Start a Google search for copywriting jobs, and it won’t be long before you uncover copywriters willing to work for bargain basement rates. Many of them are writing for content mills (more on the difference between copy and content here) and some well… just don’t know what they’re doing. But instead of letting that discourage you, it should encourage you—and help you realize how little real competition you have.
The first thing to understand is that anyone can call themselves a copywriter. And, in fact, that’s what plenty of would-be copywriters do. One day, a person who likes to write decides that he’d like a career in copywriting, starts calling himself a copywriter, and starts trying to get work.
But the fatal flaw in that is that calling oneself a copywriter doesn’t equate to knowing how to write copy.
Professional Copywriters vs. Amateurs
There are principles and techniques and tactics that make up the toolkit of a copywriter, and they aren’t things that are innate or that can be picked up just by reading a few ads.
Copywriting is a career and, like any other career, it requires training. And whether from arrogance or from naiveté, plenty of people ignore this and try to get work doing something that they don’t know how to do.
This is part of the reason that you’ll see people on job boards, job listing sites, and content mills willing to work for so little.
- First, they often don’t know what the reasonable rates are.
- Second, they don’t have the skills and portfolios to command reasonable rates.
- Third, they don’t know how professional copywriters go about finding work.
Professional Copywriters Aren’t Using Content Mills
Professional copywriters don’t use job listing or job bidding sites like Upwork and Fiverr to find work. Here’s a post about why that is, but the quick and crucial takeaway is that professional copywriters are partners with their clients. They look for ways to add value to their clients’ businesses versus waiting for clients to send work their way.
Plus, professional copywriters have a proven system for finding and landing clients. They control who they’re working with and their income. They don’t undercut their rates in hopes of landing work. And if they write content, it’s at their copywriting rates.
Take Advice From People Who Are Successful At What You Want to Do
Well, yes: If you don’t know how to do something, it’s hard to get people to pay you to do it. I don’t know how to design a house. I could call myself an architect, but as soon as it’s clear I don’t know any of the principles or techniques of architecture, no one will be willing to hire me.
Or, equally as bad (if not worse), someone may hire me and then word would get around that I have no idea what I’m doing!
As a successful copywriter who’s been doing this for 20+ years — and who also knows plenty of other successful copywriters — I can assure you that it’s very possible to become a copywriter. But it takes training and practice and much more than just one day labeling oneself a “copywriter.”
On episode 25 of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, Nicki and Kate are digging into exactly how much you can earn as a copywriter. Like any career, there is variability in your income based on experience and how much work you take on, but it is absolutely possible to earn six figures as a copywriter. Watch more to hear the breakdown.
Want more insight into copywriter salaries? On episode 41 of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy’s head copywriting coach, Kate, digs into her actual salary numbers over several years of freelancing.
If you’re curious as to whether she charges clients the same rates, average project prices, average earnings per client, and more, you’ll want to listen to this episode! Kate gets transparent and you won’t want to miss the end when she shares what she earned in 2020 (in the midst of global pandemic, in case you forgot!).
Have you seen other places where copywriters are willing to work for “peanuts?” What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on November 15, 2023