Taking the plunge into a new career can seem daunting, exciting and exhilarating at the same time. That’s exactly how I felt when I decided to throw caution to the wind and become a freelance copywriter. Here are 6 things I have learnt so far.
1. It is never too late to get started.
Writing has always been a passion of mine from a very young age. I remember reading William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and immediately putting pen to paper. Enthusiastically, I shared it with someone close to me, but it didn’t go down very well. My confidence was shattered and from then on, writing became a secret.
Fast forward many years and a career on the proverbial corporate treadmill, I finally plucked up the courage to write professionally and decided to become a freelance copywriter.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how late you are to the game, you have a unique voice that the world needs to hear. Just jump right in.
2. Ordinary people are doing what they love.
During my initial research into the Copywriting industry, I found many professional companies with impressive clients and amazing testimonials.
But as I dug deeper, I discovered ordinary everyday people working as freelance copywriters. Some had chosen a career in Copywriting off the bat, but others like me who had a different journey.
One story that stood out was a woman who also had background in finance. After being made redundant, she decided to take a chance and started writing for a local company. From that, a brilliant career in copywriting began. I thought to myself, if she can do it, so can I.
3. Keep learning and growing.
By far one of the most important lessons I have learnt is knowledge is power. It is so important as a freelance copywriter and a human being to keep learning.
There is so much more to writing than scribbling on a piece of paper or typing on a device. There is the psychology behind how people think and react. Rules and good practice for writing. And not to forget ensuring your content can be found online through search engine optimisation.
To become better at anything, you need to keep sharpening your tools. Don’t become complacent.
4. So many people are willing to help.
Another thing I found is people are willing to help. There are so many amazing podcasts, blogs and Facebook communities all happy to answer questions.
One platform that I find beneficial is ProCopywriter. Their website is full of valuable material from how to get started, all the way to tried and tested techniques for seasoned copywriters.
My advice is to seek help when you need it but also have faith in yourself to take what you have learned and make it work.
5. The business side is important.
Being a freelance copywriter isn’t just about writing. If you want to be successful, you must run your business professionally.
This means keeping proper records, filing your tax return if you are self-employed, chasing invoices. Basically, all the not so fun stuff that still needs to be done.
It’s just like enjoying a lovely home cooked meal but not cleaning the dishes afterwards. When it comes time to make the next delicious meal you’re going to need those dishes. Best clean as you go as my mother always said.
6. It will only work if you work it.
I read an amazing article by Tony Schwartz: Six Keys to being excellent at anything. He talks about Ritualized Practice and how it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in an area. Now a lot of people, myself included, would be looking for the short cut at this point.
Research has shown that even top-level athletes must train and practice several hours a day to maintain their form. It doesn’t just happen.
Success isn’t just reserved for the chosen few, it is accessible to anyone. You just need to be willing to put in the work!
The world of freelance copywriting is so vast, and I can’t claim to understand it all. But what’s so amazing is the idea that words can evoke a reaction from an audience.
It might be to get them to share, to comment, to buy or to subscribe. Whatever the goal, words have power. The challenge for a copywriter is to use their words to help a business interact more with their customers.