How do I become a successful freelance copywriter
It looks like we are going to celebrate here in Maidstone afterall.
The government has announced that they will implement a 5-day break for the Christmas season.
Got to prepare my wooly jumper and Santa hat.
The kids had been reminding me to go to Smyths for their toys.
I would surely love that.
I prefer toys rather this high tech gadgets ( Ooops sorry to burst their bubble)
This is how I spend most of my weekends.
I drool myself in my office – more like 5 hours in a day.
Well, depending on projects of course.
The last project I had was a tough one.
I nearly spent almost 7 hours for 2 weeks for a sales letter project.
But it was a time well spent – And I was well compensated.
Got a lot of smaller projects which I do in the evening when the kids are sleeping.
You get the idea.
This is a typical day for a freelance copywriter.
But it wasn’t always been this way …
If you are planning on entering the wonderful world of copywriting …
Then, this article can help you …
First of …
If you noticed me sounding a bit giberrish … my apologies.
I occassionally sound slang … sometimes I couldn’t help it.
Let’s dive in …
Using the tools from this blog while studying any of the related topics will help you succeed in copywriting.
You’ll start off with a few affordable and practical guidebooks such as Triumph Public Relations’ Copywriting Book, Triumph Business Consulting’s Introduction to Corporate Communication and Successful Corporate Copywriting, and Strategic Copywriting from Pivotal Marketing Group.
They will not only help you identify your strengths, but also help you figure out how to turn those strengths into skills, models, and methodologies that employers will use more and more.
They’ll help you start building the basic skills that you’ll be needing to impress prospective employers, and will help you settle into a career niche as an effective and successful back-of-the-pack copywriter.
They will also help you cultivate and define your preferred writing style. This is a crucial aspect of any business, but to written professionally.
You’ll also get an invaluable understanding of the phone-book model, selling written sales copy, process of writing, advances, and demand for your services.
You’ll also learn how to break down and establish a writing manifesto, which is a four-part, business-oriented strategy for creating readers’ trust and confidence that you’ll be able to have their business for life.
You’ll learn how to create a standardized, professional calendar and a variety of professional forms in order to maximize efficiency in your work.
There’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve written a personal manifesto about what’s important to you throughout the year, and about what will be important in the future.
Be sure to get these documents, which will keep all of your work converging in one file—all your marketing decisions, communications, proposals, and even your business cards.
You’ll learn about market trends and thinking, all while marketing the best possible goods and services available for your clients.
Once you know what your customers are looking for, you’ll know when to answer that email and what visuals to use in order to convey touch points to them.
From there it’s all about writing your headline, headlines, copy, and copywriting ideas.
Headlines tend to be the key element of a copywriting strategy, and if you’re doing it right, they’ll resonate with a target audience.
When answering their questions and changing the subject, the copy will resonate with them.
Advertising work is a leisure activity and it doesn’t typically pay very well.
If you don’t have earned income to support your copywriting business, you can place more ad units between the regular ad clicks per month.
In other words, your ads are broadcast and received by less viewers.
But since you’re paying ads, you’re earning money.
Entrepreneurs create success stories.
Whether your work turns down success, positive or negative, you’ll be famous.
Perhaps your work didn’t gain you any initial traction, but it will prove to people that you’re effective, that you’re creative, and that you can garner attention and impact by investing your time and energy into a business with a long-term purpose.
Set Your Goals,
Create a Plan,
Create A Positive Attitude
You don’t create a great work by stating what you want; you create a great work by setting goals.
Don’t assume that you know everything and create work that you’ve never seen before.
A great copywriter shouldn’t assume that because he or she is good, that his or her ideas are worth discussing.
Locksmiths commonly ask: How did you know what the various locks we left in the lockers worked?
The unlockers with keys were garbage.
They was no ability to operate them from a certain angle in order to open them.
Originals entered the hilly or buildings after dark in order to avoid detection.
Master locksmiths tested the locks as well to ensure that they were certainly lockable.
Their weapons left were their keys.
They might have put a crack in one, but they never assumed that it was between keyholes.
They thought that the lock was absolutely secure and using special tools to break open it was not practical.
The job predicted success above all else.
Their job was in the safe… For a business copywriter, what you say matters.
The purpose of writing copy is to create advertising that will sell a product or service.
Proper product interviews deliver really good copy that changes perceptions effectively.
That’s your intent.
Your plan might look something like the following: Shopping online for products or services: Be prepared to find good items, but don’t hope for that to happen.
Be prepared to find good items, but don’t hope for that to happen. Advertising to a targeted audience: Opinion pieces are great.
If you write flavorful, complete, extensive, and very simple copy settings down, it’s not hard to impress.
Opinion pieces are great.
If you write flavorful, complete, extensive, and very simple copy settings down, it’s not hard to impress.
Target demographics: Clothing is worn by just about everyone in America apart from young children.
Drumming up excitement could reasonably be expected, but unless that’s what you’re promoting with your handsome mannequins, your marketing isn’t easy going as it often is among good copywriters.
Clothing is worn by just about everyone in America apart from young children.
Drumming up excitement could reasonably be expected, but unless that’s what you’re promoting with your handsome mannequins, your marketing isn’t easy going as it often is among good copywriters.
Advertising to an existing group of people: The audience for your high-quality, comprehensive copy is widespread in the nation.
The goal of your concern should be clearly targeted.
The audience for your high-quality, comprehensive copy is widespread in the nation.
The goal of your concern should be clearly targeted.
Client relationships: Often, copywriters bicker as they know that they enjoy the job when additional income is attained.
Helping existing clients get max value from their products and services is equally important for your reputation, networking, and overall price.
Often, copywriters bicker as they know that they enjoy the job when additional income is attained.
Helping existing clients get max value from their products and services is equally important for your reputation, networking, and overall price.
Consult type software: We have many competing opinions about the genre to be written, but it’s all about the economy and resources available to you.
Think of writing for consulting software.
It’s so prevalent.
Everything we do is geared toward converting it into attention and sales behind your clients’ backs.
Essentially that’s how you convince them to hire you… We have many competing opinions about the genre to be written, but it’s all about the economy and resources available to you.
Think of writing for consulting software.
It’s so prevalent.
Everything we do is geared toward converting it into attention and sales behind your clients’ backs.
Essentially that’s how you convince them to hire you… Increase your ability: Knowledge, Council, Skill, Harder works.
If you want to know how even a raw newbie with zero experience or talent can build a clientless copywriting business, then this article will show you how.
Here’s the story:
Back in 1963, Disney released a movie called The Sword in the Stone about the boy who would one day become King Arthur.
There is a scene where the wizard Merlin and the evil witch Madam Mim have a wizard’s duel turning into various animals to try to outwit and kill each other.
The four rules they agree to are:
(1) no turning into minerals or vegetables, only animals,
(2) no make-believe things like dragons,
(3) no disappearing, and
(4) no cheating.
At the end of the fight, Madam Mim breaks all the rules by turning invisible and also later turning into a dragon that is about to destroy Merlin.
There is nothing Merlin can turn into to beat that fire-breathing dragon wanting to consume him.
So what does Merlin do? He transforms himself into …
A germ that causes dragon Madam Mim to get violently sick, humiliating and defeating her, and keeping her bedridden for weeks afterwards.
That, in my experience, is what superior service can do for any clientless copywriting business.
Service is THE #1 skill.
It lets you beat, destroy, and utterly humiliate even the cheating “dragons” of your market and industry.
And it lets you do it regardless of your budget, “star power,” brand recognition, or other attributes you may or may not still be weak on.
You can also literally be a “talentless” newbie who can barely string two sentences together — much less write world-class ad copy — and use this to potentially start building a clientless copywriting business very rapidly.
The power superior service grants you is nearly infinite.
There is nothing that can:
(1) increase your sales and response …
(2) boost your email deliverability …
(3) inspire “goodwill” in your business …
(4) create a brand that is nearly completely “hater proof” …
(5) turn even the most rapid skeptics into lifelong fans and customers …
(6) draw people to your email and customer list in droves …
(7) protect your business from the vagaries of recessions, pandemics, and unpredictable current events …
(8) give you an advantage over nearly any business you compete against … and
(9) let you charge far higher prices with customers eager to pay them … than good, “old-fashioned” …
It’s the for-real “secret sauce” that anyone — newbie or seasoned pro — can use.
It’s also why so many multimillion-dollar business owners I’ve met — from software to info-marketing to coaching/consulting to e-commerce — admit they built their businesses first and foremost on the help desk (i.e., servicing customers) rather than via fancy marketing.
Because if you can’t win on price, offer, quality, guarantee, sales pitch, experience, talent, skill, credentials, or anything else … you can always win on superior service.
It is truly the great equalizer.
It’s the proverbial nuclear bomb brought to the knife fight. It’s the germ that defeats the dragon.
And if you are doing it right, offering superior service can cheaply (assuming it costs you anything at all) give you an overwhelmingly powerful advantage over any competitor you ever sell against.
Plus, it can forgive a lot of marketing “sins” you may commit now or in the future.
And it can make it so customers and leads will want to buy from you and only you, even if what you sell isn’t “the best” and is way higher in price than something identical.
It’s the one business-building method anyone can do, regardless of budget, talent, skill level, or other handicaps that would otherwise hold them back.
One of my favorite examples of this is from a car salesman — one of the least trusted professions — I read about many years ago in a book called Ten Greatest Sales Persons.
The first chapter is an interview with the late Joe Girard who was the “World’s Greatest Salesman” in the Guinness Book of World Records for many years.
He consistently outsold every car salesman by a country mile, year in and year out.
And he did it by serving his customers in such a way where they couldn’t help but tell all their friends, family, co-workers, and even complete strangers about him.
It Was His Selling
“Ace in the Hole.”
And while he was selling “boring” Chevrolets, you’d think he was giving away gold bricks.
He made the experience of buying from him that unique, fun, and pleasurable.
Here’s a quote from the book:
“When he comes back [to have his car serviced], I fight for him all the way to get him our best … when somebody calls me and says, ‘I’ve been in twice, Joe, and nobody wanted to take care of me,’ I say, ‘That’s your problem, cause do you remember me saying that if you ever have a problem, you should ask for me?
Now, why don’t you come in around ten o’clock tomorrow and let me take care of it for you.’
And when he does, I really go to bat for him.
I find out who can help.
If our service department can’t do it, then I find out who can.
Is it the factory man? If [he] can’t do it, I go over his head to his boss … if I gotta, I’ll go right to Mr. Murphy, the Chairman of the Board of General Motors!”
Have you ever had a car salesman do that for you?
If one did, would you even dream of buying a car from anyone else or be able to resist telling everyone you know what he did?
And what did it “cost” him to do it other than a little time, some extra effort, and a willingness to get to know his customer?
The result was customers who would not even dream of buying a car from anyone else, and who could not resist telling all their friends, family, and peers about him, and what a privilege it was to buy a car from him.
You can do this in your own clientless copywriting business every day.
And it does not matter what you sell.
What this looks like is dependent upon you, your personality, your market, your offers, and a whole string of variables unique to you.
But, for example, it can mean doing things like:
- Sending customers a high-ticket digital course on a pre-loaded iPod and with a little bag of gourmet popcorn and a note that says, “Something to munch on while you’re listening to your new XYZ program” …
- Lightning-fast replies to questions, problems, or comments, dropping everything to get back to them as quickly as possible …
- Fastest delivery of physical products you can pay for, so it gets to them in 1-3 days instead of 1-3 weeks …
- Gifts, swag (branded to your business, of course), and other unexpected presents like brownies or a bag of cookies, even books you buy in bulk and send out of the blue when you know they will benefit from them …
And that’s just for starters — I’m not even getting creative here.
The point of this article is to get you thinking about the service-side of a clientless copywriting business, instead of just the copywriting, marketing, and selling side.
But, if you still want help with the mechanics of building a clientless copywriting business, the 10-Minute Workday program could be a good fit for you.
That is, assuming you are willing to work hard, take the time to learn and apply it properly, and have the patience required to build a solid business.
If you can do that, you’ll have the ultimate “any economy” writing business.
Is copywriting a good business
In 2016 I started a copywriting business after leaving a toxic job.
I spent months second guessing my work and struggled to make the improvements a perfectionist manager demanded of me.
I was exhausted and verging on burn out when I left.
There was no way I’d ever have a corporate job again.
No, instead, I was going to make a living with copywriting.
This was my big break.
I was going to thrive, not just survive.
I was absolutely up for the challenge.
Two years on, I can tell you that I approached it all wrong.
Everything I learnt the first time about freelancing just didn’t translate into running a profitable copywriting business.
To save you from from repeating my early mistakes, this is how NOT to run a copywriting business.
Don’t romanticise it
You can sit in a coffee shop and you can work the hours you want.
It sounds pretty romantic doesn’t it?
But it won’t be enough to get your business off the ground if you want to make decent money.
In reality, you need to strictly manage your time.
When you approach a business in a dream-like state with no eye on the long term, you’ll get caught in the extreme highs and lows of freelancing.
This is both thrilling and soul-destroying.
You’ll be a copywriter who drifts through a projects in a haze.
You may find yourself landing clients and projects that are hard work.
These kinds of clients can be a drain on your time and your emotions.
They may not pay on time, or pay at all.
They may not value the work you do.
If you want to go from scrambling about for gigs to landing contracts that actually make you money, you need to think like a business owner.
You can’t be a creative soul at the mercy of your occasionally visiting muse.
Don’t have a plan
I drifted through copywriting for a quite a while, cranking out poorly researched, poorly written, and haphazardly edited blog posts.
