It’s tough to get started as a freelance copywriter, but here are five things you need to know.
Freelance copywriting can be tough. I’ve been doing it for more than a decade. It’s not easy to get started and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, there are a few things that will help you out in your journey to becoming a freelance copywriter.
Getting freelance copywriting work takes time and effort. It’s not an overnight thing, but if you are willing to learn from your mistakes, keep trying and keep putting in the effort day after day, you will eventually find freelance copywriting jobs that will start bringing in a steady income for you.
1) Get your freelance copywriting portfolio in order
The freelance copywriting industry can be tough to break into, but it’s not impossible. If you are willing to put in the time and effort required of any career, you’ll eventually find success as a freelance copywriter.
The key is developing your portfolio so that potential clients know what they’re working with when looking for someone like you. Keep in mind that you need to showcase work that you’ve already done just like the type of work you wish to continue to do.
One of the toughest parts about being a freelance copywriter is getting your portfolio together so potential clients can see what you’ve done before and how good you are at what you do. In order to be taken seriously by potential clients, it is important that your work showcase creativity, style and high quality text-writing skills. The more well developed your portfolio is, the easier it will be for people who need freelancers like yourself to find you, so you can get some freelance copywriting work.
Don’t forget to collect as many testimonials as you can and create a client case study or two.
2) Write samples for clients that need freelance copywriting work done
If you want freelance copywriting jobs, you are going to have to find a way to get freelance copywriting samples out there. These freelance copywriting samples will help show potential freelance clients the type of talent and skillsets you bring to the table, which translates into more freelance copywriting jobs later on down the line. Because freelance writing is such a competitive industry, it is important that your work stands out from the rest of the pack by being better than most other writers in your field so you can eventually be seen as an “expert freelance copywriter” and command freelance jobs accordingly.
Honestly, a lot of this is just practise and time at keyboard. So devote regular time to honing your craft. Eg, writing every day.
3) Start with small projects and build on them over time
Once you’ve been freelance copywriting for a while, you’ll start to get an idea of what freelancing is like. You might even be able to freelance in your spare time and still have a day job or have full time freelance career on the side. But if that’s not how it is for you right now, don’t worry. Just land freelance jobs and build up your freelance writing portfolio by taking on small projects whenever possible. But always do them well. Devote yourself as if it were your full time profession.
4) Find like minded people who will be willing to refer work to you
Connect with others in your industry, such as freelance designers, marketing professionals and business owners. Present your freelance portfolio to them and ask for freelance writing referrals. It’s all about word-of-mouth in the freelance world (particularly if you don’t have a solid marketing plan in place or your own SEO is still taking off) so have a good reputation and you’ll find freelance work coming your way more often than you can handle.
5) Take freelance copywriting jobs whenever possible
Once you are an established freelance copywriter you can pick and choose what kind of jobs meet your values and the way you like to work but if you are starting out, you may need to take on most things that come your way. Of course, you are free to turn down anything that is unethical, illegal or is just plain taking advantage of you!
Make sure you are always active on freelance sites and directories and others like them to expand your freelance portfolio and build up your credentials as a freelance writer online. Always be professional whenever communicating with potential clients who might become interested in hiring you if they see what kind of work is within your freelance portfolio.
When people need freelance copywriters to help them with their marketing, they aren’t just looking for anyone who is willing to write text for them; they are looking for freelance writers who know what they’re doing. If you have experience in other areas of marketing besides freelance writing, then that will tell the potential client that you know what it takes to create effective content and how to make a site or campaign stand out from its competitors. This helps you because potential clients might be more willing to hire someone who has prior knowledge about how things work rather than having to teach and guide a new writer on everything.
Freelance copywriting is a competitive, but rewarding, field so it’s important to stand out from the pack. And with time and dedication you can turn your freelance copywriting dreams into a reality, whether you want to do it as a side hustle or a full time career. You’ve got this!
For great copywriting tips to get you started in your career, check out my copywriting book.