Copywriter in a Week: How to Become a Freelance Copywriter. Work from Home. | Alan Sharpe | Skillshare

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Copywriter in a Week: How to Become a Freelance Copywriter. Work from Home.

teacher avatar Alan Sharpe, Copywriting Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

17 Lessons (1h 51m)
    • 1. About this Class

      5:55
    • 2. Get hired even though you have zero experience

      7:16
    • 3. Build your portfolio

      5:09
    • 4. Name your company

      5:56
    • 5. Build your website

      9:31
    • 6. Brand your email

      4:38
    • 7. CoDecide which type of client you want to write for

      5:04
    • 8. Look for three things in a perfect client

      4:27
    • 9. Craft an elevator pitch that grabs attention

      6:00
    • 10. Craft a longer pitch that wins you business

      3:56
    • 11. CLook for clients in three proven places

      6:01
    • 12. Pitch clients the right way

      6:35
    • 13. Craft a letter of agreement, part 1

      7:26
    • 14. Craft a letter of agreement, part 2

      7:10
    • 15. Take these steps to appear professional from day one

      10:45
    • 16. Get paid

      5:34
    • 17. Take these Steps to Guarantee Your Long Term Success

      9:41
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About This Class

When I started my freelance copywriting business way back in 1991, I had zero experience as a copywriter. I had no clients, I had no samples, and I had not written a single word of promotional copy, ever, for anyone. And yet within a few weeks of starting out, I was earning money as a freelance copywriter.

That was twenty-six years ago. Today, getting started is even easier. And even harder.

I've worked as a freelance copywriter and as a staff copywriter at ad agencies. I have written in all of the channels: offline, online, outdoor, mobile and broadcast. 

I have written print ads, radio commercials, email newsletters, sales letters, banner ads, product packaging, brochures, factsheets, case studies, slogans and plenty more for Apple, IBM, Bell, Re/Max, Hilton Hotels and hundreds of other clients worldwide. I've written copy for some of the top agencies in the world, including Blitz, Cossette, J. Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett.

I got married, bought a house, and raised two kids on my freelance copywriting salary alone. 

In case you're wondering, I've been teaching copywriting since 1995.

Welcome to Freelance Copywriter in a Week. This course teaches you how to start a freelance copywriting business in a week. I teach you the steps I took to get started. And I teach you the lessons I learned along the way as I freelanced for businesses, agencies and non-profit organizations in North America and around the world. At the end of this course, you’ll know how to launch your freelance copywriting business in seven days. 

Learn seven proven steps to get started as a freelance copywriter

This course is divided into seven sections, each one corresponding to a day of the week. 

On day one, you create your portfolio. I tell you why you need a portfolio, what you need in your portfolio, and how to create an effective portfolio from scratch.

On day two, you brand yourself. I teach you how to brand yourself with a company name, a website, and branded email.

On day three, you pick your perfect client. We examine the three major markets for your freelance copywriting services, and I describe the qualities you need to look for in the perfect client.

On day four, you perfect your pitch. I teach you the two ways you need to pitch yourself to potential clients. And I describe the questions you need to answer whenever you are out looking for business.    

On day five, you start looking for business. Without paying clients, you'll go broke. I teach you how to pick up the phone and talk to potential clients. I teach you what to say, when to say it, and how to present yourself professionally so that prospective clients hire you.

On day six, you draft a letter of agreement. I teach you how to quote copywriting jobs, how to write a simple contract, and how to get agreements in writing.

On day seven, you start your first freelance copywriting project professionally. I teach you the things you need to do to appear professional from day one. And I give you helpful tips on how and when to invoice your first client.

Bonus lecture. The course ends with a bonus lecture.I tell you the things you need to do AFTER you have launched your freelance copywriting business, the things that will guarantee your long-term success.

Follow my practical, step-by-step advice

This course is filled with practical, step-by-step advice, tools, tips and tricks that I've learned over the years as a freelance copywriter. I use dozens of examples from the real world of freelancing. I describe what works, and what doesn't work. I tell you about mistakes, and how you can avoid them. You will also learn, indirectly, from other successful freelance copywriters. We'll look at how they brand themselves, how they describe their services, how they pitch themselves, how they set themselves apart from competing copywriters, and plenty more.

Are you an ideal student for this course?

I designed this course for copywriters and aspiring copywriters who want to start a freelance copywriting business.

This course does not teach copywriting. It doesn't teach a single thing about how to write copy.

This course teaches you how to become a freelance copywriter in seven days. It teaches you the steps you must take to brand yourself, find clients, pitch yourself, land clients, negotiate agreements, conduct yourself like a professional freelance copywriter, and get paid.

Meet Your Teacher

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Alan Sharpe

Copywriting Instructor

Teacher

Are you reading my bio because you want to improve your copywriting? Bonus. That makes two of us.

Are you looking for a copywriting coach who has written for Fortune 500 accounts (Apple, IBM, Hilton Hotels, Bell)? Check.

Do you want your copywriting instructor to have experience writing in multiple channels (print, online, direct mail, radio, television, outdoor, packaging, branding)? Groovy.

If you had your way, would your copy coach also be a guy who has allergic reactions to exclamation marks, who thinks honesty in advertising is not an oxymoron, and who believes the most important person in this paragraph is you? 

Take my courses.

