hard time connecting with people. I was really good at marketing, and I could get listings. I wasn’t really good at doing open houses, and then trying to pretend I actually liked somebody, and then transitioning from being their friend to actually trying to separate them from their money. And that’s all I thought about, which was awful. How do I separate people from their money, which was why I was not so good.
But when it came to copywriting, my selfishness toward myself was what made me good, and what made it easy because I was doing a good job for me, and they got to benefit from that because my name is attached to everything I do. So when I send you my copy, it’s got to be good. And it’s good for me, and it’s good for you. So I don’t know how that comes across. But you get my best work, not because of you, because my name’s attached to it. And anything that says Doug D’ Anna, better be good. Does that make sense?
Sana: That makes total sense. This is something that I dive into with the topic of personal philosophy that when you have values; when you really understand what they are, you’ve defined them for yourself, you’re not just taking a dictionary definition, or you’re taking a definition of what you’ve adopted as that value, you turn it into a code for yourself. And when you have about, let’s say five to ten, three to eight, it depends on how strong and philosophical you can get around these different values. They end up being a code for your life. And some of the most principled people, some of the most amazing people have had codes in their lives.
And I love this message, and I love that you started that off with this because to me, if you want to sell your dreams to other people, you don’t want to be the only one talking about them, and you actually want to make a living doing this, you have to live by a code. And I love that you were talking about this level of excellence that you devote to that, whenever anybody experiences you, that is going to be really high quality, and you know it’s going to be really high quality, and you’re not really going to do anything less than that. Am I right, Doug?
Doug: Yes, 99.9% right. I do have 1%, that’s 100% flawed.
Sana: I love this.
Doug: I’ll tell you exactly what that flaw is. You’ll find a lot of typos and omitted words in my copy that I post on Twitter because I don’t hire a proofreader anymore. When I was working for other people, I hired a proofreader. For me, it’s okay. I’m at a point where– I’ll be honest with you, we’ve sent out promotions that had things that were printed wrong upside down. Sometimes, they outperformed the perfect. That’s another thing that you need to do when you learn about selling and copywriting. You have to admit a flaw because admitting a flaw makes you believable. Good example. An old ad that John Caples had written in his Tested Advertising Methods, I’m not sure what the ad was for but the ad was “How to Fix Any Car.” It didn’t do as well as “How to Fix Almost Any Car.” Feel the difference?
Sana: Yes, yes.
Doug: That was the almost perfect stock.
Sana: It feels like it’s more believable.
Doug: So if you go to my YouTube channel, you’ll see that I have a little video I made on my general copywriting philosophy that’s led to my Million-Dollar Copywriting Formula. I call it The Bridge to Your Breakthrough. It’s a graphic that shows a bridge over two sides of a river. It says, “The bridge to your breakthrough begins at your customer side of the river based on what they want and what they believe.” It’s supported by your argument, your benefits, and your proof. If they don’t want it, they’re not buying. If they don’t believe you, they’re not buying. Okay. So now, they want it, and they believe you. Now, you have to provide the reasons why they’re going to walk down the yellow brick road with you to get to see the wizard and take a step behind the paywall now.
It brings me to what we’re really going to talk to you about, which is selling your dreams and monetizing your life. That’s important to discuss because everybody is on this call because they were attracted to the thought of “Hey, man, that’s what I want to do. How do I sell my dreams and monetize my life?” You are listening in right now to hear what Doug D’ Anna has to say. You’re going to last as long as you can to see if I have your attention, your interest, your desire, your action. This is a demonstration of what copywriting can do for you. It’s really salesmanship in print. If you’ve got an idea, if you’ve got a dream, and you want to monetize your life, you can do it.
So you’re probably sitting there thinking, “Hey, what do I do?” I don’t know. You got to begin, number one, believing. You got to believe in yourself. You got to believe that what you have to offer has value. You need to sit down and write down what those values are. “Hey, I can show people how to put money in envelopes and get them to mail it to you.” There’s a lot of talks and they have a lot of money for that. You need to learn the same skill as well, not overnight, but over time. I had written on my profile before that I was a black belt in judo, jiu-jitsu, and copywriting.
Oh, I failed to mention that it was a 12-year journey to get the black belt in judo, and a 13-year journey to get one in jiu-jitsu, practicing on the mat, grinding over and over again. Now, I don’t grind as much anymore with the copywriting or this because you get a vision, you see what you’re selling. I know all of this is theoretical. I want everybody to walk away from this Space today, not just feeling great but knowing how to take direct action in the pursuit of their dreams. That’s where I want to begin.
Sana: I love this, Doug. This actually brings to mind some of the things that you talk about. Some of your tweets are just so good. I’m going to actually place a few up the top, and we’re going to dive into them a little bit. But one of them, and I’ve seen this quite often, is like a meme. You say, “Copywriting gives you the license to print money.” I’ve heard this like saying,, “License to Kill” where you’re a secret agent. You’re able to do jiu-jitsu or be James Bond, but when I heard that, it just felt like it’s such an amazing saying. I could actually see how that works, that words have so much to do with how somebody will feel and feel comfortable with what it is that you’re trying to sell.
You brought up a couple of different points, too. One of them, when you were saying that you went from being a service provider, and you built up this expertise in copywriting, and this is what you’re sharing now with others to build that up in themselves, how did speaking to the audience change? I’m asking this because a lot of us here, number one, either have jobs, right? We talk to our bosses in a certain way. We know how to speak to our colleagues in a certain way to get things moving. We have leadership skills. On the other hand, a lot of us are solopreneurs, one-person business, and we’re taking our skills either in freelancing, consulting, or whatever have you, a coach.
The audience is different and you’re trying to get clients. I feel like for a lot of my friends here in the audience and for just a lot of the people who follow me and who want to learn to monetize their unique edge, they find that they have to start to find an audience outside of these places, outside of your job, outside of just searching for a client. How did you go from talking about service providing as an agent, as a consultant, as a copywriter to then being an educator? How did you make that shift? Because it’s a different audience, right?
Doug: I have had a number of, what I would call, divine interventions in my life. They’re just simply getting out of your chair and walking over and sitting in another one. That’s how simple it was. In order to tell that story, I need to back up a little bit and mention that in the course of my copywriting career, I didn’t just write for investment newsletters and health newsletters. One day, one of my publishers said, “Hey, are you interested in writing in the success motivation field?” I said, “I don’t know.: He goes, “Well, I can get a hold of a list of five million names, purchasers of success courses.” I said, “Oh, that piqued my interest,” because I get a nickel royalty for every direct mail piece that went out. So if you do the math, five million times five cents, is that 250,000, or is it 500,000? I can’t think.
Sana: I’m not really good at math here, so you’d have to say it slowly. so I could enter it in the calculator, but that seems like a lot of money though.
Doug: Yes. By the way, I need to explain something, as a copywriter, if this is your first time listening to me. There are copywriters all over the world. Some of them work for corporations. If you look up on Upwork, or Yourwork, or whatever it is, and they’re looking for somebody they pay $65,300 a year or $75,200 a year. If you’re a creative director, you maybe make $120,000 a year. You’re sitting in a box and maybe you’re writing things as irrelevant as brochures or flyers. I was in investment newsletters and they pay you like an author.
So I would work once and I would get paid over and over again. So with my first big breakout ad, I made a quarter of a million dollars over three years. I made millions of dollars just based on my ability to write a letter, a sales letter. Essentially, it gets expanded to a direct mail package, that gets expanded into a magazine infomercial, that gets expanded into a video sales letter, webinar, summit conference. So I know the name of the game is put the money in the envelope, and you are selling something.
When the gentleman said, “Are you interested in writing it, and you’re the guru?” I said, “Yes.” You see, I’d actually, already written one for a motivational speaker named Dr. Dennis Wheatley for a newsletter that, unfortunately, didn’t sell. But that taught me how to speak to an audience. In fact, the name of the magalog was, “Discover How Rewarding Your Life Can Be When You Awaken the Leader in You”
“Inside: The most powerful leadership skill you already possess that’ll rally the troops behind you. Instant way to command the respect of your co-workers, employees, and bosses, and win others to your thinking. How to see company cutbacks as an opportunity to position yourself as totally indispensable. Foolproof secrets that’ll put you in the running for every promotion and make you that perfect person for the job that you really want and how to balance your work and family life, so you can enjoy more free time and fun. Twenty minutes is all I need to bring out the unbeatable winner in you.” That’s where I learned how to talk to people.
Sana: It’s amazing. There’s just so much in this, and I feel when you – oh, 250k. Thanks, Oz. He said that adds up to $250,000. This is so amazing because there’s this insight into this skill that we could actually adopt. But something about this here, I want to be mindful of. Doug, I feel like you got lucky picking one of the highest ROI skills there is, right? And a lot of us don’t have that skill, and we’re starting to learn it. There are mindset blocks around being able to talk in this way, right? So if you could share a little bit more of how you found this passion because I know you said in yesterday’s conversation with the Art of Purpose that you like to talk a lot, you like to share stories, that you’re a talkative person.
But then, you found out you were really good at copywriting. How did you find that out? I’m wondering if that’s something that our audience here could probably dive into and see if they could take away. Because I know for a ton of people that I’ve talked to in the backchannel, there’s just some mindset blocks around being able to be that person who says the things that you’re saying right now, that even makes me excited, that makes me lean in like, “Oh, what are you going to do in 25 years?” like, “Wow, that was awesome. So is that something that you could dive into, Doug?
Doug: Let me just see if I can just conceptualize what you’re saying because a couple of things that popped into my mind about “Hey, how did I discover that I was really good at this?” Well, it was overtime. We all walk through the path of life, like right at the beginning, “Hey, what do copywriters charge?” “How much am I supposed to charge for this?” In the beginning, I didn’t know. I can tell a quick story of working for one of first– the very first employer I had was a high school friend who hired me as his marketing director.
One day, he says, “Hey, let’s do some direct mail.” And I said, okay, because I was just making flyers and newspaper ads. He says, “See this Kipling’s, your letter, why don’t you knock it off?” And I said, “Okay.” That quote would be my first introduction to what a swipe file is, not knowing what a swipe file was.
So I spent two weeks writing that letter and rewriting it. Then after two weeks, he looked at it and says, “Eh, not strong enough. Go back and do it again.” Okay. Keep that in mind. Whoever you work for, they’ll probably say, it’s not strong enough, do it again, it goes with the territory.
So I finished the letter, took it to the post office. We mailed it out. I went to the printers, and there was a book called Direct Marketing. I stole the book. In the back, it had the Direct Marketing Creative Guild that I joined. And it showed ads from other people, who were copywriters, who were selling their ability to write a sales letter. Remember, this was back in the Stone Age, when there wasn’t an internet. So I actually went to a meeting of the Direct Marketing Creative Guild, joined, got the list of the members, started smiling and dialing, sending samples out for a woman at First Savings Deposit Bank.
