While every copywriter’s journey is different, it always helps to know what’s possible, right? On this episode, Kate is digging into her own numbers, from what she made her first year of freelance copywriting, to what she made as a full-time freelance copywriter in 2020.
But it’s not just about the salary. Kate shares the average number of clients she had each month, the average project price, and what her “secret” has been to consistently hitting six figures year after year. Plus, Nicki and Kate dig into Kate’s money mindset and why hitting an inspirational number in 2020 made Kate feel guilty.
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A Sneak Peek at the Episode
[0:00] CCA student win: Sheridan shares she just published her website! Find her at tip-topcopy.com
[2:30] Kate explains the numbers she’s going to walk through today, starting in 2016, which was her first 100% freelance year (in 2015, she was freelancing and working at an agency, which muddies the numbers a bit). She was working 15 to 18 hours each week, so she wasn’t quite as full time as she wanted.
[4:50] Digging into 2016 numbers, Kate found her systems were wildly disorganized (as in, she did not have solid systems in place). She emphasizes the need for a solid system for tracking invoices.
[6:14] She notes the average number of clients she had in a given month.
[8:09] Kate notes that a lot of new copywriters poo-poo taking on low-priced projects. But her average project cost proves that you don’t need high-ticket projects to make a lot of income. It’s all about being a great partner to your clients so that they want to consistently send you work. She talks about elements that clients look for in a copywriter that go beyond just writing copy. Act as if you’re within their business, recommending ideas whether or not you will be the one to tackle them, and it will set you apart.
[14:50] Entering into 2017, Kate explains she ramped up to around six hours of work per day. Again, she had the same average number of clients per month. She breaks down the median project price this year, noting that it was not wildly different than the average project price in 2016 (if you need a little math refresher on mean and median and why she shared median, Kate and Nicki break that down, too).
[19:43] Kate talks the importance of repeat clients, and briefly shares her numbers in 2018 and 2019. Nicki shares how when Kate shared her 2020 number, she was shocked. They talk about factors to understand when hearing this number. Kate notes that she didn’t wildly raise her prices over the course of these five years, bumping up rates a few years by $5 and one year not bumping up rates at all!
[29:00] Kate notes all the things she didn’t have when hitting this number: no logo, no email beyond her Gmail, no social presence. She also points out that she worked her behind off. This was a full-time year.
[32:10] Nicki and Kate discuss copywriters who talk about making millions of dollars a year and how that is different than being a one-to-one service provider as a copywriter. Someone offering a course, coaching, or running an agency (or all of those things!) has a very different business than a straight freelance copywriter.
[34:19] Kate shares her deep dark secret of a client she works with that is $50/hour, which is low for someone with more than 10 years of copywriting experience. She explains that she loves working with this client and it brings her joy. Plus, the total she earned with this single client was $10,000. And $50/hour does bring you to six figures. If you’re working full time and not hitting your financial goal, it doesn’t necessarily mean to bump up rates. You may want to track your time more closely.
[37:50] Nicki shares her story of losing a client because the client was pitched by another copywriter. The client didn’t realize Nicki could do the work because Nicki never suggested it.
[38:44] When Kate first shared the idea for the podcast, Nicki recalls Kate saying she felt guilty. Nicki and Kate dig into Kate’s money mindset and why she felt so bad about hitting nearly $200,000 in a year. They talk about how 2020 was a hard year for so many people, but that Kate making less is not something that would help anyone!
[48:31] Kate notes that sharing income is uncomfortable, but having someone who is at your same copywriting level that you can chat about rates with can be very helpful. That sounding board can help you bump up rates when you need to (or give a reality check if you’re wildly off). As always, if you’re going to talk numbers, you need to talk project specifics. Saying “I’m going to charge $200 for an email, does that make sense?” The answer may be “no” sometimes, “yes” other times, “too high,” or “too low.” It all depends on the project!
- How Much Do Copywriters Actually Make?
- How Soon Can You Make Money as a Copywriter?
- Should a Money Mindset Matter to Copywriters?
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About the Build Your Copywriting Business Podcast
Ready to turn your love of writing into a successful copywriting career?
Join professional copywriters Nicki Krawczyk and Kate Sitarz to get the tips, tools, and training to help you become a copywriter and build a thriving business of your own. Nicki and Kate have 15+ and 10+ years of experience, respectively, writing copy for multi-billion-dollar companies, solopreneurs, and every size business in between.
Whether you want to land an on-staff job, freelance full-time and work from wherever you want, or make extra money with a side hustle, the best place to start learning is right here.
See Previous Episode
Ep. 40: Empowering BIPOC Businesses as a Black, Hispanic Copywriter – Ashley’s Story
Last Updated on May 11, 2023