This podcast is one of my favourites, as we end up interviewing each other. He’s achieved a lot in a short amount of time and we talk about everything from how he’s perceived in the industry at such a young age to the importance of mentors. I even spill a bit about the humble beginnings of Render Positive. Check it out!
Jon: Okay. I am here with Charlie Price. I have finally got around to doing this podcast. I could do an introduction to Charlie. Would you like me to do one, or would you like to do one yourself?
Charlie: I would like you to do one.
Jon: Okay. I met Charlie on London Real and thought he was a bit of a go getter, works his arse off, and is very much different to most of the 19 year olds that I have met. You are 19 right?
Charlie: Yes 19.
Jon: It still surprises me, and a very impressive individual, but also his youthful enthusiasm can be annoying as well. But he has got a great background, and he is making waves. I think you should probably continue with exactly what you are up to.
Charlie: It is a bit confusing at the moment, because I am in a crossroads of my business. But really I am into sales copy, focusing mostly on email marketing for clients. And I am just starting to really focus on growth hacking for clients which is something you must know a lot about?
Jon: I should do, I should do, but go on, go on to the growth hacking.
Charlie: Growth hacking. Similar to your e-mails. It is something where you leverage your time and you can just use some kind of software, or some kind of thing that other people aren’t using just to get –
Jon: An advantage?
Charlie: – an advantage yes.
Jon: Yes. Okay cool. So what sort of –
Charlie: That was the worst description of growth hacking you will ever hear.
Jon: – Oh don’t worry about it, it is better than mine which was nothing. It is one of those terms though that is used over and over. It is like a big San Fran term, right? It is growth hacking, it is a –
Charlie: Yes. I have always been doing similar things. But once I started telling people I was growth hacking I started getting more clients for it.
Jon: – Yes. It is [on those terms]. I might have to start using that –
Charlie: Yes you should start using it –
Jon: – There is all those things.
Charlie: – A great buzzword.
Jon: And digital transformation and disruption.
Charlie: Disruptive yes.
Jon: Like I shouldn’t be marking these.
Charlie: Because I use them as well. I use them and then I mock them.
Jon: But I guess they mark them because it is like we have invented a language and a jargon that we like to use within ourselves. And it is mock worthy, but they have to name something otherwise –
Charlie: The reason it works is because people don’t know what it is. So they ask you ‘What’s that?’ And then you can pitch them what it is. And they are like ‘Actually I need that, tell me more about it’. And I have got that.
Jon: – Yes. Everyone knows what accountancy is, growth hacking, I love the example you gave, well actually you might not want to give that example away of the business card examples, people might steal it? You know when you have got the –
Charlie: Oh yes. No, not enough people would … people don’t have that much time on their hands I don’t think.
Jon: – Do you want to give it away? I thought that was one of the most cool innovative things that [I] thought of, of conversion rate optimisation in real life.
Charlie: Yes. So trying to explain conversion rate optimisation, split testing in real life, I did it by accident, in that I bought, designed, made some really nice Moo business cards, if you are not familiar with Moo? And yes they were alright, I thought they were amazing, and then I created some other business cards. Well basically I ran out of business cards, and I had five hours to create a business card. So I spent two minutes on [Camber], made a red business card, got it printed, got the cheapest piece of paper of business card I could get. I had to get rid of my old ones, so I handed people both business cards, and everyone started taking the red one, 90% of people took the red one. And then I turned that into my pitch in like ‘This is what I do, I split test copyrighting headlines’. You have got to split test.
Jon: And anyone can understand that. I thought that was super clever. And again like my e-mails and direct mail, by accident you figure that out. And now it is part of how you introduce yourself.
Charlie: It is the same with telling people you are growth hacking as well. I found that out by accident. [It was just] awesome.
Jon: So how is everything going? Do you want to give people a bit of a background? I know that you hate probably talking all the way back to your accident, but just to give people a bit of a background. I know that you have repeated this over and over.
Charlie: I was very academic in school up until about 17½ where I decided I wanted to travel the world and kitesurf rather than be an investment banker, which is a pretty obvious decision to me now. So at 17½ decided that, nearly flunked my A levels, in AS I got three As and a B, A2 I got an A and three Bs which was pretty good.
Jon: That is not flunking. In what world is that flunking? What were the subjects?
Charlie: Maths, [unintelligible 00:04:44] maths, economics and physics.
Jon: Oh fuck off. Fuck you. God I liked you, and now you have started –
Charlie: Nearly flunked them, nearly flunked them.
Jon: – What is nearly –
Charlie: You asked me what subjects, I wasn’t going to bring that up.
Jon: – Jesus Christ. Nearly flunked them with your As and Bs and physics.
Charlie: Anyway yes so I got all that. And one month before I left school I dislocated my knee, wakeboarding, which I basically didn’t think anything of. Just took four months off, went kitesurfing again, and a bit of cartilage popped out which was nice.
Jon: Sounds pleasant.
Charlie: Had surgery, went up to 12 months off. Went to Egypt, went to Brazil, travelled the world. Sorry I should have said –
Jon: How was this funded?
Charlie: – Yes I was just about to go into it. I started a kitesurfing blog when I was 17, and that didn’t work, but it taught me to write copy, it taught me to write content copy. And then I saw that these direct response sales copywriters, the conversion rate copyrighters, were getting paid a lot more, and they were working for other people, so I got into that. I got two mentors, one on my first day of copywriting, who taught me most of the stuff, and then the next one who I am still in contact with taught me basically the rest of the sales copywriting stuff. And yes I travelled the world copywriting, running an eBay business on the side, because clients weren’t easy to get to start with anyway. Where was I? So yes and that funded travelling the world, injured again, and now I have moved to London to build … started off building a copywriting agency, now it’s … [in fact] I wouldn’t know how to describe it.
