Clay Manley named his company Speakeasy because he knows being your own sales page copywriter isn’t. | RGR 093


It’s fun to listen to Clay Manley talk his walk. He’s the founder of Speakeasy Sales Copy, and when you listen to him talk about what he does for businesses as a sales page copywriter, it’s easy to see why he has a long string of successes and awards: he’s genuine about wanting to help clients succeed.

“People are doing amazing things, even during COVID,” he says. “Maybe they lost their jobs and they’re moving online; maybe they have an offline business and now they’re venturing online; maybe they have something incredible that they’re passionate about that’s not selling, and it should be. I want to help those people get to the next level.” Listen. Learn.


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sales page copywriter

| Rise Grind Repeat 093 |


Every entrepreneur and business owner is like passionate about what they do and what they’ve created. And the problem I see is that their messaging is doing them a disservice, like their copy and their messaging is not strong enough, it’s not putting their best foot forward. And frankly, that’s just them shooting themselves in their foot.


On today’s episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat, we talked to Clay from Speak Easy Sales Copy, catch up from the last episode and talk about how he’s rebranding his business. Let’s dive right in. Clay, thank you so much for joining another episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat again.


I can’t believe I’m back round to No 2, I love it. There’s been I’m excited to catch up. I mean, we’re doing a little bit before this. But man is five months ago, we did the episode. It’s it’s amazing how much has happened in here. It’s been amazing to watch how much you’ve grown. Just personally, you got, you know, personal things going on. If you told the world Yeah, but cool to hear there. But then even on the business side, it’s amazing how quickly you’re growing. I just can’t wait to hear all about how all about the journey and kind of where you’re at.


Yeah, and you know, it hasn’t it’s it shocked me as much as I think it’s maybe shocking outsiders, it’s still not perfect. Like the journey still isn’t perfect. I want to be very clear that I’m still making mistakes. still growing and still failing forward all of that. But it’s been an awesome five months on my own since I left Petco. And yeah, personally professionally, a lot going on. I’ll really good stuff to share.


Awesome. Well, what are some of the cool highlights that you’ve had before we get into kind of nitty gritty in terms of process and things that you’ve uncovered in your business learn from and everything like that.


I know, I know where you want me to start. I can’t see their eyes. So my wife’s pregnant. So my wife Kelly’s pregnant, we’re really excited about that don’t know gender yet. was quite a shock to me. Actually, I found out the last time I was in here filming the day I got home. Yeah, so you guys, were some of the first to know, actually. And I’ll just have to check with Andre before we put this out, because it isn’t public yet. But my wife’s pregnant due in September. So that’s the big personal news. The professional news is really you know, businesses growing a lot of new clients, a lot of clients sticking with me learning the right and wrong things to do a lot of new learnings with copywriting what’s working right now worked with you guys some so we probably have some exciting stuff to share there as far as what is and isn’t working. And then for me, I joke that I’m rebranding the brand I don’t have, which means five months ago, I was working on a brand because I’m right now still the case, I have a lot of clients, I would say my my business is successful, but it’s still a freelance business. And I’m trying to actually build this into a brand and a business. And so I had taken steps to name a company, get a website working with a mentor, uh, you know, I’m very thoughtful, and everything I do, probably to a fault. So I picked out like, the exact colors, the logo, everything I wanted for this, this brand I was building. And I just realized as I got deeper into it that I wasn’t loving it. I wasn’t proud of the name, I was hesitant to put it out there. Like I couldn’t wear it like an honor badge. And so it was one of those times where normally you’re trying to speed up, I was like, let’s slow down for a second. Because before I put anything out there, I do want to bless it I want to feel good about it’s got to be authentic, genuine, all that stuff. And I just I was close, but I wasn’t there. So I’ve since changed the name to Speak Easy sales copy. So hopefully by the time this is okay, yeah, I’ll tell you all about it. If you want to talk you’re off. But hopefully that’ll be out soon. April 2021, for sure. And I’m just getting clear on, you know what this business is going to be what this brand is gonna look like how I’m approaching teaching copywriting because I should probably or why but the biggest thing is like, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve been doing it successfully for a long time with household names. And now I’ve switched to entrepreneurs and small businesses, because I’ve gotten out of big brands and I got sick of like making the rich richer, right. And I want to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. And to me, the best way to help them is to teach them how to write their own sales copy versus them spending a fortune on me or somebody else or wasting their money on a freelancer, you know, run of the mill person who doesn’t actually know what they’re doing. So I’m trying to really arm entrepreneurs and business owners with the skills I have. So they can create high converting copy, get more engagement leads and sales. And to do that, I’m going to use speakeasy sales copy, see how it’s coming together. And that’s kind of the next evolution for me. I’ll continue to have my freelance writing business. I’ll continue to do DIY copy and ghost writing or done for you copy and ghost writing but I’m already on the higher end of cost, as you know, and I think moving forward, that rate will go up because I want to almost force the right clients to learn it themselves. I’m going to help make it easy and seamless. And I’m going to make it work. So that’s the big news for me is this new intention with speakeasy sales copy, I’m running a contest for the logo and 99 designs right now. The designers already hate me because again, I’m so just every color has to have meaning. It’s not just thrown together. Yeah, it’s how we do everything. It’s like, I don’t want to throw yellow on there, if that yellow doesn’t have some meaning to that, right. So anyways, more to come April 2021. But that’s a big thing for me is this next phase of business for me is transitioning from just done for you sales copy for big brands, small brands, small businesses, entrepreneurs, to this other wing of the business, which I’ll run. And that’s going to be all about a system a step by step system of teaching you how to write, what to write, and how to do it well, so it actually sells


