The Permission to Kick Ass Blog

Misadventures to Make You Feel Good About Life

I believe in eating your own cooking… most of what I’ve learned about how to live a “fearless life” (in quotes because there’s no such thing – people only THINK I’m fearless) comes from making choices (some of them pretty dumb) and taking action. And I’m sharing what I learned (plus any adventures I have along the way) in my blog.

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getting advice you didn’t ask for

May 3, 2019

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there… Screwing up the courage to share something you’ve been working hard on, and ask for feedback. And then that feeling of being sucker-punched when someone reacts critically. This happens often in copy and marketing, so I have seen folks develop an interesting self-defense mechanism to lessen the impact of the…

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every solution creates another problem

April 30, 2019

I have this really cool bedside lamp – it’s a touch lamp with three lighting levels and I love it. The only thing I don’t love is that it takes specialty bulbs… G9 to be specific. If you haven’t heard of those, they’re pretty weird looking and sometimes a bit finicky: I was reading in bed last night and reached…

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say yes and figure it out

April 22, 2019

I’m not a big fan of proclaiming any one thing “the secret” or “the thing” responsible for success. There’s no miracle button, no magic pill. And certainly no “secret” that, once unlocked, will suddenly put wind in your sails and take you to Successville. If you want something, you need to take every opportunity. And when I say that, I…

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self promotion and nuclear winter

April 10, 2019

To say I have a flair for the dramatic is a tiny bit of an understatement. It makes sense, considering it was once my dream to write for television. Mmmmm… drama. Delicious. So I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that I am good a catastrophizing. Turns out this is a skill a lot of creative freelancers have… this magical…

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the choices we make

April 5, 2019

This week I find myself in a situation that I never dreamed I’d be in, not in a million years. I’m in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m wrapping up my last day at an event called the Titans Master Class. And what it is, is a business/marketing training/mastermind hybrid. It’s put on by people who have decades and decades of experience… veritable…

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the “school of hard knocks” is a thing… and it’s about time you graduate

March 29, 2019

Some thoughts to ponder this weekend, particularly on education. [WARNING: I’m fired up, swearing ahead] Recently I was talking to someone about my path to becoming a coach. It sparked an interesting discussion on education, training, certification. Or rather, it brought up the age-old notion that only folks with degrees and certifications are qualified to teach and guide others. I…

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kindness costs you nothing

March 19, 2019

I had a couple weird experiences within 24 hours, and I was surprised at how strongly they affected me. And it ties back to a little knowledge nugget that’s served me well over the course of my career… Kindness costs you nothing. It can seem daunting and maybe even a tiny bit overwhelming to be kind… like letting a few…

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following your internal GPS

March 1, 2019

Earlier this week, I was leading a coaching call with a badass group of up-and-coming copywriters. And one of them said: “I had a hard time with that last assignment. I just didn’t understand it, wasn’t connecting with it, and it took me a lot longer than I thought to get it done. I almost didn’t do it.” The funny…

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the importance of getting burned

February 21, 2019

We’re all familiar with this situation: Hot stove. Curious kid. Concerned parent. Kid gets precariously close to the glowing red coils, and the parent says, “be careful, that’s hot!” Then maybe the kid looks at the parent quizzically. A quick back-and-forth glance between dad and imminent danger. Kid touches stove, gets burned, screams bloody murder. Most of us look at…

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why sucking is a necessary part of success

February 15, 2019

Before you think I’m being pervy… I’m not talking about a potential sexual harassment case. I’m talking about being horrible at what you do. There’s actually a BENEFIT to allowing yourself to suck. Case in point, I just came across an interesting post from a frustrated copywriter: My trouble is getting started. I can’t seem to produce text rapidly without…

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how to get hired (especially if you’re just starting out)

February 7, 2019

Last week, I got a bit ranty about why you shouldn’t offer to work for free. (refresher: There should always be an exchange of value, whether you’re paying a mentor to educate you/shorten the learning curve, or you’re being paid/trained as a copywriter. Both you and your client/mentor will value your work more.) At the end of that post I…

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what clients really think of your offer to “work for free”

January 30, 2019

Recently I came across a question in a copywriter group that I see pretty consistently:   I have no degree and very little experience so I’m willing to work for free, which I’ve already proposed to two smaller businesses but unfortunately, I’ve received no response. How would you guys go about this? Any tips/strategies?   Here’s the problem with offering…

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I came to fight

January 25, 2019

I don’t know if anyone else thinks of starting a business as “revolutionary”. But I happen to think it is. Maybe mine is the hundred millionth freelance writing business to ever be started in the world, but it’s my small act of rebellion against the norm. It’s me daring to take back my freedom in the face of forty years…

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don’t go begging for burnout

January 14, 2019

This is the time of year that typically celebrates the over-achiever. New year, new you! Time to refocus, buckle down, and work EVEN HARDER than last year! I don’t really buy into that anymore, and here’s why… This whole idea of doing better this time around implies that you didn’t do well last time. So I don’t like it if…