Jon: Don’t worry, we will –
Charlie: Growth hacking for clients.
Jon: – Yes. We are struggling to describe ourselves. But it has grown into something bigger? And that injury was not something small, it was pretty substantial?
Charlie: I dislocated my knee a second time.
Jon: Sorry if this is something you don’t want to go into.
Charlie: No, it’s absolutely fine, I like talking about it, well ish. I got it on video as well. Have you seen that yet?
Jon: No I have not. Actually I think I might have.
Charlie: There is a lot of screaming. And where were we?
Jon: But you came back from it?
Charlie: Came back … well I started a business and I will come back from it in November, yes.
Jon: Yes. It is quite something. Explain it to those that probably don’t know on this marketing podcast, kitesurfing, explain it in layman’s terms.
Charlie: Imagine a sail and a wakeboard, or a snowboard on water, and the sail is 20 metres away from you catching the wind, and you can send this sail up in the sky and jump 20 metres. You could jump over Buckingham Palace if you are the best in the world, yes. So yes that is kitesurfing.
Jon: Yes. So you are a bit of an adrenalin driven guy?
Charlie: Yes. I don’t know how I am managing not being depressed at the moment.
Jon: I think that fills in with the adrenalin thing is the hard work and the motivation that you are always doing stuff. I don’t know if you … I might have this wrong, you can’t sit idly by, so whether it is launching a business at 19 and having all of the success? I can’t imagine –
Charlie: The –
Jon: – Sorry.
Charlie: – The thought of going to university and then getting a 9:00 to 5:00 investment banking job was hell to me.
Jon: Yes. Well I am the same. I didn’t do any college … well I did half of college.
Charlie: What in?
Jon: It was business studies, psychology and computing, which makes sense. And I think I was A, AB or something like that, AS levels half like first year, and then I put my notice in because my first business was making so much money. And my business [unintelligible 00:08:33] hated me and said “You will never amount to anything”. So I just took my accounts in and said “I am making four times as much as you, I quit”. And that was the end of that.
Charlie: Yes. Did these guys know what your business was? No?
Jon: No, no. We will move on, we will move on. Some [clients they say] but I printed plastic business cards and ID cards, and we will leave it there.
Charlie: At age 17?
Jon: At age 17. And that was my first business. But this podcast is about you Charlie. So you have managed to do a lot in a short period of time, so where are you mostly focused now on bringing business in, and what are your goals?
Charlie: The bulk of my business at the moment is coming in from networking, that is the most important thing for me since I started business. But really it won’t be that for very long. It will be Facebook that will be bringing most of my business, Facebook and LinkedIn, some cold e-mails as well. Networking, because I needed to meet the right people first off, I did it for too long actually, I did it for three months straight without focusing on digital marketing. And yes so I started off networking for starting a new business.
Jon: How did people react? Because obviously a 19 … you don’t look that young, but you can tell you’re a young person. How did people react? Did you get any negative reactions, or was it mostly people were positive?
Charlie: I get this quite a lot from people older than me that I trust, I am not the most social person, I am not the best at selling. It is just going to take a couple of years while I learn all of that.
Jon: But yes, but you have driven yourself.
Charlie: Because I was born so shy that I just –
Jon: Yes. I was always shy. All the way up to first year of college, I was always shy. I liked [that] I had a few circle of friends, a small circle of friends, but I was nowhere like charismatic or charming or popular or all of those terms. But then it was then that first year of college and when the business took off, that’s when I totally changed and had a dramatic change. But I imagine you, if you are networking, getting all these leads, you must have confidence if you are [immediately] going to strangers?
Charlie: – I am going for it. There is people that aren’t as shy as me, well you could call them more confident than me, but they won’t go for the business that I do. So I piss people off sometimes because I go for it too much and I don’t have that switch that says stop going now. But it is working for me at the moment. And even if people say ‘You are not the best socially’, they say ‘I still really like you because you are enthusiastic’.
Jon: Yes. It’s genuine, enthusiastic, yes. So you haven’t encountered any … I guess most people are nice, if they are a [networker]?
Charlie: Do you know what? My biggest problem since I have started, and actually my copywriting mentor says it is her biggest problem, and she has been doing it for six years, she is getting £10,000 a month per client, or $200 an hour for just writing, more than that. And she still says that getting measured results to show to the next client is the toughest part of her business. Because you write a copy for a client and they’re gone. So even though I am 19, if I have the right credentials, testimonials, most importantly results for clients, then I can sell a lot better. When I started networking I partnered with digital marketing agencies, because I couldn’t sell my copywriting yet, because I didn’t have the credibility, whereas I had to partner with someone to get that credibility. And yes I still need to work a lot more and just keep getting more results in from bigger brands, brands that people know the name of, then my age just goes out the window.
Jon: Yes, yes. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. And also the good ideas are going to come from the youth and [you can] see that.
Charlie: I think a lot of people get it these days. I think if I was trying to copywrite for businesses, and market for businesses 20 years ago it would have been tough. How was it for you starting at 27?
Jon: I think it was 25 or 26. But I had been doing … I had been working at other agencies for five years. So on my first day, my first phone call, I had first day a web optimiser, first phone call was with a guy called Alan Bannister, I don’t know if you’ve met, he does voiceover work for us? And I call him my mentor, and not because he’s … he has taught me stuff, but I just remember thinking I am going to move to London, everyone is going to have everything worked out, no-one is going to be winging it, I had this perception. And then I realised fuck no-one has it worked out. There are so many slimeballs, especially in sales and marketing.