No, I love it. Because I think that’s where a lot a lot of people met. It’s it’s love working for the corporations, but I want to help small businesses, and it’s like, I want to render the services. And it’s like, if you’re really good, that means you’re really expensive, and most small businesses can’t afford that. So I think the approach that you’re taking is spot on, teach them how to fish, they’ll then catch the fish grow into, you know, a bigger business, and maybe you can open up, open up another facet of the business, that is that corporate type of copywriting and really help people out. And you definitely are great, I will say, you know, you sent us an email copy. And we’re doing a lot of outbound, we’ve been doing a lot of testing. And literally, the response rates went from 1%, up to 10%. So you literally ten X the response rates, and the responses that we were getting went from stop emailing me to Yeah, lighting, good conversation. And even the people that said stop emailing, they appreciated the content, what was written it was I mean, it was just good. And this is well written. But yeah, we’re just not ready right now. We’re not ready for marketing, whatever it may be. So your talent is tremendous. And with that brings a lot a lot of value. And it’s tough to really cater to that that small business. So I think the way that you’re going through it is huge. One thing I do want to ask is the rebranding and everything like that, at what point did you feel uncomfortable? Was it that you brought it to a few other people that had either negative feedback? Or what was that emotion that major, cuz it’s tough to put all this effort into doing it. And then just to kind of scratch it or learn from it, or whatever it may be. So what was that process to go from? I’m just not feeling it to then the direction you want to go to? Yeah,


it was tough. So if we were going back to, I want to say the last probably July-ish, I did a business building retreat over the weekend. And so I worked with a gentleman and his wife who their business is helping entrepreneurs build online businesses, like they were the visionaries when like, dial up was still a thing telling people the futures online. So I worked with the best of the best. And over the course of a weekend at a vineyard at this amazing retreat, you know, we came up with the name together, there’s nothing wrong with the name, the previous name was Content Selling Machine, which is awesome. It’s very clear what I was trying to do. But even in the moment, I wasn’t super sold on it. And I kept telling myself, you got to move forward, you got to move forward, imperfect action. And I still definitely believe that, you know, but long story short, I’ve done all the behind the scenes work. And literally weeks away from finally launching the website. I’ve been practicing getting like my own voice down, I’ve pushed myself to create my own copy, because I hate doing it for myself, but I love doing it for everyone else, right? Like, I’ve literally poured my blood, sweat and tears into this. I’ve stared holes in the ceilings, you know, every night and everywhere. I’ve gone for the past almost year now. And it came to the point where I was creating some assets for my business specifically lead magnets to generate an email lists so I can build my following and sell to them. Which, you know, tip that you and I always talk about, I was like, you got to have an email list. Yeah, no. So I’m like if these assets that I’ve just, you know, worked so hard on and I’m so frickin proud of, if these are about to be out in the world. I need to feel 100% confidence and the name and the branding and everything needs to feel right. And when I finished those up, I just felt like the content was so great. And what I’m about to share with the world I believe in wholeheartedly. So I don’t believe in the branding behind it. There was just something that it was like an uneasiness in my stomach. And I looked back and I realized that I actually had already bought the domains for Speak Easy Sales Copy so I already bought and purchased the websites bought and already purchased the websites.


Did you come with that name before you went to the retreat? Or did it come after it came


after at some point? My wife said to me at some point, you’re like the speakeasy of copywriters. I was like, that’s cool. Yeah. And I was like that stuck with me. That’s not enough meaning for me though, but then I started Thinking about you know, I’ve got this third floor office in the mountains where I work and it’s kind of like hidden, you’d have to know to go there. The walls are navy and you’ll see it on my Instagram. It’s kind of moody to be creative. I’m like, you know, there’s a lot of elements here of a speakeasy. And then the other thing that stood out to me was like, I’ve worked with Petco, Marvel, Slim Jim, the list goes on. And I’m like, I’ve been hiding in like the shadows of these giants. And now I’m trying to, like sneak out of the shadow, get the spotlight on me, right. And work with smaller businesses and entrepreneurs. So everything about Speak Easy just kept sticking with me. And then I just had this this final moment of I went on, got my GoDaddy account, and I looked, and they value a domain name. So they tell you what they think it’s worth Yeah, well, content selling machine, the previous name was worth like, $300. I look at speakeasy sales, copy, and it’s worth like $3000. So I’m like, okay, people must be some algorithm is saying this is valuable. So that kind of reaffirmed like objectively that it was the right move. And I went to not to be too long winded. But I went to post on social media, like my last post was about how I’m hiring will to hire on the job scripts that I had to put a business name. I did not want to put Content Selling Machine, there was something that didn’t just didn’t sit right with me. I wasn’t proud. That was a basic thing. I wasn’t proud, I wasn’t totally behind it. And I’m like, I know my business is gonna do well, I don’t wanna have to rebrand a year from now. Like, I want to feel authentic, genuine and proud of what I put out. And so the more I thought about Speak Easy Sales Copy, and the more I thought about the meaning behind it, I was like, that’s, that’s the route I’m going. So that’s what led me here. It was kind of a lot.


No, I love it. I love the new name. I think it’s, I think it just resonates I don’t know, it goes off the tongue and roll rolls off pretty well. And I don’t know, I just, like did a good job.


Hey, man, a shout out. But I agree. And I feel like you know, it fits. Because a lot of the entrepreneurs and business owners, even businesses I work with, they can talk about their products and their services. And they’re coaching, no problem. They’re very comfortable talking about it. It’s once they’re behind the keyboard typing where things go awry. And so I felt like, when you think about speakeasy, it’s like, you can speak about it, I’m gonna make it easy. I’m make it easy to write the sales copy. And you just talk about the power of sales copy. But to me, that’s the game changer. So I’m thrilled with the name. I’m, I’ve got the right colors picked out now I’ve got designers working on the logo. And I just can’t wait for everyone to see it in April. Like I went from being hesitant to launch because of the branding too. I’m thrilled. I can’t wait for the world to see this. And I know it’s gonna do well.


Yeah, no, that’s awesome. I love the being able to identify that just go with the feelings. And I mean, it’s, uh, you know, you know, I preach a lot, you know, be quick with action, you know, the biggest enemy of good is perfect and everything, but there still doesn’t mean just go out and just run with things if you don’t feel comfortable. So I love the fact that you’re doing and even if you get so deep into it, I think a lot a lot of business owners don’t weigh the opportunity cost and go, Well, I’ve already spent so much time I have to keep going, it’s like, well, you only spent nine months 12 months, if you’re looking at a business for 20 years, that is nothing compared to the feeling you’re going to have regret of not going and changing your mind 10 1213 years down the road. So to be able to identify that make that move. All while you know, the craziness going on the personal life you’re looking to hire that business is growing. I mean, it’s doing a good job of juggling, and I think it’s gonna lead to just more happiness. And ultimately, I mean, just even the name I think it’s all


I’m glad you approve, I was just thinking to when I did decide to pivot just to support what you were saying. But I did decide to pivot the name. I did it same day. Like I was like, I’m changing the name, I launched a contest on 99 designs, I’ve never even heard of it. I wrote a brief. I did everything that day. So I didn’t let it slow me down. In fact, the contest ends like today. So I got to look at those those logos. But point being once I realized that I couldn’t get 100% there, I was quick to move on and to make this move. And so yeah, reinforce everything you say imperfect action, and just man I’m just excited. I don’t know how to put it I’m just thrilled about it.


