These unsettled times make most of us nervous. Politics, violent weather, work stress. The craziness just doesn’t stop. Even the job we’ve worked hard at for years is less secure. And automation means fewer jobs available. More than ever, our financial security is uncertain.
Growing your copywriting career is a great way to fight back. It’s a way to take control of your future.
Copywriting is a great business. Lots of need for writers. Low overhead. No rent, inventory or employees. And best of all, no boss or time clock.
All you need is a computer and the Internet. With hundreds of writing options, it’s easy to find one that fits your personality and interests… Something that has you excited to get up in the morning.
But if you’ve never run your own business, freelancing might sound a little scary. It doesn’t need to be.
Here are 9 quick tips to speed up your copywriting career right now...
Approach your copywriting career as a business venture. You want it to succeed. That means having a business professional’s mindset. Look yourself in the mirror and say, “You’re the CEO.” I ordered a hat with my business name and logo on it. If it’s not on my head, it sits on my desk as a constant reminder; I’m in business for me.
Next, set schedules and follow them.
If you’re building copywriting around an existing job, look for time slots you can dedicate to business. Can you get up 30 minutes earlier so you can write while fresh? Sometimes short intense stints can be more productive.
Use an online calendar. Enter your schedule and let your smartphone remind you. It’s an easy way to stay on target.
This one is quick. What are the three most important career tasks that you need to do tomorrow? Put them on your calendar. Do those first.
Write something instead of checking Facebook. Use an iPod and listen to an audio while you walk the dog or commute.
Break tasks into bite-sized chunks that keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Using your background and knowledge can speed you up. Work background, expertise in a hobby, or personal interest. This gives you expert status. Prospects like that.
It doesn’t mean you can’t take other projects on along the way. Having a specialty makes you more valuable in a prospective client’s eye.
Research businesses in your niche and evaluate the types of writing they use. The more copy they use, the more they need you. It also gives you multiple writing opportunities.
Many of us do well in writing and studying but freeze with marketing…
Your writing can be a big chunk of your marketing. Work on components of your website, LinkedIn or other social media presence. Write samples of the kind of work you’d like to create for a client. Bingo, you have a portfolio.
Everything you put on your website or social media is an example of your writing skills.
If you happen to own a business, use your writing skills to improve your bottom line. If you’re an employee, can you use your skills to help them improve their business revenues? Either scenario, when you increase revenues, you have proof of your abilities.
You’re the boss. You get to make the choices. You may love to work in your pajamas or sweats, but you need to be able to project professionalism when on the phone. I’ve found it’s much easier to sound professional when I’m dressed.
In my 30 years as a business owner, I discovered I always ran into prospects at the least expected times. Like at the market. Before you leave the house, glance in the mirror and think about meeting a potential client.
What about a face-to-face conference? In your niche, what kind of attire do decision makers wear to a business meeting? That’s a good guide.
You’re a business owner. You’re a marketing executive. First impressions are hard to change.
Make sure the image you project reflects your professionalism.
Be a great team player. Be easy to work with. Clear communications are critical. The most successful writers are great listeners. Learn, grow and know criticisms aren’t personal.
Always meet deadlines.
Does your client know how to work with a freelancer? Sometimes it is up to us to keep them on track. Make sure they are on the same deadline as defined for you, and doing their part to make it happen.
Continuing education is the cornerstone of most career fields. A copywriting career is no exception. Once you have your core basics, add business-building classes. Learn a different technique.
Like a rubber band, we are most useful when we stretch. Keep learning and improving your writing and business skills.
Attend a live class or conference. Stretch your wings. You’ll learn, get excited and make great contacts.
Each of us has only so many hours. Look for ways you can reclaim time.
Married with kids? Make household chores a family project. No boy jobs, girl jobs, mom or dad jobs. Look for tasks you can tackle together. It’s good life training for the kids and it will give you more time. The time you spend with them… And time to write.
Single or empty nester? Look for a neighbor who’d love a little extra money. When I was young, I had a neighbor that paid me to pick the dandelions in her yard so they wouldn’t go to seed. Even simple things help.
Don’t expect all things done your way. Breathe. Relax.
Hire or barter your writing skills for outside help. House chores, yard chores, professional services, or accounting. You’re writing. You have clients you’ve helped. You’ve reclaimed time to build your career. Win-win-win.
Sometimes I get in my own way. I always try to remember what a friend once told me, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”
Do you feel like you’re fumbling? Are you distracted? Feel like you’ve hit a wall? Then it’s time to step away and regroup.
Go back to why you wanted to write. Have you strayed from your plan? Are you doing the most important tasks every day? Give yourself a little pep talk and dive back in.
Lastly, when you reach a goal, large or small, reward yourself. Do a little happy dance, eat chocolate, hug someone, or enjoy an outing.
You’re a copywriter in charge of your future!
So what’s your copywriting career plan? Are you struggling? Need help with questions? Please let us know in the comments below.