So you want to be a copywriter?
Congrats! You’re committing to carving out the life of your dreams, one where you can work from anywhere in the world at the hours of your choosing. You’re building a career where you make the rules and only have to answer to yourself.
Obviously a big part of copywriting is, well, the writing! But you’ll quickly see that there’s a whole lot more to having a successful copywriting business than simply creating words.
It is definitely a challenging pursuit, but an extremely rewarding one as well. Sometimes just starting is the hardest part, so I wanted to offer you a little guidance on how to begin.
Steps for Starting a Copywriting Business
- Develop the right mindset
- Do your research
- Practice, practice, practice
- Pick a niche and focus
- Work on your brand
- Put yourself out there
- Show up as a professional
- Don’t give up!
It may seem overwhelming at first, but you have what it takes. Let’s break down these steps further to give you a better idea of what goes into building a copywriting business.
Ready to dive in?
Let’s do it!
1. Develop the Right Mindset
One of the biggest and most crucial parts of going into business for yourself is developing the right mindset. It may sound a little kooky, but honestly, this is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you will be successful.
Your habitual thoughts make up your mindset and tell you what you “can” or “can’t” do. The first step in changing these patterns is recognizing them. Then, you have to be willing and open to put in the work and start questioning your old ways of thinking.
This means cultivating a “growth” mindset, instead of a “fixed” one. A growth mindset says, “I can learn how to do this; I can do anything!” While a fixed mindset says, “I don’t know how to do this! I can’t figure it out.”
Another important mindset shift to make is letting go of your “employee mindset” and developing the mindset of a boss. You are, after all, working for yourself. This means that you don’t have anyone to answer to…
It also means that you may find it hard to stay motivated or that you hesitate to take risks since it all falls back on you. Embrace being your own boss. Get comfortable with uncertainty and making big decisions. Such is the life of a business owner!
You may also struggle with feelings of lack or fear of failure. Beliefs like: “There’s already so many copywriters out there!” or “I’ll never be able to find work,” represent a scarcity mindset.
To make it as a copywriter, it’s important to have a mindset of abundance. This means telling yourself that you have what it takes, that there is enough work to go around.
Being happy and successful requires changing your internal narrative. These shifts make all the difference and keep you motivated on your path.
Remember that it’s important to be your own best advocate. Your mindset is powerful. Keep it positive and uplifting!
2. Do Your Research
If you’re reading this, then great job! You are taking the necessary steps to build a successful copywriting business. You don’t need a degree in English to be a successful writer, but it never hurts to constantly study your craft.
There are a ton of resources for aspiring copywriters. Reading articles like this one, signing up for a course, or following skilled copywriters online are great ways to familiarize yourself with the industry.
Staying up to date on the latest online trends and having some knowledge of marketing psychology can give you an edge when it comes to working as a copywriter. Research what other copywriters are doing in the space, and read examples of good copy that sells.
Commit to being a lifelong learner, and never shy away from educational opportunities. This will make you stand out as a copywriter and successful business owner.
Copywriting is definitely a skill that you can improve with time. If you want to start your own copywriting business, it’s important to hone your skill as much as you can and get good at writing copy.
The best way to get better at writing is to write, so seek out as many opportunities as you can to do so. Browse job boards online and reach out to local businesses for work. You may not be able to charge as much for your writing right away, but building your portfolio is super valuable.
You can also get practice just by creating your own content. If no one is hiring you to write blogs, begin by writing blogs for your own website. Practice creating really good captions for your own socials. This is the easiest way to get comfortable with the process, and it helps you get content out there which is a win, win!
4. Pick a Niche and Find Your Focus
So there is some debate about whether or not new writers should pick one niche, but I think there are some major benefits to niching down, especially when you are first starting out.
Your niche is a specific area or industry that you choose to focus your writing on. Some examples of a common copywriting niches are:
- Health and wellness
- Food and beverage
Just to name a few!
