Do you like words? Are you dying for how and why words work? You’re the kind of person who watches a TV commercial, reads a webpage, or sees an ad in a glossy magazine and thinks, “I’d love to quit my day job and write stuff like that for a living.” How about a freelance copywriter? (No, not a “copyright”, it’s all about protecting ideas, registering trademarks, etc.) Copywriting is a more creative job that allows you to:
- working from home
- something different every day
- Enjoy unlimited income
- be your own boss
So what exactly does a freelance copywriter do?
Much of the marketing copy you see isn’t written by a company that promotes a product or service, but by professional freelance writers who work independently.
As a busy and well-paid freelance writer, you write compelling texts for:
Blog (“Web Diary”)
Email marketing campaigns (emails that promote products or services or simply inform people)
Printed marketing materials (brochures, leaflets, leaflets and sales letters)
TV and radio advertising
What will you learn here:
This how-to article walks you through a step-by-step process explained in plain English: how to train to become a freelance writer, how to work, where to work, how much to charge, and how to get paid. The secret to knowing when to quit your day job completely and get yourself excited to start a full-time freelance career will be revealed to you too!
Step 1: Train
1. You don’t need any experience or qualifications from an advertising agency, but taking a copywriting course will save you years of trial and error. You will also leave with your writing sample (your courses), which can become part of the portfolio you are developing.
2. Study the TV commercials you like and start reading the marketing materials carefully. On posters, magazine ads, websites and blogs, check the title, opening sentence, subtitle, how the page ends and then try to get the reader to do something, act in a certain way (‘call to action’).
By immersing yourself in your craft, you begin to see patterns and formulas. These are several proven copywriting techniques used by professionals.
Step 2: Build your business
1. Determine where you will work – at home or in a rented office? Whichever way you choose, make sure you can work there without noise or interruptions. You’ll also need an internet connection and enough space for your desk, filing cabinets, and more.
2. Have everything at hand: a telephone, a computer with an internet connection, a printer, a thesaurus and a good dictionary are essential.
3. Learn how to keep a basic business account (required by law) – For those wishing to be self-employed, Job Center Plus in the UK often offers one day accounting workshops. Why not go see when the next one is?
4. Create a business plan – To give direction to your business, always work according to a strategy. Having a good business plan is the best place to start.
Step 3: Build your portfolio
Get ready to work for free for a while to build a strong work portfolio. Remember that with every project you complete, you also develop writing skills.
Try to have in your portfolio some examples of flyers, web pages, articles, blog posts, press releases, etc. Then you can start making money with your skills.
Step 4: Determine your rate
Always be clear about your costs. Set hourly rates. You can increase your rates as you gain experience.
Step 5: Find paid work
1. Tell your family, friends and neighbors about your new business. The more people know, the better. Sooner or later someone will say, “Actually, I could use flyers at a car wash company.”
2. Create profiles on freelance networking sites such as Elance, Guru and People Per Hour.com. (Companies looking for freelance writers post paid writing jobs on these sites). Learn how to use these sites and start bidding on job openings.
3. Launch your own website. Potential customers can learn more about you there. They can browse your uploaded portfolio. They can contact you about paid programs via your contact form.
Step 6: Get paid
Before you start writing a paid project, have the client complete and sign a client agreement that clearly states that they are entrusting the work, the job requirements, and the agreed fee. Always request all information in writing. A prepayment is also required. Usually this is 25% to 50% of the full rate.
Step 7: Become Copywriting, you’re finally saying goodbye to the rat race forever!
you are all set
You now know how to set up, trade, protect and progress as a freelance writer. You’ll also know when to jump from a part-time copywriter to a full-time freelance writer without worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills, eat, pay for TV licenses, etc.