I didn’t have a real plan of what I wanted to do—I just kept writing without really learning much about one industry or the real art form that goes into writing a good blog post.
A clear plan for your copywriting business is the same as having a clear plan for your holiday.
Where do you want to go?
How do you plan to get there?
What routes can you take?
What will you do when you get there?
Sitting down to plan will save you time and energy in the long run.
Setting revenue targets and what services you’ll offer gives you clarity on what actions you need to take to achieve your goals.
It’s good to review your plans as something you want to achieve today can change tomorrow.
I’ve found being flexible and adaptable helps you create a business that makes you happy and brings in money.
Go to a crowded, underpriced marketplace
It’s very easy to set up as a freelancer on many freelancing websites.
Sign up, create a profile, start bidding for your first job. Done.
I did this in 2013 and started bidding on low rate jobs on PeoplePerHour.
I earned £15 in my first gig for two 1000 words blogs.
I was thrilled.
I speak from my own experience when I first started several years ago: it seemed easier to land work as a budding copywriter.
However, many of these websites are flooded with underpriced freelancers and poor quality clients who don’t really know what they want.
I highly recommend networking locally and on platforms like LinkedIn.
Word of mouth and a few personal introductions can open more doors to better paid gigs than spending hours trying to bid for work when someone else is charging $10 for a 1000-word article.
There are many freelancers who make a killing in these marketplaces.
If you’re willing to invest the time into making your profile work then go for it.
But for me, I’d rather network locally and meet my clients face-to-face.
Don’t take advice and feedback from someone who knows better
One key thing not to do when starting a copywriting business is to ignore advice from experienced copywriters or mentors.
You will only get better with practice and objective feedback.
But your writing is your baby, your muse, your soul on the page, I hear you say.
You’re writing copy, not romance or fantasy fiction.
You need to take your emotion out of the writing (which I know can be extremely hard as a creative writer).
Feedback and reflection are essential steps to becoming a better copywriter.
Find and work with someone who can give you constructive feedback.
Your copy and your business will improve no end if you can embrace feedback.
I didn’t take feedback very well when I first started.
An unhappy client meant I was obviously a bad person and I couldn’t write decent copy for toffee.
But I wasn’t a terrible person.
I needed to improve my approach to copywriting and my processes.
Manage your money poorly
Freelancing—especially when you’re starting out—can be tight.
If I was to do it again, I would have at least three to six months of living expenses saved up.
I’d also highly recommend going fully freelance when your freelance income is close to matching your salary, or the minimum costs you need to live comfortably.
Cashflow is a difficult concept to grasp—as well as manage—and at times I struggled to pay my subcontractors and pay my bills, leaving me in a never-ending cycle of juggling money, and eventually, debt.
You need a healthy attitude to your incomings and outgoings.
If you currently have a lot of debt to clear down, or can’t say no to a sale, you need to get your spending habits under control before you seriously make the leap into starting a copywriting business.
I’d highly recommend keeping your outgoings as low as possible (for the first few months at least), which links to my next point.
Spend time and money on non-essentials
When you’re starting a new copywriting business you don’t need much: a laptop with a word processor and internet browser, and a reliable internet connection.
As a new business, it’s so easy to get caught up with the latest trends.
A slick website that you’ve paid a lot for, expensive networking membership, and fancy business cards. The list is endless.
I jumped into my business in 2016 with really only the last paycheque in my back pocket and a bit of savings.
I did everything as cheaply as possible for a few weeks, then the allure of paid networking events, monthly subscriptions, and coffee snuck up on me.
Coffee out is my downfall. I love the experience of going into a coffee shop and being a regular.
Making coffee at home just doesn’t feel the same, but I know now to make sure it’s a weekly treat, not a daily necessity.
When you’re getting a business off the ground, you need to focus all of your effort and energy on getting paid work and clients.
The fancy stuff comes when you’ve worked for it.
Outsource because you’re bad at managing expectations and time
Don’t outsource because you’re bad at managing your time and clients’ expectations.
You won’t make enough money.
You’ll be responsible for paying another freelancer’s invoice on time, even if your client doesn’t pay you on time.
Now, you can outsource if you have priced it into your services, and if you can guarantee it’s going to be high quality.
Outsourcing is a business model that many people adopt, but starting out you’ll need good-paying clients, a good idea of what they want, and an idea of how you’ll deliver it.
How to actually start a copywriting business
Be prepared to work at it. HARD.
You’ll learn so much about yourself and what you really want to do.
Running a real business takes guts.
You have to become comfortable with risk.
But when you run a business that’s on your terms, it’ll be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do.
Have a plan and idea of what you’re going to offer potential clients
Figuring out your services and then finding your clients is your biggest challenge when running a copywriting business.
The typical steps to finding your clients and closing a contract are essential.
You need a good plan to achieve this, so I recommend spending time researching the kind of client you want to work with.
Remember, you’re not offering copywriting services.
You’re helping solve problems for your clients.
You’re helping them to make more money.
This will resonate more and you’ll have more success in your copywriting business if you adopt this approach.
Manage your cash flow well from the start
Getting a business of the ground is hard but it’ll be easier if you’re savvy with your money.
Managing your cash flow will mean you have to do things you’re not comfortable with, like chasing late-paying customers.
It also means being on top of your invoicing at the end of the month or the project.
I’d highly recommend adopting a 50% up front fee—this means you’re compensated for the start of the work—and then 50% upon completion.
This will take the pressure off your cash flow and commits both you and the client to the completion of the project.
How do I become a copywriter with no experience
Have you always dreamed of working for yourself?
Would you like to earn money from freelance copywriting?
Many people feel that they cannot follow the career path they want because they do not have the correct experience.
However, the only way to enter your chosen field, and build that experience, is to get started.
“If everyone waited to become an expert before starting, no one would become an expert” (CEO and author Richie Norton)
Becoming a freelance writer without experience is possible.
However, you will need a few key skills to get started, including a great grasp of spelling and grammar, and an ability to construct interesting, engaging pieces of work.
You don’t need formal or professional experience, but it does help if you have some personal experience of writing.
What skills are essential for a freelance copywriter?
As we have already mentioned, great spelling and grammar skills are absolutely essential for a freelance copywriter.
If you deliver work to your clients that contains mistakes and errors, they are unlikely to return for more.
Freelance copywriters also need a good grasp of time.
You will have to structure your own research and writing times in order to meet your clients’ deadlines, so great time management is crucial.
It also helps if you have some experience of writing.
This needn’t be formal, professional experience.
Do you write a blog on a regular basis?
Have you written content for a friend’s business, or for a volunteer project?
Share links to your work and showcase your skills.
If you do not have links to share right now, why not set up a blog and start demonstrating your writing abilities?
Pick a topic close to your heart, be creative, and start publishing examples of the work you could do for your clients.
Is a degree or previous experience necessary?
Every client is different, and every writing gig differs.
Some clients may be fixed on hiring writers with a specific degree or qualification, while others may want to see examples of your work in a similar field before they will hire you.
Many freelance copywriters have studied English language, literature or journalism.
Others get into the role through marketing and business degrees.
Politics and law also lend themselves to the writing trade.
However, absolutely any degree or other qualification can assist you with copywriting.
If you studied sport, music, art or history, look for writing gigs that can make use of your specialist knowledge.
If you do not have a formal education, you can still become a first-class copywriter.
The lack of a degree should be no barrier.
Many clients are more interested in finding somebody with a flair for writing, an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, and a strong portfolio of writing examples.
Becoming a freelance copywriter with no experience
If you are interested in finding work as a freelance copywriter, we have put together some helpful tips which should show you how to become a freelance copywriter without experience.
Join a freelance writing agency
A digital copywriting agency like Copify is a great place to start your freelancing journey.
You can sign up online today, and the joining process is simple and quick.
You will need to provide a sample of writing for assessment, and once approved you can start taking orders immediately.
Agencies are great for new writers because they allow you to build that experience and grow your reputation as a writer.
You also have access to support services, and you are guaranteed payment for your work.
New freelancers often find that invoicing clients and chasing unpaid bills is one of the most stressful and time-consuming parts of their business.
An agency takes that stress away – and ensures you get a fair price for your work.
Reach out to potential clients
You can also approach the clients you would like to write for, and offer them your work.
Pitching work to publications and companies can be scary at first, but with a little practice and perseverance, it will soon become second nature to you.
Work you complete independently from an agency is great for building your portfolio, as long as the client gives permission for it to be used.
The more comprehensive and relevant your work examples become, the more likely you are to secure work through pitches.
Network with other writers
As well as reaching out to clients, take the time to find other freelance writers in the online space. Following key influencers on social media is a great idea.
Copywriting professionals are usually happy to answer questions and share advice with industry newcomers, and they often link to writing opportunities that pay freelancers.
You could also link with writers who cover topics you are interested in and read and share their work. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips.
Establish a niche for yourself
Getting into freelance copywriting without experience is a lot easier when you draw on your existing skills.
Do you enjoy playing video games?
There is always demand for gaming reviews.
Are you great at gardening?
Horticulture blogs and businesses will love your expertise.
Here is an example of a writer who is using her personal knowledge of the fitness industry to make her copywriting business work.
You may not have formal writing experience, but you do possess a unique blend of knowledge and skills that could be extremely valuable to the right client.
Building your freelance writing business
Once you have established yourself within the freelance copywriting field, you can start to look for bigger, more profitable jobs and aim to secure long-term clients.
It can take a little time and perseverance before you break away from small-time writing jobs and start making a good living, but the more you put yourself out there, the more chance of being spotted by the right client.
Over time, you will start to build a writing portfolio – and you may well collect reviews and recommendations from your client.
The more work you get, the more your reputation will grow.
Before you know it, you will be an experienced freelance copywriter!
Can copywriting make you rich
In the copywriting world, there’s this “dream” of a six-figure lifestyle business that allows you to…
— Control your schedule, working (and stopping) when you want…
— Work anywhere, from home, the beach, wherever…
— And earn as much as you want, based on how much you’re willing to work…
All while escaping the heavy hand of hard-to-please bosses and the 9-to-5 grind…
And you know what? That really does sound appealing.
And if you get to be a good copywriter (don’t even have to be great) that really is a possibility for you.
A six-figure income, control over your schedule, the ability to work from anywhere in the world, and pretty much a blue-sky income opportunity are available.
But the reality is that even if you earn royalties, and work with some pretty good clients, this is a capped opportunity.
It’s possible to become a millionaire as a freelance copywriter.
But $100 million?
And yet, your skills CAN put you on that path.
I’ve met folks who’ve started as copywriters and gone on to build personal net worths well into the tens of millions of dollars, and there are rare ones whose personal wealth are in the hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars.
And there’s a HUGE difference between these folks and your average copywriter.
So today I’m going to give you a quick rundown of an observation I’ve made about the world’s richest copywriters — and what they do differently, that NOBODY else I’ve seen is telling copywriters to go do…
And then I’m going to give you a link to a podcast where I was interviewed, where I discuss this (and other valuable copywriting insights) in much deeper detail.
The first thing you need to do if you want to make a ton of money as a copywriter is to throw out the notion of The Writer’s Life…
With plenty of love and appreciation for my friends at AWAI, The Writer’s Life is a path to The Writer’s Life — not untold riches.
Yes, you can make a great living — no, you’re probably not going to get filthy rich. (They don’t really pitch it that way, either.)
I’ve met enough copywriters doing both — The Writer’s Life and becoming filthy rich — that I recognize that they’re pretty much mutually exclusive.
You can make a ton of money from your copywriting skills OR you can have a lifestyle in line with The Writer’s Life.
One’s not necessarily better than the other — just recognize that they’re different.
Instead, you need to adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur, business owner, or (especially) a PARTNER in a business…
Because, in short, that’s what you have to be if you want to make a ton of money as a copywriter.
You have to have an ownership stake in a business, and help build it.
This can be a business YOU start and run, OR you can negotiate a stake in the company in exchange for being the marketing person.
You invest your time and expertise to get sweat equity.
And frankly, for most copywriters, I recommend the partnership path, over taking on a whole business yourself…
This is important, because most writers (myself included) are a little inept when it comes to the day-to-day of running a business…
There’s a lot of other stuff, outside of writing and marketing, that goes into keeping a business going and growing.
Especially so when you start dealing with staff and payroll and HR and bookkeeping and all that jazz…
But the marketing mind (and the copywriter) have a very important role in business.
We get customers, and make sales.
Without that role being filled, none of the other stuff matters in business.
And so you have to recognize what you bring to the table — what your strengths are.
Do those, and say no to the other responsibilities.
The best way to do this is to get involved from the beginning as the “marketing partner.”
I was recently interviewed on by John McIntyre on the Email Marketing Podcast…
We dove into this partnership approach, and I gave a TON of case studies, including my personal mentors, colleagues, and folks you’ll definitely know if you’ve been around the direct marketing world for a while.
We also discussed valuable insights on how even novice copywriters can write winning sales letters…
One of the most important things you need to do, starting today, if you want to become unbeatable at this marketing game…
My secret trick for making really high-dollar sales where my colleagues failed…
And all sorts of other fun stuff…
Are copywriters in demand
I made it as a writer. You can too!
Are you seeking a professional freelance copywriter to write your website, brochure or sales letter? Learn more here.
Hi, my name is Susan Greene, and I’m a freelance copywriter in Orlando, Florida.
Now that I’ve been in this profession for more than 25 years, I often find myself in the position of mentoring others just starting out.
