How to Find Your Voice

Oct 1, 2017


Hello, Joshua Boswell here with Copywriter Marketer video newsletter. Today our focus is on your writing ability, and specifically on what I think is one of the most important things about your writing ability, and that is finding your voice.

Now let’s talk for just a minute about why … I’ve got three things here we’re going to cover. The why it’s important to find your voice. The how … How do you find your voice? How do you find that unique signature that’s all yours that you can share with the world? Then I want to talk about a couple of ways that you can use this to increase your income, your lifestyle, your in demand status, all those kind of things. Fair Enough?

First, let’s talk about why this is important. To help you understand why this is important, let me tell you a story… From early on in my copywriting days, as I began my writing career, I got a client that wanted me to write every single month, a regular sales letter. It was in the financial arena. The way they started this off is I got a call one day, and they said, “Hey, we love your proposal, it’s great, we want to use you. Sign a contract every month, $5000 a month, one promo, plus a nice, healthy commission.” I was so excited, I was elated. You’ve heard me talk about this a little bit before, but when I actually got the call I was standing up on a hillside in Montana, I was so excited.

I came back, I came down out of cloud 9, I got back, I got an email; and the email said, “Okay Joshua, here’s the project, here’s what we want you to write about, and here are three other promotions that are similar that we want you just to mimic. We wanted to just start you out nice and easy. Just basically imitate these and you’ll do great.” So I said fine.

I sat down, I looked at the lead, and I wrote a new headline in the lead and I sent it off to them. I essentially just rewrote what they had already given me. So the first response was “Woah, Joshua, that’s not exactly what we were looking for. You basically just took and reworded the headline. We wanted something similar, not exactly like it.”

I tried it again. I tried to do it in their voice, I tried to do it in that style, we went through three iterations of this. I never, ever could get this, and they dropped the contract, and I didn’t get the money, and I was depressed for weeks on end.

What was the problem there? Let me tell you what the problem was. The problem was that I wasn’t in my own voice. Not only that, it’s that I didn’t have this foundation of great writing skills where I could take proven patterns, and then apply my own voice. I was just trying to copy what someone else had done, and that was just not a great idea.

See the world is filled, I think … I’ve got this model in my head where the world is basically … All of us are like a puzzle. We all have these blank spots in our life, and these blank spots can only be filled in by another human being. So we’ve got our own abilities and skills, those are represented by our puzzle pieces, but there’s something missing. There’s a skill, there’s an attribute, there’s an experience, there’s an emotion, there’s a personality trait, there’s something missing, and that little missing segment is found in another human being.

Businesses are the same way. When you contact a business … a business is moving along, and they could grow … they could have greater success, they could have more clients, and more revenue, and more profits, if they just could fill in that little blank in their particular puzzle.

Some people come along and there’s not a good fit, we see that all the time, like “We tried your copy out, you weren’t really a good fit.” One of the reasons why you’re not a good fit is because … A. You’re not using your voice, your unique personality skills; or you used your unique personality, your unique voice, and it just doesn’t fill in that spot. It’s not an indictment on you, it’s not that you’re a bad person, it’s just that you haven’t filled the spot.

Why is finding your voice so important? Because when you find your voice, you’ll be able to almost effortlessly, and rapidly, and very effectively find those other companies, those other individuals, those other scenarios, those other projects that are just waiting for your unique set of gifts, talents, and abilities, to come on to the scene. They’re waiting for you, I promise you, those projects are out there. Almost every significant project that I’ve done, projects that I just knocked out of the park, and done really really well with, I’ve gotten feedback like, “You were just the perfect person for this, we just loved your style, we loved your ability to write, we loved your voice, we loved how you interact with us …” All those kinds of things.

They were super excited, not just about the copy, but about my personal ability, my personal voice, my personal skill … Me, they were excited about me, Joshua Boswell. I fit into that portion of their puzzle that was missing. I filled in the gap.

There are thousands and thousands of companies out there that are waiting for you, you personally, you to fill in that gap, but if you don’t find your voice, you’ll always just sort of be a mimic, a copy of everybody else, or you won’t have a great foundation. You’ll never quite know where you fit in, right? Don’t we hear that expression in society too? He was a great fit for the project, or he didn’t exactly fit in.

