I always learn something new about myself from them. But they’ve never told me how to use the information to better my life.
It’s great to know that I’m “driven” and “talkative.” But without an action plan, it’s useless.
A few months ago, I finally chose my niche. Because it’s in personal development, I’ve been pouring through as many books on the subject as I can get my hands on.
As part of this process, I came across one in particular that really changed the way I view my communication style and my relationships. It helped me take action on what I learned from all those personality tests. It’s called First Steps to Wealth.
Dani Johnson, the author, has an incredible story. She was raised on welfare, pregnant at 17, and wound up homeless at 21. But amazingly, by 23, she was a millionaire.
In her book, she gives you the tools she used to improve her life. She focuses on relationships you have and how you deal with other people.
One concept she shares is Gems. These Gems are made up of Rubies, Sapphires, Pearls, and Emeralds.
Each represents a different personality type.
Johnson says, “You have all four Gem characteristics in you. Some people have a lot of two Gems and very little of the others. Others have quite a bit of each one in them, but they lead and communicate in one primary Gem most of the time.”
Becoming aware of the different Gems (think of them as personality types if this sounds a bit too New Age to you) and using them in your life will open all kinds of doors for you. You’ll be able to make connections with other people and understand their needs faster.
By applying the different Gem types, you can even impress your clients by communicating with them exactly like they communicate with you. Once you know their Gem type, you’ll know how they think and what type of information they need to make a decision – like hiring you.
So, which Gem are you?
A Sapphire loves socializing, they’re the life of the party, and they are motivated by fun. They like to be around a lot of people. They love variety interacting with others. They never see the negative side of a situation. They love recognition. In fact, they will work harder for recognition than they ever will for money.
From Sapphires, we can learn to not be so serious and that life can be fun if we let it.
However, Sapphires can improve by understanding not everyone is as positive as them. Sapphires often hurt other people’s feeling by seeming to not care, when really they’re just looking at the positive side of things.
For a Sapphire to enjoy the ultimate writer’s life, they should focus on working with companies that offer recognition and praise. Fundraising or speech writing might be a good niche for a Sapphire.
If your potential client is a Sapphire, make a point to praise their previous successes and always have something positive to say.
All the Gems want to help people. But helping is the prime motivator for a Pearl. They are not motivated by money. They usually have strong convictions and are called to action by a cause.
They are thoughtful and patient. They love to serve others and do not like to argue.
A Pearl loves to talk about their family. They are okay with sharing personal information while they are getting to know someone. If a Pearl senses that someone is a fake, they will lose trust in them.
Pearls, like Sapphires, love people and being around them, but not in large noisy groups.
Pearls prefer long-term relationships. They’ll be your best friends for life. They are good listeners and prefer talking to someone one on one. They are trustworthy, loyal, and true to their word.
From Pearls, we can learn the importance of helping others and keeping our word.
However, Pearls often get walked on and taken advantage of because they are so helpful. They can improve their own lives by being a bit more selective in how often they help others. It’s okay to say no if it’s not in their best interest to be helpful in a certain situation.
If you’re a Pearl, try to avoid doing too much “free” work. It might make you feel good, but it will delay your progress on your real goals.
To appeal to a prospective client that is a Pearl, use real stories (remember, they can detect if you’re fake) about your previous clients and how you’ve helped them.
Emeralds are motivated by facts and figures. Everything is black and white.
They are often weak in communication and they are judged as insensitive and cold-hearted – but they’re not. They are articulate. They are very clear with their speech so they won’t be misunderstood, and they always ask, “Why?”
Emeralds are problem solvers who come up with multiple solutions to each problem. They spend a lot of time on research to evaluate each possible solution to make sure they pick the right one. They also tend to be perfectionists and want to figure it all out before starting.
Emeralds can teach us to be more true to our word and to become more organized. They know it’s important to follow through, follow up, and do the tasks to the best of their abilities. That is something we should all strive to do.
If you’re an Emerald, you might be stuck in the learning phase. You can move past it by choosing one niche and getting started in just that area.
Also, to avoid missed opportunities, you should focus on making decisions faster.
If you have a potential client who is an Emerald, be sure to give them a lot of proof of your abilities. Include specific facts and figures about the results you’ve been able to get for other clients. Don’t leave them with lingering questions. Emeralds will do their own research, but if you give them what they need, you’ll impress them and win a sale.
