(The following was originally published at CareyGreen.com.)
Today, I’m speaking with Donnie Bryant, a friend who greatly contributed to my two-book set regarding entrepreneur mind hacks. He works as a copywriter, but more than that, he’s a great guy… perhaps even the most generous guy you’ll ever meet!
Carey Green: Donnie, what do you mean when you say, “Marketing and copywriting are not merely jobs, they are a calling”?
Donnie Bryant: Well, I believe that each of us are on this planet for a reason. However, we are not always certain of how to communicate and share that reason with other people, especially other people we might be able to help.
Along with this, marketing isn’t always about money. Marketing is about taking the gifts, experiences, and knowledge that we have and connecting with people who have needs that we can help with our gifts experiences and knowledge.
All this to say, I believe that it’s my calling to help people communicate what they have to give to the world, especially to those who could use their help.
I’ve tried, in the past, to quit and move into another career, but I couldn’t get away from it. That all goes into me realizing that this is not just a job or skill set of mine, but a calling.
Carey: What was going on in your life when you tried to quit?
Donnie: At the time, it felt like I was not only “burning the candle at both ends”, but that I had cut the candle down the middle and was burning it from three places. I felt like I was wasting a bunch of energy and wasn’t making the kind of progress that I had wanted or expected.
Basically, I had let my ego get in my own way, and started thinking that I was above certain things. And over time, this wore me out.
So, for about two months, I tried to find something else to do with my life.
But, as a writer, this is something I’ve always loved to do. God not only gifted me with some unique abilities, but also with a love of copywriting. So, despite my best efforts, He seemed to pull me back into the direction He wanted me to be in.
Carey: I’m sure you had to make some adjustments in your life, then, in order to avoid burning out again.
Donnie: Yeah. I had to learn how to be more mindful about my priorities. Sometimes, there is no time for playtime… especially when there are bills to pay. That often means that I only spend 30 minutes a day on social media – which seems like very little for a marketing guy. But, I can’t be wasting time on Twitter or Facebook when neither one helps me with my primary goals. The truth is that I don’t make much money at all using social media, but I do find it a valuable tool to use to share things with other people that I find useful.
Carey: Now let’s talk about what might be the most striking claim on your website, and that is that you “fully intend to be the most generous guy you know.” What do you mean by that?
Donnie: I don’t know how to turn off. I have story after story of people asking me via email, social media, or in person for marketing advice, or some other type of advice in my professional arena. Now, I never know or don’t even believe that these people would even think about paying me for this advice… yet, I still have a hard time saying “no”. I just generously give what I have, whether that is information, or money, or time, or things. The same principle can be seen in my newsletter. It’s free. It’s filled with advice. And I don’t every plan on making any money off if it. But that doesn’t ever get in my way of handing out ideas and perspectives of value.
Carey: That all goes to the Biblical principle of giving without expecting anything in return. And, it has nothing to do with karma or anything like that, but God made the world in such a way that you will be rewarded when you are generous.
Donnie: And on that note, I realize that there are so many things in life that I have received freely, therefore I should also give freely in return.
Carey: Now, you were also a contributor to an Amazon Best Seller. Tell us a little about that!
Donnie: I worked on Creating Business Growth with 21 other people who were part of my Mastermind Group – which I call my “International Secret Society” – they are all a bunch of cool, very smart people! So, we all put together our best marketing ideas and formulated ways for people to grow their businesses. At the end of it all, we reached “Best Seller” status in eight countries!
Yet, like so many other things I’ve done… I probably won’t make a dime off of that book. Making money off of that project was never our idea. We simply wanted to impact businesspeople and help educate them.
Carey: In the book, you talk about “discovering your own rhythms”. What do you mean by that, and how can people benefit from it?
Donnie: Well, we’ve all heard that the early bird catches the worm, right? But, eagles don’t eat worms, do they? Eagles eat fish. And they catch their fish in the afternoon. You see, I believe that everybody is unique, so being an early bird doesn’t work for every person. Personally, I am much more productive later in the day than in the early morning. So, individuals have to find which part of the day they are most energetic and productive and work that rhythm into their lives, instead of forcing themselves to be an early bird.
Now, there is wisdom in the old Benjamin Franklin idiom: Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. But, the key isn’t necessarily the time on the clock, but the time of the day when you are most able to focus. For many people, that time is early in the morning – before the buzz of the house begins and there are more distractions. But, no matter what time of the day you discover you focus best in, the key is the discipline you develop in how you conduct yourself. So, it’s not necessarily about being disciplined in getting up early – it’s about being disciplined in blocking out your most valuable time of the day.