Well what are people talking about? What they’re talking about, is that unique characteristic, that ability. You either haven’t found your voice, or your voice wasn’t a great fit. I can’t make your voice be a good fit, but what I can do is I can help you find your voice, and that’s what we’re doing, so I hope you see why this is important.

Because, again, the whole purple orange analogy … When it’s just you, you can fit in really good. When you have the thing people want, you can sell to them, and you can up sell to them, or cross sell, cause you’re the only one with it. You basically have a monopoly, you’ve cornered the market on you. Because there’s a demand, an infinite demand out there for you, for your abilities, your story, your skills, then you got to find your voice, and you got to find those people that are looking for that voice, and then you can provide it, and then you can have great success, and you can do amazing things.

Word of caution before we talk about finding your voice. My voice tends to be loud, and boisterous, and high energy, and excited. I try … You know, sometimes it can be very emotional, because I’m also … My dad wonders why … My son, wonders why I’m such a cry baby, “Dad, why are you such a cry baby?” I don’t know, I’m just an emotional guy. So that … This all makes up my personality, it’s who I am, and who I’ve become.

You don’t have to be that way, you can be much more subdued, you can much more excited, you can be whatever you are deep down inside, but I want to help you find that voice. Okay? I want to help you find that voice.

How do you find that voice? We talked about the why, the why is because it makes you, not a commodity, but a high in demand copywriter. But you got to let your voice come out in your copy, so that people know who you are and what you do. How do you do that? How do you find your voice?

I think the best way to illustrate this is to tell you a story, okay? Here’s a story from my far past, and then maybe I’ll tell you another story that’s specifically about writing, and you might have heard me talk about this before.

Years ago I was involved with Amway. I ran all over the country speaking at Amway conventions, all kinds of different conferences. From three or four people in the room, to literally tens of thousands of people in the room, and I spoke in lots of different venues. Well, when I first got started, the guy that was in my upline, and I won’t tell you his name, he was an amazing speaker. He spoke all over too, lots of different conferences and conventions. I loved the way he spoke, I loved listening to him.

He eventually hired me on to be his office manager and I would go … I would just pull right up and I would sit down right in the front row, and I would be super … I would be glued, focused, intent, listening to exactly what he was saying, and I loved listening to what he was saying.

I eventually would start mimicking his hand gestures. He would walk around like this, he was an old guy, so he would walk around, and he’d talk on stage and be like. You know, like this? He was always … He always had those sharp hand movements. And I’d practice those, and I was like, You got to go out there, you got to show. He would get all excited and his hands would be jerky like this, and always chopping out in front of him.

I copied that, I wanted to be just like … I wanted to be just like him. So I practiced and practiced. When I would go out and speak, I’d speak like that, and people liked that. They liked him, and they liked me because I was like that. Eventually people started … His name was Lennon, people started calling me little Lennon, “Oh yeah, little Lennon’s going to come speak.”

That was a badge of honor for me, it was great. One day I went and spoke in Northern California. There were two guys there, a guy named Brad, and a guy named Mike. Brad was an old football player. Big, tall, I don’t know, six foot four, six foot five. Solid muscle, still well into his forties, he was a big guy. The other guy was Mike. Mike was short, and kind of rotund, and a little bit fat, but he had this huge, larger than life personality.

When Mike walked into the room, everybody was like, “Oh, somebody just came into the room.” You could feel Mike’s presence. Mike was always just always being … Always walking like this.

Brad was much more easy and laid back, even though he was a big guy. They were fun to be with. They had this organization up there, and I went and spoke for them. I got off the stage and Brad came walking up to me. I walk off stage, the crowd was screaming, yelling, and everyone was happy and it was great. I walk off stage, I felt really good. This was my best Lennon performance ever.

The crowd was excited, I was excited, I felt like I’d done a great job. I walked off, and sure enough, Brad comes wandering over to me and puts his arm around me. He was like “Hey Joshua, little Lennon, dude that was the best job ever, great job.” All the sudden, out of nowhere, Mike bursts up there and stands right in between me and Brad, and he gets right up into Brad’s face. Mike’s probably about this tall, and Brad’s like this tall.

