Becoming a freelance copywriter seems like an attractive opportunity, especially in an age of great uncertainty. With viruses, redundancies, and financial collapses, more people are turning towards this method of working.
But how do you become a freelance copywriter exactly? And, is it a good idea to take the risk? It’s important to be aware that becoming a freelance worker (of any type) is especially difficult at first.
For this reason, this handy guide is designed to help you make a more informed decision, as well as show you how to become a freelance copywriter, should you wish to pursue this path.
What It’s Like to Be a Freelance Copywriter
Being a Copywriter can be exceptionally fun, but it is also a lot of hard work. As a freelancer, your income totally depends on the work you get.
Some months you might get overloaded with jobs, having little free time but earning a substantial amount in the process. In other months, you might not get any work at all, meaning you won’t earn anything.
Part of the charm of freelance jobs is the freedom they provide. Very rarely do you need to be in a specific location, meaning if you’re passionate about travelling then you’d be more than able to work and travel concurrently.
This provides you with a fantastic opportunity, since you can, in theory, be paid to travel. If you manage to write repeat pieces for a travel blog or a holiday agency, what better way than to travel there and get your information firsthand?
Of course, the major issue with freelance work is since you’re self-employed you won’t get paid for any time off. If you’re ill, have an event planned, or are going on holiday, you’ll either still need to work, or not get paid.
Types of Freelance Copywriter Jobs
As a freelance copywriter, your main objective is to write things designed to either promote or sell something. Due to their overlap, you may also accept several content-writing jobs. There are multiple types of copywriting jobs you can acquire as a freelancer.
Each of these jobs has varying degrees of difficulty, and must all follow their own guidelines to be effective at connecting adequately with their specific audience.
The most common types have been listed below,
- Advertising Copy: The text used in pieces of advertisement, designed to persuade consumers to purchase a product.
- Web Content: The content found on websites, including Home, About Us, and service pages.
- Blog Post: A piece of content uploaded onto a blog site, fitting the specific topic of the blog.
- Magazine Content: Content that is to be published in either a digital or print magazine, primarily written for entertainment.
- Press Release: An official statement from a company or government delivered to the media.
- White Paper: A government or authoritative report, designed to help inform and educate readers on a complex subject.
Good copywriters will be able to blend promotional information with informative content, in order to get you thinking about a product or service without even realising it.
How Much Will You Get Paid?
It’s up to you. Within reason, of course. If you’ve just started, you might be looking at $5-10 for 500 words. With time and experience, however, this can go up dramatically, as long as you can justify it.
If your quality isn’t up to standard, you can’t charge significant amounts without crippling your reputation, and hurting your bottom line as a result.
According to websites like Glassdoor, the average salary for Freelance Copywriting is roughly £18,000 a year. This, of course, depends entirely on your experience level and who you work for.
By creating interesting, valuable content, you’re more likely to prove your worth to the people hiring your skills. A company that is happy with the work you provide, is more likely to give you repeated work. Soon, you could be looking at completing multiple jobs for that company, and earning much more as a result.
One Copywriter with 10 years of experience reported earning in the region of £40,000 a year. This shows there is always the potential for growth, and how much a company can value you if you show them your true worth.
Like with almost every job available today, there is an extremely high demand for both freelancers and jobs. People are constantly looking for work, whether it’s their main income, or just a supplemental to help them out.
The only way you’re going to win those jobs is by having a Unique Selling Point (USP). Do you write specialised content? Are you cheaper than your competitors?
Can you get the work done more quickly? Figure out what sets you apart, and then compound on it.
Once you’ve started getting some freelance work and received good ratings, your reputation will build which will help you get increasingly more jobs. This adds weight to your USP, and gives other companies more confidence in your abilities.
Have you been to college or university? What grade did you graduate with? What previous relevant experience do you have? These are important to consider when writing out your profile.
It might be the difference between you winning a job and just missing out.
Qualifications are vitally important, because they act as unbiased accounts of the work you’re capable of.
7 Steps to Becoming a Freelance Copywriter
Create your Writer’s Profile
This is your first step to earning as a freelancer. Companies need to know who they’re hiring, and why you’d be a good fit for their business.
You can make this a document allowing you to use it whenever you sign up for a job, or you can build your own website and upload it there.
Websites are useful, because all your information is easily accessible to those who may be interested in hiring you for a job. Make sure you keep this updated though, because more experience makes you more trustworthy, and will help you get more jobs.
Sign Up to Freelancing Websites
These are the main places you’ll need to upload that writer’s profile you just constructed. Freelancing websites give you access to a whole network of businesses looking for reliable, effective freelance workers.
A company may need an article written, purely because they don’t have time to write themselves. Rather than hire a new employee, this is where you come in. Freelancing websites give you connections to a range of jobs that you may have no idea were even available.
While you’re getting to grips with being a freelancer, this is potentially the best way to get jobs and earn some starting money.
Apply Apply Apply
When you first start working freelance, you’re going to be overlooked. Significantly. Without an adequate reputation, it’s difficult for employers to choose you over other candidates who have more experience and reviews.