Finally, after not returning my calls for a month or two, after I sent my samples– keep in mind, you will hear no more than you hear yes. It’s okay. You just keep going. Nos are like stepping stones. We meet for lunch. And she says, “How much to write this two-page letter and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?” I told the story so many times. I’m sure someone in the audience could repeat it. I couldn’t even look her in the eyes. “Forty bucks an hour,” I thought. I mean, what do copywriters get paid? Then she says, “How long will it take you to do it?” I didn’t know how long it takes to write a two-page letter, I remember I spent a month on the other one, and I ask what? That’s 10 hours?” And she put a hand on my shoulders and said, “But only in 15 hours, 500 bucks.” And I said, “Okay.”
And I walked out onto the street, Sansom Street. I looked up at the heavens. The clouds had parted. The sun was in my face. I dropped my hands to the ground, and I looked up to the heavens and I said, “Five hundred buck to write a two-page letter? I’m getting in the letter-writing business.” Then I found out they’re paying their ad agency five grand. “Whoa, hmm, let’s find out about that.”
On the same list was a company called Target Publishing. We live with Target Publishing, I’d sent some samples to them. He saw that I could write to four-page letters. He needed 4, 6, 8m 12, 14, 24, 32-page letters and gave me a shot writing inserts for their newsletters. An insert is known as a ride-along. So let’s say, you get your paper newsletter in the mail. You open it and read it, and there is an ad attached to it. I was writing the ads for other newsletter promotions. For their customers, they were selling the space, too. I was the guy who executed it. That was the defining moment of how I got into that space. But I was only getting paid 200 bucks a day. And I wasn’t working on the big projects. I said, “Well, how come I don’t work on the big projects?” “Because you don’t have a track record.” I go, “What about all this other stuff I’ve written?” They go, “We need real experience.” I’m like, “Okay.”
I left the business and got back in the business. But one of the things the publisher had given me was the contracts for some big money players in New York, DC, and Florida. They were getting 15 grand, 20 grand, and 25 grand plus royalties of up to a nickel. I wanted in that game. So, when I started, I got back in the business, and I went to my newsletter directory of publishers. I started sending samples, smiling, and dialing. Then I sold each person a $1,500-package, $3,500-package, $6,500. That was for consumer reports. Oh, man, I was in a fetal position writing that one because I knew it was going to be the biggest one of my career with a name, my consumer reports. Oh, man, I wrote and rewrote that thing over and over.
Then at the end of the year, I got an opportunity with Phillips Publishing, InvestorPlace now. It paid me $10,000 to write this magalog. I asked about a royalty, and he said, “Ah, no royalty on first-time writers.”
I would write the copy. I would fax it to him. He would make his edits. I’d rewrite it back and forth. At the end, I would overnight them the CD. When it was finally completed, I sent it out, and I asked for a testimonial. He says, “No testimonials if it doesn’t sell.” Oh, well, let me tell you something. It did sell, it sold like gangbusters. It launched my career. $250,000, 25 million pieces over three years, unbeatable.
That’s when I knew I had something because the next one I wrote, I made a 100 grand off of. Along the way, I had worked with a publisher, who actually let somebody knock off one of my promos. A knockoff is what we’d call a derivative version. So let’s just say, you’re working with the guy who writes the Rich Dad Poor Dad book. So you come up with a new headline. Then you rewrite everything. It’s just a derivative version of it, it’s like a rip-off. And I got ripped off. It’s the worst feeling in the whole world. I’ll tell you exactly what happened.
I saw somebody because I just couldn’t bear this. It was worse than being left at the San Francisco Marathon with no ride home from a client. So I got a neutral language that I could speak through. I gave the publisher three options. They could pay me a full royalty, I could sue the other writer, or I no longer work for them. And I let it out there. I’m like, “Oh, my god, I’m working with this huge company.” It didn’t matter what happened. I felt good about what I’d said. A week later, he came back and offered to pay me a royalty on 1.7 million pieces at a penny each with 17 grand to keep me working for them. That’s when I realized, whoa, |I tell somebody I’m not working for them anymore, and they are going to give me money, I have power.” That’s when I realized I needed a contract. That’s when I learned that I needed to own the copy. That’s when I learned that I needed to have a contract that spelled out damages, audit, and what court we were going to settle these disputes in. And that, I hope, wasn’t too long of a story. But if you said, “When did you know that you had it?” Step by step.
And I also realized something else. When you worked for one of these big publishers, they weren’t giving your name out, they didn’t let their competition know who their writers were because you were just like a songwriter. It would be like, “Am I going to be writing songs for Berry Gordy at Motown, or am I going to be writing them for Clive Davis across the street?” Certainly, Berry Gordy doesn’t want to give your name out to Clyde Davis. So I had a lot of money because of that. I hope that wasn’t too long of a story.
Sana: No, Doug. I just want to summarize a lot of the key lessons in what you shared from the beginning to the end. I think the biggest keyword in this is persistence. Throughout the phases of how you were working or how you discovered the love of this, it came down to persistence. It started off with a passion, it started off with interest, and you’re asking how much you charge. “I don’t know.” But you don’t know how good you are. You don’t know where you stack up among other writers. But what you did was you got the reps in, even when people were saying, “It’s not good enough,” you said, “Okay.” You brought it back, you got those reps in constantly, and you were okay with hearing no.
Because the big thing for me when I was going into business was that it would feel like the world was against me because I would get a no during a sales call or I’d feel like somebody didn’t like me. And I took it personally rather than– I took it as a validation that I shouldn’t be in business rather than just rolling with the punches. So what helped was getting a business coach and navigating through those feelings. I really love that—that lesson you brought up.
Then you found out other people were getting paid a lot, right? Then that’s where you were getting contracts to play with the big players, and that’s where all of the cool stuff happens. When you start to get exposed to other people with what it is that you’re doing and they’re giving you these opportunities, but then there’s also the point where you’re so into it that something potentially could happen, like you get ripped off. And that’s actually a key thing that I talk about in thought leadership with IP because if you don’t control and protect it, then somebody else has it. Then it’s your knowledge gained over this long period of time, that no one else could have taught you except yourself, that is gone in an instant. Somebody else is capitalizing on it.
So something that really stood out was making sure that you find ways to protect yourself because you’ve gotten to a place that, obviously, you know you’re good in. People are giving you jobs, and they’re wanting to copy you. But I love this step-by-step story, and all of us here, regardless if we’re not into copywriting or not, whatever it is that you are into, that step-by-step nature you’re talking about, that persistence quality you’re talking about, that’s how you monetize your life, right? You believe in yourself, you believe in those dreams enough, and you follow this guideline of looking where the money’s at, trying to keep your eyes peeled. This actually–
Doug: You know what? I’d like–
Sana: –leads me to another question. Oh, go ahead, Doug.
Doug: Keep your eyes peeled. I can connect the dots of my entire life, of the success that I had. I can come back to certain defining moments. And one defining moment has nothing to do with copywriting. It has to do with the journey. How did I get to sit in the chair that I’m at today when I do my spaces for my hot tub in the morning? How did I get there? One could say, it was when my buddy Steve called me and said, “Hey, why don’t you come up to Skyline instead of CSM and join the wrestling team with me?” I said, “Okay. So I went up to the Skyline Wrestling Team, which was great. But while I was at Skyline College, I was sitting in a class one day, and a gentleman comes into the classroom and says, “My name is Don.” I don’t know what his last, I forgot his last name. “I’m in the Co-op Ed Department.” And I said, “Oh.” He said, “My job is to get you a job and whatever you want to get. Come to my office and see me.”
You’ll never believe what I did. I got out of my chair and went to see him. I said, “Hey, I want to be a rock and roll recording engineer.” He said, “Okay.” So he called a place called SAG, Screen Actors (and Extras) Guild, to get the telephone number of IATSE, the technicians’ union. I asked him what SAG said. He told me that he was a member. He had his portfolio, He’d done movies. He’d been in print ads. He’d worked as an extra. He had some speaking roles. I said, “No, [expletive].” I was amazed. Then I said, “Hey, can you help me get into that? How do I get into it?” He goes, “Well, you need an agent.” “Well, how do I get one?” And he told me. I went, “Can you help me?” And he said, “Yes.”
Together, we wrote a letter and sent a picture. I was 20, but I looked like a high school kid. I wrote a simple letter that said, “Hey, I want to be a technician and work as an extra. Well, let me see stuff up close.” And guess what. I got a call to work on a movie. Then I got a call to work on another movie. From there, I joined the union. Connect the dots, jump a few years, and I’m working on a movie. I meet a guy who’s a singer in a band. He plays at a restaurant. He asked me what I’m doing. And I’m saying, “Well, I’m a concert promoter’s assistant in San Diego State. I had an internship with Bill Graham Presents.” “Because this restaurant needs you. You need to call them.”
I did and I got that job. But it wouldn’t happen if my buddy, Steve, didn’t say, “Why don’t you come to Skyline College?” It wouldn’t happen if I didn’t get out of my chair and walk over to see that gentleman at co-op ed. It wouldn’t happen if I didn’t say, “Hey, can you help me?” And he did. So many times, the opportunity was, “Hey, if I didn’t steal that Direct Marketing magazine and open the back, if I didn’t pick up the phone and find out about that meeting, if I didn’t attend that meeting, if I didn’t make a telephone call, none of this stuff would have happened. So I don’t know where everybody on this call is, and I don’t know how many people are here, but I know one thing. I want you to all look down at your feet because that’s where you’re at right now. You got to make a decision where you want to be.
And I’ll tell you. There was this one woman, the first one who hired me for direct mail at First Savings Deposit Bank. I’ll never forget her name, Lorna. She said, “Where do you see yourself?” And I go, well, I would love to be a consultant and fly around and talk to people.” Well, I guess I sort of made it happen, I’m just not doing the flying around. So that’s when you talk about persistence and opportunity. If somebody said, “Hey, there’s $5 on the ground over there. Well, why don’t you just walk over and get it?” It can be that simple.
And I don’t know what your dream is, but I know you can get paid over and over for whatever it is you’re already doing now. And it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. You can monetize your life. If you’re a carpenter, if you’re a taxi cab driver, instead of driving taxi, you could start Uber, like that one guy did. If you’re an architect, why not sell your designs? If you’re a janitor, hire people to work for you. If you’re a homemaker, maybe you got recipes to sell. If you’re in sales, if you have a sales system, a telephone script, you can sell it. There are many things that you can do. You just got to believe in yourself. You got to write it up. If you can’t write it up, then you hire somebody to write it up. Then you got to sell it. That’s where somebody like me comes in.
Sana: I love this, Doug. This is just such a great message. It’s the drive that I have in me to keep going and make sure I get those touchpoints in with others that will naturally progress me forward. I love this message so much. But here’s the thing, too.
Doug: But there’s nothing easier.
Sana: There’s nothing easier?
Doug: No. All right, Kim Kardashian monetized her life just because she had a pretty face and was built differently than many other people. These reality stars, they’re monetizing their life that the Jersey Shore people were just a bunch of, probably, punks from New Jersey, who got on film, and they monetized their life. Now, people listen to them as if they’re gods. Why not you? Do you have a friend that calls you up for your advice? Raise your hand. People call me up and ask for my advice. Guess what. They’re calling you up for your advice because they believe in you. They think highly of you. The problem is that not enough people know who you are. You’ve got a traffic problem. You got a traffic problem. As JK Molina was saying, “an offer problem.” You need traffic, you need to get out in front of people, and you need to have an offer that’s going to help people. Those are the two things you need.