And then I met this guy Alan, my first client, I called him on my first day. I don’t know if I was nervous, but it just went fine, and then I met him. He is always in a nice suit, and he always drinks Prosecco or champagne, and he is just a cool dude, always nice, he will always take my … whenever I have got a pitch coming up that I need help on, there is a few people I’ll call, and Alan is one of them, and yes he is my friend to this day. And I call him a mentor because he represented that marketing and sales didn’t have to be this scummy industry. There was this one guy that I met that means a lot to me. I am going to try and get him on this podcast and hopefully this ego rubbing will help when he listens to it. But yes that’s for me five years of learning … sorry?
Charlie: What would you have done … would you have quit the agencies you were working at earlier to start your own business?
Jon: No, because with my first business, because I didn’t run it well. Like things like tax I just did not run well, and that is one thing you don’t want to fuck up. And I realised that I had … I wanted the finish at 6:00 and then that’s my life, that’s what I wanted. And I learnt a lot. Even though the first place I worked at was … I have to give credit to them, they gave me a chance, and because there was no real management there, there was a ton of autonomy that I had, that I didn’t deserve. So I put project management into place, and all these other cool things, and there was cool things like I would win 15 sales in a row.
And I met loads of people, and I employed a guy called Gavin Taylor who I just saw something in. I just saw, he doesn’t know anything about our industry, but he had this charm, and I just knew he would do well. And now he is exceptional, he is a really senior guy at [unintelligible 00:15:27] agency. I am also trying to get him on this podcast. And it was just a great experience. And then I just basically quit my way to the top, going to one agency, working there for a while, then working my way up. And then I ended up at I Spy which I learned a lot at, and I started their first social media department, had a good team, but decided –
Charlie: What year was that?
Jon: – That was 2008. But I decided there was things that I couldn’t run it the way I wanted to run it, like it wasn’t mine, it was definitely I Spy’s. And I really appreciate the chances they gave me, and I was an arrogant shit at times thinking I knew what was best, and I have apologised since. Since having my own business I have e-mailed all of the directors saying ‘Look I am sorry how I was at times. Now I see running my own business what it’s like’. And they have e-mailed back saying ‘You did actually great work, and no worries’.
Charlie: I am guessing there is decisions that you just can’t please everyone with?
Jon: Yes, yes. Like I was pissed off when I got a raise and it was only for a grand, but the responsibilities were massive. Now looking back I’m like now I can see why they had to do that, because they have to pay everyone, so now I can see it from both sides. And there is one director there that I really got on with called Chris Whitelaw, who still works for iProspect who bought I Spy out. And I still stay in contact with him, and Jim Brigden, and Nick Jones. So I stay in contact with a lot of people. But there was just one day where I realised my enthusiasm had gone, and I just put my notice in and my line manager said “I noticed the e-mails on the weekends have stopped”. They could tell.
And then the next day it was like … well I did my leave, and the day that I basically had no job, started Render, and just e-mailed everyone I had ever worked with, other than contracted clients that I couldn’t e-mail, and within three months we were profitable. And then five and nearly six years later we have got our 20 staff, big clients like Hewlett Packard, and Symantec on board, great awesome fucking team, and just exciting. First New York client, and it is all exciting. Although it is not always good, it is still … like we have had bad news this week where there has been accounts we have lost. It is never always good, it is always going to be shaky.
Charlie: Yes. How did you manage hiring people, or getting people to work with you on that first day?
Jon: It was just me, it was just literally me and a flat share of seven people. And I was ending up with my laptop in the kitchen. And I would just e-mail … we had got a really crappy Render site up and I just e-mailed everyone I had ever worked with saying … basically I was like a freelancer.
Charlie: And how many people came on board? Were they freelance as well the people that [came on board]?
Jon: No, no. I was e-mailing people for like clients, I was trying to win clients, because I had three months worth of money, or I had to find a new job. So I e-mailed and I had seven clients in three months, and it was enough to … definitely is enough to live on. And then Hannah joined, Hannah was our first employee who is still with us today. And then not short after that Gary got fed up with his job, and he came on board full time.
Charlie: And was it like a start-up where people got work for less to be able to –
Jon: Yes definitely.
Charlie: – get the results in the future? They bought into your skills?
Jon: Yes definitely. Even now I would like to pay more, and it is getting to the point where … we are getting to the point now where we have paid our dues, we are still learning lessons, but we are getting the types of clients and the types of budgets where it is going to be like the type of work we are doing, the case studies we are getting, everything is going in the right direction. There are still blips where bad things happen, but if you can’t face those then you don’t deserve to be in business. The brick walls are there to stop the people who really want it.
Charlie: Yes, yes. I have faced about … the last 45 days have been hell. From about middle of Feb until the end of March, then I all of a sudden had a shift where I saw that is where I am going to make my money this year. I am going to do these two things this year, and they are going to sort me out. One of them was focus a hell of a lot more on the growth hacking. And one of them was just to kind of [balls] up. Because one of the reasons I was working with agencies, or partnering with other people was, because I didn’t feel kind of accountable for the work, and I didn’t have to work out my pitch and all of that. Whereas I changed that and I just went alright I have got to go for this, otherwise nothing is ever going to happen. And it started working instantly, instantly, yes for sure.
Jon: And you will still have things?
Charlie: Yes for sure.
Jon: But that’s the fun of it like.
Charlie: For those that couldn’t see John was waving his arm up and down in a side [wave].
Charlie: It is going to be up and down [you mean]?
