How To Make Money as a Freelance Copywriter With No Experience in 2023
Making a good living as a writer, working from home, without a boss seemed like a pipedream until I learned about freelance copywriting. Whether you’re just starting your career or you’re looking to pivot away from your current 9-5, freelance writing can be your ticket to freedom, as long as you take the right steps.
In this blog post, I’ll share (from firsthand experience) how to make money copywriting without experience in 2023. You don’t need a degree or prior writing experience. You do need good grammar, a passion for writing, and a willingness to learn from experienced professionals.
This article will cover both the skillset side of copywriting and the business side of full-time freelancing.
What is a freelance copywriter?
A copywriter is a professional writer who creates persuasive copy or content for advertising or marketing. As a copywriter, you’ll craft compelling messages that capture and hold the target audience’s attention while conveying the brand’s message. You’ll write content such as sales letters, press releases, website text, blog posts, email newsletters, and more.
You may have heard of famous copywriters like David Ogilvy and fictional characters like Peggy Olson from Mad Men.
When I try to explain what I do as a full-time freelance copywriter, I’m usually met with confused looks or polite nods. People often confuse the word “copywriter” with “copyright” and assume I’m in the legal profession.
People are confused by the word “copy.” Copy is just another word the output of copywriters, who write material that encourages consumers to buy goods or services. (wiki).
As a freelance copywriter, you’ll be an independent contractor who manages your workload and sets deadlines. You could work for multiple clients or employers simultaneously, depending on project availability and your schedule.
If you’re an in-house copywriter, you’ll probably work at one company or organization, either full-time or part-time. You may be hired on an as-needed basis for specific projects or campaigns and focus solely on content for that particular organization.
Different types of freelance writing include technical writing (instruction manuals), creative writing (articles), web content creation (blogging), marketing writing (promotional materials), and educational writing (curricula).
What do copywriters do?
You’ll create persuasive, engaging, relevant, and effective written content as a copywriter. You’ll do this by researching, writing, and editing copy for advertising, marketing, corporate communications, and other forms of media. You may also give guidance on branding and tone of voice to ensure consistency across all materials.
Copywriters collaborate with art directors, graphic designers, web developers, and other teams to create compelling advertising campaigns or multimedia projects. You may also provide feedback on scripts or visuals as part of the collaborative process.
As a copywriter, you must understand audience demographics to craft messages that resonate with each target audience. You’ll identify trends in consumer behavior to inform your perspective when creating campaigns or other materials.
As a copywriter, you must stay organized and manage multiple projects simultaneously while meeting deadlines. This skill is critical in fast-moving industries such as tech or fashion where trends change rapidly.
Finally, copywriters must possess strong communication skills to listen closely to client requirements and understand their objectives before beginning any project. This enables them to deliver work that meets the client’s expectations.
Copywriter versus content writer
People who write for a living tend to get fired up about this topic. They want to draw a clear line in the sand and emphasize how different content is from copy. While copy and content are two different types, I’ve always branded myself as a copywriter who writes both copy and content.
While both involve writing to create compelling materials, there’s an essential distinction between the two. Copywriting usually focuses on one specific goal—generating a sale or lead.
To do this, they must draw the reader’s attention in with creative headlines and engaging copy that speaks to their needs and wants.
Content writing is more focused on providing information than prompting action from the reader. Content writers create blog posts, articles, webpages, FAQs, and other informational material to inform readers and improve visibility in search engines.
Content writers may also write promotional materials such as press releases and newsletters; however, these materials have information as their priority and getting someone to take action as a close second.
One key difference between copywriting and content writing is that copywriting appeals to emotions while content writing appeals to logic. For instance, copywriters might focus on evoking feelings of urgency or trust in potential customers, while content writers might focus on providing facts and figures about a product or service. In addition, good copywriters are experts at persuasion, while good content writers are experts at research and storytelling.
I write blog content, case studies, and ebooks in my freelance business. I also write copy such as email, landing pages, sales pages, and occasionally social media posts.
Finally, another major difference between the two types of writing is that copywriters often work closely with marketing teams to craft effective campaigns for clients. In contrast, content writers usually work independently with little input from others.
Is copywriting a good career?
Short answer: yes, earning a good living as a full-time freelance writer is possible. However, your earning potential will vary depending on several factors. While becoming a highly paid freelance writer is 100% possible, your ability to earn depends on your work ethic, confidence, and taking the right steps.
