4 ways to find more success as a freelance copywriter

3 min read

Before we get going, let me preface this post by saying ‘success’ is determined by whatever you set out to achieve as a freelance copywriter.

To some, it might mean a bathtub filled with fifties. For others, it might be more time with the family, or the freedom to take a three-hour lunch break without running it by your line manager.

Whatever it is, work out what success means to you. That way, you’ve got something to work towards. Or as they say in the corporate world *shudders*, a vision.

With that said, here are four ways to find more success as a freelance copywriter.

1. Build your network

To survive the stormy seas of freelance copywriting, you’ll need more than inflatable dinosaur armbands and a shiny new website – you’re gonna need a support network.

When I first set out on my own, I created a Twitter (now ‘X’) and LinkedIn account, and dived straight into the social scene to link up with fellow freelance copywriters.

You might be thinking it’s a bit daft connecting with ‘the competition’ (and so did I at the time). But after a few virtual chit-chats and KitKats, you soon realise everyone’s your mate.

There’s plenty of online hangouts where you’ll find us creative misfits bobbin’ around. To get you started, pop along to #ContentClubUK on X this Tuesday at 11am. I’ll bring the Bourbons.

2. Be easy to work with

Setting expectations, explaining processes, communicating in a polite and timely manner – these are all things us copywriters should offer as standard.

But beyond the obvious, there are other little touches you can add to your service to make things easier for both you and your prospects.

To give you a couple of examples, I send my proposals using DocuSign. For a few quid a month, it replaces the faff of printing, signing, scanning and returning documents by simplifying the whole process with a couple of clicks. Clients love it, and it removes a barrier for getting that signed proposal over the line.

For complex web projects and the like, I email my draft with a video recording made using a free tool called Loom. It’s an easy way to explain the mechanics behind your copy as well as clarifying where words should sit on the page. Making things stupid simple to understand is always a winner.

If, like me, you prefer not to share your fizzog with clients, there’s an option to turn the camera off on Loom before recording.

3. Find a retainer or two

Don’t ask me where I read it, but I once saw a quote that said something like: “It’s easier to keep hold of existing clients than it is to find new ones”.

It’s a sentence that’s stuck with me. Not in the form of a tattoo, but more as a lingering reminder to treat every client with the same respect as my Beach Boys vinyl collection.

Yeah, it might feel a bit like an employed role working for the same outfits on a monthly retainer. But if it means I can focus more on writing and less about paying the bills, it’s a bit of a no-brainer.

With that said, working on the regular for a client doesn’t mean surrendering your creative soul to dull and repetitive work. If your finances allow it, wait for the right client to come along. Life’s too short for boring briefs.

4. Find a co-working space

As much as us freelance copywriters enjoy the simplicity of our own company, continually working in solitude can take its toll on motivation, mental health and the quality of our work.

Since joining a co-working space, I’ve had a renewed sense of focus on my business. There’s something about brushing my lid, putting on a half-ironed top and working in the presence of real-life humans that gives me the added oomph to crack on with stuff.

Okay, it might not be for everyone. But if you’ve never tried a co-working space, grab yourself a day pass. Depending on where you live, you can usually pick one up at a reasonable price. In Hove, it’s around 25 quid a day for your own desk space (and headspace).

If your finances won’t stretch to a co-working space, but you want to get out of the house, a free alternative is to sign up with your local library. Whatever works for you.

If you found this advice useful and want to know more about surviving as a copywriter, listen to my chinwag with Jonathan Wilcock on Podcast by the Pier.

Tom Davies is a freelance copywriter based in Brighton.

 

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