Jon: Yes. The thing is without contrast then there is nothing, it is just like a thin grey line.
Charlie: Yes, dead boring.
Jon: Yes. I couldn’t deal with that. The only reason the highs are there when you win a big client, is because of the shitty times. You have just got to make sure they are not so shitty that you are no longer here.
Charlie: I’m actually finding that the shitty times … so the first three months were tough, and then I have had some shit things this week, and they’ve been … sometimes you can just blast through them. The main thing I found was if I am networking in London every day, I didn’t go insane. That was one of the reasons I went networking, because then I would get another lead and I would be excited the next day, that there is some hope. I am not completely screwed.
Jon: I have the same with the letters I am sending and the e-mails is that I know at least that I have got some really exciting ones, but I have got some new stuff that’s going to come in. So it is just getting that gratification of okay actually I can still do this. But yes you can’t let it … there is that temptation, and everyone does it, even me, where self pity destroys everything but itself. Like it will destroy your business, relationships, it will destroy everything. Even if some of it’s true, this is a Stephen Fry quote, like ‘Woe is me, if only this, if only that’ it does nothing. And I know that it’s over … it’s kind of overdone, but positive thinking, ignoring all the crappy self help books, is more beneficial than … there is a difference here between scepticism and cynicism. It is okay to be sceptical of something, but if you’re just a cynic then you’re never going to get positive results.
Charlie: What I think you don’t get from the self help books is that the self help books expect you to be a Zen master, and if anything bad happens you’re fine, you can just push through it, like it just bounces off you, when the writers of the self help books don’t live like that very often, I’m sure some of them do. And what actually happens is something shit happens, you feel shit, and as you get better at it you feel shit for less time. So maybe it’s ten seconds, maybe it’s a minute, maybe it’s a day.
Jon: Yes. And there is one called ‘The Happiness Advantage’ and it is actually done on I think Harvard studies, and there is a great quote ‘Fall up’. And there is a great example in there just about mindset. And the example he gives is he does … but that book I’ve got it on an audio book, it is a really, really good book, it sounds like it’s one of these fluffy self help books, but it’s actually tremendously good. And he gives an example of where he goes to a US high school and he does the joke where he said ‘So who loves homework?’ And everyone boos and no-one likes it. And then he goes to a little town I think in South Africa, a little poor town, and he goes ‘Who loves homework?’ And everyone cheers, and he didn’t expect it. And he realised whoa for them education is a privilege, and it is all about mindset. And that is when I realised, even with clients that are difficult to deal with, it’s a privilege to have them on board, unless they’re completely so, so bad, and we have them sometimes. You have to realise actually this is a privilege to work with them, and it is very much about mindset.
And yes my favourite Shakespeare quote, probably one of the only ones I know, is ‘Sweet are the uses of adversity’. Those problems will lead to more exciting opportunities.
Charlie: Yes, yes. It is stoic stuff isn’t it? Like everything bad that happens is something … a blessing in disguise.
Jon: Or you’re just terrible in business and you should do something completely different.
Charlie: Well there’s that as well, there’s a fine line.
Jon: Yes, [attacking] it. Otherwise there are some people that go through life and they don’t really face any big problems, and then something comes along and they just … they don’t have the capacity to deal with it.
Charlie: Yes. The only reason I’ve got the enthusiasm for when I’m meeting people when I’m networking, and the confidence that I seem to have at least, I think some days I have it, some days I don’t, is because I was so shy from ten to about 17, even 18, even 18½, that it was just such a … I couldn’t live the rest of my life like that. So because I was more shy than anyone else I ended up pushing [through] it, whereas other people would stay in that.
Jon: I was very much the same. I never felt the need to go smoking or drinking or anything when I was young, I never did any of that, I think I have more than made up for it now, but I never felt the need. And it was the same, about 17 when everything changed, and I just started getting this … and I went too far actually, I went too cocky, arrogant.
Charlie: I can’t imagine you cocky and arrogant.
Jon: Like really, really too far. And then discovered Weed and then that put me in the other direction, and then I found a middle ground. But yes it’s a weird thing. It’s a huge advantage to have over other people when you think some people don’t have the gift of the gab. Like some people can do a job interview or a sales pitch, and others can’t, some people way more skilled than me, but I’m going to win because I know how to talk and that is a massive thing. And it is an unfair advantage, but I am going to use it.
Charlie: Yes for sure yes, yes. If my friends from school were put into a job interview or a business pitch, they would struggle. And it is only through practice that I have got better.
Jon: It is a weird thing because it is not … I have quoted this before, that I always find funny, is that I was in the back of a cab, and I don’t know if I’ve told you this quote before?
Charlie: I don’t know, maybe.
Jon: And he was saying “Yes I’ve got two jobs. I drive a cab, and to live in London to be able to afford it I’m also a firefighter”. And I was like “That is pretty cool”. And he asked what I did. And I said “I run a marketing and advertising agency”. And he was like “Wow that’s so brave”. And I was like “Jesus dude”. And then I made the joke of “Dude, you are the brave one. You are a cab driver. The drunk people you put in your cab”. So I made a joke out of it. But I was like “No it’s not that brave. If it fails I’ll get a job, you fight fires”.
Charlie: [Unintelligible 00:27:26] your Facebook picture. You run into burning houses and pull out kittens.
Jon: I [have] actually a genuine firefighter actually when I did Jiu-jitsu for a while [to] actually became a firefighter, she actually just commented with a smiley face. And I was like “Okay”. I may need some new ones of these, these are quite old. I need some new –
Charlie: Along similar lines. He is pointing towards the picture where John simultaneously saved a basket of kittens from a burning house, as well as saving a newborn baby.