At least one aspiring copywriter a week contacts me for advice, and I thought I’d take the time to write up some of the advice I’ve been doling out.
First, a Little Background
When I began my career, I made my living as a freelance print copywriter.
The internet didn’t yet exist (yes, I’m that old).
My marketing efforts mostly consisted of writing brochures, ads and press releases for a diverse group of clients.
Business was steady, and I had a constant stream of new customers coming to me via local networking, word-of-mouth referrals and advertising agencies that subcontracted my services.
Writing for the Web
Then in 1998 I decided to focus on writing for the web.
At that time, this was a unique niche.
Most web copy was being written by print copywriters who had little comprehension of how the new medium differed from the old.
Few books, if any, existed that explained the dynamics of writing for the web, and search engine optimization was a discipline yet to be defined.
Limited informational resources made learning the craft of online copywriting a challenge, one mastered mostly by trial and error, but it also meant that I had limited competition.
Ultimately, it was a good niche to pursue, one that positioned me for success in the future.
Web Copywriting Takes Off
Now, many years later, the landscape has significantly changed. Nearly every company, large and small, has a website or multiple sites, and many recognize the value of continually growing that site and keeping it current.
Businesses also realize they must allocate a significant portion of their marketing budget to online channels, ranging from their website to landing pages to a social media presence.
Web copywriters are in high demand.
They also need assistance in enhancing their websites for search engines, a practice commonly known as search engine optimization (SEO).
For copywriters, it’s boom time like never before.
The sooner you learn the skills of online copywriting and SEO, the faster you can grow your clientele and charge premium fees.
The demand is great right now and growing.
Become an Online Copywriter
While the need for copywriters who do direct mail, brochures and the like still exists, the area of real opportunity is in writing for the web.
Now is the time to become an expert online copywriter and capitalize on one of the most dynamic trends in marketing history.
Read everything you can on copywriting techniques and search engine optimization. A multitude of information exists online and off.
You can also look into copywriting coaching programs, which can be costly but worthwhile.
Some of the top copywriters will mentor writers just starting out, and their personal, one-on-one instruction can greatly accelerate your learning curve.
Finally, start practicing, even if only on your own.
The sole way to get better at writing is to write.
Look for opportunities to test your creativity and hone your skills.
You’re on a journey.
Every step takes you closer to your destination — becoming a copywriter.
Don’t forget too, you’ll need to brush up on your sales skills.
Those are a necessity for landing clients for your copywriting services.
How do I get my first copywriting job
If you are just starting out on your copywriting career journey, you may be wondering how to get your first copywriting client.
Copywriting is a rewarding yet challenging career and it can be difficult for freelance writers to establish themselves and source clients.
Below we outline effective tips to help you land your first client.
1. Fine tune your services
While it is tempting to not limit the sort of work you offer, if you contact a potential client and your services seem too general and broad, you may be rejected for appearing to lack specialist knowledge.
Spend some time thinking about your interests and develop a copywriting niche.
Developing a niche and fine-tuning the services you offer will enable you to focus exclusively on a certain market and position yourself as a specialist, rather than a writer lacking experience.
For example, if you have a background in finance, consider marketing yourself as a financial copywriter.
Focusing on a specific industry will help you offer your services in the most appealing way, helping you to secure your first client.
2. Dedicate time to research
After deciding on a niche, spend time researching into that specific market and create a list of companies you would like to work with.
Remember to think realistically about your own earning goals and target those businesses who have the budget for your services.
Also, it is not simply enough to collect basic information on a company, try to really understand and engage with how the company currently creates and distributes content.
Follow the company on social media and try to identify where their content comes from, is it from one particular employee or does the company use freelance writers?
Identifying these trends will help you find companies that may require your services and will mean you can tailor your pitch to focus on the benefits and how your service overcomes their pain points.
Most brands will proudly advertise their values and make their company voice evident.
Determine what these are for each company and try to emulate them in any communication you have with the company.
3. Get yourself noticed with social media
As we are living in an increasingly digital age, having an active and engaging online presence can be a great way to find and connect with potential copywriting clients.
Social media accounts, like LinkedIn, can be used to source job opportunities and put forward your skills as a freelance writer.
A top tip for using social media to secure your first client is to direct message an individual or brand when you see a job opportunity advertised, rather than commenting or replying to the post which may get lost amongst other replies.
When direct messaging a client, however, it is important to remember to begin to build a relationship with them, not just bluntly offer your services.
4. Make connections and network
As above, social media is a great way to build relationships with fellow industry professionals who can open up new opportunities for finding your first client.
But you should also think about attending industry events, whether in person or online, to meet other copywriters and companies requiring copywriting services.
Engaging yourself in the copywriting world will help you source client leads and help your name to become more recognisable and trusted in the industry.
Finding conferences or exhibitions relevant to your niche can be a great way to meet and network with potential clients.
You may also find local business events fruitful, such as Chamber of Commerce networking events.
5. Showcase your expertise with a blog
While social media is a great platform for engaging with brands, it is fairly limiting in terms of showcasing your writing capabilities.
Creating and running your own blog based on the industry you are hoping to secure a client in not only showcases your writing abilities but your industry expertise.
As a starting point, see what similar blog posts are already available on the internet and try to produce better content.
Establish what keywords you want to target and try to optimise your blog posts to these keywords so potential clients can find you; this should never be at the detriment of the content you are producing, however.
There have been many success stories involving bloggers such as Pete Cashmore who was the sole author of the blog Mashable which he began in 2005.
Mashable started as a blog where Cashmore shared news but was later sold for $50 million in 2017 as a leading digital media and news website.
On blogging, Cashmore said, “the idea that you could change the world from your bedroom was pretty compelling to me.”
This proves that something as simple as a blog created in your bedroom has the power to take your career to new heights.
6. Chase leads and reach out to clients
Based on your social media activity and any networking you have been able to do, finalise a list of the top companies who you feel would require your writing services.
Where possible send the message to the individual or department involved in hiring writers as this prevents your message from getting lost with general enquiries.
And don’t forget to chase it up!
7. Apply to a copywriting service
While you wait to secure your first client independently, applying to a quality copywriting service, such as Copify, will give you access to multiple writing opportunities.
As Copify delivers professional writing services for a broad spectrum of businesses, applying to be a writer can help build your portfolio and prove your copywriting skills while you wait for the right independent client.
8. Don’t give up!
If a potential client doesn’t instantly reply and your blog isn’t getting a high amount of traffic, don’t despair and most importantly, don’t give up.
It can take time to build your reputation as a copywriter and you should always have faith in your writing capabilities.
Take the time while you wait to perfect your portfolio and continue building your blog and social media presence.
For more information on how to build a killer portfolio, read our blog post here.
Still unsure on how to get your first copywriting client?
If you don’t feel ready to follow any of the above tips, it may be that you need to take a step back and practise your copywriting skills.
Ensure you are confident in your writing abilities and personal branding before you contact any businesses and you should soon find you have secured your first client!
How much should I charge for copywriting
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Post last updated: December 2017
Many Australian copywriters charge an hourly rate but more often copywriters charge a fixed rate for the entire project.
Hourly rates range from $50–$80 per hour for new and junior copywriters, $80–$120 per hour for mid-level copywriters and top level copywriter can demand $120–$200 per hour.
But let’s dig in a little deeper.
How much should you charge for freelance writing?
One of the toughest decisions a copywriter has to make is how much to charge.
When you’re just starting out as a freelance copywriter, it can be nerve-racking trying to set a rate.
Yes, you need to earn enough to live on, but you don’t want to scare off potential clients.
It’s important to set your rate before you send out your first proposal.
In fact I think it’s a great idea to create a rate card before you start marketing yourself as a copywriter.
Even as an established writer, every estimate can feel like a gamble: too much and you’ll lose the job; too little and you’ll kick yourself when they say ‘yes’.
In this post I’m going to share some top line tips on how to work out your freelance copywriting rates, but if you’re still struggling when you’re done – you can check out my Copywriting Pricing Course to get all the answers.
After nine years running my own business I’m finally comfortable(ish) with my copywriting rates, so here are some pointers to help you decide what to charge.
What do copywriters charge?
Copywriter rates in Sydney and across Australia vary, hugely.
A good place to start is by checking out the recommended rates for copywriters in Australia.
Or you can check out the MEAA rates (although personally I think they’re a little unrealistic).
How do copywriters cost a job?
Some copywriters charge by the hour, and some will charge a set project fee with no hourly breakdown.
Most will give you an upfront fixed cost of some sort with an outline of what that includes in terms of versions, proofing, meeting time, etc.
There are several different ways you can charge:
1. Fixed price
This means charging a flat fee to cover the entire job:
- Experience level: Experienced copywriters who have worked with heaps of brands and industries can of course charge more than newbie copywriters just starting out
- Skill set: Copywriters with a high level of skill in a particular niche area of copywriting may charge more.
- Demand: If your waiting list is longer than something very long, then you can afford to charge a little more because you’re in demand.
- Location: Copywriters in big cities are usually more expensive than those in rural areas. This is usually because their rent is higher and coffee is more expensive 🙂
- Client status: Copywriters may offer discounts to start-ups or charities and charge more to large corporates
- Turnaround time: Some copywriters charge a rush fee when work is required super urgently or in a short time frame. This extra fee is to cover working late or <shudders> over weekends.
2. Charging by the hour
Sometimes ad agencies will want an hourly rate – here are some guidelines from the Clever Copywriting School.
- New / junior copywriter: $50–$80 per hour
- Mid level copywriter: $80–$120 per hour
- Top level copywriter: $120–$200 per hour
3. Charging by the word
It’s not a great idea to charge by the word: it’s kind of a hangover from magazine journalism.
- It turns your writing into a commodity rather than a professional and creative service
- Per word pricing leads to a focus of quantity over quality – writing more just to earn more money, for example writing 50 words when 10 would suffice – this kind of copy padding makes you more money but makes the copy suck.
- With per-word pricing writers are incentivised to work quickly, which often leads to poor quality copy
Should you charge a deposit?
Yes. Nearly all copywriters will ask for some kind of deposit ranging from 30–50%.
Many ask for a 100% deposit if the job is under a certain value and you’re a new client.
The majority of copywriters will have 7- or 14-day payment terms for invoices. As sole traders, for copywriters, late payment of invoices is the bane of their lives.
How to decide your pricing
- Do your research
Everyone advises that you check out what other writers are charging before you set your rate, but it’s not that easy.
Many copywriters (including me) have fake rates pages that don’t actually tell you what they charge. The truth is very few writers actually quote their rates on their website.
So, apart from posing as a fake client and requesting a quote (don’t do this), a lot of it is guesswork.
2. Work out your liveable wage
If you’re intending to make a living from copywriting, the decision will be, in part, about what you need to earn to cover expenses.
2. Think about your experience
If you’re a newbie with not many clients under your belt, it’s going to be hard to justify charging a high rate.
As you build your reputation, client list and number of testimonials, so you can increase your rate.
4. What can I get away with
Many writers base their quotes on a principle of ‘what they can get away with’. They increase rates for larger clients and reduce them for smaller ones. I find that this is an exhausting way to approach estimating.
Having set rates reduces the time quoting takes and just seems fairer. The industry is small and your clients may discuss how much you charged them with one another, so try to be consistent.
5. What your client can afford
Although it kind of negates the point above, it is sometimes okay to change your rate on a case-by-case basis.
If you feel a client can’t afford your rate or if they’re a charity, you may want to reduce your rate for the job. As long as you can justify it to yourself, that’s fine.
6. The fun factor
I occasionally charge less for jobs that I really want to get – because they seem fun or they offer a creative challenge.
Again, this is your call and part of the joy of running your own business. You decide.
7. Supply and demand
One of the key reasons I increased my rate was simply due to demand. I currently receive lots of new leads a week.
So I’m lucky enough to be in a position to charge a little more. I believe I’m worth it.
A great way to secure regular income is to work on a retainer.
This means agreeing a monthly fee with a client (paid up front) for a set amount of work.
It works well if you’re writing regular blogs or newsletters.
Obviously you can offer your client a discount for ongoing work to sweeten the deal.
SHHH! Insider copywriter trick of the trade!!
If there’s a job you really don’t want to do, but don’t feel you can tell your potential client, it’s common practice for copywriters to add a PITA* fee.
That way, if you don’t get the job you don’t care and if you do, you’re happy because you’re being paid ‘danger’ money.
*PITA = Pain In The Arse.
Considering the ‘ick’ factor
Of course it’s not all about the money honey.
You also want to consider how much you want the job?
- Do you get a good vibe from the client?
- Do you really understand their brief?
- Are they going to follow your process?
- Do they seem a little bit need?
How much should I charge for a 500-word blog post?
This is a question I get asked a lot ,and I guess it’s a good measure of your overall rate.
If it takes you two hours to research and write a 500-word blog post and your hourly rate is calculated to be $80 per hour, – then you’re looking at $160 per blog post.
If people order 10 blog posts, you can consider giving them a little discount.
But not too much, or you’ll regret it – max 10% – okay?
How much should I charge for editing?
Most Australian editors I’ve worked with like to charge by the page and costs vary from $20 per page for basic grammar corrections and typos to $80 per page for full structure editing and rewrites.
How much should I charge for proofreading?
This depends on how bad the copy is. My proof reader friends estimate that they can review about 10 pages per hour with about 300 words per page.
What to do when clients get cheeky?
Once you’ve set a rate you’re comfortable with, try to live with it for at least three months.
When you’re asked for a quote, give it and stick to it.
