If you’ve ever Googled work-from-home jobs and discovered freelance writing, then wondered, “What does a freelance writer do?!” this article is for you! Learn what a typical day-in-the-life looks like for freelance writers, the types of projects they work on, and whether or not this is something you might enjoy as another income stream or online business!
I share what I learned in starting out with freelance writing as a side hustle… then more than doubling my corporate income, growing a team and multi 6-figure copywriting business, and being on the inside of corporations as a content strategist for global brands. I hope it gives you an inside look into this profitable income stream or work-from-home business!
P.S. Prefer to listen instead? Check out Episode 110 of the Bright Life Podcast: Work From Home Series: What to Expect in Your First Year as a Freelance Writer.
How about you—are you considering a career as a freelance writer and wondering what your first year might look like? Or maybe you’ve already taken the leap and started your own copywriting business but find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to scale it to achieve those elusive 6-figure years.
In this blog post, I will share about becoming a freelance writer, transitioning from corporate America to building a successful copywriting business and supporting many other women in doing the same. I’ll guide you through the realistic expectations for your first year, what you’ll be working on, and how you can navigate the challenges with a sense of ease. Let’s dive in!
First Year as a Freelance Writer: What to Expect
Setting Up Your Freelance Writing Business
In your first year as a copywriter, you’ll begin by creating your business presence. This includes assembling your portfolio pieces and writing samples to showcase your writing abilities to potential clients.
Though a website isn’t essential (and I walk through how to create either an online portfolio or a PDF portfolio in my online copywriter course), a portfolio of some kind is beneficial for demonstrating your skills. It takes you from a writer that a business doesn’t know, to someone they feel like they can connect with and trust. Assemble a few blog posts, social media posts, emails, or web pages to start building your portfolio. Remember, you can always add more samples as you gain experience.
Additionally, you’ll want to determine your contract templates and rates. Decide whether you want to charge hourly, offer package rates, or opt for flat fees per project. Carefully consider these setup questions to create a strong foundation for your copywriting business.
Building Your Clientele: Getting Your First Clients
The next big step in your first year as a freelance copywriter is acquiring clients. This phase will likely be the most intensive as you work on establishing your reputation and building relationships, but remember, it’s only for a season. The sooner you book full with a few clients, the sooner you’ll receive referrals and ongoing work that require much less marketing for the entire duration of your business.
For this reason, I recommend that you aim to secure clients who have ONGOING work versus one-off projects. Even four clients with 10 hours of work per week is a 40-hour/week job, surpassing most 9 to 5 incomes. Remember, it’s not about having the MOST clients, but rather establishing lasting partnerships with a few key ones. This will make your day-to-day (and the rest of your business) so much easier and more enjoyable, without the added pressure of constantly sourcing new clients.
Fine-Tuning Your Niche
During your first year, you’ll also spend time writing and discovering your preferences as a copywriter.
If you’re not sure which niche or industry you would want to work with, no problem. Working with a few different types of clients allows you to explore various industries and identify the type of clients and projects you enjoy most. You may be surprised by the kinds of clients, size of company, or industries that you enjoy most.
Leaning into Being a Beginner Again
In your first year, it’s essential to grant yourself some leniency and accept that building a business can be challenging… but will be worth the work you put in! Remember that you will be doing many things this first year that you won’t have to do the rest of your business, like starting a portfolio, learning copywriting and content marketing, and even booking full with clients. The rest of your business, you’ll be able to focus more on writing and bringing in income with the clients you secure this first year.
Embrace the discomfort that comes with starting something new and understand that the initial setup will is an investment in the rest of your life and career. Some tasks, like creating contracts or writing samples, may take time initially, but will save you time and effort down the road.
Remember that anything new is hardest the first time around. Allow yourself grace during the learning process and know that with each experience, you’ll grow more skilled and confident in your abilities.
Your first year as a copywriter will be a journey of discovery and growth. As you navigate the setup, acquire clients, and dive into writing projects, remember to grant yourself patience and trust the process.
Embrace the freedom and flexibility that comes with being your own boss, and be confident that your hard work and dedication will lead to a successful and fulfilling copywriting career. Coming from someone who used to spend all day every day in a cubicle, it’s SO worth the discomfort to get to the other side and experience the freedom and fulfillment of being your own boss, working on projects that light you up and provide for you and your family.
So, whether you’re just starting or have already embarked on this adventure, be ready to embrace the challenges and enjoy the rewards of building a thriving business as a freelance writer. And if you’d like additional support, check out the following resources below!
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Sign up for a free training: 5 steps to build a 6-figure copywriting business (even if you’ve never written professionally before)! I’ll break down what I learned in 15 years in the industry, a journalism degree, and being inside global brands mentoring writers AND on the outside as a writer getting clients and building a business… so YOU can create more freedom and fulfillment as your own boss, too!