Jon: – I remember that like it was yesterday. One thing I want to do, I don’t know if you can help me with this, but I’m just going to ask your advice, I want to do two things. I want to get on other people’s podcasts with decent audiences. And also more speaking gigs in general, but also I want to get on other people’s podcasts where they interview me [and I talk], that is a goal of mine definitely. I don’t know if that’s something that you know much about?
Charlie: Yes, that’s something where if you’ve either got a large … there’s two ways to do it. You either have a large following yourself, and that gets you onto other podcasts, or you’ve got a huge net worth or you have done something extreme, or you have to kind of level your way up the podcast ladder. But being the CEO of Render Positive you’ll be able to start quite high up that ladder.
Jon: Yes, and with the approach that we take.
Charlie: And your approach.
Jon: And you know the E-book they are going to do on how to write letters that open doors, I think that and the so you want to run a fucking agency. I think those, if those go to plan, that could level me up.
Charlie: What do you use for your PR kind of websites?
Jon: For PR? Well we have got Layla who is our head of PR, and we don’t use press releases –
Charlie: Software or anything like that?
Jon: – Oh no, no. We just have the technique that we use, we find the right people. We do have software such as PR Newswire’s Agility database, but then we find people manually.
Charlie: Okay. If you check out Ninja Outreach PR, something along those lines, I think it is Ninja Outreach, it gives you the list, Twitter handle e-mail of marketing podcasts, something along those lines.
Jon: Excellent, because yes I love doing these. And actually I did one with Proposify, and it was one of my favourite ones, so yes I want to appear on more. I guess you should be doing that as well, getting your name out there?
Charlie: Yes, I am just about to start actually.
Jon: There is this one, this one.
Charlie: Yes, this is my first one actually. So this is going to be in my proposal to my next podcast that I want to go on.
Jon: Yes it’s good. So how’s the copywriting going, the growth hacking and copywriting, are you still getting much copy work and what kind of copywriting work is it?
Charlie: So before I moved to London I didn’t do any copywriting work for English companies, it was all for American companies. Since I started networking, I actually had to lower my prices, and I was getting less work. So I had to adapt into … I got some work at my normal price, still underpriced, but still well paid work. And yes so started off networking, and I’m just getting back into Facebook to get those high paid copywrite [tickets].
Jon: Yes. And are you doing advertising, or have you just got the right contacts?
Charlie: Okay. So this is –
Jon: You don’t have to give away any secrets.
Charlie: – No I’ll give it all away. This is my growth hacking. It was my … I have been doing this forever. Not to the best of my ability, I haven’t spent enough time on it. But any business to business service works for business consumers, so if you are selling a product, any B2B service that you want to get clients for. Copywriting and marketing work well on Facebook, but I am sure you can do it on LinkedIn as well. Create a public profile for your business and post every day, and then post in groups relating to that business. So I post in copywriting groups, post in marketing groups, post in growth hacking groups, start-up groups, anything, and then start posting in these groups, start posting on your profile, start adding people as friends.
Jon: Yes it’s a very good … the Facebook connection is probably the most intimate out of all of them.
Charlie: Yes for sure, because people are on their personal profiles. There is a lot of multi-millionaire copywriters on Facebook. If you’re really struggling for clients, message each friend on your Facebook individually ‘Hi how’s it going?’ Don’t sell them anything. ‘[Watchya dude]’ just start a conversation.
Jon: Yes. It does help.
Charlie: If you cold e-mail someone, there is a chance you’re going to piss someone off, unless you do it in your way. If you message someone on Facebook ‘Hi how’s it going?’, or you look at their Facebook, you stalk their Facebook stream, and you comment about something that they’ve done in the message.
Jon: Yes. It is a genuine conversation rather than … it is not a place for pitching.
Charlie: Yes. And then on Facebook you’ll also find job boards. So you build this credibility, and then you post your services on the job board. And if you’re not feeling too … it can be considered a bit spammy, post the same sales page on your own profile, which I am going to test out and see the results [on] that.
Jon: So you find Facebook better than LinkedIn, Twitter etc?
Charlie: I haven’t got into LinkedIn. Twitter would take … I would imagine for copywriting Facebook is number one, LinkedIn is number two.
Jon: Yes. And like I think Facebook is just the most … it is just the closest. Like the people who you have on Facebook, that is the closest, you know the most about that person. If they have accepted you, that is a big thing, rather than LinkedIn, Twitter, you will accept pretty much anyone.
Charlie: Yes. On Facebook, I know for a fact, there is the Forbes magazine, Huffington Post kind of … I don’t know what you’d call them, editors or journalists? There is also people that you will have never heard of that are into internet marketing, selling an online product making a million a month or something. And yes they’ve got money for copywriting, they’ve got money for marketing.
Jon: Interesting. Can I ask you about … I am really enjoying Instagram at the moment, just personally, just playing around with that, I am really, really … what do you think of that as a platform?
Charlie: For copywriting work not so much. If you’re selling a product it’s absolutely unbelievable. If you’re selling a luxury product it’s even better because each sale is £100 [on every] sale, or even up to £2,000 sale, maybe more, and you can find your audience on Instagram. Where was I going with this? So yes £100 sale there is a lot of profit in that. So you do it yourself to start with, you make the profit in it, then you can hire someone who knows more than you to write for you.
