Not all copywriters are freelancers, but the move to a flexible, freelance lifestyle is attractive for many people. Many people work for years gaining experience and skills so that they can one day go freelance. Becoming a freelancer gives you more control over your workload and how much you decide to take on. You can design your life the way that works for you and are essentially a business owner.
Freelancers make up a significant portion of the economy, with around 35% of the US workforce operating as a freelancer. There are many opportunities for copywriting gigs as a freelancer, and, therefore, it’s a logical match.
You don’t need to wait years to become a freelancer, but there are some essential factors you’ll want to consider before making the shift.
What’s your why?
As Simon Sinek says, “what’s your why?” Why do you want to become a freelancer in the first place? Each person has a different motivation for wanting to go freelance. Knowing why you’re doing it will help you set yourself up in the best way possible to achieve success in your freelance career.
Some people want more freedom to spend time with their families, while others want the freedom to travel and work simultaneously. You might hate commuting or prefer to work solo instead of in an office. Perhaps you simply don’t want to wake up early anymore. Regardless, knowing your why will help you build the right freelance structure for you.
Where are you located?
Deciding where you want to live is another important aspect of becoming a freelancer. When you work remotely, you have the opportunity to base yourself wherever you want to as long as you have a good WiFi connection. You’ll need to identify the cost of living in a city relative to your income to make sure you’ll have financial stability as a freelancer. You may live in a city with a high cost of living and require a large workload to pay the bills. Alternatively, if you’re in a small, rural area, you may not need as many clients each month to stay afloat.
Your location will also determine the rules that will govern you regarding taxes for freelancers, so it’s essential to do your research so you know the legal requirements.
How are you going to get clients?
Clients are the foundation of your freelance business, and without them, you won’t have a business at all. Having a solid strategy for how you’re going to get clients is vital as you enter the freelance world. The copywriting market is competitive, and you’re going to have to hustle to snag your ideal clients. There is a lot of work involved, but having a plan of action will maximize your success.
There are many ways you can get clients as a freelancer, but the best thing you can do first is to make a website. If clients can’t find you, you won’t have any clients – simple as that. On top of that, you need somewhere to direct people when they ask about your business. Having a website affirms to you and others that you are a professional freelancer; as such, it is the best place to start.
Once you have a website, here are a few of the ways you can begin getting clients:
- Word of mouth
- Engaging with target clients on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
- Using online freelancer platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer.com
- Reaching out to your target client directly via email to offer your services
- Building your own social media presence
- Offer a few pieces of copy in exchange for a testimonial from a client
Choose a niche – and stick to it
It is often tempting to offer a wide range of services to attract a broader range of clients. The reality is that clients want specialists. It’s important to remember that your target clients are out there, and by spreading yourself thin, you’ll be OK at many things, but an expert at nothing. Pick what you love to do; for example, maybe you’re interested in writing email marketing copy. If so, specialize in writing copy for emails and market yourself as that. You can go further and choose an industry to sell your services to, such as fashion or sports. Clients who need email copy for their fashion newsletter are more likely to hire you, a fashion newsletter expert, than someone who just markets themselves as a general copywriter.
You are by no means stuck with the niche that you choose, but pick something and stick with it for a while to start getting your name out there. On top of that, you can choose something you are passionate about, which will make your job even more fun.
Understand the risks
There are, of course, some risks involved with becoming a freelancer, so many choose to stay in full-time positions. Though there are risks, the rewards are worth it, and the key is preparation for anything. As a new freelancer, you won’t always have a steady stream of work. There will be moments when you have more work than you know what to do with and other times where things will slow down. That’s the nature of the business, and it’s inevitable. Of course, even during these lulls in your business, you still need to pay your bills and rent. Prepare in advance for these moments by ensuring you’ve got money set aside to cover yourself just in case. When you’re busy with clients, remember to save some of your earnings for a rainy day.
As a freelancer, you won’t get paid holiday leave or paid sick days. You also won’t get health benefits as you would working for a company, so keep these facts in mind when it comes to budgeting.
Freelancing offers so many benefits to your lifestyle, including flexibility, autonomy, uncapped earning potential, and control over your own work-life balance. Keeping all the above factors in mind, you can enter into your new chapter as a freelancer fully prepared.