Many people get into copywriting because they want the options to work where they want and when they want. And, of course, that’s perfectly possible. But to do that successfully (read: without going bankrupt) they have to build their careers accordingly. Interested? Read on…
Today’s question comes from Adelaide L. who asks, “I want to take advantage of how flexible copywriting can be. How can I make that happen for myself?”
So, I’m going to read “flexibility” in this sense to mean that you have a lot of say in where you work and how much you work. (You’ll never have complete say in that, since you’ll always still be creating work for clients, but you can eventually control a lot of it.)
Flexibility like that comes from a combination of experience, variety in that experience, and contacts. Let’s dig a bit more into each one so you can build on it.
First, experience: The more work you have in your portfolio, the more clients you’ve had, the more people will trust you to work remotely. Why? The work in your portfolio shows that you’re proven; you’ve worked for these clients and delivered. Testimonials help a lot with this, too, by the way.
Experience will also make it easier for you to work remotely. When you know what you’re very, very well-versed in writing copy, you’ll know how to ask the right questions right away, anticipate potential problems, and (when possible) avoid multiple and lengthy “re-group” meetings.
You also need variety within that experience. The more things you know how to do and the more different types of clients you’ve done it for, the more options you’ll have as you look for clients.
Get work in ad agencies, internal agencies and with stand-along clients. Get plenty of both print and digital experience, and experience in as many different media within those (direct mail, banner ads, magazine ads, emails, etc.) as you can. Get B2B (business to business; companies that are selling to other companies) and B2C (business to consumer; companies that sell to consumers) experience. Get experience writing for finance, retail, healthcare, technology, general consumer and any other categories you come across. Aim for maximum variety.
And finally, flexibility also comes from having lots of contacts. Why? Because contacts will help you get work. The more people you know, the more people can recommend you when someone they know needs a copywriter or they come across a project that needs a writer.
Building up contacts is one of the main reasons that I recommend contracting if you can possibly do it. Contracting, or working for a company at an hourly rate for a contracted duration of time, is a great way to get into a company, meet people, get samples and then move on to the next company when the contract is up. The more contract work you take, the more companies you work for and the more people you meet.
Once you have the experience, variety of experience and contacts, you’ll be much better prepared to take advantage of opportunities for flexibility—whether that means working part-time while the kids are little or writing for clients from a villa in France.
Your turn! Why does flexibility appeal to you? Let us know in the comments below!