I didn’t say anything about confidence. JK was talking about one of the things that he was selling. He says, “On how to get a date with a girl, you got two problems. If you got a great offer, but you’re not talking to enough girls, well, you’re not going to make the sale. Or you have no offer and you’re talking to a lot of girls, so you’re not going to make a sale either. So what is it you want to do? Define it. And you say, “I don’t know what I want to do.” Okay? Then I can’t help you. You got to know what you want.
I have to laugh. When my kids were in college, I would always tell them, “If you’re going to date a girl in college, you want to date a nurse. He was like, “Why a nurse, Dad?” “Because the nurse knows what she wants.” He goes, “What does she want?” I said, “She wants to be a nurse versus getting a degree in international business or speech or something.” Anyway, I tend to ramble. I hope that helped.
Sana: It does. Yes. We’re going to get into this in even more detail. A lot of us in the audience are creators. We’re adopting creatorship as a means to find what it is that we love. I had a question from the audience asking, “How would a teacher looking to leave the field monetize the skill?” I find that that’s a very common question. Regardless of whether you’re a teacher, or you are working a nine-to-five job, or you’re a lawyer, or whatever it is, you turn to the internet, you turn to Twitter, or another platform to create around the passion that you have and to find how to talk about the thing that you really, really like. It’s an opportunity to just give yourself some space to figure it out. Doug, you were going to say something?
Doug: What subject?
Sana: Oh, I don’t know. Jeremy, if you want to tell me what subject you’re in for teaching, DM me. But that’s interesting because that goes back to what you were saying about monetizing what it is you’re doing right now. You have a skill in whatever it is you’re doing. You could branch that out into something else to possibly get paid for. This was actually one of my questions. If somebody is trying to figure out something to sell; if you don’t know what it is that you want to do; if you don’t know what you’re trying to sell, what do you do? What are the ways that you can figure out, “Okay, I know now I can possibly make some money off of this?”
Because the biggest barrier to some of us and some things that I’ve heard is picking something that’s profitable, picking a profitable niche, picking a profitable skill, picking a profitable market. It’s tough because you don’t necessarily know if you have a passion. Where is that market? What is that niche? How do you define that? It’s really hard for people up at the top or at the bottom to figure that out. Okay, he just DM-ed me. He says, “I taught five to seventh-grade science and kindergarten to fifth-grade gifted/talented students for 10 years. That was my favorite job.
Doug: Oh, okay. What you have to sell is bringing out the undiscovered talent in people because you’ve already taught gifted and talented students. That’s where people believe you. That’s where your track record was. The difference is, do you want to do that–? Everybody talks about scale. For example, I know this from being a parent. Everybody wants to see their kid succeed. Unfortunately, they always don’t get what they want from the school that they’re in.
What do they go out for and buy? A tutor. The tutors are… how much do you spend? Well, you might be able to get the college kid for $75 an hour. But if you want the person with all the credentials, they’re 150 or more an hour to prep your student, to bring out the best in them. How do you monetize that? It’s real simple. You start coaching people on how to get into college. You start coaching people, especially the business people, on how to bring out the best in themselves, like me. You already know me.
Sana: Okay. Is that how you did it though, Doug? Because actually, my other question is, you leveraged your level of copywriting, you got into copywriting. Then you turned it into a coaching business. You turned a career into educating people online.
Doug: Let me begin. Let me back up. That happened in 2005. You see, I went to a copywriting seminar by the great Gary Bencivenga, one of my competitors out of the top four people that I never beat. He stole my money every single day of the week. It was 5,000 bucks. I went there, flew to New York, and met a lot of people. In his promotion, he had written that I was one of his biggest competitors and the people were surrounding me as the next great thing. Another great copywriter, Clayton Makepeace had started copywriting, and coaching, and had actually interviewed me. You can find that interview on my website. But one day, I must have got three, four, five, or six emails from copywriters wanting me to train them and pay them. With each one, I got a little bit livid about it.
So I did the next best thing. I started to write a nasty letter. But the nasty letter really didn’t turn into a nasty letter, it turned into a motivational letter. As I was writing that motivational letter and let’s see if I can find it. Oh, tada! It’s great when you save everything on your computer. It turned into a motivational letter. That motivational letter turned into a course. At the end of the letter, I had a course, How to Sell Yourself as a Copywriter. Can I read a little bit to you?
Sana: Yes, please.
Doug: I said if you [inaudible 00:56:51] to make it as a freelance copywriter, then my special motivational message was written for you. “Dear future superstar, Now, that you’ve found me, I want you to know that I can relate to your struggle to make it as a copywriter. At one time, I was sitting where you are right now. You really want to make it. All you need is somebody to just give you a chance. On that note, I’d like to see you make it too. And I hope my special message today will help you rise to the next level. So let me see if I’ve got caught you where you’re at.
To the people whom you’ve been pitching to, have been telling you, “Your copy’s great.” Tragically, the jobs aren’t coming as fast as you’d like them to come. And you’ve been doing everything you’ve been taught to do. After all, you’ve bought all the books and taken all the courses. You’ve sent your perfectly worded direct mail and email. But you’ve called the marketing directors, the publishers, and other copywriters, all with no luck. So why is it that you can do everything right and it’s still hard to find work?
And the reasons are simple. You’re not selling yourself the right way. Your sales pitch shouts that you’re a newbie, and you haven’t properly identified what marketing directors, publishers, and copywriters really want. I know. I receive dozens of emails a week from new copywriters looking for work. All the writers who contact me, are making the same mistakes, mistakes that are simply sabotaging their chances of success. What am I speaking of?”
And then I go in for this 2,000-word letter. I’m not going to read the whole thing. That led to the How to Sell Yourself as a Copywriter, one-on-one coaching, that I priced high enough that nobody would sign up because I don’t want to tell anybody, no. Three people signed up for $2,500 for five hours. And here’s the funny part. I hadn’t written the course yet. I had to go out and write the course. I didn’t really market it. It was just there on my website that I could direct people to. I didn’t market it because why would I want to get paid–? I ultimately raised the price to $3500 to discourage more people, and they signed up because at that time, I was into what everybody talks about scaling. I was totally, only into writing ads that made me money over and over and over.
Look at it this way. The Beatles made records that made millions of dollars in recurring income. Joe DiMaggio made millions selling his signature. Bill Gates did become the richest man selling one copy of Windows. He sold one copy a million times. Tiger Woods made more money endorsing products than he did playing golf. I didn’t take on those people because I’d rather spend my time writing an ad that I got paid five times that amount for the hour. But when it came time to start freelancing, I gave that away with my one-on-one coaching. People ask me, “Why do you do one-on-one coaching? Why don’t you scale that, put it in a PDF?” Because everybody does that. I was sitting on a computer. I love people, I love talking to people.
I like one-on-one because that’s how I learned one-on-one. So you’re saying, “How did that transition to coaching?” It transitioned to if there’s one thing Doug knows more than anybody else, I know how to get a job, I know what to say, who to call, what to send, and how to follow up. If you wanted to know how it transitioned, it transitioned from all of the people writing me, which came after I wrote the Dr. Dennis Wheatley piece, which came before I had written the sales pitches for my motivational books that I wrote for another publishing company. So it all came together at one time. That’s how I wrote The 24-hour Cash Flow Miracle book and promotion, the License to Print Money book and promotion, the Recurring Riches book and promotion. Basically, in the promotions, you’re teaching people along the way, too. I hope I didn’t lose anything.
Sana: No. Doug, here’s the thing. Whenever you share a story, there are 5 to 10 different lessons in the story. Your stories are so layered in experience that I feel like I have to just pick one thing, and then try to let go and branch off to continue the conversation because this is how I felt yesterday listening to you in AOP’s, the Art of Purpose’s Masterclass 24/7 conversation. I feel like my mind is breaking down barriers when you’re just talking. This is really great. As we branch off of what you said in this story, there’s something that you said, and this leads me to a question from the audience, actually. You said you got interested only in the things that make you money.
This is something that occurred to me probably about five-ish years ago, after I got really tired of being poor and I started actually getting hungry. I just decided that whatever I had on me, whatever skills that I had on me was enough, and I was going to make it work. There’s something about this, regardless of how profitable, whatever it is that I was doing, regardless of how profitable the niche or the market that I was picking, this is something that is a secret sauce in just making something work. That’s just been perseverance and persistence, right? Back to the story that you told us prior.
But this leads me to a question from the audience. This is from a new friend, Oz. He’s in logistics and sourcing. He’s asking, “How do you know if your niche is profitable?” Because here’s the thing. Let me give you some context and nuance. He’s on the fence right now about sourcing what he does. He’s the one who finds factories that can manufacture the product you want. I don’t know if he’s necessarily passionate about that. He’s really good at it. He’s trying to keep his eyes peeled and wonders if you have an answer or a story to share that might give him some clarity.
Doug: The story I have is the one that I suffered with, too. You want to get to the other side of the mountain. The other side of the mountain is where the Nirvana is. You’re standing at the trailhead, and there are four trails there. You don’t know which one to take. So you stand there stuck because you don’t know which one is, the other three are dead ends. So you refuse to get on one, and you still sit there, and you go, “I want to get to this side of the mountain.” So maybe you just grab one, and you ride it.
We have a philosophy in jiu-jitsu when you go to a match. It’s either win or learn. You’re either going to win or you’re going to learn.
I’m going to tell you something. A lot of success you have with copywriting is– because I’ve seen so many tests. That’s why I have a higher win ratio than other people in a head-to-head split-run test because they started from scratch, I think thousands of tests. I know what words work, what thought works, what doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean they always work. “So this didn’t work, this didn’t work, this didn’t work, this didn’t work, this didn’t work, this didn’t work, this I think worked a little bit. Okay, this didn’t work, this didn’t work, this didn’t work, this worked a little bit better. Okay.”
In this direct marketing business, in this emailing business, you talk about clicks to the order form, response rates. A huge mega winner in a direct mail package could be 2 1/2%. That means you sold 2 1/2% of everything you sent out, but it brought in millions. When people say to me, “What do you do?” “I write junk mail.” He goes, “Oh, I always throw that away.” I go, “That’s why it works.” And they go, “What do you mean why it works,” is because we make money off the people who don’t throw it away.” So the lesson there is, in whatever you want to do, you have a great opportunity. Can you ask how many years he’s been doing this?
Sana: A long time, I must say.
Doug: Okay, so–
Sana: Yes, let me see.
Doug: So you have–
Sana: Five years, maybe? I don’t know, I’m looking at his bio right now.
Sana: So maybe five years.
Doug: Okay. So essentially, basically, you’re the guy who’s going to solve the supply chain problem, right? You find materials. You find factories. You put it together. You’re almost like an Uber guy. You’re a living Uber app. But instead of giving rides to people, you’re giving people an opportunity to manufacture products, goods, and services together. You’re getting the next Apple computer put together. You’re showing people how to slide on that screen, to the touch screen, to the plug, to the apps. You put it all together. So how do you sell that? I don’t know what your market is.
