One of the most common questions i get from people who are interested in getting into copywriting is, “Great, I’m interested—but when will I start to make money?”
It makes sense: we want to know what the earning potential is before we jump headfirst into a new career.
So, I’ll answer this question, but, I’m going to presuppose that you’re on an actual copywriting study tract. One of the biggest mistakes that trips people up (and keeps them from making money) is trying to get copywriting work without actually knowing how to write copy.
Copywriting is a skill just like any other and requires training to learn it. No one’s going to hire you to be a cowboy if you don’t know how to rope a steer and ride the range.
That’s actually the reason that we created our own copywriting training: It’s been hard for people to find good copywriting training, much less a training that’s both affordable and thorough.
2 Must-Haves to Make Money as a Copywriter
Back to the answer. Well, in a nutshell, you can start making money as soon as you know what you’re doing. That sounds like a very vague answer, I know. But, really, anyone who tries to give you a specific answer is just BSing you.
Just like with becoming a pilot or becoming an accountant, becoming a copywriter requires training (though, significantly less training—and less expensive training—than becoming a pilot).
You don’t need to pay thousands of dollars for portfolio school or get any b-s copywriting certification (more on that here). What you do need is a course that will teach you copywriting principles, including how to distinguish features versus benefits, how to write an effective call to action, and how to create strong ad concepts.
It also helps if the course teaches you how to find and land clients so that you can get the next must-have: experience.
As soon as you start to have a basic grip on copywriting, you can start finding yourself some small business clients. I always recommend starting out with small business clients because you will almost always know so much more than they do about copywriting and marketing.
And I don’t mean that in a superior way. I mean that you can start helping them very quickly. And, again, depending on how much you want to learn and how quickly and how well you assimilate the information, you could conceivably start trying to get your first clients within a couple of weeks.
Your Timeline to Becoming a Copywriter is Up to YOU
The time it takes you to start earning money is really all on you. There are some people whose schedules are packed and can’t dedicate a ton of time to learning or who want to take it at a slower pace and there are some people who will go at it, guns blazing.
And, again, I can’t make you any promises, but I can tell you how the timing worked out for one of my students.
Example Timeline: Christina’s Journey to Leo Burnett
Christina started working with me just a little over nine months ago. Like a lot of people, she wasn’t happy at her job and, on top of that, things at her company were a little shaky. So, she decided she needed a change. She was looking for a career she’d enjoy, a career she could grow in, and a career she could makes some money in.
Like many CCA students, she’d always enjoyed writing and she thought maybe copywriting might work for her, but she didn’t really know much about it. She’d never done it before.
Well, she found us and started training. (And wouldn’t you know it, just a few weeks after she started training, she lost her job. But she kept pushing on anyway.) Our training is all self-paced, so she could do it when she had time to do it. And then, of course, too, she started being able to find herself some copywriting work to bring in some cash.
So, skipping forward a bit, about a three months ago, I got an email from her. I hadn’t heard from her and she hadn’t joined in the student calls for a month or two. So, I was curious to see how she was doing. Well, it turns out she was doing pretty darn well. She had just landed a full-time, freelance position at Leo Burnett in Chicago. And if you’re not familiar with Leo Burnett, it’s a major global advertising firm.
She was thrilled and I was thrilled for her. So, timeline? She landed that about six months after she started training with us. That’s right: six months from knowing nothing about copywriting to working with one of the biggest and most powerful ad agencies in the world.
And there’s no magic to it either. She learned. She took the steps we gave her to build her portfolio and she took the steps we gave her to network. And she made it happen.
Could it take you longer? Of course; it depends on the time you dedicate to learning and to building your portfolio. Could you do it faster? Sure. It’s all up to you.
See More CCA Student Journeys & Timelines
There are as many timelines for making money as there are copywriters!
If you’re interested in hearing more about all the various ways Comprehensive Copywriting Academy students build their copywriting careers, check out our student journey playlist here >>
You can also see more student wins right here >>
Last Updated on September 13, 2022