I never thought I’d make money as a copywriter – let alone a freelance copywriter. Today, I’m making a consistent $3,000-$5,000 every month with a side hustle that I didn’t know existed a few years ago.
I’m doing it on my terms, and I love it.
So, If you’re interested in making money with copywriting, I’d like to tell you my story, teach you some tips, help you avoid some mistakes and get you that much closer to your goal.
My personal story
A little over a year ago I was holding my 4-month-old daughter in my arms as she slept soundly.
My phone lit up. It was another email from my manager – an ‘urgent’ client request (it’s always ‘urgent’). I remember the sinking feeling in my chest. I knew it was going to be another rough morning and likely, another late night.
Later that day, I saw a post on my LinkedIn feed. It was a typical influencer post – someone bragging about how much money they made providing copywriting services. But I was intrigued.
Not just at the prospect of more money, but at the thought of …
- Working on my own schedule
- Spending more time with my family
- Being my own boss
- Saying goodbye to stressors at work, unnecessary meetings, and urgent calls
- Being selective about the types of jobs/clients I accepted
- Being great at something
For weeks after, the possibilities consumed me. I started reading books, watching YouTube videos, learning the copywriting business, and devouring any information I could to pick up copywriting skills.
A world I didn’t even know existed a few months ago was going to be my ticket out of the rat race.
The struggle was real
If only it were that easy.
No – it took a lot of fighting to earn my first copywriting job. There was a lot of rejection. And a lot of convincing myself I wasn’t worthless.
But while it wasn’t an “easy” process. It was certainly worth it.
And looking back, I know now that I did some things right, some things wrong.
With that in mind, let’s dive in on my best tips on how to make money as a freelance copywriter.
1. Identify a problem you can solve
It took me too long to figure out that all freelancers, especially copywriters, are in the business of solving problems.
And your clients, or potential clients, have plenty of them.
- Not enough leads
- High unsubscribe rates
- Trouble differentiating themselves from competitors
- Poor renewal rates
- Lack of organic traffic
- Struggles to find quality content writers
People don’t want to pay for your writing skills, but they’ll gladly pay for their problems to be solved. Identifying those problems will help you identify prospective clients and choose the right niche for yourself.
Ask yourself what kind of problems you are good at solving, and make that a selling point.
Here are some examples:
“I help local HVAC companies book more appointments.”
“I help SaaS platforms increase signups by publishing high-value case studies and white papers”
“I build consistent lead generation through ghostwriting social media posts for C-level executives”
“I help new companies get found on Google through search engine optimization”
“I help ecommerce brands get more sales through Facebook ads”
“I help guide customers through difficult purchase decisions”
2. Be where the clients are
Where do people hang out that need your help? It could be more than one place. It could be a physical location or the internet, like an online forum, social media platform, or job-posting service.
Here are some that have proved successful for me.
Upwork has been my main source for clients for over a year, and the quality amount of leads keeps growing.
On Upwork, clients post jobs and freelancers submit proposals. It’s a great way to find more work and refine your pitching skills.
There are a lot of things that go into being successful on Upwork. But the most important thing is consistency.
When you start you’ll have zero reviews and zero history on the platform, so it’ll be an uphill battle. But don’t give up!
Here are a few tips that might help:
- Create a full and complete profile. Let your prospects know as much about you, your skills, your experience, and your personality as possible. Most of the time, they just want to know if they can trust you.
- Keep your pitches brief but relevant and original. You’ll hear a lot of noise about how to craft the “perfect pitch”. While there are general guidelines – there is no magic formula. The important thing you can do is prove you’ve read the job description and be specific on how you can solve their problems.
- Be selective. Pitch for jobs that truly look like they’ll be a good fit – trust me, more will come!
- Stay consistent. Look at jobs every day! Even if it’s just a glance. It’s time-consuming at first, but you can do it.
I think LinkedIn is a great resource and one of the most powerful lead generators available for freelancers, especially for anyone targeting B2B clients.
With consistency and time, you can reach thousands of people without spending a dime.
You can also connect with other people, join copywriting groups, post writing samples, and showcase your skills by delivering value-added content.
One of my favorite examples of someone using LinkedIn to build an audience and showcase expertise comes from a SaaS copywriter named James Laurai.
Laurai created a popular LinkedIn group called “Linkedin Ad ReWrites“. Each week, he would take an advertisement from his feed and critique it. He’d then redo it, showing how it could be done more effectively.