My story: I went from working a traditional 9-5 in sales to becoming a full-time freelancer with no professional writing experience. And it only took about four months. My journey started with a google search.
I had quit my toxic full-time job with no backup plan and was collecting unemployment. So I googled “careers in writing that pay well” and “high-paying writing jobs from home.”
After reading a few articles, I learned about freelance content writing. But knowing about the career field wasn’t enough. Before taking the leap, I needed to be sure I could make a living as a writer.
^^This very graphic from an AWAI webinar convinced me that I could earn a living full-time if I could get enough clients.
The harsh reality? As a sales rep, I used to make 90K+ a year. In my first year as a full-time freelancer, I made around 50K. “Six-figure freelancer” is a compelling marketing concept, but making that amount is rare when first starting out.
While 50K was far from the dream, it worked for me as a single person living way beneath my means and had already paid off all of my debt.
While 50K might have been a “step back” as far as income goes, I was still incredibly proud (and surprised) that I could pay my bills, work from home without a boss, doing something I love doing which is writing.
If you want some stats, take a look at these stats from DDIY, the leading freelance data aggregator:
- Studies show that more than half of full-time freelance workers feel more financially secure working for themselves versus their traditional jobs.
- One report found more than 15 million full-time freelancers, with 1 in 5 earning a salary of $100,000.
- 60% of freelancers share that they’re able to make more money than they did at their previous jobs.
- Freelance copywriters can earn up to $250 an hour.
- 75% of freelancers reported that their wages remained stable during the pandemic despite the increase of remote work and a presumed declining demand for freelancers.
There’s no doubt freelancing can be lucrative, but your income will depend on the following four factors. Examples of these decisions are:
- Your chosen writing niche
- Your web presence and marketing (i.e., your website, your LinkedIn profile, and portfolio)
- Choosing an effective, consistent strategy for how you’ll get clients
- How confident you are in communicating your value to clients
How to learn copywriting
Logically, your first step to becoming a copywriter would be to learn copywriting. However, it’s critical to come at this with the right mindset. You do not need a certificate or degree to become a copywriter.
Many copywriters are self-taught and learn by doing.
Most copywriters think they need to take a course and learn everything before marketing their services and getting clients. They use “not knowing enough” or “not feeling ready” as a procrastination tool to avoid doing the hard part of a freelance business: getting clients.
You have to gain some knowledge of copywriting principles, and there is a learning period. However, you need to learn the basics and start taking action before you’re ready. For example, I found that learning sales and marketing principles combined with a natural ability to write was all I needed to get my first blog writing clients.
I know it sounds entirely backward to get writing clients before you learn, but the reality is that there is no online course will 100% prepare you because each client will want something different from you.
Beyond basic copywriting skills and principles, this is a “learn as you go” profession. However, I see online courses as valuable if you want the information packaged engagingly with a community and mentorship component.
Here are my top recommendations for books and courses to learn copywriting:
Top books to learn copywriting
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion) by Robert B. Cialdini
- How to Write Copy That Sells: The Step-By-Step System for More Sales, to More Customers, More Often by Ray Edwards
- The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halbert, Bond Halbert
Top courses to learn copywriting
- Copy School by Copyhackers
- Comprehensive Copywriting Academy by Filthy Rich Writer
- The B2B Writing Seminar by B2B Writing Institute
- Copywriting Mastery by Digital Marketer
How to become a freelance copywriter
I have good news: you CAN become a freelance copywriter without experience. Here’s how:
Step 1: Choose your copywriting niche
Your niche is critical not only for commanding a higher rate, but it also gives you direction for every other step in this process. Copywriting niches are specific areas or industries you will focus on. Not choosing a niche (or niches) is one of the worst mistakes you can make as a freelancer.
Most writers are curious and multi-passionate, so they think niching down will limit their reach, but that is not the case at all. Instead, niching down is the most effective way to land clients and command high rates.
Step 2: Build a copywriting portfolio
Your freelance writing portfolio will showcase your work in an organized way to prove to potential clients the quality of your writing. To build a successful portfolio, include samples of published articles, blog posts, web content, and other writing pieces you’ve created.
A great way to get started is to take on smaller projects for lower pay to build up a few samples for your portfolio. Additionally, make sure it’s easy for potential clients to contact you; list contact information like an email address or phone number at the top of the page and any links to other relevant sites like your LinkedIn profile.
