I never knew there was so much money in words.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been good at writing. I don’t say that in a, “Hey I’m awesome, give me candy!” kind of way. It’s just what I’m good at. Some people are good at soccer. Some are good at cooking. My feet don’t work and my kids don’t eat what I cook (my last attempt at fried chicken ended with my kids eating bloody drumsticks).
But I am good at stringing words together in compelling ways.
It’s a gift. Sort of like John Travolta in Phenomenon, except with words, not telekinesis.
But I never knew how to turn my words into cold, hard cash.
Brian is insane.
Insane in a really good, hilarious way, not a, “Please lock this guy up, he might hurt someone,” kind of way.
Brian also happens to be a really good copywriter. Companies like Hubspot shell out lots of cash so Brian will write for them.
Brian introduced me to the world of copywriting. He told me where to find jobs and how to position myself. He told me how to price and how to invoice.
So I started applying for copywriting jobs on various job sites. I had a couple of bites initially, but nothing too exciting.
But as time went on, I discovered a few things that enabled me to ACCELERATE my progress to the point where I could quit my job and be a full time copywriter.
CONFIDENCE IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL
People don’t want to hire a writer that isn’t crazy confident in his writing skills. After all, they’re giving you THEIR money to create high quality, super compelling content. They can’t afford to hire a writer who is wishy-washy about his ability to write. They can’t waste time on a milktoast Michael.
As I posted for jobs, I found that people responded best when I was the MOST confident. When I made it clear that I was a REALLY good writer who would give them fantastic results in a timely fashion. When I positioned myself as a guy who absolutely knew what he was doing and would absolutely deliver on the job.
Occasionally I see people post things on job boards like, “Hey, I’m a new copywriter just trying to figure this thing out. Lolz. If you need some work done, let me know!”
When I see that, I want to reach through the screen and slap them. In a kind, gentle way, of course, but slap them nonetheless. Why? Because no sane person would hire a writer like that!
When positioning yourself as a copywriter, you’ve got to position yourself as supremely confident in your writing skills. And if you’re a good writer (which I know you are) this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
But if you don’t have the confidence to do that, you probably should take up a different profession, like juggling or bull riding.
I wasn’t an expert in copywriting, per se, but I was confident enough in my writing skills to take on any job, and that in turn, landed me a lot of jobs. Then, when I delivered top-notch copy that really satisfied my clients, it built my confidence even more.
It’s a confidence cycle. Or, as Michael Scott would say, “A win-win-win.”
The Envato blog has a helpful article on 10 Ways To Boost Your Confidence As A Freelancer.
DON’T UNDERSELL YOURSELF
When you first start out, you’ll be tempted to set your rates waaayyyy too low. Like third-world country too low. Like, lower than welfare, too low.
And I get it. You’re new. You don’t want to overprice. You don’t want to scare off potential business. But if you’re good at writing, and confident in your skills, you absolutely should price yourself at a rate YOU feel good about. A rate that will pay the bills and keep you from constantly stressing about money.
Yes, you’ll be too high for some people, but that’s a good thing. You ONLY want to work with clients who appreciate your work. You don’t want to constantly be rate negotiatiting with clients.
On one particular job, I had someone on the inside tell me that I should shoot for a particular hourly rate. He made this recommendation based on what another freelancer was getting paid. I felt like I could get more, so I confidently proposed a higher rate, knowing I could deliver what was needed.
I got the job.
Don’t be shy about asking for the right rate. Not every client will bite, but the ones that do will be the RIGHT clients.
For more specifics on how to do this, Forbes has a helpful article.
PERSONALITY PAYS OFF
Most of the jobs I’ve gotten have been because of my particular style of writing. I’m bold, brash, way overconfident, slightly annoying, and pretty irreverent. I crack jokes. I poke fun at the reader. I poke fun at myself. I write like that guy (probably named Stu) you didn’t like in high school.
But here’s the thing. What is annoying in person actually tends to work quite well in writing. Why? Because most writing is SOOOO BORING. Like, IBM mainframe manual, boring.
Writing that has flair and personality and zest stands out from the crowd. It makes an impact. Leaves an impression.
I don’t like Donald Trump. He’s crazy, obnoxious, and has the political sense of a basset hound. But he has captured the attention of millions of people. Why? Because of his personality! Generally speaking, politics is boring, full of double speak and nonsense political jargon. Trump speaks a different language, and people are starting to notice.
I really like how Ash over at The Middle Finger Project writes. She writes with personality and opinion and passion. You know exactly what she’s thinking. One of her taglines is, “Be opinionated. Because people are reading your writing because they want to know what you think.”
If you want to make a mark in the copywriting world, write with style. Write with opinion and passion. Write in such a way that some people will be offended.
There is so much boring drivel on the Internet. Write with personality!
DON’T GIVE UP
Don’t give up on being a professional copywriter. You can do it. Have confidence in your writing skills. Don’t price yourself too low. Write with serious personality. Now, more than ever, you can make it as a writer.
I did it. So can you.