Now that you’ve got a better idea of what it means to be a freelance copywriter, let’s take a look in some more detail at how to become a copywriter. This advice applies whether you’re just taking your first tentative steps in copywriting, or you’re looking to grow your freelance business.
How to become a copywriter – the basics
Once you’ve learned the skill of copywriting by learning from example and practising, it’s time to make some money! The first thing you’ll need is clients. Yes, you heard me – before you even have a website in place, you need to get yourself out there and start working with people. If you’re still growing your business, clients aren’t going to come to you. There’s time to work out how to attract clients to your site later, but for now, you’ll want to see the first fruits of your labours.
The easiest way to get those first clients coming in is to register with one of the many freelance job sites out there. We’ve found that peopleperhour and Upwork are two of the best. It’s easy to get yourself a profile and start bidding for work, but it’s worth realising that this is going to be hard work. In order to win bids, you’ll need to play the numbers game at first.
Until you have some positive feedback, it’ll be difficult fighting off the competition, but don’t lose heart. Get some examples of your work up there, and take your time to craft attractive proposals that are tailored to each job – don’t just copy and paste! Many clients buy in bulk regularly from these sites, and with so many candidates out there, they’re skilled at spotting generic proposals. Use yours to stand out from the crowd.
Behave professionally and they’ll keep coming back
To become a copywriter, you need to act professionally from the beginning. Complete your work on time and to your client’s requirements. Also, remember to be personable when you’re talking over the project with them! A large part of repeat business is gained by being easy to work with and making it seem like nothing is a hassle. Do this, and you’ll start getting positive feedback.
Positive feedback starts a chain reaction – once potential clients can see that you’ve completed work successfully, on time and to a high standard, they’re much more likely to hire you. Make sure you get feedback, recommendations and testimonials from clients that you can use to attract others in the future.
Now that you’ve got your first clients under your belt and you’re getting some repeat business, there are two things you want to do – secure your foundations, and grow!
Part of securing the work you’ve done so far is managing your time. Once you have a few projects on the go, it’s easy to get in a muddle. Deadlines cross each other, you mix up clients with the wrong projects – we’ve all been there. The easiest way to solve this is time management.
One tip for keeping everything in order is to steal an idea from the blogging community. Since it’s likely you’ll be doing some blogging work as part of your copywriting, you may as well make it work for you!
If you’re using WordPress for a lot of your work, download the Editorial Calendar plugin. It’s free and scores a huge five stars. Once it’s installed, you can use it to plan out your own blogging, which will come in handy later. However, it’s also a great way of planning out your working month.
Create draft posts for each of your copywriting jobs, and you can just drag and drop them around the calendar. These can be tagged or categorised depending on the client, topic and such, and you can remind yourself regularly of what work needs to be done.
Another tool we love here at Recruit Write is Meister Task. There are so many todo and project management web apps out there, and we’ve tried them all. However, Meister Task is intuitive, looks fantastic, and even has a built-in time logging function so you can easily invoice. You can have separate projects, each customised to suit your needs and the whole package works like a great combination of Asana and Trello. Best of all, it’s free!
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to be a copywriter, it’s time to grow your business. Next time we’ll cover how to improve your web presence and start attracting clients to you.