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How to Start a Freelance Copywriting Business

Are you a wordsmith looking to start your freelance copywriting business? Or maybe you’re already a freelance writer who wants to add copywriting to your services.

Starting a freelance copywriting business is a great way to make money doing what you love. But where do you start?

Not to worry – we’ve got you covered. If you want to start a freelance copywriting business from home, this post is for you.

Copywriting is a rare skill set that is highly lucrative and in demand. As a freelance copywriter, you can work with businesses of all sizes to create compelling content that sells.

  • Businesses rely on copywriting alot
  • Great copywriters earn six figures easily
  • Most copywriters work remotely from home
  • You don’t need a formal education to become a copywriter

Your copywriting skills will be in high demand whether you’re writing web copy, email marketing content, or even sales letters.

And the best part? You can start your freelance copywriting business from home, on your own time, and at your own pace.

Since 2014, I’ve juggled between freelance copywriting and content writing, managing to create a full-time work-from-home business.

Certainly, other more profitable freelance copywriters have achieved far greater results.

However, unlike many who accidentally succeeded, I created a strategy right from the beginning, and it has worked to help me achieve my goals and grow.

What is a Copywriter?

A copywriter is a person who creates written messaging for businesses to sell a brand, its products, or services.

Any message or reading material you receive from a business is likely the work of a copywriter.

And the term copywriter is different from the term “copyright,” which is all about ownership and protection of intellectual property.

What Does a Copywriter Do?

Copywriters are responsible for writing the words that sell a product or service.

Their job is to create compelling copy that persuades people to take action, buy a product, sign up for a service, or make a donation.

Copywriters create ad campaigns, write website landing page copy, create product descriptions, write email marketing content, white papers, sales letters, etc.

Generally, there are a few steps copywriters follow when creating copy:

  • Research and understand competitors
  • Ask the right questions that lead to gathering quality information
  • Define the right framework for writing the copy
  • Planning out different sections of the copy
  • Collaborating with relevant stakeholders for feedback
  • Processing the copy through editing rounds

As a copywriter, 75% of your working time goes into writing your copy and editing it. The rest, 25%, will go into meetings, research, reviewing from stakeholders, and performance analysis.

However, while running a freelance copywriting business, you will need time for activities such as;

  • Pitching new clients
  • marketing your brand
  • managing existing clients

Types of Copy You Should Know

There are different types of copy, each serving a distinct purpose:

Web copy is website text that is meant to sell a product or service.

Ad copy is the text in advertisements, whether they’re on TV, radio, billboards, or online.

Landing page copy is web copy written to lead your website visitors persuasively into taking a specific action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Newsletters are persuasive emails or physical letters mailed directly to recipients that aim to promote a product, service, or cause.

Sales letters are long-form pieces of copy that are sent to potential customers in an attempt to sell a product or service.

Email marketing copy is used to create email campaigns that promote a product or service.

Product description copy is the brief text on product pages or service pages that sell the features and benefits. They appear on websites, in sales catalogs, and product packaging.

Press releases are short, news-style pieces that announce a new product, service, or event. Press releases are written to generate media coverage for a business or specific product.

All types of copy have one common goal: to persuade the reader to take some kind of action.

While there are different types of copy, most businesses require a mix of all these types to create a successful marketing campaign.

How to Start a Freelance Copywriting Business

To become a copywriter, start with the following steps;

  • Learn and understand persuasive writing
  • Learn the 6 basic copywriting skills
  • Create a stunning portfolio
  • Create systems for your freelance business
  • Land your first few clients
  • Build a stream of repeat clients

Start By Learning

I can’t say it enough; copywriting is a skill that requires lifelong learning and practice. Taking one copywriting certification course will only get you started.

One of the best ways that I consider effective in learning copywriting is by going out there and learning from the best. There are numerous resources you could use to sharpen your copywriting skills.

Take time reading blogs and articles (like this one!), listening to podcasts, watching webinars and videos, and attending conferences and events.

In short, start consuming as much quality content as you can. This will help you understand the latest trends, styles, and techniques in copywriting.

Here is a resource list to learn and train yourself on copywriting.

Make It Clear What You Offer

When starting a freelance copywriting business, it’s important to be clear on what you’re offering.