I'm Alan Sharpe. Pleased to make your acquaintance. I'm a 30-year veteran copywriter who has been teaching pe... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. About this Class: When I started my freelance copywriting business way, way, way back in 1990, one, I had 0 experience as a copywriter. I had no clients, no samples. I had not written a single word of promotional copy ever for anyone. And yet within a few weeks of starting out, I was earning money as a freelance copywriter. That was 26 years ago. Today, getting started as a freelance copywriter is even easier and even harder. Welcome to freelance copywriter. In a week. I'm your instructor, Alan sharp. I've worked as a freelance copywriter and as a staff copywriter at ad agencies. I've written in all the channels offline, online, outdoor, mobile, and broadcast. I've written print ads, radio commercials, e-mail, newsletter, sales letters, banner ads, product packaging, brochures, fact sheets, case studies, slogans and plenty more. I've written for Apple, IBM Bell remarks, Hilton, Hotels, and hundreds of other clients worldwide. I've written copy for some of the top agencies in the world as well, including blitz, cassette, J Walter Thompson, and Leo Burnett. I even got married, bought a house, and raised two kids on my freelance copywriting salary alone. And I think you can do the same. This course teaches you how to start a freelance copywriting business. In a week. I teach you the steps that I took to get started. And I teach you the lessons I learned along the way as I freelanced for businesses, agencies, and non-profit organizations in North America and around the world. At the end of this course, you'll know how to launch your own freelance copywriting business in seven days. This course is divided into seven sections. Each section dealing with one day of the week. On day 1, we create your portfolio. I tell you why you need a portfolio, what you need in your portfolio, and how to create an effective portfolio from scratch. On day 2, you brand yourself. I teach you how to brand yourself with a company name, a website, and branded email. On day 3, you pick your perfect client. We examined the three major markets for freelance copywriting services. And I described the qualities that you need to look for in a perfect client. On day four, you perfect your pitch. I teach you the two ways you need to pitch yourself to potential clients. And I described the questions that you need to answer whenever you go out looking for businesses to hire you as a copywriter. On day five, you start looking for business without paying clients. You'll go broke. I teach you had a pickup the phone, and how to use e-mail to communicate with potential clients. I teach you what to say, when to say it, and how to present yourself professionally so that prospective clients hire you. On day six, you draft a letter of agreement. I teach you how to quote copywriting jobs, how to write a simple contract, and how to get agreements in writing with your potential clients. On day seven, you start your first freelance copywriting project. Professionally. I teach you to things you need to do to appear professional from day one. And I give you helpful tips on how and when to invoice your first client. This course ends with a bonus lecture. I tell you the things you need to do after you have launched freelance copywriting business. I tell you the things that will guarantee your long-term success as a freelance copywriter. This course is filled with practical step-by-step advice tools, tips, and tricks that I've learned over the years as a freelance copywriter. I use dozens of examples from the real-world of freelancing. I describe what works and what doesn't work. I tell you about mistakes that I made and how you can avoid them today. You will also learned in directly from other successful freelance copywriter. You and I are going to look at how those folks brand themselves, how they described their services, how they pitched themselves, and how they set themselves apart from competing copywriters. We're going to look at lots of examples from copywriters who are in the field today. I designed this course for copywriters and aspiring copywriters who want to start a freelance copywriting business. This course does not teach copywriting. It doesn't teach a single thing about how to write copy. Instead, this course teaches you how to become a freelancer in seven days. It teaches you the steps you must take to brand yourself, find clients, pitch yourself, land clients and negotiate agreements. Conduct yourself like a professional freelance copywriter, and get paid for your efforts. 2. Get hired even though you have zero experience: Back in 1990, one, I wanted to be a freelance copywriter. I was living in Ottawa, earning my living as a freelance writer. I was also an editor and a proofreader, but I wanted to break into the world of advertising, copywriting. I didn't know how to do that, so I picked up the phone and I found the best advertising agency in Ottawa. And I asked for a meeting with their Creative Director. Couple of days later, we met in a local coffee shop. We had a coffee and I told him my situation. I wanted to be a freelance copywriter. I said, but I've got no experience in the field. I don't have any clients that I've written any copy for. I don't have a university degree in English. I don't have any experience writing copy, but I do know how to write. How can I break into the field of copyrighting? What he told me was the biggest surprise that I ever got when starting a new career. When I hire a freelance copywriter, he said, I never ask for their resume. I don't care about the jobs they've had in the past. I don't care about the experience they've had in other sectors. I don't require to see if they have any formal education in writing. All I want to see is their book. If they have a good book, I try them out on a small project to see how good they are as a copywriter. And if they are any good, I hire them again. That's the big surprise about becoming a freelance copywriter. What was true way back in 1990, one is still true today. You don't need experience or clients or education to start earning good money as a copywriter, all you need is a good book. In the advertising business. Your book is your portfolio of your work. Your book showcases your copywriting ability in the olden days, which is to say way, way, way before the Internet, freelance copywriters like me had to schlep our books around to the advertising agencies in our cities, showing them off, showing off our copy to our clients. Our books are about this big, they are a great big portfolios and they can obtain clear plastic sleeves that we put our samples into. My book contains samples of ads, brochures, direct mail, and slogans that I had written for clients and also For agencies. Sometimes I carried a smaller version of my book, maybe an 8.5 by 11 version. If I wanted to show examples of just magazine ads that I'd written or just slogans. Let me show you what this whole process looked like. Way back in those days in 1999, I moved from Ottowa to Toronto, which is the advertising capital of Canada. I wanted to make my living as a freelance copywriter. Now, I did have some experience as a copywriter by then, but I didn't have a single client in the city. I didn't know anyone in the industry in that city. So I went out and I bought a directory of all the advertising agencies in the greater Toronto area. I started at the top of the list with a company called cassette. I found them up and I asked to speak with their Creative Director. In those days, the creative director was the one who hard copywriters. I said, Hi, I'm Alan sharp. I'm a freelance copywriter. I'm new to the city and I'm looking for work. Have you got time this week to take a quick look at my book? Sure. He said drop by my office this Thursday at two PM and I'll take a look at your book. See you then. On Thursday at two PM sharp, I walked into the offices of cassette advertising and I sat down in the office of the creative director. Let's take a look at your book. He said he started at the front and he began flipping through the pages. He studied some ads. He didn't look at others. He looked at some direct mail. He looked and other kinds of copy that I had written. He looked at whatever caught his eye and he asked me a couple of questions. Did you do the art direction on this one? Did you come up with this idea? How did you get the idea for this headline? And he said, Nice book. I've got a B2B client who needs a brochure written in a hurry. Are you free right now? Yes, I'm free, I said and that's how I landed my first gig in a new city with a new client as a freelance copywriter. Today, the process works the same way, except my book is now electronic. I no longer schlepped this physical great big portfolio around from agency to agency on foot. My portfolio is on my website, and it's also saved as an Adobe PDF. But the system works the same way. Most clients who hire you as a freelance copywriter don't care about your background or your education. All they care about is your experience as a copyright. If they don't want to see your resume, all they want to see is your book. If you have a good book, you'll get hired. Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, Alan, how can I show anyone my book if I have no experience as a copywriter? And how can I get experience as a copywriter? If I don't have a book, it's a catch-22. That's what I thought when I chatted with that creative director at the ad agency in Ottawa, way, way back in 1991, the year I got started as a freelance copywriter. I asked him the same question. This is what he said. If you have no samples in your book from paying clients, fill your book with speck creative. I'll be able to tell if you have any talent as a copywriter. Now spec, creative is creative that you write on spec on speculation, usually for free, in the hope of getting paid later. The easiest way to write spec creative is to find a piece of published copy and rewrite it. Find an ad in a magazine, and rewrite it. Give it a better headline, give it better body copy. Find a product brochure and rewrite it, right? A better headline, right? Better subheads, write better body copy. Craft a better offer. Improve the call to action. If the visuals are lame, replace the visuals. Do the same with a sales letter, an online product page, a homepage, and anything else that showcases your writing ability. Once you have a great book, people will hire you without question. You can take that to the bank. 3. Build your portfolio: You don't need experience or clients or education to start earning good money. As a copywriter, all you need is a good book. In the advertising business. Your book is your portfolio of your work. Your book showcases your copywriting ability. It shows people that you can actually write copy. Here are some things to bear in mind about the samples that you need to include in your book. Fill your book with no more than nine samples. You want your book to be memorable, so fill it with only a few choice samples of your best work. Your sample should reflect the industry of the clients you're going after. If you're showing your book to industrial manufacturers, for example, show them samples of industrial copy, not consumer copy. Your book should reflect the channels that your potential clients use. So if your potential clients use a lot of print, if they use a lot of direct mail, then fill your book with print ads and direct mail samples. If your clients are heavily digital, than fill your book with digital samples such as e-mail, sales letters, website landing pages, and online ads. Your book needs to show breadth as well. So feature ads with short copy, ads with long copy, a shallow copy that promotes products and copy that promotes services. Show copy that's business to consumer. And copy that's business to business. Show variety, show breadth. If the pieces in your book, our spec, creative than layout the copy professionally, it needs to look as though it was published in a magazine or online. Don't show potential clients your copy as text-only. If you're showing them an ad, show them the finished ad. If you're showing them in online sales page, show them how the copy looked online as a finished page. Never show potential clients a Word document. Your book must show finished projects. Projects that look as though they were published. This means that you're likely going to need the help of a graphic designer. Now, I've met a few graphic designers in my day who can write half decent coffee, even decent headlines. But I've yet to meet a copywriter who can design a half decent anything. So don't design your pieces yourself. Join, Upwork or Fiverr and hire an inexpensive but good graphic artists. Pay a professional to lay out your copy so that it looks gorgeous. In advertising, half the battle is grabbing attention with a good visual and an engaging layout. So hire a professional graphic artists to lay out your copy. It's one of the best investments you'll ever make as a new