Carey: Now, how did you arrive at that conclusion?
Donnie: Years ago, I was reading a collection of sermons of John Wesley. In one of them, he was talking about discovering how long you should sleep. Each individual has a different need for sleep. So, I started experimenting: do I need eight hours? Can I get by with only five? This led to me learning how to structure my days so that I can be awake and alert when I needed to be… and then still be able to make it through the day and finish well. I mean, I could pretty easily function off of only three hours of sleep and have a great morning… but then I’d be worthless for the rest of the day.
So, if everybody is different in regards to sleep, then they are most likely also unique in productivity
For instance, I learned that if I got up at 5:00, I could do things before there was any hustle and bustle around the house, but I couldn’t focus anywhere near as well as if I allowed myself to sleep in until 8:00. Sure, there is more activity around the house at 8:00, but I would still have more energy and focus that I could accomplish much more at that hour… and I wouldn’t have to take a nap at noon.
Carey: Another thing that you wrote really intrigued me. You said:
“…energy management is just as important as time management.”
I had never thought about that before. Could you expand a bit on that for us?
Donnie: I can’t claim that concept as my own necessarily. Tony Schwartz did a series of videos where he discussed this very concept. The key is to figure out when in the day you have the energy to do what you need to do. Every individual is unique, so it’s up to you to make your own discovery. Once you know this, you’ll learn when and how to do your best work. For me, I find that I am typically most productive and creative after 8:00 pm and into the night. But that’s just me.
Carey: Right. I’m probably on the opposite end of that spectrum. I can do a typical 8:00 – 5:00 day… but I definitely hit a lull in the early afternoon. However, if I start much earlier, I can work longer hours and not ever hit that sleepy wall. So, I start my days at around 4:30am. So long as I’m in bed by about 10:00 and I get six hours of sleep, I’m as right as rain! When I sleep longer, I drag through the afternoon. If I sleep less than six hours, I can’t keep my eyes open.
Donnie: Right! That’s another part of the equation. Sometimes we think “Well… I slept ten hours, I should be extra rested!” But it doesn’t always work that way. Each person has a unique physical rhythm and their body requires a unique amount of sleep.
Besides sleep and schedule, there is also the issue of other things going on around you. Some people need absolute silence, and some people need noise and activity. I’ve even met some people who need the television on in order to be productive. As
Tony Schwartz says, we aren’t typically designed to work eight hours straight… not even four hours with a lunch break. Most people can focus best in 90-minute segments with 15-minute mental breaks in between. Those numbers could be different for each individual, but the key is to discover which rhythm your body naturally works best in, then manage your energy, not your schedule.
Carey: Cool. Switching gears, I want to ask you about copywriting. What is the golden thread that runs through your work?
Donnie: Tell me what I can write to sell steaks to a vegan. I don’t care how compellingly I may write something, they will not buy into what I am selling. There’s the old idiom: you can’t sell ice to Eskimos.
So, the most important thing for anybody, not just copywriters, is to find out who you are communicating with and help them get what they want. This tends to go by the old 40-40-20 rule:
40% of the response is governed by who you send your message to, or your reach. Then 40% is determined by what you are offering and how compelling your offer is. Finally, only 20% how you say and design your message. These things (design, style, verbiage, etc.) do matter, but not as much as making sure that you are talking to the right people about the right things.
Gary Halbert put it this way: If your wife were to call you and tell you that you were having triplets, it doesn’t matter how boring her delivery might be, the news itself will be overwhelming and exciting!
The key is to talk to the right people about the right thing. The other stuff: the copy, the graphic design, and presentation will fall behind the message. No matter how you dress it up, very few vegans are going to buy Omaha Steaks.
Carey: So you’re talking about “product-to-client-match”. I totally agree with you. I send out 15-20 emails each day regarding my podcast production business, and it just seemed like a no-brainer to me to seek out places where I can find people who need my services. Itunes seemed like a great starting point, especially their business category, and it was like hitting gold, because I was talking to the right people at the right place, with the right message.
Donnie: You know, that’s reason number one why, when you give money to any cause, you almost immediately receive a boatload of email from other charities asking for your money – they have determined that YOU are a GIVER.
You can get in touch with Donnie and hear more from him at: Donnie-Bryant.com