Marketing Your Message (with Ray Edwards)
Ray Edwards is not only a good friend, but he's my business coach, my platform coach, and one a trusted mentor.
Ray has a important message to share, and he also helps others articulate their message. He a copywriter. That means Ray writes sales and marketing copy to help people sell products, services, books, ideas belief, etc.
In fact, Ray is one of the most prolific and sought-after copywriters in the world. He’s helped personalities such as Tony Robbins, Michael Hyatt, Jeff Walker, and Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame.
Recently I sat down with Ray to talk about entrepreneurship, integration of business and ministry, the calling of a follower of Christ, and much more.
Here’s a summary of our conversation and some takeaways that hopefully we lead you to very specific calls to action.
What’s so important about copywriting?
We’re faced with copy everywhere we turn. Every time we turn on the television, every time we see a billboard, every time we get a sales email.
Ray explains, “Everything is copy. When you communicate the words that you see and the tonality you use when you speak to them, I can be very excited about what I'm talking about, or I can slow down and convey a more thoughtful tone.”
“It's an art, a craft, and a science to communicate in a way that persuades and influences. People say, ‘Well, I don't use sales copy.’ Well, yes you do. Because you have a blog where you may write, if you're a pastor. Maybe you put the text of your sermon on your blog, or on your website, that is sales because you're selling people on an idea.”
“You're teaching them from the Scripture. That is selling. Selling is simply getting somebody to say, ‘Yes, I agree. I buy that. I buy that idea. I buy that lesson. I buy that principle. I buy that book, that product, that car.’ We're always selling something. A sale is always being made.”
“I'm selling you on my point of view or you're selling m on your point of view in almost every conversation. And so, what I try to convey to people is that if you don't think of yourself as a salesperson, if you have a business or you have a church, you're selling people on the idea to come visit. That's selling.”
How has your business remained successful during times of uncertainty?
“Sometimes people ask me, ‘Is this the new normal?’ It's not a new normal, it's just normal. All through history things have always changed. If there's one thing we can be certain of its' uncertainty. We don't know what's coming. We think that tomorrow's going to be like yesterday, but after a few days it's almost never the same.”
“I believe that means we take more responsibility for how we engage with the world in terms of our churches and our businesses and our activities and our communications. And that means diversifying.”
“As you know we have a bricks and mortar coffee shop. For many months during the recent unpleasantness, people couldn’t come inside to buy coffee. We don't have a drive-through. So what did we do? We had to pivot change our approach. We prepared coffee and took it out to the curbside. We never stopped. We never shut down during the whole thing.”
“There's always a way to survive; and not just survive, but thrive. There's a reason for what you're going through, so instead of trying to go around it or under it, or in the other direction, just press on towards your destination. In going through the challenge you're going through right now, there's a purpose behind it.”
“Jesus promised, ‘In this world, you'll have trouble. Take courage because cause I've overcome the world.’ So to me, it's an admonition that we don't necessarily get to always avoid the unpleasant things that happen, so we need to press through them because there's something more on the other side.”
The Importance of Calling in Ministry as Business
“When you have a calling on your life, giving up or stopping isn’t an option. You just had to figure out how to press on.”
For much more content on turning calling into a purpose-driven business go to Ray’s podcast.
“I really love business. I love building businesses. I do look at it as a calling. I believe that not everybody's called to be a pastor of a church. Many pastors are called to be tent-making pastors. Those people are called to have a business and also be a pastor. And some people are a pastor within their business and vice versa.”
“Some people say, well, how do I know what my calling is? A big clue is to look at what you deeply want to do. Is it in alignment with God's word and God's will? If it's not in alignment with God's word and God's will then clearly that's not your calling.”
“If something is consistent with God's word, and if it's God's will and you deeply desire to do it, then go for it. I know that my calling is to write for the glory of God. That can take many forms.”
“You may be an insurance agent or a real estate agent. You maybe serve a church. You have a business, and you use it to support your pastoral work. If you're doing it as unto the Lord, do your work. Ask yourself, ‘How would God have me do this work?’ If I'm a doctor, if I'm an insurance agent, is I'm a lawyer or an estate agent, whatever you're doing. If you run a coffee shop, if you're a barista, how would God have you do the work?”
“God doesn't need more pastors in pulpits. He wants ministers in the marketplace.”
Getting past a scarcity mindset
“One of the challenges a lot of pastors face is getting through their own mindset about money. Some people believe to be a pastor means I have to be financially broke. They have this high calling, and yet they're broke all the time. They're constantly grabbing for money to for pay rent and food to feed your family, take care of your health needs and so forth. Imagine what would happen if you made enough money that you didn't have to think about money anymore.”
