An Expert’s Guide On Turning Copywriting Into A Career

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So, you’re interested in swapping your 9-5 for the ultimate life of an owner of a copywriting business, huh?

I absolutely don’t blame you.

Because I swapped mine, too.

And let me tell you: it was the best decision I ever made. 

But here’s the catch.

It’s not easy. Not one bit.

But it is simple. 

And while all the copywriting books out there teach you the definition of good copywriting, they don’t always explain how to become a copywriter. 

So, I’m going to share some of the lessons I learned when making the leap, allowing you to take your copywriting side hustle full time. 

Why Would You Want to Become a Copywriter? 

Let’s start at the beginning.

One thing you’ll learn in the world of entrepreneurship is that the word “why” underpins everything you do. It’s like a toddler who constantly asks you “why”. But it’s super important that you know the answer.

Because whatever your answer is to this question will keep you steering forwards.

As I said, becoming a full-time, successful copywriter is no easy task. 

But if you know why and what you’re fighting for, you’ll be far better equipped for the battle. 

I can’t answer this question for you, because everyone has different motivations. But here are some that I’ve heard:

  • The ability to work and be at home with my babies. 
  • The chance to write for a living and actually get paid to do it.
  • The freedom to travel the world while working. 
  • The opportunity to help scale small businesses that make a difference to the world.

Your motivation is key. Because, when times get tough, you’ll need to remember why you took this leap in the first place.

And there will be tough times. Entrepreneurship, no matter what form that takes - copywriters, earring designers, wedding planners, pet sitters, you name it - has sky highs and deep lows.

Because entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster.

But it’s so worth it. 

The Benefits of Being a Copywriter

Your motivation is different to the benefits of being a copywriter. The benefits of this career are indisputable. And they’re awesome:

  • No capped income 
  • Work from wherever 
  • You’re in charge of your schedule 
  • Freedom to pick and choose the clients you work with 
  • Ability to be creative every day 

And so many more. 

These benefits aren’t all available the second you decide to go full-time. They come with time and experience, but once you get them, life is simply better. 

Freelancer or Business Owner?

I see this crop up all the time. A bit of an identity crisis can be caused when you become a full time copywriter. 

What are you?

A freelancer?

Self-employed?

A business owner? 

The truth is: the label doesn’t particularly matter. 

It’s what you feel you are.

The only thing I’ll say is that if you refer to yourself as a “freelancer”, you’ll have a very different mindset than if you refer to yourself as a “business owner”.

A business owner forces you to consider how to strategize and market your copywriting business. And while copywriters often hand out marketing advice to their clients, sometimes they don’t take their own advice. 

Just because you’re a B2B company (business-to-business) and you’re a solopreneur (a business run by you and only you), the rules don’t change. You need to produce content, have a solid marketing strategy in place, and perfect your client experience. 

Referring to yourself as a freelancer doesn’t automatically give you that mindset switch.

However, calling yourself a business owner does.

So, whichever label you choose, just remember that you are more than a freelancer. You are about to be an owner of a copywriting brand. 

The Vicious Cycle 

If you’re a side-hustler, you’ve likely got some projects scattered around in your copywriting portfolio. 

However, if you’ve not yet got any projects that display results, you might find yourself trapped inside a vicious cycle. 

Business owners don’t want to hire copywriters who have no experience.

And you can’t get experience without clients.

So, how do you escape the cycle? 

First: determination.

Don’t give up. Getting the ball rolling is one of the hardest parts. 

Second: SPEC work.

People don’t care what you have written. They care that you can write, and that you can do what you say you can do

Some business owners won’t outsource to a copywriter without a proven track record. But some will, so long as you can prove that you’re a gifted copywriter.

And that’s where SPEC work comes into play. 

With SPEC work, you can choose any brand from any niche that you’re interested in and create copy for them. So long as you label the piece as SPEC work on your copywriting portfolio, you can show it off to as many prospects as you’d like.

Plus, it’s always worth sending a copy to the brand, too.

You never know. They might read it and think “that’s the best thing anyone has ever produced. We need to get in touch with them to do more work!” 

You Never Stop Learning 

No copywriter - not even the Yoda-equivalent - will ever claim to have “mastered” copywriting.

You see, copywriting is an ever-changing space.

And while there are some copywriting fundamentals that have stood the test of time (and likely will forever), there are many components and techniques that are being formed for the first time as we speak.

The world doesn’t stand still. We have incredible technology nowadays, so the way our brains function is different, too. 

Marketing as a whole isn’t something you can conquer. You have to stay on top of trends, frequently dedicating time to professional development.

The best copywriters are the ones that - even when they’re maximizing a client’s revenue and producing an incredible ROI (return-on-investment) - still pick up their copywriting books, enroll in online classes, and listen to other copywriters in the field. 

The trick? Never stop learning. 

To Niche or Not to Niche? 

A hot topic amongst copywriters is niching. 

And even the leaders in the industry have varying opinions.

Some will tell you that niching prevents you from onboarding a higher number of clients and shows you as “picky”.

Others will tell you that not niching gives you a bad reputation as a “Jack of All Trades”. Plus, you’ll end up working on projects that you’re not interested in.

And how can you possibly produce your best work when you’re bored of the topic? 

Myself? I strongly encourage you to find your niche. 

I understand the logic behind anti-nichers in that you won’t gain as much variation.

But, for most of us, we write because of passion.

And we all have that one thing that we can talk about for days on end.

Niching allows you to do that. 

How Can You Niche Your Copywriting Business

So, which ways can you niche your copywriting business?

  • By industry (eg: a health and wellness copywriter)
  • By deliverable/format (eg: a website copywriter)
  • By client type (eg: copywriter for creative, personal brands) 
  • By copywriter type (eg: conversion copywriter/creative copywriter) 

Choosing your niche can feel daunting. 

But try to brush off that pressure from your shoulders.

Your niche isn’t set in stone.

You’re not signing a contract that says you can never change it.

And while I’d avoid switching niches every week, know that you have the freedom to explore a niche and change your mind.

Remember, one of the perks of being a copywriter is freedom. And that extends to niching, too. 

Become a Copywriter Today

Being a full-time copywriter is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

And now that you’ve read through this article, you’re more prepared for the adventure that lies ahead of you. 

So, take a deep breath.

It’s time to make the leap. 

Author bio: Over the past decade, Liz Slyman has worked as a copywriter and digital marketing executive for a multitude of companies from startups to mid-sized businesses to working as the VP of marketing for award-winning, platinum-selling artists and is now teaching copywriting courses. Leveraging an understanding of the nuance of language in marketing, Liz founded Amplihigher, a content marketing and copywriting agency, designed to connect consumers to companies in a way that results in next-level brand expansion.

Featured image: Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik

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