There’s no shortage of people who need copywriters, but they’re not all going to be a good fit for you – and that’s okay.

You’re offering your writing services – but what kind of writing? What industry are you targeting? What style of writing do you specialize in?

The key is to start by taking a good hard look at your skills and strengths. Take the time to figure out what makes you unique as a writer and use that to your advantage.

Are you good at writing catchy headlines? Do you have a knack for writing persuasive sales copy? Use it to your advantage and let prospective clients know exactly what they can expect when they hire you.

Once you disambiguate your offer, you can start marketing yourself to potential clients with confidence, knowing that you’re the right person.

Identify and Understand Your audience

As a freelance copywriter, understanding your audience is essential to your success. This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many copywriters make the mistake of not knowing their audience.

After all, you’re not just writing for yourself – you’re writing for your clients, and they need to be able to understand and connect with what you’re saying.

That’s why one of the most important strengths every copywriter must have is understanding and identifying with their audience.

Think about your target reader, who they are, their needs, and how you can best speak to them. Only then will you be able to create persuasive, effective copy that resonates with your audience.

Segmentation is key to understanding your audience. Segmentation is all about dividing your audience into groups based on shared characteristics.

This is important because it allows you to target your copywriting efforts towards specific subsets of people rather than trying to appeal to everyone at once.

Understand Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing is the art of convincing your readers to see your point of view and agree with your opinion. You want to influence your readers into taking a particular action.

There are a few reasons why persuasive writing is so important in copywriting.

First, you need to capture attention and interest right away. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information and advertisements, you need to be able to stand out and grab attention.

Second, you need to make a strong case for why your reader should take the desired action. This means clearly stating the benefits of taking action and addressing any reader’s objections.

Your ultimate goal in persuasive writing is to win over your reader by appealing to their logic or emotions.

As a career copywriter, you will need to commit your life to mastering persuasive writing. You can only learn too much about the basics and then keep learning and mastering.

Taka a look at my resource list for mastering persuasive writing.

Learn Basic Copywriting Skills Every Copywriter Should Learn

To start a freelance copywriting business, you will need some basic skills. These are the key skills that you will build on throughout your career.

1. Writing Headlines That Sell (Headline Copywriting)

Writing headlines is a fundamental skill for all copywriters. A headline is the first and most important element of any piece of copy. It’s the make or break of whether someone will read your article, click on your ad, or open your email.

Every piece of copy you write will essentially have a headline, and the success of your copywriting project will hinge on whether you write a persuasive headline or not.

Crafting quality headlines will mean better results for your clients and will certainly land you more work.

2. Creating An Irresistible Value Proposition (Value Proposition Copywriting)

A value proposition is a statement that communicates what your offer is, what value your offer provides, and who it is meant for.

Your value proposition needs to be clear, concise, and directly address the needs of your target customer.

An effective value proposition will increase the chance that someone will understand what you’re offering and be more likely to take action.

While it’s uncommon for most businesses to hire a copywriter for their value proposition, most business owners find it hard to articulate the value of their businesses. Therefore, it’s essential that you learn how to write strong value propositions as a copywriter.

The skill comes into use when writing landing page copy, web copy, and other copywriting contexts.

3. Landing Page Copywriting ( Writing persuasive landing pages )

A landing page is a standalone web page created specifically to lead the visitor to take a specific action.

The sole purpose of a landing page is to convert visitors into leads or customers.

A good landing page will have a single focus and a clear call to action.

Your new freelance copywriting business will work on tons of landing pages over the years. Every business needs a website, and most businesses need help with their landing pages.

Some of the common landing pages that you will need to write copy for are:

a) Homepage

b) Product pages

c) Service Pages

d) FAQ pages

Most websites have these pages, and how they perform in bringing in sales and leads is essential.

By writing landing page copy that performs well, you will always have a good supply of work.

4. Email Copywriting

There’s a high demand for email copy, like with landing page copy.

While businesses only need one-off services for landing page copy, demand for email copy is recurrent.

Writing email copy presents you with an opportunity for ongoing work.

It’s also pretty straightforward to track the performance of your email copy with metrics such as “opens” and “clicks.”