Jon: Yes, yes. It seems like a social network on Speed [mind you], so quickly the results. What do you think of … this is one I need to –
Charlie: Oh quickly. I am growth hacking my Instagram for kitesurfing. I have stopped at the moment, because you always need a computer on with internet connection. But I was using Follow Liker to just get more followers on Instagram for kitesurfing. You get bots as well, it’s not –
Jon: – I’ve thought about this. The one thing of Instagram that I don’t … it does seem like there is some kind of shady tactics behind it.
Charlie: – Gray hat tactics.
Jon: Gray hat.
Charlie: Gray hat for sure.
Jon: Yes, I remember Gray, back in the day, Gray hat, yes, so these sort of Gray hat [tactics]. Because you look at some of these profiles with barely anything and they have got all of these followers. And it’s like okay so there is Gray hat stuff that’s –
Charlie: That’s working yes. Facebook is very tough for that. LinkedIn there is some software where you can post in as many groups as you want at once. You’ve just got to work out a way not to [make it] spam.
Jon: – What do you think of Vaynerchuk, Gary Vaynerchuk?
Charlie: That’s a loaded question.
Jon: I actually went through a phase of really liking him, then I didn’t, and now I like him again, I think he’s genuine, and he has got results. He has shown, the wine business he took from £3 million to [whatever] £60 [million], and then his agency is 600 people large. He is overly caffeinated but –
Charlie: I love Gary’s stuff. I still need to … his book is … I have read most of it, and I really like it so far. And I don’t know, some of the stuff he says that’s outdated, I don’t think is quite outdated yet. I don’t think he would ever believe cold e-mail could get the results –
Jon: – Yes, because he is big on attention, which is why he thinks Instagram is so important. Snapchat, do you know much about Snapchat?
Charlie: – Yes go for it, go for it. Say anything.
Jon: I don’t know anything, I need to be educated on Snapchat.
Charlie: Okay. Gary Vaynerchuk has worked something out on Snapchat that I’ve never seen before, and he has only just started doing it. And on Snapchat it is very hard to get more followers in Snapchat. Gary has started offering to log into other people’s Snapchats, and create videos on them, and then have a [call to action] ‘Come follow me on my Snapchat’. And he’s looking for people with the most views on their stories to go onto their Snapchats. That is the most unbelievable growth hack marketing thing, and everyone is going to be doing that, hopefully not too soon. Once they listen to the Render Positive podcasts, the whole world is going to be doing that.
Jon: Because he’s really big on Snapchat. He says ‘Even if my number of followers is not as large’, or whatever you call them on Snapchat, because there is no way of searching, you have to be able to put your username in there right to be found? He said ‘The level of attention you get on there is much greater than say on any other network’. So do you think it has practical application for an agency like Render? Or for personal branding I can see, do you think it has?
Charlie: If you can … one day I am waiting for the Snapchats of high level marketing officers in corporate companies to come. That would be hilarious. If you can get your target audience on watching you on Snapchat, then yes use it for marketing.
Jon: And what was the thing you were going to set up, a Periscope was it?
Charlie: Periscope. I have got a friend using Periscope, completely organic, not growth hacking anything, just making five videos a day. And it is just like this, he just talks into his phone.
Jon: Because I am debating like Render Positive being the story, and just showing … we are doing these podcasts and that’s great, and we do blog posts, I am thinking of just doing videos of what it’s like to run the agency, which fits in well with the book that I want to write. Should I just start doing that?
Charlie: I don’t know. So he is into sales training and it’s working well for him. I don’t know if those people are going to be buying marketing books or whether you would ever find a marketing client through that?
Jon: Yes. It’s not for that. It would be really just people can see what it’s like at Render.
Charlie: You’d just do it for fun as well?
Jon: It’s just that people can get a feel of what you’re like, the website can –
Charlie: The actual engagement you get … [oh] people on Twitter, you could get your target market, because business people on Twitter will follow you. My friend in three months, is it three months since January, yes three months, just checking –
Jon: – It goes so fast A level. A or B?
Charlie: – My friend … A. My friend has got so much interaction and engagement, 700,000 likes on his videos.
Charlie: Yes. One person can like a video 100 times, but that is 700,000 in three months, no growth hacking. No other YouTube, social media presence before Periscope.
Jon: So if I was to prioritise my efforts. Snapchat and Periscope and Instagram etc., where would you … I am just using you as a consultant now.
Charlie: For you I would be on LinkedIn before Snapchat. Twitter … does Twitter work for you?
Jon: Yes I’m on Twitter. I’m posting more now and actual content and engaging with people.
Charlie: Yes. I would be sorting out LinkedIn, LinkedIn is very similar, post every day, add everyone you meet as friends.
Jon: And Facebook you say … because I have got my profile on Facebook which you are a friend on, you say should I use that for business or create another one for business purposes?
Charlie: I didn’t like that there were pictures of me at 16 on my Facebook.
Jon: Doing … [showing you] in 2020?
Charlie: Pictures of me on a beach in Egypt. Just at the moment, if I had crazy credibility, like I’d been on … I don’t know, the BBC talking about marketing and copywriting, then I wouldn’t worry about these other pictures. But because I was new to the scene, I just thought I’d need to start this –
Jon: So you’ve created a profile that’s just –
Charlie: – Also all this business stuff. My friends like to criticise me in the comments when I talk about business or kitesurfing. And you’ve just got to delete their comment or –
Jon: Yes. That’s a question I wanted to ask. Obviously I imagine not many of your friends are doing this kind of stuff? What do they think of this whole Charlie the entrepreneur thing that’s going on?
Charlie: – Do you know what, none of my friends really know too well? Well no first it was I wanted to travel the world kitesurfing, and really from there it was tough to stay in contact with them. But when I started this business, all my friends’ parents know what I’m doing. But I told my friend I had started a business in London, he was like “Have you?” And I was like “How is that not obvious, I am posting on Facebook about it all the time”.