Now that’s awesome. And going back from like our previous conversation I think we spent quite a bit of time on pain gain transformation, which was mind blowing to me. I mean, I still try and I still try and figure out how to do it and then I’ll listen to the club and like me I’m nowhere even nowhere near what Clay can do. But I mean before this you’re kind of mentioning you know, you kind of you know thought about it a little bit more. Are you still going down that route as kind of the strategies you move forward a sales copy and everything or what what does that look like?


Yeah, so that was missing something. So I would say the crux of all good sales copy in my opinion, if you really boil it down is this concept of pain gain transformation. So just to revisit that real quick. What I pictures are three categories of your sales copy. If you can stack all three together pain gain transformation you’ve got you’re going to have high converting copy. In fact, I’ve no doubt about it. So when you look at we’ll start with pain. Pain is like what people avoid. That’s called loss aversion. Like there’s actually a name for it. It’s called loss aversion. loss aversion can be two times as powerful as the opposite. So pain can be two times as powerful as gain. Now, you tell me somebody doesn’t want double the conversions on copy, right? So pain is really powerful, telling people what they can avoid, gain what they get. That’s what every marketer, every Junior copywriter, every intern can come up with, like, That’s obvious. And you do need it, you need it because it’s clear, and it’s simple. And then transformation is how does their life change that’s like that before and after picture. transformations, probably the moneymaker paints pretty special. unlike anything, you stack all three. And that’s where magic happens. Now, what I didn’t talk about last time, would be the progression of that. So let’s say I’ve got all three of these elements. I’m like, I’ve nailed paying game transformation. How do I actually use this? One of the biggest challenges for any entrepreneur, business owner or copywriter is flow, and nobody talks about it, like, I feel like I might be the only person talking about it, which is you may have the right words, you may have the right messaging. But if they’re in the wrong order, it’s still not going to work. And now you’re spinning your wheels, rewriting something that doesn’t need to be rewritten, it just needs to be shifted. So I came up with this framework for flow. Basically, what I tell people is all good sales copy is going to fail without flow, the framework for flow as E, F, A, E, F, A, so he lead with emotion, f reinforced with function and logic, and a and with action, EFA. So now let’s rewind back, pain gain transformation into an easy flow


e fa, can see I like three people learning. So e fa, when I say lead with emotion, a lot of people jump into their copy, or a lot of businesses jump into their copy. And it’s all about the product and like what it does for you. And I’m more like paint the picture of how their life’s gonna be different, which basically that transformation piece from painting and transformation. But start with the emotions. The easiest way to do that, write the word imagined down and just start writing what happens with their with your product or service. So start with imagine, hit them in the heartstrings, people and this is this is this is good. This is my favorite quote, right? People will buy on emotions, then they’ll justify with logic. So they buy on emotions, first and foremost, then they justify with logic that leads to F when I say reinforced with function reinforced with function and logic. So you’ve hooked them with the emotions they want, what you have, you’ve basically pre sold them. Yeah. And then you get into if this function, that’s the logic, like how it works, why it works, all of that stuff that reinforces that they’re making the right decision. And then easy a and with action, we end everything with a call to action, tell them what to do, tell them how to get your product, and boom. So you start with gain pain transformation, you work into e fa, you’ve already got the right messaging. Now you’ve got the right flow. And I mean, it doesn’t work all the time. Like my perfect, right, yeah. But for the most part, you can feel really good about what you’re putting out there. And you can, which everybody wants, you can have confidence that like, I’m putting the best messaging out there. And if it doesn’t work, it’s my offer, or it’s my product, or it’s my design. It’s not my writing.


Yeah. And it just comes down to testing. It’s, then it’s you have that is it the landing page, the offer? I mean, there’s so many different things to test. Yeah, but I mean, I love it, cuz everyone wants frameworks always like, you know, you can give them the right words the first time, but it’s like, what is the strategy that you use to put these together? And I know that’s your secret sauce. But I mean, that’s what that’s what people want, so they can go and do it for themselves. I’m huge on examples. Is there I guess an example of what you kind of just ran through? thing kind of illustrate that that pain gain transformation?


Yeah, let me give you a spot. Now I’ll give you a goofy one. Because it’s gonna it’s goofy. It’s different. But it’s also going to illustrate FA and so let’s start there. So I recently did a project for a company that sells they sell flag poles to sell flagpole lighting. You know, that’s a different audience for


how you’re going to convey emotion into flag poles. And yeah, that’s a I’m excited for this. Exactly. So


when we think about, we’ll use we’ll just use any flannels example, but let’s say fa, so let’s say we’re going to lead with emotion. So instead of telling them that they’re going to be able to fly a strong flag, and it’s going to last in the wind, or whatever. What I’m talking about is like imagine going to bed at night and seeing the stars and stripes like waving you Good night or imagine every will say imagine every edge of that star glyphing under the moonlight, as you go up to your room each night, right in front of your driveway, right, like right out front. It’s almost like the stars and stripes are putting you to bed every night. And every morning when you wake up there they are greeting you again, like, that’s how you’re a proud patriot. And so that’s kind of the emotion, right? I haven’t told you anything about the flagpole to sell what I’ve told you. And what I’ve sold you on is the emotion of red, white, and blue is always there for you. It’s always flying high. And you’ve now seen it when you wake up. You’ve seen it when you go to bed. That’s pretty stirring. Oh yeah. Then I go into reinforcement function. So now I’m going to tell you that it has a 95 mile per hour wind rating. I’m gonna tell you why. So it never bends in the wind. Well, that’s exciting. I’m going to tell you that the flag has double stitching and every corner so that it’s going to last you forever. I’m going to tell you that the pole itself telescopes and only weighs 20 pounds. So guess what? This thing’s portable. If you want to take it out at night and respect flag code, you can because you don’t have the lights. I didn’t know if that code was a thing. But you can move it around. If you move it’s always with you like this is the last flagpole you’ll ever need. So now I’m starting to hit that function. So I sold them on the Stars and Stripes. I’ve sold them on that picture that they can almost see and feel. And now I’ve reinforced with function of all the things you’d actually want with this all those features turned into benefits. And now I’m ending with action, which is some sort of urgency worked in there of you know right now. The best flagpole and the last flagpole you’ll ever need is on sale for 10% off. Get it today. And you’re gonna save $100 and it’s like boom done.