Remember, with direct marketing, 40% success is your list, 40% is your offer, and 20% is your copy. You’re creative like me. I’m only 20% of the equation. You need to go to the people who want you. The best analogy I can do is, actually, my analogy before Uber. If you were going to start a limousine service, people would say to me, “Yes, why don’t you get a list of everybody who lives in Hillsborough California?” And I would say, “Well, that’s not a great list. And they said, “Well, they have money.” “Yes, but we don’t know if they ride limousines.” We want a list of the people who are the customers of the Carey Company, the largest limousine company in the world. We know those people ride limousines. So we target those people. I think you have a great opportunity to succeed.
Sana: I think so too. He said—he actually DM-ed me—he’s been in business for 15 years doing this.
Sana: So way more than – yes.
Doug: He’s an expert. So if he would read one of my promotions on how I sold myself, well maybe, that’s how he sells himself, too.
Sana: Yes. There are just so many lessons in this. I’m glad that you went nuanced with this, and it was a nuance to answer. But even then, regardless of whatever it is that you do, there’s a lesson to take away from each of the stories and each of the things that Doug has been digging into. Doug, I actually have another question from my friend, Bianca. She’s a little ahead in the game. She knows what she wants. She’s a personal knowledge management coach, and she’s also a researcher.
She’s actually just started to sell her services online on Gumroad, and she’s doing an excellent job. She’s doing an awesome job on something she’s an expert in, and people really want her help. This is more of a copywriting question, and this is also a business question, too. You know what lead magnets are. I hope everyone knows what a lead magnet is. It’s the most valuable thing you can give for free in exchange for an email from your audience, so that you can collect emails for potential to keep in touch with them later. That’s essentially what a lead magnet is, right? You’re magnetizing leads essentially for your business.
She asks, “How do you ensure that the lead magnet won’t cannibalize the main product, as in, I won’t make a purchase because this lead magnet is enough to solve my problems”? I feel this problem, in a sense, where it’s more like a business-oriented problem where “Am I giving away too much for free? Are people just going to sit here like leeches and not necessarily move to the next stage?” I feel like we could probably get your insight into this. What do you think, Doug?
Doug: I suffer from the same thing. Everything I write is golden, and everybody does swan dive to the order form. But I suffer from the same thing, too. One of the things that I always try to do is try to balance the free with the paid. All I can say is that when I’m selling an investment newsletter, and it’s based on a stock pick, I tell you everything about that stock except the name. I call it the MacGyver. I call it the MacGyver because when I was watching MacGyver as a little kid, he always building bombs, right?
But the producers didn’t want to have a bunch of bomb builders out there. So they removed the integral component that would make it the bomb. I would call that my “everything but.” You got an everything but what’s going to work? You pull out that one piece of the puzzle. That’s why I call it the MacGyver. You tell them everything but. Everything but what’s going to work. That’s what you want to do. So “Hey, I’ve got a lot of people on my list that don’t buy. What are you going to do? Some of them won’t buy. You know what?
I’m going to tell you something. The people who like everything you say and they clap the loudest for you, you’re the greatest guy, and they give you the DMs, they don’t buy anything. And all of a sudden, some guy rolls in, and he signs up for my coaching course. It happens. It happens. If likes and follows were money, we’d all be rich. But they’re not. It’s just a harsh truth. No matter how great a job you do, maybe your price is too high. I’m trying to find my last tweet that I gave out. Hold on a second, I’m going to post it as soon as I find it.
Sana: Yes, please post it if you find it.
Doug: Oh, here we go. I’m going to post it right here. Tell me if it showed up.
Sana: Yep, “Your emails suck.” I like this one, it’s so good.
Sana: “Your emails suck. Your landing pages are garbage. Your funnels send clients down the drain.” This is so painful. “And your Twitter feed is boring as [expletive]. Want to see what really works? Comment “Yes,” and I’ll send you a link to one of my highest converting swipes of all time free. And I was, “Yes,” immediately.
Doug: Right. So everybody says yes. They get automatically DM-ed, that. So there’s my lead funnel. Now, that added 231 people. I don’t know how many of them joined my mailing list because I didn’t direct them to the mailing list first, which I probably should have done. But I’m retired. My retirement job is trying to coach and help other people. So whose name was it again that had the same question about whether you’re giving away enough information?
Sana: Oh, this was Bianca.
Sana: She’s in the audience right now.
Doug: All I wanted to say, Bianca, is welcome to the club. Welcome to the club. [laughs] Welcome to the club. There’s a fine line between giving away the store. My wife tells me all the time, “You’re giving away too much information.” Well, I give away too much information because when people see the name Doug D’ Anna, whether I profited from you or not, I just want you to think of my name as a good name because that’s the only name I’ve got. I’m not going to do anything to sully my name. I would rather give you a little bit more information, give it to you for free. And then, you’ll decide whether I have what you want and whether you believe me. People buy from people they like and trust. Giving away more information makes you somebody, the people I can trust. I can’t see a super downside unless you’re giving away the whole store.
Now, I have on my website where you can sign up, and you get the free swipe. I also sell my $100 Million Copywriting Formula swipe file. In my swipe file. I give you my 10 best ones, that we’re all big winners, that you can go through and steal all sorts of information from. I also do my video coaching models. So if I’m coaching you, I walk you through every single one of my pieces from the headline to the subhead, every single step of the way, down to the order form. And then I give you the PDF. And I sell those. And it’s as if we spent an hour together. Okay, I could give those away for free and hopes you say, “Hey, I want to coach with Doug.”
So some people buy them. I don’t always give away the store because there are things that I do one-on-one with people that you’re never going to get in a PDF—the coaching, the knowledge, the friendship, being a part of my inner circle. Everybody that I coach, we talk on the phone now. They’re part of the inner circle. Bianca, you’re going to do a great job. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Then you’ll learn what that fine line is, and guess what. You’re going to have an app that goes viral and people– what they’re going to do is swan dive to the order form. It’s just a matter of time. [non-verbal]
Sana: [non-verbal] I love this. It’s such good. I love this because it’s a validation of what a lot of us are trying to do. I’ve been in the space now where I have high ticket offers, and I want people to obviously choose to take the high-ticket offer, yet I worry sometimes. Am I giving too much away for free? Or the people who have been in business longer than I have, or my business coaches looking down on me right now. I have to wonder, am I doing this right? And I just think that that was really validating info, and I appreciated that a lot coming from you, Doug. But this leads me to a few more questions that I have because you were talking about your products. I really want to get into your promise in just a moment but before we do that, I feel a lot of people want to write copy. They want to get better at doing copy. But sometimes, for some people, copywriting equals clickbait. They feel–
Sana: –that if I write something in this type of a way– yup, I’ve heard this. I would love for you to dive into this for a second because this is the preface to going into the value that you have in your products. But what do you think about that? Is there a way where you can tell people to get over that mindset block?
Doug: Hmm. They may be suffering from imposter syndrome, suffering from nobody believing them, and not trying to be too salesy because everything that you’ve learned and taught about selling in life has been negative. Does that make sense?
Sana: I think so. I feel like imposter syndrome is this mindset around either wanting to be of service, wanting to interest people. There’s a block that happens with that. I don’t necessarily know how to define it, but I also think that part of it might be imposter syndrome like you’re not taking what you do seriously enough to want to acquire the skills possibly. But even some other ones too, where it’s just maybe you feel shy– it’s not even about feeling shy. It’s maybe you feel if it’s– I don’t know, I haven’t had this before. But I’ve heard it before, plenty of times. That’s why I was just wondering and asking if you had that, I’d say, things around it.
Doug: Here’s what I’m getting from you, that somebody in that position, they’re probably feeling overwhelmed, and stressed, and troubled, and worried, and anxious because they don’t know where to begin. They may be picturing themselves as the worst salesperson in the world—no offense to anybody, I’m sure they’re wonderful timeshare salespeople out there—that they feel like they’re going to be like a timeshare salesman. You don’t have to feel that way. You just need to grow into and embody who you were meant to be. On a personal level, I stopped trying to be anybody else but just Doug. I’m your friend who talks too much. That’s who I am. I just accept it. Just accept who you are and you’ll be fine. Trust me, you’re going to be fine.
When you go to work every day and you work as a manager, a marketing manager, an insurance salesperson, or a body shop painter, or a carpenter. You have a little tag that says on your life who you are, you’re a carpenter. That’s who you are. Right? I’m a copywriter, I sell things, I sell other people’s things, and I sell my own things. That’s who I am. What I feel that you say you’re looking for is a way to introduce yourself. Now, my license to my 24-hour Cash Flow Miracle book that the major headline says, “If you’ve got 30 days, I can prove you can get paid over and over for the simple things you’re already doing now without waiting years to see the cash come rolling in.” Too good to be true? You’d be the judge.
And here’s how I introduce myself. This was written in 2005, so the money’s a little bit more. Let me introduce myself. My name is Doug D’ Anna, and I feel as if I’m the luckiest man on earth. And why not? For nearly two decades, I’ve been using my 24-hour Cash Flow Miracle to bring in an average of over $600 a day, $17,000 a month, and over $200,000 each year without having to go to a real job, put up with a jerk of a boss, or ever worry about being laid off, without having to work 20-hour days, deal with problem employees, run any kind of internet website, or manage a multi-level marketing group, and most impressive of all, without having to wait years to see the cash come rolling in.
Hard to believe? You bet. But as my multi-million-dollar clients will tell you, everything I say is 100% real and true. And that’s because my clients, all together, have paid me millions of dollars in fees and recurring income over the years that are now using the very same cash flow secret that I’m about to share with you. So why am I so willing to share my secret? That’s how I introduced myself. Did that come across too salesy? I feel like I’m the luckiest guy on earth.
Sana: I like it. Well, I’m just going to react, Doug, because the insight that I just had right now as you were saying this is that your limitations around using or being more fun with your copy, or bringing your own voice in it, or using the copywriting skills and tactics and techniques, there’s a resistance to actually giving value. When you said that, I was like, that is so quirky. I like it, I’m starting to like you, and I just want to keep reading or listening. And I think that there’s just– like you have said in that blog, really.
Doug: Let me give you another one of those.
Sana: Yes, please.
Doug: This was from my Recurring Riches book. “Give me 30 days, and you could go from zero to $10,000, possibly link $17,000 a month in recurring income working less than three hours a day. Too good to be true? You’d be the judge. You won’t risk your time to try it. You won’t have to leave your home, and I’ll even send you $1,500 and free starter bonuses just for saying yes. That’s how certain I am, my new wealth-building program will make you $10,000 rich in 30 days. Dear friend, this is the year you’re going to start banking $5,000, $10,000 even $17,000 in monthly recurring revenue. This is the year you’re going to get the car, get the luxury home, travel first class, and obtain the financial security you’ve dreamed of. This is the year, your year, the year you finally see your dreams for a richer and better life come true. And I’m going to help make it happen for you, without you having to work two jobs, save every penny, or moonlight selling vitamins or Tupperware, without having to manage a multi-level marketing network, or get involved in the internet, or put up any seed money, and best of all, without you waiting years to see the cash come rolling in. If you’ll take my guiding hand, I guarantee, you’ll not only end up $10,000 richer in 30 days but finally grab for yourself a renewable income stream that will give you the financial independence you’ve always dreamed of.”
