First of all, let me reassure you: There is absolutely NO shortage of copywriting clients out there. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite: There’s a shortage of skilled copywriters. Lots of people who need great copy and too few great copywriters to write it.
(Pretty great for us, huh?)
I want to be sure to mention this because I think that some people let the idea of who they could be working for keep them from getting into copywriting.
For example, we’ll get questions like, “Well, I’m interested in copywriting, but I don’t want to work with companies that I disagree with politically” or “I want to get into it, but I don’t want to work with companies that aren’t eco-conscious” or things like that.
Along the same vein, we’ll hear from people who “don’t want to work with companies that do pushy sales or use deceptive practices.” Good for you! (Though I think you’ll find that there are far, far, FAR fewer of these companies than you think there are.)
In both cases, great! Those sound like perfectly reasonable stipulations and, simply put, if you don’t want to work with a company…then don’t.
There is absolutely NO reason to work with companies that you don’t agree with or whose business practices seem skeevy.
There are so many companies and organizations that it’s never going to be an issue of “sell my soul and write for this company or not put food on the table.” If you don’t want to work with a company, then just don’t! Keep pitching until you find more companies you DO want to work with.
And the same thing goes for current clients, too. If you’ve been working with a client for a while and they’re making you crazy or you’re not enjoying the work anymore, give them a bit of notice…and stop working with them.
Human beings tend to fall into the trap of thinking that our narrow field of vision encompasses the whole world. New and would-be copywriters fall into this trap very easily, thinking that the few companies that they’re noticing encompass all of the companies that are looking for copywriters.
Every single company and organization, from the multi-trillion-dollar global conglomerates to the solopreneurs (and every size in between) has a need for good copy. Now, of course, not every single one of them is going to hire a copywriter, but think of the possibilities: There are literally hundreds of thousands of companies—if not millions—all around the world that need writers.
And, considering you can probably balance between five or six clients a month, I don’t think you’re going to run out of potential clients in your next 5,000 lifetimes. 🙂
The simple fact is that you don’t have to work with clients you hate. Or clients you disagree with. Or clients who make you crazy.
The first suggestion I would make, though, is not to narrow your view too much. You might think, for example, that you only want to work with non-profits, which is fine. But there are also SO many for-profit companies that are doing good work and making huge donations to non-profits behind the scenes. Just because a company’s primary mission isn’t to save the world, doesn’t mean it isn’t a secondary one.
The second suggestion I have for you is to suspend judgment until you learn a little bit more about a company. At first blush, a company might not seem like something you’re interested in, but that can quickly change.
For example, a few years ago, I did some copy work for a big residential tractor sales company. Now, if you’d asked me before that if I had any desire to write for a residential tractor sales company, I probably would have said “No way.”
HOWEVER, once I started talking with this company and learning about its customers and who they were and why they wanted these residential tractors (smaller than farm tractors, but bigger than your average ride-on mowers), I got really into it and enjoyed crafting messaging that would connect with this unique group of people. (Think: airline execs in Washington State with big yards and who want to feel like farmers on the weekend. Who knew??) I would NEVER have thought I’d want to work with this client, and I ended up really, really enjoying the work.
So, no, you definitely don’t have to work with clients you hate. But, at the same time, don’t rush to judgment about the companies and organizations you come across. You might just find that some of the companies you can’t imagine writing for now (or don’t even know exist!) end up being some of your favorite clients.
Your turn! Are you willing to see what’s out there and really explore all of the potential client options? Let me know in the comments below.