So website I want it exactly got me so exactly. So you worked through that emotion that emotion that function that action and then the game pain transformation you start working that in which by the way is best for like bulleted lists, but it’s like the game. Well, the game for me is that I’m always going to be able to show my patriotism and show how much I love this country loud and proud. 24/7/365 because this thing’s sturdy. It’s not going to break it doesn’t need painting. It’s better than the rest. The pain wall there several one would be let’s say you have another flagpole. It’s it’s in concrete. There’s other flag poles in concrete. It’s not going with you anywhere. It’s part of the house, not part of your life. This flagpole now portable, 20 pounds part of your life. That’s a big difference. Also, there’s a rule of flag code I probably go in too deep, but you have to have the flag lit if it stays up at night. So this flagpole comes with lights. Well, now you can leave ol’ Laurie flying every night because she’s well lit and she looks beautiful and the founding fathers would be proud of what you have out there. So the pain is like there’s less hassle. You don’t have to take her in and out of the lager in and out every day. There’s no ropes and pulleys, it’s telescoping. So don’t have to worry about knots, you don’t have to worry about tearing your hands up. You don’t have to worry about buttons that shear off. And then the transformation is kind of like the founding fathers, if they saw this, they’d walk right up to your door and knock on the door and tell you Good job. Like you are a proud patriot and you can feel accomplished. You can feel proud, you can know that. Like your neighbors are gonna be asking you about your flagpole, because it is the best around. And you are the best patriot like on the block, right? So you’ve gone from maybe disrespecting the flag, maybe not even knowing you’re disrespecting the flag or maybe not having to play with flag, but you really want to show your patriotism especially during these tough times to not only have a flag, you have the best flag on the block, it’s going to be with you forever, your neighbors are going to look up and know exactly who you are and what you stand for pain gain transformation,


that I mean that that’s amazing. And there’s so much packed in there, I mean, to convey emotion to hit on the pain points. And that’s something that we think are big in the market, and what are the pain points that we can serve you a message that’s going to start stirring those emotions and everything. So whenever we approach it, it takes a lot of market research to you know, who are the audience segments that are going to be buying these flagpoles? Who would be having flags at their house or business, whatever it may be. And so it’s a matter of who are these people? What are their different pain points? And why would someone want to buy it? So it takes a lot of research to come up with the where are these audiences consuming content, are we going to be on Google, Facebook, YouTube, all this type of stuff? From there, we’re going to be doing videos, like there’s a lot of research to figure out what is the best strategy to get in front of this particular audience that’s ultimately going to drive them to take action for our clients, and that’s putting more money in their pocket and driving sales. How do you go about this research phase? I mean, it could easily go, you know, you could try it in under an hour. But I mean, when it comes to research, I mean, you could spend hundreds of hours. I mean, how do you approach that, where not spending too much time but you’re spending enough time to get what you need the ammo that you need to come up with great copy. That’s gonna drive sales.


Yeah, you can research your way to oblivion, right, so. So, one,


let’s talk about resources real quick. In my world. I like the Abraham Lincoln quote that you’ve probably heard, which is, if I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’m going to spend six hours sharpening my axe. That’s your research. When it comes to sales copy. You’re going to spend way more if it’s good, you’re gonna spend way more time researching and that’s going to make writing the copy much easier in fact some of it will be done for you so my shortcut to research is amazon and google reviews and the best way to do it on amazon is pull up all the competitive products you can find anyone who’s in your space look at the ones that have the most reviews because you know they’re popular drill down you can filter to the one star and the five star reviews look at what people are complaining about on the one stars find the common themes what are the three to five things like everybody’s complaining about go to the five star look at the three to five things that everybody loves about the product turn those those bad things those negatives into positives for your brand call out those pain points so now you’re going to convert them to come to you right you’re going to literally steal from your competitors and then all that good stuff amp it up take it to another level copies basically written for you and it’s in your audience’s voice so one star reviews and five star reviews can write your copy for you and that’s going to shorten the research time a ton in general with research what i tell people is go on google look at your competitors look at analog brands meaning brands that aren’t in your category but they’re similar to you maybe similar values maybe a similar way of selling look at them and then just have some whitespace a little bit of whitespace we’re just exploring around and you’re seeing what’s out there and go until you have enough common themes enough kind of threads driving you through so you feel like i’ve got enough to write and you’ll know when you hit that it takes time but the biggest thing for me is you group things that are common and you start to find these groupings of shared pain points shared objections shared shared positives and when you have enough of them you know yeah and you start writing so that’s that’s how i do it one star five star group on go from there and then if i have surveys statistics data you guys have a lot of data if i have if i have that on my hands of course i’m going to use it and sometimes that may that may help you cut the research time in half so interviews are always good case studies are always good stuff like that but i keep finding myself going back to the reviews because it’s in your audience’s voice you can’t ask for much more than that