It became massively popular, gaining thousands of impressions and skyrocketing his copywriting career, while simultaneously building an impressive portfolio.
All of this cost him nothing but some time.
You can apply the same strategy to X (the platform formerly known as Twitter), Facebook or any social media for that matter.
3. Set specific financial goals
What do you want to make per month? Per year?
Setting goals isn’t just a way to ‘manifest success’, it’s a way to estimate the amount of effort you’ll need to seal the deal.
If you want to make an extra $1,000 a month, your day will look much different than someone who hopes to make $5,000 or $10,000 a month.
Let’s say you pitch 10 jobs on Upwork a week and out of every 10, one converts. If the ‘average’ job pays $500, theoretically, you might need to submit up to 100 proposals to make $5,000 (although your success rate will likely improve over time).
Now let’s break that goal down.
With an average of 20 working days in a month, you will need to write and submit at least 5 proposals a day.
No matter how or where you get your leads, take the time to set a financial goal and reverse engineer it and plan accordingly.
4. Do more in less time
I know someone who has four clients that pay him $5,000 a month each just to have him on retainer.
But that’s not the reality for most of us.
With copywriting, you’re usually paid per page, or per project. That means the faster you write, the more you’ll make.
One of my best clients pays me $0.20 a word for blog posts, or $200 for 1,000 words.
At first, I would take my time, write a little, come back to it, write some more, take a walk, and pick it up again … It wasn’t until a little later that I realized that the quicker I finished my assignment, the sooner I’d get my next assignment.
So I applied some discipline and forced myself to sit down and work with intent.
Now, it takes me around two hours to complete a 1,500-word blog, which earns me $900-$1200 a week.
So, how do you do more in less time? Here are some things that have helped me.
- Set a daily writing schedule. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how undisciplined many people approach writing. Set aside time every day to focus on writing, and only writing. Not prospecting, not answering emails, not following up on invoices – just writing. Stay focused and try to get as much work done as possible.
- Use templates and frameworks. As I’ve grown a portfolio of work, I’ve created templates and swipe files of my favorite content. All good copywriters do the same. From there, I can quickly get inspired and have a starting point to base all my future assignments on. This makes it so I’m not ‘reinventing the wheel’ every time I start a new assignment.
- Prioritize the best-paying assignments. Some work will be better than others and you should prioritize the better-paying work.
5. Ask existing clients for more work
Many struggling freelancers fail to ask their current clients for more work.
And I don’t just mean new assignments – but new scopes of work.
If you …
- Write blog posts … ask if they need help with SEO copywriting
- Write sales pages … ask if they need an email sequence
- Assist with content writing … ask if they need help researching topics
- Write brochures … ask if they need help with ad copy
You don’t have to stay in your lane, and it never hurts to ask. In my experience, it always pays off and leads to more conversations.
6. Get referrals
Ask anyone. Referrals are the best way to get clients.
That’s why I ask all my clients for referrals at least twice a year. The thing is, most clients assume you’ve got the work you need and they’re not going to refer you unless you ask.
You’d be surprised what can happen when you put yourself out there and just ask for what you want.
If you haven’t been asking your current clients, friends, and yes – even family for referrals, you’re missing out on some earning potential.
So, the next time you crush an assignment, ask for a testimonial and a referral.
7. Create a lead acquisition process
As long as you want to continue making money, you need to establish a process for acquiring leads.
- Inbound – leads come to you
- Outbound – leads you chase
Ideally, you get quality leads through an endless stream of inbound quality referrals. But if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to focus on outbound lead acquisition.
Creating a simple process that involves consistent outreach could mean the difference between a good month and a broke month.
You don’t have to overcomplicate it. Here’s what I do.
- Create a list of ideal clients
- Search and connect with decision-makers on LinkedIn
- Set aside time each day to send warm outreach messages
- Continually follow up
8. Continuously improve
Don’t ever stop learning and growing.
Take on new challenges, accept stretch jobs, and invest in yourself. There is a world of resources available to you if you’re willing to look.
Join industry groups, trade ideas with other professionals, and study the greats.
Most importantly, ask your clients for feedback and see where you can improve.
You’re not as far as you think from earning more money as a copywriter.
I know it sounds cliche, but consistency really is key.
Are you interested in direct response copywriting, landing page copy, or content writing? Let me know in the comments below!