29 of the best things I did this year—plus 3 missteps

Rented a proper office. No more mid-day naps, reruns of Friends or trips to the refrigerator. Now I throw down my yoga mat, have a stretch and just soldier on.

Showed up every day. Monday to Friday. 9 to 5. ‘Nuff said.

Enrolled in B-School. Made my investment back within the month, but that’s just the start. Also 10x-ed my confidence, built a website that’s way better (and way more SPECIFIC) than my old one, and made friends for l-i-f-e.

Started accepting credit card payments. Figured out money comes a lot more easily when you create a container for it. Opened a bunch more accounts/containers, and they filled up too.

Start billing exclusively in USD. Even my Canadian and Aussie clients. USD is a language everyone speaks. Plus, it makes my fees look lower than they really are.

Hired my VA Sandra Booker. Everything I do is now prefaced by the question, “Could Sandra do this for me?”

Installed 1Password. Proceeded to preach the benefits of a password manager to anyone who would listen. (Seriously, go get one. DO IT.) Also switched to a monthly subscription account so I can easily & securely share passwords with my team.

Stopped entertaining potential clients that aren’t a good fit. Now I just say “no, thanks” and refer them to another copywriter. Huge karmic payoff.

Stopped replying to inquiries that aren’t personalized. (A telltale sign that someone’s emailed 10 different copywriters looking for the lowest possible price.) Now we just hit “delete”.

Switched to ConvertKit. I haven’t missed an email to my list yet, and I have all sorts of fancy sequences and opt-ins in place. (Look, Ma! I programmed them myself!)

Hired a lawyer to write me a proper contract. ‘Cuz 3 years in law school does not qualify me to write my own. (Thanks, Janine Esbrand)

Developed an intake system that’s hands off. For small projects, clients can now book & pay without sending me a single email. (Another of those “containers” I talked about.) Once my gal Janine finishes my Terms & Conditions, we’ll automate that too.

Sent 100s of postcards. They continuously pay off in the most unexpected ways. Like when Copy Hackers gave me a shout-out not 1 but 3 times, resulting in a month’s worth of new business.

Got a kneeling chair. My standing desk is a goooorgeous, handmade oak & steel affair, but I don’t use it as much as I could. Certain types of thinking require me to be in a seated position. Enter the kneeling chair.


Quit bartering. Bartered a ton over the years, and the payoff has been great. (Still have 2 agreements in place that I get hella value from). But I started saying “no” to all new agreements as soon as my business was self-sustaining. Now I just pay people and it feels awesome. 💵

Kicked my snacking habit. Holy liberation! Who knew how many feelings & ideas I’ve been smothering with food? Now it’s 3 meals a day and done. So far, I haven’t starved. (Thanks, Kathleen Milligan & Bright Line Eating.)

My man built a proper bed for our son. ‘Cuz ma & pa deserve their own. #sorrynotsorry

Busted my ass on Copy Hackers Email Copywriting Challenge…and won! Continues to pay off every day in new inquiries, clients, subscribers and bosom pals (Yoo-hoo, Marian! 👋). One of my fave new clients to come out of that was Don Brown, inventor of the original Ab Roller. (High 5, Don! ✋)

Tapped with Brad Yates. My most-tapped-on script this year was “You are awesome”. I belieeeve!

Switched to black coffee. Because, duh. Dairy is a dirty business, and sugar is bad for you.

Made friends with Ry Schwartz. His copy makes my heart sing. (And throw down cash in all the right places.) He gave me a career-changing testimonial, and regularly drops my name to his rock star client list.

Got rid of our +10yo couch. Turns out great stuff shows up when you make room for it. Two weeks later, my friend Alice decided she was no longer happy with her nearly-new couch that fit my EXACT specifications (a list that included things you can’t find at your local Leon’s: teal coloured 3-seater, wooden legs, high enough to vacuum under, removable cushion covers, not from Ikea).

Threw away all socks and undies that were ripped, tattered or +3yo. Good riddance! Me & Victoria’s Secret are monogamous now.

Laid off on all the breastfeeding. Jeez-Louise, my kid’s about to be 2. Someone get me my medal already.

Started taking Fridays off. ‘Cuz my man deserves time to pursue his dreams too.

Deleted Facebook from my phone. And stopped checking it outside of office hours. Turns out I’m a much more present mama & wife sans Facebook mobile.

Put my coach Kathleen Milligan on speed dial. (She’s so awesome I put her on this list 2x.) She recently reminded me that just 2 years ago I was in her office humming & hawing about charging $30/hour. Would people really pay me that much?

Moved our personal banking to PC Financial. Talk about empowered banking. Some of my supercool FinTech clients have got it on good authority that the market for alternative banking is about to explode 💣💥 . It’s about time.

