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Creating a Portfolio

Never start a freelance copywriter career without a portfolio. As a copywriter, your potential clients will want to take a look at your previous work to see if it matches up with their needs. Sometimes the client is looking for a particular voice style or they want to check that grammatical errors aren’t common in your writing.

If you don’t have experience as a copywriter, you may have to put in some effort at the beginning to make a few great examples. Write a few articles about a topic you are passionate about or a few different topics to show the variety you are able to discuss. If you’re a college student, consider taking a paper that you wrote for an assignment and turn it into a more marketable piece.

This post is an excerpt from "Copywriting for Beginners: Crafting Quality Content, Understanding the Market, Networking with Clients and Building a Freelance Career," which is available now on Amazon here.
This post is an excerpt from “Copywriting for Beginners: Crafting Quality Content, Understanding the Market, Networking with Clients and Building a Freelance Career,” which is available now on Amazon here.

In the beginning, your portfolio may be a bit smaller, but as you take on more clients and grow your network, you can add more items to the portfolio and increase your client base. The more content that you have in your portfolio, the more confidence that your clients will have in you.

Try to have as much variety of topics and types of work as possible in your portfolio. Each client will look for different types of examples, and if you have these readily available in your portfolio, it can show you are prepared and save you a lot of time.

Setting Your Rates

Setting your rates are important. These rates tell clients how much they will have to pay to retain your services. There are a few things you can keep in mind when deciding on your rates.

Some new copywriters feel that they should set their rates low. They feel this will place them above the competition of more experienced copywriters since the client will see them as a value. In some situations, this can work. Keep in mind though, it can be difficult to change your rates after clients have gotten used to the lower rates. If you obtained a client at your lower rate, they may be unwilling to pay you more later on. In addition, lower rates often bring about difficult clients. There are clients who want everything for nothing and the lower rates invite them in.

Even as a new copywriter, you should set your rates at something that can keep you comfortable in terms of income. Set your financial goals early on, and develop a strategy that involves a rate for your work that will help you reach your financial goals. While you may not be able to charge as much as freelancers who have worked with major companies for the past twenty years, don’t undersell yourself. You will get higher quality clients when you set reasonable rates and can actually make money on your hard work.

Creating a Website

Sometime in the beginning of your career, you should create a website. This is one area where you can collect your best samples, information about your prices, some blog posts, and anything else important to your business. This can seem intimidating to some. But any copywriter who wants to thrive in the digital age must become acclimated with how to design a simple, accessible website that sells their services. Once you understand the basics, creating a website will be easy. The sooner your become familiar with how to create a website, the better off you’ll be.

One of the primary benefits of your own website is having all of your information and writing samples in one central location. As a copywriter, you will have many clients and even find work on job boards. Directing a potential client to all these places to see your work history can get tedious. With the website, you can keep all this information in one place and direct all clients to check it out.

Although you’ll certainly want to create a professional website with clean design and easy navigation, you may want to consider creating a free website to start with if you’re just getting started. Sites like WordPress will allow you to create simple website for free. This is a great first step for copywriters who are new to website design.

Take some extra time to create the website. This is the face of your business. The website should be easy to read, easy to navigate, and have all the information that a potential client would need. If you have some experience with website design, this is a good place to demonstrate this by creating your own website. If you are having trouble understanding where to begin, find a professional who can help you create an amazing website that will bring all the clients to your door—or consider taking online courses on web design.

Once you’ve created your website, add the website address to your email signature, your social media accounts and maybe even consider printing some business cards with your website address printed on it.

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This post is an excerpt from “Copywriting for Beginners: Crafting Quality Content, Understanding the Market, Networking with Clients and Building a Freelance Career,” which is available on Amazon here

Barry Falls Jr
Barry is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he studied sociology, journalism, and business entrepreneurship. He has over five years of experience working with small web-based startups to assist them with growing their engagement and creating online communities around their brand. He's the editor of Frontier Desk.

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