First, let’s get clear on one thing. You don’t need to go to school to study copywriting. Very few copywriters have studied copywriting in college. Many of the most successful copywriters never finished college.
But you need to know a few things about getting started.
…..now before you start getting crazy, let’s go through the steps of going from nothing, to freelance copywriter:
(1) Understand what copywriting really is.
My friend’s eyes lit up when I told him I was a copywriter. “I bet my son could do that,” he said. “My son is very creative.”
Copywriting isn’t especially creative. The writing part can seem formulaic. In fact, some companies have invented software that turns out some version of copywriting.
A professional copywriter doesn’t begin by writing. She studies the market and seeks to understand the motivation of the target buyers. Click here to read my blog post, What Copywriters Do Behind Closed Doors.
(2) Study the craft of copywriting.
I don’t recommend the four-figure copywriting courses you’ll see advertised on the Internet. Begin with low-cost courses on Udemy and Lynda. Read free articles on Medium and elsewhere.
This blog post points to websites that offer free advice on copywriting – not for copywriters only! https://cathygoodwin.com/become-a-better-copywriter/
You’ll need a portfolio. To do this, you can write copy for your own products. Or you can create copy for other companies just for your portfolio.
(3) Get clients.
There are many ways to do this, none particularly easy.
Take a job with an agency as a junior copywriter. These jobs aren’t easy to get but they can give you experience in writing as well as client management.
Use your connections and network. Put together an elevator speech and craft a pitch.
Get on the freelance platforms – Upwork and Fiverr. Google “alternatives to Upwork” and you’ll find even more. You’ll get very low-paying jobs – especially at the beginning – but it’s good practice. Google “how to respond to an Upwork post.” Udemy has courses on dealing with these platforms.
(4) Find a niche, which can be based on industry or the kind of writing you do.
Few people do this at the outset. But ultimately you’ll make more money if you’re a specialist, particularly in jargon-filled industries, such as pharmaceuticals or finance.
Some industries favor copywriters with experience in their industry. It’s very hard (but not impossible) to break into finance or law unless you’ve worked in those fields.
(5) Prepare for copywriting burnout.
Many people who start out as enthusiastic copywriters decide they’d rather do consulting, create online courses or train other copywriters.
That’s not a bad thing. More and more entrepreneurs are finding they’d rather write their own copy. They are happy to pay for copy coaching, which costs a fraction of hiring a copywriter to actually write.
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a copywriter, I have a free report, 3 Myths About Becoming A Copywriter.
I also have a course, Become A Copywriter, which includes free training in the craft of copywriting, the steps to achieving success, and tips on finding clients. It’s a very affordable introduction to the world of copywriting.