Your writing portfolio should live on a dedicated landing page that you can easily link out to or a private cloud-hosted folder like google drive. As you continue working as a freelance writer, remember to update your portfolio regularly with new projects and accomplishments.
Building a freelance copywriting portfolio from scratch with no experience
One way freelance writers can create their portfolio pieces is to write on spec. Writing on spec means that a writer creates content without being commissioned or assigned the task by an editor or publication.
Writing on spec allows writers to showcase their creativity, writing ability, and research skills, and can help them build a portfolio of work to show potential clients. When creating an article on spec, choosing a topic that is engaging, timely, and relevant to the target audience is essential.
Step 3: Create your writer’s website
If you’ve never built a website before, no need to worry! As writers, all we need is a very basic, low-cost website. Then, clients use the information on your website to determine if you’re the right fit.
Your writer’s website is critical because you’re not just a freelancer but a business. It took about a week for me to build my site. I went with cheap web hosting through Bluehost and an easy drag-and-drop site builder, Weebly.
Step 4: Freelance-optimize your social profiles
Having freelance-optimized social media profiles gives you access to a wider range of potential customers and increases your visibility and chances of getting hired. Create a professional-looking profile tailored towards potential clients, highlighting your experience, skills, qualifications, and any awards or recognition received. This will help build trust with clients and show that you are serious about copywriting.
Writing samples are also critical when optimizing your social media profiles as a freelance writer. Uploading links to your samples gives potential clients an example of the quality of work they can expect from you if they decide to hire you – so ensure your best work is featured prominently.
It’s also worth including details about your writing services, such as website content creation, blog posts, email newsletters, or press releases. Showcasing relevant keywords in these descriptions can help boost search engine optimization (SEO), making it easier for prospective customers to find you online.
Having an online presence isn’t just about building trust with potential clients – it’s also a great way for freelance writers to network. In addition, it builds relationships with other professionals in the industry who could eventually lead them to more lucrative opportunities or referrals.
For Twitter, you only have a short bio to fill out.
Step 6: Start cold-pitching your ideal freelance clients
Cold pitching is best when you’re starting out or starting from scratch, as I did with no experience or connections. When you send a set amount of cold pitches to ideal clients, a percentage of those messages (when they’re done right) will convert to a certain amount of opportunities.
In sales and marketing, it’s called a conversion rate. X amount of tries results in X amounts of booked calls with clients. When you don’t send cold messages, your likelihood of getting in front of clients is 0.
In the next section, I’ll explain how to get freelance copywriting clients even if you have no experience. Then, I’ll walk you through the steps of making a list of your ideal companies and clients, writing your cold pitch message in advance, and setting cold pitch goals and staying consistent.
How to land freelance copywriting clients
There are many different ways to land copywriting clients. Instead of trying to find the ‘best’ strategy, ensure that you include both active and passive strategies.
For example, cold pitching is an example of an active strategy because you can control the number of pitches you send. On the other hand, waiting on word-of-mouth referrals is a passive strategy because you can’t control whether or not your name gets passed on.
I have tried all of the strategies below except for freelance bidding sites like Fiverr and Upwork. While they all have their time and place, cold pitching is the has the most ROI.
Cold pitching and letters of introduction
Cold pitching is essential for freelance writers looking to secure work. It involves directly contacting potential clients with a proposal that outlines the value you can bring to their project.
You can cold pitch through email or social media. Regardless of the method, it is one of the most effective ways to introduce yourself and your services to potential clients and stand out from other freelancers vying for the same job.
When creating a cold pitch for a freelance health writing job, it’s important to ensure that your proposal is explicitly tailored to the client’s needs. In addition, it should showcase your experience, qualifications, and relevant skills as they relate to the specific project or type of work you’re applying for.
Your pitch should demonstrate how you can help solve the prospective client’s problem or fulfill their need to distinguish yourself from others who may be applying. This could include emphasizing unique insights or approaches that you bring based on your experience in the field or any specializations that may apply.
For example, I always emphasize in my cold pitches that I have worked for other well-known tech brands and can quickly adopt a brand’s voice and tone.
Pro tip: Making sure that your cold pitch is free from errors and grammatical mistakes is critical for landing freelance jobs, as potential clients will likely judge your professionalism based on how well-written it is. Include an attention-grabbing subject line and keeping your message concise yet detailed.
Having a presence on social media isn’t just about building trust with potential clients – it’s also a great way for freelance writers to network and builds relationships with other professionals in the industry who could eventually lead them to more lucrative opportunities or referrals.
