Real World Considerations for Becoming a Freelancing Copywriter
There is a boom in demand for copywriting today. We live in a world of informational overload, and companies need help getting their message across to an audience that skims through everything. Smaller companies still require this service, but most can’t afford an in-house copywriter, so they hire freelancers to care for their copywriting needs.
While even the best copywriters will face challenges and fears about going freelance, it is still a viable option. For those who have made the courageous decision to step into the freelance world full-time, we take our hats off to you. We hope this article will give you all the ammunition you need to succeed in your new freelance copywriting career.
Why Become a Freelance Copywriter? Becoming a Freelancing Copywriter
You’ve thought hard about why you want to become a freelance copywriter, but it doesn’t hurt to have reminders of what you will face in the future.
Here is a list of the pros and cons of going freelance to get you excited and determined about your new career path.
- Be your boss
- Work from home
- Flexible schedule
- Opportunities for income are endless
- Income isn’t guaranteed
- No supplemental employer benefits
- Self-employment taxes are complicated
- The amount of work fluctuates
Pick a Niche – Becoming a Freelancing Copywriter
As the saying goes, “The riches are in the niches.”
- To compete in the sea of copywriters on the market, you need to cut yourself out a little piece of the pie that is your specialty. This separation will give you a competitive edge by making you the top candidate for a select type of copywriting work.
- Instead of competing against all other copywriters on every project, you will compete against a handful of other copywriters for specific projects.
- This specialization will give you much better odds of being rewarded for the work.
- When you become known as an expert in a particular niche, you’ll find that people come to you with copywriter jobs they need.
Types of Copywriting
You can begin your specialization by choosing a specific type of copywriting to make your focus. There are four main types of copy that you can choose to write:
Narrow It Down
Experts recommend narrowing your niche even further to make yourself “the expert” in your type of copywriting. You can do this in two ways; by service or by industry.
When you narrow your niche by service, you make yourself an expert in creating one product type. Not only will you be able to target a specific problem for your clients, but by repetition, you will become highly proficient in creating these high-quality products. You will learn what works and what doesn’t and will be honing your skills.
As a result, your services will perform better as time goes on, as you put into practice what you learn, and you will have many happy and repeat clients.
Here is a list of some common types of written content that you can specialize in creating:
- Landing pages
- Email marketing
- Lead magnets
- Press releases
- White papers
- Social Media Posts
- Online Ads
- Youtube and Other Video Scripts
- Direct Response
- Case Studies
- Product Descriptions
Another great way to narrow your niche down as a content writer is by industry. You can be an expert in copywriting for the sector by subject or audience.
This works well if you have background knowledge or industry experience. For example, if you have a passion for the subject or have also worked in that industry, this would be an excellent opportunity to write copy with authority and resonate with your client’s target audience.
Some examples of industries that require plenty of copy include:
- Real estate
- Fashion and Beauty
You can also niche by writing:
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Create a Stellar Portfolio – Becoming a Freelancing Copywriter
Most clients will ask for some examples of your past work for them to take you seriously. Unfortunately, when starting as a freelancer, you may not have any past work completed that you can share. You can still create a few excellent pieces of content that you can use to show potential clients what you can do for them.
One way is to self-publish two blog posts (or more) on LinkedIn, Medium.com, or as guest posts for other professionals.
Always use editing apps at the end or during writing to check for typos, grammar mistakes, and good readability.
Two of the most popular are Grammarly and Hemingway. The last thing you need in your portfolio is errors and run-on sentences. These apps can help tremendously in the proofreading process. You’ll want to include a few pieces in your portfolio highlighting your best work and focusing on your chosen niche. These can be long-form content or short but should reflect the types of work you hope to land.
This article explains how to do this step-by-step when starting and gives some good examples to follow.
Your Professional Website
- Another great way to stand out as a professional is to create your website.
- This website is more than just another place to showcase your portfolio.
- You create your brand, voice, writing styles, and expertise on this site. It’s like your own personal billboard but on the internet. So what do you want your clients to know about you? How will you stand out?
- After you’re happy with your professional website, get an email address to match it. Again, this looks much more professional than a personal email.
Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile
- Although you may have a LinkedIn profile already, if you want to go freelance, now is the time to take another look at it.
- You are now the face of your business.
- Your LinkedIn profile needs to reflect that.
- Follow these seventeen tips from LinkedIn to optimize your profile.
How and Where to Market Your Services – Becoming a Freelancing Copywriter
- The biggest challenge to being successful at being a freelance copywriter is finding clients.
- As a freelancer, you must market your services significantly, especially initially.
Here are some marketing strategies that have been proven effective as a copywriter:
- As a freelancer, you need to widen your circle of acquaintances because you don’t have the budget or marketing team of larger marketing firms.
- Word of mouth will be one of your most significant sources of new clients.
