How To Solve The New Writer’s Dilemma

Jun 2, 2020

“Eliminating the badge of “amateur writer” does not have to take years. In fact, with a relatively small flip of the switch in your brain – a different perspective – you can get rid of that badge right now. I want to show you how to do it.”

Most writers struggle with three common challenges:

  • Low confidence
  • The impulse to charge low fees
  • Being an order taker

Joshua Boswell offers one solution to this pervasive writer’s dilemma: asking the right questions.

The person asking the questions controls the conversation AND the money.

Watch the full video for the entire training.

Full Transcript

How do you solve the new writer’s dilemma? 

Well, what is the new writer’s dilemma? Of course, the new writer’s dilemma is how to stop being a new writer – because nobody wants to be perceived as a new writer; inexperienced, unconfident, and not producing very good results. We want to be seen as superstars on the stage of the writing world. We want to be respected. We want to be paid and to clients flowing to us. 

So, how do you solve the new writer’s dilemma of being a new writer?

My name is Joshua Boswell. I am the founder of Copywriter Marketer and the author of number one best-selling program that helps writers like you take your writing skills and turn it to an amazing, incredible lifestyle. 

I have had the privilege of working with thousands and thousands of writers, and I see this all the time in their eyes and in their writing and in their business development. Nobody wants to be a new writer. Nobody likes the label of being a new writer. 

But the problem is, in order to stop being a new writer, you have to move out of that into the expert space — and how exactly do you do that? Well, to understand that, let us look at the path and the flow here.

So here, we have the dilemma, and then I am going to talk about the solution, and then I am going to give you some key actions, stuff that you can put into practice right now, today, that literally will push you out of the new writer status and pull you right into the expert status. 

You excited? Let us take a look at this! We are going to just jam through this because it is not complicated. It is actually very, very simple. 

So, first of all, let us look at the dilemma. The dilemma is composed of three things. In other words, there are three basic things that cause a new writer to be perceived as a new writer both in their own heart and brain, and in the minds of the marketing directors. 

So, what is going on there? What causes this to happen? The immediate answers people say: “Well, I don’t have any samples. I don’t have any clients. I don’t have any business. I haven’t done this before. I barely even know how to put a decent sentence together. Like that. That is why I am a new writer; it is because of those things.” 

I am telling you right now — actually, after working with thousands of writers and hundreds of marketing directors, I am telling you right now, today, that is not the reason why you are carrying that badge of new, newbie, novice writer. It is not the reason. I am also here to tell you that eliminating that badge of newbie, novice, amateur writer does not have to take years. You do not have to start down at the bottom of the swamp and crawl and climb your way up out of the muck and mire and then get up on the ladder of success and fight and stretch your way up to the top. You do not have to do it. In fact, with a relatively small flip of the switch in your brain, a different perspective, you can get rid of that badge right now, today, and I want to show you how to do it. Okay? So, here is how to do it. Here is how you get rid of the dilemma.

So, first of all, let’s look at the dilemma. The first part of the dilemma is low confidence

Now, low confidence could be caused by lots and lots of different things, but the fact is confidence is nothing more than a belief level. It is how you see yourself. I understand this — when I first got started, I decided and was like, “Oh, well, I am a new writer, and so, as a new writer, I can’t command large fees or go after big clients.” 

And so, I said, “Who is really nice?” “Who will give me a chance?” and “I can’t charge very much, so it’s okay if they don’t have a big budget. So, a small company that desperately needs writers is really nice. Oh, I know! I’ll go after nonprofit organizations. They’ll give me a break. They’re soft hearted. They’ll give me a chance.”

And so, I went after these nonprofit organizations, and sure enough, I got one to hire me. But the thing is that my confidence was so low, that they didn’t treat me very well. They negotiated and dickered me down on the price, and they ended up not liking it anyway. The reason is because my confidence was low, I saw myself as a new writer, and so, I acted like a new writer. 

That is the big mistake, a huge mistake. So, the first thing is low confidence. How do you get rid of low confidence without going through years of blundering and embarrassing mistakes and crawling up through the swamp and the muck and the mire of this ladder of success — how do you do that? I am going to show you how to do that.

Let’s look at the second thing. The second issue with being a new writer, the dilemma that they have, is an impulse to charge low fees. An impulse to charge low fees. 

Every new writer, myself included — I just told you that story — every new writer feels this compulsion like, “Oh, I am just starting off. I should charge low fees.” Have you ever thought that? Have you ever felt that? Every new writer has. 

So, it’s like, “I don’t know. I just feel this compulsion. I need to charge low fees.” 

