Copywriting Q&A: Confused About Where to Start? This One’s For You

How to get started with copywriting (and with anything!)Embarking on any kind of new project or journey is overwhelming—and a major part of what’s overwhelming about it is not even knowing where to start. What should your first step be? How do you begin? Let’s figure it out together, shall we? Read on…

Today’s question comes from Emile M. who asks, “I really want to get into copywriting, but I have no idea where to start. What should I do?”

So, let me begin with a a simply answer. When it comes to “where to start” with anything, the best place to start exactly where you are. Before you dismiss that as trite, bear with me. A lot of people get very wrapped up in comparing where they are with where other people are.

Everyone starts in the same place: Not knowing a thing. Now, maybe you’ve progressed beyond that with copywriting, but everyone started the same why. I did, the very best copywriters throughout history did and you will, too. So no matter where you are, that’s where you’re starting from. Make peace with it and prepare to move on.

Now, on to the more practical, less philosophical part.

The first step for learning anything is that you need to figure out what you don’t know—and, therefore, what you need to learn. You may even start out by saying that you don’t know…what you don’t know. That’s still a good place to begin. You need to learn everything and that’s perfectly fine. You can learn everything (eventually).

Then, once you’ve figured out what you need to learn, you need to figure out where you can learn it. When it comes to copywriting, as I hope you know, I’ve worked very hard to put together all of the resources you could need. And of course, I’m always happy to give you direct answers about exactly where you can find what you need.

As you approach different things you want to learn and master, you should seek out the best resources for your information.

So, not too difficult, right? But then why do we still hesitate to start? Why is it that the things that matter most to us are the most difficult to actually dig in and do? And important things at that: getting career training, getting in shape, all of those sorts of things. If losing weight is a matter of learning how to exercise and then doing it…why do we not do it? What is it that keeps us from making the changes and taking the steps that we want to take?

The answer is that change—even change that we want—is difficult and, quite frankly, kind of scary. Losing weight will make you healthier, but it takes effort to get to that point and requires facing fears of going to the gym and learning to use the equipment. Become a copywriter will make you money and create a great career for you, but it takes some time and concentration to learn to do it.

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And guess what? Everything that you know how to do took you time and concentration to learn to do it. But you did it anyway.

The key is to ask yourself what you want to get out of the change you want to make. If we’re talking about weight loss, one might say that they want to be healthier or they want to look better. If we’re talking about copywriting, you might say that you want to feel financially secure, you want to take control of your career, you want to work at a job you love, or you want to get paid well for writing.

So, what do you want to get out of learning to write copy? What’s going to be compelling enough for you to make a change? To make the commitment to yourself to improve your life? What future is bright enough that you’ll be willing to put in a little time and concentration now? Learning something new may not be easy, but it’s how change—and a new and improved life—comes about.

Your turn! Let us know your answers to those questions. What do you want to get out of becoming a copywriter? How will it change your life? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. says

    I started working as a freelance writer this past May. I started working at a somewhat low pay content mill and figured out rather quickly that this was not the way to go. As I learned how to market myself, I found a few more clients, but the pay is still a less than desirable rate. So now I’m living a life where I’m tied to my computer all day writing. What I actually wanted was more freedom. I enjoy working from home, but being tied to my computer all day is killing me.

    • Nicki says

      Hi Halona,

      I completely get you—but don’t lose heart! It can take a bit of time to build up a business. In another reply in this post, I mention looking into doing some contract work to help build up your client base and you might want to do the same. Be sure, too, that you get yourself listed with creative recruiters in your area. (And yes, content mills are really only useful if you need to build up portfolio samples fast and you don’t care about making money—but they’ll only get you content samples and not copywriting samples, anyway!)

      Thanks for posting—and keep us updated! 🙂

      Nicki & the Filthy Rich Writer team

  2. says

    As concerns copywriting, I want a career that is time and location flexible. I recognize that any career that is going to provide financial “security” will require work, but I want to be able work on my schedule without spending over 40 hours each month just driving to and from work. That’s a twelve work weeks per year spent doing essentially nothing.

    I also enjoy the idea of being able to work from practically anywhere. Being chained to a desk in someone else’s building doesn’t improve my efficiency, it just makes me want to leave. If I had the ability to work from my home office, or my backyard, or Starbuck’s, I would enjoy my time at work so much more.

    • Nicki says

      Hi Randy,

      These are great thoughts. Bear in mind, too, that the more *flexible* you are, the easier it will be for you to get work. If you’re sometimes willing to contract for a client (you’re not on-staff, but you work from their offices), you’ll find yourself in even higher demand. Plus, you’ll make contacts to help you get more work and clients you contract for may later be willing to let you work from home.

      Thanks for posting!
      Nicki & the Filthy Rich Writer team

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