- To meet new people, you can join groups online or in real life with like-minded people. Many of these groups will host events.
- Make sure you are there and prepared to mingle. You never know which connection will be next to a job opportunity.
- Contact anyone you know in the industry or any industry that would require copywriting services and let them know that you are freelancing now so they can keep you in mind.
- Research the companies in your niche that could use your copywriting skills.
- Then, send them an email offering your services.
- Ensure this email is well written (you provide copywriting services) and include a professional signature.
- You can use this free cold pitch email kit from Mailchimp to help you get your footing.
- Don’t forget to send a follow-up email if you don’t hear back.
- Another great way to market yourself as a professional copywriter is to get writing!
Write guest posts for others, write on your website, and post relevant content on social media. Get your name and writing out there for as many eyes as possible.
You can even create podcasts or webinars to teach others the craft. This will give your freelance business more authority and credibility.
Learn more about small business essentials that every freelancer needed in 2022.
Clients will always appreciate the experience that others have had when using your services. That is why collecting testimonials is a worthwhile endeavor.
Most of your clients are busy, so if you are having a hard time getting a response to your request for a testimonial, try to offer a discount to clients for passing the word.
Once you get many referrals, learn how to leverage them here.
One of the most effective ways to promote your services is to search through online job boards or marketplaces and apply to the ones that interest you.
Here are a few of the most popular writing marketplaces on the web:
Foundr has a great article on using online marketplaces successfully to grow your freelance writing business.
LinkedIn is one of the best ways to share your professional profile. It is also a great place to find clients.
Check out this neat hack shared by Lewis Commercial Writing on how to find your next client on LinkedIn.
How to Determine Your Rates as a Freelance Copywriter – Becoming a Freelancing Copywriter
Another challenge freelancers face determining how much to charge for their content writing.
You may be worried that your rates won’t be competitive if you charge too much, and you’ll lose clients. But you want your income to reflect the value of your writing skills.
Here are some things to consider when determining your rates as a freelance copywriter:
Determine Your Payment Model
Another crucial decision to make when taking the freelance plunge is how you will determine your fee. There are several payment models to choose from:
- Hourly Rate
- Flat Rate
- Package Prices
- Monthly Retainer
Each of the above payment options has its own set of benefits. To decide which is best for you, read this informative article.
Check out the Competition
After you’ve decided on a payment model, you need to decide on a payment amount. This is the tricky part.
One way to come to an amount is by checking out the competition and answering these questions:
- How much are other writers charging?
- What are they offering?
- How can you make your services more valuable?
Know Your Worth
But what the competition charges shouldn’t be your only measure of how much your services should earn.
- It would be best if you believed in the value of your services and your experience, expertise, and skills. If you are a seasoned veteran with years of experience, your fees should reflect that.
- If you have consistently proved to bring good results from your copy, that deserves compensation.
How to Replace Employer Benefits – Becoming a Freelancing Copywriter
The biggest downside to freelancing is the lack of benefits.
All those employer benefits you are used to from your former copywriting business; health insurance, sick days, retirement, life insurance, overtime, unemployment, and so much more; are no longer.
Find a benefits package for yourself.
Luckily some services can fill this gap for you. Selfgood offers a full suite of services for freelancers. In addition, their membership benefits can help those “on their own” feel like they have a helper.
Benefits to Consider
Which benefits do freelance copywriters need to consider?
- First and foremost, most individuals would want to find a good health insurance plan that includes dental and vision.
- Retirement is another big topic in freelancers’ minds. Having an IRA, SEP IRA, Solo 401k, and some wise investments can help those who don’t have employment retirement funds to see still a means for retiring in the future.
- What about vacation or sick days? How can a freelancer fill that gap? The best way is to open a separate savings account and call it a vacation fund. Life Insurance is an excellent investment to consider if you have a family.
A good place for reliable legal and financial advice should also be on your list of benefits – Selfgood offers both!
Include the costs of these services in your rates so you can afford them.
Taxes for Freelance Copywriters – Becoming a Freelancing Copywriter
When you are a freelancer, the IRS technically sees you as a small business. This distinction can intimidate the tax filing process, but it doesn’t have to be. Just ensure you save about 20% of your monthly income for taxes.
Keep good records. Collect all invoices of payments and receipts of any business expenses. Take advantage of any deductions you are eligible for as a copywriter. Here is a list that you should keep in mind.
Quarterly Estimated Taxes
If you expect to owe more than $1000 at the end of the year for your taxes, the IRS requires that you pay quarterly estimated taxes.
The IRS provides all the information you need to set this up.
To succeed, freelance copywriters must learn to be writers and businesspeople. This article laid out some essential aspects of how to do this.
Of course, as time passes, you’ll learn your tips and tricks. Maybe one day, you’ll write an article like this to help other aspiring freelance copywriters succeed in their careers.
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