00:00 Akta: Today's episode is brought to you by Riverside. We've been using Riverside to record all of our conversations with our creator guests remotely. Remote recordings can be really stressful if you or your guests don't have the best internet connection. But riverside is able to keep high-quality video and audio no matter what your wifi is like. Thanks to its local recordings, this has made the whole process stress-free and more fun. If you want a high-quality recording studio at your fingertips, visit the link in the show notes and use the code passionfruit2022 to get 15 off any Riverside membership plan.
And now, let's get back on air with our creators!
00:38 Alice: Your biggest competitive advantage as a creator, as a writer, et cetera, is your personal voice. It's knowing what makes you, you, your opinions, your standpoint, your quality of thinking. You will not be able to know what any of that is if you don't listen to yourself.
01:05 Akta: Alice is a freelance content and copywriter. She predominantly writes for creator economy companies and works directly with creators like Matt D’Avella. But Alice is also a creator herself. She has over 17,000 followers on Twitter and sends out her weekly newsletter Internetly every week to over 1,000 subscribers.
Hey guys, I'm Akta, and in today's episode of Creators on Air, we get to listen to how Alice Lemee has managed to grow online through her writing.
01:29 Alice: I knew I wanted to make a living as a writer back in 2020, but I didn't know the options that were available. All I knew was either you become a journalist or you become an author of like a book like Twilight or um, Harry Potter, which that was not my path.
And I ended up calling a, or networking with journalist that worked at Mashable, and she encouraged me to start posting on Twitter if this was a career field I wanted to be in. I really did not want to be on another social media platform. I tried to avoid social media, but I told myself that if she was recommending it to me, that there had to be some value there.
I joined the platform and it was through there that I was able to see that there was a whole new field. When it came to making money through writing as in copywriting, content writing, like, you know, all that stuff. So when I started posting on there, that's when the opportunity started coming and I launched the newsletter a few months later after I had this epiphany that a newsletter would just be a postcard to keep up with people who were interested in my journey and what I can teach them along the way.
02:33 Akta: So I think it's crazy because last time I checked you had like over 17,000 followers on Twitter, which is a lot considering you didn't even want to be on another social media platform. So how did you grow on Twitter? Did you have a strategy or did it just happen?
02:50 Alice: Yeah, at first there was no strategy, no plan to grow on Twitter.I remember the first time I posted a, like miniature thread from the seminar that I had attended about copywriting. I got six likes and was like, Whoa, this is crazy. Um, but after, after some time, I realized that there was real value in this. So the way that I tried to grow on Twitter was I began by repurposing someone's content.
So what I mean by that is I found two people with really large Twitter followings. In this case it was David Perrell and Matthew Kobash. I hope I'm saying that correctly, probably not. But they posted a YouTube video called How to Crush It on Twitter. It was a big success and had like thousands of views.
People had made study guides and notes from it, and I told myself that I could probably create an article that was better than all the rest. So I spent five to six hours on Notion creating it, and then released it to Twitter and tagged both of those creators. They ended up liking it, they retweeted it, putting it in front of their audiences, which had accumulated in total over 200,000 people. So then retweeting was able to put me in front of that audience. I was able to gain credibility, and that was a huge step forward.
In the other ways that I tried to grow, I would interact with people whether in the replies, whether DMing people, because the thing is, when you become a familiar face, people are more compelled to follow you.
And I would also share my journey. So my wins, my losses, and celebrations. And I think that when you do share your progress, people become invested because you kind of become like a storyline to them and they're curious to see where you end up. So by letting people invest in you, they're more interested to see what happens.
04:27 Akta: And you've done a similar thing with your newsletter as well, like I've said to you, so times like your newsletter's one of the only ones that I consistently open and read.
04:44 Alice: Thank you.
04:44 Akta: I really enjoy it because I like knowing what you're up to. Yeah. But again, like for people who didn't know you, you know, your newsletter has grown really well as well, and you're guessing amazing feedback.
What do you think contributions to the growth of your newsletter?
04:47 Alice: Yeah, this is definitely an overplayed word, but authenticity helps a lot. The vulnerability that I put in this newsletter isn't something you'd get on any other platform, but aside from being vulnerable, it's also the fact that I always try to relate it back to the reader.
So no matter what's going on in my life, I try and turn that lesson into something that the reader can walk away from. So by being, as I always ask the question, How can I make this valuable for someone else? And by using that as my guiding, my North Star metric, I'm able to make something that people feel like is made for them rather than me just talking to myself.
05:27 Akta: Yeah. No, I love that. And how are you so consistent on both Twitter and with your newsletter when you are also writing for your own freelance clients? Like how are you managing that?
