This week I’ve been in New York, in my other capacity as a freelance copywriter. Working for a special client: Google!
I’m under NDA, so can’t talk much, except to say: the office is everything you thought it was. Fun design, playgrounds and ping-pong tables, free food everywhere. But most interesting is the building. It’s the old Port Authority Building – at the time, New York’s most expensive real estate transaction ever – and it takes up a whole city block, as you’d expect.
But more interesting than that is what the building does. As a past housing for infrastructure, it’s where a large number of transatlantic telephone cabling and optic fibre enters the USA – the building was once home to a telephone exchange. Which means, of course, Google sits atop the fastest, broadest bundle of bandwidth anywhere in the world.
In tribute to the freelancer’s art, I habitually work in a T shirt, today a grey one I got as a gift from Australia. Symbolising my much-travelled life, my lower half is today clad in the trusty travel pants that have trekked over Saharan dunes and swum the Nile. As a declaration of how I live, far removed from the sheeplike commuting hordes of train and Tube, I did not shave this morning, and my hair is a little unkempt.
My personal style is a joyous celebration of the indie life: fiercely independent, proudly self-actualised, and accountable only to those I choose.
So, Mr Delivery Guy, your cheery “Sorry if I got you up” statement just now was a stab in the soul of truly monumental proportions.
Well, the Chris does Content office (a converted garage in southeast London!) currently makes a beehive in midsummer look more like a convention of lazy bums; with the whole 100-day plan mapped out from June, July’s been about pulling together my thousands of pages of notes and checklists going back over a decade, flipping through with a critical eye and deciding what works.
It’s a lot of effort – especially since my own copywriting business hasn’t let up for the summer, and a guy’s got to eat. But I’m pleased with progress so far. Not with the text overall – I thought the book would run to 60,000 words, and it’s looking like well over 150,000 – but with the way each chapter feeds into the next, building piece-by-piece towards a single goal.
Each chapter’s working out around 1,000 words of instructional text – everything from writing your sales website to building your campaign letter – and a set of tasks, usually between 3 and 8, that take between half a day and a day to complete. Oh, and there are now 10 sections rather than a planned 9 – List-building, while vital, can be learned in one week rather than two, so before it now comes a week devoted to networking the 100 Days way (i.e. not involving cocktails with strangers). I’ve also realised “the numbers” will be different for everyone – that £8,000 a month figure we’re aiming for may be 100 clients for someone selling web subscriptions, just 2 or 3 for a freelance writer like me – so in the second week a whole day goes on building a sales funnel and populating it with figures appropriate for your industry sector.
Of course, big news of the week is that the cover design‘s now done!
The last week or so since I had the idea for 100 Days, 100 Grand has been frenetic. So far I’ve ploughed about 13,000 words into the book’s 100-chapter structure (each chapter is a task list and instructions for one day, obviously) and growing 2,000 words a day.
That’s faster than I usually write – there are people who can churn out high-grade copy at 4k and up, but I’m not one of them. But the job of writing this book is qualitatively different: it’s not so much writing as collating. I’ve got all the methods and magic already – because I’ve been using them for a decade-plus to build my own client roster.
The sweat and toil the next few (or possibly more than a few) months is about getting it all together into a handbook freelancers new and old can actually get value from. Then another month or so of editing, refining, and testing. Sign up for the mailing list here. Thanks!