Hello! Who are you and what do you do?
Hello. Mike Samuels. I write copy, and coach other would-be copywriters start their freedom-focused copy business, where they can earn £350+ per hour along with equity fees, and work entirely on their own schedule.
What's your backstory and how did you end up in your current position?
I started as a self-employed personal trainer in January 2009. Initially I worked in a chain gym, but I hated it. Not to mention, I sucked at getting clients. I stuck it out for almost 18 months, before realising it wasn't for me. I moved back to my hometown of Southampton, where I decided to start a mobile business instead. That took off, and within a year, I was doing 25-30 sessions per week. Within 2 years, I was doing 50+ sessions per week. This couldn't last though, as I was exhausted, so I looked into online coaching. I had my first online clients in 2013, and gradually scaled that while phasing out 1:1 training. At the same time, I'd been doing more writing, and actually started to write copy for other fit pros. As this grew, I let the fitness side of things tail off, and in 2017, I went full-time into copywriting. In the last 5 years, I've gradually done less client work, and moved more into the coaching space, where I mostly produce educational material, and coach other copywriters.
What were your first few months like in the fitness industry?
Really bloody tough. I was only 18, and was very shy and introverted. Trying to sign clients in a busy gym, with 14 or 15 other (more established) trainers, coupled with being away from home, and not feeling confident in myself meant I just about scraped by, supported by handouts from my Mum.
What has the journey been getting from those first few months to where you are today?
I kind of answered above without realising this question was here :) So to elaborate - Every decision I made in terms of switching direction was down to not being happy with where I was. Either it was lack of money (which is why I switched from the gym to mobile PT,) or it was lack of freedom (switching from in-person PT to online.) It's rare I've ever gone truly solo with any of these decisions. I've always had mentors who've provided external objective feedback, and helped guide me to make the right decision. These days, most of my decisions are based on what I want to do, and what's going to make my life easier, vs. just what's going to earn more money or what I 'should' do.
What’s been the hardest moment/biggest challenge of your career so far?
Getting fired from my position as a content writer at Livestrong. This was when I was doing a hybrid of 1:1 PT, online coaching and writing. It was a super easy gig that paid almost half my income at the time, and they let me go overnight, falsely accusing me of plagiarism. It sucked for a day or two. Then I realised it was an opportunity, and really doubled down on my online work, created a passive income product, and replaced that lost income within about 3 months, but with 20% of the work.
What’s been your biggest win / proudest moment?
The first entirely organic launch of my copywriting course brought in close on 80 grand to a list of just 1,500 people. It wasn't the money that was the big win, but the fact over 70 people wanted something I'd created.
How and what are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My work is very much focused around lifestyle. I like growing my business, but that's driven more by creativity and the fact I like working through processes, than it is by earning more. I would like to make my business a little more passive, but at the same time, I enjoy 90% of what I do day to day. In terms of the future, I'll likely release a few more products that serve different needs, and to be honest, I'm going to look at business ventures outside of copy as well, purely because I enjoy new challenges. I'd like to think a million pound revenue year is on the cards before I'm 35, but at the same time, I'm not that bothered if I don't hit that.
What does a day in the life of you look like?
I tend to get up around 5:45 and go for a walk. In the local Starbucks by 06:30 for 90 or so minutes of focused critiquing work. I break around 08:00/08:30 for breakfast, then walk to another coffee shop around 09:30 for some more creative work. (Writing emails, creating products, etc.) I usually train around 11:00, then take a fairly long break for lunch. 15:00 is more creating work or calls, usually until 17:00. I break for half an hour to an hour, then do my last 60-90-minute work block, finishing up around 19:00.
Advice for people who are considering or have just started in the industry?
Don't be afraid to be different. Either niche down hard with your demographic (if online) or niche down hard with your personality (if local/ in-person.) You can definitely do both, but if you only want to do one, consider the above.
What have been the key moments in your career so far what was the impact of those moments?
Meeting my first 'proper' mentor, Dan Meredith, who truly got me into copywriting, and gave me the change to earn my stripes in his agency. And meeting my current mentor, Jon, who's been key in helping me de-stress about business, and see it much more as a game, than life and death.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Always happy to answer questions, so feel free to reach out.