100% because even if you want to fill out a survey they might they might say certain things that they want like it’s the true emotion that you’re getting like if someone’s gonna take the time to leave a review that is the raw emotion that they have on what either drives them happy or drives them nuts and it’s like there’s no better source than then the truth there what what is the audience saying who’s actually buying these products


yeah and it’s a blank slate you’re you’re not you’re not leading them into answering something they can say whatever they want and the nice thing too is if you look at those one star reviews and this is a competitive product you know people paid for that product which means they have the money to come buy your product same with the five stars and you’re finding what people like and so you can just feel really confident and i could spend hours trying to understand an audience’s voice but if i’m doing the reviews and the voice together just by reading the reviews then i’m cutting the time in half so that’s probably my number one strategy


yeah I mean between the research that leads to pain gain transformation i mean everything you write killer copy i mean it’s we’ve seen it firsthand it is awesome obviously it’s gonna feel growth is tough to have expedited growth because it brings on other problems that it’s building a business which obviously you’re kind of feeling i’ve been seeing posts lately you know you want a videographer you want another junior copywriter so i mean there’s a lot going on you’re rebranding a little one I mean it’s, I gotta work hard to try and keep up with you that being said i would love to kind of hear some of those pain points that you felt you know over the last since you know last five months what were some of those pain points what have you learned from them have you applied that to the business where you’ve seen it help you grow


yeah man a lot a lot a lot but i think first off is you know financial goals and that’s not everything but it’s a big part of what i want to do and mainly because I left a cushy corporate job I want to prove that this was the right move like financial is one way for me to measure that so one of the things I realized was you don’t need to spend a lot of time chasing new clients when you get more out of your current clients so i’ve been making every effort to give more to my current clients and then get more of their business at the end of the year for example i did an audit for most of my clients and i went through everything I wrote and I offered them some tips hey it’s been a few months here’s what I would change hey maybe this isn’t converting as much as you’d like let’s tweak this headline or tweak this subject line a little bit all free just to add some value and they’ve paid for premium service well that started getting them to want more for me and to bring me more business so that was one i think i’ve realized you got to capitalize on momentum i had a client came to me with just one small email sequence project probably smaller than i’d normally take on for a new client but i already knew the space so I was comfortable doing it and as soon as I finished that I was like let’s set up a kickoff call for your next project I kept doing that kept getting more projects i’m not sure they would have had more for me if I didn’t just kind of put their feet to the fire because everyone has grand ideas and everyone has needs but once you tell them to commit to a time right you kind of lock them down and that makes them move faster they actually appreciate that so that was that was a big shift was like stop trying to chase new business and start getting more from what you already have and the people you already love working with another thing for me was hitting my ceiling so just last month I closed a lot of new and existing business surprise myself was thrilled I think I texted you because I know you guys have had tremendous growth too and I was like you know it’s pretty eye opening of what I could do it was also challenging because it’s going to take a lot of time to get that done and I realize there’s only so much I can do on my own and i’d rather invest in scaling right now or scale early then have another month where i take on a bunch of business and then i’m kind of like slow for the next month or two and so that’s kind of what happened i had a killer February biggest business month of my life even before my corporate jobs and all that like hands down and I was really proud and then I had to put my head down and get the work done on my own which meant I wasn’t posting on social media i wasn’t reaching out to my current clients finding out what else they need i wasn’t looking for new business i was just working on what had already come through the door and it put me behind and so what that did was it it motivated me to post a couple part time roles with me slash my company companies speakeasy sales copy and you know i definitely had some moments where I was like can I afford to be paying someone already am i ready to add someone to the team do i have the time to train them and i was like look dude you had the best month of your life and you saw that it’s possible but to string together months like that that’s the magic right i can’t do that on my own so learning accepting and learning to scale early and being willing to take some risks and put more money into the business to grow it into get some momentum and consistency is something i’ll tell you if it worked i’ll know in a few months but i’m i’m feeling like it’s the right decision now so that was a big one and then honestly just getting better at my craft like i’m not perfect i make mistakes not all my stuff converts the the way i’d like it to i always one thing i’ve been saying is like i don’t have a journalism degree i have no like master’s in journalism no fma i’ve never sniffed a journalism course okay i don’t have any any formal education and what i do no advertising classes no marketing classes none of that and if I gave like my fifth grade teacher something i wrote it’d be covered in red but like I don’t I don’t know the rules of grammar i don’t care about apa style i barely know what an oxford comma is and but but the point is but my stuff sells so my stuff works and so to me it’s been really accepting that those are my flaws and that they don’t matter because I get down on myself like well this guy’s got an mfa in journalism or this guy got this or that and i’m like i’m doing just as well if not better and i’m doing it my way and it’s working so that was that was really like eye opening and exciting for me is I don’t need all of that i need to focus on what I do have and what is working and then also i need to up my game so every time I have a loss or every time something you know doesn’t doesn’t convert the way i’d like to i’m looking for how do i get better will you let me rewrite this for you will you resend it with this subject line what can we change what can i do to make this work for you and for and for me so i feel good about the product you’ve got and then also what continuing education am I missing out on what course do I need to go and take i had sales letter which is you know heavy lifting high roi project that you know I was feeling like my sales letters were getting stale and i was feeling like they weren’t converting like they could and to make it in sales letter ryan you need to be getting royalties you need to be getting paid big bucks because they take a long time right right and so I found a really exclusive sales letter writing course i got in that i said screw it i’ll pay the few $1,000 to do this because I need to up my game there and i did and so for me it’s just continuing to find those opportunities even the way I teach and the way i put myself out there like i’m still finding my voice you know as well as anyone i don’t really like posting on social media i haven’t had a website and yet i’ve built this this business right and now I have to put myself out there and so i’m realizing well here’s here’s how i want to teach and if i teach it like this it’s gonna make me better because i’m gonna learn from myself right and i’m gonna apply it to my own stuff so i just feel like i’m on this journey of evolving and i feel like everything I look back on whether it was three months ago a month ago three minutes ago i’m like oh I got better i already got better like i’m looking back i’m like I would have done it this way this time and that’s how I know i’m growing and getting better and that’s been a big shift for me is like there’s so much room for improvement and continuing to seek that out accept that and get better


yeah no i love it and i think identifying to delegate hire early on i think is a huge win because i think what a lot of people try and do is go i mean a lot of money let’s keep trying to do this and that you get you know you can sprint for a little while you can’t sprint forever and i think that’s what happens you get that taste and it’s like well for hire so it’s a couple more grand out of my pocket doing self education all sudden it’s like broke even like well i want i want monitors i’m doing this but if you continue to do that you get to month 4-18 you get burnt out and then all of a sudden it’s like when you finally decide to bring people in you just don’t have that motivation that desire that excitement so by being able to identify it early it allows you to bring those people in or do whatever it may be that that is going to continue to scale the business and i think that’s a very hard decision for a lot of lot entrepreneurs and small business owners what was the i guess one of the thoughts going through your head what was the process he took or what what happened to go you know what i think it’s worth taking a little bit of money out of my pocket bringing other people on that’s only going to help me in 10-30 or whatever it may be it’s very difficult what what did you go through to make that decision or what was the aha moment to make you decide to go down that path