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Happy New Year – here’s your fireworks

January 3, 2019

You know what drives me nuts? Freelancer groups on Facebook. They make me crazy sometimes… because they could be such a place of hope and inspiration. And what I see, more often than not, is an angry pitchfork mob. One could argue that it’s just kinda the norm on social media. But look… I don’t care what bill of goods…

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just get in the f*$#*& pool

October 18, 2018

I remember when I first made the decision to leave my day job and go freelance. For years, I’d been working as a corporate copywriter. I made a decent salary. Had health insurance. Loved my team. Commuted 2+ hours a day. Worked 10-12 hour days, often taking work home and continuing to work on the weekends. Dealt with toxic coworkers…

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some things don’t belong in your bedroom

September 26, 2018

So here it is… two weeks since I last wrote.   Ordinarily that wouldn’t be much of a problem, right? Write when you can, the world keeps spinnin’…   Except I promised to write weekly. And then a biiiiiiiiig project with lots of insane deadlines came up and I pushed everything to the wayside.   Everything.   My gym routine?…

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dancing with demons

September 7, 2018

I’m about to get really real here. I had a bit of a moment last week, involving this very blog. I send these posts out to my email list, and occasionally people unsubscribe. This is Basic Email 101 – some people are going to stay and some are going to go. But my cardinal sin is that I haven’t been…

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the root of crushing disappointment

August 30, 2018

You’ve experienced it. I’ve experienced it. We’ve all gone through it… That moment where something we wanted, wished for, hoped for with every ounce of soul we possess fails to happen. Maybe it’s being passed over for a job you really wanted. Maybe it’s hearing your manuscript was rejected. Maybe it’s being turned down for a dinner date. Whatever it…

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The “safest” bet

August 22, 2018

A little more than 12 hours ago, I heard something that I’d known was coming for a long time: https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/loc…re-Stores-Shut-Down-Nationwide-491416532.html That’s the company I used to work for,  as an in-house copywriter. And if you’re not familiar with my experiences there… I’ll sum it up as: I learned an INCREDIBLE amount about creative production, running nationwide promotions, retail sales, building and…

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When you’re what’s in your way…

August 15, 2018

So today I want to talk about one of the biggest mistakes I see freelancers making (I’m including aspiring freelancers who aren’t quite there yet)… Ladies and gents, you are making this waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy more complicated than it is. Good business is simple… it’s just that simple doesn’t necessarily equal easy. Easy is skipping steps. It’s taking shortcuts. Simple is CLEAR,…

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I got laid off from a job I didn’t even f*#&ing have.

August 8, 2018

So this one time, I got laid off. And it extra special sucked ass, because it was a job that I didn’t even friggin’ have. Let me back it up and give it a little context here: Waaaaaaaay back in the stone age, before I was a freelancer… I was a corporate copywriter. Cubicle hell was my home away from…

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adventures on the road

October 23, 2017

Life on the road… equal parts fun and frustrating.   Fun because you get to travel somewhere new. There are loads of cool people (and usually a lot of good food and drink to try, which Angie likey).   Frustrating figuring out what to pack.   Interrupted sleep routines.   Fighting off the “conference crud”.   Trying to anticipate what…

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can we talk about ta-tas?

September 18, 2017

This one’s all about a common pitfall I see retailers and e-comm folks run into. I love me some product descriptions, but a phenomenal funnel and amazing product descriptions won’t save you from this particular fail… ______ Not too long ago, I got served a pretty awesome ad on Facebook (how often can you truthfully say that?):     Now…

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why good ideas sometimes have to die

June 14, 2017

In my early days, I had this tendency to come up with an idea I thought was BRILLIANT. And one day I had to create a full-page magazine ad. After a fit of inspiration (and some kickass input from my design partner), I brought the ad concept to the Creative Review meeting. This was where all the stakeholders and leaders…

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Shall I compare thee to a tree? (aka Angie’s lame attempt at Shakespearean prose)

May 30, 2017

Today I spoke with a copywriter at the beginning of their career.   At one point I asked what the most frustrating part of learning to become a copywriter was.   The answer: I really just want someone to walk me through the process from start to finish.   I think that’s a great idea, in theory.   In reality,…

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I’m pretty sure product descriptions are the most boring thing ever, aside from technical manuals.

May 25, 2017

Maybe it’s just me, but seriously… being bored sucks. And if I’m shopping, why would I want to be bored? That happens every single day, though… Hundreds of thousands of people shopping for something, who have to wade through garbled or technical product descriptions and decipher whether this thing actually does what they need it to do. Enter my radical…

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Go out and get your great deal TODAY… only we won’t tell you where.

