What I Learned My First 30 Days As a Freelance Copywriter
A culmination of being business savvy from owning my own and managing others and having
writing and marketing skills to put to use put me on the path to becoming a knowledgeable copywriter.
On-going education and field experience play a significant role in the business. No bull and
fast, quality delivery of effective writing are the commodity sought after by businesses to
assist them in selling their product and services. After establishing a mentorship and getting
my feet wet with a few courses, I was ready to start building my writing portfolio with real
assignments. This is what I learned.
Service auction sites are full of scam artists
You might be encouraged by your instructor to bid low on auction sites for work commissioned
by businesses and start ups. Although this is a great place to start, there are scams you might
fall prey to if you're not careful. Like me, you'll quickly learn that you are being underbid
by people outside the U.S. Very few of these writers are legitimate, although their profiles
make them seem like the glorious and obvious choice for the seeker's project. Their profiles
seem almost over-educated and very impersonal and these accounts are both bidding on jobs and
posting jobs even though they are marketing their profile as a writer. This is because they
are fishing for real writers to do the work that they've bid on.
If you agree to do the work within the site, you may actually be paid (but very little,
an agreed upon price) and if you agree to do the work off site, you may not be paid at all.
To insure you're making a business relationship with someone of integrity, keep your business
on-site for multiple assignments and be sure you are paid promptly after each one. If off-site,
you may consider meeting via video on Skype and agreeing to a payment agreement you are comfortable
with (such as through PayPal and after each and every assignment). Offer samples of work relevant
to the assignment, but never offer them the assignment without an agreement.
Network, network, network
Copywriter's brands are often just their name, personality and expertise. I have business
cards always on hand, taking advantage of conversation opportunities to help a business person
in need. I also read the local paper for opportunities to reach out to local businesses and
charities to get real-world experience and local coverage/word of mouth. I write reviews on
local restaurants and shout out to them via social media and have even traded services with
a local business already. I think this is the most validating approach to growing roots in
the business. It feels good to make friends and relationships, and portray your business image
publicly, rather than online only. In addition to having an online presence conveying what
you have to offer others, tap into what others can offer you by joining relevant writing groups
and signing up for additional free trainings.
All learning is applicable
Once your search engine and social media accounts algorithm, you'll notice that you'll
be targeted by other businesses' advertising. Often times it will be free training seminars
and mailing lists in writing, real estate, affiliate or work from home/multi-level marketing
models. These are great and symbiotic opportunities! I sign up for a lot of them because it
adds to my knowledge bank of things I'm able to write about and gives me deeper languages to
speak to clients with. That can give them the confidence in me to make me responsible for their
project, no matter the industry.
Spend more time writing than advertising that you are a writer
After I built my brand in social media, my website and marketing tools I quickly grew
tired of keeping up with the marketing part. This is a great sign. Most successful copywriters
aren't spending a lot of time marketing themselves, because they are busy actually writing
and marketing others. And to get busy marketing others, you must get busy marketing others!
Even if you are working for free, for cheap or for yourself (creative writing, e-books, publishing
articles, etc), building a portfolio is more important than building the mask. Too many business
people are successful looking, and not successful. Know what you are talking about and have
the experience to back it by gaining the experience and see the value and investment you're
making while working, if even for little to no money.