yeah that’s a great question for me it was getting a feeling of burnout which is crazy to say because again i’ve only been on my own for six months but i had this huge month in february i started going through the work and my goal is pretty much always to complete the products i take on the same month i get them now it’s not always possible but that leaves the door open to pick up new projects the next month and continue to grow and so you know i’m at a point where i have enough retainer work it’s more about now building on top of that i have my comfort zone and my safety net and so i had that february i had all this growth i closed a lot of new business i mean again just a huge month and i started doing the work and i was like man i already work long days like you like 10-12 hour days are kind of the norm but it was like no i’m gonna have to do that every week and this month and i might not see my wife today and the cat needs to like go in the bedroom and leave me alone because i gotta i gotta grind and i just realized you know this isn’t why i why i left corporate and this isn’t why i left like helping the rich get richer and also like kind of being bossed around and being micromanaged like i left to do my own thing and i love love love copywriting but that doesn’t mean that’s what i want to do 14-16 hours a day and i realized the work was then going to not be as good as what i’m capable of and that bothered me that if you are giving me your money i want you to get i want you to be floored i don’t want to deliver i want to over deliver just like you you even said to me like i want to make sure i always give you at least 1% more than 49/51 and that sticks with me because that’s how you get people to come back and like we’re in an industry where we want to help people make their dent in the universe and so i was like if i just worry about growing if i grow at this speed and i take this amount of work on somebody somebody is not getting my best effort and i’m also drowning in the workload and so i just realized if i did a month like this once i can do it again so i know i can hit these like income goals and i know i can get the business but if i’m executed on it my own i’m never gonna string those months together my business will be up and down all around yeah and granted that’s the nature of the business i’m sure yours is like that and that’ll happen but that’s going to be a guarantee if this is how i operate and i’m going to have one month where i’m getting new business i’m going to spend the next month drowning in the workload i’m going to pop back up for air and i’m going to find out i got to go hunt down more business again so for me it was like what’s the worst that can happen yeah i lose a little bit of money but i have a little more happiness i have a little more free time the quality of work goes up and then what’s the best case well the best case is i get the right people in the door i help them get to my level and beyond i also learn from them and they become full time employees and this thing goes to the moon you know so for me that the the upside is huge the downside is very little like in the grand scheme of things it looks yeah a couple bucks over a couple months and again i know what i can do on my own so i know if it doesn’t work out i know what i’m capable of but this will work out it’ll be good and so that was it man it was me drowning it was me just realizing where that ceiling is and also just realizing i’m not going to sack horrifies anybody’s work to get somebody else’s business not going to do it


yeah no i couldn’t agree more and plus would start bringing people in it’s fun around the office it gets kind of boring being you know working by yourself you get some camaraderie going and got some yeah conversations going and it’s fun and i mean it being able to you know allow someone else to have a livelihood and putting money in someone else’s pockets i mean it’s it’s fun and i mean it’s yeah it’s definitely part of the growing but being able to identify that early i think is huge because it’s it’s to your point and get burned out and then all of a sudden it’s time to go back to the corporate job and that’s there’s a reason why you left it and it’s just ebbs and flows of happiness as well and just your overall happiness of life


yeah and i think you nailed the two of like this is gonna sound a little corny but it’s like i do care about the next generation and i want to help like the next aspiring Clay Manley or Dustin Trout or you know some other marketer and copywriter be really good at what they do i never had a course i never had anyone teach me i never had any mentoring i didn’t get into this until i was early 20s and already had a professional really mid 20s and had a professional career and fitness and so i’m like if i can get someone who’s young humble and hungry who’s in school they’re already learning some of the latest and greatest so i’m going to get a ton of value out of them and to i can help them up their game like my hope is i can get someone who has a bachelor’s in advertising and give them a master’s just by working with them so that’s really exciting for me and you’re right i want to celebrate the wins with someone i want to get a second set of eyes on my own stuff right now Kelly my mom a couple friends are in writing oh help me out but i want someone on my team and we’re we’re just fighting for the same thing and they can learn from me i can learn from them and we just make each other better


no it makes it fun one thing that you said that stood out and it’s something that i’m trying to work on i’ve completely neglected but it’s the continued education like i’ve just got my head down trying to try to you know do what i’m doing but it’s actually calm for the last say a month and a half or so where it’s like alright well what i’m trying to do is is we’re bringing on clients is tape offload the account management so someone else can do it so i can free up some time to work more with the team and do more that continued education how much is that helped or a part of your life


so i was one of those people who always took on too much continuing education like any personality test i take is like you’re a lifelong learner and it’s true it’s pretty eye opening when you see it like on paper and you read the write up and you’re like holy crap that is totally me and that’s me with learning and so what i realized was i take on too much of it and i don’t get it done or it doesn’t stick or i rushed through it and so i decided every month i’m just going to take on one what i call growth goal like that which is one one piece or form of continuing education i decide ahead of time and that’s the one personal development thing i’m going to take on for that month and that’s worked really well for me because it’s one it’s doable i have no excuse i can get it done in a month and you know for a couple months ago was the sales letter writing course i talked about that was a game changer for me last month i read really famous copywriting book breakthrough advertising not my cup of tea i didn’t get much out of it but i was gonna hit by that Facebook ad every day because i’ve been asking people about it a bit thought about buying it’s expensive book and so i’m glad i can say hey i read it it wasn’t for me but now i know i was gonna buy it at some point this month i’m reading ben settles copy slacker which is really hard to get your hands on it’s like 700 pages and what i’m doing this month which has been really nice for me is as i’m reading it i’m actually practicing everything it’s teaching so it’s making me tremendously better it’s also helping me get clear on how i want to teach copywriting and some of my frameworks and stuff now mfa and campaign transformation those are mine but there are things i’m pulling from others and you know adapt and improve so that’s i’m trying to do there but having one focus has helped me a ton and i get it done i get it done well and i feel good about it


yeah no i love it and i think it’s awesome because you know a lot of people try and focus on too much on the long term 10 year goals one year goals and all that i mean what what are some of the things that you’re working on from a personal professional development in the next one to two months but also for the business i guess what are some of the biggest goals here in the immediate future