Perhaps, your educational or career background can lead you into a niche that you already have experience in. Preferably your niche is something that you are passionate about since you will be doing a lot of reading and writing on the subject.
Picking a niche makes it easier to brand yourself and sell yourself to prospective clients. It also makes it easier for you to become an “expert” in the field. Plus, when you are writing about a topic that you are more familiar with, you are able to write clear and comprehensive content more quickly.
Within your niche, it can also be helpful to pick a type of copywriting that you’d like to focus on, like website copy or email campaigns. I personally think that the best place to start as a paid writer is with blogging.
It’s relatively easy to get good at writing blogs and blogs are a great way to achieve consistent income each month. Once you’ve gotten your foot in the door with some ongoing work, you can begin to branch out from there.
Though, it’s never a bad idea to stay focused on one or two areas of service so that you can get really good at those things. If you become the best at writing sales page copy, then people will seek you out for that.
Having a little focus in your business and being intentional with your offerings can be helpful, and can keep you from feeling like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once.
5. Work on Your Brand
As a new copywriter, it can be super helpful to envision your ideal client. What does this person or company do? What problem are you able to solve for them?
As you get specific here, you start to uncover what makes your brand unique. You can use your ideal client to develop your brand and tailor your marketing efforts.
Think about how you want to represent your business to this ideal client and be consistent. Your brand includes your color choices, logo, photos, and fonts. It’s the tone and the voice of your online content and how your audience gets to know and trust you.
Just try to be authentic and know that brands evolve over time. Brands work best when they are a true representation of who you are and your values. A good brand works like a magnet, attracting your ideal clients to you with ease!
6. Put Yourself Out There
Whew, perhaps the scariest part of getting work as a copywriter is putting yourself out there! But this is vital. This is how you get clients and make money.
If you know your niche and your ideal client, you can begin to look for people or businesses that match that description. Cold emailing is a tried and true method of reaching out and offering someone your services.
Be sure to make your emails personal and warm. Know that many emails will go unanswered and try not to take it personally.
It’s also important to put yourself out there online. Having a website is always a great idea, and it’s also good to have at least one social media page dedicated to your business.
Do what you like! If Instagram is easiest for you, focus on getting your Instagram page built up and sharing the best content on there. There’s no need to have all of the socials, at least not right away.
Lastly, never underestimate the value of good old fashioned networking, whether it be virtually or IRL, always be prepared to give your “elevator pitch” and sell yourself. You never know who you might meet and what those connections could turn into.
7. Show Up as a Professional
Practicing professionalism is so important when it comes to having your own copywriting business. Taking your business seriously shows clients that you will take theirs seriously as well.
Show up as a professional in all areas of your business. This includes your correspondence, online presence, and any meetings with potential clients. Honor your commitments and meet all your deadlines. Be transparent with your clients and have contracts in place.
Boundaries are super important when it comes to professionalism. Get comfortable setting them and learn how to separate personal time and work time. Remember, you are your own boss and you get to decide how best to run your business.
Hard work pays off. If you are always giving your best effort and creating work that you are proud of, your business will thrive!
8. Don’t Give Up
Seriously, you got this!
It may seem like you are standing at the base of an incredibly tall mountain, but you just have to start hiking. Things will get easier along the way, and the view at the top is totally worth the climb.
Everyone’s journey into copywriting looks a little different, but perseverance and flexibility are key. There will definitely be roadblocks and obstacles along the way, but all of them will teach you something and make you a better copywriter and business owner.
Your friends and family may not always understand your pursuit, but stay committed to your dream and don’t give up until you reach your goals.
Running a copywriting business can be hard. But you know what’s even harder? Staying in a job you hate, living paycheck to paycheck, and not having time for the things that matter.
Take it from me, you can build a successful copywriting business and it’s worth all the effort!
Are you ready to take back control and find fulfillment and satisfaction in your career?