First, if you hate numbers and you still are reading this post, congratulations! Many copywriters aren’t math fans, so you’re not alone. But regardless of whether you love numbers or hate ’em, you need to spend some quality time with a few key numbers if you want to set your copywriting finances—and frankly your whole business—up for success.
So, if you’re serious about your copywriting business, here are three steps you need to take to set a solid foundation for your business.
Know Your Numbers
Many copywriters start their copywriting business without knowing their numbers. The numbers we’re talking about here are:
- Your expenses: what do you absolutely need to make to cover your bills, including rent, healthcare, food, etc. Many copywriters who want to freelance shy away from it due to healthcare. But it only seems scary because you haven’t dug into the numbers behind it.
- Your rate: you need to figure out your hourly rate. We recommend charging by the project, but your hourly rate gives you a place to start. Comprehensive Copywriting Academy students have an entire course on pricing, as well as the Write Start workbook—use it to think through your financial goals!
- The hours you know you can or want to work in a day.
All of these numbers are what will help you determine what you need to do each month to cover your expenses. Without this information, you’re throwing darts into the dark.
Set a Financial Goal
In order to meet a goal, you need to have a goal in the first place. But this goal should be specific to you and take into account where your business is and where you want it to go.
For example, if six figures is your ultimate goal, but you’ve just started, you need to break that goal down. It’s far more motivating to hit milestones on the way to your big goal than constantly working toward a big goal with nothing to remind you of all your great progress.
So, you may want to say “my goal is to land my first client.” Once you hit that goal, it may become “my goal is to make $1,000” (perhaps you did that with your first client; if so, good for you!). Then, “my goal is to make $5,000/month.” Then $6,000, and so on and so forth.
But make sure your financial goal is your financial goal. What do I mean by that? I mean make sure you’re not setting out to hit a number just because someone else said that was their number. Focus on what makes sense for your business.
Schedule a Monthly Copywriting Finances Check-In
It’s much easier to make smart decisions for your business when you have the information you need to make those decisions. And having a monthly check-in to go over what money came in and what money went out can give you some of the information you need to answer questions like:
- Did I meet my monthly income goal? Why or why not?
- How many pitches did I send last month and did that help me meet my goals? What do I need to adjust?
- How many clients did I work with last month? Was that too few? Too many? Can I repitch them?
- Is the bulk of my income coming from one client? Do I like working with them? Do I need to find a client to replace them?
These are just a few questions to consider during your check-in. With this information you can plan what you need to do for the coming month.
It’s also a lot easier to course correct when you catch something soon after it happens. For example, perhaps no one is responding to your pitches. By digging in and figuring out why that may be, you can make small adjustments before you send out 20 additional pitches with the same mistake.
The more you look at your numbers, the less mystifying they’ll be, the less afraid you’ll be to look at them, and the more successful your business has the potential to be.
If you have a financial goal you want to hit, then knowing your numbers is essential. Watch this episode of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast to get more tips from Nicki and Kate on how you can track your finances and hit your goals.
From putting quarterly check-ins on your calendar to also tracking how much energy certain projects and clients take you, you’ll be able to get a better picture of your finances and the changes you need to hit your goals.
Your Turn! What other numbers do you look at to get your copywriting finances and financial goals in order?
Last Updated on January 4, 2023
So simple yet so sensible. Thanks for this. One thing I’ve started recently (after it was suggested on the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy programme), is tracking my invoices. Ridiculous as it is, I didn’t have a system to follow up and make sure invoices were paid on time. Or even, at all. I set one up, checked invoices sent against my bank account and voila, results! I found some unpaid invoices. Duh. I contacted the clients and now the money is in the bank! I didn’t need fancy software. It was literally a case of creating a spreadsheet and adding reminders to my calendar.
Kate Sitarz says
Great reminder, Bridget — systems are so important!! Glad to hear you’ve got a system that works for you now. Thanks for sharing! 🙂