If you’re creative and you’re looking to make money as a writer, I have good news for you: Copywriting is absolutely the way to go. You get to be creative and you get paid well for the work that you do.
However, if, to you, “being creative” means being airy and free and without constraints, I have bad news for you: You’re not going to make much money.
For a lot of freelance copywriters—for a lot of freelancersactually—their methods for finding clients and working with those clients involves a lot of hoping and praying. Trying a little bit of this, trying a little bit of that. Experimenting with new “marketing tactics” and then abandoning them.
And guess what? None of that works.
Write this down and post it somewhere it matters:
If you don’t have a system for running your business, you don’t have a business.
Hands down, the greatest secret to continual, predictable success is creating, implementing, and continually running systems.
And I don’t mean complicated, technologically advanced plans.
I mean a series of steps that you go through again and again on a regular schedule.
Your system for networking could be spending 1 hour every Tuesday morning sending out a useful article you saw to five potential clients.
Your system for small, brick-and-mortar business prospecting could be sending out five prospecting letters every Wednesday, then following up with last week’s mailing, and then calling the mailing from two weeks ago.
Your system for bookkeeping could be opening up your excel doc for 15 minutes each morning to review who needs to be invoiced, who you’re expecting invoices for, who you’ve gotten them from, and what percentage you need to transfer to your save-for-taxes bank account.
Nothing here is that mind-blowing, right? But what’s mind-blowing is how few freelancers actually implement these systems and then do them regularly.
Without systems—regularly executed systems—for every element of your business, things get away from you, things get forgotten, and things fall apart.
Guess what? If you don’t have a system for finding clients…you won’t find clients. They don’t just fall into your lap! And it’s the same thing with every other element of your business.
At the very least, you need to create and follow systems for:
- Finding, reaching out to, and following up with prospects
- Networking (whether in-person, virtually, or both)
- Working with your clients
- Billing clients
- Managing your income (and planning for taxes)
- Reaching out to previous clients for more projects
I’ve heard some freelancers say that they don’t want to set up systems because they’ll feel “too constrained.”
But here’s the thing: These constraints are what allow for your freedom.
When you have a system for following up with previous clients, for example, you spend maybe an hour a week doing that and you’re done—instead of running around when you think of it, trying to pull together old contact information and reviewing what they’re doing with their businesses.
Systems mean that you accomplish big, important things much faster—leaving you so much more time for being free, being creative, or just going out for lunch, stress-free.
Your copywriting talent and skill are what gets your business started…but it’s systems that keep it going.
Your turn! What systems do you have in place for your business? Or what systems are you now going to implement? Let us know in the comments below!