Rubies like to win. They are motivated by challenges, but if they can’t win, they won’t play. They like to have the best of everything. They like to be unique and stand out. Rubies constantly have to be striving for a goal, a next step, or another challenge. Rubies are often business owners and entrepreneurs because they like to lead.
Rubies are often missing sleep and skipping breakfast because they are incredibly productive and get more done in one day than anybody else.
Rubies are proud of their accomplishments and want to tell you about them. They are also blessed with extra confidence and they’re not afraid to take a risk. They are direct and to the point, even if it hurts someone’s feelings.
If you’re a Ruby, you’re probably applying for every job that comes along, but by narrowing your focus and putting more effort into a few proposals, you’ll get better results. Also, Rubies typically need to work on their communication skills with the other Gems and learn to be more sensitive to others’ feelings.
If you have a potential client who is a Ruby, you can impress them by being an idea generator, making yourself available so they can be more productive, and by not getting offended if they hurt your feelings.
Deciding on Your Gem
As you read the above Gem types, did any stand out to you? It’s okay if the answer is no. I recommend having someone else – someone who knows you well – read the types and help you decide which one you are.
I had my husband help me out, and we determined I’m mostly a Sapphire. I’m also an Emerald when it comes to making decisions about my business and a Ruby when it comes to my goals.
Dani says when you’re able to identify your primary Gem and others’ primary Gems, you will understand who you are and how you can relate to others in their environments.
All the Gems explain things a little differently. If you know this and you can recognize others’ Gem types, you’ll be able to speak their language and build better relationships that lead to success in your life and business.
Which Gem are you? Comment below to join the discussion …
If you’re just starting your journey to the writer’s life, you may fear there are a million things to learn. I certainly did.
But the truth is, there are only a handful of things you need to know to get started. The rest can be picked up as you work with clients and build your business.
Don’t fall into the trap of letting the things you don’t know hold you back.
This week, I’ll take you on a journey where you’ll discover the basics you need to know to take action towards living your own writer’s life.
But before we get started, I want to put your mind at ease by saying you can never know it all.
Once you have the copywriting basics down, a new technique or technology will come along. And each client will have a different product and a different set of challenges. There’s no getting around doing research for every client, even if you already know a lot about his or her niche.
Being able to ask the right questions is also key. You should also have a go-to resource, like AWAI, for when you get stuck and need some help.
Once you have a good understanding of the basics, you can take a page from Nike’s handbook. Their “Just Do It” slogan explains what it takes to succeed in just three simple words. Don’t spend all your time preparing. Just do it.
Michael Masterson really brought this concept to the writing world with his book and philosophy Ready, Fire, Aim.
What is Ready, Fire, Aim?
It’s a practice you can use to move past hurdles that keep you from making progress with your business. You move forward with your plans and take action, even if you don’t have every little detail worked out.
The little details are what keep us from getting started. They allow us to procrastinate. Plus, even when you have the “perfect” plan, life often throws a kink in it, requiring you to make adjustments.
I have personally paid the price for too much planning without action, and I would hate to see that happen to you too.
I have always tried to make everything as perfect as possible before sending it out into the world. Naturally, I balked when I first heard of Ready, Fire, Aim.
But because I make a point to follow the advice of experienced people, I gave it a try.
My first experience using the Ready, Fire, Aim principle was when I launched my own copywriting website.
I wanted to compete in the “Build Your Freelance Website In 4 Days” Challenge, and it had a specific deadline. Because of this deadline, I was forced to do only the essentials.
Sure, I wanted to spend more time on the layout. I would have agonized over the copy. It would have been great to launch with a full blog and pages describing each of my services.
But all those things would have held me back from actually launching my site.
Instead, I did the essential and launched it into the world. I won the competition, even without spending all the extra time.
After that experience, I live by Ready, Fire, Aim.
Before we go on, it’s important to realize I’m not saying to do mediocre work. I’m saying don’t agonize over every detail – especially when it comes to preparing for something.
Take your own promotional materials, for example. Would it be better to follow the advice of other copywriters, write the best letter you can, and send it? Or would it be better to change the font 10 times and agonize over every word?
The sooner you get something out there, the faster you’ll know if it works or not. If you find it’s not performing, you can write another version and test it against your original. This allows you to improve as you get results rather than simply guessing what you could do to make it better.
So what about you? Are you procrastinating or practicing Ready, Fire, Aim?
A few times a year, I sit down and reflect on where my business has been, where it is, and where it’s going. I do this at the beginning of the calendar year and again on my birthday in August.
