I might be a little bit biased but I truly think that copywriting is the best business around these days, and it’s something that can be continued from home even in quarantine.
Every single business on the planet needs copy. Whether you’re familiar with precisely what copywriting is or not, just think of it as any single word written for the purpose of business or making sales. So Facebook ads, social media posts, emails, print copy, website copy, all of that is considered copywriting, and is needed by businesses small, large, offline, online, you name it!
Copywriting is one of the only creative businesses that allow you to get paid with nothing more than your laptop. You don’t need any fancy software programs, or Adobe Premiere to edit video or Photoshop to edit graphics. All you need is a Word document.
Most people don’t even know that these types of careers existed. The general impression is you either have to be a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, accountant, a teacher, or something else like that. But once you explore this world of online marketing and copywriting, you feel like there’s a whole new creative career world out there.
In every business, every single product, launch, email, everything needs people’s eyeballs on the copy. Most people are essentially starting from scratch when it comes to building and starting their own copywriting business. So that might be where you are also right now. Maybe you’ve studied some courses, maybe you want to get into it, or maybe you haven’t done any of that yet and that’s totally OK.
Now before I dive into my 6 steps you need to take before you start your copywriting business, there’s something I want to nip in the bud about copywriting. And that is this misconception that in order to be a good copywriter, you have to be a classically trained writer, or you needed to get straight A’s in English class in university or college. I can tell you none of that is true. All you need is empathy, creativity, and a passion for writing. Here’s the thing: we are given this extremely amazing skillset to be able to communicate through words. And every single business needs that skillset. That’s why copywriters are so highly paid and are so sought-after by every single business on the planet. So truly, all you need to start writing is empathy, creativity, and a passion for writing. And then with that, you layer on the tactics and the strategies, and the conversion principles, and the psychology.
So let’s move on to the 6 first steps you should take if you’re starting your at-home copywriting business.
Step 1: Study
This can just not be reinforced enough. Don’t take just one copywriting certification program and call yourself a copywriter. Get out there and learn from the best, buy programs, sign up for courses, enroll in seminars, do all of that stuff. Whatever you do, never stop studying.
I have been offering copywriting services to my clients for quite a while now, and I still absolutely love reading, listening to podcasts, and learning from the best of the best out there. Always hone your craft and focus on how you can get better and better and better.
Step 2: Get Crystal Clear On What You Offer
As I mentioned earlier that every single business on the planet needs writers, but will you write copy or content? There’s a difference in these two. Do you want to write long form sales letters, social media posts, videos or Facebook ads? And how do you want to serve your client? Do you want to work part time, full time, contract basis or what?
Before you start promoting your services, make sure to take some time to map out what your freelance business would look like and how would you offer your services. I know in the beginning it can be tough because you’d probably feel like taking any job that comes your way in order to get started. And that’s fine actually, but just remember that the first few clients you have really sets the foundation for the types of clients you’ll get in the future. And that’s because a lot of business owners want to hire writers with experience in their particular niche. So if you get started in personal development for instance, that could become your niche of copywriting. Then if you love writing about personal development and never get tired of learning more in that niche, then you’re in good luck.
Some other examples of niches could be to write about pets, or parenting, or real estate, or finance. There are literally so many niches that are looking for great copywriters, and the more specific you can be, the better you can show up and serve your ideal client. So take some time to think about this in the beginning because this will set the foundation for the types of clients you’ll attract in the future, and really niche you into a specific area of copywriting. The more experience you have the better you’re going to get.
Step 4: Write a Self Sales Pitch
I know this sounds a little bit icky, especially if you don’t feel comfortable selling yourself, but if you’re going to learn how to write for other people and sell products for other people, you need to know how to sell yourself. So that’s why the last two steps were so important. Once you get very clear on what you offer and who you’re going to serve, this step will become so important and will really help you find your niche.
The most important thing to remember with this step is just be honest about where you’re at. A lot of business owners actually don’t want to hire the most seasoned and experienced writers because they’re looking to train someone who’s really going to learn and adapt to their brand voice. So if you are really just starting out, don’t worry about it. Just be super honest, show up, and deliver results.
Step 5: Build Your Online Portfolio & Profile
Here comes the most important question: how are your clients going to find you if they cant find you? Now that you’ve taken some time to get clear on what you offer, and who you serve, and you’ve written out a little bit of a self sales pitch, you need to make yourself easily discoverable on the internet. Your portfolio could be on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, an Upwork profile, or the best would be to have your own personal website.
When clients start hearing your name, they’re immediately going to go Google you and see where you’re present and where you’re active online. So you’re really going to want to have a portfolio and some social proof. If you have worked with anyone in the past, get a testimonial from them and publish it on your portfolio. This is so huge, and it’s something so many creative people forget to do. Immediately after you have a positive exchange with a client, ask for a testimonial. These can be added to your Facebook fan page, to a Google review, or to your website. Positive reviews and testimonials are going to increase your chances of getting more and more clients.
Also always keep some writing samples, whether they’re paid or you’ve done them in your free time. Go out and find clients you can do some sample work for. Anything you can do to really build up that portfolio is just going to help you in the long term. And then of course the more clients you get, the easier it is to build your portfolio.
Step 6: Find Clients
I am a huge believer in both a push and a pull strategy. What I talked about until now was a lot about the pull strategy. Get very clear on what you offer, who you serve, and get an online portfolio presence and profile set up so the right people can find you. Now in terms of a push strategy, which means really going out there and finding those clients you want to work with, you’ve got to be a little bit more strategic. You might want to start with cold-calling, working for mini projects for free in the beginning, sending out emails to businesses you think could use a better copy for their material, reaching out to potential clients over social media, and so on and so forth.
So there you have it – those are my 6 steps you should take if you’re looking to start a freelance copywriting business. And the great new is, anything you can do as a freelancer can be very easily continued in quarantine!