freelance copywriter. Another way to create your book is to write copy based on an old creative brief. This is how I got started way back in 1990. One, I asked a creative director at an agency up an Auto up to give me a creative brief from a recent project that is firm had completed for a client. He gave me a creative brief for a postcard mailing that had just been created or they had just created for Canada Post, there was a campaign that promoted the benefits of business reply carts. The creative brief describe the target audience, the product and features of business reply male that had an offer, a call to action, and so on. So I worked from that creative brief and I created dozens of sample ads. I showed these to the creative director. He liked them. He thought I could write copy and he hired me for pay. Another way to build your book is to work for free. Offer your services to a business at no charge, offered to write an ad or a brochure or website, whatever it is that they need, do the work for free on the condition that they let you include the finished item in your book, even if they give you a credit in the piece, that's amazing. The best potential clients to approach for this kind of work, our small businesses and non-profit organizations, the ones who need copywriting but don't have a budget. The final way to build your book is to land work for pay. Soon you'll start replacing the spec creative in your book and the free creative in your book with work that you did for pay. And sooner than you think, book will consist only of great ads, great brochures, and great copy, create sales letters that you wrote for great clients, clients who paid you for your expertise. That's the place you want to be as a freelance copywriter. Once you have a great book, once you have a great portfolio, people will hire you without question. And for great pay. 4. Name your company: If you want to start a freelance copywriting business, you need to brand yourself as a professional. No one will pay you your professional fee. If they think you're an amateur, but they will hire you and they will pay you well for your services. If they think you're a professional. And you can brand yourself as a professional right from the beginning. In three simple ways. Name your company, build a website, and get branded email. Let's start with your company and how you name it. When you start a freelance copywriting business, you're doing just that. You're starting a business. To be in business, you have to call your business something. Here are some tips on creating a name for your new copywriting business. Number one, make it memorable. If you want to stand out as a unique, creative copywriter, then create a name for yourself that is unique and creative. Consider this copywriter, John Ellis. Now, I know John, we've worked together on projects. Way back in the day. He's a great copywriter and he's also a terrific guy. He's a nice guy, but he has a terrible name for his company. His name is called hire John, the writer. This is not memorable for one main reason. There are lots of writers called John. There's John Grisham, John the Cari, John Maynard Keynes. Okay, so the last guy is dead. But you get my point. If John Ellis had called his company higher Ellis, the writer, that would have set him apart. There aren't many writers called Ellis. Now I'm not saying that my company name is the best, but when I was a freelancer, I named my business after myself, but I gave it a little bit of a twist. My name is Alan sharp. That means the first initial and my name is the letter a. So I took that letter a and I had a little bit of fun with it. I call it my business, a sharp copywriter. A sharp copywriter. Later on, I specialized in direct mail fundraising letters. I've worked with charities running fundraising letters for them. So I took I create I gave myself another name. I took my last name, I took the word fundraiser, and I had a bit of fun with it. A cold, my firm razor sharp. That brings me to tip number to say what you do in your company name if possible. When I named my company, I said I was a copywriter and I recommend that you do the same. Use the word copywriter or copyrighting, enduring company name. If possible. This helps potential clients to see immediately what you do and it helps with search engine optimization. Tip three, use your name in your company name if possible. The thing to remember about being a freelance copywriter is that your clients and people in the industry will refer to you most often by your name, not company name. For example, when Bob Bly started out as a copywriter, he called his business, the Center for Technical Communication. And he called himself the director of the Center at all sounded kind of pompous. But everyone in the industry, including me, referred to him as Bob. Bob Bly. That's because when you hired Bob Bly, you didn't work with the Center for Technical Communication. You worked with Bob uses this copywriter living in New Jersey. Bob eventually discovered this for himself and he stopped referring to his company as the Center for Technical Communication. They now calls his company Bob Bly. License them. Easier to remember. The other advantage of using your name in your company name is that your name is more likely to be available as a domain name, not taken by somebody else. Tip 4, keep your company name short. Short names are easier to say and easier to remember. Plus, they work better as the main names, as URLs and as Twitter handles. When I started out, I called my company a sharp copywriter. When I went through a rebranding a couple of years later, I shorten my company name to sharp. Copy, a cup my name down from six syllables to just three. Sharp copy says who I am and what I do. It's easy to say. And it works well as a URL. Tip number 5, create a company name that is easy to say, especially over the phone. Consider this copywriting firm April, May, June communications, and look at their URL, a MJ communications. First off, this name doesn't make much sense. But most importantly, It's not easy to say. Imagine saying that over the phone 40 times a day as you're calling potential clients and looking for Business. Hi, I'm calling from April, May, June communications. I imagined the most common response to here on the other end of the phone is I'm sorry, you're calling from April. What? Don't make this mistake. Pick a name that's easy to say and easy to understand. Remember one of the most important decisions you make when starting out as a freelance copywriter is what you call your company. Make sure you get it right. 5. Build your website: If you want to start a freelance copywriting business, you need to brand yourself as a professional. No one will pay you your professional fee if they think you're an amateur. But they will hire you if they think you are a professional. And you can brand yourself as a professional copywriter in three simple ways. You name your company, you build a website, and you get branded email. Let's talk about building your website as a brand new freelance copywriter. Not strictly speaking, you don't need your own website to make money. As a freelance copywriter, you can create a profile on upwork.com, freelancer.com, fiverr.com. And you can get paying clients that way pretty quickly. But if you want to position yourself as a pro, as a professional copywriter, and if you want to earn six figures, as a copywriter, you need to own your own domain and your own website. Your website doesn't have to be fancy. And just as to answer the questions that potential clients have when visiting the websites of freelance copywriters like you. First of all, your domain name. Ideally, your domain name is the same as your company made. This helps to make you memorable and it avoids confusion in the mind of your prospect. Second, your homepage must tell visitors who you are, what you do, and how you help your clients. Here's an example of what you should not do. It's the homepage for copywriter, Samantha. You can see from the upper left corner that Samantha is a copywriter. But what else do you learn about Samantha? Nothing. You may be thinking what kind of copy does Samantha, right? She doesn't say what kind of clients that she worked with. She doesn't tell you. Most importantly, how can Samantha help me as a business owner? I have no idea. Here's an example of what you should do. It's the homepage for copyright or Steve Sloan, Wait. What can you learn about Steve just from his homepage? Well, Steve is a copywriter for higher. He writes a ward winning copy. He's a marketing consultant and he's a copywriting trainer. You may be wondering, how can Steve helped me as a business? Well, he writes websites, sales pages, emails, ads, and other content that wows target markets. He helps businesses boost their response rates. That's the benefit. He boost conversion rates and he boost sales and he trains in house copywriters. When you visit Samantha's homepage, you don't know what she does or how she helps you. But when you visit Steve's page, you know exactly what he does and you know exactly how he helps you as a potential customer. Tip number 3, at a bare minimum, your website must contain an About Us page, a services page, a portfolio page, and a contact us page. On your about us page. Tell your potential clients about yourself in a way that demonstrates your personality and shows your uniqueness. Consider this About Us page from Valerie. She's a freelance copywriter in New York City in the United States. Right away, you get a sense of her personality. That photo shows you who Valerie is. No. I think she could be smiling just a little bit more. A smile would make her look a little bit more approachable and friendly. But if you read her page, you'll see that Valerie works in New York City and she writes copy for real estate developers, people like Donald Trump. So maybe this look works for her in New York City. You learn quickly from this page that Valerie has been writing copy since 1984. She's been recognized by the New York Times and she's been featured on NBC Nightline. You get a good sense from this About Us page. Who Valerie is. On your services page. Describe the services you offer. But don't just list them as a bunch of bullets. Name the services, and then describe the benefits you offer for each service. Consider the webpage of carolyn Gibson in the United Kingdom. She has a link in her navigation bar about her services. Clicking on that link takes you to a page that lists her copywriting services. If you click on one of those services, on that page, you see a full description. The service she offers, and each one ends with a call to action. That's how you do it. Next is your portfolio. Here is where you showcase your copywriting abilities. Remember your book, your portfolio is how you persuade people to hire you, create a series of thumbnails of your best work. And behind each thumbnail, put a link to a high resolution image of your sample. Here's an example of how to do it from Scott Martin. Here's the link in his navigation to his portfolio. You click on that link and you arrive at a page that organizes his portfolio by sector, Gulf, financial, health, and so on. If you click on a sector, you arrive at a page that's filled with thumbnail images of each project he's worked for in that sector. Click on any image and you arrive at a larger image of the sample of his copywriting and a description of the project and the difference he made for his clients. Now let's talk about usability for a second. Make sure your website uses a mobile responsive design that automatically scales your portfolio to display properly on smartphones and tablets. This is vital because plenty of your potential clients will visit your website while they are out of the office. They might be at the airport waiting for their flight. They might be in a coffee shop waiting for a client meeting. Let them see your portfolio on a mobile device. Also, create your portfolio as a PDF that can be downloaded from your website. Make sure the inside of the PDF and the filename contain your company name and your website address. The samples in your online portfolio. It must be published pieces or they must at least look as though they are published. Few clients will hire you if all that you have on your portfolio, our text documents. Remember the most important tool you have as a freelance copywriter is your portfolio. It's your book. Samples on your contact us page, give your visitors all that they need to get in touch with you. Include your street address so that people who find you on the Web know what country you're in and they know what time zone you're in. If you're concerned about your privacy or your safety, then rent a post office box and use that address on your website, at least give a city and a country of where he are. Include your phone number so that clients can pick up the phone and call you. And if you want potential clients to also be able to text you, then tell them that your phone number on your contact page is a mobile number and they can text you on that number. Don't put