Maybe it’s because writing itself requires so much time alone, but it seems that a lot of people who love to write also require solitude to recharge their batteries. That’s one of the reasons copywriting is one of the most flexible careers for introverts.
A lot of a copywriter’s job involves crafting copy by oneself. You just can’t write good copy without spending at least some time holed up, by yourself, with just a computer as your companion.
But copywriting also involves presenting your work to groups and collaborating with individuals or teams regularly—two things that introverts classically avoid.
Working as a freelancer means that you have to connect with new people all the time—you can write copy alone, but it’s sure hard to get paid without clients.
There are a fair amount of copywriting job responsibilities that involve interacting with others and even speaking in front of groups. So, to make sure that 1) doesn’t scare you to pieces and 2) you’re prepared to make it work, I’ve created a list for introverts of five tactics for being successful (and happy) as a copywriter.
These tactics can make copywriting just as perfect for an introvert as for an extrovert.
1. Don’t worry
Before you breeze past this one,it’s not as flippant as it sounds. For many introverts (or people who walk the line of introversion and extroversion), one of the greatest tortures isn’t even interactions, it’s the anticipation of them.
Many people will psych themselves out before a meeting or before a creative review so that, no matter how the meeting goes, they feel terrible during it and think they performed terribly afterward.
It’s crucial that you go into every job and job opportunity with an open mind. You don’t know ahead of time precisely what any job will entail, so don’t make yourself miserable with worry if you can possibly help it.
Instead of worrying that a copywriting job will make you miserable, instead focus on the fact that many introverts have very successful careers as copywriters and you can absolutely be one of them.
2. Cultivate your relationships
As a copywriter, you’re going to work closely with your graphic design partner—and this is a good thing for introverts.
This is a relationship that’s going to build slowly over time, but it’s going to be an important one for you. This person will be someone you can rely on and someone who will get you.
You won’t have a problem letting this person know when you need some alone time or some help puzzling through a problem. This person (and maybe a product manager or maybe your creative director, too) becomes your support network and helps to make the group interactions a lot more bearable.
3. Be prepared
One of the biggest elements of concern for introverts is the creative review. After all, you must stand up in front of a room of people and explain your work.
But wait: Before you close this page with an “I’ll never be able to do that!” let me explain just a bit more about it to you.
There’s absolutely nothing extemporaneous about a creative review. Because you’ve put thought and strategy into every single one of your words and how they interact with the layout, you already have an answer to every single thing that anyone could ask you!
When you put careful thinking into your work (as you always should), you’re prepared with answers. And, beyond that, if someone asks you a question like, “Did you think of doing XYZ?” your answer can simply be, “No, I didn’t. Let me think about it a bit.”
A creative review is simply a conversation among people who care about a project regarding how to make that project even better. It isn’t a firing squad and, in many ways, it’s so much more collaborative than a classic “presentation.”
When you go into a creative review, you’re already going to know what to say. And that’s going to make it so much easier.
When you present your work, it’s rare that you’re going to be presenting to an entirely new group of people each time. In fact, it’s very likely that you’ll be presenting to roughly the same group of people every single time.
And that means that, simply by virtue of presenting again and again, you’ll be practicing. Seeing the same faces will make it easier each time you do it. And the easier it gets with this group, the easier you’ll find it will get with new groups.
Remember, too, that you don’t need to just practice with this group. If you’re concerned that your nerves might get the better of you, get a group of your friends together and present your work to them, just the way you would in a creative review.
Practice might not make perfect, but it sure makes things a lot easier and more comfortable.
5. Find a space for yourself
Generally, here’s how the project lifecycle will go: You’ll attend a project kickoff meeting, you and your designer will spend some time concepting the project, and then you will both separate to take care of your respective copy/design pieces. Later, you’ll come back together to refine them and then present the whole thing.
Yes, occasionally you won’t work with a designer on a project (say, an email that is text only). Sometimes, you’ll have a creative review. Sometimes you won’t. There are variables in the project process.
But one of the biggest variables when it comes to finding space for yourself is whether you’re working remote or in an office.