05:36 Alice: Yeah, it's certainly not easy. Um, I would say first and foremost, strictly technical on my to-do list every single day, there are two things on there that never change, which are write one tweet and go to the gym, and having that on my to-do list just helps. I get into the habit of crossing those things off. I can't end the day without crossing those things off. So just seeing that every day is super useful. Additionally, and I've spoken about this before, something that helps a lot is to do what I “make it personal”.
So making it personal means that you have to find out what is for you, like what are something things that you can say belong to you. For instance, for me, that's like this newsletter, right? When I have client work that bogs me down that I need to get done, and I don't wanna do my newsletter because it's too much work. I try and think to myself, if I'm saying yes to this client work, I am pushing aside my own creations and I'm letting someone else's priorities and agenda take over my own. And I really let that sink in, and I try and get upset about it. Try and take it personal in a weird way, cuz I'm like, if this, if I'm doing this work, this means that I'm not putting myself first.
How do you feel about that? Not great. Okay. Then do something about it. And that motivation fuels me to put myself and my creations first when I need to. So if that helps a lot with consistency as well.
07:01 Akta: I love that mentality because you are focusing on yourself rather than what society is kind of like telling you to do.
And I feel like that shows in your actual writing as well because you've got such a strong, distinctive voice. Like I can read Matt D’Avella logo growth newsletter and I know which ones are written by you like straight away. I don't even have to read your name at the end. I know it's you. How do you do that?
How do you become known for your writing? Like how have you managed to become a better writer?
07:25 Alice: Yeah, absolutely. I would say there's two or three tactics that I relied to. Firstly, something that I did, which was a huge like upper for me, was I ditched reading self-help books at nauseam and switched out to fiction.
So going, I used to love reading fiction as a kid, and I kind of gave that up because I convinced myself that I had to be productive at all times. Don't get me wrong, self-help books are great. Some of them have changed my life, but when you are able to immerse yourself in a storyline and see the craft of writing in its full potential, there's nothing more inspiring than that.
You can also take phrases or sentences that are beautiful and stand out to you. You can write them down and refer to them later in your writing. And again, there's literally nothing more inspirational as a writer than seeing beautiful writing and being like, Oh my gosh, I wanna try and do that too.
I would say secondly, Your biggest competitive advantage as a creator, as a writer, et cetera, is your personal voice. It's knowing what makes you, you, your opinions, your standpoint, your quality of thinking. You will not be able to know what any of that is if you don't listen to yourself. And you can do that in multiple ways. You can meditate, you can journal, um, any other creative activities.
That's something that I try and do every single morning are morning pages where I just write any thoughts, any stream of consciousness. And it might seem kind of trivial. That habit has helped me become close to myself. And when I'm closer to myself, I know my voice better, versus consuming social media and letting other people's thoughts and ideas penetrate my psyche.
09:02 Akta: No, I love that. That's amazing. I can't believe, like you think so proactively about how other people's voices can affect your voice, and it's just, it just means that your writing is really, really strong. Um, have you ever worried about things like niche online, your own. What am I gonna answer about?
09:19 Alice: Yeah, definitely.
There have been times where you're like, What the, What am I gonna do today? But I would say as for niche, a lot of people freak out about it. You just have to remember that you can always change it down the line. Sure, you might lose a couple subscribers, followers, whatever, but you are not bound to anything.
When I first began creating on Twitter, for example, my niches were future of work and multi-level marketing schemes, cuz that's what I was into back then and. It took me declaring those as my niches, as exploring writing articles about them, tweeting about them to realize, hey, you know, like this is cool, but it's not sticking. What else is sticking instead?
And from there, I could swap those out until I found today what I really like to write about. But you have to just pick three or five topics that you wanna consider your niche, and then you only weed out which ones are right for you by taking action. But you have to pick and you can always change down the line. So that's what I'd recommend a hundred percent.
10:15 Akta: I know that's good advice. And have you ever worried that you run out of ideas. And how do you prevent that from happening? Like how do you stay inspired to write?
10:22 Alice: Yeah, definitely. I mean, who hasn't worried about what they're gonna write about? You know what I mean?
So I'd say one thing that helps, Cause don't get me wrong, there are times I log onto Twitter and have zero idea what I wanna tweet about today. Repurpose your content. Like if your content is six months old, you can always go back and either revamp it or literally post it word for word. Something to remember is that people are constantly inundated with information.
They don't remember what they had for lunch a week ago. They're not gonna remember your tweet from six months ago. You shouldn't feel guilty if you repost it and use it to your advantage. So I always go back and repurpose my content, and if someone sees it again, then like great. Like I don't really care about that, and also people need to see messages on repeat to be able to really walk away with something.
