There will always be a demand for quality content across all industries, and since more businesses have moved to online platforms in the last twenty years, there are now more opportunities than ever for copywriters.
Although there might be more jobs available for a variation of clients, this doesn’t mean that the competition still isn’t fierce for writers, particularly those who are working on a freelance basis. Being self-employed is a challenge in any field, which is why it’s important to understand the pros and cons of going freelance, as well as how to put your best foot forward and stand out from the crowd.
If you have recently become a freelance copywriter, or are considering taking this step, here are a few things you will need to keep in mind to succeed.
A Strong Portfolio
Any creative freelancer must have a strong portfolio to show prospective clients. The best way to showcase your work is by having a professional website with links to previous work (although you must remember to ask permission from that client beforehand). If you have no previous work at this stage and starting from scratch, write at least 10-20 articles that are ranging in tone, subject matter, and style. This way your clients can see how versatile you’re writing is, and that is a key part of being a successful copywriter.
If you are going to use a website as your portfolio, make sure that everything is set out clearly and it’s easy to navigate. Having a website that is compatible with phones as well as laptops is also important.
Consider an e-Commerce Website
Charging clients for your work and getting paid on time can be one of the more frustrating elements of working freelance. Writing out invoices, remembering to send them in for certain deadlines, or chasing up clients who have outstanding payments can be a nightmare!
One way you can resolve this issue is by incorporating e-commerce tools into your website. Although they are more commonly found on retail sites, giving your clients the option to place and pay for an order via your website could help make getting paid easier for you. Furthermore, some places can offer specialist funding for an e-commerce business to help you get set up as a freelance writer.
You’re now responsible for finding paid work and part of sourcing that income is by making yourself known. A good way to get your name out there to clients is by attending relevant networking opportunities near you. Make sure you have business cards with you to leave with people as this will highlight your professionalism. When talking to people, take an interest in them and don’t be modest about your abilities when asked. Although no one likes arrogance, if you’re not selling yourself, no one will contact you with work. Be confident and professional, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself at the same time. It’s also worth exploring any online networking opportunities, as you might gain access to potential clients who are further afield, too.
Give a Reasonable Price
Working as a freelancer can have its ups and downs when it comes to your income, particularly in the early stages. While you do need to charge a fair price that will cover your bills and other living expenses, be careful that you’re not charging too much. This is especially important for new freelancers who are yet to build a network of contacts and regular clients, and how much you can charge will also depend on your previous content writing experience.
There are also different ways you can charge clients for your work. For example, these include charging by the word count, by the page, hour or simply offering a flat rate for a project. How you charge your clients may vary due to the project, but it’s advisable to stick to one method to avoid confusion and keep your customers happy.
Effective time management is necessary for any kind of job, but as a freelancer, you are entirely responsible for your workload from start to finish. You’re likely to be working on more than one project at a time for different clients, and these projects will have separate deadlines and demands. Being able to manage your time efficiently is going to be an essential skill you will have to master as a freelance copywriter.
Do not fall into the trap of saying ‘yes’ to every job offer; think carefully about your other commitments before you accept. Otherwise, you might find yourself overwhelmed, missing deadlines, or turning in work that isn’t your best. To avoid disappointed clients and unnecessary stress, always have a diary or calendar on hand to help you manage your workload and be realistic about your abilities to complete top-quality work on time.
When trying to land a freelance job with a new client, make sure you’re doing thorough research on the brand before you put yourself forward for the job. They will be more comfortable working with a freelancer who has taken the time to understand their brand’s ethos and tone and they will be impressed by the extra mile you have gone for them. You must present yourself as the best person for the job because there will be many other applicants you will be competing with for that one project. Beyond researching clients, make sure you’re keeping up to date with the latest writing trends and how to market yourself effectively, too.
Speaking of marketing…using social media platforms in a professional capacity will also help your cause as a freelancer. Create a separate account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., as this will help you to maintain a professional image and manage your work better. LinkedIn is another great social media platform for business as its purpose is to connect professionals. A lot of freelancers get work from this platform, so make sure your profile stands out and that you’re active on it. All of your social media accounts should have links to your portfolio as well as your contact information.
Going freelance is a big step and it can be a risk, too. However, becoming self-employed can also be a very liberating experience which is why more and more people are choosing this career path every day. If you’re looking to become a freelance copywriter, use the tips above to help you get started and lead you to success.