How To Make Money Writing: 6 Steps To Start A Freelance Copywriting Business
So you’ve read a couple of blogs and decided that you want to give copywriting a try? *wink* Yeah, you do. Well, let me tell you, you are in the right place. In this article I’m sharing the first 6 steps you must take to start a freelance copywriting business & make money doing what you love fast.
Welcome to the raddest, baddest crew of copywriters on the internet.
This is THE place to be if you’re looking to turn your passion for writing into a business. Yes, it is possible! I promise you that…
But before you get too gung-ho and rearing to go there are 6 very important steps that you need to do first—before you find a client who will want to give you their money!
You might remember that I made another blog post pretty similar to this one waaaaaay back when I first started my channel in 2019.
But as you guys know, I’m all about learning and evolving to stay on top of the latest trends, techniques, and tactics that are working TODAY.
As I like to say, I keep it real, so you can stay relevant and so THIS blog is my latest and greatest spin on that 2019 classic…
While all that advice from that blog post still applies, I wanted to freshen it up with some new tips that I think you’ll find insanely helpful today… especially step #6. And make sure to read to the end for 2 stories that will completely change what you think about the RIGHT way to get clients.
As always, I’m here to help you create the life of your dreams by building a successful freelance copywriting business. If you’re into that, leave me a comment below.
And if you’re new around here, welcome! I put out a new copywriting and marketing tutorial every single week, so if you’re looking to ignite your freelancing business this year go ahead and subscribe to my YouTube Channel to be notified when my next video goes live.
Alright, now let’s dive right into the 6 steps to igniting your freelance copywriting business FAST.
This was #1 on my first blog post and it will always remain at the #1 spot. Because it’s seriously that important.
You guys have heard me say over and over again that the learning never stops! And YES, believe it or not, even after doing this for 10 years I am still learning and growing my copywriting and marketing skills every single week.
You simply cannot binge on YouTube videos for one week and then consider yourself an expert… if you really want to be successful in this business, you have to commit yourself to the continual pursuit of knowledge.
So go out there and listen to podcasts, read blogs like this one, buy books (and read them!), attend events, and sign up for practical copywriting programs and challenges.
And listen, I got you covered with all of this and more and the first place you need to be is RIGHT HERE on my blog. SO you’re already on the right track! But if you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for? After this article, I suggest you dive deep into the dozens of other articles I have waiting for you on my blog.
All the knowledge in the world won’t do you any good unless you can actually implement it.
Now I know that everyone wants to learn what they need to know and then immediately go find a paying client, but I’m telling you right now that you’ll definitely want to practice writing copy before you go out there and call yourself a copywriter…
First of all, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a client if you can’t actually prove to them that you know what you’re doing…
And second of all, your few first attempts at copy will be BAD. Yes, I said it. Let’s all just accept that as fact right now.
Because I don’t care who you are, when you’re first learning this craft (or any new skill for that matter!) you aren’t going to be great at first AND THAT’S OKAY!!!
The way you grow as a copywriter is to first, write bad copy and then fix it! That’s the Copy Posse golden rule and the only way you’ll get better and better.
Write this down. You gotta write crappy, before you write copy.
So that’s exactly what you should be doing RIGHT NOW. With every video or podcast you learn something from, go ahead and actually put into practice what you learned. What matters is that you’re getting your hands dirty because that’s the real way you learn anything.
My favorite way to practice is to rewrite headlines I find online. So next time you see an ad, landing page or email – try to rewrite it in your own words! Or better yet, head on over to my Instagram page and stay tuned for my next edition of “Can You Make The Headline Even Hotter?”—it’s a fun way to practice and see what other copywriters are doing!
#3 Find A Community
I truly believe this is the SINGLE BIGGEST needle mover for those looking to start a new business—in ANYTHING—so you’ll want to do it sooner rather than later.
Connecting with a community of like-minded peers will be massively beneficial to you. Because I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that you probably don’t know many other copywriters… right? So who can you really talk to about your struggles? Who can you ask to review something you write and give honest feedback? Who can you reach out to for tips on landing clients or what to do once you actually DO land a client?
Having an online crew that you can connect with will make your journey that much easier. Because trust me, you’re going to have questions along the way and you’re going to want support, guidance, and encouragement.
You can find tons of groups and communities on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms—my own badass Copy Posse community included! And you can be a part of my insider members-only community when you join my Write & Ignite Challenge. But the real kicker here is that you need to actually ENGAGE with these people! You know, be active and build a real relationship with them.
Because people will always be more willing to reply to your questions and posts if you have proved that you are an active and value-driven member of the community FIRST.
#4 Write Your Elevator Pitch
This tip is kind of like 3 tips in 1, so make sure you pay close attention…
Once you start practicing and building confidence in your craft, it’s time to get clear on how you plan to serve your future clients.
Think of your elevator pitch as your personal sales pitch—you need to be able to quickly and effectively communicate WHAT you offer, WHO you serve, and HOW you do it…
And you should be able to communicate ALL of this in 10 seconds or less—or the amount of time it takes an elevator to move a floor…
This means that your pitch needs to be quick, but it also needs to position you as the person who can help your clients achieve their goals.