What I did is I took the fee structure of one of my mentors, and I chopped it in half. I think I dropped more than half. I think I cut it down by seventy or eighty percent of like, “Oh, well, he has been in the business for twenty years; I am just barely starting out. I think I can only charge like thirty percent of what he charges, and I wipe down all my prices and drop them down to the bottom of the barrel.” 

The other thing is, we think, “Oh, well, I am looking just for someone to give me a chance. If I charge bottom-of-the-barrel prices, then maybe somebody will be like, ‘Oh, you know, it is a low-risk investment. I will go ahead and hire them and encourage them just to do this job.’”

What they are really thinking, the marketing directors, this what they are really thinking: “Hmm. A writer that charges those fees stinks. They must be an amateur. They must be brand-new, that it is going to be tough to work with them, and I’ll have to micromanage them. And in the end, I don’t even know if we are going to get the results that I want.” 

And so, charging low fees just screams “new writer,” “incompetent writer,” “unconfident writer” — and every new writer has this dilemma, like, “I think I should charge new, low fees.” 

And I am here to tell you, you do not have to. You literally do not have to. I tried this at first, and as a brand new, inexperienced writer, I decided, “No more.” I got kicked in the teeth by a couple of clients, treated me like garbage, paid me like garbage — and I decided, “No more.” And so, I went ahead and raised all my prices. Shocking what happened. I will tell you about that in just a minute.

Okay. Number three. Number three is the most sinister one of them all. This is like, “Ugh!” This is the worst one of them all — and this is the new writer badge, and I want to just destroy this, and I am going to with this solution. I am going to show you how to fix this. 

Here it is: the perception of being what I call an order taker. The perception of being an order taker. 

You do not want to be an order taker. Here is what an order taker is. An order taker is a writer who goes out there and works our guts out to market themselves and sell themselves to have someone hire them, and then the company goes like this: “Oh, yes, Mr. Writer. Here is the project. Here is the big idea. This is how we are going to do it. This is how much you get paid. This is when the deadline is. You need to go and do this.” 

And what do most writers do, especially new writers? Well, they are desperate. They want something.

By the way, these kind of worlds are all built around the fact that you are a beta little writer, and the client is in the alpha position, and they are going to swoop in, raise their magic wand, and bestow upon you with the graciousness of their heart, a project, for which they will pay you as the lowest bidder. 

That is really the attitude, right?

It is like, “Oh, well, we have all the power and control, so we are going to bestow upon you, you nice, little writer. We are going to bestow upon you a project,” because they see the writers as order takers. “I am ready to write; you just tell me what to do,” and then they give them the project. 

The perception that you are an order taker, and the perception that the client is giving you the orders, and is telling you what to do, and is telling you the fee structure is that, my friend, will keep you as a poor, feast-and-famine, and frustrated writer for the rest of your career — and you have got to break that cycle. 

If you do not break it now, then you are just going to have weeks, months, years of pain and torture. So, you have got to get out of this order taker status. Stop seeing yourself as an order taker.

So, what do you see yourself as? You see yourself as an alpha. You see yourself as a leader. You see yourself as a prescriptive professional. 

You are going to come in and analyze the situation, and you are going to discover where the gap is. They are right here, and here is the real secret: they act like they graciously have a project, and they are going to bestow it upon you under their terms and their conditions. 

But here is the reality: they are getting this level of results, and they want this level of results, and they do not have either the time, the knowledge, or the resources to fill in that gap, to jump that gap, and so they are coming to you, as the writer, to solve that problem — and inside that space right there, that gap, can you see it? This is where they are at. This is the number of likes. This is the number of cells. This is the number of responses. This is the number of hot leads. This is the number of whatever they are trying to do with their content. 

This is what they are getting, and they want to get something else — and they don’t know how to get there, or they do not have the resources to get there, so they are coming to you.

You have got the power, my friend! I always say that writers are the engine that run the businesses of America. We are the communicators, the persuaders, the informers, the educators. We fill in the gap! 

And if you see yourself as an order taker, just like, “Oh, they are just going to tell me what to do,” then you will never have the power position to say, “Oh, I am going to show you, Mr. Client, how we can fill in this gap — and for my knowledge, to fill in the gap, you are going to pay me really well. But it is okay because you are going to make a lot of money back. It is a good return on investment, but I am a professional — we are going to analyze, we are going to ask questions.” 

Look, if somebody comes to me and says, “Hey, will you write an email series for me?” My answer is, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know if I can help you. Before I know if I can help you, we need to analyze this situation, take a look at it — so let’s do that first, shall we? Let’s not get the cart before the horse.”

That is really my approach, and that should be your approach as well. Okay?

So, how do you solve this dilemma? How do you gain confidence right now, today, without years and years of experience? How do you resist the impulse to charge low and instead succumb to the need to charge high? And then, number three is, how do you get rid of the perception of being an order taker? How do you get into the alpha position and take command of the situation and have a collaborative relationship with the client so they are not just telling you what to do? 