your email address on your contact page. Otherwise, the spam bots will go out there, they'll scrape your site, don't scrape your e-mail address. And you'll get dozens and hundreds of spam emails every day. Instead, create a simple form that visitors fill in to tell you who they are, what they want, and how you can contact them. If you're on social media, put your social media handles on your contact page as well. Just don't put your personal Facebook profile instead, create a Facebook page for your business. As you grow your business, I recommend that you add a few more pages. A testimonials page filled with positive comments from satisfied clients. A client page or a client listing page that lists your most influential clients sorted into industry sectors if necessary, a frequently asked questions page that answers the questions that you're tired of answering with every new prospect that visit your visits your website and picks up the phone, you can put those on your FAQs page. The exciting thing about building a website to promote your freelance copywriting business is that you don't need any experience as a copywriter. To create one. You can use WordPress and a gorgeous WordPress theme to make yourself look professional and successful. From day one. When you appear professional, online, potential clients assume you are professional and they hire you. 6. Brand your email: If you want to start a freelance copywriting business, you need to brand yourself as a professional. No one will pay your professional fee if they think you're an amateur, a flyby knitr. But they will hire you if they think you are a professional. And you can brand yourself as a professional, right? In the early days in three simple ways. You name your company, you build a website, and you get branded email. Let's talk about email. No one will take you seriously. If you have a Gmail address, Gmail positions you as an amateur. Same goes for Hotmail. And Yahoo addresses branded email positions you as an established professional. Now when I say branded email, I mean an e-mail address that uses your domain name. My company, for example, is sharp copy. My domain is sharp copy.com. My e-mail address is Allen at sharp copy.com. That's branded email. By the way, you can buy a domain, a web hosting package, and you can get branded email in as little as one hour of done it many times. First you register your domain name. I like to register mind through Bluehost.com. Then you buy a web hosting package. I like to use bluehost.com for my domains and my web hosting. Then you create your website using a content management system. I always use WordPress. It's a blogging platform that creates amazing looking websites, and it is really good for optimizing your website for search engines, google loves WordPress. You choose an e-mail provider. I like to use Google as my email provider. Their product is called G Suite, used to be called Google for business. All you do is you sign up at Google and then you go into your domain panel and Bluehost or your hosting company, your domain hosting company or registrar. And you register your e-mail and your register google as your email provider. Google then takes you step-by-step through the process of having Google become your e-mail provider. Branded email makes a huge difference. Look at these two email signatures there for the same copywriter. The information in each signature is the same except for the email address. The signature on the left uses a Gmail address. The signature on the right uses a branded email address. Which of these two e-mail addresses, which of these two copywriters looks more professional? Which of these two e-mail addresses is likely to make you as a copywriter, stand out from other copywriters. Here's a final word about branding. Your brand communicates who you are and what you offer to your potential clients to work in your favor, your brand must be compelling and it must be consistent. When your potential clients come across your brand. When they find you in the marketplace, they must find something that persuades them that you are the freelance copywriter that they should hire. Whether they discover you through your website or through Twitter or by e-mail, or through an article that you've posted online. Their experience of your brand must be consistent. Your company name must be consistent across all platforms and all media. The visual look of your brand must be consistent and your marketing message and brand promise must be consistent. The good news about starting out as a freelance copywriter is that you don't need any experience or any clients to position yourself as a professional. From day one, you can name your company. You can register your domain name. You can build your website. You can populate your online portfolio and you can create your branded email addresses before you lend a single pane client. And if you execute these steps properly, you'll lend that first pain client sooner than you think. I know. I've done it. 7. CoDecide which type of client you want to write for: Many rookie freelance copywriter think far too hard about what they want to write and not long enough about who they want to write it for. They read online that white papers are lucrative, so they want to write white papers or somebody online or somewhere else tells them that writing landing pages pays really well. You can make great money writing landing pages. So they want to be a lending page writer. Now focusing on a niche type of copyrighting is a good idea. I should know. I used to specialize as a B2B direct mail copywriter who helped tech companies with lead generation. But more important than what you write is who you write it for. When you're starting out as a freelance copywriter, you have no clients. You can specialize all you want. But if you don't get clients, you'll go broke and you'll go out of business. So first, decide who you want to write for and then decide what you want to write. There are three primary markets for copywriting services, businesses, agencies, and non-profits. Here's a crash course on the differences between these three markets. Let's start with size. Businesses comprise the largest market. We're talking about everyone from a one-person work at home mom and pop operation to a Fortune 500 multinational corporation that employs hundreds of thousands, all of them, all of these businesses to one degree or another, need copywriting services. Next in size are non-profits. Look around your city and you'll discover that there are dozens of banks, but only one food bank. You'll find plenty of foundation contractors, but only one heart and stroke foundation in your area. The smallest market is agencies. Now when I say agencies, I'm referring primarily to advertising agencies, but included in this market are direct response agencies, marketing firms, and digital agencies. Now let's talk about the level of understanding that these potential clients have with who you are and what you offer. Most business owners understand the value of effective copy. They understand that their marketing materials and their advertising campaigns have to be well written and strategic. All agencies understand your value. As a copywriter. Agencies hire copywriters all the time. They have copywriters on staff, they know the value of good copy. Some non-profit organizations appreciate that the value that you offer as a copywriter, but most do not, most non-profits do their own copywriting themselves, and they never hire copywriters. Now let us look at competition. You'll find the greatest competition at agencies. Agencies get approached every day by freelance copywriters. And the standards at agencies are really, really high. Among businesses, you'll find less competition. Generally speaking, there are some sectors, however, in the business sector that are more competitive than others, banking and financial services, for example, are very competitive for copywriters. The least competitive market is the non-profit sector. Most copywriters do not specialize in this sector, so competition is low. Finally, let's look at pay of the three markets. The one that pays the best is businesses. This is mainly because when you approach a business to write copy, you're dealing directly with the business. Sometimes the business owner, there's no middle man, no middle person getting in the way. And businesses have a budget set aside to hire copywriters. Next is agencies. Agencies hire you to write copy for their clients and they mark up your fee in order to make a profit. This means you earn less than you will if you work directly with their client. The market that pays the least is the non-profit sector. Most non-profits do not have the budget to hire freelance copywriter. If I was starting out, again as a freelance copywriter, I'd approach businesses first since they have the need and they have the budget to hire someone like me. And if I was particularly good at a particular type of copyrighting such as landing pages or direct response copy. I would only approach those businesses who needed that type of copyrighting. Once you decide who you are going to write four, then you can decide what you're going to write, get the order right, and you'll do all right. 8. Look for three things in a perfect client: When you're starting out as a freelance copywriter, you have no clients. You can specialize all you want, but if you don't get clients, you'll go broke. So first, decide who you want to work for, then decide what you want to write. There are three primary markets for copywriting services, businesses, agencies, and non-profits. Once you have decided on the market that you want to work with, then decide what your ideal client looks like. Your ideal client must meet three criteria. First, they must hire copywriters. Now this sounds really obvious, but it's not. If you search online for tips on starting a business, finding a career, you'll find plenty of articles encouraging you to follow your passion and the money will follow. This is some of the worst advice around for starting a copywriting business. Some passions, don't pay the bills. Just ask anyone who graduated with a master's degree in Greek philosophy or a PhD in Art History. Some businesses never, ever hire copywriters. Restaurants, for example, don't hire freelance copywriter. Hairdressers. Don't hire freelance copywriters. Most law firms will never hire you. Don't fall for the silly advice of approaching businesses just because they have something that you're passionate about. Instead, only approach businesses that hire freelance copywriter. Second, your ideal client needs to pay enough. Some potential clients need your services, but they can't afford to pay you. Most small non-profits fall into this group. They need what you're selling. They want good copy, but they can't afford it. Other types of clients will pay you, but the pay will be low. On Upwork. For example, you'll find hundreds of businesses looking to hire freelance copywriter, but many of them will not pay you enough to live on. Now when I say your ideal client needs to pay enough, I mean enough, as far as you are concerned, not talking about anybody else, just you. If you want to work for $2 an hour, go ahead. But if you need your clients to pay you at least $50 an hour, then you must only approach clients who pay that rate. In either case, only look for clients who pay enough. Third, you must be able to reach market cost-effectively. Some markers are easier to reach than others. Ad agencies, for example, are super, super easy to reach if you're a freelance copywriter. There in the phone book, they're listed in trade directories. They are members of trade associations. They go to conferences, they pop up in search engine results, you find them a trade shows. Agencies are easy to find. Other markets are almost impossible to reach cost effectively. For example, let's say that your ideal client as a business owner who is a woman, that's the audience that you want to target with your message. How are you going to find her? You won't find her in the phone book, right? There's no category for that. Most fema business owners aren't members of a trade association for women owners. You can't find one by Googling female business owner. You'll just find articles about them. You won't find the businesses themselves. To make a living as a freelance copywriter, you need to market your services to people who hire copywriters, who will pay you a living wage and who you can reach cost-effectively. Now here are two bonus criteria to look for in a potential client. If the clients you are approaching are likely to give you plenty of repeat business over the years. That's a bonus. That's not a requirement, just a bonus. And if you naturally get excited about their product or service, if you're passionate about it, that's great. You don't have to be excited or passionate about every product or service that you write about. But if you are, it helps. 