Lianna Patch

Founder of Punchline Copy

Lianna Patch is a conversion copywriter and comedian whose greatest dream is to make your customers pause, smile, and click (in that order). Conquer campaigns with her at Punchline Conversion Copywriting, or get quick copy jobs done at SNAP Copy.

Where did the idea for Punchline Copy come from?

I was already writing copy. I had started doing standup comedy open mics and more recently, improv comedy. I told my mentor, Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers, that I wished I could combine comedy and copy. And she said, “Uh… so why don’t you?” Within a few months, I had rebranded and relaunched my business as Punchline. Permission!! It’s the best.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I get up anywhere between 6:30 (thanks a lot, boyfriend who gets up at 6:30) and 8:30AM. Then coffee and some nice mindless scrolling to ease into the day. After coffee, I usually do a strength training workout, shower, and meditate for 10 minutes.

By the time I get to my desk, it’s usually 9 or 10AM, so the anxiety is at full thrum. Perfect for diving headfirst into a Flow Club session and getting some work done. 😅

I keep all new client calls to Mondays and Wednesdays so I have uninterrupted work blocks most other days. And I try to work on a max of three projects in a day. Better yet, two. Too much context-switching and I get sucked into the “small admin task” vortex. Then shockingly, it’s 4PM and I have been busy all day, while accomplishing nothing. Feels great.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Usually either all at once, or never. By which I mean: if I’m feeling the urgent need to create or write something, I’ve learned to get out of my own way and make the minimum viable product as quickly as possible. Otherwise, It’s very likely that my enthusiasm will flag, and what felt so exciting just a few days (or hours) ago will end up the latest sacrifice on the altar of Ye Olde Unfinished Project Gods.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Before November/December 2022, I would probably have said “The trend of businesses becoming more receptive to using humor as a relationship-building and sales tool.”

But with the rise of GPT-3… I don’t know, do we count “trepidation” as “excitement”?

AI definitely excites me, but I do worry about both its ethical impact on creators (especially artists and writers) and also its financial impact on people like me, who make a living writing. I don’t think AI has caught up to truly transcendent prose yet — and in my own experiments, I haven’t been able to get it to create a really hilarious joke yet — but it might not be far off.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

UGH. Working out every morning. I’ve never been a fitness person, but I can’t deny that if I break a sweat before I start work for the day, I have a better day both productivity-wise and emotion-wise.

Paradoxically, no longer *forcing* myself to work out has led me to value and enjoy it more, so I do it more than I used to. Brains are so annoying.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You poor sweet summer child. You think you’re so uniquely busted. Please go to dialectical behavioral therapy and learn to be nice to yourself.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

If you recline your seat in economy, you are an asshole. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯\

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Two things: hire a business coach, and if you work at home, try remote coworking. One clarifies your best work, and the other amplifies it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Speaking and teaching! I’m most motivated to do my best work by imminent fear of failure, and I love attention, so giving conference talks and workshops was a natural fit for “marketing things I will actually do”. I’d much rather give one conference talk a month than try to write a blog post every week (or, shudder, spend time on LinkedIn).

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

The one that always comes to mind happened SO many years ago, but I can never forget it. I let my anxiety get the better of me during a collaborative project, listened to bad advice, and pulled a rash stunt that, in retrospect, I should have realized was unprofessional. I lost the project (duh) and the respect (and friendship) of my collaborator. Still kick myself over that one sometimes.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

YES! Oh my god, someone please make this. We need an app that subs in your own Spotify playlist or podcast audio whenever you get put on hold.

I.e. don’t make me listen to a company’s tinny, scratchy faux-classical garbage for 15 minutes. Just let me keep listening to my playlist! People would stay on hold longer and be more patient! And imagine the enterprise plan pricing! Whew, getting heated over here.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

This is gonna sound sanctimonious, but I have a recurring monthly Chewy cat food delivery that goes to an animal rescue in New Orleans, where I volunteered before moving to Austin. Did you know you can set something like that up for your local rescues? It’s a way to help out in a very practical and useful respect, even if you can’t work volunteering into your schedule. (Also, it’s not $100. It’s like $30 monthly. I just couldn’t think of anything else.)

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I love listening to while I work. Who knows if it’s mostly a placebo effect, but I’ve relied on it for 5 years running to tell my brain, “Time to work now.”

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Augh. Just one?? How about two? 😉

On the nonfiction side, When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron is a balm for the human condition.

And fiction-wise, Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang is so incredibly luminous, it’ll disabuse you of any notions that you could possibly be a fiction writer, so you can get back to work.

What is your favorite quote?

Here’s one that lives on the mirror by my front door: “Hidden within seemingly foolish acts is the experience of life as an adventure.” Can’t remember where I saw that, but it was attributed to Joan Bunning.

Key Learnings:

  • Being yourself will not only get you further in your business — it’ll ensure your business stays interesting.
  • AI is incredible, but don’t let its ubiquity diminish the value of the written word.
  • Being kind to yourself will not make you lazy or unproductive. It will actually help coax out your best work and ideas.
  • When you have a creative idea, do everything you can to get out of your own way and make it real as soon as possible.