How to Become a Successful Freelance Copywriter

freelance copywriter

In this post I'll cover some tips and tactics that you can start implementing today to become a successful copywriter.  Copywriting is the act of writing text for promotional or marketing purposes.  Copywriting is slightly different than writing for that specific reason – marketing purposes.

This post contains some affiliate links to books that I've read and highly recommend to become a better copywriter.  I'll earn a small commission if you decide to buy one of the recommended books through my links! Thanks for the support!

Words are very powerful and they can also be very valuable.

If you can write in a way that persuades people to take action, your skills can be very valuable.  People and businesses pay good money to copywriters who help them draft sales letters, emails, promotional materials, and scripts for their products or services.

In this post you'll learn the following:

  1. How to improve your copywriting skills
  2. How to find work as a freelance copywriter
  3. How to maximize your income as a copywriter

Copywriting is a skill that anyone can develop.  If you've already got a blog, and you enjoy writing, you can use your writing skills to find freelance work to supplement your income, or make money writing sponsored posts on your own blog!

How to Improve Your Copywriting Skills

The best way to improve your skills in any area is to practice.

The same applies to writing.  The more you write, the better you become.  An important distinction to make here though is that just writing for the sake of writing won't improve your skills as a copywriter.  To become a better copywriter, you'll need to work on your marketing and promotional strategy.

Like we clarified in the beginning of this post, copywriting isn't just writing.  It's writing for the purpose of promoting a product or service, or I would also add writing for someone to take action.

You are writing to persuade someone to take a specific action.  That could be to buy a product, download something, give you their contact information, call in to learn more, set up an appointment, or any number of other actions.  But there is a purpose behind the writing.

If you're a blogger you might already be a copywriter without even knowing it.

Affiliate marketing is copywriting.  If you've ever written a blog article promoting an affiliate product you've done copywriting.

Let's say that you have an article on your blog about baking bundt cakes, and you use a specific cake pan that you really like that people can buy on Amazon.  The way you write your blog post is to persuade people to buy the cake pan from Amazon in order to bake the best bundt cake.  That is copywriting.

Read Good Books to Become a Better Copywriter

Practice is going to be the best way to improve your copywriting skills, but reading and learning from some other great copywriters will drastically improve your skills as well.

There are a handful of great books out there on copywriting and selling.

Two of my favorite books that I've read that will help you become a better copywriter are:

  1. The Ultimate Sales Letter – Dan Kennedy This book is written by one of the smartest copywriters in the world.  Dan Kennedy has written numerous top selling business books and you'll see this book recommended by a lot of other business people.  Dan talks about why some sales letters (copywriting) work and why some don't and lays out some great tips and strategies to use in your writing.
  2. DotCom Secrets – Russell Brunson.  This is a Free + Shipping book offered by Russell that is actually to this day one of my all time favorite sales books.  I took the free offer and got the paper back version of the book and I've actually read it multiple times.  It's that good!  There are a TON of awesome strategies that you can use to make more money from your writing and he gives a lot of examples of exactly how to write to get people to buy.  Highly recommended!

These are the two books I'd get started with right now if you want to learn to be a better copywriter.  You can get them both really cheap and will help you improve your writing and sales skills.  You can click the link on the book title to get your copy!

freelance copywriting

Write for Free

To build your portfolio of work you can and should write a few pieces of content for free.  This will help you build up your reputation and can help you earn some testimonials and positive reviews from clients.

Put yourself out there as an aspiring copywriter.  Let people know that you write, have a blog, and have studied from some of the best writers in the world including Dan Kennedy (people know that name and respect it…).

Offer to write sales letters and other promotional pieces of content for people or other bloggers for free in exchange for a good review or testimonial that you can use for your portfolio.  Doing this will also enable you to list the clients you've worked with on your website.  If you're trying to get copywriting jobs, people will feel a lot more comfortable hiring you if you can show them that you've already worked with a number of other clients and can show your work.

Writing a few pieces of content for free will help break the barrier and it will make it much easier for you to get paid work down the road.

How to Find Work as a Freelance Copywriter

Finding work as a freelance copywriter can seem a little challenging at first if you don't know where to look or where to put your name out there for work.  I want to talk about 10 websites or places that you can go to look for copywriting jobs.

1. Freelance Writing Gigs

Freelance Writing Gigs (or Jobs) is a nice simple website where people go to find freelance writing opportunities.  It's specifically focused on writing so it's easy to filter through opportunities.  They have a job board that you can look through to find opportunities.  They also have a nice list of 100 Websites That Pay You to Write in 2018 that has some great places to look for opportunities to make money writing.