9. Craft an elevator pitch that grabs attention: If you are like most people who start a freelance copywriting business, you're starting with no clients. None of your potential clients know who you are or what you do. They don't know your name. None of these businesses are going to go searching for you. You have to go searching for them. Then when you find them, you have to say enough that they listened to you, believe you, and then hire you. This means that your main job as a new freelance copywriter isn't writing, it's prospecting. Prospecting is the act of looking for and approaching individuals and businesses in order to sell them something. In your case, what you're selling is you, you the copywriter. But before you approach any individuals or any businesses, you need to decide what exactly you are selling. And to do this, you must answer two simple questions. Why should I talk to you and why should I hire you to land new clients as a freelance copywriter, you first need to get potential clients to pay attention to you. You need to get them to look at you, and then you need to persuade them to hire you. So that means you need two ways to pitch yourself. You need a short way to answer the first question, and you need a longer way to answer the second question. The first way to pitch yourself is with an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a quick way of describing who you are, what you do, and why someone should hire you to craft an elevator pitch. Just imagine that someone got into the elevator with you one day and they asked you what you do for a living in the time that it takes that person to reach their floor. Or for you to reach your floor, you need to answer their question in a way that starts a conversation and leads them to wanting to know more about you and ideally want to hire you. The reason you need a short elevator pitches that most people you approach for business aren't going to hire you. They either don't need a copywriter, They don't have a budget to hire you or they don't have time to discuss the matter right now. Remember, in your early days as a freelance copywriter, you're in sales mode. You are out and about in the marketplace, prospecting, prospecting, prospecting, you're not writing, you're looking for potential clients. Potential clients won't give you more than a few seconds to tell them who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you. The two ingredients of an effective elevator pitch, our brevity and B8. A good elevator pitch is brief, but intriguing. A good elevator pitches short, but it leaves the prospect with questions. An effective elevator pitch tells prospects just enough about you that they want to learn more and they ask you for more. Here's my elevator pitch. Hi, I'm Alan sharp. I'm a direct response copywriter who helps businesses increase sales and acquire new customers. Unquote. This page says who I am, Alan sharp. It says what I do. I write direct response copy. It says why someone should hire me. I increase sales and acquire new customers for my clients. Now if you deliver this pitch yourself at a relaxed pace, you'll see that you can easily say the entire pitch in under ten seconds. And that's the goal of a good elevator pitch brevity. Now I could make it even shorter. I'm Alan sharp. I'm a direct response copywriter who helps businesses acquire new customers. That's a couple of words shorter than the first one, I can make it even shorter than that. I'm Alan sharp. I'm a copywriter who helps businesses acquire new customers. The big advantage of this short version of my pitch is that it peaks curiosity. How exactly do I help businesses acquire new customers? Well, the prospect, the person in the elevator has to ask me, and that starts a conversation. Your elevator pitch works well as a short answer. When people ask you, Who are you? What do you do? But you'll be using it primarily in your early days as a copywriter to pitch yourself to potential clients. You don't wait for them to ask you. You go and find them. For example, when I pick up the phone and I call a potential client, I'll say hi John, This is Allan sharp. I may direct response copywriter. I help businesses like yours increase sales and acquire new customers, is at a service that you need. If I'm prospect me by email, then I craft a short email message that says exactly this. In the message, this line says a quick question about acquiring new customers. And then in the body of the e-mail I write, Dear John, do you need new customers? I'm a direct response copywriter. I helped businesses acquire new customers. Is that a service that you need? Call me to learn more. Sincerely. Allan Sherman. Once you have created your elevator pitch, memorize it, and be ready to use it whenever you meet a potential client who has the need and the budget for your services. When you have a good elevator pitch, your freelance copywriting business can only go one direction up. 10. Craft a longer pitch that wins you business: If you're like most people who start a freelance copywriting business, you're starting with no clients, no income, nobody on your horizon, none of your potential clients know who you are, what you do. They've never heard of you. None of these businesses are going to go searching for you. You have to go searching for them. And then when you find them, you have to say Enough to those potential clients that they listened to you, they believe you, and then they hire you. This means that your main job as a new freelance copywriter is not writing copy. It's looking for business, it's prospecting. Prospecting is the act of looking for an approaching individuals and businesses in order to pitch them on buying your service or your product. In your case, what you're selling is you. And before you can approach any individuals or any businesses, you need to decide what is it that I'm selling? What am I offering? To do this? You must answer two simple questions. Why should I talk to you? And why should I hire you to land new clients? As a freelance copywriter, you need to get potential clients to pay attention to you. When you've got their attention, you then need to persuade them to hire you. So you need two ways to pitch yourself. You need a short way to answer the first question. Why should I listen to you? And you need a longer way to answer the second question, why should I hire you? You're longer pitch, should answer a number of questions. What do you do? Namely, what are the services you offer, the types of coffee that you write? What are the channels that you work in? How can you help me? In other words, what are the benefits of working with you? In particular? Do you increase sales? Do you acquire customers? Do you generate sales leads? Do you attract website visitors to my website? Do you build my newsletter list? You help me sell products and services. What do you how do you help me? How much do you charge? Clients want to know how much you charge for typical projects. They also want to know if he charged by the hour or by the project. It's important to many clients. Who have you worked with. This is another question clients have for you. Clients want to know that you have experienced in their industry and that you've written copy for projects like there's the longer your client list is, the better. This longer pitch that I'm talking about needs to be long enough to persuade potential clients to contact you. To request a quote, to request you to bid on their project. It should never, ever be your resume. Here's one way to do it. This is the website for my freelance copywriting business. I've learned over the years why businesses hire me. So I've created a page on my website that gives my potential clients exactly what they're looking for. It answers the questions. The page is called, Why Higher Sharpe? On this page, I give my long sales pitch. I described point by point by point, why a business should hire me and I end with a call to action. This page is part of a larger section on my website called Higher Sharpe. The section goes into further details about why a business should hire me. I give examples of what it's like to work with me, details about my guarantee, and I give them a sample quote to look at. Remember, the key question you're answering with your long sales pitches. Why should I hire you? Answer this question with persuasive copy? And businesses will hire you to write persuasive copy for them. 11. CLook for clients in three proven places: If you want to earn your living as a freelance copywriter, you need paying clients. But how do you find them? And you'll find people that will pay you to write for them by fishing where the fish are. If you've ever been fishing, you know that there are certain areas of any river, any Lake and he ocean where the fish congregate. And there are also areas where fish never congregate. Smart anglers. Nowhere the fissure and the only dropped their line in the water where the fish are going to bite. When you are starting out as a freelance copywriter, you need to look for clients, potential clients, paying clients where they congregate. That's because your budget and your time are limited. You don't have enough money or time to waste looking for clients where they are rarely found. For example, don't take out a full-page ad in the Yellow Pages. Not a good idea. Don't start advertising on television. Don't lease a billboard. Instead, fish, where the fish are. The first place you should look is Upwork. Upwork is the top website for freelancers. It's a place where clients post copywriting projects. And we're freelance copywriter is look for copywriting projects. Upwork is a great site for finding work. It's a website where businesses find copywriters and where copywriters find businesses. But Upwork is more than a simple job board. They also manage every part of your project. When you are a member of Upwork, you use the site to bid on jobs, to sign agreements to do deliver your work, even to get paid. The big advantage of Upwork is that it's where the fish are. If you've ever said to yourself, if I only knew which businesses needed a copywriter, then I could get my clients. Well, now you know, every business that posts a copywriting jobs on Upwork is looking for a copywriter, someone like you. A second advantage of Upwork is the sheer number of potential clients that you find there. If you type in the word copywriting into the search box, you'll find the website. We're returns around 3000 projects. Now. You'll not be the right copywriter for every one of these projects. But with numbers like these, you're bound to land some work. Now there are two big disadvantages of Upwork. High competition and low pay. There are hundreds of freelance copywriters on Upwork, and plenty of them will be bidding on the very same jobs that you're bidding on. Plenty of them will undercut you on price alone. Then there's the low pay. Upwork is notorious for the number of clients that it attracts who are not willing to pay market rates. For copywriting. Upwork is crowded with small business owners who know the value of good copy, but who don't have the budget to hire a good copywriter. Let me give you an example. My fee for writing a four-page brochure is around $500 a page for a total project fee of $2 thousand. That's the going rate for a copywriter like me who's got a couple of decades of experience. But on Upwork, when I search for clients who are looking for a copywriter to write their brochure, I find businesses who are only willing to pay $50 for the whole thing. I charged 2000 and they want to pay 50. Now when you're starting out, you don't have the luxury of avoiding low paying clients like these. I realized that you need to gain experience. You need to get samples for your portfolio. You need to start earning money for your services. I totally, totally get it. So lending, paying clients through Upwork is a good idea when you're starting out. It's where the fish are, right? The next best place to fish is agencies, advertising agencies, marketing firms, and content marketing agencies hire freelance copywriters like you all the time. They understand the value of good copy, they pay well, and they have a steady supply of projects. The disadvantage of approaching agencies as a new freelance copywriter is that you may not have the level of portfolio. They are looking for. Advertising agencies, look for top talent. And they judge your talent by your book, your portfolio. So if you have a strong book and if you want to work on a variety of interesting and well-paying projects, approach agencies, I've done it myself. It's a great way to get experience and get known as a copywriter. The final place to go fishing is organizations that hire copywriters more often than others. Just about every business at some point needs a brochure or needs copywritten for their website. But many clients, they do it just once and that's it. Other businesses will hire you more frequently. These are the businesses that you should approach. You'll find these businesses in the following sectors. Banking, financial services, insurance, software, tech, agribusiness, manufacturing, and the non-profit sector. They hire copywriters more frequently. Once you know where the fish are, you are ready to prepare your bait and go fishing. 