Many people define the American dream as the ability to make money and have the time to spend that money. If you’re looking for fantastic income while maintaining complete freedom then we have the job for you: a freelance copywriter.
If you have the drive, inspiration, and ambition, you may be the perfect fit for this writing position (what a rhyme). Potential copywriters need an insatiable curiosity about other people, how they behave and why they buy what they buy.
Do you have a way with words and can you weave a beautiful story with a short phrase? If you enjoy research and have a fantastic understanding of the basic rules of grammar, becoming a writer may be a good fit for you. A copywriter is a special combination of psychology fanatic, great writer, and salesman/marketer.
If you’ve got these skills then you’ll be steps ahead of the other writers vying for a job as a copywriter.
We’ve done the heavy research for you and have compiled a list of 7 steps to becoming a freelance copywriter:
I know, it sounds cheesy and cliche. But to get a job doing anything where you love what you do and also have good income requires a certain amount of belief in yourself. It’s 100 percent necessary to your success as a freelance copywriter.
Many of us in school were taught that creative careers lead to financial suicide. You can read about many successful actors who state that their parents tried to get them interested in science instead of theater for the sake of consistent work.
It’s hard to shake what you’ve been told as a kid. Even many of those young guns with talent and motivation have had creative options drilled into their minds as a “no” from a very young age. Kids believe what they are taught when they are young, and this conditioning lasts for years to come.
Whatever you’ve been taught, let it go. Consider your special skill set. You need to be your own judge to determine if you have a reasonable chance at success as a freelance copywriter. If you do believe in yourself and your writing enough to pursue it as a career, then it’s time to go swiftly in that direction.
Whether you’ve gone to school for the craft or not, you probably have a decent idea of what you have to offer. But will it hold up in the industry as a freelance copywriter? Make an educated guess and take the ultimate writing plunge. You won’t know until you’ve tried.
2. Get Used To “No” as a Freelance Copywriter
Yes, just as soon as you believe in yourself as a freelance copywriter, you also need to be prepared to hear the word “no”.
Professional copywriters become complete pros at hearing the word and taking rejection in stride. The joy you’ll feel when you make your first sale will be a combination of blood, sweat, tears, and elation. The next “no” that follows will make you question everything.
However, the next “yes” after that second “no” (stay with me), means that you’re a genuinely good freelance copywriter!
The key is to write for enough people’s taste (or preference) that you can continually make money doing it. However, often times you just won’t be people’s taste, and that’s okay! Responding to failure with class is an essential characteristic to succeeding in the world as a freelance copywriter.
We can be absolutely pros at becoming accustomed to circumstances or any hardship for that matter. Failure is no exception to what you can become accustomed to. However, just because you learn how to take “no” in stride, doesn’t mean you let it affect your psyche.
Ideally, you’ll hear as many “yes” answers as you do “no”. You won’t even notice the negative feedback after awhile and you’ll simply continue on with your writing. This is when you’ll know you’ve hit your stride as a great writer.
3. Keep It General
Specializing in certain subjects as a freelance copywriter from the get-go may not be the best idea. Choose a generalist strategy. You don’t need to be the writer that only writes for athletics or dentists right from the start. Leave your niche to be decided upon later in your career.
When starting out, write for as many possible friends, clients, and family as you can. Gain experience by writing a lot of different content for a lot of different people. Remember, you’re your own boss so set your rates accordingly and put together custom packages for your different clients.
However, it is key to take notes as you work and write for different companies as a freelance writer. Notate what clients want most and what they want that you can’t offer just yet. Don’t limit yourself (or the future agency you’ll run) by starting off stating you only write for a certain market.
4. Create Samples
Whether they are samples you already have on hand or they are new samples you create from scratch, be ready to deliver! As a freelance writer, you need samples of your work to send out to potential and interested clients.
If you’re a writer, the chances are high that you already have a plethora of material to choose from. If you don’t, start writing! If you’ve written fiction (published or not) or you’re just the go-to writer in your workplace, collect samples.
Consider past college papers, local campaigns you’ve written for and local newsletters. Think of everything you can re-purpose into writing samples for your archives. If you can’t find anything you’ve already written, it’s time to start from scratch.
It’s easy and cost-effective to create a writing portfolio from scratch. Simply pick a topic from something general that you think many companies might enjoy reading. Write a short story or blog post regarding the subject. Consider writing a news release or even a sales pitch on it.
The goal here is to show potential buyers that you have awesome writing skills. Being able to provide any client with a variety of examples of your work will garner more business your way. Proving you write well is the first step in showing a client that you are capable of completing whatever job they need.
Keep it simple, but keep your writing vault varied and finessed.
4. Portfolio Perfection
Okay, you’ve got all of your writing samples locked in your writing business vault. The next step is to make a segue into an actual sendable portfolio. You need a website or blog with all of your writing samples featured in a gorgeous format.
Either create your own space with build-it-yourself websites or hire someone to do the site work for you. But choose how you want to display your great writing and get creative in doing so. Make your page pop and entice buyers to use your writing skills.
Invite potential clients into your page with engaging, eye-popping samples that will make you stand out from the pack. Create a “hire me” page and a content page. Consider an “about the writer” page and make sure and leave a tab for them to contact you.
Your online portfolio is your calling card as a freelance writer, so make sure it’s the best it can be.
5. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch
Jobs boards aren’t always a great use of your time when trying to get your first jobs. Boards can be an effective way to get work as a freelance writer, but the rates are usually pretty low and there are hundreds going after the same job offer. There are even scams through the boards. Do your research.
Now that you believe in yourself and you have some confidence, it’s time to cold pitch yourself. Reach out to companies directly and have no shame in doing so. After all, you’re a writer now.
Make no apologies, and go after the companies you want. Do your research and find out if any of the companies you want to write for have current or future writing needs. Strike when the iron is hot, and show them what you’ve got. Pitch yourself and sell you like only you can.
6. Learn The Market
As you start pitching yourself, you’re going to learn the market. Some people might place learning the market as #1 on the list, but we don’t.
Learning the market will come with time and experience. You’ll learn the numbers from sales and also what you’re passionate about. Learn about the industry and how much you should be charging based on your skill set.
Consider the competition and adjust your salary accordingly. Know what is happening around you and know what people are getting paid top dollar for.
7. Have Fun
You got into this because you wanted to do what you are passionate about, make money, and have some creative freedom. As you start to land jobs, have fun with them! Joy always emulates through people’s work, which can earn them more jobs.
Be the work you wish to see in the world!
Go For Gold
When it comes to working as a freelance writer, anything is possible. You can choose who you want to work for and for how much. Hone your skill set, believe in yourself, accept “no”, and learn your market.
When you’re ready to sell yourself, your talent, and your brand with the ultimate strategy, contact me!