Five Proven Tips for Starting a Freelance Copywriting Career
Getting started on a freelance writing career can be a challenge. There is a lot of competition out there. While this might seem discouraging to those who are trying to get started, most clients are tired of seeing low quality and difficult to work with freelancers. They would jump and pay premium prices to freelancers who can provide good copy and are easy to work with. This offers you a lot of opportunity if you are ready to put in the work and create a successful business.
When you are ready to get started on your freelance copywriting business, keep some of these tips in mind to get started on the right foot.
Tip #1: Find productivity tools
Being productive with your time is important if you want to see success with your business. Spending 40 hours working on projects and wasting twenty of them will result in a loss of time and money. When you find tools that will keep you on task and productive, all of your time is being used wisely.
There are a number of tools that you can use. First, consider purchasing a planner. This allows you to write down all of your projects and when they are due. Put as much information down about each project as you can. Before getting started each morning, go through your planner and see which projects you need to finish first. This prevents you from working on a project that isn’t due for a few weeks when you have one due tomorrow. The planner can also help you to plan out your time, whether you will need to spend just 5 hours getting work done this week, or you will work full time to get your projects done.
The other productivity tools will depend n your work method. Some people enjoy having a timer that lets them work for an hour and then they take a break. They work hard to get as much done as possible during that time; once the time is up, they can go out for a walk, have something to eat, or just take a break from the work. It is much easier to keep on task when you have a scheduled break and can get away from the work on occasion.
Tip #2: Create your website and blog
One of the first things that you should do to progress your freelance career is to create a website. The website needs to be well done and up to date at all times. If you don’t have experience with web design, consider hiring a professional who will be able to create a state of the art website that will wow any client and who can help if any problems occur over time with the website. Think of this website as the face of your business; you want it to look nice to impress potential clients.
If you have the time, consider writing a blog to go with the website. The blog will help to keep your website at the top of search engines, making it easier for your potential clients to find you. You can write about a variety of topics, but picking things you are passionate about and that all tie in together can increase your ranking in search engines and can show off how well you write to potential clients.
Once the website is created, you need to provide regular updates. This is where the blogs can come in handy. If you ignore the website and never touch it, the ranking will go down and potential clients will find it difficult to discover your work. Whether you chooses to go with a blog or update your portfolio on occasion, keep your website content fresh to attract new clients.
Tip #3: It’s OK to say no
As a beginner, you may feel that you need to say yes to all of the projects that come your way. You want to make clients happy, get good reviews, and make as much money as possible. Because of this, you will say yes to projects that may not be the best fit for you.
Taking on every project that comes your way though is going to add a lot of unnecessary stress to your life and can even burn you out on this wonderful career choice. You are going to take on more than you can handle, find a lot of difficult clients, and probably find that you are working more hours, and for less pay, than you were at your old job.
As you progress through your copywriting career, you will find that sometimes it is better to say no to a project. You will learn that it is better to go without the job than to fight with a client for weeks on end for a project that is not worth the money. You will learn what workload you have time to comfortably take. You will even learn how to tell whether a client is going to be worth your time and easy to work with just with a few minutes of correspondence.
Don’t feel bad about saying no. Your health and the health of your business rely on you saying no. Sure, there are going to be times when you take on a project that you probably shouldn’t; as a beginner, you have a bit of a learning curve and may not be able to recognize all of the signs on what to avoid. Over time, you will learn when you are overwhelmed, either by the workload you already have or by other life situations, or what projects you actually feel passionate about working on.
When you learn how to say no, you learn how to get rid of the stress in your life, how to avoid the difficult clients who are only going to give you trouble, and how to really enjoy your new freelance career.
Tip #4: Don’t procrastinate
Procrastination is going to set you up for failure. Those who procrastinate end up having a lot of work to do at the last minute and will feel worn out, stressed, and find it difficult to hand in quality work to their clients. You don’t want to waste a lot of time at the computer while not getting any work done in the first place. When you sit down to work, you want to be productive and get everything done on time without adding on a lot of stress.
Set up some system that will help you to avoid procrastination. Some people find that working at a certain time of day lets them be more productive. You may find that working in thirty minute intervals with breaks in between works out the best. You need to find the option that works the best for you and keeps you on track.
Tip #5: Keep track of finances
As a freelancer, you no longer have an employer who takes care of your taxes. This means that you need to be responsible for recording the money you make to the IRS each year. Waiting until the first of the year is setting yourself up for failure. This is a large amount of accounting to try and get done in a few weeks and when you are keeping up with your other work, you may find it is impossible.
Instead of waiting until the last minute to get your finances in order for tax time, keep track of it throughout the year. Find a good accounting system and keep it up to date each month. If you are not good at accounting, consider finding an accountant or a tax professional who can help keep track of this for you.
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.