Jon: Yes. Just I did it.
Charlie: So yes. I guess people just don’t … I don’t speak to them too much at the moment. I will reconnect again, but I’m just so –
Jon: Yes. You’re probably meeting new friends as well?
Charlie: – The people I’ve met networking have kept me so sane, and I love spending time with them, people that I can have conversations like this with, rather than gossiping about … like I don’t spend enough time in my friends’ circle to gossip. So I can’t gossip, because they’re all talking about something I just don’t know about.
Jon: Yes. And you are bored –
Charlie: I want to talk about business or kitesurfing, yes.
Jon: – Yes, that’s awesome, that’s awesome. And what do your folks think of all this? Sorry you don’t have to … it is very personal.
Charlie: Yes that’s fine, no it’s fine. Started off … well you can imagine that the grades I got, and I was going to go into investment banking which was pretty much … for me it was a guaranteed –
Charlie: – Yes.
Jon: But you don’t have to be an investment banker.
Charlie: I would have enjoyed that more than being at uni. Being an investment banker still would be very interesting. But it’s like maybe one day out of the year would be interesting, the other 364 days I’m guessing aren’t so fun, research and paperwork. They struggled to accept that I was going to be a kitesurfer, especially as at first I just wanted to kitesurf and travel. Then I got into this copywriting and I was like actually the reason I am building this business up until November is so I can travel and run my business and not have to work as much, which is very tough to do in six months.
Jon: Yes. And you have to delegate.
Charlie: Yes. So I’ll see how that pans out. And it was very tough when I was flunking on my exams and procrastinating and not working and depressed. My mum took it on fastest, but still struggled. It was basically ‘Finish your exams then you can go’. Just finish my exams. And the worst person was my brother. He still takes the piss occasionally, even though I am getting results now.
Jon: Yes. Well it will get harder and harder as you do better and better.
Charlie: No, it was worse when I was doing not so much, when I was in a bad place and not really getting results and procrastinating and battling procrastination every day. I didn’t have a skill that I could make money from properly, that was the toughest part of it. And now it’s pissed me off, because he’s quite a … what do you call about it? He’s like “Oh yes that’s great what you are doing now”. I am like I was always on this path, I was always going to get there, you just couldn’t see it.
Jon: Yes. It takes time, it takes time. So what is your ideal dream scenario? You said you want to travel and run this in the background. But do you have … obviously that is a personal choice and a business choice as well? Do you have any grander ambitions long term [unintelligible 00:44:55] or are you not looking that far forward?
Charlie: So very short term, by November, I have got something to put together, copywriting, creating products, selling my own services, that I’ll be able to really just automate. And it’s a very worrying thing when someone … if you tell people you’re going to create a passive income, they’re very worried.
Jon: Yes. [Unintelligible 00:45:25] the negative connotations doesn’t it?
Charlie: It won’t be a passive income. I will still be working. I will put the lead generation on, I’ll work out a system, put it on autopilot. I have found … I need to show this to you, I have found somewhere where you can get commission only sales people. I know how to get inbound leads, so I know how to create the leads on autopilot, so I can charge as much as I want to do my copywriting, as well as creating my own products that I can –
Jon: Yes. And also you are going to have the side of people working for you to do the actual work?
Charlie: – Yes for sure, for sure.
Jon: So you’ve worked out a system where you have still got to be involved but –
Charlie: Yes. I’ve still got to be managing a lot. And from networking I’ve found a lot of clever people in my industry that are very good at PR, very good at copywriting, very good at content marketing, very good at social media, or anything like that, creating products. So I’m not really a product creator. But they don’t really have the business sense to put it altogether, or the sales skills to sell their –
Jon: – Connecting the dots.
Charlie: – So yes I’ll have to work. It’s not set in stone yet. At the moment I’m still kind of –
Jon: It’s still exciting though to think about it?
Charlie: Yes, so exciting.
Jon: That is the most important.
Charlie: This month I’ve had some of the best ideas ever.
Jon: It’s a rush. It is like a rush, those ideas that you have.
Charlie: Yes. The last time … so there’s been two times in the last year and a half, no do you know what, probably couple of years, five/six/seven years, where I couldn’t sleep because of ideas.
Jon: Yes. I’ve had that.
Charlie: Yes, until 3:00am, 5:00am.
Jon: And then just writing down, yes I’ve had that.
Charlie: Yes. And then you are more excited after you write them down.
Jon: Yes, yes.
Charlie: The first time that happened was when we first got in contact, and copywriting went well. Stuff that was coming on in London, it all looked like it was … I had these amazing ideas, couldn’t see how they wouldn’t work, and they did work. And that was the first time. The second time was … what day is it today?
Jon: It is Tuesday today.
Charlie: I think it was Saturday night, so yes it has been three months since I moved to London not really it has got worse and worse and worse, looking like it is less likely to happen, looking like it’s less likely to happen, for about getting a simple kind of fixed wage job, which wouldn’t really be enough for me for travelling and stuff. And yes that … can’t sleep, which is great.
Jon: No it’s good. Sometimes that –
Charlie: Like I have nights where I can’t sleep a bit, but properly can’t sleep.
Jon: – Yes, yes. There is the good side which is where –
Jon: – Excited, and it is actually you are like happy because you are just noting shit down, it is like this is great. The other side is worrying because of bad reasons, but I have sort of overcome that now. Even with … I have had a pretty shitty week, I have not lost sleep, because I am like I have done this before, I have been in this position before. But I can’t sleep because I’ve got ideas, that is one of the best feelings in the world.
