When you’re learning copywriting, building your experience, and starting to look for clients, it can feel like everything is going to be smooth sailing once you first start landing clients.
But I want to prepare you for something (and then help you get through it).
When you start getting work, your first reaction will be elation.
And then, likely about three seconds later, your next emotion will be panic.
Why? Because now you actually have to deliver on the copy!
So, if you’re looking forward to landing your first clients, great. You should be. It’s going to be thrilling and it’s only the very beginning of all of the excitement and fun.
But, at the same time, I want you to be prepared for feeling nervousness and maybe even full-on panic, too.
1. Remind Yourself: Nervousness is Natural
Being nervous the first time (or several first times—or every first time) you write for a client is a natural and normal response to doing something new.
In fact, while your reaction will become less strong with time and experience, you may still feel a little flutter of excitement any time you work with a brand-new client. After all, they’re new! And you want to make sure they have a great experience working with you.
Try reframing your fear as excitement.
But remember, too, any time we move out of our comfort zones, there’s a very loud and insidious part of our brains (literally!) that tries to keep us inside that comfort zone. This part of our brains wants to keep us living small, “safe” lives.
That feeling of panic isn’t a sign that you’re not meant to write copy. And it’s not a sign that you’re not going to be able to write copy well.
It’s just a natural and normal reaction to doing something new.
So, feel those nerves, and then take a step back. Tell yourself, this is part of the process. I’m doing something new. My brain wants to keep me from doing this new thing, but I really want this new thing. I am safe and I am going to show my brain that this new thing is completely safe.
2. Cut Through Fear by Getting to Work
You know what makes that feeling of panic and fear go away the fastest?
Sitting down and getting down to work.
Go over your creative brief so that you’re crystal clear on the project. Then, start the project by concepting. Too often copywriters go straight to the writing stage of the project. But by not skipping crucial steps like concepting, you can ensure you’ll deliver your best possible work.
Feeling proud of your work and knowing you didn’t cut corners is a great way to lower the fear dial knowing you took every step possible to do your best work.
Then, after concepting, outline your key messages so that you’re not facing a blank page.
Start playing around with headlines, subheads, and body copy. Don’t be afraid to move things around the page. This is a work in progress!
Then start writing your first draft. Give yourself time to sleep on that draft and come back at it with fresh eyes to work on your second draft. Your client never has to know that their “first” draft is really your third or fourth or …
3. Know That You Won’t Get it Perfect
You don’t have to get it right the first time. In fact, you probably won’t.
You’ll write your copy, then you’ll edit it, edit it again, and polish it. And then you’ll get feedback from your client and revise again until your client is thrilled.
(And, by the way, thank goodness for deadlines, because nothing will get your butt in your desk chair like a deadline!)
Yes, you’re going to get nervous when you first think about writing—and probably when you first start writing, too.
But your creative brief is your roadmap and the copywriting principles and advanced tactics you’ve learned will help guide your writing and, maybe more importantly, your revisions.
You’re going to freak out. But it’s okay, it’s natural, and you’ll get through it. 🙂
What are some of your tips for dealing with new-client nerves? Share your tactics in the comments below!
Last Updated on May 16, 2023
Hi, I just got a feeling , that I got my first client. I felt that extra heartbeat!!
Thanks for the experience.
Nicki Krawczyk says
YAY!!! Good for you!! You should feel *so* proud of yourself. 🙂
Thanks for commenting!