12. Pitch clients the right way: If you want to earn your living as a freelance copywriter, you need paying clients. You need people who will pay your bills, but how do you find them? You fish, where the fish are. If you've ever been fishing, you'll know that there are certain areas of any river, lake, or ocean where fish congregate. There are also areas where fish never congregate. Smart anglers know where the fish are and the only dropped their line in the water where the fish are. The main thing to remember about fishing for clients is that they never, ever swim up your boat and just jump in. To be caught. You have to throw your line in the water. You have to have a hook on the end of that line and you have to have some bait on the end of that hook. The least expensive way to fish for new clients is to pick up the phone, dial their number, and talk to them on the phone. Here's how you call the main number for the company and ask for the name and the extension number of the person who manages their marketing, right? That name, an extension number down and ask to be put through. Just ask for their name, then asked to be put through when the person answers, give them your elevator pitch to them who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. Then ask them if the services that you offer are something that they need. Ask for the order. Here's an example of how you do it. Imagine I'm calling a small manufacturer of agricultural machinery. Hi. Could you please tell me the name of the person who manages your marketing? Katherine Phillips. Is that Catherine with a K or Catherine with a C? With a K. Okay. Thanks. What is Catherine's job title there at your firm? Vice President of Marketing. Great. What is Catherine's extension, please? 295. Okay. Thanks. Could you put me through, please? I Catherine, this is Alan sharp. I'm a copywriter who helps manufacturers of agricultural equipment generate sales leads at trade shows. Is that a service that you need? Notice what I said. I told Catherine who I am. I'm Alan sharp. I told her what I do. I'm a copywriter. I told her how I can help her. I help manufacturers of agricultural equipment generate sales leads at trade shows. I asked her for the order. I asked her, Is that a service that you need? If at the end of my pitch, Katherine says, yes, she does need my services, then I stay on the phone and we continue chatting. My goal is to get Catherine to invite me to bid on an upcoming job that she has for a copywriter. If she has nothing coming up. But if I think she could be a source of steady work in the future, I asked her if she wants to see my portfolio. Maybe I'll visit with her. Maybe I'll send it to her by email. If she says no, she does not need my services, I say thanks. And I hang up the phone. If Catherine says Call me later, I'm busy, then I book an appointment with her in my calendar. Your goal with a colleague, this is to reach as many people as possible every day to see if they need what you're selling. Remember you're starting out as a copywriter. You have no business. You're looking for clients. And if I'm calling an advertising agency than my pitch is slightly different. Here's what it sounds like. When I call an agency's hi. Could you please tell me the name of the person there who hires freelance copywriters. Brad long. Okay. Thanks. Brad, your creative director? Oh, he's your associate creative director. Okay. Thanks. Could you please tell me his extension number? Alright. And could you put me through, please? Thanks. Hi, Brad. This is Alan sharp. I'm a freelance copywriter who specializes in B2B for tech firms. I see that you've lended the Oracle Account congrats. Do you need somebody to help you with the writing copy for Oracle? If Brad says yes, they do, he will probably asked me what my hourly rate is. Hourly rate is acceptable. Brad will probably say, Can I see your portfolio? And right there while we're on the phone, I'll send them a link to my online portfolio or I'll e-mail him and he will look at my portfolio while we're on the phone. If after looking at my portfolio, bread thinks that I'm a good fit for his agency hill. You might discuss my availability. And he will probably asked me to bid a job or even Semi a creative brief and I'll get started. If Brad says he doesn't need a copywriter right now, but he might do in the future. Then I asked him, when is a good time to stay in touch. I call you in two weeks, a month or so on. If he says No, I don't need any freelance copywriting help. I asked him, brad, Are there any other agencies in the city that you can think of that are hiring freelancers, copywriters like me. The thing to know about agencies is that each one has a specific type of clientele. Some agencies are solely business to consumer, others are solely business to business. Some do a mix of both. Discovered this before you dial. You need to know who you are pitching before you pick up the phone so that you can give a pitch that matches what they are looking for in a freelance copywriter like you. The next way to approach potential clients is by e-mail. You follow the same steps as cold calling. You kinda follow the same script except that you make your pitch in writing as opposed to with your voice. But whether you're cold calling by phone or by email, it helps to have some bait on the end of your hook. So write a special report or a white paper or an article, something that is of interest to your potential clients, offer it in exchange for an appointment, you'll boost your chances of lending work. Remember the secret to catching fish is to fish where the fish sharp, but the other secret is to fish early and to fish often. The more often you fish, the more official catch. 13. Craft a letter of agreement, part 1: When I got started as a copywriter, way, way, way, way back in 1990 one, the first Peng project I ever landed was with an advertising agency. The trouble is they never actually paid me. I did the work and my client approved my copy and used it with his client, but my client never paid me a dime. I went to all the trouble of taking my first client to small claims court, but he never showed up in court. Not a great start to my freelance career. You'll agree. I learned a valuable lesson way back then, and that is to start every copywriting project professionally. The first thing you need in your hands before you write any copy for any client is a written agreement. I'm not talking about a long contract or anything complicated. Just a two-page document that describes the project, what you will do for your fee, what your fee is, the terms and conditions. And next steps. Let's look at these sections one by one. At the top of your letterhead, right? Letter of agreement and the date, type your client's name, and their address. Then say what the job is. For example. Thank you for asking me to quote your brochure. My job, as I understand it, is to write a brochure for your new product, the sender, nomadic blender. The brochure will be 11 by 17, folded once for a finished size of 8.5 by 11. The brochure will have four pages, a front cover, a back cover, and two facing pages. You'll notice that you first thank your client for asking you to quote his job. That's because this letter of agreement is both a quote and a contract. When someone asks you to quote, a job, to bid on a job, use this letter of agreement as your quote, start by thanking them for asking you to quote their projects, then outline what that project is. Used the phrase, my job, as I understand it, because most quotes you write are based on an email that you get from a client or a brief phone conversation you have with a client. So this phrase let your client know that you are reiterating what you believe the project is. Then describe the project. Say something like my job. As I understand it, is to write a so-and-so, write a brochure, write a direct mail piece, right? A landing page, whatever it happens to be. If the project involves design or something else. In other words, if your client is also hiring you to design or to print the piece, then you would write something like my job is, I understand it is to write and design. So-and-so. Next, describe what you will do for your fee and what you won't do. This is the section where you demonstrate the value that you are going to deliver as a copywriter. It's where you describe every benefit of hiring you and it's where you show your client what the client is going to get in return for paying your phi. Write something like this. I will provide such Marketing Lead Generation, and copywriting services as are required to complete your project. To your satisfaction. You will handle design and printing for my professional fee. I will. And then you have bullets. I will follow your business plan, follow your marketing plan. Read sales materials of this kind that you have produced and that you supply. I'm not going to go hunting for them on my own. I will review your website. I will study the websites of three of your competitors. I will review samples of marketing materials from three of your competitors that you supply. I will review market research and surveys which you supply. Again, I'm not going to go hunting for these. You have to supply them. I'm going to work with you to understand your sales process and your customers buying process so that your brochure works as intended for prospects at each stage in their buying cycle. I will work with you to create multiple ways for prospects to response, such as phone, email, reply device. I will create a compelling theme for your brochure, which is customer focused and that stresses your unique selling proposition. I will interview you and your team by phone or Skype to create a buyer persona for each of your vertical markets. I will interview you and your team by phone or Skype to determine the unique features, benefits, and unique selling proposition to be stressed. In this brochure. I will determine the search engine optimisation keywords and keyword phrases that must be used in this brochure. Since the copy of this brochure will also appear on your website. I will write headlines, subheads, body copy and all other copy. I will suggest visuals for the brochure. I will write captions for all visuals in the brochure. I will make any revisions and rewrites that you request within 30 days of your receipt of my copy. As you can see, what you do in this section is spell out item by item by item. All that you're going to do for your client, your goal is to prevent misunderstandings. That's because some clients are unsophisticated. When they phone you or email you and they tell you that they need a landing page, for example, you think they just need you to write copy for the landing page, but they want copy, design and coding. This is the main reason to put your agreement in writing. Your letter of agreement shows you and your client what the project is and what it is not. The other reason you spell out in detail what you're going to do for your feet is to justify your fee. If you're charging a professional fee, some clients will balk. They don't see the value of your copy. If they asked you to write a slogan, for example, and you tell them that your fee is $3 thousand. They might say, but what if you only write a slogan that's three words, you're charging me one hundred, ten hundred dollars a word. They don't get it, right. They don't see the value. That's why you need to spell out in your proposal and your letter of agreement, all that you're going to do for your professional fee. In the case of writing a slogan, your fee includes research, studying the client's website, reading their sales collateral, brainstorming with their marketing and sales teams, reviewing their marketing plan, creating a unique selling proposition and lots, lots more. That's it for part 1. What's Part 2? To learn the other things that you must say in your letter of agreement. See you in a minute. 