Why Every Copywriter Should Be Watching ‘Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee’

Aaron Hoos

The show Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is not new. According to imdb, it just finished its 10th season. But I don’t watch a lot of TV and I was slow to jump on this show but now that I started watching it, I’m religiously catching up by watching an episode almost every day.

If you’re a copywriter, you should be watching it too. If you’re not, I urge you to start.

I realize that’s a weird thing to say, but hear me out and it will make perfect sense…

Obviously I first heard about the show when it came out but I ignored it because talk shows are okay but I don’t love them. All too often it’s just movie stars promoting their latest movie, and they sit with a talk show host for 5 minutes and answer softball questions. (Jimmy Fallon is mixing things up a bit but the talking part of his talk show is pretty much the same.)

And I didn’t see how Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee would be much better, especially since I just didn’t see Jerry Seinfeld as a talk show host.

But then I saw part of an episode that someone shared, and it was engaging enough that I went back and watched the full episode. Then decided to start from the beginning.

Now, I’m watching one episode a day (not quite binging but as close as my schedule will allow). And I’m getting a lot out of it as a copywriter, strategist, and investor.

The reason is: this isn’t a regular talk show. Aside from (very obviously) being about comedians… in cars… getting coffee…

… Jerry Seinfeld actually has a different purpose for this show: he brings together his love of cars and coffee, plus, he sits down with comedians for a one-on-one discussion about the craft of comedy.

And that’s the real value right there: these are people who are legends, ultra successful, highly sought-after, and could be considered “experts” in their craft. And they are sitting with Jerry, another legendary expert, and they are talking about their craft.

This isn’t a show of 5 minute softball questions about their upcoming movie; it’s two experts talking about things like…

  • What is required to succeed in a truly shark-infested industry like comedy
  • How hard you need to work to succeed… and how much harder you need to continue to work after you’ve succeeded (and after everyone else thinks you should be sipping martinis on a private beach)
  • How to create jokes
  • How to tell when they are effective (hint: comedians do more split testing than copywriters)
  • They even talk about the science of joke construction (for copywriters, it’s no different than sitting down to dissect a headline or bullet)

I learn something from almost every show… about entrepreneurship, success, storytelling, and copywriting. And ultimately what I see in this show solves one of the complaints I have in the field of copywriting…

A lot of copywriters study to get better but many find that they hit a ceiling at a certain point because nearly all the copywriting information available to study is pretty basic… so what do you do when you want more advanced copywriting strategies to study? And, how do you dissect your own work (and the work of others) from the level of an expert?

THAT is where Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee really shines. It’s a show about 2 experts sitting down and dissecting their craft from the level of an expert. I’ve found that I think and talk differently about my work ever since I started watching the show, and I am approaching the critical review process as a copywriter with a higher level of expertise because of what I learn from the show.

My recommendation? Watch Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee with a pen and paper in hand and pay specific attention to how they discuss and dissect their craft. Think about how you can do the same in your business. Revisit this list often and become the expert you wish existed in the copywriting field.

(And no, you don’t HAVE to be a copywriter to get value out of this! Anyone who has a craft—musicians, artists, graphic designers, etc.—will all find massive value in the interaction of experts.)

When Was The Last Time You Updated Your Avatar?

Aaron Hoos

You’ve identified your target market. You’ve narrowed it down to your perfect client. Then you created a word picture—an “avatar“—of them. Then, you built your sales funnel to serve this avatar.

Your marketing, your sales, your product or service offers… they all work together to speak to this avatar and to solve this avatar’s problems.

Great, right?

But now let’s say that you’ve put in some time: you’ve done the work; you’ve had some success; you’ve built your business; you’ve served your customers well.

I think, at this point, most businesses run on autopilot. They have a “set it and forget it” approach to their avatar, and they run with that one single avatar for… years. (After all, it served them well, so why change what ain’t broke, right?)

Problem is, it is broken, most people just don’t realize it.

Things change. A lot of things change!

… you change
… your business changes
… the economy changes
… your industry changes
… technology changes
… your competitors change
… oh, and your avatar changes too!

Kodak had an avatar. They didn’t recognize that it was changing.
Blockbuster had an avatar. They didn’t recognize that it was changing.
Blackberry had an avatar. They didn’t recognize that it was changing.

Yes, it was industry and marketplace shifts that contributed but their perfect client didn’t stick with them out of loyalty! Their avatar shifted right along with the market.

Heck, put aside the market and economic shifts for a second and consider your business itself: YOU and YOUR BUSINESS have probably gotten better! You likely became more valuable, more efficient, more sophisticated, and are worth much more now than ever before. You deserve to get paid more because you bring a higher level of value than you once did.