For example, say I’m given a quote for $2,000.
I contest it and the quoter is immediately willing to drop it by 10%.
Well then I wonder why they didn’t give me their best price in the first place.
It’s off-putting, unprofessional and often a slippery slope.
Give an inch to your client (for no obvious reason) and they may take a mile in terms of expecting freebies.
Some examples of ‘offers’ clients have made me are:
- Do this job free of charge and I’ll give you another
- Write the copy free of charge and I’ll give you a cut of the profits later down the track
- Write this copy for a reduced rate and I’ll give you lots of exposure
Sorry guys, but I have a mortgage to pay and small human to feed.
If I do the work, you pay my fee.
It’s really that simple
Where can I learn copywriting for free
The Best Free Copywriting Courses And Classes Available Online
a) Want to improve your copywriting skills so that you can write your own online content (web copy, blog posts, marketing emails)?
b) Carve out an online career as a copywriter?
Either way, you’ve landed in exactly the right place.
I’ve created a list of free online copywriting courses and resources to help you hone your writing.
Everything on this list is free.
A word of warning before you go exploring: There is only so much theory you can learn about copywriting.
You don’t need to complete every course you come across.
Instead, take a nosey around, see how the course fits with your style, then decide which one to focus on first.
The list is presented in alphabetical order.
I’m not playing favourites here.
Copyblogger – Not for beginners
If you want to carve out a career as a freelance writer or content marketer, this is the course for you.
Solopreneurs may find it a little too in depth – but it’s free, so no harm in looking.
Copyblogger is brought to you by Brian Clark, one of the most influential entrepreneurs and content marketers on the planet.
He’s been writing for the web since 1998 (hard to get much more experience than that).
Sign-up for free membership here* and you’ll get access to 16 e-books and a 20-part email series of lessons.
The course covers content marketing, copywriting SEO copywriting, email marketing, keyword research, landing pages, internet marketing.
All this lovely learning is stored in an online library which you can access whenever you want.
Their copy is so good, that just dipping in now and then will help sharpen your pencil.
This online marketing agency has a useful bank of learning resources, with no opt-in required.
Their Tone Of Voice guide is not so much a course as an online book.
It’s five chapters packed with information and examples to help you understand the importance of developing a clear and consistent brand voice, then create and capture one for your business.
There’s no doubt that Neil Patel (Quick Sprout daddy and founder of Hello Bar) is a giver.
The website is packed full of useful information, including this Definitive Guide to Copywriting.
You don’t even need to opt-in to get access.
Although if you do want to sign up to his list, he’ll give you a traffic-boosting mini-series.
This course will suit you if (like me) you learn best from reading, like to control the pace (slow, repetitive videos drive me nuts) and like to jump to lessons out of sequence.
Want more of Neil’s online marketing teachings?
He has a University section on the site with 14 free videos.
Skillshare – Find Your Brand Voice
This free course is presented by Andre Goulet Ford.
She’s worked with some of the world’s largest brand, helping them switch from corporate babble to personality-packed content.
You can go to Skillshare* and in the search bar enter ‘Find Your Brand Voice’.
The course is 19 short videos that add up to a little over 90 minutes of teaching, with some practical exercises built in.
It’s pitched more towards small and medium enterprises than solopreneurs, but if you are struggling to create a clear, differentiating brand voice, this is a good place to get started.
Skillshare – Become A Better Blogger: Content Planning
This is another free course from Andre Goulet Ford. Unlike the Brand Voice course, I haven’t tested this one yet but wanted to include it as I really enjoyed the first AGF course.
(But wait those courses are not in alphabetical order! I know but it made no sense to put them the other way around. It’s not an error. It’s an on-purpose change in approach).
Writing For The Web, Frankie Madden
Delivered via the Australian MOOC Open2Study, this course is a great place to start if you are new to writing online.
The course is delivered over a four week period, and requires around 2-4 hours study per week.
Frankie, a Senior User Experience Consultant at Stamford Interactive takes you through the basics of why writing for the web is different, what makes good content and how to create it, plus how to take care of your web content in the long term.
You can enrol and check latest start dates on the course page.
Where can I get clients for copywriting
I’ve frequently discussed the virtues of adding some copywriting to your freelance-writing mix.
But, many writers ask, how do I get started as a copywriter?
Most copywriters break in by writing for a small, local business in their town.
The good news: Small businesses that need marketing help are everywhere.
Here are 10 ways to find your first business writing assignments:
1) Friends and family. Tell everyone you know you’re available to write for businesses. Let them know the types of copywriting work that interest you, whether it’s brochures, white papers, direct mail sales letters, or Web content.
2) Businesses you patronize. As you go about your daily life, you interact with many small businesses. You see a chiropractor, shop at a local organic grocer, or take your kids to a gym. These are all natural places for you to connect with business owners. Your secret weapon—you already know and like the business! You could also do a barter deal for writing work since you’re already a customer.
3) Your local downtown. Walk the business district of your neighborhood or visit the local chamber of commerce and pick up all their current brochures or fliers. Call or stop in at the ones that have weak marketing materials, introduce yourself as a copywriter, and ask if they’d like help creating more powerful messages.
4) Your local business park. Companies in industrial parks tend to be medium-sized or bigger, and in fairly low-glamour businesses — meaning they’re prime copywriting targets. They need to get out the word, as they don’t have a shop on Main Street customers can see. Also, they tend to get hit up less, so the competition isn’t as stiff. Before you knock on doors and introduce yourself, drive through once and write down all the company names. Go home and look at their Web sites (or discover they don’t have one), so you have something to talk about when you come back and try to meet the business owners.
5) Business networking events. Wherever large groups of business owners gather in your town—the local Chamber luncheon, weekly networking group, LinkedIn meetup, or whatever—you want to be there.
6) Social media. Work your networks and online forums and let them know you’re open for copywriting work. Find prospect companies and follow them — strike up a conversation, study their Web site, maybe provide some useful marketing-article links, then make your pitch. Use your blog to discuss your quest for copywriting work. Try InMail on LinkedIn — LI reports it has an impressive 30 percent response rate.
7) In niche industries you know. This is an easy way to identify prospects, particularly if you’re looking for work blogging or writing other online content. If you have an area of expertise, look at the Web sites of all the local businesses in that niche. Then call the companies with the worst Web sites and mention the most glaring omission in their marketing plan — might they need a blog, a white paper, case studies?
8. Through content-site profiles. While I don’t recommend trying to earn by bidding on projects on content sites such as Elance or Guru.com, it can be worthwhile to leave a profile on these heavily-trafficked sites. Small businesses looking for writers do scan these sites, and may find you and approach you off the site and hire you. I recently went on an interview to ghost a CEO’s book, and the company found me through an old Guru profile I’d forgotten all about!
9) At print publications. Magazines’ article assignments are often the tip of an iceberg at a publisher. There may be opportunities to write advertorial articles for the magazine’s advertisers, or to create special advertising sections. They may put on conferences that need marketing materials, or have a “custom publishing” arm that helps companies create training courses or books that commemorate company milestones.
10) By creating a sample. If you’re really stuck for a first client, create a marketing piece about your copywriting services. You can then use this as a mailer to send to prospects. Having a sample in front of them should help you sign up that first client. Personally, when I broke into copywriting in 2005, I used a variant of #2. I called on companies I had written about in my staff-writing job at a business journal to let them know I was leaving the paper. (Many folks do this when they leave a company to freelance, by turning around and freelancing for their former employer.) One of them asked me to ghost his blog and write advertorial articles for the company’s Web site. I made several thousand dollars over a few months’ time, and I was on my way.
How can I learn copywriting fast
So you wanna get really good at copywriting, fast?
Maybe you’re just getting started as a copywriter… Or maybe you’ve been a writer for a long time, writing some copy here and there, but decided it’s time to really hone your direct response chops…
What’s the best way to get up to speed quickly?
Let me start with a story…
You probably didn’t know this about me, but I was a breakdancer in high school (and college, and I’m still okay at it, but rusty like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz).
I got into it because it was a big part of the electronic music scene in the late 90s, here in Nebraska.
But I danced at my high school with a mix of kids, some into electronic music like me, others into hip-hop…
At lunch time every day, we’d find our way to the very bottom of one of the main stairways at our school — down in the basement by the shop.
It was a nice, big, tiled floor with almost no traffic going through at lunch — and no classrooms within earshot that we’d be a nuisance to.
In short, a perfect place to dance.
It started as just me, Kyle, Leo, and Chardell.
Now, we were all pretty good dancers… And we constantly challenged and taught each other.
But Leo and Chardell were also amazing at something else.
Rapping. Pick any major hip-hop or rap artist of the day, and ask them to rap like them, and they’d just go.
They’d often just go off on any song you’d ask them to… But what was even more amazing was when you’d recommend a specific artist — including really distinctive artists like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, for example — and they’d set off on their own freestyle that was an incredibly close emulation of the original artist.
Considering the talent that a distinctive sound like BTNH takes, it was amazing.
One day, I asked Chardell how he got so good at rapping like all these different artists…
“It’s easy,” he told me.
“You can rap like anybody. Anybody can.”
“All you have to do is listen to their songs, over and over again.
And practice them yourself.
Over and over again.
Trying to sound as much like them as you can.”
“The more songs you memorize well enough to sound like the original artist, the better you learn their style.”
“Eventually, you know the style so well, you can make things up yourself and sound just like the original.”
“I know all their songs. Every word.
That’s how I rap like this.”
And when I asked him how he created his own style, he had an equally simple answer.
“I just took what I liked from everyone else, and copied it.”
“Once I copied enough little things from enough artists, it didn’t sound like them any more. It sounded like me.”
That’s a profound lesson, and it’s been applied in nearly every discipline…
For example, as I learned to produce music, one of the first things I did was start copying.
I’d dig into different songs that I really liked, and try to replicate them myself.
Maybe it was a particular rhythm. Maybe it was a particular synthesizer sound.
Finding out how to copy all the different sounds in any given song became my challenge.
And as I matched the different sounds, I taught myself the many different aspects of making the styles of music I liked.
Now, everything I copied has become an ingrained skill.
It’s no longer copying.
I’m drawing from my own experience, as I seek to recreate the sounds in my head.
Copying taught me the skills that I now use to create original works.
Painters do the same thing.
Most truly great original painters didn’t start out creating great original works.
They started out by copying.
They’d copy the techniques and styles of other painters, learning the process behind a final result.
It’s only once they internalized all these processes that they started to apply them to creating original works.
And because they’d internalized all the processes by copying them in the first place, they had the capabilities to express their creativity in unique and interesting ways.
It goes on… But how does this apply to learning copywriting fast?
While you could apply this to learn nearly any skill, you’re reading this because you want to get great at copywriting.
Well, this same process is one of the most time-tested ways to get great at copywriting, fast.
If you name a copywriting guru, I can bet they’ve recommended it before.
And yes, I followed their recommendation as I was learning copywriting — and it worked!
I even occasionally follow this recommendation to this day.
In short, if you want to get great at copywriting, you need to copy great copy!
Sit down with a successful advertisement or sales letter, and copy it yourself.
The old gurus always said you have to do it by hand.
And I certainly did my fair share — filling up yellow note pad after yellow note pad.
I know for a fact that your brain treats handwriting differently than it does typing.
So maybe there’s something to that.
And I know if nothing else, for most of us having to hand-write something actually slows us down.
And in the extra time it takes to hand copy a piece of great copy, you can think about what the original copywriter was doing with every sentence, and how you can apply that to your own writing.
But even if you’re not going to write out great ads by hand, type them into your computer.
I’m guessing if you go this route, it’s because you do everything on your computer.
Well, it won’t hurt to train your typing fingers to type great copy.
Either way, try it.
What you’ll be doing is training both your conscious and your subconscious mind what great copy is…
What it feels like… Its cadence… Its rhythm… Its pacing… Its stories… Its proof and credibility… Its voice… Its promises and offers…
You’ll be internalizing all the processes and tricks and X-factors that go into writing great copy.
And the more you do of it — from the more different copywriters — the better off you’ll be.
You’ll find yourself internalizing all their different styles and quirks and skills…
And when you go to write your own copy, it’ll all come pouring out in a mashed-up way that’s uniquely you.
Again, if you want to get great at copywriting, fast, this is one of the single-best ways to do so.
Most really good copywriters I know today have done this.
Some did it a lot starting out, and have fallen off.
Others still do it religiously, like exercise.
How do I start my copywriting online
To start a copywriting business, you’ll need to select the services you’ll offer clients, showcase your writing samples and market yourself to attract new clients to hire you as a freelance copywriter.
These topics will walk you through how to start a copywriting business:
How to Start a Copywriting Business: Step-By-Step Guide
1. Cover the Basics
Before you can start a copywriting business, you’ll need to cover the basic requirements of running a freelance company.
First, make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need to be a copywriter, including a computer, an internet connection and a website promoting your services.
If you buy anything new for your business, make sure you track the expense so you can deduct it from your income taxes. Y
ou also may need to register your business and purchase insurance.
2. Plan Your Copywriting Business
Develop a plan of action that outlines your goals, business strategy and target clients.
Analyze your competition by looking up other freelance copywriting businesses in your market to see what services they offer and how much they charge clients for their services.
You’ll also want to plan a promotional strategy for growing your business over time.
3. Choose Your Services
What services will your freelance copywriting business offer to its clients?
You may want to specialize in specific areas of copywriting, such as advertising copy, website content, email marketing copy and more.
If you have experience in a particular type of writing, you may want to choose to focus on that niche while getting your copywriting business off the ground.
