I always recommend thatbrand-new copywriters start with brick-and-mortar, local small business clients. You have a lot to offer them, even when you’ve just started learning. But there is another excellent source for copywriting clients: solopreneurs.
A solopreneur is a person running a one-person business—hence the “solo.” They run the gamut from health and business coaches to graphic designers, developers, therapists, and accountants.
They’re experts in their particular fields but generally not marketing experts. And because they value people hiring them for their expertise, they understand the importance of hiring you for your copywriting expertise.
Many solopreneurs operate their businesses entirely online, and that can make them a lot easier to find and to research (which is always essential for landing new business). Or, if they’re not entirely online, they tend to have a robust online presence.
But writing for solopreneurs is a very different beast than writing for bigger companies. What’s the difference? And where do you find solopreneurs?
What Is the Market for Solopreneur Clients?
Solopreneurs are a particularly excellent target market for two reasons. First, they’re generally well-versed in their area of expertise (health coaching, for example) but not nearly as adept at marketing. That gives you a big opportunity to help them.
Second, they’re an excellent group because they tend to be more aware of their lack of expertise and their need for expert help.
They tend to understand outsourcing tasks to people who are better suited to them because that’s what people do when they hire them. There are also a lot of resources out there for solopreneurs trying to build their businesses that help them understand the importance of good marketing.
What Are the Differences Writing for Solopreneurs?
So, how does writing for an entrepreneur differ than for any other business?
Well, the fundamentals are the same: You need to focus on the benefit to the consumer, support that benefit with more details, and provide a clear and compelling call to action.
But the tone of the writing is where the biggest difference tends to lie.
Copywriting for Solopreneurs is More Story-Oriented
Solopreneurs tend to cultivate a very friendly, personal relationship with their clients and prospective clients. Even businesses that started as solopreneurships, but have grown larger, may still maintain that tone. Marie Forleo, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers and, oh, Filthy Rich Writer are good examples.
What this also means, too, is that your emails and even your webpages are going to be more story-oriented and less straight-to-the sale.
Now, this will depend on your client’s style—an accountant may want to be more straightforward—but you’ll find that the “story” style is generally the case.
Solopreneurs tend to do well by creating rapport, and one of the best ways to do this is to tell stories about themselves, their clients, and anything else that conveys their point. Of course, that story will eventually lead to the call to action, but it gets the reader there in a very low-pressure kind of way.
It wouldn’t at all be unheard of for an email from a solopreneur to be in a letter format and start with something like, “The craziest thing happened to me yesterday, and I just have to share. Partly, because it’s so funny—and partly because it will actually matter a lot to you and your health.”
Writing for Solorpreneur Clients Tends to Be Conversational
The writing style, too, will generally be much friendlier than you’d write with other types of clients. Again, this will depend on your client, but solopreneur tones of voice tend to sound as if they’re writing to a close friend. This helps to establish rapport, as well, but also helps to unconsciously establish trust.
Subject Lines Are Often Written to Pique Interest
Another big difference you’ll find is in subject lines. By and large, you’re probably used to writing subject lines that are very focused on the benefit. (And that’s great!) For more about writing subject lines for solopreneurial clients, read our post here >>
But you know that another tactic is to pique interest and, often, this is the route that solopreneurs will take. Instead of “Today only: Save 50% on my training” they’re much more likely to go with something like, “This is SO big, my accountant told me not to send it.” That would certainly pique your curiosity, right?
As with all copy, it’s a good idea for your client to split test benefit-oriented copy versus interest-piquing copy, but it’s likely they’ll prefer the more person-to-person, curiosity-laden version.
Where Do You Find Solopreneur Copywriting Clients?
The first step for finding solopreneur clients is to find where they congregate online. One of the best things about solopreneurs is that they recognize they have a lot to learn and aren’t hesitant to go out and find coaches and resources.
Look for the kinds of people who teach solopreneurs how to be successful. People like Marie Forleo, Derek Halpern, Eben Pagan, and Ryan Levesque are incredibly savvy businesspeople who teach solopreneurs how to build successful businesses. They’re no longer solopreneurs themselves, but they amass huge followings of them.
So, look to these gurus (and others—there are a bunch) and see who’s following them on social media. Who’s liking commenting on their posts? Who’s in their groups? Just a few clicks can get you a lot of information about people, including who they are and what businesses they run.
Similarly, look to companies that provide services to solopreneurs. One-person companies need email, landing page, and payment processing services just like anyone else. Companies like Leadpages, ClickFunnels, SamCart, Drip, AWeber, AppSumo, and others provide these services to many solopreneurs.