“Having enough is definitely better than not having not enough. So I don't think your spirituality is determined by your bank account. You can have no money and be very spiritual. You can have no money and be very unspiritual.”
Where is a good place to start? How can I become an EntrePastor?
We asked Ray about this scenario: A person is in his or her 50’s. Just about all they’ve known in their professional life is vocational ministry. That’s their sweet spot, their comfort zone. For one reason or another they need more income. Maybe they need an off-ramp; maybe they’ve been pushed off a cliff, figuratively speaking. They don’t believe they have any marketable skills.
What do they do? Where do they start?
Ray answered: “I see this happen quite often. I have to start by gently reminding them or showing them, maybe for the first time, the assets they already have at their disposal.”
“They're really good speakers. They don't have to prepare a lot of new material. They know how to work with people—to coach people. They know how to counsel people, to connect, to communicate, to write.”
“Many of them have recordings of past sermons. All those skills translate into being able to do podcasts or make YouTube videos. They could write blog posts or articles or write books. They could create curriculum and courses for online training programs.”
“All those things are skills that are immediately and directly transferable. You've got more practice than most people who are doing well in those fields already. Most online coaches have less experience than pastors at coaching, teaching, speaking, writing and recording. You have more experience than most of those people.”
“If you just recognize the skills you have already and focus on how you're going to use them, you have a strong online business already within you.”
What is your why?
“I would say, if your ‘why’ is strong enough, it'll help you cast all doubts and fears aside. And this is something that you absolutely can do.”
What about a specific example?
“If you're a pastor, you're a writer. I just did a podcast (episode number 537). It's about writing as a business. You can write a book, a short manual, a how to guide; maybe a how-to guide on how to have better relationships or have a better marriage; how to improve your marriage; how to improve your communication with your employees; or whatever skills that you know.”
You probably know dozens and dozens of these little areas of knowledge, about how-to function better in this part of your life and your society or your business or your responsibilities. So you write a little how-to manual that you can sell.”
“You can write a short, how-to manual 50 to 100 pages on how to save your marriage from divorce. If somebody really believes that would help them, they’d pay $50 for it. You might say, no, they never would. They do over and over and over again. We know it for a fact, we can document it. Thousands of books, PDF books, booklets, that same kind of thing that you would write.”
“If you had a five or six week series of sermons, and you just transcribed them. The notes could fill up a Bible study, discussion questions and answers, etc. That's enough to put into a small book. Then sell it for $50 in the open marketplace.”
Just think about that for a moment. So now you take that, you write one book a month and you sold for $50, and you have 12 books at the end of the year. Suppose it doesn't work out that neatly. You may only have six books.
You may have eight, let's say you have 20. So you have 25 copies of your one book a month out of the world of 8 billion people. If you could get in front of just a few people every week, do you think you can sell 25 copies of that book? Is it possible? You don't know how to do it right now. I can see there's a very modest ambition.
“Another option is video courses. If you just want to make $120,000 a year, which will be life-changing money for most pastors, if you do that strictly by writing or speaking on stages or for webinars.” You would make a six-figure income just by leveraging what you already know as a pastor.”
Could this be the path to your financial freedom?
If you still want to be a pastor, but you don't want to depend on the paychecks or donations or having to have a second job or third job to pay your bills. Imagine the freedom of having a business that produced $120,000 a year.”
“You make $120,000, and you have a $90,000 lifestyle. Imagine the freedom that would come with that kind of margin. You could do the work of the gospel without worrying about money. No more money worries. There's no more tension for you and your spouse, and there's no more fear and stress and anxiety about those things. Imagine how that would transform your life.”
“Prospering is not a sin; it’s a way to have resources from which to give. And I think about the lessons we're teaching our children. If we show them that you can create wealth and have plenty of money to take care of the needs of your family and to give generously, that’s a good thing.”
Take-Aways/Calls To Action
- Look inside yourself at the gifts and skills you already have.
- Identify your ‘Why’ and never lose sight of it.
- It’s not a sin to prosper.
Are you trying to figure out where to even start with building a business or creating some side income for your family?
The best place to start is with your own passions and unique abilities.
Our FREE 5-Step Get Started Guide will walk you through the process of determining the best starting point for you AND includes 50+ business ideas.
Developed for pastors by pastors.
PLUS we’ll send you regular emails that will continue to guide your journey as an EntrePastor.
Just tell us where to send your resources:
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.