May 23, 2017

Want to know how to kill a sale REALLY quickly? Don’t tell them where to buy. You might be chuckling to yourself, wondering who would ever make such a silly mistake. Who has two thumbs and has done that very thing? This dork: Once upon a time, I worked in-house for a VERY high-volume retailer. Meaning we were cranking out…

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The tale of the neverending Stevie Wonder song

May 17, 2017

Once upon a time… (let’s not talk about HOW far back) …I was going through a rough patch. And a dear friend of mine dragged me out for two things she knew would cheer me up: booze and live music. Little did I know she had ulterior motives… The live music was at a dueling piano bar. And it was…

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the one about the flaming saxophone…

March 28, 2017

Quick hypothetical question… Say you’re looking to take a special someone out on the town. You know your sweetheart adores live music. But you? Music’s never really been your thing. You just REALLY want to show your favorite music buff a great time. And as luck would have it, you’ve never heard any of the bands on the playbills tonight.…

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That time I almost died on a mountain…

March 21, 2017

OK, I’m exaggerating. A little. I mean, it really FELT like I was dying as I climbed the (relatively flat, level) trail up the mountain. I had to stop every few hundred feet or so, watching as others breezed on pass, making my struggle look like nothing. And it hurt. I didn’t like feeling like I was left behind. I…

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What I learned about sales from my time slinging hash

March 6, 2017

If you want to get the sale, you’ve got to ask the question.   But HOW you ask is just as important as asking:  

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Why you need to be thinking about user experience as much as your copy

March 2, 2017

It’s not a huge leap from copywriter/marketing strategist to user experience. After all, we are all customers. We shop online. We see ads all day, every day. And we know what makes us frustrated enough to bounce. The same logic you use to plan an email sequence, plot out a funnel, or outline a sales page can help you find…

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Ever have a WTF moment when listening to a voicemail?

March 1, 2017

That happened to me today.   I was writing up a storm and when I came up for air, I saw that I had missed a call. I checked voicemail and listened to the message, paraphrased below: Hey Angie, I saw that you went to one of our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. I wanted to follow up and see how…

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Adjectives are your enemy

March 1, 2017

“The road to hell is paved with adjectives.” – Stephen King I hate adjectives. Adverbs, too. They sneak into our sentences like cat burglars and rob us of our meaning before we know what’s happened. Relying on adjectives leaves your sentences open for interpretation. Your version of painful might be in traction in the hospital. Your reader might think you mean stubbing…

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Need a sales boost? Ask yourself, “where’s the beef?”

February 28, 2017

Here’s my technique for selling multiple products to the same customer… …without bundles, coupons, heavy discounts, and losing your ass on margin. I call it the “roast beef sandwich” strategy. It works like this: Imagine your customer has a craving for a roast beef sandwich. They’re coming to your store to buy all the necessary ingredients. There are certain things…

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Sanity check: are you creating problems or SOLVING them?

September 16, 2015

There’s something intriguing about visionaries – – you guys see stuff nobody else can. You imagine a bright, bold future filled with wonderful gadgets and commonsense solutions to everyday challenges. Stuff that makes life easier. Stuff we take for granted because it works so seamlessly we don’t even have to think about it for it to work. But that isn’t…

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How to ignore customers and still give great service

July 27, 2015

Ahh, that dreaded moment when a customer complains. Maybe you experience gut-wrenching frustration to the point you want to punch someone, scream, or do both (might be a good time to investigate that new kickboxing class, perhaps?). Or maybe you get sick to your stomach, agonizing over how to respond. My thoughts? Sometimes you just need to cut ’em loose. Tell…

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Who’s driving Facebook traffic the RIGHT way?

February 4, 2015

We’re talking about someone whose marketing team knows EXACTLY what they’re doing. They posted a 0:17 video clip that was watched north of 770K times as of this afternoon. Thousands of shares. 50K+ Likes. The strategy was simple really: give ’em a tease. And nowhere has that phrase been more appropriate than Ellen interviewing Channing Tatum and Twitch about Magic Mike…

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I have a new personal hero

January 29, 2015

And he’s not from the Marvel Universe or DC comics. My hero is this guy who held a sign in a subway asking for a job. What he’s done is not ground-breaking. Let’s be real – he’s not developing the cure for cancer. But he IS doing something a lot of people refuse to or are too scared to do…

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Writer’s Block is BS

May 24, 2013

I was talking to my sister earlier today, who is also a writer. Two writers in the family, go figure. We got to talking about how to write when you’re feeling blocked and uninspired. Seeing as how she’s just starting out, she was a little surprised at what I had to say: Writer’s block is bullshit. Please, print that out,…

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What angry IHOP people can teach you about business.

April 1, 2013

I had a shitty moment at IHOP today. It damn near ruined my whole day, too. For those of you who don’t already know me, I’m a rather feisty redhead with a foul mouth who just so happens to have several visible tattoos. Image credit | _gee_ I am also a writer. Specifically, a copywriter. I write marketing and advertising materials…

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