4. Develop Your Brand
A strong brand will set you apart from your competitors and give your business a personality that clients can relate to.
Your brand includes the tone and style of your business as well as the graphic look of your business, including your logo, fonts and color palette.
Once you have a clear brand, you can use it across all your marketing materials, including business cards and your website.
5. Establish Your Rates
Setting the rate you’ll charge yclients is an important step and can also be one of the most challenging tasks for writers who are new to freelancing.
First, take a look at what other copywriters in your area charge, so you can establish a realistic range for the industry in your city.
Find other copywriters offering similar services with similar experience levels to you and see what their rates are.
It’s a good idea to set both an hourly rate and a per-word rate, to offer clients some flexibility.
When setting your rate, it’s important to take into consideration all the business expenses that must be covered by your earnings, including your rent, utilities, health insurance expenses and more.
It can be tempting to set a low rate when you’re starting out to attract as many clients as possible, but make sure your rates are sustainable in the long run and offer you a comfortable living.
6. Gather Your Writing Samples
If you’ve worked as a copywriter for an agency or brand before leaving to start your own copywriting business, you’ll want to gather writing samples from your work that showcase your talent and demonstrate the range of media, industries and clients you’ve written for.
If you don’t have previous copywriting experience, you’ll still need writing samples to show potential clients.
Consider doing spec work to showcase your skills.
Spec work involves producing ads on behalf of a business, without working for them.
Often, writers starting out will develop copy for big brands to show the kind of work they’d produce to make a splash for that company, even though they don’t work for them.
7. Develop an Online Portfolio
Once you have selected all your writing samples, you’ll need somewhere to display them so potential clients can see your work.
Develop an online portfolio that showcases your writing samples, provides a listing of your services and offers a bio so clients can learn more about you and your background.
You can use portfolio templates from WordPress or SquareSpace, or hire a web developer to build you a custom site.
8. Sharpen Your Skills
Copywriters should always be improving their writing skills or learning new skills that can help grow their business.
If you’d like to learn about technical writing, SEO principles or another new skill, consider enrolling in classes at a local college or signing up for online courses you can complete from anywhere.
Online services like Udemy or Skillshare can help you learn new skills quickly and inexpensively.
9. Create a Legal Contract
When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you’ll want to have a templated contract in place that you can send to new clients to protect yourself and clearly outline the work your client will receive from you.
A contract outlines the services you’ll provide, the timelines for completing the work and the amount your client will pay you for your services.
It should be signed by both you and your client. Get an in-depth guide on how to develop a legally binding contract for small businesses.
10. Establish an Accounting System
Once client payments start rolling in, you’ll need an accounting system in place to file and record those payments and manage your invoicing.
First, make sure you know all the basics of small business accounting.
Then, choose an accounting system that works for you.
You can handle your business accounting manually, tracking payments and creating invoices in Excel or Word, or you can simplify your small business accounting by using a cloud-based accounting service.
11. Pitch Your Business
To run a successful copywriting business, you need to convince clients to hire you. You can send pitch emails to market yourself to potential clients.
Pitch emails should introduce yourself and your services and offer a persuasive reason why you’d be the perfect freelance copywriter for their business.
Advertising agencies often hire freelance copywriters to work on a project-by-project basis and can be a good place to start sending pitches.
When pitching your copywriting business, always link to your online portfolio, and include links to specific writing samples that are particularly relevant to the brand you’re pitching.
12. Attend Networking Events
Networking events offer a great opportunity for freelance copywriters to meet with potential clients.
In the early years of your copywriting business, you’ll need to be constantly finding new clients to keep your business afloat.
Networking events don’t have to be specific to the marketing or advertising industry.
If there’s a networking event for tech startups in your city, that could be a great opportunity to meet startup founders who might need the services of a freelance copywriter.
13. Ask for Referrals
Don’t be shy about asking clients to refer you to their colleagues and acquaintances.
Often, they’ll be happy to do so.
Word of mouth referrals are some of the strongest leads you can get, since a person is receiving a recommendation from someone they know and trust.
You can also offer clients rewards for bringing you new business.
For example, if a client brings you new business by telling a friend about your services, you can offer them a $50 referral discount off their next invoice.
How Much Does a Freelance Copywriter Charge?
How much a freelance copywriter charges depends on their experience level and the type of copywriting they provide.
Freelance copywriters can charge by word, by page, by hour or by project.
Freelance copywriters charge anywhere from $25 per hour to over $100 per hour.
For freelance copywriters looking to establish your rates, be sure to take in to consideration the following factors:
- How much other copywriters in your area charge for similar work
- How much experience you have: the more experience you have, the more you should charge
- Consider your overhead fees: what do you pay for rent, insurance, utilities, software and marketing?
- When setting hourly rates, don’t forget to account for the amount of time you spend working that isn’t billed to clients for meetings, phone calls, pitches, research, creating and sending invoices, doing bookkeeping, etc.
Do You Need a Degree to Be a Copywriter?
You don’t necessarily need a degree to become a copywriter, but these days most employers and clients look for copywriters who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
That can include an English degree, Communications degree or Journalism degree.
Earning a degree can also help you find work because these programs often allow students to complete internships in related fields, which can help you make important career connections and lead to full-time work after you graduate.
What is the best copywriting course
Introduction to copywriting
The creation and distribution of content for the purpose of increasing brand awareness and ultimately to drive people to make a specific action, requires a particularly polished skill set.
At first glance, it appears rather straightforward.
Conceive a topic or concept, write about it, share it, job done.
If only it were that simple.
Over the past 20 years, copywriting has transformed into a multifaceted profession, encompassing much more than merely knowing how to write.
Today, a successful copywriter will know how to organise their words to get people to feel, think or respond.
In rolling with the times, the rise of online digital marketing, including social media campaigns, has meant that a copywriter must also have the ability to convey a specific message (which may have taken days, weeks or years to conceive by business owners) into a 280 character Tweet, for instance.
Every story has copious angles, the job of a copywriter is to find the one that resonates.
This is a skill in itself and can be taught by successfully training a curious analytical mind.
A well-trained copywriter will find connections. With ample content already circulating the web, a competent copywriter will creatively string together what they find to create something new.
Why take a copywriting course?
There is a range of diverse copywriting courses of different durations, costs, locations and recognition, that offer writers the chance to gain accredited qualifications that will, in turn, enhance their career prospects.
Courses vary and accommodate a variety of levels of experience.
A useful tip before thinking about enrolling is to consider your current level of copywriting.
If you’re a beginner, do not sign up for a copywriting course that teaches advanced direct mail writing techniques.
The same notion is applied to experienced copywriters- in that they should not consider a beginners course.
Taught course versus self-taught copywriting
It is possible to teach yourself the skills needed to become a successful copywriter.
There are a number of effective copywriting books available on the market. For example, Confessions of an Advertising Man – David Ogilvy, is required reading in many copywriting courses and its written as if the entire book was an advertising copy.
Using online tools and resources in your own time to strengthen your copywriting skills is certainly an effective way to grow.
Further, practice makes perfect. By creating content and getting it out there, receiving feedback and criticism could shape your writing style and abilities.
There are a few downsides to self-taught copywriting.
A primary reason to enrol on a course is to gain the qualification or certificate of completion to show to prospective employers and clients.
Besides, many courses are intensely packed over a duration of a day or two.
You will be introduced to all the relevant information, skills and tools you will need to excel at writing effective copy.
Online versus face-to-face learning
The list of copywriting courses available to you is exhaustive.
One way to narrow down your options is to consider whether you want to leave your home to complete the course.
Having said that, the first nicety of online courses is having the luxury to stay home.
For some people, this may be problematic or unattractive for a number of reasons.
There are many locations in which you can find somewhere to go to complete the course.
The benefits in doing so range from, meeting other writers, engaging in topical discussions, and feeling more motivated by your peers.
So, your options are laid out.
If you are swaying towards signing up to a copywriting course, you won’t have trouble finding one.
Here are just 10 of the best copywriting courses.
Where: Central London and Edinburgh
Duration: 2 days.
Face to face sessions
The IDM Award in Digital Copywriting offers an in-depth analysis into the psychology of copywriting for the web.
It teaches writers how to use their emotional drivers to motivate people and master the art of persuasion across all channels.
Recognised as one of the premier marketing institutes in the UK, IDM has access to the most experienced tutors in the industry.
Latest trends, methods and tools are all integrated into this course.
The prestigious IDM stamp of approval makes for an attractive writer to an employee or client.
With 7 CPD (Continuing Professional Development) hours, students on the course can rest assured in the knowledge that the course has stellar content and structure from which they will take away invaluable experience- and a certificate to show it.
Duration: 3 months
This SEO Copywriting certificate program draws its focus on B2B and digital content.
They hold the impressive title of being the first agency to have ever specialised in SEO.
In 2010 they founded the first SEO Copywriting Certificate Program.
If anyone knows the fundamental components of SEO, its Success Works.
The course aims to strengthen the skills for writing for the web and social media, and places emphasis on keyword research and persuasive copy.
It is run by Heather Lloyd Martin- celebrated by Forbes as ‘the pioneer of SEO Copywriting’.
Anyone looking to break into the digital marketing arena, where SEO plays a pivotal role in shaping strategy, this course will give you everything you need to do so.
You’ll develop the skills to optimise pages correctly, write high-positioning copy and maximise search visibility.
There are a few tailored choices with slight variations. eMarketeers ‘Writing for the Web’ course is for those who want to progress in the digital world of copywriting.
This intense one-dayer aims to simplify online technological tools which are used to write for the web.
Those unfamiliar with the jargon will be relieved to know that simplification is at the heart of this course.
It teaches the researched best-practice that has been proven to enhance web page and email marketing performance by over 100%.
You’ll come away with a ‘Certificate in Copywriting’, although it’s not a recognised awarding body, it is still impressive to employers.
Duration: No set limit- flexible
All tutors on this course are professional copywriters, The Blackford Centre focus on practicality instead of theory, makes it a good choice if you want tips on what’s really effective, and what’s not.
You’ll get constant email support from an individual tutor, meaning any questions or queries you have will be answered by them in a personalised way.
The course comprises 11 different interactive assignments which cover different aspects of copywriting.
You’ll discover how to run your own freelance business and will be added to The Blackford Centre database of writers with plenty of opportunities to get paid jobs.
You’ll come away with a National Diploma in Copywriting- which will further enhance your employment opportunities.
Cost: circa £500
Duration: 2 days
As one of the most reputable marketing bodies in the UK, the Copywriting Masterclass at the CIM introduces its students to a wide variety of topics, taught by prestigious tutors delivering to small size classes.
Its focus on advanced copywriting techniques is imperative to today’s competitive environment and prepares its students to think about tone, mediums, audiences and copy-stream management.
Coming away with a CIM Certificate in Copywriting gives you a competitive edge when it comes to employment.
CIM is well recognised across the marketing industry and your certificate won’t go unnoticed.
Duration: No limit- flexible
American Writers and Artists Inc’s ‘Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting’ course is known as the world’s most popular of its kind.
It was established by one of the most successful copywriters, Mark Ford, and promises you’ll walk away with a highly impressive portfolio.
You will be in direct communication with tutors who will guide you through the course at your own pace.
Further, you will receive a comprehensive critique from experts on two written assignments, which will help direct you to your full potential.
Although this program is not officially accredited, it offers extensive professional knowledge and is well known by employers.
They offer 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Try the program for 30 days and if you’re not delighted, return the unmarked material and your purchase price will be refunded.
Duration: Approx 2 hours
This one is for the beginners.
You will explore the different types of copywriting, and learn the general rules.
LinkedIn Training instructor Ian Lurie will guide you through the process of writing copy that conveys your story and sells your product.
The lectures on this program are combined with exercises and quizzes that encourage participation and hands-on experience.
It will walk you through creating the first draft, editing, testing deadlines and rewriting the copy.
It incorporates tips on structuring copy for print versus online and how to use typography effectively.
You will engage in assignments and challenges that give you the opportunity to practice the concepts covered in lectures.
Cost: Free for 1 month
Where: London and Bristol
Duration: 1 day
This Professional Copywriting course is aimed at polishing the skills of established writers in order to effectively enhance their ability to write copy that persuades and sells.
You should be working in a field where writing is used as a persuasive tool.
The course strengthens the skills in understanding your audience, writing effective headlines and taglines, connecting words with pictures, writing for different media, and writing with SEO in mind.
You will leave the course with a certificate of attendance to add to your portfolio.
By strengthening your existing skills, this course will build the stepping stone on which to enhance your career.
Cost: £296-£345 depending on location
Duration: Flexible- no limit
The Writers Bureau Complete Copywriter Course offers writers at the beginning of their careers everything they need to become a copywriter.
You will be taught by some of the UK’s most established copywriters, providing expert, personal tuition.
They will guide you along the entire process of planning, writing, editing and how to sell your services.
You will work on multiple assignments as part of the course and receive an expert critique.
Its five star ‘excellent’ review received from Trustpilot should give you the security in knowing that this course has been enthusiastically received by a large number of previous students.
Where: London College of Communication
Duration: 1 day
Confident Copywriting at UAL has been put together for those who have tasked with copywriting, developing a tone of voice, or have started writing for themselves or business.
It teaches how to optimise your content for Google searches and expands on the fundamentals of SEO.
Taught by Ron Finlay, with 30+ years experience in communications, a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Chartered Institute for Marketing, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an accredited trainer for the Media Trust; you can be sure to receive the best possible industry tips, information and guidance.