For example, you could connect with other writers who have too much work coming their way and need to refer another writer. Also, connecting with graphic designers and website creators is a great way to get referrals.
Freelance job boards
Make a habit of scouring freelance job boards weekly and applying for opportunities in your niche. Most freelance job boards will send new opportunities to your inbox if you opt-in for notifications.
Top freelance job boards:
Asking for referrals
While waiting for referrals is a passive client acqusiiton strategy, asking for referrals is not. As a freelance copywriter, referrals are an essential part of building your career and growing your income. With no formal training or education required, and the potential for big payouts, referrals can give you a reliable source of clients who trust in your skills and can bring you more business opportunities.
When it comes to asking for referrals from current clients, make sure you have a good relationship built with them and that they’re satisfied with your work. Make it a habit to keep in touch after the project has finished.
The key is to stay top of mind with your clients, which can also include creating content such as blogs, social posts, or webinars that show off your expertise within the industry. Sending thank-you gifts when possible or even following up with handwritten cards expressing appreciation are a nice touch.
Connecting with other freelancers who can refer work overflow
“Overflow” is a term for an excess of freelance work that becomes too much for a writer to handle on their own. When a writer is booked and cannot handle their current workload, they’ll either refer an additional writer or outsource the work to other freelancers.
The key to receiving “overflow” assignments is to build relationships with other freelancers in your niche. The easiest way to do this is via social media. I’ve learned that freelance writers tend to be generous and helpful rather than competitive.
Create valuable content
Freelance writers should take advantage of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to demonstrate their creativity and expertise in copywriting by creating compelling posts related to their craft. Although having an impressive portfolio of published articles is impressive, creating more awareness around your services is key.
By leveraging social media to post engaging content regularly—such as informative articles, helpful advice about copywriting best practices, or highlights from recent projects—freelance writers can create a distinct personal brand that will set them apart from the competition.
In-person networking events
Everything has gone online so in-person events are often the last place writers turn to for to gain clients. In addition to being a great way to meet potential clients, in-person meetups are an invaluable opportunity to build relationships.
Another powerful strategy is to volunteer to do an in-person demonstration or presentation. For example, you could give a networking group a quick lesson on how to create an email marketing strategy. Speaking in front of a group shows that you’re serious about your career and willing to go the extra mile.
Coworking spaces are also an excellent resource for freelance writers looking for new clients. These spaces provide an informal yet professional environment where freelancers can connect with potential employers and network with fellow freelancers who may have helpful advice and insights.
Also, virtual coworking spaces like Flow Club and Focusmate are springing up as a way for remote workers to fight distraction and procrastination. Freelancers report forming lucrative business relationships with the people they meet during their sessions!
Join industry-specific groups online
Facebook groups are far from dead and one of the best ways to meet fellow freelancers. Some of the most popular groups are Freelancing Females and The Freelance Content Marketing Writer. These groups provide a sense of community for an inherently isolating and independent job.
Facebook groups provide mentorship and inspiration that’s hard to get when working solo. One of the things I love about these groups is the search feature. So when I have a question, I don’t necessarily have to post it in the group because I can find similar questions posted in the past.
Notify your personal network
Don’t overlook the power of letting your network know you’re available for writing. This is an underrated way to spread the word about your skills and increase the chances of gaining clients.
Send an email or social media DM to friends, family, and acquaintances. While you may not know anyone in your immediate circle who needs a writer, you’ll soon find someone who does.
If you’re looking for a message template for notifying your network that you’re available for freelance work, download The Freelance Template Playbook 📓™️
Freelance bidding platforms
Upwork is an online platform that connects freelancers to businesses and agencies. Clients post job postings as ‘projects,’ which writers bid on by submitting proposals outlining their experience and qualifications.
Freelance platforms are better suited for newer copywriters, allowing writers to create portfolios quickly, submit proposals, and connect with potential employers.
Clients appreciate quality writing tailored to their project requirements, so always make sure your proposal outlines how you plan to accomplish this goal.
Finally, always remember that communication between you and your client is vital. Stay in touch throughout the project to ensure both parties are satisfied with the result!
Skills needed to become a copywriter
At first glance, copywriting can seem like a complex career field that only seasoned writers can enter, especially when considering advertising gurus like David Ogilvy and Gary Halbert.