These metrics will help you improve your craft and quantify the value you provide to businesses.

5. Ad Copywriting

Advertorial writing is considered to be the birth of copywriting.

Like the skills mentioned above, ad copywriting is an in-demand skill whose demand far outweighs the supply.

However, most businesses rarely offer ad copywriting jobs to freelancers. Ad copywriting mostly happens at the agency/ in-house level.

6. Video Script Copywriting

Video script copywriting is writing the script for a video commercial or explainer video.

With the rise of digital marketing, there has been an explosion in demand for video content.

As a result, the demand for video script copywriters has also increased.

The demand is also amplified by the low number of copywriters specializing in writing video script copy.

Webinars, YouTube videos, and product launch videos are examples of where your video script copywriting skills can be utilized.

Webinars, in particular, depend heavily on the use of video script copy, and their success or failure often hinges on the quality of the video script.

If you are plugged into communities that revolve around video, you might make good of creating video script copy.

Start Building Your Brand

When starting your freelance copywriting business, one of the most important things you can do is build your brand.

A strong brand will help you attract clients, stand out from the competition, and charge premium rates.

A strong brand will also make you more memorable and trustworthy in the eyes of potential clients. It will also help you stand out from the crowd and communicate what makes you unique.

There are many benefits to building a strong brand for your freelance copywriting business.

It will make it easier for people to find you online and remember you after they’ve worked with you.

A strong brand will also help you attract higher-paying clients who are looking for a copywriter they can trust.

A well-developed brand will also give you a competitive edge when bidding on projects or networking with other professionals.

There are countless ways to build your brand, but some of the most effective include writing a blog, speaking at events, and being active on social media.

By sharing your knowledge and expertise with others, you’ll attract attention and start to develop a reputation as an authority in your field. And that’s when the really good clients start rolling in.

Build Your Portfolio

Any freelance copywriter worth their salt will tell you that one of the most important things you can do when starting your copywriting business is creating a portfolio.

A portfolio is a collection of your best works and is essential in helping you get new clients. After all, potential clients want to see what you can do before they hire you.

A portfolio highlights your skills and lets potential clients know what you’re capable of.

It’s also a great way to build credibility and land new projects.

While starting, building a portfolio is relatively easy.

  • Start by collecting your best work, whether it’s published articles, blog posts, or even just samples of your writing; 
  • Next, create an online presence for your portfolio, whether that’s through a simple website or a more elaborate one; 
  • Keep your portfolio up-to-date, adding new pieces as you complete them. 

If you’ve not done any work, start some practice projects that shall serve as your portfolio pieces. You can create copy for your own copywriting business. Write landing page copy, create a sales letter, craft a set of several social media posts, create your newsletter, and craft some emails for selling your copywriting services.

Ask an experienced copywriter to take a 5 minutes look at your copy and give you some feedback.

You can then find two more businesses and write their copy for them. Whether you get paid or not is not important. Your goal is to practice writing copy, get feedback from relevant people, and build a portfolio.

The best portfolios are well-curated, showcasing both your writing ability and your understanding of the brands you’ve worked with.

When starting, it’s often helpful to team up with a friend or colleague who can help you put together a strong portfolio that will help you attract new clients and grow your business.

Determine Your Rates

When you start a freelance copywriting business, you must know what to charge.

Knowing what to charge will help you attract clients who are willing to pay what you’re worth, and it will also help you budget your time and expenses. But how do you know what to charge?

First, it’s important to have hourly and per-word rates. Take into account business expenses, as well as your time, when coming up with these rates.

Consider your experience and skills. You may have to charge less than other experienced copywriters charge while starting. However, even if you’re new to the business, there are still ways to demonstrate your value to potential clients for reasonable rates.

It would also help to consider the project’s scope when determining your rates. A small project like a blog post may warrant a lower rate than a larger project like a website redesign. Similarly, rush jobs will usually command a higher rate than projects with more flexible deadlines.

Also, consider what other copywriters in your industry are charging. Compare the rates of experienced copywriters to those of copywriters with a similar experience level to yours.

Once you know what to charge, start by bidding on lower-priced projects. As you complete these projects and build up your portfolio, you can start to increase your rates.