So let’s break that down a little bit…
WHAT do you offer? Will you offer copy, content, or both? And go a step further to nail down exactly what your ideal niche is. Or in other words… what would you like to be your area of expertise? It could be personal development, online education, beauty, health and fitness, and the list goes on.
Ask yourself what you truly enjoy researching, learning, and writing about and THAT’S what you should pick as your starter niche. Because remember, you’re going to have to write about this topic, like, every day for the foreseeable future… but don’t worry. Picking your niche now isn’t a lifelong commitment. You can pivot at any time.
WHO do you serve? Do you want to help coaches, entrepreneurs or authors? Female-led brands? Local businesses? Natural and sustainable products? SaaS sites? E-commerce companies?
You should narrow down and get specific on who your ideal client would be.
HOW do you do it? What services will you offer? Do you want to do blog posts, sales copy, video scripts, emails, social media, website homepages, or ads? There are so many different types and mediums of copywriting out there.
Now I know exactly what you’re thinking… Wait, I can’t narrow it down that much. Won’t it be super hard to find clients or get work if I’m so specific?!
Listen, I KNOW it’s scary and can feel like you’re cutting yourself off from tons of opportunities… but trust me, when you get this specific it actually HELPS you find and land clients.
I mean honestly, which one of these elevator pitches do you think is most likely to land a client…
“I help coaches craft website copy that is clear, effective and personal to help them attract more leads and sales…”
“I’m a copywriter and I can write copy for you”….
It’s pretty obvious that the first one stands out… it’s short, clear and concise. It doesn’t mean you have to turn away work that falls outside of this, it just means you have a laser-focused approach for finding new clients that you’re actually super excited about.
#5 Start Building Your Portfolio & Profile
So you know all that practice you’ve been doing?
Yeah, now you’re going to organize it all into one neat and tidy place so that when you have a potential client that’s interested in possibly working with you, you can showcase your skills in a way that’s professional.
The key here is that if you haven’t actually been contracted to write any of your work yet —make sure you are very clear that what you’re showing them are SAMPLES.
And then of course you can add in any other relevant writing samples you have that showcase your skills and abilities.
I have an article on how to build your portfolio with zero experience, which you can also read.
Now, a question I get literally ALL THE TIME is: Alex, what software should I use to build my portfolio?
And you guys, seriously do not overthink this! I have every single one of my students create their portfolios in Google Drive. It’s free. It’s easy. Everyone knows how to use it.
It’s great because you can add as many documents as you want, add folders organized by niche and brand to make it easy to navigate, and it’s super simple to share.
You simply need to prove what you can do. Copywriters aren’t designers, so I promise that your potential clients are not expecting your portfolio to be “pretty.” Well-organized and structured, yes. But fancy-schmancy, no.
#6 Get Visible
Now is when you put yourself out there to start looking for clients. There are many different methods for finding and creating clients, but something I think is even more effective than sending cold-outreach emails to 5,000 people is… NETWORKING.
My advice—get out there on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, attend LIVE local events and start having value-driven conversations.
Make it super clear who you are and what you do (enter your elevator pitch from step #4). The key here is to make yourself as visible as possible…
Because sure you can spend hours actively looking for clients, but you could also easily attract clients to you by showing up and connecting with the right people.
I’m a big, big, BIG believer in something my friend and freelancing expert, Jay Clouse, says and that is to ask your network to advocate for you.
So yes that means letting your friends, family, former classmates, coaches, bosses and colleagues know what you’re doing now and how you can help people.
I know a lot of people shy away from doing this because it’s a public declaration of you trying something new and what if you fail… I get it.
Or worse, what if they feel the need to share their opinions or unsolicited advice? Yup, been there.
I know it may feel scary debuting your new copywriting skills to the world…
But think of it this way. Who is more likely to advocate for you and send possible clients your way? Is it people you know or people you’ve never even met? If you’re not letting your network know about what you’re doing, you are missing out on tons of potential connections and opportunities.
In fact, one of my Copy Posse Launch Pad coaching students shared a powerful story with our class and I want to take a minute to share it with you. She said…
“I have specifically NOT told anyone at work that I’m doing this course because I’m afraid of retributions. I’m afraid that they could say I’m not giving 100% because my attention is divided between my job and copywriting and I’ve imagined a hundred different conversations with my superiors that all end badly.
Well tonight, my boss invited me over for dinner. When we were sitting around the kitchen, we started talking about finances and the future…
And after thinking about it for a second, I decided to tell her. I told her I’m in a copywriting program right now and looking to get some freelancing jobs in the future…
She asked a couple of questions about copywriting and I explained a little bit of what I’m learning. She was really excited and said how happy she was that I was investing in something like that.
THEN SHE SAID…
Actually, we could really use help with that stuff at work. I’ve been writing all of our content and trying to keep our website up to date, but I really don’t have time for that. Let me know whenever you’re ready and I’d love to give you some projects.”
Yeah… how amazing is that?
Another one of my students shared this…
“Holy cow you guys. I went public on my private Instagram page last night and shared a post about my new copy business. Less than 24hrs later I have a client meeting booked.”
So your turn—get visible, be active, and put yourself out there in whatever way feels right for you. You never know what might happen next.
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Until next time, I’m Alex! Ciao for now.