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Do you dream of working on your own as a freelance copywriter? Setting your own hours, and your own rates? Creating sparkling copy that brings viral success?
If you do, then you’d best settle in and read this post... because the world of freelance copywriting is competitive, value driven and full of uncertainty.
To survive, and flourish as a freelancer, five important components need to be in place:
1. Be honest and ethical.
Integrity counts. You always want to cultivate long-term partnership with clients that will provide ongoing projects. And without integrity you won’t be able to build a solid foundation of repeat customers with their inherent benefits.
- Display your rates prominently on your website.
- Meet deadlines and be prompt with replies.
- Ask questions and clarify.
Deliver value equal to your level of compensation. If you’re getting paid for your five star services, deliver your five star services.
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2. Have a professional website.
A professional website can be built quickly, with minimum cost. Keep it simple with easy-to-read, pertinent information. Five or six pages to include could be:
- A homepage with a brief outline of the services you provide.
- A page displaying your rates.
- A separate page with all your contact information. And include a contact box in the sidebar of each page.
- An about page to introduce yourself.
- Include a page of samples. Minimum of 5 pieces, 500 words each. And keep adding to your samples until you have a nice mix that demonstrates your versatility.
As you develop your clientele, add a page for testimonials.
3. Build your portfolio.
This step can seem daunting, but if you look carefully there’s always some work you can start with:
- If you’re really stuck with no copy to show, create some from pro bono sources. Find a need and volunteer your services with a local charity or service organization, your kids’ school website, the free local paper or anywhere you can get a byline for your copy.
- Create a praise file. Every single time someone praises your work, copy it into a file. This is a great confidence booster to review when times are tough, and it can also be used for testimonials – with the client’s permission, of course.
- Use temp agencies. Register with sites such as upwork.com and freelancer.com to find work opportunities. Not high pay, yes; but invaluable experience.
- Free job boards. Sites such as Problogger.com, Freelancewriting.com and FreelancewritingGigs.com are available with daily job listings for freelancers.
4. Learn to use social media.
Add your freelance profiles to the social media sites you frequent. Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest etc. should all be leveraged to showcase your profile, so that anyone can quickly see you’re a freelancer.
And take advantage of their social search engines - query for companies with job openings for freelancers in your niche.
5. Treat your freelance copywriting as a business.
Yes, it is very tempting to write in your jammies ‘til noon, but it’s not really a great success strategy. To help cultivate a professional attitude:
- Have a set schedule with regular hours for writing, editing, study and job hunting.
- Get dressed! Send your subconscious the cues it needs to be prepared for the workday.
- Use a calendar and do only what’s in your calendar. If you’ve blocked out time to write, then write. Don’t putter, check emails, or plan a dinner party – write!
- Learn how to pitch and write a professional cover letter. Make sure it is to the point, free from grammar errors and easy to read. If necessary, use editing tools (like ProWritingAid) and services from professional editors (like Essay Writer).
- Be easy to reach.
- Know your price point. Decide in advance whether you’ll lower prices for bigger projects.
To survive, and thrive, as a freelance copywriter you need to be realistic. Writing is work, a job you perform in exchange for money. It is a lot of fun - fulfilling and profitable as well, but it takes time and effort to reach that point. So, dig in and apply the above 5 tips to reap the rewards of becoming a professional freelance copywriter.
Janice Kersh is an experienced writer and content creator. She loves to share her writing advice with others, follow her on Twitter.