Switched to joint banking. To me, this is as big as getting married. Bigger, even. Banking together eliminates the guesswork in our budget, plus it forces us to align ourselves financially in a way we never did in the past.

For good measure, here are 3 things that didn’t work

Sending canned responses and follow-ups to new inquiries. Ick. I’m really embarrassed about those. Now my motto is, “Let go and let Sandra”.

Charging for initial consultations. Experimented like crazy with free/not-free consultations this year (stay tuned for a post all about that). Conclusion: If someone is considering giving you $5k for a bunch of emails and a sales page, it’s rude to charge them just to talk to you.

Periscope. For a brief moment, I thought Periscope was going to be my “thing”. Problem is, I felt vaguely annoyed/guilty every time my phone dinged saying “So-and-so is live”. Too interruptive for me.

Aaand…here are 3 things on the horizon

Outsourced my social media. I like to dabble in Facebook, but time has told me being consistent with it isn’t my strength. Enter Dina Arsenault.

Joined The Copywriter’s Mastermind. Copy Hackers really had my back this year as my business took off. It’s partly due to working with them that my skills & my rates are a match.

Started wearing the same thing to work every day. I wear this dress to work every day. Mine’s black, so I can dress it up with scarves, leg warmers and bling if I need a change. I’m considering ordering a back-up, so I don’t have to decide what to wear when this one is in the laundry.

Finally: the man behind the magic

Contextually and grammatically, this section doesn’t really fit, but sue me, it’s the most important.

I didn’t put him into this list explicitly, but somewhere very close to each item is my forever man, Papa Kalryzian, co-creator of our magical staircase to the stars, the man who defies the numbered list.

(You’re so damn sexy, baby. Every day with you is like a ride on the Millennium Falcon.)

Buckle up for 2017.


Yoo-hoo! Want to woo clients & subscribers with emails they'll love?

Small round

Get dispatches on all things copy, plus a 3-email promo-pack from The Elegant Email Scripts Collection.

Only the finest for your inbox. Guaranteed. Powered by ConvertKit

  • Yooo hooo!

    • Tarzan Kay
  • Love it; thanks for sharing!

  • HI Tarzan,
    I am not really sure how I ended up on your list initially but I love reading your emails! Your writing is so personal and entertaining. I see several things on your 29 Things list that I was thinking of trying for myself in 2017 so I’ll take that as a sign I am going in the right direction. I also see one thing in your things you tried that didn’t work that I was also thinking of doing. Saved me some time there too!
    Keep up the good work!

    • Tarzan Kay

      Ooh…I’d love to hear what you’ve got on your 2017 to-conquer list. Aaanddd…was it Periscope?

  • kate

    I loved reading this, you beautiful woman you! Thanks to Pash for getting me on your list. I”m just on my way up to Berlin on the train, will introduce my daughter Olivia (co-owner of a trendy, lovely, consciousness-intensive café) to your approach, xxxooo to the Kalryzians

    • Tarzan Kay

      I love picturing you on the train, making your way through Germany. Beautiful Kate, it’s good to have a word from you. Any word.

  • Loved this!! And I see we’ve got more than our dear Enchanted Fairy Tamara in common! Janine used to be my coach! She’s taught me so much!
    Going to keep this post handy, there’s so much value in there! I did rent an office too this year, and man, that was such a great investment in soooo many ways!
    Looking forward to reading you again soon! I need to add this page in my favourites. So much value in your posts!

    • Tarzan Kay

      Thanks, Annick! B-schoolers unite, right?

      • Annick Ina

        Only seeing this now! You know I bought the Manifesting course earlier this year thanks to you… Loving it!

  • What can I say…I am a forever fan girl…love you and your energy and your writing… b!!!!

    • Tarzan Kay

      The love goes both ways, Bev.

  • Elyse

    I love this list. Thanks for sharing the “behind the curtains” stuff. Timely reminder that it’s well past time to get a VA on board…

    • Tarzan Kay

      Oh, dude. Huge, huge game changer and money maker. People perceive you as way more high-value and established when you have an assistant. My gal Sandra is awesome if you’re hunting for the right person. (anyoldtask.ca) Keep me posted, Elyse.

      • Elyse

        Already booked a 15 min info call with Any Old Task for Monday–the daunting task of trying to figure out who can reliably do what I need, finding someone who can *suggest* what I need, etc has been a huge block on this. Thanks for doing the hard work for me, Tarzan!! 😉 Will def keep you posted.

        • Tarzan Kay

          Yess! Make sure you drop my name when you talk to her. Sandra has been awesome in helping me figure out how she can help me.

  • Pingback: TCC Podcast Episode 9: Tarzan Kay – The Copywriter Club()

  • Francie Mueller

    Love this article! Thanks for sharing. Would you mind shedding light on what system you use to take credit card payment? Thanks!

  • Paulette Evans

    A really enjoyable & informative read. Thank you!