Just as with the business coaches mentioned above, look to see who’s following these companies on social media. Then, use that information to amass prospect lists.
As you put together these lists, you’ll start to see some job titles or types of businesses come up again and again. Use these titles or jobs (think: “health coach” or the like) to search on Facebook and Google. Add who you find to your list.
Once you’ve found prospects, sign up for their email lists and do thorough analyses of their current marketing to find where you can help them. Are their websites lackluster? Do they need better email programs? Take careful notes so that you can (politely!) suggest where your services can benefit them in your pitch letters.
5 Tips for Building Wildly Effective Relationships with Solopreneur Clients
If you want to add solopreneur clients to your pitch list (and you absolutely should!), there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind to develop a strong working relationship.
Be the Expert They’re Hiring You to Be
Solopreneurs are often especially insightful about where their strengths lie and where they don’t. And when they know they need expert help, from a copywriter say, they’re often willing to make that investment.
So, as the copywriter, you need to remember that they’re hiring you to be the copywriting expert. They’re not looking for you to defer to them and they’re not going to lead the discussion or the project—they need you do do that for them. They’ve hired a copywriting expert, and they want and need you to step in with the full magnitude of your expertise, advice, and insight.
In a similar vein, some solopreneurs may only have a small idea of what’s possible in their marketing. They’ve seen what other people are doing, and they’re planning on doing the same. A copywriter has the benefit of having worked with all kinds of different businesses and can (and should) bring that insight to the table. When you have ideas about your solopreneur client’s project, don’t hold back.
One of the great things about writing for an entrepreneur is that it’s really clear who all of the messaging is coming from. That is, instead of getting emails from a giant corporation, subscribers and followers are getting messages from one specific person.
Even though it’s a one-to-many relationship, it can feel for the subscribers and followers like one-to-one. As a copywriter, this means you have a special opportunity to write copy that really creates a genuine, heartfelt connection between your client and the people that follow them.
Get at the Pain—and the Joy
Many solopreneurs have gone into business because they’re passionate and they want to make a difference in their clients’/customers’ lives. And, with life change comes some major emotions. As a copywriter, it’s your job to help your clients’ target audience understand the pain of not changing (hit the pain points) and the potential joys of changing (the benefits).
It’s not often, but every once in a while, a solopreneur will ask a copywriter to guarantee their results. (I’ve never heard of a larger company doing this, so that’s why I bring it up.) But the problem is that your copy is just one small part of their marketing engine. So, even if you write the most amazing sales page anyone has seen, you can’t be sure they’re targeting the right audience, sending enough traffic, providing the right features in the product, etc.
Copywriters can’t guarantee the results and should feel perfectly comfortable saying that. For example, you could say, “I can’t guarantee results because there are too many other elements of your marketing program that I can’t control. However, I will make edits to your copy until you’re thrilled with it.” That’s both fair and reasonable.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than these few tips, but they’re a good place to start. (And if you’re a member of our Comprehensive Copywriting Academy, be sure to check out our Writing for Solopreneurs deep-dive course.)
There are tons of solopreneurs out there and more joining the fray every day.Get creative and start researching, and you’ll find scores of potential clients in no time.
What differences have you noticed in solopreneur copywriting? What have your experiences been like? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on April 26, 2023
I tend to like subject lines that make me chuckle…WootBot is good at that.
On a whole, I like the person-to-person tactic that solopreneurs can have that bigger business may not be able to do as well. But, I do follow some really big business that still feel like I’m just sitting in the kitchen with them.
Thanks for sharing this insight!
Nicki Krawczyk says
Yes, there definitely are some bigger businesses that are experimenting with that more personal tone, but they still tend to stick with more traditional marketing (emails with headlines and subheads and bodies, versus letter-style emails, for example). But it will also be fun to see how this all evolves, don’t you think?
Thanks for commenting!
David Throop says
Great article on the value of working with small businesses. Most of my experiences are with agencies, slow moving, bureaucratic agencies, rather than small businesses, but when I’ve had the opportunity to work with a small one, it’s been awesome.
What would be a great follow up is how to find and pitch to soloprenuers – whether it’s a cold email, networking in person or social media.
That is information worth its weight in gold!
Thanks again for sharing.
Nicki Krawczyk says
I agree; working with solopreneurs is a lot of fun. It can also be even better than working with small businesses because there are fewer people making the decisions. (Of course, if that person has problems making decisions, it can also be tough. Ah, clients. 🙂 )
Keep checking back for more articles on writing (and pitching…) solopreneurs. You’ll see some coming. 🙂
Thanks for commenting!