So when you ask me, “How did you transition to this? I’ve been doing this all my life – helping other people take direct action in their lives through becoming a copywriter, and you, learning how to use the power of thoughts and words to direct people to do what you want. I’m not embarrassed to say it, I get people to put money in envelopes. I enjoy doing it. But I also have a code, I only like to sell legitimate products—things that will actually help people. Learning to become a copywriter is a gift, it is a valuable gift, and it’s one not for anybody to squander or sell illegitimate products to poor people and take advantage of them.
So that goes back into my code. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. Maybe you’re a copywriter or not a copywriter, the bottom line is if you want to break out of your right, you want to get out where you’re at, you don’t have to work at that job as a– I’m a creator, I’m a content creator. I know how to help other people create content. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. It’s just a matter of spending the time, and sadly, you got to spend the money.
Now, there are many ways to learn what it is that I do. You can either learn from me, or you can purchase one of my products. What’s the best way to learn? What’s the fastest way to learn? The best way to learn is how you learn. You have to know how you learn. I know how I learn. Raise your hand if you speak Spanish in this room, and it’s not your native language. Does anybody speak Spanish?
Sana: If you do speak Spanish, maybe you throw up a peace emoji or a wave emoji, do something where maybe we could see. I see one coming in.
Doug: Who’s that?
Sana: I think it was Guy-lee? Guh-lee? Bianca also does as well.
Doug: [foreign language] In 10 years, I’m going to be a Latino, too. I like to speak Spanish. [foreign language] I learned to speak Spanish running in the morning, listening to a CD. [foreign language], listen and repeat. [foreign language] over and over and over again. And then I would [foreign language] I would go to the Spanish [foreign language] to practice. That’s how I learned, running in the morning, listening, and repeating one word at a time. Not words but sentences, sentences that mean things. That’s how I learned. That’s how you learn jiu-jitsu.
That’s how you learn judo, one move at a time. You show up as a white belt, and you’re going to get pummeled. But in just a week, you’re going to learn how to sweep somebody, how to not get swept, how to learn an armbar. Oh, nothing’s going to come together for you. They’re not going to get a move on anybody until you’re 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks into it, but as soon as you get one move, you go, “Hey, that worked.” And then, you’re going to keep trying and trying again. And you’re going to find out, “Oh, this other one worked.” So when people say, “Well, how can I get good at copywriting?” Well, you can be a YouTube guy and absorb as much free stuff but the problem is, is that you don’t have a real deadline hanging over your head. That’s a problem. “You get to it tomorrow.” Okay? Great. Well, that’s why you hire a coach, somebody who’ll hold you accountable. Do you know what I mean?
I have my How to Sell Yourself as a Copywriter program I give away free that I charge $3,500 worth to people who take my actual one-on-one coaching course. But I now sell it three clients in 90 days or free, but here’s the catch. You don’t get your money back unless you do exactly what I told you to do. If your money can’t hold you accountable, there’s nothing that I can do. That means you send me your scripts. No, you don’t send it to me at the end of the 90 days—when you want your money back, you do—I want to see your telephone log for 90 days, I want to see as if I’m Mr. Salesforce how many telephone calls you made. “Did you only make two a day? No refund, pal. How many people did you get on your list? ““Well, I only got 20.” “No refund, pal. I want to see 200, 300, 400, 500.” “How bad do you want it?” You follow what I’m saying?
Sana: I follow. I didn’t–
Doug: “How bad do you want it?”
Sana: –really follow this. I love this.
Doug: “How bad do you want it? Are you in that little cubicle right now, sitting around and going, “I want to get the hell out of here’? What are you going to do today? What step were you going to take? Are you going to just look at your feet and go, ‘I didn’t do anything today, but I really felt good after listening to Doug. But I didn’t do anything?'” I’m going to tell you, everybody wants to be– look, I sell things, and I make it so easy, so effortless. It’s as easy as rubbing your two fingers together. And it was for me. But sometimes, man, you got to dig deep and put it all out there. And if you don’t do it, if you don’t do anything today, what are you doing today in the next 15 minutes? What are you going to do when you get off this call, nothing? Well, great. Nothing will happen. “Oh, I was thinking of buying that course, and it was $99 but I wasn’t sure it was going to work out or not, so I didn’t buy it. I’m just going to come and try and listen to all these free stuff.”
“Good. Freaking, look! You’re never going to make it.” You have to take direct action. Now, for some people, that direct action can be as simple as when Doug D’ Anna got up out of that classroom at Skyline College and walked over to the guy who said, “My job is to get you a job in whatever you want to do,” and I wanted some. What are you going to do today to break out of that rut that you’re in? People signed up to hear How to Sell Your Dreams and Monetize Your Life, and nothing happens until you make it happen. You could listen to me talk all day, and I’d love to talk all day, too. But unless you take action, unless you take action, nothing’s going to happen. Nothing’s going to happen.
I got another example. I turned to this one guy, Kevin, 48 years old. He’s been coming to jiu-jitsu for a while. And I’m always curious. I’m like the ambassador at the club. My coach and his wife, they call me the mayor, Mayor Doug. “Doug knows everybody. He knows what they do, their kids’ names, everything.” And I turned to this guy and I said, “Hey, I’ve got to ask you something, how old are you?” He responded, “Forty-eight.” And I said, “It takes a lot of guts to walk in here at your age not knowing anything. What made you come in? And he goes, “Well, I tried it 15, 16 years ago back in San Carlos with a couple of guys. I always want to get back into it. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked back and forth in front of the door, afraid to come in. Just afraid to take that risk, and step in, and admit that you don’t know anything.” And I said, “Well, congratulations. It was that easy. You walked in the door.”
Now, the next step is you got to stay there. And I’ll tell you one thing. When you get promoted in jiu-jitsu, the belt structure goes from white to blue, to purple, to brown, to black. And we have a saying, “The blue belt is the black belt for quitters.” You see, people get the blue belt. I was a white belt. No, a green belt because we have an intermittent– [inaudible 01:32:39] for two and a half years. I was a blue belt for over four years. Four years. And you’re going to go from blue to purple. I was a purple belt for almost three, a brown belt for four and a half. I got promoted to black belt in 2019. So it’s been almost three years. And I started at 52. Well, I’ve got no problem walking in the door because I’ve been doing this stuff all my life.
But that’s not my point. It’s not about me, it’s about you. What are you going to do today to take direct action in your life? Are you going to say, “Oh, I don’t know, I’ll think about it when I got off work today?” What are you going to do? I can’t answer that question for you. Are you going to buy just one more course? Let me tell you about the guy who bought one more course. He happens to be a friend of mine. He is now deceased. George was my electrician. George just happened to know who I was from all of the other– Dan Kennedy sales courses, and he actually went to one of my speeches. He was working on that contractor’s electrical profit program for years.
He’d come over, change light bulbs, or whatever. We get on the phone, and we’d start drawing about stuff and “When are you going to start your course? When are you going to start your course? When are you going to start your course?” And I very sadly got a call from his life partner, girlfriend, because I just called him randomly just to talk and rattle his cage. And she says, “I’m sorry to say that he passed away.” It was very sad because I loved his stories. We weren’t bosom buddies but we talked the same thing. And she says, “You know, Doug, I’ve got this box of all of his CDs, VHS courses that he took. Do you want them?” And I said, “No.” So he had them all but he never took them. “Are you going to die with your dreams?” That’s the question that I have for you. I didn’t know how deep you wanted me to go today.
Sana: That’s perfectly fine. Let’s go deep. This is like Doug D’ Anna deep right now. I don’t know if you’ve me, Doug, but I was laughing.
Doug: I want to add one thing.
Sana: Yes, go ahead.
Doug: I want to add one thing. It was something that I wrote at the closing of my Dr. Dennis Wheatley piece. Let me conclude by asking you the same, two questions that I posed at the beginning of this letter.
“Will you arrive at the end of your career knowing you’ve enjoyed a rich and financially rewarding profession, or will you look back at your career with disappointment and regret? In the end, only you can make your dreams come true. But with the one-on-one coaching I’ll bring, every month, you can live your passion and get paid more than you can imagine. You can rise to great heights in your profession. You can get more happiness and satisfaction out of your work, and you can have more free time to spend with your family vacationing and pursuing your favorite hobbies. I guarantee it.
Remember, you don’t have to spend the rest of your working life with your ambition, true potential, and dreams trapped inside you. Your life is too important for that. Discover how rewarding your life can be when you awaken the leader in you. Accept my invitation to become a true captain in your business and in life. Become the captain of your destiny now and return the success certificate on page 23. You got nothing to lose, and a more successful and rewarding life to gain. Sincerely, Dennis Wheatley.”
So you want to know how I transitioned from writing to coaching? It’s because I wrote for coaching once; and then, made my own coaching system. It turned into a book that I transitioned now to helping people one-on-one live their best life through learning how to sell themselves and convert more people to sell what they’re selling. That’s how I did it. I’m blessed. I’m blessed. I’m blessed. And I felt it for everybody, too. You know, “Sana has been in my room many times, and I have many of my copywriting philosophies and their life philosophies. I got the cookie and the dog. If you’ve got a dog, it’s sitting next to you. But if I got the cookie, it sits next to me. I didn’t have to sell that dog or anything. It came running because it was what he wanted, what she wanted.
I’ve got my Jackson 5 philosophy. It’s real simple. ABC is easy. One, two, three, ABC. If you to sell something, it’s too complicated. Let me tell you the secret to success. You get out of your freaking chair. Simple, right? A few people do it. I’ve got my Wizard of Oz, Yellow Brick Road. “Wizard of Oz because… because… because…. because….because…” You got to explain it to them. They got to believe you. And I got the Wizard of Oz. It’s the Yellow Brick Road. We’re off to see the wizard. And your job—and your position, and whatever your dream is—is to wrap your arm around your Dorothy and skip them, walk them, down the yellow brick road to get to see the wizard, who, of course, is you that lives behind the paywall. I live behind the paywall.
But yes, you can do it. You can do it. And I hope everybody on this call enjoyed it and has gotten something out of it. You can sell your dream. You can monetize your life. I have done it. If I can do it, you can do it. You just got to believe in yourself and get good coaching. And I say that sincerely. If you go to my dougdanna.com website, you’ll see three articles I’ve written.
“What My Wrestling Coach Will Teach You About Copywriting That No Coach Will.”
I’ve got the two jiu-jitsu things that I’ve learned. And what I learned from my judo coach. And if there’s anything that I’ve been a better competitor in that industry is because of the coaching that I’ve gotten. My wrestling coach, we won the championship. Our teams, out of the 10 years, won the championship, I believe, 7 out of 10 times. My judo coach was a two-time Olympic coach. He created over a thousand national champions, of which I was not one. I was the guy that had the crap kicked out of him. But now, when I went to jiu-jitsu and my coach helped me, I won my first gold medal in a competition, ever. And that’s really bugged me. I never won a gold medal before, but I did at 52.