so for me it’s it’s simple i want to get to the point where i’m not doing any blogging so blogs are great everyone needs them but i would say they’re low roi and so i want to have a junior copywriter who i can help make the best blog writer in the world it’s a great place to start if i take the blogs off my plate that allows me to focus on sales emails and sales pages which ads which on the other end are higher roi like if you can do those well trust me you can do the blog as well but if you can do those well you can have clients banging on your door so for me I want to continue to focus there and focus on growing the business while I have a junior writer get really good at the blog inside, and then I work them into helping me with my stuff, even editing my stuff for a second set of eyes and the opportunity to learn. And so that’s that’s kind of the writing piece. Now, the other big business goal for me, is putting out more content. And I did like a seven day challenge where I just woke up one day, and I posted on Instagram that I’m gonna post the next seven days, I had no, I don’t know why I just woke up and did it, which is maybe how I operate. And, and it was, it was really good. And it made me really comfortable. But I still am up and down with it. And I’ve realized that the more I post, even though business doesn’t directly seem to come from the social media, the more I post, the more business I get. And so I want to be really consistent with my content. With this brand coming out, my website will launch April 2021. I want to make sure when people find that, and they find me like, they’re getting a lot of free value, good free value. So getting consistent with content is a big one. And then you know, I’ve got financial goals I want to hit this year, I really want to start taking on royalty projects. So I want to be writing sales letters that are paid, you know, based on royalties, some recurring income, and when you’re when you’re at a very, very elite level, you can do that. And I feel like I’m starting to sniff that. So that’s something I want to get to what else for me, that’s probably the big stuff, the royalties, the financial goals, launching the business, and Ryan, a focus group, you know, I’m gonna launch the speakeasy sales copy, the main product is going to be a step by step system to help entrepreneurs and business owners write their own sales copy. And that’s got to get out there, like I’ve been talking about this, and I’m ready, it’s not perfect, but I’m ready to put it out there. So gonna launch that. Ultimately, the way I look at it doesn’t is I kind of have these phases spelled out of my business. So phase one, which I’m finishing up now was the freelance copywriting. And getting to a point where that exceeded my corporate income. Well, I’ve hit that easily. Phase Two for me is launching speakeasy sales copy, and getting that brand and that business model out there. That is going to happen in April. Phase Three, is that becoming my primary income, right, so I’ll still do copywriting for others. But the bulk of my business should be the instructing the copy coaching. And then phase four, what I’m seeing right now is effects, I’d love to get to a point where you’re a really high level entrepreneur, business owner, maybe you’re transitioning online, because of COVID. Maybe you’re online and you know, there’s a next level, you’re not reaching. And we’re gonna work together, whether it be a day one on one or maybe a weekend and a group. And I’m going to lead you through that, that system, that speakeasy sales, copy system in person, so you can fly right through it. And that’s, that’s kind of the ultimate goal for me. I love human interaction. I love kind of being onstage and presenting. And I feel like with the right people in the room, and an event setting, probably somewhere in San Diego, near the beach in the mountains, which just happens to be where I live, we could really host something special because I want people to also experience Speak Easy Sales Copy. So that’s, that’s the phases man. That’s what’s to come.


That’s, that’s awesome. I mean, that I love that phased approach. I mean, it’s a clear path on where you want to go. And it’s not just, I want to have a huge team and a bunch client. I mean, it’s it’s a path on how you want to evolve to it. And that’s, that’s huge. If you need beta testers on, you know, going through the course more than happy to help out there. No, yeah, and I, I love the correlation and sin, I post more business seems to happen and might not be a direct correlation. I mean, that’s, it’s funny you say that, because it’s literally it’s called attribution. And it’s, it’s something that we always tried to communicate with clients is you have video ads, and banner ads, and all that they might not click and convert, but because they see the brand name, they might come through a different channel and all that. And it’s just knowing that doing it leads to more business. And I think, I think it really helps you tremendously, because I love your posts, they’re very, I mean, your work is displayed right there. And I think not having a website and stuff like that. If anyone ever hears about you, it’s another outlet thing kind of see your work before they reach out. And so you might not think it has directly led to more business, but I’d be willing to bet that there’s probably been some new clients that checked out your social media and everything like that and goes through like the way this guy writes and then allowed them to reach out and everything like that.


Yeah. And I think, you know, it’s, it’s kind of like, practice what you preach. Right? So if I’m gonna be talking about how effective copywriting is now, effective sales copy is, I should be putting mine out there. And I’m always squirrely about posting my client stuff, you know, with some of the bigger brands, I’m sure in my contracts that says like, I can’t talk about them, so I have to be careful and then some of the smaller brands to like, I don’t necessarily want to put their stuff out there unless they want me to, you know, it’s written For them, it’s something they now own. And I don’t know, I’m a little squirrely about it. Whereas if I’m posting copywriting secrets and tips and tricks, well, now I’m attracting the right people. And like you said, it’s like credibility. And you’re right it is it correlates. And maybe not directly is what I should say. It doesn’t feel direct, but it definitely correlates. And so and it just makes me proud. Like, I want people to, if they hear me on this, or they hear me on another podcast, or they see my brand out there, like, I want them to go to my social media and be like, this guy knows what he’s talking about, I want them to pull some free tips. And we’re going to be shooting some lead magnet videos today. And like, that’s free, like some of my best stuff, I’d rather be free. So people know it’s worth the investment. Like, if this is what I’m giving you for free. Think about what you’re going to get if you pay for it. So so I’m getting more consistent, but I’m trying to be better trying to get out of my head. And then again, just seeing objectively that it works.


Yeah. No, I love it. It’s been fun to kind of just catch up and hear the evolution. I mean, you’re crushing it. And I, I’m so glad that we got connected. And I’m so happy that, you know, we’ve been blessed to have some of your work at our desk. And it’s definitely made some business results. And it’s it’s great. And I mean, that being said, I mean, as we kind of wrap up, what are some last, I guess, parting words, what are what are the things you’re working on or anything else that you want to share?