14. Craft a letter of agreement, part 2: The first thing you need in your hands before you write any copy for any client is a written agreements. The letter of agreement is a document that describes the project, what you'll do for your fee, what your fee is, the terms and conditions, and the next steps you want your client to take. In part one of this lesson, we looked at how you describe the project and what you will do for your feet. Now let's look at the other things you need to include in your letter of agreement. First of all, name your deadline. Tell your client when you will deliver the first draft of copy. Say something. This I will deliver your first draft by Tuesday, July 23rd, 2018. Next, state your FEI including any state or federal taxes that you have to charge. Say something like my firm flat fee for rendering these professional services is 5000 dollars plus HST of 650 for a total project fee of $5,650. Firm means that the fee is non-negotiable. Flat means it's all inclusive. In other words, there are no hidden fees that I'm going to charge later. Hst in this case is harmonized sales tax. That's the text that I have to charge in my country. Your sales tax likely goes by another name. Next, state what your fee includes. Clients don't want surprises when your invoice arrives. So if anything is extra, put it in writing. I recommend that you make your feet all inclusive. Like this. My fee includes all meetings by phone and Skype, market research, literature review, brainstorming, writing, revising, editing, project related consulting careers, long distance phone calls, faxes, and travel, right? That's an all-inclusive quote. Now, copy of revisions are included in my fee as long as you assign these revisions within 30 days of receiving my first draft. And as long as these revisions are not based on a change in the assignment that you make after I submit my copy, unquote. Now this last clause is absolutely vital. Tell your client right at the beginning and have them agree that your project is what you both agree. It is. Your client needs to know they changed the project halfway through that kind of change their mind on the direction they're taking. You will charge another fee. You'll also notice that there's a deadline for requesting changes to your copy. I tell my clients that I will make any changes they want within 30 days of me submitting my first draft, I give my clients 30 days to keep the project on schedule to stop them just kinda letting it laps. Next, state your terms. My terms are simple. They look like this. My standard policy for first projects with new clients is to receive a signed letter of agreement and 50 percent of my professional fee in advance. In this case, $2825. I send you my invoice upon completion payable within 30 days. Notice. The three terms that I've mentioned, I require a signed letter of agreement, half my feet advance and my invoice to be paid within 30 days of the client receiving it. Three terms. I require that all first projects with all new clients be paid 50 percent in advance. This is my policy and this ensures that I get paid at least something in the event that my new client is dishonest and refuses to pay me upon completion. I only charge this for the first project. Since these are projects with the most risk, I don't know the client. Once I've done one project for a client, I do not require the 50 percent advance anymore. The 30 days clause for my final invoice states that when the client will pay me the final 50 percent of my fee, the last step in this letter of agreement is to tell your client what to do. If the client wants to proceed. You should write something simple like this. You're essentially asking for the order. If my fee and terms are acceptable to you, please sign and return this entire letter of agreement, not just the last page with your signature to my office with your feet, and that's the 50 percent advance made payable to whatever your firm is called. This gives me the go-ahead that I need to proceed with your assignment for the fee and terms specified than sign a letter of agreement and send it off to your client. Then you sit by the phone, you wait for them to call you and give you their business. Now in closing, let me tell you some of the advantages of using a letter of agreement like this. First, it makes you look professional. In the eyes of your potential client. You're already established, you already know what you're doing. Amateur copywriters don't use letters of agreement like this. They just start projects with no agreement whatsoever. Second, a signed letter of agreement eliminates misunderstandings and surprises for you and your client. Every important detail is documented what you'll do, what you won't do, what's included, what's not included? How much the client is going to pay when you'll deliver your copy, when they will pay you, and so on, everything's covered. Third, it helps you charge professional fees. Remember, your clients by value. If you want to get paid, what you're worth, you need to demonstrate your value in your quotes, in your bids, in your proposals, and your letters of agreement and forth. A letter of agreement eliminates time waster hours and crooks. This is one of the best uses of a letter of agreement and the trade we call them tire kickers and brochure collectors. Some potential clients that contact you and ask you to quote a job. They're not really serious about doing business with you. Others can't afford you. And a select few aimed to hire you, use your copy and never, ever pay you. You want to avoid these people. Once you insist on receiving a signed letter of agreement and half your professional fee in advance, you'll find that these kinds of people just don't call you. They don't email you. They don't ask you to quit their jobs. You suddenly find yourself working on meaningful projects with interesting clients. Clients who value your expertise and who pay your voices. And you can put that in writing. 15. Take these steps to appear professional from day one: The best clients to work for as a freelance copywriter, know a professional copywriter. When they meet, when they likely have more experience working with freelance copywriters, then you have as a copywriter, working with clients. Since you're brand new, you're just starting out. So since I know what a copyright, it looks like a professional copywriter. Here's some tips on how to start your first project. Professionally. Work from a creative, brief. Effective copy answers, strategic marketing questions. Asked those questions before you write any copy and put the answers into a creative brief that your client reviews and approves. The questions that you need to ask include, what are we selling? Who are we selling it to? What is the customer's pain or problem? How does this product or service meet the customer's pain or answer their question or solve their problem. What are the features and benefits of the product or service? What proof do we have for the claims that we're making about our product or our service. What can we offer to potential buyers to persuade them to buy or to take the next step in the sales process. What action do we want them to make? Meet Your first deadline? Your clients care about three things. Effective copy, affordability and timeliness. They want your copy to be effective. They want your services to be affordable and they want you to be on time. They want you to deliver your copy on deadline. One of the quickest ways to lose a client is to miss a deadline. I know I did it. I once worked on the IBM account, writing copy for their business to business newsletter. My computer crashed and I spent the whole day recovering it and I forgot all about a deadline that I had that day to deliver a draft of the newsletter, so I missed my deadline. Um, my client fired me. So hard lesson to learn. I never missed a deadline. Again that I can remember. Now let's talk about how you deliver your copy delivery or copy. The way clients want it delivered. Always in a Word document, never in the body of an email. Name the parts of your copy, if needed, using editorial brackets like this, so that you and your client can discuss the document easily over the phone. This also helps graphic designers because they usually strip out all the formatting that you've included in your text when they lay out your copy. Don't just submit your copy looking like this, with your headlines bolded and nothing labeled. The graphic designer imports your copy as a text file into a graphic design application. It looks like this. As you can see, all your formatting has been stripped out and it's lost. But if you name the parts of your copy using editorial brackets, the designer can easily identify the headline, the body copy, the subheads, the captions, and so on. Your formatting gets lost. If you are writing copy that features a headline, most CAPI does, I suggest that you write at least five headlines and let your client choose the one they like. I also recommend that you number these headlines so that your client can easily identify the headline over the phone or in an e-mail when you're talking, they can say something like, let's go with Headline number three in your list. When you work with ad agencies and other sophisticated clients, you'll discover that they use a docket system to track the progress of each project from beginning to end. Each project you work on will have a docket number, and each component of the project will have a name and perhaps a sub docket number. Whenever you submit copy for approval. When ever you write an email to discuss the project, quote this docket number, name the project, and name the component you're working on. For example, let's say I'm working on a direct mail package and I'm sending the third draft of the letter to my client for review. I will put this in the subject line of my e-mail. This tells my client that I'm referring to docket number 3243. It's for their client, the Royal Bank of Canada, the RBC. And the job is the small business acquisition mailing. I'm submitting letter copy and this is the third draft or the third version, Version 3. To other places where you need to include this information are inside the document. And in the filename. Put this information in the header of every page that you submit and put it into the filename of any file that you give to your client. A few other things that you might want to include in the header of each page of your document or the date. And your name like this, so that your client can easily identify it when you submit it, the copy and who submitted it. Don't use the date field in Microsoft Word, the one that automatically updates the date whenever someone opens the file, otherwise, that date will never be accurate when they open it. Instead type out the date by hand. Anytime you submit your copy. How you name your files is just as vital. It's the mark of an amateur to submit copy with a filename beginning something like brochure dot DOC or landing page dot DOC. A file named this way is impossible to find months from now because it doesn't name the project. It doesn't name the client. It doesn't tell you the version number, doesn't tell you who the copywriter was, who submitted it. Don't submit your copy like that. Instead, name your files like this. This tells my client that the file is for docket number or job number 3243 for their client, the Royal Bank of Canada. The job is the small business acquisition mailing. And I am submitting letter copy and this is the third draft or version number three. The main reason you name your files like this is to make them easy to find, both during the project and later on. If someone has to search for these files on an archive or on a hard drive. Remember, the graphic designer who lays out your copy is almost never the person that you submit your copy to. It'll be brand new to them. You may go back and forth, back and forth with your client, revising and rewriting and redoing your copy. You might do 34 or five times before you're a client finally approved your copy, then your client will hand you're approved copy to a graphic artist that you've never met and you've had no contact with. You're a graphic designer there. Graphic designer needs to know that they are working on the final approved version of your copy. So don't name your copy brochure or add. Give it a descriptive file name preferably with the word final in it, in capital letters. So everyone knows that that's the final version. Email subject lines are just as vital. Don't submit your copy as an attachment to an email that is simply called Harris the copy again or brochure. Instead, use a subject line in your email that makes sense. Some of your clients, particularly ad agencies, may have multiple projects on the go at any given time. Your client may have five brochure projects on the go, for example. So if you send an email that just says, here's the brochure copy, they won't know what you're talking about. You need to be clear in your communications with your client about which project you're submitting your copy for. And this brings up another very important point. Always number your versions. Don't submit the same filename repeatedly, version after version. Otherwise, your clients will never know for sure if the version on their hard drive is the latest version that you submitted, number your pages in the footer of your document. Insert the page number and the total page count. And Microsoft Word, you can do this pretty easily. Use the code feature in Microsoft Word to automatically calculate the page numbers and the number of pages. This is vital because some clients will print out your copy and they'll review it with our colleagues around a boardroom table. And so you should do all you can to make it easy for them to refer to the headline on page three or the body copy on page 9. And you can do that by numbering your pages, include the page count so that your clients know they have printed all of the pages in your documents. Track your changes. When your client asks you to make changes to your copy, make those changes using the track changes feature in Microsoft Word. This feature, as you can imagine, it tracks and displays any text that you add, delete, reformat, or moved to another part of the document and ask your clients to do the same. When you submit your copy, tell your client if you're going to make any changes, please make them using the track changes feature in Microsoft Word. That way, you'll clearly see what the client wants, added, what they want removed, and what they want rewritten. Also ask your clients to use the comments feature as well. It's a great tool for suggesting changes in your copy in the margins without having to alter anything in the document. If you start your first project professionally, your client will see you as a professional. Professional copywriters are the ones who get repeat business and referrals. And they're the ones who get paid the most. So if you want repeat business, and if you want referrals, and if you want good pay, start your first project and all your projects professionally. 