And then, I won another one. And then, I won another one. And then, I went to the World Masters, and I won three. And I’m going back again. I got second last year, I got second the year before. This could be my year. There are only four or five people at 67 years old. But you know what? How did I learn it? I learned it one-on-one, good coaching. And you know what it is? It’s the details, my friends. It’s the details. It’s the details you get from somebody. It doesn’t matter who you choose, whether it’s me or it’s somebody else. It’s the little, teeny-tiny motivational details you get that make a difference in how well your copy sells, and I’ll tell you that.
Our coach teaches a rotation. We learn six moves. No, every six weeks, we transition from past the guard, open guard, half guard, top half guard, bottom, side control, attacks from side control, defense from side control. It lasts six weeks. And I go in there gladly practicing the same move I learned five, six, seven years ago. But I pick up a new detail each time. “Oh, that’s why it didn’t work.” “Oh, that’s why it didn’t work.” All of these are applicable to selling your dreams and monetizing your life. I’d like to ask somebody to step up and tell us what their dream is. And maybe we can help somebody just today, one person, figure out how they can sell their dream and monetize their life, and use it as a real-life example of what’s a possibility.
Sana: Is that a call to action, Doug, or it’s a challenge?
Doug: That’s it. That’s it. That’s it. Yes, that’s a challenge.
Sana: All right. Well, if you just heard that challenge–
Doug: We already talked to Oz a little bit.
Sana: We talked to Oz, we talked to Jeremy, and we talked to Bianca. We could probably go in a little bit further, but if that’s something of interest, definitely, backchannel me or raise your hand, maybe do a little bit of both. That’s an amazing offer right now, Doug. That’s like getting free coaching right now. A question, actually, Doug, before we go into this because here’s the thing with the products, and you have a ton. I want to know, as I’m trying to filter whom to pick—pick one person to come up—what would you say is a really great starting product to get interested in copywriting? What’s something that you would say out of all the different products that you have? Is it the modules? What’s a good stepping stone? And then also, where can people learn more about your coaching services? Is it on the link in your bio?
Doug: Let me just go to my link in my bio where it says, “LinkedIn,” okay? So let’s see. Let’s see. If you want to know how to get clients, my mouse trap marketing, the Great Clients in 90 Days, I tell you how I did it. If you follow what I do, you should get three clients in 90 days. But like I said, you got to do the work. Now, the video coaching modules I created to walk you through my ads are no different than if I were coaching you one-on-one because that’s how I teach you. We go one-on-one, and I go through each one of them, one at a time, one line at a time. Why’d you write this headline? How does it follow up? All the transitions.
My copywriting swipe file is very popular because it has my 10 most written swipes, and most popular. And not only that. They’re the ones I made the most money on. That’s a good place. If you’re in the health field, I’ve got the Million-Dollar Copywriting Formula coaching course. I do the copy critiques, I’ve got a couple of videos. You can join my A-list. You can check out my YouTube. For somebody, who’s a seasoned copywriter, they’re looking for it to add to their swipe file, I think my $100-million copywriting swipe files is probably a good place for them to add because you’ll get a bunch of different investment newsletter promos. Then you’ll have the promo that I have on my own, The New Science of Getting What You Want book, and see how I sell myself. And the important thing to look for in a swipe file, I know people tell you, “Get a swipe file. Handwrite them, so you integrate them into your mind.”
Good idea except for one thing, you’re going to get our [no audio 01:44:32]. You go [no audio 01:44:36]. That’s where the money is. We have, on this call today, what? 83 people, and then many of them have been with us. And the only reason is I’ve been free-associating their whole way and people are sticking with it because of the transitions, how, to get somebody from your headline down to the order form—attention, interest, desire, action. I’m a big believer in the news headline, and then the announcing because let’s face it. We are all content creators. And as a content creator, you need to create content that people buy. Does that make sense?
Sana: One hundred percent, yes.
Doug: So I have my Great Retirement Betrayal. That was my first grand slam promo. It’s written like a grandfather whose only goal is to make sure you don’t get ripped off by bankers, brokers, and the government. I got another one called, “One Nation Under China.” That’s a Trojan horse. And a Trojan horse is written like a highly-charged news article. It walks you to the order form from using a [no audio 01:45:54]. It’s a great example of using a news hook. I’ve got another one. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Dolans or a radio commentator, who’s topped the hidden wealth inside your paycheck, except co-hosts, okay.
And that was written like, “Help People Get Rich,” the one-stop that’ll make you a millionaire marijuana millionaire. That was a great one. I got my New Science of Getting What You Want, or your Fast Money 2020 Oil Bomb. Oh, my god. That was huge master key to marijuana profits. My samples are all different and the same but the whole goal is for you to see the theme that’s in there, that takes you from the beginning to the end. Does everybody remember the commercial where someone says, “Who wants gum?” Has everybody heard that commercial?
Sana: I don’t think I remember that one, Doug. It’s not coming to mind.
Doug: Have you ever been in the car and said, “Who wants gum?”
Sana: No, I don’t remember. I don’t remember commercials, to be honest.
Doug: But have you ever had a pack of gum and said, “Who wants gum?”
Sana: Yes. 100%, yes. Yes.
Doug: Everybody does. They all raise their hands. Everything you need to learn about copywriting is found in, “Who wants gum.” “I do.” Now, you’ve gotten people to raise their [expletive] hands. “Who wants a healthier heart? Give me 30 minutes, and I’ll show you three exercises that’ll help you blank, blank, blank, blank.” Makes sense?
Sana: It makes total sense. Doug, I’ve got a couple of people up here based on how much time that you have, but I will say this. I have to go at 11:25 for something but I want to give you some time to go in with somebody. I brought two people up here. Number one is Mr. Humanity and the second is Samson. So based on how much time you actually have, Doug, I’m bringing them up here, so you can coach them live based on the topic of today, “How to Sell Your Dreams and Monetize Your Life.”
Doug: All right.
Sana: I know a little bit about Mr. Humanity. He is a new friend of mine, which I’m excited for bringing him up here. And then also, we have Samson as well, who wants to be a copywriter or get better at copywriting.
Doug: Great. Mr. Humanity.
Doug: Hey, I should learn from you. I only have 12,000 followers. You got a 100,000.
Anthony: Hey, sorry what’s going on? I actually just unplugged my charger and the whole volume changed. I’m sorry. I couldn’t hear you, guys. Can you say that one more time? I lost my volume.
Doug: I need to learn from you, Mr. Humanity. You have 4,000 followers. I only have 12,000, so–
Anthony: Oh, no.
Doug: I’m the one who should be asking–
Anthony: I’m going to lose about half of that in about a month, so don’t worry. It’s just because of my content there and how blunt I am. But don’t worry about that though. I’ll be down like 50,000 or 60,000 in two weeks.
Sana: Just to give some preface, Mr. Humanity is a comedian. And yes, I don’t know why you lose half of them. That’s exaggerating but I think that comes with the territory. Back over to you, Doug.
Doug: Okay. So what are we working on today that I can help Mr. humanity with?
Anthony: First off, thank you, Sana, for adding me on here. I really appreciate it. Great new friends. It’s actually local, too. We [expletive] found out that we’re– oh, I’m sorry, I got to make sure I don’t curse. Doug, are you offended by cursing at all because sometimes I drop an F-bomb every now and then?
Doug: No [expletive] way.
Anthony: Oh, my god. That’s awesome. [laughs] That’s awesome.
Doug: Hey, listen. So you’re a comedian. If the guy with too much time on his hands was going to go sign up to do the comedy course in San Francisco, at the comedy club, I thought it was great until I found out it was– you all met and you wrote. And then, you had to go out and perform at a different time. And I’m like, dude, I’m 67 years old. I can’t keep my eyes open past eight o’clock.
Anthony: Yes, yes, it’s– yes, you got to– I’m sorry?
Doug: Can’t we just come together and tell a few jokes in the afternoon?
Anthony: In the afternoon.
Doug: Oh, I know I’ll start working at senior centers.
Anthony: Yes, I met Sana last weekend. Awesome friend, she’s local. We found out that we were local from each other last week. I saw her honestly just doing a Space, and I saw your profile. I started asking questions about you. And I just wanted her to bring me up to speed on what you, guys, were talking about, and I see that you’re a life coach, and you help businesses and entrepreneurs, and that’s me. A little bit more background. I’m not just a comedian like a lot of my content is comedy, but it’s comedy mixed with philanthropy and cash giving, very similar to MrBeast. Hence, my name is Mr. Humanity. These past three years, I’ve grown the community to over 100,000 followers through Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and all that stuff. It’s been a really, really good fun ride. Maybe if I have some questions, we can just bounce ideas from each other, just chat it out, I guess.
Sana: Go for it. Mr. Humanity, do you have a question that you want to start off with?
Anthony: Yes, yes. So Doug, I see here that on your profile, because I know you guys were talking about copywriting before. But then, I see here you’re advertising and marketing. Can you just elaborate a little bit more on what you do in that field?
Doug: I get people to put money in envelopes and mail it in.
Anthony: You get people to put money in envelopes and mail it in to you?
Anthony: Are you serious or you’re joking?
Doug: No, no, no. When people say, “What did you do?” I would say, well, I get people to put money in envelopes and mail it in to me, or I get people to click and buy and send me their money. Essentially, as a copywriter, I’m a salesman in print. I sell items through direct mail, email, video sales letters, their own, my clients and my own, through the power of persuasion. And now, I teach people on how I’ve done it over the years and generated over $100 million through catching people’s attention, getting their interest, building their desire, and getting to take action. I specialized in what I thought was the greatest field in the whole world, selling the investment advice of other people. So I would go straight to their infomercials, as you said—video sales letters, direct mail pieces within their name, and I would get paid like an author with an advance and a royalty. My job was to bring in the clients, the advisor, who’s picking stocks. Their job was to keep them. They get paid on renewals. How many people renewed?
And I’ve sold, just investing newsletters, trading letters, option letters for people you may have heard of and people you haven’t heard of. It’s been a great career. And now, I’ve transitioned from doing that to teaching other people how they can do it too. And it doesn’t really matter what you’re selling. We’re also selling information products. My philosophy on selling information products is to monetize your life. I went from writing advertisements and getting paid for them, to writing them for myself and getting paid for them, to creating a coaching program. You got to find out what people want, and then give it to them. In the whole world of direct marketing, there’s the 40/40/20 rule—40% is your list, 40% is your offer, 20% is you’re creative.
I’m the 20% creative, but I’ve always maintained– and I said this earlier, if you have a great offer to a great list of buyers, a kindergartner could scribble it on a cocktail napkin, and you’re going to make money. Or you could hire a high-priced guy like me, and I could send out a promotion to the wrong people with a lousy offer, and get nothing. So it all begins by getting what you want. So what is it specifically that I do? I meet with clients, I find out what it is they have to sell, and then I write it in a way that people do a swan dive to the order form. I hope that was a good explanation.
Anthony: Yes, it was. It gave me a good sense of it.
Doug: I’m a salesman of types.
