There are a lot of tasks that require focus and persistence when you’re building your copywriting business.
What we’re talking about today is not one of them.
The process of compiling the companies that you’re going to pitch should be easy, light-hearted, and fun. This is one part of your business-building in which I’m going to actively encourage you to go down rabbit holes.
As my students know, compiling your (ever-growing!) list of companies to pitch starts with identifying a company you’d like to write for (whether that’s based on personal interest, some special insight based on your background, or simply proximity). After that, you’ll research and list companies that are both direct and indirect competitors of those, and then list direct and indirect competitors for each of those.
But again, if you’re in the middle of research and you come across a company that interests you, go down that rabbit hole and research that company and all of its direct and indirect competitors. You can’t have too many companies on your list and you’ll never be able to list even a small, small fraction of the companies you could possibly pitch. It’s fun!
Some people find ways to limit this list and, as a result, severely limit their possibilities for pitching. And when you limit who you pitch to, you drastically limit your career.
See if these sound familiar to you:
“Well, I’m not going to pitch this company because it’s too big—they definitely already have copywriters on staff to do the work.”
“I’m not going to pitch this company because it’s too small—they’re not going to have the budget to hire me.”
“I’m not going to pitch this company because they’re looking for a full-time copywriter—they don’t want a freelancer.”
“I’m not going to pitch this company because they’re going through layoffs—they don’t have the money to hire freelancers.”
Let me make this very clear:
You have NO IDEA what is going on within a company and you will severely limit your career if you don’t pitch companies because you think you do.
As someone who has worked for multi-billion-dollar companies with plenty of copywriters on staff AND hired freelancers, let me assure you that companies with copywriters on their payroll hire freelancers all the time. They hire them for extra help, they hire them for special projects, they hire them to cover on-staff writers’ leaves.
As someone who works with solopreneurs (one-person companies) let me assure you that they absolutely hire copywriters—and they understand the value of great copy. And don’t make assumptions about their incomes either; I personally know several solopreneurs whose businesses bring in multiple seven figures.
Sometimes companies post a job listing for a full-time copywriter because they think that’s what they need when they’d actually be better served by a freelancer. Or sometimes they post for a full-time position because they weren’t sure how to find freelancers. Sometimes they’re just trying to get the word out. Just because they’re posting for a full-time position doesn’t mean they’re married to that.
And companies that are going through layoffs? They’re being extra vigilant about their budgets—which means they’re much more likely to work with freelancers than to hire full-time staff.
You never know what’s going on inside a company and if you make decisions based on assumptions and unfounded ideas about them, you’ll miss out on hundreds and hundreds of opportunities throughout the course of your career.
The worst a company can do when you pitch them is say “no.” But don’t be the one to do it for them by never even giving yourself a chance to get in the door.
Your turn! Have you let preconceptions limit your to-pitch list of potential clients? What fears have you let stop you? Let me know in the comments below.