So, it’s time to revisit your avatar. If you’ve never done this exercise for years, you may have to do a big update. Otherwise, I recommend updating your avatar at least once a year. (And, the more of those factors that shift—such as industry, technology, competitors, and economy—the more often you should be revisiting your avatar.

Consider how demographic and psychographic trends have shifted in the past year (or quarter) that might adjust your avatar.

In my own real estate investing copywriting business for example, I’m aware that my avatar has shifted in a few ways—partly because of who is still in the industry now (compared to when I started, which was closer to the 2008 recession and the trickle-down influences from that economic event) and partly because of who I prefer to work with.

Here are a few specifics to explain what I mean: My avatar is skewing slightly younger than before, way more technologically savvy than just a few years ago, considerably more ethnically diverse, and far more mission-focused than ever (i.e. more interested in building a long-term legacy than making a quick buck)… just to name a few components.

Some of that is from general trends; some of that is my own preference and who I’ve realized that I prefer to work with.

Want a simple action step? Dust off the avatar write-up that you have taped to the wall above your desk (you DO have one there, right?!?) and update your avatar it based on real data from your current list of best customers. Then a second action step: schedule time annually to update your avatar to better reflect your perfect client at the moment.

Want to read more? Check out a couple of my more popular posts. These are questions you can use to understand and improve how you serve your avatar: 55 Questions To Answer When Defining Your Sales Funnel’s Target Market, and, 61 Questions To Strengthen Your Client Relationships And Build Loyalty.

5 Business Growing Tips You Can Do in the Next 5 Minutes

Aaron Hoos

Running a business takes a lot of work and it can feel like you are juggling a million things all at once. With so much to do, how can you grow your business?

Here are 5 business-growing tips you can do in the next 5 minutes to see almost immediate results.

1. Identify the bottom ten percent of your customer base (by profitability) and get rid of them. Either contact them and tell them that you can’t take on their work anymore, or, fulfill your contract but do not renew them as a customer. This is a pretty aggressive move but you’ll find that you’ll have more time to spend building your business and serving your more profitable customers. (And most people find that the time they gain from these work-intensive customers far outweighs the revenue loss they experience).

2. Write a quick 1-page outline of something you do in your business that you can delegate to someone else. One of the biggest obstacles to business growth is an owner who insists on doing tasks themselves. Pick something you do and spend a few minutes right now drafting up some instructions. Just give your employee the high level step-by-step and commit to walking them through the process later. Often, delegation is resisted because the project seems like more work to delegate than to just do yourself, but this quick first step will help to solve that problem.

3. Chart out your sales funnel. Your sales funnel is the most important part of your business and your ability to know and optimize your sales funnel gives you direct control over future success of your company. Charting your sales funnel doesn’t take long but you do need to start somewhere. So start now, in the next 5 minutes, and draw out your sales funnel step by step – from the point of someone who has never heard of your company before all the way through to the point where they have bought from you and want to buy again. You might need to fill in the blanks later but this is a good first step. (To help you download my Sales Funnel Quick Reference Guide and my Sales Funnel Worksheet).

4. Put down your work. Most business owners and entrepreneurs are overworked, overburdened, and overtired. This reduces your effectiveness and your ability to make decisions. Take a break, even if it’s just 5 minutes. Do something else – something fun and creative and unusual and scary. The rest, and the zany experience, will give you a new perspective and even some fresh ideas! You’ll be way more productive when you’re back at your desk.

5. Contact your customers and invite them out for lunch. Your best customer (presumably the one who is most profitable and whose work is most enjoyable for you to do) is exactly the kind of customer that you want to serve more (plus they are exactly the kind of customer that you want more of). So get to know them very well. Take them to lunch, pick their brain, don’t try to sell them anything. Instead, find out what makes them tick, why they chose you to serve them, and what problems they have… and if they know other people like themselves who they can refer to you.

Summary

Businesses take a lot of work to run but they also need to evolve or else they will become stagnant and die. You can start to make fast, positive changes immediately in your business – even within the next 5 minutes – by doing these 5 simple things right now.

My Simple Rules For Better Resolutions

Aaron Hoos

Happy New Year!

It’s the new year… that moment when we turn the page to a new blank chapter that we look forward to writing.

I love new beginnings: new days, new weeks, new months, new years; I’m a big planner and an optimistic goal-setter, so these new times are my favorite to dream, plan, and start executing.

The new year is a time when a lot of people set goals and resolutions, although this year I’m seeing more and more people proclaim that they WON’T be creating any New Year’s Resolutions (usually because most resolutions fail).

Well, whether you call them goals, resolutions, or whatever, if you are setting SOMETHING this New Year, here are my simple rules to help you increase the likelihood of achieving and excelling beyond what you intend to accomplish.