Can anyone be a copywriter? Maybe not everybody. Let’s be realistic. However, I was able to become a full-time copywriter in less than four months without:
- Any existing network, referrals, or writing contacts
- Any published samples to put in my portfolio
- Any professional experience as a paid writer
- A degree in journalism or marketing
Instead of asking how difficult it is to become a copywriter, it’s more useful to focus on the skills needed.
Research is a fundamental copywriting skill. You must be able to thoroughly research the topics and products you’re writing about. This means understanding the target audience and their interests and gathering facts and stats to help inform the narrative.
- Writing Skills
Writing clearly, concisely, and persuasively is a must for a copywriter. This requires strong grammar knowledge, sentence structure, and a knack for creating engaging stories that capture readers’ attention while effectively delivering key messages.
- Wordplay and wit
A good copywriter must also be able to craft exciting wordplay that can attract readers’ attention, create memorable catchphrases that will stick in people’s minds, and utilize witty puns to generate humor in articles and other written content.
- General SEO knowledge
Understanding search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for any copywriter who wants their work to reach its full potential regarding online visibility and traffic generation. Knowing how to place keywords strategically throughout text content and other SEO techniques is critical for successful SEO-friendly writing pieces.
Copywriters need to be able to adapt their writing style depending on the circumstances. For example, you’ll need to adopt a more casual voice when writing for a website or blog post. On the other hand, if you’re writing copy for print ads or press releases, you’ll need a more formal language with proper sentence structure and diction.
Lastly, being creative is also paramount for any successful freelance writer or copywriter; this means coming up with new ideas or angles for stories or campaigns that may not have been considered previously by other writers or professionals in the field
While many aspiring copywriters stress out about whether their writing is good enough, compelling copy requires more than just the ability to write. Copywriting is the art of selling with words. Therefore, your effectiveness will come down to your ability to persuade and use psychological principles.
With the advances in AI, typing words into a google doc is becoming a commodity. However, the skill of empathizing and strategizing before putting words on paper makes you a “good” copywriter.
Remember that your copywriting skills will develop over time. You won’t be a pro when first starting out, and that’s okay. Copywriting is a game of trial and error and constant improvement.
I kind of sucked in the beginning. Especially as I was shedding the academic essay writing style, I learned as an English Lit major.
Despite my lack of experience, clients hired me anyway. This was in large part due to my ability to sell myself. While I may have felt like an imposter initially, I quickly learned that clients wanted someone to listen to their vision, be consistent, meet deadlines, and help lighten their workloads.
How to manage your freelance business
Running a successful freelance business will require you to adopt the mindset of a business owner versus “just a writer.” You’ll learn fundamental business management principles like setting up and maintaining invoices and handling taxes. You’ll also need an understanding of budgeting, pricing strategies, and profit margins to maximize your income potential.
Basic math and accounting
Managing your finances is a critical skill for any freelancer. As a copywriter, you must look at the big picture, determine which clients bring in the most money, and pinpoint ways to increase efficiency. Knowledge of accounting software like QuickBooks or Freshbooks can be helpful.
Time Management Skills
One way to ensure your profitability as a copywriter is to manage your time. Freelance writing is a deadline-driven profession, juggling multiple clients or deliverables with multiple due dates. Time management may be stressful, but eventually, you’ll learn how long it takes to complete assignments on average.
Keeping clients happy so they give you repeat business is critical to making money as a freelance copywriter. Retaining clients prevents you from doing a ton of cold pitching or networking to find new clients. Responding to emails promptly and hopping on calls with clients within reason builds trust and positions you as a service provider your clients can rely on.
Persuasion and sales skills are crucial to landing freelance clients. You’ll learn how to effectively pitch your ideas and convince them of your value. You’ll also leverage negotiation skills when agreeing to freelance rates. In addition, you’ll use persuasion principles in your copy and content.
Building relationships within the industry through networking is an integral part of growing your freelance business as a copywriter. Networking effectively as a freelance copywriter can open doors that may not otherwise be open to you, so knowing how to network effectively is key to success.
As a freelancer, you’ll consistently invest in professional development opportunities like conferences and courses. You’ll continually be learning new skills and honing your current skills. You should listen to podcasts and subscribe to newsletters in your industry to stay on top of changes and become a source of information for your clients.
How to set your freelance copywriting rates
The most common question new freelancers ask is this one. I hate answering “it depends” because it’s an infuriating answer for someone trying to figure out how much to charge.