Additionally, in terms of just staying inspired, there's this habit that I swear by, which is that the second an idea pops into my head, I just immediately write it down on my Notes app. I don't wait to save it for letter later. Cause ideas are meant to be generated. They're not meant to be, you know, kept in a little box.
So by just understanding that things are fleeting and catching them when they come to you, you'll be able to have a better reservoir of ideas when you are ready to sit down and explore them.
11:31 Akta: Definitely. And how far ahead of your writing are you? Because you already said to me that you sit down every day with your, you know, one of your to-dos is to write a tweet.
So do you not like schedule tweet? Or like plan your newsletter in advance, or are you going like day by day?
11:46 Alice: Yeah, it seems kind of like reckless when you think about it, but No, I, Um, I know some people who plan their content like crazy, you know, like on Mondays they write like two LinkedIn posts, three threads, seven tweets, and I was like, That's so good for you.
Um, it's not for me though. So while I do it, and it's not for everyone, but I tweet once a day, I just kind of show up around one or 2:00 PM sit in front of my computer and I'm like, Okay, what should I tweet about today?
As for the newsletter, it's a little bit more structured. I do start writing it on Monday, editing it on Tuesday and then sending it out on Wednesday. So it is over a three day period. So it is way more collected than the other methods for sure.
12:27 Akta: And how long does it usually take you to write your newsletter? Over three days…
12:31 Alice: It's like quite a lot. It is quite a lot. Yeah. It's, uh, it's three days. Sounds like a lot, but it's actually a less amount of time than it would be if I tried to do it a single day because the first day I brain dump everything.
The second day I refine, and then the third day I just do little edits and include pictures and things like that. I'd say over the course of those three days, I... Anywhere from three three to five, five max, but generally three give or take, So like an hour a day, so it works out.
13:00 Akta: That's actually a really good system. Is that like a system you carry through all of your writing?
13:03 Alice: Almost, yeah. Even my client work, I found that when. You. So when you task switch, your brain loses up to 23 minutes. Just try and get refocused. So what's important is to try and schedule your days, your tasks, group them on the type of brain power required.
So on Monday I sent to me my brain dump days. So I just show up and I brain dump like the ugliest draft you've ever seen, full of ideas. I don't hold myself back. I don't edit whatsoever, and I do that with all of my client work that's applicable.
Then on the Tuesday, I'm able to go in and that's when I have my little editing hat on, and that's when I'm able to go in with that mindset all day long because that creation and editing mindset. They should never meet because if they meet, they're just gonna clash and argue and nothing's gonna get done.
So my best advice is to put them, separate them as far as possible. I call them. In this book that I read, they call it the Madman and the Janitor, The Madman's, the dude with all the crazy ideas. The janitors, the one cleaning up the mess. Your goal is to make sure they never meet.
14:06 Akta: I love that. I think I'm gonna have to steal and make that my own system.
14:10 Alice: You should.
14:11 Akta: I feel like that sounds really helpful and it's a great structure to have for the week. It's a question. Mm-hmm. , how has writing online, like, how has that changed your career?
14:21 Alice: Yeah, I mean it's, it's the reason why I have a career, to be honest. It's not only the reason for my career, but it's the reason for the confidence that I have, the growth that I know I'm capable of achieving. I mean, I'll give you the short story. At 2020. In 2020 when I was about 23 years old, like my career options were a dead end because I had no idea what to do in life.
I thought I wanted to pursue music and realize that it wasn't the career field meant for me. I went from getting rejected from any copywriting internship and sort of giving up and realizing that if no one was gonna teach me, I had to teach myself. So creating and writing online was how I was able to teach myself all these concepts and show up in a way that I wasn't able to before, because I was waiting for someone to give me a chance.
I stopped waiting and I just started showing up instead. Now through this career path, I'm so, so lucky because I've been able to work with incredible clients. Like I'm able to work wherever I want to in the world. I'm able to turn projects down that don't appeal to me, and just say that I have the confidence that like I'm good at what I do and I'm excited for the future.
But before the idea of a career filled me with dread. So to have that complete 180, I mean I credit it all to, to the freedom that that being online can give you.
15:45 Akta: Absolutely. And you are amazing at what you do, and you've worked with some amazing people as well, like Matt D’Avella, and you've really embedded yourself in the creator economy. So I'm interested on your perspective of whether you think creators should all be writing online. So like for example, even if they, for example, have a YouTube channel or a podcast. Do you think it's worth them also having newsletters or blogs or writing the Tweets as well?