Anthony: Yes, absolutely. I’m going to apply everything that you said. So I’m going to use maybe my demographics. For example, if you were to meet with a client, I’m pretty sure the first types of questions that you would ask are: “What are your demographics?” “What’s your age range or age groups that you’re targeting?” So let me just give you an example. Sorry, go ahead.
Sana: Is that how you start, Doug?
Doug: I don’t know, he was cutting out. So I didn’t hear–
Sana: Oh, I heard him. Let me try to repeat it, or Mr. Humanity, do you want to repeat what you said one more time?
Anthony: Yes, sure. Can you hear me now?
Sana: I can hear you. It must be something going on with– sometimes, it’s just like some people can hear it, other people can’t. So if you just say it one more time.
Anthony: So when you meet with a– Doug, can you hear me?
Doug: Yes, I’m good now.
Anthony: Okay. So Doug, when you meet with a client, I’m going to assume one of the first type of questions that you might discuss with the client is demographics like whom you’re targeting based on the prior sales experience. So in reference to trying to take a business to another level, to go from thousands and thousands to tens of thousands, or actually, hundreds of thousands or millions try to just maybe take it to another level when you already know– you know your target demographics, you know the location, you know the specific age ranges, and you know the behaviors, what do you do? What do you do? Looks like it’s a big part is you know that.
Doug: Well, I look at what you’ve sent out before. I look at the test results of what you’ve sent out before. And then I break down your headlines, your offer. And then I rework it. And we create a test, an A/B split test. My copy versus what you’re sending out. And we see which one brings in the most orders. I’ll give you an example.
Doug: This was for a product, Richard Band’s Profitable Investing. It is no longer a publication since Richard had retired. I always got a lot of great ideas from Richard. But when you sell an investment newsletter, I’m always selling the secret stock that’s going to make you rich, or it’s either a macroeconomic approach, a microeconomic approach. And so, Richard Band had this idea. And they weren’t making any money on this product at the time. And yet, he had this idea. Actually, this was a different one I did. And I’m trying to figure out who it was for, but all I remember was they weren’t making any money. And I wrote a promotion around this one macroeconomic event. My email went out, and I had two headlines. One headline that the publisher liked was– because I would always give two split-run tests. I never gave one, I gave two or three or four. And I’ll get into that in a moment because I would build a royalty mode around my clients.
So this test, he loved it. It was “How a Do-Nothing Congress Could Cost You Everything You Own.” He calls me the next day and he goes, “Oh, man, that was great. It brought in 17 grand.” We weren’t making anything off our other emails. And I said, “Great. Now, can you run the one that was my headline?” Because I wrote both headlines, I wrote both emails, I wrote everything, but he only wanted to send out one. He chose, “How a Do-Nothing Congress Could Cost You Everything You Own.” He sent out my favorite headline next. And it brought in 30 [no audio 02:00:16], tax bomb to blindside US investors. [non-verbal]. Do you know how many times I’ve used “tax bomb,” “inflation bomb,” “oil bomb,” and “time bomb”? It works. You’ll learn what words work.
I’ll give you another example. I had an idea of transitioning. You’ll see that in one of the free swipes I have. Repositioning an offer. For example, the blue-chip growth letter. We had $199 face price but we sold it every day half off 99 bucks. And I said, “Hey,” actually, I got a card in the mail from a fitness company and I go, “wait a minute. Membership? Subscription?” Same thing. Let’s position it as a membership club and we’ll give away our $199 newsletter for free for a $99 membership. So we made it sound even bigger. And he goes, “Oh, I like it. So what are we going to call the club?” I said, “We’re going to call it the Millionaires Club because I like it. But I’m only going to do it if we change the name– we tested under two different club names because everything sells, every word sells.
So if a winner was a three, the Millionaires Club brought in a five. But the other club brought in a 33. And the name of that other club was the Retirement Club. The Retirement Club promo was Controller Mind for about 10 years with little tweaks and updates. You couldn’t knock this thing down. And in the words of a friend, who happened to be a baggage handler at American Airlines, and I was telling him this story, I said, “I know why it worked.” And he goes, “Why?” I go, “Well, not everybody’s going to be in their Millionaires Club but everybody’s going to be in the Retirement Club.”
Sana: How is that Mr. Humanity?
Anthony: Yes, those were good examples for sure. You give me a definitely good perspective, especially, with the choice of words between millionaires and retirement, how specific you have to be, and the mentality of like, “Not everyone’s going to be a millionaire but I’m going to be in retirement. So let me go see what that’s about as part of the psychological process of generating interest and wanted to maybe learn more.” I want to just ask one more question on top of that. Just talk more about exposure. You stated that you’ve done these campaigns and promotions, and it generated this amount of money off of an email blast, but did the clients have an email base already that was built organically, or did you have your own? Just a little bit more about exposure to the impressions?
Doug: Sure. So the client, we would mail to their list. And how would they build their list? I was involved in lead generation, too, for building their list. So what we would do is, I would write these lead– I guess we call them lead funnels now, or lead– whatever it is. They would rent somebody else’s email list, a competitor. And we would send out a free offer to get a free something. And all they had to do is sign up for our list to get it. I resisted doing those because they would only pay me a dollar a name. I would rather get a nickel for every direct mail piece and a penny for every email, and they were mailing them half a million at a time. Sometimes, every day would be a dug day, and the money would come raining down for me, and I was getting advances and royalties. Why would I just write these things for free for a buck?
But when they said, “Just rewrite some of the other stuff you have and make it into a funnel.” And I said, “Okay. I’ll do it, I’ll do it, I’ll do it, I’ll do it.” Oh, and on my first check for $10,000 for lead gen, I said, “Have you got any more you want me to do?” So they would sign up to their list, people would join the InvestorPlace list, and the InvestorPlace people would rent other people’s email lists, and I’d write up the free idea and free report that they would sign up to in order to get on the main list. Once they were on the main list, that main list turns into your fan club. You send your free content out that keeps them interested. And then I would write the sales piece that would upsell them to the initial newsletter, and then upsell them from the $99 to the $1,000 to the $5,000 trading service.
Anthony: That’s interesting because I feel like businesses, especially competitors, would be more reluctant to offer– if someone came to me and asked me for my email list, I’ll be– you know, that it would–
Doug: Oh, no, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. You control your list. You control your list. What you [crosstalk 02:06:09]–
Anthony: But you just said that the client would rent a list from their competitor, right?
Doug: Oh., but here’s the thing. Everybody monetizes their list. So you may be sitting on a list that you can monetize. Now, they never get the names. If, for example, I wanted to send out an email selling one of my products or getting people to sign up to my list, you would rent me your list. I would pay you, I would hand you the ad. You’d run it through your machine. And I’d see how many people get signed up. And guess what. If nobody signed up, I wouldn’t come back and rent your list.
Anthony: Okay, I see. I’m sorry, yes. All right. I thought of it differently, like renting list is like the competitor would give you their actual email list. But you’re saying to basically pay a competitor or pay someone in the industry to do an email blast of your content, to sign up for your stuff?
Doug: So you’re the Mr. Humanity tech investor, and I’m the Doug D’ Anna options trading service, and your customers are my customers, too. So I’m going to give you my email to send it through your email system, to give away my free report on options trading. And you’re going to charge me 1,000 bucks for that, or 2,000, or 3,000, whatever the market will bear. If enough people sign up for my list, I will then look at what my long-term value of that. Your names might not be crap. I might get a lot of them but they may not buy. I’m not coming back to rent your list. Does that make sense?
Anthony: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely, that makes 10 times more sense. The value of that though for me or for anyone is honestly, if I would pay someone and– like what you said earlier, you’re right. If I would have paid a national organization to do an email blast and I pay them 500 bucks, 1,000 bucks and no one signs up, I’m not going to use them again, it’s just a waste of money. The value of that is just the call to actions from the consumers that are actually signing up to your email list. It’s your responsibility at that point, now that they signed up, to sell them, to make sure that they buy your products or sign up for whatever you want them to sign up for.
Doug: Yes, I get what you’re saying.
Sana: All right.
Sana: [laughs] That’s awesome. That was really valuable. It went down the rabbit hole a little bit but I’m glad that it did because these are insights that we don’t necessarily, normally talk about but they really bring a lot of clarity around different business models and how they work, and just even how to really monetize an email list. So this was really good for me to listen to. Thank you for bringing that up, Mr. Humanity.
Anthony: Hey, no problem. I didn’t know I was in a rabbit hole, I’m sorry.
Sana: No, it’s not a bad thing. I’m not even saying it like a bad thing. We dived deep for certain reasons, and he brought people up to be coached for a reason. But you go in, you’ve got to go deep with people, and that’s the whole bit with coaching. So I’m glad that you did. I think it helped a lot of people in this room, especially me. So thanks again, Mr. Humanity. We have Samson here. We lost Mr. Humanity but we have Samson here, if you have a little bit more time, Doug. Samson, do you want to bring up your question to Doug so he can go in with you?
Samson: Thank you, Sana. Appreciate the Space and thank you, Doug, for taking the time. Samson. I’ve been traveling full-time for the past three years. You were asking earlier, if there’s a person in the audience who has a project that they would like to work on. I would like to present mine.
Doug: Okay, let’s hear it.
Samson: Awesome. So despite having traveled now for a while and having learned a lot about it, I haven’t taught very many people yet. It is the niche that I want to go into, moving forward. And when you’re coaching clients or coaching people to go into a specific niche, if it’s not a niche that they have earlier talked extensively about, what would you say is important to focus on in the beginning of acquiring clients?
Doug: Let me just begin by the beginning. You want to teach but you never said what you wanted to teach?
Samson: Right, just basically, taking the leap of traveling full time.
Doug: What is it you want to teach, and how do you want to make money?
Samson: Teaching people how to travel the world, live anywhere, and work from anywhere.
Doug: Okay. Have you ever written anything?
Samson: Yes, I write content on LinkedIn a lot where I have [inaudible 02:11:39].
Doug: Okay. What is it that people who want to travel the world want?
Samson: Most of them say they want the freedom. The friends and family that I have that I’ve reached out to have been like, “Whoa, I want to do what you do.” However, not many of them have gone forward to say, “These are the steps that I would need to take.” They don’t they don’t have this plan laid out for them. So they’re basically not doing anything. That’s what I want to help them with.
Doug: So what’s your story?
Samson: My story is that I’m from Scandinavia, and it’s super dark during the winters. So it’s very depressing. In order to make it easier, basically, just to cope with the winter depression, we thought about going to Asia, like Southeast Asia, during the winters. The first time we did that was during our honeymoon. We stayed, and it was awesome. And we couldn’t really go back to that normal reality of lifestyle, always living in a place that turns from super bright 24/7 to super dark 24/7, that we couldn’t really go back to that kind of lifestyle. So we chose to take the leap. And then we have been traveling ever since.
Doug: The one thing that I’m getting as I’m listening to you is that’s the missing link. I know, personally, someone who travels the country in a van. He’s retired. The bottom line is you’ve got a great dream you want to sell to others but it doesn’t sound like you’ve really defined it. And the most important thing, the one thing, the puzzle piece that makes it work is money. How do you get the money to let you dream your life? My suggestion would be to go to a place called International Living. It’s an Agora company, and they sell people on the lifestyle of living abroad, working and living abroad, the kind of money you can have, the kind of opportunities you can have.