He’s like, “Don’t you ever call him little Lennon again.” His face was just red … This was Mike, he was so … He was like mad and excited. “Don’t you ever call him little Lennon again.” He walks toward me, and he goes, “Don’t you ever let people call you Lennon again, you got your own voice, and you need to find it, you need to be your own person. I don’t ever want to hear that again.” He was like jabbing at both … Brad and I are like, “What got into Mike, What? What is wrong with Mike? Tiptoe away.”

I thought of that moment there and it really started sticking in my brain. Man, I don’t need … The world already has one Lennon, they don’t need another Lennon. What they need is a Joshua Boswell. I didn’t need to be Lennon, I needed to be my own person. Right?

Mike had taught me that in a very powerful, very emotional way. So I started working on it, I started giving myself permission to be Joshua Boswell. I started finding my own voice, my own way of doing things, my own type of story telling, and my own emotions, and my own passions. Things that I love, not things that Lennon loved. I started talking about all these different things that were so important to me.

I started just being me, just being Joshua. It was incredibly liberating. I remember about a year, year and a half later, I went back to that same area and I spoke again. I got … The performance where I had done my best little Lennon performance ever was really great, but this just took the house down, it just blew the … I sound like I’m bragging, but I’m just telling you, it was an amazing experience.

I walked off the stage, and again, here comes Brad, just walking, wandering over to me, puts his arm around me. He goes, “Man, Josh.” He called me Josh this time, not little Lennon, Mike was standing right there, he wasn’t going to make that mistake again right? “Man, Josh, I’ve heard A speakers, and B speakers, and A+ speakers.” And he goes “Dude you are like … That was incredible, that was like an A+ job, that was awesome.” And then Mike comes walking over. You know Mike’s coming over. He gets right up here, he goes “That was the real Joshua. Man, congratulations, it’s good to finally meet you.” He’s a super intense guy, and he was right there, and he just smiles, and he reaches up and give me a great big bear hug. He was so excited because I found my voice, like “You found your voice, that was incredible.”

It was. I don’t care if the crowd liked it or not, I loved it. I loved that I had found my voice. Here’s the thing, in that sequence that I just told you, let’s get to the end of the story. It was a great thing and I felt very proud to have made Mike and Brad pleased. It was a great event.

What went on there? There’s a pattern there that I just walked you through, that I want to talk about for just a minute. And the pattern … I’ve talked about that you need to find your own voice, so it’s interesting that the pattern starts off the way that it does, because it’s completely counter-intuitive to what I am actually saying here. Okay?

Let me just draw this out. There’s three major points here to this process of finding your own voice. Okay? Let’s just take this area here, and I’m just going to go over here. The first thing that you need to do in finding your own voice … This is number one, okay?

The very first thing you need to do, is you need to find a proven pattern. What’s something that’s worked before, that’s proven to work? The thing about Lennon, Lennon was already a phenomenal speaker. He was in demand, people loved to hear him, and I knew that, I knew that he sold really well from stage, he entertained really well from stage. He got people to laugh, and he got them to cry, and he’d run people through all this range of emotions, he was great on stage.

He walked into the room, he stepped on stage, he commanded the whole stage, he took total charge, he had a great stage presence. I loved that, I loved that he did that. This was a proven pattern, this was a proven model, I knew that it worked. That’s the first thing. Why I emphasize this as the first, is a lot of times, we start in on a business deal, or on writing skills, or on marketing ability, or thinking about a niche that we can go down to. You know I’m always telling you if you’re going to do a niche, you’ve got to find a niche where they’re already using your kind of copy, and they’re paying for it.

That’s what I mean by a proven model. If the established fruit on the tree is not there already, then you step into the realm of being either a pioneer or an idiot. I don’t mean that to be rude, but why would you go and try to reinvent the wheel, or try to do something that’s not already being done? It doesn’t make any sense. You’ve got to find a proven pattern, something that gets close to what you want. Look through sales letters, content articles, writers, speakers, find people that write in the voice that’s similar to what you like, and that’s proven to get results. Okay?