Rule #1. Set Process Goals Rather That Outcome Goals

Most people set outcome goals like this I want to lose weight, I want to quit smoking, I want to make more money, etc. I also set these kinds of goals for a long time too and didn’t reach them. It’s good to aspire to these kinds of change in life.

However, these are outcome goals; they’re focused on what you want to end up with. Unfortunately, these resolutions fail because we fail to realize what needs to happen to reach the outcome: you want to make more money in your business? Great! How will you do that?

So, stop setting outcome goals. While you should have a target to work toward, you should really be setting process goals—goals built around the process of achieving your target.

What activities do you need to do regularly in order to achieve your target? For example: your goal shouldn’t be to lose weight, it should be to eat less each day, exercise more, and track your weight; your goal shouldn’t be to quit smoking, it should be to smoke 1 less cigarette per day than you did the day before; your goal shouldn’t be to make more money, it should be to add 1 new client each week while raising your rates by 10%.

Rule #2. Make It Measurable

Most goals or resolutions are so non-specific that no one knows if they are actually achieve or not.

  • Want to lose weight? How much? If you drop a pound, you were technically successful but do you feel successful? 
  • Want to quit smoking? For how long? If you go without a cigarette on a long flight did you technically achieve your goal even though you’re still smoking?
  • Want to make more money? If you get a slight bump in income because a client gave you an extra project one month, were you successful?

No. Your lack of measurability makes your goals too easy to say “oh, look: I did it!” when you really didn’t.

Better goals are set like this:
I want to add $25,000 more to my net income in 2019 than I did in 2018. I’ll do that by adding 1 new client each week while raising my prices across the board by 10%.

(Even the goal of “adding 1 new client each week” could probably be made more specific, depending on your business.)

Then, track these numbers regularly: write them down on a piece of paper. Depending on what you’re tracking, you might not notice a huge shift at first but stick with it because as that number moves in the right direction, you’ll start to notice and that will stack on the motivation.

Rule #3. Build Your Activities Into A System

This is something I’ve only started to do lately and it’s made a big difference.

In the past when I’ve set New Year resolutions, it’s usually translated into “I-need-to do-these-additional-20-tasks-every-day”… which makes it hard to complete those tasks and create change because I’m trying to (1) remember to do them, and (2) squeeze them in amongst all the regular stuff I have to do to run a business.

The solution is something I just sort of stumbled into lately and it’s making a big different: rather than trying to remember to do additional things, I’ve been working at building my process goals into a system. This means…

  • Creating a checklist of the steps I need to take or the resources I need to use to complete that new activity. Don’t try to figure it out on the fly; know ahead of time.
  • Purposely adding the activities into my daily work—I already have a checklist of things I want to do every day, it’s important to put those new activities into that checklist to make sure it’s included in your day-to-day tasks. (Bonus reading: check out this really powerful practice I use daily to help me get more work done.)
  • Scheduling it to be done at a specific time (if it’s it’s not time-specific) just to build the habit.
  • Folding it into other work that I do so I can complete my normal work while also completing the new activity.
  • Intentionally trying to do one thing to get multiple results (for example: can I create 1 marketing piece that I can use in multiple ways or across more than one of my brands?)

Ultimately, you want to turn your new process goals into habits… habits that you automatically do without giving it a second thought.

Summary

When you’re faced with the blank page of a new year, it’s fun to think about the changes you can make to create the life you want. But statistically, those goals and resolutions will fall short and you may end 2019 in the same place you ended 2018.

Want to increase the likelihood that you’ll grow into the life you want? Apply these simple rules to your goal-setting: set process goals, measure them diligently, and build systems around them.

Have an amazing 2019!!!

Happy Holidays And All The Best In 2019!

Aaron Hoos

Happy Holidays! I hope you had a remarkable year. I published a book, launched a new brand, got to speak at a clients’ event, hired a couple new team members, and had fun in the process.

There were challenges, too, of course, but I’m ending the year on a high note and proud of what I’ve achieved this year.

I’m ready for 2019!

At the end of each year I make plans for the following year and I’m really excited about what’s coming in next year.

I’m doing a bunch of new things like: publishing another book (it’s well underway); launching another brand; creating some training products; and adding to my real estate portfolio.

But more significantly I’m taking a hard look at some of my current processes and systems and have been revising my business model a bit. The changes are only now starting to be implemented and the end results is really exciting: it should increase my writing productivity by a lot; it’s the next level for me and will have a really positive impact on my business and, of course, on my clients’ businesses too!

For now, I’m finishing up some work for 2018 and enjoying time with family and friends. It’s a neat time of year because I have fewer meetings and quieter days but I’m still able to finish a lot of work.

I hope you have an amazing holiday season, and may 2019 hold even more opportunity for you!