16. Get paid: There is only one thing worse than getting paid low wages to write great copy. And that's getting paid nothing at all. In the 30 years that I've been writing copy. I've had a few clients who have stiff me, but they are rare. Most clients will pay you for your freelance copywriting services. So you need to take the steps needed to get paid and to get paid on time. Here are those steps. Always work from a signed letter of agreement. Before you start any project. Agree with your client in writing, what you're going to write and how much you're going to charge that client for those services. A written agreement prevents misunderstandings and it's a legal document that you can use in court to demonstrate that you did have a contract with your client and you deserve to be paid for it. Get your client to approve your copy in writing before you submit your final invoice. Dishonest clients will try to weasel out of paying an invoice by saying, oh, the the copy wasn't approved, it wasn't final. So when your client is satisfied with your copy, get them to say so in an e-mail, that means you are free to submit your invoice. And that means your client has agreed to pay your invoice because they've approved and finalized the project, send your invoice to the correct person. Unless you're working with the owner of a really small business, the person who pays you is rarely the person who hired you and worked with you on your project. You need to get your invoice into the person's hands. Who pays you? So ask your client who you should submit your invoice to create your invoice. On your letterhead. At the top of the page. Put the date, number, your invoice. The easiest numbering convention is the year and the invoice number such as 2018, 000 001 or zeros or two or 000 three. If I'm invoicing a project in the year 2018, and if the project is my fourth project of the year, then my invoice number will be 2018 000 for really simple, type your client's name and address, fright, attention, followed by your contact persons name. Always send your invoices to a named person at a company, never to the company in general, especially if that company is called Microsoft or General Motors site, the job name. Cite your claims docket number. If they used one site, your clients purchase order number. If they used one, some clients do some clients don't enter the amount of your fee that you and your client agreed on in your letter of agreement. If you were paid by the hour, put your hourly rate, the number of hours you worked. Multiply the two and enter the total. Use a separate line for each deliverable. Add up each line and create a subtotal, calculate and that any taxes that you're required to charge your client and put those here at the taxes to your subtotal for your total project fee. Make this line really obvious in your proposal. Tell your client who they should make your checkout. Two, it should be your company name or your name at the bottom of your invoice, state what your terms are. These terms should reflect the terms that you and your client agreed to in your letter of agreement. Typically, an invoice tells the client when payment is due. Invoice is typically say do upon receipt, which is self-explanatory, or they say net 30, which means payment is due within 30 days of receipt of this invoice. If your business has a state or federal business number or text number, include that on your invoice. At the bottom. Save your invoice with a filename that identifies the client that job, and you use the word invoice in the filename. When this file is on your client's computer, you want them to know that it's an invoice from you for a particular project. When the file is on your computer, you want to know that it's an invoice for a particular client and for a particular project. So name your file. Well, your file name should look something like this. This tells my client that the invoices from me. It tells me that the invoice is for my client, royal Bank, and it tells both of us. But the invoice is four. By creating detailed, clear invoices like this, you keep yourself organized. Tracking, and managing your business income is a lot easier when your invoices are professional and clearly laid out. And there's another advantage to creating invoices that look professional and are clear and detailed like this. You get paid. 17. Take these Steps to Guarantee Your Long Term Success: To get started as a freelance copywriter, you need to do seven things. Create a portfolio, brand yourself, choose your ideal client. Polish your pitch. Fish where the fish are, get agreements in writing and start your first project professionally. These steps can be done in seven days. You can become a copywriter in a week. But what about after that? What steps should you take after that first vital week to guarantee your long-term success as a copywriter. I'll tell you. Look for new business every day. In your early years as a freelance copywriter, your main job isn't writing copy. It's prospecting. You can't write copy for clients. If you don't have any clients, you have to go out and find those clients. So spend at least one hour every day prospecting for new business. Cold call, send emails, write letters, prospect, prospect, prospects, right copy that generates measurable results. The easiest way to prove your value as a copywriter is with results that you got for your clients. Your clients want increase sales, more customers, more leads, better quality leads. Businesses will hire you as a copywriter to get these results for them. If you can prove that your copy gets results. The copy that's easiest to measure is direct response copy. Direct mail is measurable. Pay-per-click advertising is measurable. Email marketing is measurable. When you write this kind of copy, you can measure your results, get your clients to measure the results and tell you how your coffee did. If your copy generates better results than other copywriters, you will succeed. As a freelance copywriter. You'll get the business, you'll get repeat business. Meet deadlines. I've missed a deadline in my career and it costs me, my client. I missed the deadline and they never hired me again. That hurt, hurt in a big way. It was IBM. Being on time is the mark of a professional. Being late, is the sign of an amateur. So prove you are a professional. Always meet your deadlines. Return calls, emails, and texts quickly. In our business, the contract often gets awarded to the copywriter who responds first. If you receive a voicemail in the morning from a potential client, don't wait until the end of the day or even the next day. Before returning the call, you'll find that the potential client has hard somebody else, someone who responded more quickly. So if your client sends you an email or a phone call, answer quickly. When your client sends you copy and they want you to revise it, turn the revisions around quickly. Clients like to work with copywriters who are responsive. Be pleasant to work with. I'm going to tell you a secret I've never shared on any other course or ever shared anywhere at anytime. A while ago, I decided to focus my copyright on direct mail fundraising for non-profit organizations. I created a weekly newsletter. I blogged every week. I wrote five books on the topic. I spoke at conferences around the world. I delivered workshops everywhere I went, I tried really hard to come across as an expert in the field. What I didn't realize is that I tried too hard. I came across as an expert, but I also came across as a know it all and arrogant. And this attitude crept into my interactions with my clients and my potential clients. I didn't know on more than one occasion, I learned kinda through the grapevine that some people said I was difficult to work with. That's not good. The secret to making a good living as a freelance copywriter is repeat business. And referrals. You need your new clients to hire you a second time and a third time. And you need your satisfied clients that pick up the phone or send an email and recommend you to others. But they will only do that if you're pleasant to work with. So be nice. You'll be happier and you'll make more money. Stay in touch with past clients. Speaking of repeat business clients have poor memories. Some of them will hire you for a project and then they'll forget all about you. It's not their fault. They're just busy. If you want them to hire you again for another project, you are the one who needs to make sure you stay in their memory. You need to take the initiative. I've learned that the simplest way to do this is to have an e-mail, newsletter, ice to have a weekly. You can have a monthly or quarterly, doesn't really matter. You could have a weekly, monthly, quarterly newsletter. The frequency doesn't matter as much as the consistency, how often you write to them is not as important as that you do write to them consistently. So stay in touch. With your past clients regularly when they need a copywriter. In the future. If you've kept in touch with them over time, they're naturally going to think of you get found online. Prospecting by phone and e-mail, and especially in person, is really time-consuming. And the busier you get, the less time you have for prospecting, which is kind of unfortunate. Your goal is to eventually have clients find you, rather than you always having to go out and find them, you want them to knock on your door. Since most businesses begin their search for a copywriter online, online is where you need them to find you. The cheapest way to get found online is through content marketing. Start a blog and write a post every day that answers the questions that your clients and your potential clients ask and then solve the problems that your potential clients face. Optimize these posts and these articles for the keywords that you're targeting. The search engines will find you because of these keywords and they will boost your position in the search engine results. When search engines promote you, potential clients find you. Content marketing is the key to long-term success. As a freelance copywriter. Finally, dominate a niche. The number one secret to long-term success as a freelance copywriter is to dominate a niche. When potential clients consider you the expert in an industry niche or a particular type of copyrighting. They hire you more readily than a copywriter who was a generalist, not a specialist. For example, imagine that you are a marketing manager and that you need a white paper written. Will you hire a generalist copywriter or will you hire a copywriter who specializes in white papers? Gordon Graham is a copywriter who specializes in white papers. He blogs about white papers. He wrote the book on writing white papers. He publishes a newsletter about white papers. He writes white papers for just about every industry. You can imagine. His list of whitepaper clients is long, long, long takes you a long time to scroll through it. If I was looking for a copywriter to write my white paper, I'd hire Gordon Graham, the copywriter who dominates this niche. What about case studies? Who should you hire to write a case study for you, a generalist or a specialist? Casey Hibbard specializes in writing case studies. She blogs about case studies. She wrote the book on writing case studies. She teaches courses on writing case studies. If I was looking for somebody to write my case study for me and I needed a copywriter. I'd hire Casey Hibberd, the copywriter who dominates this niche. By the way, you should do this little exercise, go to Google and search for white paper copyright. You'll find Gordon Graham on page one of the search results. Then go to Google and search for case study copywriter. You won't find Casey Hubbard on page one. You won't find her on page 2. You will find her on page 3 of Google. And here's the lesson. To dominate a niche, you not only have to persuade potential clients that you are a specialist, you have to persuade Google that you are a specialist and that you own the niche. If you follow these simple steps, you'll land more projects, you'll get more business, you'll get more repeat business. You'll receive more referrals and you'll have more fun. Plus you'll make more money.