I want to tell you a quick story, and then I am going to give you quick solutions here and some insights on this.

So, as a brand new writer, I had this stage in my life where I wanted to understand a bigger picture of both writing and marketing and life. I wanted to interview and talk to people who I believed had it all. They had wealth. They had spirituality. They had success in their business and in their marriage and in their family life. They had health, and they were strong and fit. 

And so, I started this hunt, and I started interviewing millionaires and billionaires. They were not just millionaires and billionaires financially but also spiritually and educationally. They were at the top of the game; they had it all. 

I remember sitting in this outdoor patio with this gentleman who was worth several hundred million dollars — extremely successful individual — and I was having this conversation with him, and we got done with the conversation. We got done with the interview. I remember this person has millions and millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars, runs some of the huge corporations, and is extremely successful — and what am I? Well, I was just a little writer. 

At the time, I was probably worth, maybe a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. I was hardly worth anything. I might have still been in debt at that point. I have been worth sub-zero. I don’t remember. But what was I? I didn’t run a company, but we got done with this interview.

Now, remember the social status and power position here. We get done with this interview, in this conversation, and he leans back in his chair, and he says, “You know, I think I should pay you for a counseling session because that was absolutely incredible.” 

And he said, “You know, the deal is that every circle that I live in, in my life, I have got to be the Teflon guy. I have got to have all the answers. I have got to have all the leadership. I have got to have all the smarts. I have got to make everything move. I am the bulletproof Teflon guy.” He said, “And today, I got to just be me, and you ask all the questions, and I can just be me.”

 

Now, I have that picture in my mind, freeze-framed, and you should have it freeze-framed in your brain, too, now that I told you the story because what I realized is, all of these marketing directors, all these people who hire writers — all of them are constantly under the gun to provide the solutions, to figure stuff out, to make things happen — and if you come to them as a new writer, and you are like, “Oh, can you please provide me with a job?” then you are putting yourself in a beta position, and you are like everybody else in their world. 

They have got to solve the problem for you. They have got to figure out the project. They have got to figure out the headline. They have got to figure out the terms. They have got to figure it all out. 

Now, it is what they are used to doing — it is their job — but if you come in and change that around, and you put yourself in the alpha position, and you say, “Hey, look, I am going to help solve the problem. I am going to help control the situation. I am going to take leadership on this.” If you put yourself in that position, then they are like, “Whoo, thank you!” 

And, by the way, ever since that day, that person has given me basically unlimited acts — I can call up, I can reach out, I can connect, I can send emails, and he personally will get back to me not because I am someone so important but because we had that connection — and you want that same kind of interaction with your clients, right? 

Do you not want them to give you free rein to access their private phones and their emails and projects — and if you have ideas, they are listening? Yeah, you want that, do you not? And you can have it as a brand new writer. Here is how you do it. This is the simple way to do it. Here is the solution.

The person asking the questions, controls the conversation and the money. 

So, in a nutshell, what I realized was that I needed to be asking the questions. 

Now, I discovered this in the very beginning in my writing career. I worked my guts out to get into the decision maker of what I conceived, perceived as my ideal, dream client. I wanted to write for these guys so bad, and I have finally got to the decision maker — and remember, I am a pretty brand-new writer, and I had not even been writing for a couple of months. 

We started this conversation. I was so excited — “Yeah! Here I am!” — and I was super excited for about a minute, and then he started to ask me questions. “Well, tell me about your background. What experiences have you had? What kind of samples do you have? What are clients like me have you worked for? What do they say? Do you have some testimonials? How much do you charge? What do you do?” 

He just starts hammering me with questions. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Pretty soon, I am like, what my good buddy Bob calls, the dancing monkey. 

I am always like, “Oh, what did this, this is, and I was embarrassed, and I was frustrated, and it made me mad, and I felt powerless, and I was like, “Ugh! I hate this.”

I got off that call, and I just thought deeply about it, and I had an experience where I heard a phrase from Tony Robbins, and he said, “Questions are the answer,” and he said, “The mind is a solution-seeking organism, and when you ask a question to the mind, it starts working on the solution and the answer to that question,”

I realized, “Oh, that is it! The solution to my dilemma of being a new writer is to ask effective, quality, calibrated questions.” 

And if I would learn to ask effective questions, then they would be doing all the answering. In that experience with my multi-millionaire buddy, why did that turn out so well when the social status between the two of us was such a massive chasm? It is because I asked effective, quality, calibrated questions, and I let him do all the talking, and he did not have to come up with solutions. He just talked, and in the way that I asked the questions, I gathered information, and I was able to help walk through some innovative, new stuff, and innovation always creates growth.