I think I want to hit home fa, which is lead with emotion, reinforced with logic or function and with action. I think that’s if last time pain game transformation stuck out, I would hope he EFA sticks out to people because again, all good sales copy fails without flow. And flow is going to be a big framework of what Speak Easy Sales Copy is. So I’d really love to share that. You know, we talked about this Lincoln quote, which is


I’ve actually never heard of that. And that is amazing. I


love that, quote, it’s so good. And I’ll tell you, it’s, it has been proven that Lincoln might not have been the one who said it if you go deep on the Googling. But the point is true. And Winston Churchill said something simple, which was basically like, if I’m going to speak for two minutes, I need three weeks to prepare. That’s how I feel about copy. If you’re going to write something that’s will say two sentences, you better spend 20 minutes researching. So the creative process and the copywriting process has to start with research, your copy is only as good is your research. And if you research Well, your copy is essentially done for you like I have moments where I feel like the research rips the keyboard out from in front of me, slide it over across the table and bangs out paragraphs for me slides back and I’m like, boom, I know how to finish this. So that’s that’s what I would encourage like entrepreneurs and business owners to pull from this particular interview. And then I mean, I’d love to just plug myself real quick, which is speakeasy sales, copy is the brand. By the time this is out that site will probably be live and you’ll be able to find me and it. And like, here’s how I want to make my dent on the universe. I would say, I looked at the stats just the other day. And it’s like, I think it’s like 40,000 entrepreneurs apply to get on Shark Tank every year. Yeah, every year, we’ll say 40,000. I know that. I know. I’m close my 35. Yeah, no, that’s huge.


Yeah, so some crazy number 35-40,000 applied against Shark Tank every year, less than 1000 actually get on the show. And then a small percentage actually get deals that pan out. Why do I share that? Well, I want to help the entrepreneurs and the small businesses that don’t get on Shark Tank, those 39,000 others that don’t apply each year. And I want to help the ones who do get on and don’t get a deal. Make the money they deserve, make the impact they deserve, get their business and their brand and their message and their product out into the hands of people that need them. Because every entrepreneur and business owner is like passionate about what they do and what they’ve created. And the problem I see is that their messaging is doing them a disservice like their copy and their messaging is not strong enough, it’s not putting their best foot forward. And frankly, that’s just them shooting themselves in their foot. So if I can help them avoid that, more engagement, more leads more sales, just by writing better sales copy, game changer, and I know people need it. And I’m not saying it replaces funding. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get good at writing sales copy. And it can make you a fortune. And more importantly, I can make your dent in the universe. So that’s what I’m trying to do. The more I see stats like that, and I see how many people out there are doing such amazing things even during COVID. They’re, you know, maybe they lost their jobs and they’re transitioning online. Maybe they have an offline business and now they’re venturing online, maybe they’ve been online and they have something so incredibly amazing that they’re completely passionate about and it’s not selling and it should be I want to help those people I want to help them get that to that their product or service to the right people. So That’s where I’m trying to do things different. That’s why I’m trying to arm them with the tools. So they don’t have to come back to me and spend a fortune. They don’t have to risk spending their money on, you know, someone who isn’t very good. Or they, they frankly, they don’t have the knowledge to know if it’s good or not. And it’s actually like terrible copy the turning them or mediocre messaging when they have an extraordinary product. And, you know, I want to I want to help them get to the next level. So that’s kind of where I stand. That’s why I want to plug myself, the stars moving forward. It’s continuing to grow this thing. It’s, it’s celebrating an April when this brand and this business goes live. Because, you know, it’s been in the works for almost a year, but it’s been blood, sweat and tears the last several months. And that’s on top of a already jam packed schedule. And there was a time where I was also trying to do this. Well, I was at Petco working 12-13 hours a day. Yeah, yeah, you know all about it. So for me, it’s just like, that’s gonna be a really rewarding a really big moment. And I think it’s gonna change the game. I think it’s gonna change the approach to copywriting for a lot of people, and it’s going to help a lot of people, you know, make their impact.


No, I absolutely love that we should connect and figure out how to attack Shark Tank because it’s funny like literally the last two years I’ll all she messages or comment on LinkedIn, if Mark Cuban post or something like that. I’m like, dude, give me a shot. We will like not even charge anyone that you get to deal with let’s but I’ve never thought about all the people that apply the don’t get the deal to team up together. And we can I mean, cherry pick the ones that are just passionate that have that good business model and everything and, hey, reach out, you have the copy that will capture their attention and everything like that. And it’s how can we help you get more sales? And you don’t even have to give up? 30-40% of your company? Yeah, I mean, you have to give up. It’s crazy. But it is it’s like you hear that, like you were floored? And I hope I’m right. I’m fairly certain it’s 35k to 40k on I’m sure that in the profit, I think would be another good, good show that is driving good business and entrepreneurs to apply. And it’s just, yeah, how can you How can you reach them and


it’s it sucks to it bothers me to think that like some people who do have an amazing product, service, business brand, whatever, can’t get it out in the world, because they don’t have money, like money’s what’s holding them back. I know, I was blessed, I come from a fairly well off family, you know, middle class, money was never, like a huge concern. I didn’t, I didn’t have to rack up data or anything. There’s a lot smarter people than me with a lot cooler products, who I know I can help. And I would hope that, you know, if they don’t have the funding, or they don’t have the money they need, they would turn to someone like you to someone like me to an agency, a copywriter, whatever, to get them to that next level, because it’s so wildly possible. And it’s so like, easy. And when you partner with the right people it can do it. So I’m gonna get off my pedestal on it now. But you get the idea. And I think we could attack everyone. Maybe we can run some ads, like were you on Shark Tank now. And get them in and you said the Prophet. And I just got to think that, you know, a lot of people have made a lot of sacrifices to be entrepreneurs, and we can help them.


Absolutely. This has been great. I can’t wait for five to six months down the road have number three over here. Maybe it’ll be you know, there’ll be pretty close to having a little one. I mean, maybe we’re gonna have him or her on and that can bring Capri. I mean, we can kind of change the podcast me more business and family. I mean, that’s why you’re the copy writing of Business and Babies. Right. Cool. Well, I appreciate the time and I look forward to continuing to see your explosive growth.


Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Where To Find Clay Manley

LinkedIn: Clay Manley

Instagram: @clay.manley

Website: “Speak Easy Sales Copy” Coming Soon

On the previous episode of RGR, Dustin talked to Lexy Romano of the Phx Finds Show about how her company finds and shares the stories of companies around the valley.

Watch the episode here!

A Taste Of What We've Done