Freelance copywriting offers lots of enticing benefits. You get to determine your own working hours, save time and money with zero commute and choose the clients you want to work with.
That all sounds downright rosy on the surface, but the life of a freelance copywriter is not without its challenges. Becoming successful as a freelancer takes hard works and dedication. If you want to succeed and live the freelance lifestyle, start by following these 5 tips.
Begin your stint as a freelancer while on the job
Don’t quit your day job, as the saying goes, at least not until you’re absolutely sure you can take the leap without the safety net of a salaried job. Remember that you’re taking a huge financial risk and without a minimum of six months of cash to cover expenses as a backup, you could be setting yourself up for disaster.
Use weekends to connect with companies and individuals looking for freelancers on sites like Craigslist or freelancer forums to get copywriting jobs. By writing on the side, you can build up your portfolio and prepare yourself for your transition.
Find your niche
The best way to build and enhance your reputation as a copywriter is to have a clear specialization. Being a Jack (or Jill) of all trades is great, but it’s much easier to hone your craft if you focus on one niche subject matter to begin with. Gaining expertise over a specific subject or area can position you to be able to earn more per piece as your authority in the space will become recognized and respected.
Also, having a fairly steady income should be your goal, so having a specialization in a particular field is a great way to impress publications and pitch for a regular column.
Focus on becoming a freelance copywriter
Open a Word document and jot down the professional, personal and financial goals for your career as a freelance copywriter. By adding a timeline to every goal, you can push yourself toward achieving it. Set an annual income that you want to achieve at the end of your first year as a freelancer and work toward an hourly rate that would get your there.
The hourly goal is a fabulous way of increasing your income so don’t be surprised if your speed of writing articles or blogs, improves dramatically as the money carrot dangles before you.
Developing the passion and the drive to start off on the freelance path is easy; the challenge lies in maintaining that passion and actually getting work. Since, as a freelancer newbie you have a sparse portfolio to show to clients and even fewer success stories to boast about, landing projects is a tough job.
Begin by writing samples for a few clients. You may not get paid for it, but at least you have published work to add to your portfolio. This will lead to paid copywriting work and is an effective method of boosting your earning. More importantly, your confidence in your ability to handle freelance projects will get a much needed boost.
Freelancing is a business so approach it like one
When you first set out on your freelance career, treat is as if you were running your own business. Think of yourself as a company. You’re the CEO, the marketing team, the finance team and the list goes on.
Your freelancing career will require a decent amount of investment for promotional materials like business cards, a website, internet provider, software and other tools to help you be successful. You’ll also be your own sales team as you’ll have to negotiate contracts, reach out to clients and promote yourself as a talented copywriter.
Events are great for getting your name out there as well. The more you network at events, the higher the probability of people reaching out to you. Talk to people and showcase yourself and your talent as a copywriter to attract work. Read your contracts carefully, prepare professional-looking invoices and bring professionalism in everything you do.
Becoming a freelance copywriter is tough, but so is life. You may have to burn the midnight oil and work weekends, too, but you still have the flexibility of choosing assignments and clients. Don’t lose your patience if a couple of clients are rough. You’re on your own with no boss to report to and there’s no more satisfaction than calling the shots and calling them right. Go ahead, the sky is the limit!
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