Charlie: Yes. The retainers you have lost recently, is that going to be tight on cash flow?
Jon: Yes, yes, temporarily. Luckily we have got other projects that are big, but I don’t want to go into too much detail. But we have … the opportunities are there, and then there is the opportunities that don’t exist yet with this big pile of letters there, that you will see over … people can’t actually see. There is new opportunities, but there is already opportunities that exist with very, very large brands that we are working on. So although we have had bad news, and it’s three big pieces in a row, not affected. I’m like okay back against the wall, this is when I’m best. And that’s when I started thinking E-books, get credibility through that. That’s when I thought new ways I’m going to target financial directors, sales directors, chief execs and managing directors, I am just targeting new people. So just for me when my back is against the wall, for some reason it just makes me … that’s when I’m at my best.
So it’s actually yes really exciting times, even though nerve-racking you don’t want bad news, I’m actually really excited, because I’m putting all these new things into action that I probably wouldn’t have if bad things hadn’t have happened.
Charlie: Which could give you better results than –
Jon: Yes, yes. So yes I think we are kind of in the same position.
Charlie: – Yes. So my goals for November are really to have … I don’t want a passive income. I want a job where I can do everything that I love which is writing, making videos, making podcasts like this. And then I don’t know like go from there. The strategy, like putting the right people … I know how to market on Instagram, I just don’t have an hour a day to be marketing on Instagram, it just takes –
Jon: Yes. What is your daily routine like? Do you wake up early or late?
Charlie: – I have had to start a new one. It’s funny, after I dislocated my knee in Brazil, I came home and the time difference I never adapted, so I was waking up at 10:00/11:00am every day, which isn’t me at all. I have always woken up early and aimed to get to work early. My daily routine I am doing at the moment, is waking up at 6:00am, start the first task straightaway. I need to plan the tasks the night before, because otherwise I lie in bed for two hours from 6:00am. The key at the moment is just not falling back asleep, so if I wake up at 6:00am and waste an hour, and then start work that’s fine. But yes I have just woken up and got onto my computer and done more in two hours than usual.
Jon: Yes. And then do you finish at a certain time?
Charlie: I tend … from 6:00am until 6:00pm I have started scheduling in eight hours of work.
Jon: Yes. And you would shut off?
Charlie: I have got three hours free to do something I like, then read. And the three hours free could be work –
Jon: Yes. Are you a big reader as well?
Charlie: – Not for the last three months, but a big reader yes.
Jon: I have just got a Kindle by the way, [that’s] bought one, so I get to read more.
Charlie: Yes. Go for it, the daily routine?
Jon: Yes. You have got the work/life balance sorted, you are planning all of this. It sounds like you’ve got a lot, you’ve got it together.
Charlie: My work/life balance is working, eating, quick nap, exercising, and then the socialising part hasn’t come back yet. My socialising is going to a networking event, but yes.
Jon: Okay. Well we can work on that. I don’t know if I have taken you to Project Orange yet, have I done that?
Charlie: You can ask me something similar to that. What I was going to say … oh yes, back to the goals, sorry, I didn’t get this out of my system earlier. By November something where I can work on what I love. The next three years I am going to be kitesurfing and travelling the world. After my injury I can’t kitesurf every day, so on my off days I’m going to work, and I want to get into rally driving or something. But I just don’t have … it is just not … I just really want to get into that from 20 to 30.
Jon: So just a few goals, just a few?
Charlie: That would just be so fun.
Jon: Okay, excellent. Well this has been … we are approaching the hour. I don’t know if you have any closing remarks or do you have anything to promote, any Twitter accounts or anything like that, or any final comments?
Charlie: At the moment I’m doing a blog release at www.thecopyspace.com. And before I release it, all my secrets are going to be your secrets, I am giving away all my secrets. After I release it I am going to stop releasing all my growth hacking secrets. Because my name isn’t out there yet, I need to give away the juicy stuff for now.
Jon: Yes. That is also what I’m doing. I never thought I would give away the … like I did with you, because I think it was one to one, and you grasped it, even though I gave you vague sort of … but yes.
Charlie: Yes. I am still like you have got to meet this guy, but I can’t send you his e-mail, because he has just given it to me.
Jon: Yes I know. And I know when I send those out it will work. But I think … shall we end it here? I think we’ve been through quite a bit. An hour is enough. Otherwise we are just going to ramble. Cool. Well check out your site at –
Charlie: www.thecopyspace.com. Make sure you put ‘The’ in otherwise you get a German website. Or Facebook Charlie Price, there’ll be a Snapchat profile picture. Or @CharliePrices, so CharliePrices. Sorry that is pretty –
Jon: – Okay cool. Well you will be able to find him somewhere, you will be able to find Charlie Price.
Charlie: – Put a link to me on the show notes or something.
Jon: Cool yes. When this podcast goes up I will put the details in the description, and you will be able to find more about Charlie. This has been a lot of fun, we have been wanting to do it for a while, it has actually been one of the more interesting and exciting ones. So thank you very much for coming on Charlie.
Charlie: Let’s do another one in I don’t know six months, one year, two years, that will be interesting.
Jon: Yes, yes let’s see, let’s see when you are a success or a failure, and me too.
Charlie: That’s a nice way to put it.
Jon: And me too. Both of us just failed alcoholics. Well let’s see. Thank you everyone for listening. Do follow me. I am John Buchan on Twitter and on Instagram and follow Render Positive on Twitter. And also of course you can find us at renderpositive.com. Thank you very much, thank you Charlie. Have a good evening.
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