The life of a freelance writer can be an emotional rollercoaster. You’re running a business, you’re juggling responsibilities, you’re trying to lock in new clients, you’re shedding old clients, you’re learning on the job, you’re taking a step back, you’re trying your best to make it work.
As a freelance copywriter myself, stepping on and off this rollercoaster is made a little easier by turning to Stoicism and books like How To Launch A Freelance Copywriting Business: Creative Writing For A Living by Jules Horne.
A must-read book for freelance creatives, Horne shares her own experiences of setting off into the writing wilderness and creating a business that’s sustainable and satisfies the soul.
A guide for copywriters new and established
How To Launch a Freelance Copywriting Business is highly accessible to new and experienced writers, thanks to the different sections of the book. Horne has dedicated sections for every type of writer and you can skim and flick through the pages until you find what’s right for you.
For example, a section I found to be useful is Part 3: Building Your Business. Horne explains in detail all the necessary parts of setting up as a sole trader in the UK, how to market yourself as a copywriter, the types of pricing structures to be given to clients, sending letters of engagement, contracts and more.
Another section that provides valuable insight is how to manage workloads and clients:
“Get off to a clear footing by setting boundaries. Brief the client on your process, including Terms and Conditions. Negotiate and agree payment and deadlines. Make sure the client understands when they’re paying for your time. After an introductory meeting, your time no longer comes free – you’re on the clock. This will help them to be efficient and decisive and speed up the work.
“Don’t make a habit of replying instantly to client phone calls and emails. This may seem counter-intuitive, but quick responses can encourage unrealistic expectations. Clients may start ringing you about tiny matters, or sending jobs with impossible deadlines, expecting you to drop everything.
Ask clients to send queries by email. This not only helps you to manage your time better, but also gives you a written record of your interaction. Ideally, ask your client to batch several queries together. This will save you time, and encourage them to think things through before sending it.”
Starter projects for building copywriting experience
Horne also provides practical advice for people who want to break into copywriting with different exercises that can be used for creating a writing portfolio. Her suggested steps are:
- Do a job for yourself as a client
- Do a real job free for someone you know
- Do a real job free for someone you don’t know
- Turn this work into portfolio samples by partnering with a graphic designer
An example assignment is to create a leaflet for yourself, with the aim of experiencing both sides of the process as the writer and the client. When creating this content, ask yourself questions like:
- What’s the purpose of the leaflet?
- Who’s the target market?
- What’s the call to action? Do you want the reader to call, email or visit a specific page on your website?
- What’s your USP?
- List 3 competitor websites or promos whose look you like
Great advice from a great book
The greatest strength of How To Launch A Freelance Copywriting Business is that it can be read over and over. Each time there will be something new to pick out as you develop your career as a copywriter.
For more content marketing wisdom, check out the interview Stoic Athenaeum did with Andrew Boulton on the absurd philosophy of copywriting.