This year, I realized I had a major problem that was stunting the growth of my business: I had too many goals. Because I was torn in so many directions, I wasn’t accomplishing much toward any of my goals.
What’s worse is that because I was spending so much time working, I stopped doing a lot of things I’m passionate about. That led to unhappiness with my business and feeling like my work wasn’t paying off.
For my mid-year analysis, I looked at the areas of my life and quickly saw if I didn’t take time to relax and recharge, my business would only suffer more as my creativity drained away and my passion burned out.
The first thing I decided to do was take a hard look at my goals and where my time was going. I quickly realized I had two types of goals:
1. Someone Else’s Goals.
These were goals someone else had given me – either by making them sound like something I should want to do or by asking me to help them with a project. Making six figures per year and self-publishing a business book were on this list.
2. My Goals.
These were goals that got me out of bed in the morning and kept me up late. They were the things I was truly excited about accomplishing, like being featured in Entrepreneur magazine and getting Sara Blakely (the creator of Spanx) to notice my new venture, ComfyEarrings.com.
It was hard to make progress on my goals because they were getting pushed aside to make time to work on someone else’s goals.
I decided I didn’t want to spend my time working toward a goal I wasn’t 100 percent in love with. It wasn’t easy, but within a few days, I had “resigned” from all of the goals that weren’t mine and freed up quite a bit of time.
Next, I decided to spend an hour every day doing something I used to enjoy. The only requirement was it had to be fun and get my creative juices flowing. I chose to read fiction books and get outside more. On the days when the weather is nice enough to read outside, I get a double dose of enjoyment.
So far, the results of my streamlined goals and doing more things I enjoy are:
My stress is almost completely gone.
I have more energy and passion for my projects.
I’ve read more books in two weeks than I did in the past six months.
My creativity is back and writing is much easier.
I’m not struggling for ideas because my brain isn’t exhausted or numb.
I’ve always thought reading is important, but after the past month, I truly believe reading fiction is essential to writers.
Just in case you won’t take my word for it, here is what some famous writers have to say:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
“Be awesome! Be a book nut!” – Dr. Seuss
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Richard Steele
So what about you? How do you take time to recharge? Comment below to join the discussion …
Before I jump into today’s lesson, I want to tell you something: I do not like asking for help.
I’m one of those people who would rather do it myself so “I know it will be done right.”
I like to come up with the idea, do the research, implement it, and get all the credit. (Yeah – I’m that person.)
All through college, I avoided group projects like the plague – even if it meant I had to do six times more work.
But now that I’m developing my personal skills, I’m realizing that’s a terrible way to go through life. It’s stressful, lonely, and more difficult – especially if you’re trying to break into writing all by yourself.
Through my research, I’ve learned that all the A-level copywriters reach out for help. They follow the paths other people have followed, they learn from others’ mistakes, and they ask for advice when they hit a roadblock.
I’d advise you to do the same. I am.
I’ve made a commitment to myself that I’m going to do whatever it takes to be an A-level copywriter. And that means swallowing my pride and taking cues from those who know what they’re talking about.
It also meant joining Circle of Success so I can get to the writer’s life faster, connect with others who are willing to share their advice, and get access to a whole slew of programs designed to give me help where I need it.
My first step after joining Circle of Success was to call AWAI Co-Managing Partner Rebecca Matter. In just one phone call, we were able to discover my niche – something I had not been able to do on my own for over a year.
That call enabled me to get my self-marketing messages put together, set up my website, and get my first client. Without her help, I’d still be struggling, trying to do it all my way.
Next, I started attending the weekly classes and diving into the projects designed to hone my writing skills. The first 12 weeks were focused on just headlines – that’s how in-depth Circle of Success is.
I went into the classes thinking I knew a lot about headlines, but I wound up learning more than I could imagine.
One tip I learned about the Big Idea cut my writing time nearly in half.
Since that breakthrough, I’m eager to continue my Circle of Success classes to see what else I can learn, reveal, and conquer.
Before I end for the day, I just want to say it’s really difficult to do this alone.
But even though I hate asking for help, I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to learn from those that have come before me.
Now when I have a problem, question, or concern, I send off an email or call someone and get help.
The writer’s life is so much more fun when it’s easy and you’re doing what others have done before. And it’s safer when you have a concrete path to stick to and people to bounce ideas off of.
Let me know what’s holding you back. Comment below to join the discussion …