Let me show you this chart right here. So, this says, when we ask questions, questions lead to knowledge or truth, right? So, think about this. Here is the big problem new writers make. If someone comes in and says, “Hey, I want you to write an email,” and they are like, “Okay, great,” and they say, “Well, here is the email series. Here is what it is about. These are the big Ideas. You go on write the email,” and then like, “Okay, great. Thank you. What is the due date, and what is the fee?” and they may ask a few follow-up questions — and then now that is it! 

Then, the reality of it is that you really need to know a ton about that. Well, like, “Okay, wait. Who is this email to?” and “Where is it going?” and “What do they see before this?” and “What is the call to action? and “What are the key emotional triggers for buyers to purchase?” and “What has worked in the past?” 

There are so many questions that you should be doing some deep inside research for — and as you do that, it will lead to knowledge and truth about the situation. Knowledge and truth can lead, when used appropriately, to innovation — and innovation leads to growth, right? 

When you are innovating — when you are creating new ideas, new headlines, big promises, a new email sequence, new opt-in forms, new things — that can create growth, and growth is what they really want.

Now, your ability to go through the questions, obtain the knowledge, use the knowledge to innovate, and then create growth makes you an expert. That bestows upon you an expert status —and the cool thing about it is that you do not have to have years and years and years of experience to do this. What you need to understand is effective, quality, calibrated questions. 

As soon as you start asking the right questions, you start getting the right information back, you can connect the dots in an innovative way, and you can help them grow — and you can do this right now, today! Today! You do not have to have years of experience to do this. You just need to ask the right kinds of questions.

Here’s the deal. I am going to give you the framework for three specific questions to ask in this order and give you some insight on this. 

Three key kinds of questions: the first kind of question is, you want to ask them what they want. 

Now, I learned this framework — at least, a version of this framework — from one of my great mentors, guy named R.C. Peck, who is absolutely brilliant and understanding of how people’s brains work, especially around money and decision-making. We found out that the first thing that you need to know is what they want. 

So, they come to you and say, “Will you do an email?” You say, “Oh! Tell me about the email — what is it, what are the parameters, what is it selling — all those kinds of things.” You need to find out the “what” questions about what that is. That is the first question.

Second question is the “why” set of questions — “why” questions. “Why are we writing this email?” “Why are you doing this now?” “Why are you doing it in this environment?” “Why is it going to this group?” “How is this important in the overall strategy and growth of the company?” “Tell me a little bit more about what purpose this serves and the bigger picture of this.” You need to know the “why.” So, not just what it is, but why they are doing it.

Then, the final question is the “when” set of questions, not, “When do you want to get it done?” This is not a chronology question. This is a question of, “When you have this done, what does it look like?” “What is the perfect outcome here?” “When we finish this up, what do you want to see, and how do you want to see it?” and “What are the key objectives that you are trying to get to?” So, you want to know the “what,” the “why,” and the “when” questions — and there are lots of ways to ask these questions — but when you ask these questions, and you get good at that, then you can immediately turn the conversation around. 

You immediately go from being the order taker — “Just tell me what to do” — to be a curious investigator of, like, “Oh, let us look at that. What about this? What about that? And why are you doing here? When this is? Tell me about what a perfect outcome looks like, and paint the picture for me. Let us work on this together.”

 

If you tried this, and if you tried that, and you start asking this different set of questions, and as you do that, then what do they think? 

They are like, “Ooh! That is a good question. I have not thought about that. Well, what about this?” 

They start feeding you information — and that knowledge and truth can lead to innovation, and that innovation leads to growth — and when you can create growth, then you are an expert, and you can do this right now, today. 

So, my invitation to you, my challenge to you, is to, anytime somebody says to you, “Hey, can you do this project?” or when you start engaging with a prospect or when you think of yourself as a new person, I want you to think, “Okay, the person asking the question controls the conversation and the money. What is a calibrated, effective question that I can ask right now, in this situation, to get my client, my prospect, talking to feed me information so that I can innovate and help them create growth, so I can help them take them from where they are at right now, to get them to where they are at, so I can provide the solution?” 

You want to be seen as an expert, as the go-to solution provider in your industry — and when you can do that, you will have no problem getting clients. When you ask effective questions, you immediately take off the badge of, “I am a new writer,” and you put on the badge of, “I am an expert.” 

Go ahead and give it a try. 

Talk to you soon. Bye now.

Joshua T. Boswell

Founder & CEO of Copywriter Marketer


He’s been the personal copywriter and business trainer for startup founders, authors, 
public speakers, entrepreneurs and over 5,000 clients around the world. His techniques have been show to dramatically improve career success, work quality, copywriting tactics, marketing skills, income and even overall life and relationships! Now Joshua Boswell can be YOUR virtual coach!

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