Here are the most common ways to set your rates, and you should choose what works best for you based on your clients and your experience.
There are no fixed rates for freelance work, so you will have to trial and error initially. Always remember that you’ll raise your freelance rates as you go.
- Find out what other freelancers in your niche charge
One good way to determine what rate is appropriate for each project is to find out what other freelance copywriters are charging for similar work. This is good strategy for beginners and prevents you that you’re not undercharging or overcharging for your services.
Joining a Facebook or Slack community is helpful for seeing what other writers charge, freelancers tend to be more transparent in closed groups.
2. Use free industry reports
I used AWAI’s free downloadable report to set my rates. While they’re only price ranges, it still helped me tremendously. I credit that free report for being the reason I never charged less than $400 for a blog, even as a complete beginner.
Look for data-backed reports like this one from Peak Freelance. Similarly, The Content Marketing Salary Report by Superpath is also a great resource.
3. Use calculators
For those who are comfortable with numbers and prefer to calculate rates based on different factors, calculators are for you. The following are the best free rate calculators.
- Copywriting Course Free Pricing Calculator
- Freelance Copywriter Quote Calculator
- All Freelance Writing Freelance Hourly Rate Calculator
4. Set your income goal and work backward
With a steady client workload and a clear understanding of what I could charge, I switched to the income goal method.
For example, you decide how much it costs to cover your basic expenses, divide that into what you need to earn a month, then set your rates based on that number.
This method keeps me “holding out” for the higher-paying clients when I am tempted to take lower-paying clients.
5. Value-based pricing:
In value-based pricing, freelancers and other professionals charge based on the value they provide to clients. This model allows freelancers to charge more for complex projects requiring more expertise and experience.
Value-based pricing rewards you for providing higher quality work, allowing you to make more money in the long run.
Let’s say you’re a freelance writer writing a client’s website. If you need to coordinate with other team members, such as designers and developers, your prices may vary.
Additionally, if you know the product they’re selling will generate $5,000 from one sale, you can charge based on how much you know the page will convert.
A higher quality piece of work is more valuable to the client, so it makes sense to be compensated accordingly.
6. Hourly-to-flat equation:
Once you’ve done enough writing work, you’ll understand how long it will take to complete certain projects. Convert each project to an hourly rate based on the project rate and the estimated number of hours it will take to complete.
For example, if a client gives me the project rate, I estimate the number of hours it will take to complete. With simple division, I can quickly determine whether the hourly rate is $200 or $600, or somewhere in between. As a tech writer, my typical hourly rate is $100 and up.
7. Ask the client what their budget is
As a last resort, if you’re brand new to copywriting and really stuck on what to charge, you could let the client tell you how much they’re willing to pay.
While this is not ideal, you can use this information to gauge what clients expect to pay and spot the patterns. Also, if you find out you’re being grossly underpaid, you can always raise your prices or drop the client.
How to increase your freelance income
As stated before, freelance writing has no fixed rates. However, since continual growth and professional development is part of this career field, you’ll inevitably raise your rates and find creative ways to make more money in your freelance business.
The following are the most common ways freelancers increase their income.
- Raise your rates on existing clients
Generally, it’s good advice to incrementally raise your rates on long-term clients to keep up with inflation.
Raising your rates can feel intimidating, so it helps to mentally de-personalize the exchange and realize that it’s a business exchange—not a personal one. Remember, you’re not asking your client for a “raise”; you’re a business raising rates for a service you provide.
With every other business raising its prices right now, clients will most likely expect to receive an email like this. Remember that there’s also a chance of the client saying no so you should always be prepared to lose the client and find a new one.
Use this template to raise your freelance rates
Subj: 2023 Freelance Rates
Pro tip: Keep rate increase emails short and to the point. Overexplaining puts you in a position of weakness and can actually discredit your request.
If you’re looking for an email template to use, download The Freelance Template Playbook 📓™️
- Niche down and specialize
One of the best ways to earn more as a copywriter by specializing in a certain type of copywriting, such as SEO copywriting, sales copywriting, or content writing.
By honing your skills and knowledge in a specific area of copywriting, you not only work faster and get more done in less time, but you become an expert and command higher rates.
For example, I specialize in SEO blog writing for tech companies.
- Take on higher-paying clients and drop lower-paying clients
The reality is, a client that’s paying you $50 for an email campaign probably won’t start paying you $450 – it’s just too big a jump.
