Traveling the world while working as a full-time freelance copywriter, it has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
This is one profession that is popular and completely doable, all depending on how much work you put into networking, perfecting your craft, and becoming consistent with your work in order to keep the money rolling in. We caught up with a few of our past tribers (Jessica, Pia and Lindsey) who have seen the ups and downs of what it takes to make this work on a consistent basis, and have collaborated with them to compile some useful information for those looking to make that switch, or work on perfecting what they already have in place.
Freelance Copywriter | Digital Communications Specialist
This title can be used to cover a variety of things (since it's literally someone who writes copy), including, but not limited to: blogging, email marketing, web copywriting, social media, etc.
Generally, if you are covering a multitude of things for various clients that aren't specific to just* one medium or platform, these would be more appropriate titles to use. Additionally, having experience in various aspects of copywriting makes it easier to sell yourself as a jack (or jill) of all trades in a sense, so take advantage of the additional work you have experience in, it can definitely come in handy down the road.
What they do:
Help entrepreneurs and visionaries share their story, business and brand in a big-way online through engaging written content and authentic marketing practices. "Marketing practices" include social media/content strategy, helping clients develop an authentic online voice and presence, email marketing (nurture or launch sequences), sales pages, etc.
The awesome thing about going full-time freelance (self-employed) is being able to make your own hours. Depending on the client, you may be open to being available during their normal business hours (no matter where you are in the world). Or, you can choose your own hours in the respective time zone you are currently in and share that with your clients so you're all on the same page. In the end, some things are going to end up being deadline driven, so being available sometimes outside of what you've previously communicated always shows initiative that you are fully dedicated (this is on a case by case basis of course).
There are several different options to think about when setting your rate. Depending on the client, length and size of the project, a monthly retainer can prove to be the best option. This is charging a flat rate per month for continuous work that you and the client agree upon. For smaller projects or ones that vary from month to month, it may be better to charge per hour or per piece to make it most worthwhile of your time.
A good thing to put together as you are growing your business is a pricing sheet: What would you charge per article (usually word based)? What would you charge for X number of hours of work per month? Will this include time it takes to revise and submit a final deliverable or are edits extra?
As a freelancer, you're more than likely going to be considered an independent contractor, meaning you will have to research and handle benefits out of pockets (health, vision, etc.)
However, if you decide to reach out to a staffing firm for assistance with some remote opportunities, by obtaining work through them, they may offer some sort of benefit package after you have worked X number of hours through them with a client, that can definitely be beneficial and a lot cheaper. One company we would recommend if you are living in the US is The Creative Group, they have locations all over the US (as well as one in London actually) and staff a variety of roles on a regular basis. Having yourself looped in with a recruiter can help in the long run because you have someone else helping you get some extra work!
Attributes for Success:
In order to maintain a solid and consistent business, it's important to first and foremost know WHY you are doing this. Having a genuine interest and drive for your craft is super important so you never really feel like doing this is wasting your time or making you wish you were doing something else (if that's the case, you might as well go back to working your 9-5 in the office you hated and the coworkers you couldn't stand, lol).
Focus, or figure out a way to stay focused while you have work, so that you are being most productive and using all of your time wisely. The worst thing to happen is you getting distracted by so many other factors throughout the day, leaving you to have to burn the midnight oil in order to make a deadline. Check out Forest App if you have trouble not surfing the net or getting on social media outlets while there is work to be done.
Communicate, and set healthy boundaries with your clients. If you say you are going to be available during these timeframes, stick to your word and be available. Be flexible if possible, but don't feel obligated to always be available, especially if you have previously shared your work schedule with a client. Additionally, know when to work, and when to sign off and relax. Clear your mind and reboot so you are at your best self when you return to the creative process.
Be confident in your craft, and don't be afraid to try new things! This is the perfect example of how you can get experience in other fields if you are open to learning and taking opportunities when they present themselves.
Network, network, network. There will be busy seasons and slow seasons. During those slow seasons, you will thank yourself that you continued to go to those networking mixers and making connections with other people who may be able to help you (and vice versa) with sending work your way that you're a good fit for. Additionally, stay on the job boards, they will be another main source of project work when you start to have more free time than you'd like.
Lastly (and most importantly), always have a signed contract in place. In the event that a new business relationship goes south, it is always important to have any pertinent information regarding your work with "X company" in writing, including agreed upon pay rates so you can be sure to have something contractually binding to refer back to if necessary.
While many freelancers in this position have degrees in Communications, Copywriting is such a great avenue to be in because you can acquire a lot of expertise just by doing lots of research and practicing. Additionally, there are online courses you can take to perfect your craft as well. And considering the fact that the internet is ever evolving, simply having a degree in Communications does not mean that you are up-to-date with the newest programs and trends, so it's a continuous time of educating yourself to keep your writing relevant.
A few programs to highlight at the moment are:
- MailChimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, AWeber (email marketing)
- LeadPages and ClickFunnels
- Wordpress and Squarespace (be comfortable with maneuvering through the website)
- Social Media Platforms and how to read their analytics (ex: Buffer, Fb analytics, Insta Analytics)
- Google Drive
Where to Find Work:
Additionally, there are FB groups you can join that act as job boards, where admins will post positions they see online, or you can subscribe to weekly newsletters that include open jobs for hire (the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors is a fav).
With the help of these wonderful ladies, we were able to bring you a pretty in depth look into the world of Copywriting and how to make this work specifically for you.