16:10 Alice: Yeah, I think it's definitely a nuanced question.
It firstly depends where you are in your journey. If you're just trying to get the hang of producing high-quality YouTube videos, I would stick with that. Cuz you can get really overwhelmed really quickly if you try and take on the skill of writing because it is a hefty thing to learn, right? So I would suggest you take it one step at a time.
But once you are ready, there's just, it's like a win-win situation. You're not gonna learn the skill of writing and be like, Wow, what a waste of my time. This is not useful at all because you're gonna use writing in every YouTube script, in every email, in every landing page, and every product description.
It is ubiquitous. So by learning that skill, it's gonna do nothing but benefit you. It's like going in the gym or running, like you can't not become like a healthier person. Like it's not gonna bite you in the ass. Yeah. It's like a great, like a wholesome skill, so how I'd say it.
17:07 Akta: Yeah. Yeah. And what have you learned from creators like Matt D’Avella about growing an online presence?
17:12 Alice: Yeah. I would say something that I learned recently about content creation that's really stuck with me from other creators that I get the privilege to work with is that content creation is all a game of energy. It's all about how you show up online because when you show up on someone's screen, they can feel the way that you decided to present yourself.
If you are like not really feeling your content, you're feeling corny, cheesy, whatever, that person's gonna feel that they're gonna scroll past. But if you show up a hundred percent into what you're doing, believing the words that you're saying, people are gonna feel that relevance, they're gonna feel you come out of that screen, and that's what attracts people to what you're making.
So whatever you do, show up a hundred percent and make sure it's a hundred percent authentic to you, because people will feel that through the screen and they'll be more drawn to your content.
17:59 Akta: Definitely. And I love how you started as a freelance writer and you are basically a creator now, which I just think is amazing.
And I'm excited to see how your career continues to evolve. So we're gonna move on to a rapid fire around, So I'm gonna ask you five questions. Okay. You just have to answer the first thing that comes to mind.
So what's your favorite thing about being a creator?
18:22 Alice: Freedom. Like I can, you know, I took off the next week in August.
I didn't have to ask anyone, put in PTO, uh, nothing. That's the best, best part.
18:34 Akta: And what's your favorite tool to help you create?
18:38 Alice: Ooh, good question. Do books count? They really give me so much inspiration. So I would say a good book my go-to.
18:45 Akta: Okay. I think you've answered the next question as well, which is what gives you the most inspiration when you are coming up with ideas?
18:53 Alice: I would say, if not books, being outside because as put in the most like video I saw, when you're in nature, it's not about you anymore. So you're able to kind of look outside of that limited perspective you have and zoom out and see the bigger picture.
19:07 Akta: That’s so wholesome, I love it. And what's one thing that's helped with your create work life balance?
19:14 Alice: That's a good one. Not beating myself up if I don't get enough done. Um, I am a person who does a job. I am not my job. So if I don't finish my to-do list, if I don't get done what I needed to do, I used to sit there and beat myself up.
Now I just remember that we're all little insignificant beings floating on a rock. I try not to take things too seriously.
19:37 Akta: No, that's a good way to approach things. And what's one piece of advice that you would give other creator?
19:43 Alice: I would say my biggest piece of advice is to not wait for the right moment, and perfectionism is going to be something that you're probably dealing with.The best analogy I have for you is whatever idea or goal you're working towards, you have to put it in action for it to get to where it needs to be. My favorite analogy for this is a, a potter's wheel. Your idea or goal in the clap of sleigh, it looks like nothing. You slap it on the potter's wheel, it starts spinning.
You put your hands on it. It's messy. Clay's gonna get all over you. It's not gonna look quite right, But when it is in action, when it is spinning and you're able to give iterations, you will see it come to life in real time.
20:24 Akta: No, that's such a great answer. You can just tell how much of a writer you are with how like descriptive you are. It's great.
20:30 Alice: my goodness. Hopefully it's useful.
20:33 Akta: Definitely. I think everything you say is useful. Even when you talk about things like going to the gym or going outside, like instantly, I'm like, Okay, okay. You should do office call. So yeah. Thank you so much Coming on Elise. I really appreciate having you.
You've been an amazing guest.
20:48 Alice: Thank you so much. I really, it's always a pleasure to be chatting with you.
20:52 Akta: I love how Alice found her writing voice by spending more time with herself. You can find Alice on Twitter, her website, or subscribe to her weekly newsletter Internetly.
If you are a creator trying to move your business forward, check us out at GetPassionfroot on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or subscribe to our weekly newsletter Filtered Fridays. Stay passionate, and I'll see you in the next one.