This is really important. Number one, you find a proven pattern, just like I did with Lennon.

Number two, what’s the second step? This will feel really counter-intuitive. You’ll think, you just spent ten, fifteen minutes telling us stories about how dumb this is. You’ve been insinuating that this is a really bad idea. It is a really bad idea when it’s used out of context, but when you start with a proven pattern, and then you do step number two, then it’s a really good idea as long as you know what the end goal is.

Number two is, you want to mimic. What did I do with Lennon? I analysed him, I studied him, I looked at the way he got people to laugh, and cry. I looked at the way he told stories. I imitated his hand gestures. I got so deep and entrenched … I even looked at his … you’ll think this is really weird, but I looked at his signature, and I learned how to forge, copy, whatever you want to say, his signature. I thought if I could get a feel for the way his body moves when he’s signing things, then maybe I could get a feel for the way he moved on stage. So I copied that signature. The second thing was to mimic this. When you mimic something, what are you doing?

Essentially what you’re doing is, you’re taking their skills, their talents, their ability, their feelings, their thoughts, their proven patterns, and you’re ingesting those, and you’re making them a part of yourself. Your weaving that into the fiber of who you are. You’re taking a portion of their life, and you’re putting it inside of you, and making it part of who you are. Right? That’s what mimicking is, you start to think like them, act like them, talk like them.

This is really important. So how do you do this in your writing skill? You’ve heard this before, you find proven promos, and letters, and social media content or website content, whatever, and you simply copy it. You just copy it verbatim. You try to mimic it as best you can. When you’re writing for other people, especially in the beginning days, and writing some mere sample piece, you’re doing things. Just copy some of the stuff that’s been done. Mimic it as close as you can without violating any copyright laws, just mimic as best you can.

If you stop there, then you will never be a great writer. Why did I have such a hard time in the beginning with that financial writing company? Because I wasn’t based on a proven pattern, and I was trying to mimic something that I didn’t really know anything about, and I wasn’t taking the next step. This is the next step.

You have to give yourself permission to be you. Right? You have to give yourself permission to be you. This is scary. This can be really uncomfortable for a lot of people, because a lot of us aren’t comfortable in our own skins. We feel like we’re vulnerable if we shed the mask, we drop the facade, we get rid of all the pretenses, and we just bare ourselves, and open ourselves, and go “Here, this is who I am. Love it or leave it, this is what you got. I’m going to try to grow and be better, but right now, today, right in this moment, this is who I am.” I think sometimes we think, if we expose the real person to the world, then we would feel uncomfortable, and they might reject us, so there’s this feeling of vulnerability.

I remember years ago, speaking, and I was back in the green room where all the speakers go and are chit chatting. There’s this other really well known speaker sitting across from me. He looks at me, and he goes, “Hey, when do you think they’re going to figure out we’re frauds.” He didn’t really mean that we were intentionally fraudulent. What he meant was, and I knew exactly what he meant when he said it, what he meant was … What he said was, look, we put on this … We go up on stage, we talk, we teach, we train, we inspire people we talk to. But deep down inside we were nervous about who we really are.

There came this point, and you know … Mike, when he got in my face, Mike gave me permission to be myself. To just stop with the facade, stop with trying to be little Lennon, and be myself. Here’s the catch, is that all three of these tend to be interwoven, right?

There’s this thread that weaves down and back through all these. When you give yourself permission to be you, what you’re doing, is giving yourself permission to be you based on the foundation of the proven pattern.

All those things that I learned from Lennon about stage presence, how to cast my voice, how to breath, how to move my body in a way that showed that I was congruent with my words, how to take command of a room, and to capture people’s attention, and to be able to focus on individuals. How to move people up and down through different emotions, how to sell from stage, and close, all these principles, all these ideas.

I didn’t throw those out just because I was being me. I just laid me on top of them. Right? I just took everything that was Joshua Boswell, and I applied it in a way that was based on proven principles, and that’s where this is at. That’s why, when you’re writing, it’s so important to mimic great copy first.