A Certificate in Confident Copywriting from the esteemed UAL, is grounded in itself to make you more employable.
What is more, at the end of this course, you will be able to apply the taught tools and tricks of the writing trade to your own working life.
How much should I charge per word to write
How much should writers charge per word or per project?
How can they figure out the correct rates to charge clients?
We look at these questions here.
Recently, I saw a job posting for freelancers “with initiative” to curate content on social media.
They were offering up to 75¢ per social post, based on quality and quantity.
While 75¢ per Tweet or Instagram post sounds great, most writers would probably find it difficult to create 10 “quality” posts per hour (or every six minutes).
If they could, that rate would come out to $7.50 per hour—or just 25¢ better than the national minimum wage and below most state minimum wages.
In other words, many serious freelance writers would skip on this job posting.
Or if they responded to it, they would try to negotiate a better rate.
But how much should writers charge?
And how should they determine what an appropriate rate would be?
These are common freelance writing questions.
So let’s look at how to handle them.
Writing is your passion.
Why not make it your day job, too?
Whether you’re an aspiring screenwriter, novelist or playwright, or even just an avid reader, you can turn your love for words into a lucrative career as a professional copywriter.
Learn how to become a copywriter by building your portfolio and marketing your services through this online workshop.
How Much Should Writers Charge Per Word or Per Project?
As an editor, I’ve edited 20 editions of the Writer’s Market in one capacity or another.
For those unfamiliar with that annual directory, its key selling point is that Writer’s Market lists more than 3,000 freelance opportunities for writers, including listings for literary agents, book publishers, magazines, and contests.
But over the years, I’ve also heard freelancers say that they buy the book solely for its “How Much Should I Charge?” article that includes a pay rate chart for more than 100 freelancing jobs available to freelance writers.
As some freelancers have explained over the years, this chart was invaluable for helping them determine how much to charge for various freelance jobs, whether its how much to charge for writing a speech for government officials or the average hourly rate for medical proofreading.
Knowing the proper rates could make the difference between earning $7.50 per hour or charging $62 per hour, which is the average hourly rate for social media postings according to the Writer’s Market 2020.
That said, the answer to the question above—How much should writers charge per word or per project?—is simple:
The most you can get that works for you and your employer.
As you get started, clips and experience may be more important to you than money; but if you want to make a living (or supplemental income) with your writing, money will need to become important.
How Do You Figure Out Rates?
As a writer, I’ve freelanced on a few different projects for different types of companies over the years.
During that process, I’ve learned that different employers charge different rates and they figure out those rates based on various criteria.
For instance, I’ve been paid based on the hours I put in—or by using an hourly rate.
I’ve also been paid based on a post, article, or project basis.
Many publications also pay by published word.
So how does a freelance writer figure out a consistent rate?
The method I’ve used is to know how much I want to earn an hour and project that out for figuring out my freelance rates in other ways.
Let’s say a local company (maybe a dentist office) wants me to create blog posts for its website, and they want to pay me per post.
If my preferred hourly rate is $30 per hour, I’ll need to estimate how long it would take me on average to create a blog post.
In this instance, I may think it’s going to take four hours per post. Pro tip: Always be conservative with estimating how long a project will take.
Four hours times $30 per hour equals $120.
As such, I may suggest $150 per post—or even $200.
Another pro tip: Always charge a little more than you’re willing to take, because you can always negotiate down.
Plus, it’s the best way to increase your rates moving forward.
On Books and Articles
Magazines and books tend to figure out payment in different ways. Magazines may pay by published word or by article, which has a general word count.
On the other hand, book publishers often—though not always—offer advances against royalties with royalties after the book “earns out” its advance.
For magazines, a writer who pens a 2,000-word article may earn $200 from one publication, $500 from another, and $2,000 from yet another.
At $200, the writer earns 10¢ per word.
$500 breaks down as 25¢ per word.
And $2,000 is the holy grail of $1 per word.
A medium-sized press may offer various writers advances of $1,500, $6,000, and $15,000 for books of roughly 75,000 words.
While the money sounds better overall, the per word rates are 2¢, 8¢, and 20¢ per word respectively.
Of course, a book could “earn out” its advance and collect royalties on top of that initial advance.
But only the advance is guaranteed.
Just one more reason why it’s important to take a step back and do the math when figuring out the best way to spend your time and figure out freelance rates.
Final Word on Rates
Whether you’re writing books, articles, blog posts, or copy for local businesses, always take time to figure out how much you’re earning and how that compares across clients and projects.
While you may have different reasons for taking on different projects, your goal should be to increase your rates over time.
The best way to do that is to know what your rates are in the first place.
Who is the highest paid copywriter
If you want my team to just do your marketing for you, click here.
Confused about hiring a freelance copywriter?
The process doesn’t have to be confusing, but if you’re new to hiring writers it can seem overwhelming.
Could it really be possible that some freelance writers would lie to you, saying whatever it takes to snag your business, justify their exorbitant fees, and turn you into a submissive client who does whatever they tell you?
It’s sad, but in the years I’ve been in the business, I’ve seen companies burned, stung, robbed, and strung out by unethical copywriters who couldn’t care less about them.
To them, you’re just a walking ATM machine, and they lay awake at night, figuring out how to press all your buttons.
I know because my clients have told me.
Sometimes, they tell me because the lie worked, and they’re thinking about taking their business away from my firm, but lots of times, it’s the opposite.
They know it’s a lie, but they just can’t figure out how.
As much as some freelance copywriters would like to believe it, business owners aren’t stupid.
You know when someone isn’t being straight with you.
Maybe you just need someone to verify it, and so that’s what I’d like to do.
Because I have worked with tons of freelance copywriters over the years, it makes sense I share my experiences with the lies I have been told by those pitching me their services.
And here’s why: they make the honest ones look bad.
There are plenty of copywriters with full integrity.
We do great work and charge a fair price.
But when we have to struggle with a reputation given us by less ethical writers… well, it’s time to fight back.
Here are 10 of the most common lies copywriters like to tell.
Take a look, so you’ll be ready.
1. “Just tell me how long the copy is, and I’ll get you a quote!”
Hiring a copywriter isn’t like buying carpet.
There’s no such thing as “industry standard pricing” for copywriting.
Some projects might need long copy, others might need short copy.
But both require special skills, and length has nothing to do with it.
If a 10,000-word sales letter from a great copywriter costs $10,000—does that mean a three-word slogan should only cost $3? Of course not.
Nobody thinks McDonald’s only spent a few bucks on the strategic and creative team behind “I’m lovin’ it.”
You could buy a t-shirt and jeans out of a bin at Walmart, or get someone on Fiverr to design a site. You could also have a tailor craft a bespoke suit, and hire one of the world’s top designers to design a new site.
You could say they’re just clothes and websites—what’s the difference?
But anyone knows they’re not the same.
It’s the same with copywriting.
No honest copywriter will provide a quote without a detailed understanding of the project.
One of the highest-paid copywriters of all time, Clayton Makepeace, asks dozens of questions about a project before even taking on a client.
Anyone who claims they don’t need information like that isn’t worth your money.
2. “I charge the same rate for every client.”
It’s impossible to charge the same rate for two different clients.
Because projects are different and require different skills sets, different time investments, and different amounts of research.
Selling a candy bar and a million-dollar home require very different skills, and a good copywriter knows that.
If a copywriter claims to charge the rate for every project, beware.
3. “I’m qualified because I have a degree in English literature.”
While having a degree is nice, those English lit degrees aren’t any measure of quality copywriting.
They’re actually pretty useless where copywriting is concerned because the field has far more to do with sales and marketing than with literature.
Truth be told, most top copywriters don’t even have degrees.
Degrees don’t matter.
The good copywriters aren’t going to show you their credentials.
Instead, they’re going to show you what they’ve achieved for other clients, and they’ll tell you about the results they can get for your business.
4. “I can whip it together as fast as you need it.”
Want to know a dirty little secret?
Top copywriters produce copy in minutes.
The actual writing doesn’t take much time at all, and no copywriter worth his or her salt charges on an hourly basis.
But there’s something beyond just hours to produce good copy.
It’s like the difference between a last-minute school assignment you scribbled up the night before, compared to a report that took you weeks to complete.
Sure, the minutes spent typing were probably the same.
But the results were completely different.
Great copywriters are usually fast typists, and the writing part might only take a few hours.
But the research, brainstorming, editing, and revising add up quickly.
Expect for a high-quality copywriter to take weeks for an assignment.
They want to deliver a great result, and they’re willing to put in the time to make it work.
Any copywriter who can finish a project in a few hours or days isn’t putting in the time to make something worthwhile.
5. “Your email hit my spam folder.”
This time-stalling trick isn’t just used by copywriters—it’s the perfect excuse for anyone who wants to avoid dealing with you, for whatever reason.
Maybe they’re running behind and can’t deliver on time.
Maybe they don’t feel like making the changes you’ve requested.
Whatever the reason for wanting to stall, the spam folder provides an easy excuse.
Your communication disappears as if it never existed, and by the time the copywriter says, “Oops, I’m sorry,” it’s just too late.
The good copywriters?
They know business, and they know that regular spam checkups are just part of the routine—no one’s email gets lost.
6. “I’m booked, so I can only squeeze you in if you pay a rush fee.”
This is pure psychological manipulation, and it works very nicely.
A perception of being in demand makes you want the copywriter more, thanks to the magic of social proof.
The really in-demand copywriters don’t play these games.
They don’t squeeze anyone, because they don’t need to.
They have plenty of work, they’re not interested in filling up their plate, and they can afford to tell you that you have to wait your turn.
Now, the story changes if you have a rush project.
The best writers are booked months out, and if you need a fast turnaround time, they’ll ask you to compensate them fairly for the extra effort.
7. “I’m not allowed to share my portfolio.”
Sure, sometimes a writer does a secretive project and isn’t allowed to share it.
No copywriter would break a non-disclosure agreement just to impress a prospect.
But every good copywriter has a great portfolio.
If they don’t have published projects they can share, they’ll have some unpublished examples they wrote just for that reason.
Scammy copywriters, or those just starting out, will often claim you don’t need to see a portfolio.
But real copywriters?
They simply point you to substantial work and testimonials that prove they’re worth every penny.
They don’t need or want you to “just trust them,” because their results speak for themselves.
8. “All you need to make sales is great copy.”
That’s just silly.
If great copy was all we needed to make sales, we could do away with good products, websites, marketing campaigns, driving traffic, providing good customer service—there’s just no need!
The best copy in the world won’t do anything for your sales if you don’t have a clear plan, tools, resources, tactics, and strategies in place.
Quality copywriting works with your existing strategies to draw in potential customers, convey trust and credibility, and get customers’ eyes on the page so they start to read.
It’s just one piece of a successful business.
9. “This copy will sell anyone.”
Any copywriter worth his QWERTY knows this is a crock.
You can’t write copy targeting “anyone”—good copy is crafted to reach specific people with specific problems.
It’s laser-focused on the ideal customer, and it often repels anyone else.
Unscrupulous writers won’t ask questions about your target market, and the result is that they won’t sell much to anyone at all, including your ideal customer.
They’ll miss all the crucial elements of good copy, like hitting the right pain point, addressing concerns, providing convincing benefits and drawing in your ideal customer to a sale.
10. “I know what I’m doing, and if you’re smart, you’ll trust me.”
This is meant to position them as an authority.
But as anyone knows, people who must point out they know what they’re doing usually don’t.
And frankly, if you weren’t worried before, the statement “trust me” certainly raises an important question in your head: “Can I?”
The answer is… probably not.
Self-confidence in skills and knowledge is something that’s easily communicated and nearly tangible.
You don’t have to be told—you can clearly see the copywriter knows exactly what he or she is doing without that person even saying a word.
What copywriting niches are profitable
Trying to pick a profitable freelance writing niche feels like trying to choose the perfect Halloween costume.
You consider a zillion different options… “These could all be really good ones!!!”
You change your mind 1,000 times…
And when this pattern continues for too long, you give up because you’re too overwhelmed and indecisive.
…AKA, you spend Halloween alone with your 10 cats, chugging $5 wine while watching Hocus Pocus on repeat from your couch.
All because you couldn’t decide on the perfect costume.
Aaaaand you never even START your freelance writing business.
All because you couldn’t decide on a niche.
…I’ve seen this happen to SO many writers.
Because we’re perfectionists. We don’t want to start anything until we can be 100% sure that everything is 100%.
The problem with that?
Perfectionism won’t get you any further in growing your business.
A much better approach is to make your *best educated guess* on a profitable freelance writing niche that’s going to be a good fit for you, and JUST FREAKING START marketing yourself and pitching.
This blog post is going to help you with that.
By the time you’re done reading today, you’ll know 10 profitable freelance writing niches that are growing and have plenty of opportunities for paid writing work.
And I’ll also show you examples + give you tips on how to choose the right one.
Now, before we get to the list, something to keep in mind:
Practically any niche (even the ones here!) can be both profitable AND not-so-profitable depending on the kinds of clients you decide to target within your niche.
…In other words, if you decide to write a long-form blog post for some broke college kid’s personal blog, don’t expect to get paid as much as you would writing a long-form blog post for a massive company with a huge marketing budget.
Always target clients that value the kind of content you write AND have the budget to pay you well for your work.
…BEFORE WE JUMP IN, make SURE you join over 7,000 writers and sign up for my free class on how to make your first 1K freelance writing:
(Because you can pick a profitable niche all day long… but if you don’t know how to MARKET YOUR NICHE, you’re screwed.)