One of the perks of working remote is that you can work from the kitchen table. You can sit on the couch next to a sick child without feeling like you have to go into the office. There are no drop-bys from coworkers or big meetings to attend when you work from your own kitchen table.
And if you’re freelancing and creating your own schedule (and doing it in a way that ensures you aren’t on deadline every.single.day.), then you can even take a day off when you truly need it.
But, inevitably, there will be some times when you need to hop on a call and you need to minimize distractions. Having a room with a door to take those calls—even if it’s a bathroom!—is essential. It may not be where you do the majority of your work, but you need the option.
Or, you may opt to book a co-working space for days when you know you really need to get down to business.
In an Office
While you’ll be working on your own for much of the project, you might not necessarily be working “alone.” Many offices now feature open layouts, which mean low cubicle walls (if there are cubicles or walls at all) and lots of interaction.
But, of course, that’s probably not going to be conducive to you doing your best work or even just recharging yourself after a few hours of talking, meeting, etc.
What do you do? Find a spot for yourself. Whether you go grab a conference room, stake out a little nook in the kitchen or even let your team know you’re going to the library for an hour and they can reach you on IM, you are perfectly within your rights to get some alone time.
In fact, people expect this of a creative! You need time and room to collaborate, of course, but people also understand that you need time and room to create by yourself. So, when you need that space and you need that separation, never be afraid to take it.
There are plenty of copywriters (and graphic designers) who consider themselves introverts and they do perfectly well at their jobs. Do they need to closely guard their alone time? Sure. Might they need to find somewhere quiet and separate to work? Absolutely. But they rise to the challenges of the creative industry and they succeed. And you can, too.
Special Consideration: Pitching Potential Clients
The above tactics focus mainly on on-staff copywriters, but pitching clients is one aspect of copywriting that pertains only to freelancers.
If pitching makes you nervous, I’m going to strike even a bit more fear into your heart. (Though you might have guessed that I’m also going to allay that fear in a moment. Stick with me.)
Fundamentally, the very best way to ensure that you have plenty of work and money coming in is to take control of your copywriting opportunities and proactively pitch your valuable services to companies.
Cue the panic: “You want me to reach out to STRANGERS?”
Okay, my friend, take a deep breath. This is not anywhere near as scary as it first sounds and it’s probably the most ideal way for introverts to build a career, anyway.
First, the way we teach our students to pitch clients begins by emailing with enthusiastic and valuable emails—the kind of emails that not only are not pushy or aggressive but are regularly welcomed by clients because of the value they include.
On top of that, this system means that our copywriters never even talk to anyone on the phone unless they’re at least somewhat interested in hiring them. There are no “please hire me” conversations, only conversations between one person who has a need for copywriting and another who can provide those solutions.
(And, yes, we have training for how to facilitate those calls, too.)
You can’t make money as a copywriter without clients. (And, in fact, I’d challenge you to find me any career that will pay you without clients or a boss of some kind.) But the method we teach of pitching clients (and the support we offer in our coaching calls and within the student-only Facebook group) makes pitching clients as painless as possible.
Yes, the first few pitch emails will probably make you nervous—but they make our extrovert and ambivert students nervous, too! Doing anything new for the first time can trigger nerves.
You likely don’t remember it now, but the first time you drove a car or tried swimming triggered just as many nerves. But you kept going, and now you’re adept at them and don’t give them a second thought.
Freelance copywriting can make a great career for introverts. The key—and the key for absolutely everyone—is to keep taking action. Everything gets easier with practice and that includes both copywriting and pitching potential clients.
The simple fact is that every moment that you spend worrying about them is another moment longer until you’ve mastered them and they feel easy.
Nicki and Kate both consider themselves ambiverts and are digging into why copywriting is a great career for both introverts and extroverts—with some of the factors you should consider depending on which camp you fall into.
If you’ve been wondering if copywriting is right for your personality, listen to hear tips for making the most of it no matter how you identify!
Are you an introvert? Do you have tactics for remaining calm and comfortable during a hectic workday? Share with us in the comments below!
Last Updated on March 7, 2023
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