Continued from page 1
6) Invest in an accounts package
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can handle your accounts manually (or with Microsoft Excel). Even if you only have a few clients, you NEED a proper accounts package like MYOB or Quicken (they both offer small business versions). You’ll understand why first time you do your GST reports or annual taxes. In fact, you’ll understand why whenever you need to chase down outstanding invoices
7) Give great service
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to remember that “great service” means different things to different clients. Most of time you’ll be working with direct clients (quite often startup businesses) and agencies. Both appreciate great service, but define it entirely differently. Agencies rely on their freelance copywriters to meet strict requirements (get work done well, get it done on time, don’t exceed budget). They have end-clients breathing down their necks, so reliability is as important as writing quality. End-clients, on other hand, need an advertising copywriter or website copywriter who sees their business way they do, and can convey that vision. They’ll probably need a lot of guidance as well, particularly if they’re just starting out themselves. If you can, help them understand that copywriting isn’t just about telling people what products and services business offers; it’s about conveying benefits of those products and services. A good advertising copywriter or website copywriter will be able to help their client think in terms of benefits instead of products and services.
8) Expect hard times
The first year or two as a freelance advertising copywriter or website copywriter will be difficult. It takes a while to generate momentum and during that time, you’ll probably find yourself wondering if you’ve made right career choice. While it’s possible to earn six-figures each year, you have to be patient (so it’s not ideal for new or intending parents or anyone with huge mortgage commitments).
9) Don’t spend too much on training
In my humble opinion, no money spent learning is wasted. However, you have to weigh up return on investment. I don’t know much about what copywriting courses are available, but if they’re expensive, I’d think twice. In my experience, most clients (be they agencies or end-clients) value copywriting ability over training.
10) Know you can do it
Confidence in your copywriting abilities is a must. If you’re not adamant you can produce results client is after, you’ll never be able to convince client. Remember that everyone feels daunted at start of a new copywriting job. There’s always a steep learning curve in copywriting, and generally quite a bit of time-consuming labour. Don’t fall into trap of focussing on what you don’t know and what you haven’t done.
Good luck, and happy writing!
* Glenn Murray is an advertising copywriter and heads copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.divinewrite.com for further details or more FREE articles.