2. Upwork

Upwork is one of my favorite freelancing websites and I talk a lot about it in my article Top 10 Profitable Ways to Make Money Online in 2018.  You can find all sorts of freelance work on Upwork but they also have writing opportunities as well.  Just search for copywriting and you should be able to find some jobs.

3. Toptal

Toptal is a high end freelance website that has a screening process that you have to go through to be accepted.  It may not be for everyone, but if you are an experienced writer and you pass the screening process you can get some very top level jobs with big name brands.

4. Freelancer

Freelancer is another website that you can join to put your skills out there.  Something unique about Freelancer is that they have contests that you can do to compete with other people to showcase your skills and further boost your portfolio.

5. Guru

Guru is a lot like Upwork and frankly like many of the freelancer websites out there.  You have a backend office where you can manage all of your jobs and get recommendations for jobs that match your profile.

6. Craigslist

A lot of people think of Cragslist like Ebay where people are selling products, but you can actually find some good writing or other freelance opportunities on there if you search correctly.  It may not be as seemless as some of the other websites that are specifically dedicated to freelance work, but it's not a bad place to check.

7. Peopleperhour

I actually just discovered PeoplePerHour just recently as I was looking for someone to help me out with some work.  PeoplePerHour is focused mostly on website freelance work, but if you already have experience with writing, blogging, SEO, or anything like that, you might find some good clients to work with on this website.

8. College Recruiter

College Recruiter is a website dedicated to help recent college graduates find work.  That could be a full-time job, seasonal work, internships, or freelance work.  If you're a college grad and have some copywriting skills you might be able to find some freelance opportunities on here.

9. iFreelance

The best part about iFreelance is that you keep 100% of the profits.  Other freelance sites will frequently take a big cut of the money you make.  You can connect with clients on the platform online or offline and make arrangements for the work that needs to be done and how you will go about processing the payment.

10. SimplyHired

Simply Hired is great for a lot of different types of freelancers.  It's almost like Indeed.com but you can find freelance work on there as well.  There are a lot of opportunities on this platform so you can get creative and find clients that might benefit from your writing skills.

These are just a few of the freelance websites that have opportunities for you as a freelance copywriter.  Take some time to explore these sites and you'll get an idea of what sites will be your best bet for finding work as a freelance copywriter.

How to Maximize Your Income as a Copywriter

Obviously the goal of being a freelance copywriter is to make money.  That's the goal with any business.  There are two key points to remember that will help you maximize your income as a copywriter:

  1. Don't undervalue yourself.
  2. Write for high value clients.

These two key points also happen to be two of the biggest mistakes that people make.  I've seen a lot of people who don't make much money doing freelance work and they wonder why…

The first problem is they sell themselves short.  You really have no advantage by being the “cheapest” option out there.  In fact, you're probably hurting yourself by saying that you'll do it for cheaper than your peers.  You are devaluing yourself.

Clients looking for freelance work obviously want a good price, but they want good work, and they want it done right the first time.  Nobody wants to pay someone for cheap work and then realize they got cheap results and have to do it over again with someone else.

In the freelance world, positioning yourself as a high value worker will help you establish credibility.  Yeah you might not get as many jobs, but you'll get better jobs with high paying clients.

High value clients are also very important.  Work for people who are willing to pay the big bucks.  Theres a strange phenomenon that occurs in the business world and I'm sure you've noticed it…

People who are cheap act cheap.  Have you ever noticed how customers who are looking for the cheapest deals or lowest costs are sometimes the ones who complain the most about the results?  They are the ones asking for refunds and complaining about the product (even though it was cheap to begin with).

Don't work for cheap clients.

You can also think of it this way…

Would you rather do 10 projects that each pay $10 or do one project that pays $100?

Let's Recap

We learned some ways that you can improve your copywriting skills.  The best way to improve is to write.  Practice writing sales letters, emails, and other promotional pieces of content.  A great way to do this is on your own blog.

We also talked about a couple good books to read that will help you understand the science behind copywriting and how to write influential pieces of content.

There are 10 good places to find freelance work as a copywriter and many others that you'll probably discover by doing a quick Google search.  Explore some of these sites and look for the best sites for what you do.

Finally we talked about two ways to maximize your income.  Don't sell yourself short as a copywriter.  Charge what you're worth.  One of the best pieces of advice I heard was from a public speaker who used to look in the mirror and say out loud what it would cost to hire him to speak at a conference.  He would keep saying bigger and bigger numbers until he laughed at how ridiculous the price sounded.  That's when he knew he was charging enough.

Work for high value clients.  Don't always take the low hanging fruit.  It will be good to do that when you're just getting started and trying to build your portfolio, but when you're established, look for the best clients to work with.  They will be much less of a headache.

Let me know in the comments below your favorite places to find work as a freelance copywriter!

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Charlotte Williams
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Very helpful information! Thank you!