That’s why taking on new clients can yield better results if you’re trying to increase your income. That’s why consistently cold pitching and asking for referrals to bring in new clients is critical in your freelance business.
If you want to level up your freelance income by finding higher-quality copywriting clients, don’t miss this free workshop.
How to scale your freelance business
Every freelancer wants to earn more in less time. Choosing a niche and finding efficient ways to work without sacrificing quality is how you ultimately earn more as a freelancer.
However, freelance copywriting is a service-based business, which means you don’t get paid if you don’t work.
The term “scaling” in business means to expand systematically to meet more demand. With writing, you can do that by either hiring additional people or creating a digital product that you create once but customer can buy over and over again.
- Raise your rates
Again, the quickest and easiest way to earn more as a freelancer is just to raise your rates. This applies for new and existing clients.
- Expand your offering
Getting creative with freelance service packages can help you provide more value to clients while earning more. For example, you could add SEO or content strategy services to your blog writing offer. These add-ons will allow your clients to get more value without costing you a ton of extra time and effort
- Outsource work to other freelancers
Hiring other freelancers to do the writing for you can free up time so you can focus on taking on more work or acquiring new clients. For outsourcing to be profitable, you’ll keep a percentage of the rate you charged your client and give the rest to the subcontracted freelancer.
Be careful with this strategy, as some clients may have terms in their contract about you outsourcing the work.
- Start a freelance agency
Successfully outsourcing some writing work to other freelancers may inspire to start your own agency. Starting a freelance agency means giving all of your writing work to other freelancers so you can focus on managing client relationships and building the business.
If you find you have too much freelance work and you don’t mind managing people, the agency route might be for you.
- Digital products
Selling online courses, templates, and other downloadable resources is a popular avenue for freelance writers. Many writers do what I do: create resources for other freelance writers.
Freelancers are a welcoming, generous community, happy to share their strategies with struggling writers. We love to learn and share information by nature, so pursuing digital products as a form of “passive” income makes a lot of sense for freelancers. I know that creating my course on freelance client acquisition was my first foray into personal branding. Mentoring other writers allow me to speak in my own voice versus adopting the voice of my copywriting clients.
- Affiliate marketing
Once you’ve established yourself as a successful copywriter, you can use your writing ability to make money passively without working for clients. Becoming a blogger and earning affiliate income is an achievable goal for many aspiring entrepreneurs.
To earn affiliate commissions, you’ll switch from writing for clients to creating your own content that drives traffic to your website and earns you commissions on sales of the products or services you’re promoting.
To become a successful affiliate marketer, you’ll create a blog and post relevant and engaging content related to the products or services you’re promoting as an affiliate. The goal is to offer useful information, rank on google, and drive a large audience to your site and affiliate links.
Examples of popular affiliate networks include Clickbank and ShareASale. You can also reach out directly to companies and try to negotiate better deals than what they offer through affiliate networks.
Do I have to get on calls with clients?
Getting on calls with prospective clients is essential in the client acquisition process. While it may seem intimidating initially, meeting via video call with a potential client dramatically increases your chance of getting the work.
On calls, you’ll ask thoughtful questions about their project and gain valuable insight into what they’re looking for in a copywriter. This will give you an advantage over applicants who don’t take the time to develop a deeper understanding of the project.
Having a call also builds trust with your client. It allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise and showcase yourself as someone reliable and easy to work with. During the call, listen actively and respond thoughtfully and respectfully.
Will AI replace copywriters?
The recent explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) in the copywriting and marketing industry has become a concern for writers. AI automates tasks, reduces costs, and improves accuracy. Some writers fear that AI will disrupt traditional copywriting roles and potentially replace human copywriters altogether.
However, there are steps you can take to safeguard your career from AI disruption. Firstly, understand how AI works and identify areas where you can use it effectively. For example, AI tools can help you quickly draft SEO-optimized blog outlines.
Savvy copywriters are able to use AI tools to their advantage, freeing up their time to focus on creativity and higher-level thinking – tasks that machines are not yet able to perform. These include crafting high-quality persuasive copy with emotional impact or developing client marketing strategies.
To safeguard your freelance writing career, cultivate soft skills like communication, collaboration, empathy, and problem-solving—skills that are difficult for machines to replicate but highly valued in the market.
Isn’t copywriting too saturated?
Many people use market saturation as a reason for new writers not to pursue freelancing. Saturation should not deter you from pursuing a career as a writer. While there are many freelance copywriters out there, there are even more businesses that need copywriting services!