Just like searching for a salaried job, you must constantly apply to countless opportunities. You don’t have to accept every offer you receive, but by constantly applying for copywriter jobs you’re bound to be chosen sooner or later.
Accept the Jobs You Can Handle
This is an infrequently mentioned tip. Only accept the jobs you can handle. When people first start freelancing, they get caught up in accepting every job they can.
Sometimes, these have conflicting deadlines, or take up so much time that you just can’t get everything done.
Start off easy, and build yourself up. If you accept a series of jobs, and then can’t fulfill the order – that’s going to reflect badly on you. Especially when you first start out, that can be irreparably damaging to your career as a freelance copywriter.
So be careful of the jobs you accept. Make sure you can accomplish them by the deadline, and be aware some jobs may be more difficult than they first appear. The last thing you want as a freelance copywriter, is a bad reputation.
Submit and Cash In
When you’ve finished writing, you’ll need to prepare an invoice for your work. It’s important to list the job you did, and either your price per hour (along with how many hours you worked), or the price for the job itself.
And then be patient. Companies may pay you as soon as the work has been reviewed, or after a certain period of time. The latter is more likely if you are completing multiple pieces for the same client, so that they can issue the entire payment at once.
There are many times during your time as a freelancer where you can be tempted to give up, and get a salaried full-time job instead. These are the times you need to remember why you wanted to be a freelancer in the first place.
Did you want to travel? Or spend more time with friends and family? What were your goals for becoming a freelance copywriter?
Whatever your decision to become a freelancer, it’s important that you remember them during tough times. If you do decide to give up, make sure it’s what you want to do, and not because you’re just frustrated in the moment.
Where to Find Freelance Copywriting Jobs
Of course, if you’re going to be a freelance copywriter, you’re going to need to get jobs. The best places to find jobs, unsurprisingly, is online. Typically, jobs can be found on specialised websites that are designed to act as a middle man between the writer and client.
Websites like this usually do take a percentage of your profits, to pay for the service they provide. Of course, once you’ve worked with a certain client several times, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t be able to contact you directly. That way, you’d be able to build up future income.
Top 5 Freelance Copywriter Job Sites
These websites are all designed to help you get on your way to becoming a freelance copywriter.
Fiverr: Designed for freelancers of all kinds, Fiverr is excellent at finding you work, especially if you are proficient at several skills. They also provide training, to help you better yourself further.
PeoplePerHour: Acting more like a marketplace for jobs, PeoplePerHour allows job seekers to bid for jobs, as well as allowing the clients to approach freelancers directly.
Upwork: Containing multiple tools to help you along your freelancer journey, such as an easy to use invoice-maker, Upwork can provide you with the flexibility you need.
Freelancer: It is free to register on Freelancer, and with hundreds of jobs posted daily, you’re sure to find copywriter jobs suited to you.
WriterAccess: With a 14 day free trial, you’re able to test how well you connect with WriterAccess before you fully commit. They offer a wide range of writing jobs and many tools to help you develop as a writer.
Of course, there are countless freelancing websites out there, so if the one’s I’ve listed aren’t quite for you, have a look at these ones.
Other Ways to Find Freelance Copywriter Jobs
Freelance agencies function similarly to job sites, but with slight differences. Firstly, because you’re working for an agency rather than a specific client, you have a much more stable income. There are many more jobs to choose, and little (if any) competition with other writers.
Secondly, you get paid by the agency – not the client. Whereas with sites like PeoplePerHour and Fiverr, you negotiate with the client and the host site takes a percentage, that’s not the case with agencies. The agency gets paid by the client, and then you get paid by the agency.
It may seem like you’d be better off by working without an agency. For one-off jobs, that’d certainly be the case. What agencies excel at, however, is offering solid, stable work.
If you’re needing consistent full-time work, you’d probably be able to earn more via an agency than through other means.
Not a wholly reliable method, referrals are a great way to build your network. If you complete a job for someone and they are impressed with your work, they might just mention you to their friends.
This is great at helping you spread your name, and build up your client base.
While it may initially seem that you’re relying purely on luck with this method, there are ways to improve its effectiveness.
If you were to offer discounts to both the referrer and their contact, this would provide your existing clients with an incentive to spread your name and abilities with their contacts.
Of course, this plan relies wholly on your abilities. If the quality of your work is considered substandard, then even previous clients may be unwilling to work with you, and pass your name along.
Contact Companies Directly
This one will only work properly if you have excellent examples of your work. It would also be beneficial to have a website which acts as a promotional page.
Expect to be declined, since many companies either don’t need any additional work done, or have their own freelance copywriters which they use.
That’s not to say you won’t receive anything though, you could get lucky and be offered well paid, repeated work. The only way you’ll find out is if you go for it.
Are you ready to become a freelance copywriter? You’ve done the research, now you’ve just got to do it. Go and take the first step.
Keep the conversation going...
Over 5,000 of us are having daily conversations over in our free Facebook group and we'd love to see you there. Join us!