I would just direct you to International Living. I would either have you get on their email list, so you can see what kind of promotions that they send out, or you can subscribe to get your ideas. But from what I’m hearing from you, you haven’t accurately described what you’re selling. I know what I’m selling. I’m either selling other people’s stuff via direct mail, email, video sales letters, webinars, or I’m coaching you on teaching you how to do it. I’m not mentioning, I’m just saying, “Hey, I just want to sit in a hot tub like Doug D’ Anna in the morning and go to jiu-jitsu at lunch. That’s a great opportunity but I didn’t get there unless I did other things.
So you got to decide. Okay, you want to show everybody how to do it. That could take in how to book a trip, how to find an Airbnb, what to pay, where to go, who to talk to. That’s a huge umbrella. I’m not, at this point, able to direct you other than to direct you to International Living or websites like that that could help you better define because you need to define what it is you’re selling. Does that make sense?
Samson: It definitely does. Thank you so much, Doug.
Doug: Okay. But I think we got one more here before I sign off.
Sana: We got one more spot. Oh, my goodness. If somebody wants that spot, let me know. Can you hear me? Doug, can you hear me?
Doug: I can hear you well.
Sana: Hello, hello.
Sana: Okay, great. Wonderful.
Doug: We had our speaker disappear.
Sana: We had somebody come up. I usually try to get somebody to DM me in the backchannel and then also request before I can bring them up because I don’t necessarily know who they are. I want to make sure we have good questions coming in, so it’s a good use of time. I did not get anybody else, Doug but we did get a couple of questions in the backchannel, maybe directed towards you but not wanting to actually be on stage because they’re either driving or doing something else.
Sana: So one person is asking about great resources to learn copywriting and building an email list. Do you have any resources, Doug?
Doug: My favorite resource is just one book. That’s Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples. And as to build an email list, that’s not really my specialty. Writing the promotions to get you to build the email list, I’m good at that. But I can’t tell you where to go or what system to use. I would do a little bit more research on that.
Sana: No worries. Was it Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples?
Doug: Correct, yes.
Sana: Okay, great. I got that. One thing I probably suggest in terms of emails, I know Eddy Kwon recently came out with a course on this. He’s somebody whom I would probably talk to. Also, the Art of Purpose talks about creating and also building an email list continuously right now because it’s one of his favorite things to do. So all of us are trying to do the same thing in that community, which I know you’re a part of now, Doug. And the last question here is from Noel. He’s curious to know what you’re reading right now, currently.
Doug: Because I’m not reading anything. Oh, what I read currently? I read the Wall Street Journal. And I read The Athletic.
Sana: What is The Athletic?
Doug: It’s actually a very successful sports journalist app that you can read about all your favorite teams. And it’s taken some of the best storytellers, some of the best sportswriters. And I’ve read every single article I can on tonight’s upcoming game with Warriors versus Mavericks.
Doug: And if you are not a Dubs fan, I will not take you on as a client.
Sana: You need to have your boundaries.
Doug: If you don’t think Steph Curry is close to God, then I will send you your money back. Maybe. No, maybe not, I’ll take your money. So that’s what I’m reading. I’m reading about sports. You know what? I only read a couple of things. I did read a couple of books early this year when I retired. And the problem is if you don’t like the book, you can’t fast forward. You’ve got to read it all the way to the end. And let’s see. You had asked for sources. I just posted in there one of my ads for my video coaching model, “How to Tell a Story that Sells.” That’s the story. If you click on it, basically you got a copy of the swipe file in it. I wrote a story called “The Paper-Thin iPad”. This was like 10 years ago. It’s a great story about how things are getting smaller and smaller and a special discovery.
When you’re in the business of telling stories, you tell money stories. You have to walk people down the yellow brick road. And if they go to my Linktree, they’ll see all of my video coaching modules, and all of them have a different take on it. But that can help you begin, too. They’re all in the investment newsletter field, which may or may not interest people, but I’ve always believed the easiest thing in the whole world to sell is money. Rich people want to know how to get richer, that’s what they want, and you give it to them in terms of the secret stock. And no matter what it is you’re selling, how it is you’re selling it, you are selling somebody’s dream for them.
My dream lifestyle is something that everybody would like to live. I worked from home, I typed letters for a living, I took my kids to and from school, I coached their sports, I went to jiu-jitsu at lunch, got a black belt, went to the grocery store, put a chicken in the oven in the middle of the day, had dinner ready when my wife got home. And I had a lot of free time, the free time I really appreciate. And I want everybody to have the same thing. And for me, it was all driven by my ability to sell using the power of the written word. And I wish for everybody else to understand how important that is as a creator, if you plan to sell yourself; because remember, like I said before, nobody buys if they don’t believe. And they don’t buy unless you know how to sell.
That’s why I had my How to Sell Yourself as a Copywriter course that I offer, that I now throw into my Coaching 101 course. Because if you can’t sell yourself, I don’t know what more to say. You’ll always be stuck. You don’t need to be stuck. Don’t be embarrassed, do not be embarrassed to go for the things that you want in life. There is no shame in you wanting to go out and get what you want in life. There’s no shame in that. I think I said somewhere, “Go out and get it.” You can get everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want. You’ve got to help people get what they want first and learn how to attract people to your way of thinking. You have to learn how to get cooperation from people. You got to unleash the power of your subconscious. You got to project confidence and power. Not feel intimidated, crystallize your thinking, and just remove all those hidden blocks.
Remember, it is your birthright to go after what you want in life and get it. You need not apologize for the fact that you want to be successful nor do you need to be shy about going after what you want. And contrary to what society tells you, satisfying your own desires is not selfish. You were born to achieve greatness and not to live your life with your dreams bottled up. And success, no matter how you measure it, is the goal of life. It is your birthright. That’s how I want to end this. Whether I’m your coach or it’s somebody else, if you can apply this principle to your own life, as I can show you, the barriers to your success will vanish, you’ll make daily progress to your goals, and you’ll never again be denied in your quest to get what you want.
So let me ask you. Are you willing to go beyond your doubts and fears? Are you serious about getting what you want? Would you like to start living your dreams today? The best part is that all you have to do is take action. You can get up out of your seat and move. Honestly, I promised myself that when I reached the top of my field, I’d help other people get their dreams as others have helped me. You’ll discover when you get to a certain point in life, everybody gets help. And remember, Dr. Phil was catapulted to the top by Oprah. Remember, the Beatles got their start with Ed Sullivan. I’ve had a lot of helpers in my life. Reach out. Find a mentor. Find a coach. You can do this, but if you do nothing, nothing will happen. Remember, the only thing that’s limiting you are probably the limitations you put on yourself.
As Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t.” I had mentioned before, when I graduated from college, I couldn’t find a job. I labored over giving up, but step by step, I made it. Ultimately, when you open your mind to success, it’s almost as effortless as opening a curtain to let the sunshine in. Only the rewards are much greater. It all comes down to that critical first step. You’ve got to take the first step, whatever that step is. That’s really the master key of what you like. People fail to get what they want because they end up taking the wrong path. It’s like taking the plane to success, or you’re going to take the flight to failure.
I can’t be any more motivational. Identify and pursue whatever you want. All you need is a plan. That’s all you need. Prioritize your dreams. Model the success of top achievers. I modeled my work after Gary Bencivenga. Then go out and execute it. That way, you’ll learn the right ways to do it, the right words for any you get in the situation. The right thoughts, how to position yourself for success. I can wrap this up by saying, “What are you waiting for?” Whether you realize it or not, your moment decision is at hand along with a goal and opportunity for you to achieve the success of your dreams and finally get what you want. I’ll never forget the day I made that decision to get up out of that chair and walk over to see that guy at Skyline College about getting into this field that I wanted to, or taking that Direct Marketing Magazine and finding out about copywriters, or joining that organization, or picking up the phone and making a telephone call, and sending my samples and following up.
All of them, one step, but together, turned into a marathon. Maybe today is your defining day, the day you set your sights on. My ultimate hope is that when your grandchildren turn to you and say, “Hey, grandpa (or grandma), what was it that made you sell your dreams and monetize your life?” I hope you say, it was the two hours we spent with Doug D’ Anna and Sana on a Twitter Space.
Sana: I love that vision. Doug, I don’t think you could have been any more motivational and inspirational. I knew it was going to be a good call, I didn’t know how good of a call it was going to be, I just knew it was going to be really good. But this has been an amazing call. To spend your Friday morning listening to Doug really electrocute you with some electricity that you need to go out there and be hungry and be persistent. This has been absolutely wonderful. I just thank you again for sharing your time with us, Doug, and sharing your life lessons and your stories.
If you are not following Doug, I highly suggest you do. I’m very biased about this because I’ve seen– I just put on push notifications for you, Doug, because I haven’t gotten every tweet on my timeline recently. The value that you give and your tweets– he is giving out swipe files. He’s giving out old vintage copywriting ads from his swipe files. He is sharing all types of different free information like the retirement story and a bunch of other things. He’s teaching you through his tweets, how to get better at copywriting. Plus, he holds his own Spaces, so he can help you become a better copywriter.
Again, if you’re not following Doug, please do. Also, if you’re interested in getting better at copywriting, I’m going to be looking at his products. Doug, I literally wanted to ask you about your products because I didn’t know which one to buy first. So thank you for going into that. And also, if you want to get coached by Doug, you can go check out the link in his bio. He’s got a full list of resources for you. Go check them out. Go click around. See what you can afford and also what is good for you as well.
All right, Doug, thank you again so much. We do these calls every Friday and Tuesday at 9:00 AM Eastern. Usually, on Fridays, I try to get a guest, like Doug. This was amazing, Doug. But if you’d like to join in, in these Twitter spaces and be a part of them, join me again for Tuesday, 9:00 A.M. Eastern, and then Friday, again, 9:00 A.M. Eastern. I had a lovely time. Thank you again so much, all of you, for being here and listening in intently, being you, and building the brand of your dreams. Again, take care, everyone. Have a great weekend.
Doug: I have one thing I’d like to share before you go.
Sana: Sure. Go ahead, Doug.
Doug: I’m signing my name on the back of a check. It’s a small check. It’s only $937 royalty check for an ad I wrote in 2012.
Sana: You’re such a G. Seriously, literally, OG.
Oh, my gosh.
Doug: I didn’t update it. They did because in my contract, they say, I only update the headline and leads because it would take me too much time. If it were a $90,000 check, I would have. But it wasn’t, it was only $900, I let them do it. But as I said, work once and get paid over and over again. Go to my site. I hope everybody, whether you sign up or buy anything, I hope you got one good idea that you could take with you today. If so, just do a little screenshot of today’s opportunity and share it. I’d appreciate it. To everybody, who’s listened in for all two and a half hours, you guys are warriors, man. You’re warriors. My friends would never have listened to me for this long. So anyway–
Sana: You’ve got a lot to share. I know my audience –
Sana: –really wants to listen in. So thanks again for being here, Doug. That was great.
Sana: All right, guys, have a great day. Please follow Doug. Take care.
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