Aaaaand now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about some of the most profitable freelance writing niches for 2020!
10 Insanely Profitable Freelance Writing Niches in 2020
1. Long-form blog posts / ultimate guide posts
Long-form blog posts (2000+ words), especially in B2B niches, tend to pay the big bucks.
Plus, clients in this niche often offer consistent work since blog posts aren’t a “one and done” type of content!
If you can write conversationally and break down complex topics so that they’re easy to understand, this could be the niche for you.
And if you know how to SEO the MESS out of your blog posts so they get ranked in Google searches, that’s even better!
Just make sure you learn how to drive results with blog posts if you really want to compete in this niche. It’s not enough to write a bunch of words – you need to know about headline creation to drive clicks, blog post formatting, SEO, etc.
So, what exactly do I mean by “long-form blog posts” and “ultimate guides?”
^ Check out this post, and you can see that it truly is an ultimate guide to setting up a freelance writer website.
My idea of an ultimate guide = a blog post that’s SO in-depth that the reader can get all the info they need from that ONE post to accomplish the task at hand.
These blog posts are typically super lengthy too.
…No fluff though – everything included has a purpose and helps the reader!
2. Email sequences / sales funnels
Email is still a BIG moneymaker in 2020.
I’m saying this from experience!
My email list is the #1 way I sell products. Meaning it’s directly tied to my business revenue.
If you can write email sequences / funnels that SELL, you can expect to get paid pretty well for it.
Just like with any other niche here, you’ll do the best if you can drive awesome results for your clients.
So don’t just focus on learning “newsletter writing” – focus on learning sales copywriting skills and funnel creation specifically!
3. Cannabis, CBD, etc.
If you have specialized knowledge in this area, you’ll be excited to learn that this is a BOOMING freelance writing niche for 2020!
Now, of course, you can target local dispensaries, cannabis blogs, and CBD/herbal medicine stores…
BUT, I want to also encourage you to think beyond that. Can you find a tech start-up that is related to CBD… like, a software company that targets dispensaries?
These kinds of clients can be very lucrative, so think outside of the box when you’re deciding who to target!
If you’re concerned about the longevity of this niche / not being able to find enough work, keep in mind that you can always market yourself as a natural health and wellness writer with a specialization in cannabis/CBD if you want to go a bit more broad.
That way, you can still easily land other, more general “health/wellness” gigs too.
Pro tip: If you’re writing blog posts in this niche (or any niche, for that matter), make sure you learn SEO best practices. This can be a huge value add for clients and allows you to charge more! And the TOP clients will expect SEO knowledge.
4. Case studies
Case studies are super lucrative as a freelance writing niche – and probably always will be – because they serve as powerful social proof and therefore help companies drive sales.
If you’re not familiar with case studies, they’re basically testimonials, but they involve telling a story about the customer’s positive transformation as opposed to just writing a sentence or two about it.
(Noticing a pattern here? A lot of the top lucrative freelance writing niches involve content that has a direct impact on the client’s revenue!)
Most of the case studies I’ve written have loosely followed this structure:
They’re pretty easy to write IMO. One thing to note is that they do involve interviews with the client and/or the client’s client (confused yet? lol).
The final case study product also tends to be well-designed – not just a Word doc.
But whether or not you handle the design is up to you!
Psst! Wanna learn how to make your first 1K freelance writing? Join over 7,000 writers and get INSTANT ACCESS to my free training right here!
5. Video scripts
Video is HUGE in 2020, and it’s only going to continue growing.
So if you can write scripts for YouTube videos, sales page videos, home page videos, or another type of business videos, you can feel confident knowing you’ve got a skill that’ll be in demand indefinitely!
If you want to focus on video scriptwriting as a niche, I recommend going with a sub-niche that’ll make it easy for you to charge the big bucks.
In other words, specialize in writing video scripts that help *a specific kind of client* make money.
(For example, you could write sales page videos for seven-figure entrepreneurs. Or explainer videos for software products.)
Not sure how to start in this niche?
Maybe write/create a sales video for the home page of your own website!
From there, just like with any other niche, you can grow your clientele as you grow your knowledge and experience.
6. Sales pages
Sales page copywriting can be extremely lucrative if you know what you’re doing.
Think about it – you write a sales page that results in $200,000 for your client. How valuable do you think your writing is to that client?
Um. Pretty valuable.
Meaning that, if they have any sense at all, they’ll be willing to pay you a LOT of money for your work. And they may even hire you for future sales pages.
Wanna see an example?
Here’s an old sales page (aw, cute) I used to use for my best-selling freelance writing course, Killer Cold Emailing:
I wrote the sales page copy myself, but many entrepreneurs hire copywriters for that.
So that could be a good target client option for you!
Again here, you MUST know that long-term success is all about being able to produce results (usually in the form of cash money) for your clients.
If you want to specialize in sales pages but aren’t sure where to start, first, I recommend that you choose a narrower niche than just “sales pages.”
For example, you could write sales pages for software businesses.
Or you could write sales pages for online course creators.
Then, study sales/copywriting and make a note of what successful sales pages in your niche industry (not just all kinds of sales pages! you want to get specific here. this is VERY IMPORTANT!) look like so you can test different strategies and learn from them!
7. White papers
Whitepapers are in-depth reports, and they present a problem and solution in a way that is meant to persuade the reader. They’re especially popular in the technology niche.
While they can pay REALLY well (thousands!), you’ll need to put some serious time and effort into writing them and interviewing your client to get the information you need.
The GOOD news is that you don’t typically need a lot of subject matter expertise with white papers (in other words, you don’t need to be a tech expert to write a tech white paper) since the client interview is your main source of information.
You just need to put the white paper together in a way that helps the client get the results they’re looking for.
Because while it is an informative document, it can – and should – also be a powerful sales tool.
FUN FACT: I landed an awesome whitepaper client simply by cold emailing as a beginner freelance writer… CHA CHING. Here’s my proven cold emailing process – yes, it even works if you have no experience!
8. SaaS content
No, not talking about SASSY content here.
(That would be the best niche ever though. And I would definitely be making 8 figures by now.)
SaaS = Software as a Service.
This means, well… companies that sell software as a service! (Example: Freshbooks, my favorite invoicing software / finance management tool for freelancers!)
This isn’t really a “type of content” niche like white papers or case studies – it’s an industry you can write all different types of content for.
Some of my best, highest paying clients have been SaaS companies.
I wrote long-form blog posts for SaaS companies for a long time, but there’s plenty of opportunity for other work (like website copy and email newsletters!) there too!
I recommend looking on Angelist to research companies in this industry to pitch.
Also, think about the software you personally use, and consider pitching those companies. This is how I landed a gig writing for the Freshbooks invoicing software blog!
9. Marketing blog posts
There are LOADS of companies out there who will pay for marketing blog posts – more specifically, long-form blog posts about marketing. Neil Patel-esque blog posts. Tutorials and “ultimate guides” to help the reader grow their business.
You can break into this niche by starting small if you need to.
I started out writing shorter client blog posts and transitioned to longer, higher-paying ones as my knowledge grew.
The great thing about writing long-form marketing blog posts is that you can use what you learn to start your OWN blog where you can sell products / promote affiliate links to make some sweeeet passive income!
And if you DO have your own blog, you’ll grow even more marketing knowledge as you promote your own posts, which will make you better-equipped to write amazing posts for clients.
Plus, you can use your results from your own blog (like high social shares, amazing SEO that results in high search rankings, etc.) to show proof of your expertise!)
10. Technology content
I started out as a freelance writer in the IT/technology niche. Just like with most niches, if you have specialized knowledge in this area, you’re going to find it easier to land gigs.
And there are a LOT of gigs out there in this niche.
You can write white papers, case studies, blog posts, website copy – you name it!
Target the right clientele within this niche, and you’ll be well on your way to building a crazy profitable business.
Now, let’s cover 3 of my *best* tips for choosing the most profitable freelance writing niches in 2020:
Tip #1: Develop specialized knowledge.
…AKA pick a freelance writing niche, and spend a lot of time learning about that *SPECIFIC* niche and industry.
This means focusing less on learning “writing” and more on “how to write B2B case studies that convert” or “how to write blog posts that drive sales.”
The key to quickly becoming a highly paid freelance writer is specializing in something and becoming the best at that ONE thing. You want to be known for what you do and become the go-to person for it!
…Seriously – go take it. You’ll thank me later.
Tip #2: Learn how to drive results for your clients.
Because you’re not selling words on a page.
You’re selling results.
As much as you may hate to admit this, it’s true. If you write for businesses, you’re part of your client’s sales machine.
Now, I’ve hired lots of freelance help as my biz has grown, and let me tell you:
—> I don’t care about college degrees.
—> I don’t care about fancy bylines.
—> I don’t care about anything other than the person I’m hiring being about to get me the result I’m looking for.
Figure out how you help your clients make money (getting leads, traffic, etc.), and learn how to drive those results.
This means learning SEO, how to write headlines that drive clicks, how to format content so it keeps people hooked and reading, etc.
…Oh, and you MUST MARKET the fact that your content drives results (no one will know if you don’t tell them!).
Tip #3: LEARN. HOW. TO. SELL. Or the fact that you’ve picked a profitable freelance writing niche won’t be worth anything.
Most writers obsessively worry that their writing isn’t good enough.
But the harsh truth for 99% of writers is this:
You won’t fail because of your writing abilities.
And a mediocre writer who can sell will make more moo-lah than an amazing writer who is clueless when it comes to sales/marketing.
So you BETTER learn how to pitch, cold email (here’s my proven method!), and market yourself.
(^Read that twice. Now, read it again. Let it really sink in, and think about how much time you study writing vs. how much time you spend learning sales/marketing.)
Seriously – you can be the greatest writer on the planet, but if no one knows about you, you’re screwed.
How do you get people to know about you?
This is why I teach cold email pitching for freelance writers…
And it’s why so many of my Killer Cold Emailing students get AMAZING results – like student Sarah, who escaped awful content mills using my cold email pitching strategy and now makes over $8,000 per month writing.
Yes, picking a profitable niche is important, but knowing how to sell your services once you’ve chosen your niche is just as important.
(Which is why my Killer Cold Emailing course teaches you how to pick a niche AND how to market yourself in your niche!)
So, make sure to keep the big picture in mind, and learn how to MARKET your writing services and your niche expertise.
Because using this list of lucrative freelance writing niche ideas to help you pick a niche is a great first step, but you’re still screwed if you don’t know how to market your niche effectively.
How difficult is copywriting
“Ooo, copywriting is really hard to get into.
” That’s one of the most popular things for people to say when they hear you’re interested in the field.
And what is that based on?
Let’s take today’s article and delve into the “it’s so hard” objection.
Today’s question is from Asha W. who asks, “I’m really interested in copywriting.
It seems like it would be a great fit for my skills and a fun field in general.
But when I’ve mentioned it to a few people (my boyfriend’s father, my cousin), they both told me that it’s a hard field to break into.
Is that true?
Am I just setting myself up for disappointment?”
So, let me start out with a little story.
Practically anytime I’m at party or event and I meet someone new, we do the standard
“What do you do?” exchange and I tell them I’m a copywriter.
And pretty much invariably, I get back, “Ooo, that’s really hard to get into.”
Now, most often they’ll follow up with something like “my brother’s friend tried to get into it and just failed miserably” or “my college roommate tried that a few years ago and couldn’t make a go of it.”
So my first point is that this is all second-hand information—all speculation.
That’s the first thing to watch out for.
Everyone wants to have an opinion, but it’s pretty rare that the opinion is based on actual experience.
Sometimes, though, the person I’m talking to will say, “Yeah, I tried to do that and I just couldn’t make any money.”
So my next question is always, “Oh?
How did you go about looking for work?”
And they’ll say they talked to friends of friends, or they applied to agencies.
And that’s fine, that’s somewhat in line with what you have to do.
But them comes my next question: “How did you get trained to write copy?” And absolutely always, without fail, they answer, “Oh, I’m just a good writer, so I started doing it.”
And I’m not trying to embarrass or shame these people because they were doing they best they could, but that’s just really kind of nuts.
I mean, any career is going to be hard to break into if you don’t have training or experience!
Do you think people who just like to draw land careers as graphic designers without learning design principles and building a portfolio?
Or do you think that people who like to cook land chef jobs at restaurants without years of learning and experience?
Of course not!
What real, working copywriters will tell you is that, yes, copywriting is very hard to break into—if you don’t have any training or experience.
Every time someone who has no training or experience applies for a job, they’re up against other people who do have them.
So who do you think the Creative Director is going to hire?
Copywriting is absolutely no harder a career to break into than any other one.
But very, very, very few people are going to be able to successfully build a career if they don’t actually know how to write copy!
(And there’s a big difference between thinking you know how to write copy and understanding the fundamental principles and advanced techniques.)
So, first, don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you that it’s “hard to get into.”
Either that’s not based on first-hand experience, or it’s based on the flawed premise that just because they like to write, the world would throw copy jobs at their feet.
You absolutely can be successful as a copywriter.
But the key to being successful is going into it with a plan.
You need to have a plan for how you’re going to get trained and how you’re going to get experience and how you’re going to get your questions answered and how you’re going to grow.
(And, Asha, I know you’re a member of our Comprehensive Copywriting Academy, so you’ve taken the right step.
And we’ve put that plan together for you!)
Don’t let anyone who doesn’t know what they’re talking sway you from what you want to do.
Stay focused, keep working, and look forward to when you can tell these same people that you’ve landed a the copywriting job of your dreams.