If you don’t mimic the great copy first, then you don’t have that foundation, you don’t know those principles, and techniques, and abilities, and skills. You don’t have all that, so laying you on top of inefficiency is not a great idea. That’s why I lost that first initial project. I wasn’t based on a great foundation.

I don’t want you to make that same mistake, so I want you to weave this thread through here in a consistent, regular basis. Okay? That’s a little three step process of how you find your voice. Then … How do you find your voice, but make your voice effective? That’s what I’m trying to say there. How do you find your voice, but make sure that it’s effective, and that it’ll be needed, and useful out in the marketplace. Okay?

That’s how you do it. The cool thing is, this is a rinse and repeat pattern. So you’re going to take this, and the more you give yourself permission to be you, you’re going to go back up, and you’re going to find more proven patterns, mimic those patterns, and then incorporate them and make them your own.

Let me finish this part with one quick story. When I first started marketing myself, and this is a marketing story, and I could tell some writing stories. When I first started marketing myself … In fact I will tell one writing story real quick … Maybe I’ll tell two.

When I first started marketing myself, I was doing cold calls, and I told you before that I used Peter Bauerman’s script. But over time, I started realizing I couldn’t just use his script, because it wasn’t getting me anywhere. So I started slowly modifying stuff. As I modified it and came into my own voice, that’s when I had the great chemistry, that’s when things really started to change. I’ve used this pattern over and over again in lots of different things.

A quick writing experience. About a year ago I was writing for a major financial publishing company. We were working on a really major, huge package. I was letting all of my natural voice come out in spades. I was … It was a package about religion, and financial security. I was having so much fun. I was researching up Solomon, how did Solomon get so rich? I was just pouring myself into this thing.

I got done with the letter, and the publisher was like, “Man, this is awesome stuff, this is great. There’s only one small problem, this wouldn’t resonate with our audience, they just don’t talk like this. This is really cool stuff, but this just won’t ever resonate.” And it didn’t.

I took that, and I found an audience that it would resonate with, and applied that, and got paid very well. Here’s the point, I wasn’t offended that they loved my copy, loved my technique, but it wasn’t the right fit. Their audience didn’t have the little space cut out in their life that would fit a Joshua Boswell voice on this particular subject, and that was cool. But guess what? There was another market that was interested in that, and so it paid very well. See?

You just need to be yourself, there’s always some place out there for you to be. Now how do you use this? I just talked about this a little bit, but here’s how I specifically use it. I go out, and I try to find industries, markets, people, products, companies that resonate with my particular voice.

How do you know if they resonate with your voice? Because they’re like you, they feel comfortable around you, and they … Like attracts like. The uses of this is very basically, simply stated, let your voice come out. Tell your story. Again, when you’re marketing yourself, they’re not hiring your writing ability. They’re going to say that, they’re going to say they’re hiring your writing ability, but guess what? That’s only a small portion of it.

What they really want to know, is who they’re hiring. They want to know your background. This is why I teach, so many times, that the best part of your marketing materials is your bio. It’s your personal story, it’s your explanation of who you are, and what you do, and where you’ve come from, and what’s important to you. Because they’re hiring you, we don’t hire pieces of paper, we hire human beings.

We want to know if it’s going to be a right, what? A right what? A right fit. We’ve got to know if it’s a right fit. So they want the whole package, they want to know how you write, but they also want to know about you. You use this in everything, it filters through in your bio, your information packet, your website. Don’t be afraid to use proven patterns, but then to allow yourself to be you.

If you do, you’ll find your ability to find, land, close, up sell, cross sell, and continue on with clients is awesome. It’s almost indefinite. You can carry on for a long time and have great income if you’ll do that, because you’ll always be in demand. It’s your ultimate unique selling proposition.

Okay? Cool? So you’ve got to find your voice. When you do, you’ll have money streaming in. Until you find your voice, find a proven pattern. Mimic, it’s okay to mimic for a while. You’ll get paid okay for that, but then give yourself permission to be you. If you do that, you can definitely live the writer’s life. It’ll improve your writing 1000 fold, Okay? Thanks for listening, I’ll talk to you later.

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