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many clients are open to negotiating rates, especially if they’re happy with your work. So if you’re presented with an offer that’s lower than your usual rate, don’t be afraid to counter with a higher number.

Getting Your First Client

One of the most challenging parts of starting a freelance copywriting business is getting your first client.

If you are starting fully independent without any previous clients, you’ll need to put extra effort into getting your business off the ground.

At this point, not many businesses will be willing to hire you as a new copywriter. Low-paying clients who come your way should be welcome at this stage in your copywriting business. While starting, your goal is to get more work, build your authority, and keep honing your copywriting skills.

Your copywriting skills need to be legitimately good for getting high-paying clients. And getting good has a lot to do with applying your skills in the field and improving based on feedback.

Here’s a big tip: there are unicorn clients, alright, but don’t let other “smaller” opportunities get past you.

Some of the easy ways to find cheap clients include;

  • Cold pitching prospects
  • networking
  • Referrals from your network
  • Pitching job listings

With these methods, you will experience quick wins while also applying your knowledge in copywriting, gaining more experience, and building your portfolio.

Define Your Working Process

You’ve already dipped your feet into copywriting and gained experience at this stage.

You’ve reached out to prospects, talked with clients, handled some work, managed to work for less-than-ideal pay…etc.

The next step is to use all your accumulated knowledge to create processes that will help you turn copywriting into a business.

Create systems for;

  • How you acquire leads
  • How you convert prospects to customers
  • How you get project information and details from your clients
  • How you evaluate projects and determine success
  • How you submit your work to the client
  • How you request for and collect payments

Progress over perfection is the key undertone to starting a copywriting business from scratch.

While you may not manage to create systems for all these processes, take time to map how you operate.

Next, note down all the challenges you’ve experienced as a business owner.

Note down if

  • You struggle with acquiring/ converting leads
  • You struggle to communicate effectively with clients
  • You feel that clients don’t give you enough information for the project
  • Projects take too long to complete, or you are working on too many projects at the moment
  • You have difficulty asking for payments

By now, you should start to see a pattern in your challenges. The goal here is to start thinking about how you can eliminate them.

Get Organized

One of the best things you can do for your freelance copywriting business is to get organized.

As your business takes off, you’ll start working on more projects and handling more clients.

You need to be able to keep track of all your deadlines, files, payments, etc.

A great way to get organized is to start using a project management tool.

There are many different project management tools available, so find one that works best for you and your business.

Another way to get organized is to create a daily or weekly schedule.

Block out time for specific tasks, such as;

  • Finding new clients
  • Working on projects
  • Networking
  • Marketing your business
  • Updating your website
  • Creating new content

By getting organized and creating a schedule, you’ll be able to make the most of your time and start seeing better results in your business.

Start Marketing Your Business

Now that you’ve got a handle on your business, it’s time to start marketing your business.

If you want to attract high-paying clients, you need to start marketing your business to the right people.

There are many different ways to market your business, but some of the most effective methods include;

  • Writing guest posts on popular blogs
  • SEO
  • LinkedIn
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media

By using these methods, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and start attracting clients that are willing to pay top dollar for your services.

How Much Should You Charge?

Knowing how much to charge for your services when starting as a freelance copywriter is not always easy.

Several factors play a role in how much you should charge, such as;

  • The level of your experience
  • the type of copywriting services required
  • The scope of the project

One of the best ways to determine your rates is to look at what other copywriters in your area are charging.

You can charge either hourly or on a per-word basis. On average, freelancers charge anywhere between $25- $100.

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Copywriter?

You do not need a degree to start a freelance copywriting business. However, having a degree or any copywriting experience will give you an advantage over other beginner copywriters.

If you want to start your own copywriting business but don’t have any experience, consider taking a course or two on copywriting. This will help you learn the basics and give you the skills to start your business.

Contrary to what other people believe, you also don’t have to take an Agora copywriting course to start your business.

Take the Leap

Starting your freelance copywriting business can seem hard and impossible, but it’s doable.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful copywriter.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to take the leap and start a freelance copywriting business!

Are you a freelance copywriter who wants to start their own business? What challenges have you faced so far? Let us know in the comments below!