Do copywriters work from home
Copywriting is a way to make good money working from home.
There’s a lot of work available if you know how to find it, and you don’t need an advanced degree (or any degree, really) to do it.
You don’t even have to be an expert to start.
There are simple ways to get better fast, while you build a solid client list.
The disparity in pay can be absurd.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to become a copywriter, how to get entry-level copywriter jobs online, and then how to move on to high-paying freelance copywriting jobs.
You’ll also see how much time and effort it takes, so you can decide whether this career is right for you.
Full disclosure: I’ve been working remotely as a copywriter (and sometimes remotely working) for 5 years.
I make a very healthy living.
I also spoke with several other high-earning copywriters to get some inside insights into how to make this fun, exciting, and freeing remote-work career a possibility for you.
1. Know what copywriting is (and isn’t)
You may think copywriting is “writing copy for companies,” but it’s more specific than that.
Copywriting is sales writing.
Companies need it for emails, websites, video scripts, ads, white papers, presentations, product descriptions, and more, and there’s a time-tested technique to do it right.
Copywriters work to persuade readers to buy something, or take some other sales-related action.
You may write a mass email to convince readers to sign up for an online service, or write a video script for an infomercial.
In copywriting jobs, you’ll work hard to generate interest and turn it into action.
Copywriting is not blogging or content marketing.
That’s creating interesting content like the article you’re reading now.
Don’t get me wrong, those are other types of writing that companies and agencies pay money for, so don’t write it off (so to speak), but copywriting is a specific genre.
2. Understand the pay (you can make it huge)
How much do copywriters make?
Don’t be fooled by median salaries that you see online.
While it’s true that entry-level copywriters don’t earn much, you can make well into six figures if you stick with it and work hard.
How long does it take to make good money?
You can earn a meager living after a few months of working at it.
It usually takes a year or more to hit the $100,000 mark.
(It took me 4 years, but that’s because I stuck with a low-paying job for half that time.)
Making a good living through corporate or freelance copywriting jobs online comes down to learning on the job, networking the right way (I’ll show how below), and writing a lot.
3. Plan your copywriter business
How do you become a copywriter?
It’s no harder than any other job.
The first step?
Sit down and create a plan.
How much time can you afford to spend?
How much do you have to earn in order to live right now?
Decide between these options:
- Work part-time: If you’ve got a day job, you can start by copywriting online nights and weekends. Plan on at least 8 hours a week. The more time you can spend, the quicker your income and client list will grow.
- Go full time: You may decide to look for full-time copywriting jobs, especially if you’re unemployed. Plan to make scant money the first few months with entry-level copywriting jobs, but don’t wait long to shift to higher-paying clients.
- Work remotely: Are you looking for remote copywriter jobs online? Working from home narrows your options, but not as much as you’d think. More and more, agencies and businesses are hiring freelance remote copywriters.
- Corporate: Corporate copywriters work for a single company or agency. You apply, get interviewed, and (hopefully) get hired. You may work in a brick-and-mortar office or as a remote copywriter from home. You can earn $60K to $115K a year.
- Freelance: Freelancers do it all. You create your own remote copywriter jobs, find clients, and run the business. You may face feast-or-famine workloads. You can earn more than corporate copywriters because you constantly replace lower-paying clients with higher-paying ones to ratchet up your income.
- Agency: Partnering with an agency as a freelance copywriter is the best of both worlds. Many agencies pay high rates and find clients for you. An agency will assign large amounts of regular work to a freelance copywriter they trust.
“Writing is a business, and you have to treat it as such.
It took me 2 years of really hard work and lots of rejections before I was able to replace – and then earn more than – what I made at my day job,” Jeanette Hurt, full-time writer.
4. Find entry-level freelance copywriting jobs (it’s easy)
Think it’s hard to find entry-level copywriter jobs?
Expect to make anywhere from $0.03 to $0.10 a word at first.
Jump at the first gig you see and you’ll fall to the lower end.
Digging for higher-paying work takes longer, but the extra time pays off in extra pay.
But don’t work at entry-level copywriting jobs longer than 3 months.
You just need to make a little money while you earn some street cred.
Then move on to higher-paying freelance copywriting jobs.
Here are the best ways to find your first remote copywriter jobs:
- ProBlogger: This is a great job board where people post online writing jobs. Log in daily and apply to all the new ones. You’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, so be selective. Write 1 to 2 articles for each one, or more if you like the client.
- Upwork: Not just for copywriting jobs online, Upwork is full of freelance work of all stripes.
- The Cult of Copy Job Board: This is a Facebook group where businesses list copywriter jobs online.
- Cold emails: Yes, these work. Find websites and businesses online that have badly-written copy and cold-email them. Say you’re offering a one-time low rate. You should hear back from about 1 in 50, so send a lot of emails.
- Facebook and LinkedIn groups: Can’t find paid work? Get a foot in the door by searching groups on Facebook and LinkedIn for ad agencies and marketing teams. Then post that you’re running a special price on copywriting to get jobs.
5. Create a simple portfolio (it’s fast)
Don’t work for months on an expensive website.
Nobody will see it anyway.
You just need examples to show when someone asks to see your work.
The easiest way?
Add all your articles to your LinkedIn profile as “publications.”
Want to look more professional?
Spring for a paid WordPress website later, after things are taking off.
Warning: don’t just link to your articles online and expect they’ll be there when you need them.
Preserve them with the free Print Friendly & PDF browser plugin in case your client deletes it.
6. Switch to high-paying remote copywriter jobs (you can do it)
Don’t work at low-paying freelance copywriting jobs for long.
Get a few big credits in the first 6 months, even if they’re cheap, free, or take a lot of time.
I’m talking about well-known brands or blogs, or glossy magazines.
I can’t stress the importance of this step enough.
Even 2 or 3 “wow” publications will boost your rate per word or rate per project through the roof.
I spent months trying to break into Boys’ Life and probably made $5 an hour on my first piece.
But well-heeled clients respected me a lot more after that.
Once you’ve got a couple of big credits, find companies and agencies that pay big bucks.
Search Google and LinkedIn for terms like ad agencies and marketing agencies.
Then send letters of interest (LOI) to offer remote copywriter services.
Network like a pro
Then, volunteer immediately.
Volunteering in an association lets you rub elbows with the right people in a non-awkward way.
When those new contacts get too busy, guess who they’ll pass fat jobs to?
That’s right, you.
For more info, read the great book Never Eat Alone.
“A friend once offered me $7,500 per article to write for Cisco Systems.
She said, ‘I do kind of owe you.
You got me this job’ What?
‘Don’t you remember?
Cisco called you first and you didn’t want to work for a corporate magazine.
You recommended me.’ I ended up writing for her for years, transitioning into primarily corporate work, and making a heck of a lot more than I ever did as a staffer,” Howard Baldwin, retired corporate writer.
7. Build niches (they’re your lifeblood)
“Oh, I write everything.”
Oh, no you don’t.
Not if you want anyone to hire you.
People believe you can do what you’ve already done.
And they want specifics.
If you show someone you wrote an article about spine injuries, they’ll believe you can write articles about spine injuries.
And nothing more.
So, be an expert.
Know the highest-grossing industries and the ones you’re most passionate about.
Then target your favorite.
You’ll get more work because
A) clients will believe you can do it and
B) you’ll have less competition.
Think that’s too limiting?
Don’t sweat it.
Just build more niches down the road.
Then target freelance copywriting jobs in all of them.
8. Hone your copywriting skills (it’s not magic)
Can you be a great, high-earning copywriter?
But you have to write.
You’ll get better over time.
Plus, use the excellent resources in the list below:
9. Get faster and grow a thick skin
One way to make more money at freelance copywriting jobs is writing faster.
You’ll go broke writing 2,000 words in 3 days.
The best way to write fast?
Steep yourself in excellent research until writing great copy is almost as fast as talking.
Blaze through your first draft, then spend the most time rewriting and polishing.
Also, don’t let rejection get to you.
You’ll get rejected many times before you get a single attaboy.
This is business.
This is craft.
Shake it off and churn out another 500 words.
And when an editor makes 50 margin comments, learn from it, then shake that off, too.
It’s all part of getting better.
“Don’t be a diva.
If an editor or publisher wants something a certain way by a certain time, then do it,” Jeanette Hurt, award-winning author.
10. Land consulting gigs (added bonus)
Want more money?
Once you’re the subject matter expert, things get easier
Send emails and LinkedIn messages to podcast hosts in your niche.
(They’re free advertising, and they’re fun!)
Start a podcast yourself, or teach a few free online classes.
Then start charging for your time.
Consult to businesses to share your expertise on copywriting or on the niche or niches you’ve begun to dominate.
It’s not rare for consultants to earn $150 to $700 per hour, just for coaching companies and employees through the rough spots.
How many hours a week do copywriters work
This freelance question of “how many hours do freelancers work?” is one I see posed often to freelancers.
Quite honestly, the number of hours freelancers and freelance writers work each week (and how many hours freelancers work in a day) can be all over the place as it’s different for each freelancer. It’s also probably different depending on how many clients they’re juggling that week.
If you’re ready to kick-start a successful freelance writing career, download my e-Book for 100+ Tips for Beginner Freelance Writers.
This is How Many Hours Freelancers Work Each Week
I’ll answer this question for myself and share some posts that work for other freelancers.
What’s considered “normal working hours of a freelancer” can change from week to week!
(Find out the 10 steps I followed to earn six figures as a freelancer.)
Before jumping ahead to the number of freelance hours worked in a week, it’s helpful to look at how many hours freelancers are working in a day.
(Here’s a post on setting daily freelance rates.)
The number of hours I work as a freelancer each week for the past few years is usually about six hours of paid work for five days a week.
(Now that I have an infant, it’s closer to three hours of work four to five days a week.)
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
Let me be clear.
Those freelance hours are the “billable hours” — which means they are the hours that I’m working on freelance assignments I’m getting paid for.
I’m probably working a total of 36 to 42 freelance hours weekly (and now now working 20 hours a week freelancing since having a baby) but
I am not getting paid for those hours that aren’t spent on client work.
(Ahem, so writing this freelance writing tips blog post nets me nil.)
Before you quit your job to become a full-time freelance writer because working 30 freelance hours working from home sounds much better than 40 at your current job, think back to the last time you really worked for an hour at your day job.
I mean you didn’t stop emailing, writing, interviewing, researching (not scanning social media), analyzing content and generating ideas for 60 minutes and you felt pretty spent after that hour.
That’s what I mean by working one hour as a freelancer.
This is one of the 10 challenges of being a freelancer I mentioned in this blog — you aren’t able to daydream and still bill clients for it.
If you don’t produce work, you won’t get paid.
According to a 2016 study, the average full-time freelancer works 36 hours per week, reported this article.
Some weeks I do freelance work on weekends—I find Sunday mornings are quiet and I can get a lot done that day, like writing feature-length articles, blog posts and scheduling social media.
I’m more productive at that time than on a Monday morning.
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Check out my self-directed online courses on Teachable.com.)
If I’m very busy with a ton of deadlines — and most freelancers know that the workflow can be ‘feast or famine’ mode — the number of hours this freelancer works a week might be six days a week for 10 or so hours a day.
I try not to do that too often because I’ll get burned out and I fear that creativity is compromised.
During those six hours I’m working as a freelancer about five days a week, I’m probably working for about 10 clients so I have a variety of projects and assignments to keep me busy.
I also might work 10 hours on one day and only two the next day if I’m traveling, attending events, or taking the day (somewhat) off for personal time.
Last week I worked on a weekend day so I could spend some afternoon time in the middle of the week with my husband.
Sometimes I’ll look ahead at the weather for the week and plan to get up earlier on nicer days so I can take the afternoon off or plan to crank out more work on rainy days so I have freedom to leave my desk when it’s nice out.
(This is one of the many perks of being a freelancer.)
But I also try to stay in touch with previous editors who gave me freelance assignments and continue to pitch ideas to the editors I’m turning in assignments to, so that “touching base” and “researching new ideas” for clients I’m turning articles in for averages about three hours a week as part of the how many hours freelancers work per week.
That’s referred to as “marketing” in the freelance world. You need to constantly be pitching new ideas, finding new freelance clients and marketing yourself as a freelancer.
Lately, I’ve been trying to track my hours using a tool like Toggl.com. When I use it properly, it helps me see how often I’m spending writing and researching freelance articles for each client, as well as marketing and social media management for my freelance business.
Here’s how some other freelancers who answered the question of how many hours they work a week differently than I did:
- Another freelancer friend, Laura Vrcek, told me that while she bills on average 30 hours a week, she works no less than 40. “I had this one mentor-friend at a PR agency who recommended to me that if I can bill six hours a day, I’m in a good spot in reaching my ‘in-house salary equivalent’. So that’s my goal every day–if I hit six hours and it’s 3 p.m., I might stop there. Other days, that’s not feasible and I work much later,” Vrcek said.
- Tina M. responded on AMAFeed.com that she works about 40 hours weekly for several steady clients each week as a freelancer.
- Freelancer Tamara Berry said she usually works about 25 hours per week.
- Freelancer Allena Tapia says she likes to work 20 to 30 hours a week.
- Freelance writer Jennifer Mattern said freelancers should not aim to work seven days a week. I agree!
- Freelancer Nebojsa Todorovic discusses how much one “effective” freelance hour is when compared to the 9-to-5 world.
- On this Reddit thread in 2014 a few freelancers shared their average hours worked per week.
- One FreelancerMap survey said freelancers work 46 hours per week.