- By 2027, freelancers are projected to make up the majority of the workforce in the United States, with 50.9% of the working population. (DDIY)
- There are 34.5+ million businesses in the US, 543,000 new businesses created each month and1.5+ million nonprofits in the US. (Source: Filthy Rich Writer)
If you can write well, correctly market yourself, and keep clients happy, standing out amongst the crowd is possible.
Do I need experience as a copywriter?
I have good news: you CAN become a full-time freelance copywriter even if you have no experience. All you need to do is take the proper steps. Becoming a freelance copywriter comes down to your ability to learn copywriting principles, put them into action, and market yourself to prospective clients.
Despite having no experience, I landed my first freelance copywriting client in less than 30 days using cold-pitch messages on LinkedIn.
You don’t need to work for pennies to begin your copywriting career just to get your foot in the door. I was making a full-time income in four to six months. I never resorted to freelance marketplace sites notorious for low-balling like Upwork and Fiverr.
I detail these six steps in my free guide: The First 6 Steps Every Freelance Copywriter Must Take When Starting Out.
Here’s the truth about the freelance writing industry: there is no shortage of clients looking to hire freelance copywriters. The problem is that most copywriters don’t know how to pitch and market themselves.
Bottom line: Companies are hiring writers every day. You just need to position yourself correctly and take the right steps.
Do I have to choose a niche?
Since most writers are curious and multi-passionate, they believe niching down will limit their reach, but that is untrue. Niching down is the most effective way to land clients and command high rates.
In addition to building a website, your niche helps customers find you. Having a niche helps you to appear in search results and ensures clients that you’re a match for them before they even contact you.
Niching doesn’t limit your reach—it helps you stand out in a sea of other writers, increasing your odds of being chosen. In addition, your niche helps you become an expert in your field.
When we go to professionals who specialize in one area, we conclude they’re the most knowledgeable. Those are the people we trust immediately. One of the fastest ways to gain their confidence is by telling them you’ve helped clients in their industry.
Also, being a generalist in copywriting is less efficient. Shifting between industries and researching unrelated topics is time consuming.
Remember, time is money. If you spend too much time researching and writing posts, you’ll be unable to make money on other projects and clients. When you write for one industry, you’ll get to know it inside and out. Your knowledge will compound, making it easier to complete assignments and making burnout less likely.
What is the highest-paying niche?
The key to making a high income as a copywriter is to choose in-demand niches and target companies with a high budget for copywriting services.
I get this question on my YouTube channel and tend to answer it the same way. “There are no high-paying niches. There are only companies that either have the budget for a writer or don’t.”
In other words, even if a company is technically in a high-paying niche like finance, they might not be a good client if they think they can do their own copywriting or don’t value content marketing as a lead generation strategy.
Choosing a lucrative niche will involve reflecting on your current knowledge and researching.
1. Look at freelance writing job postings and social media posts and spot patterns of which industries are hiring copywriters.
2. Research the competition. Look at the profiles of other successful copywriters who specialize in a particular niche, as well as their rates and past clients. This proves there’s a demand for this niche and that other writers are making a living in that industry.
2. Keep an eye out for emerging trends in content creation and marketing strategies. Many businesses need help with new types of content such as video scripts, infographics, blog posts, or email campaigns, so being aware of these trends can open up more opportunities for you as a freelance writer.
Examples of top-paying writing niches:
- Professional services like IT and accounting
- Computer hardware/software
Learning how to make money as a freelance copywriter with no experience in 2023 is possible, and many “ordinary” people like me have made successful careers out of it.
I love freelance writing because it’s a career that offers freedom and flexibility without having to sacrifice income potential. With persistence, willingness to put in the hours, and a passion for writing, anyone can learn the skills needed to start a successful career as a freelance copywriter.
Once you fully commit to becoming an industry expert and succeed at getting clients through your quality work, you can look forward to a lucrative and fulfilling career as a freelance copywriter with endless possibilities!
You can find your first high-paying client within a month or two by properly setting up your online presence, building your portfolio, setting your rates, and taking advantage of the right opportunities.
Remember, without clients, you won’t have an income or a freelance business, so knowing how to land clients is one of the most important things to learn. You can build your freelance copywriting business on LinkedIn by sending cold pitch messages.
From my experience as a full-time freelance copywriter and the statistics available, it’s clear that making good money as a writer is possible if you take the right steps.