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I've written many articles for websites, emails and sales letters. I write poetry, humour and boring stuff like FAQ's and product information. But I'm never bored because work can be so varied.
Then there's money of course. A good freelancer should be able to make around 50K a year. Some make less but some can make over 100K a year. There really is no limit. Make a name for yourself and not only will you be earning a good living, you could possibly find yourself in enviable position of being able to pick and choose work you do.
Still want to be a copywriter?
Good! Now let's dispel a few myths by answering a few questions that I get asked all time.
The 6 Most Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do you need a formal education and a degree? No way! Although most agencies will only employ graduates, there's no reason why a freelancer needs anything other than a good command of English language, creativity and a flare for writing. There are many copywriting courses available, if you're a little unsure or want to hone your skills, but make sure course work is set by an experienced and reputable copywriter.
2. Can previous work experience help? Yes! Sales and marketing experience is very useful if you intend to make a living as a sales copywriter. At very least, you should understand sales process and customer service aspect.
3. I don't have a portfolio. How can I get work? Create one! Write some articles, write a small book, write some sales letters, brochures and emails. Show what you can do. Write for free. Write for charities, magazines or newspaper letter pages. Use your imagination and write about anything.
4. Where are best places to get work? You could try contacting marketing agencies by way of a letter of introduction, but don't hold your breath. Magazines are always looking for fillers, so this would be a good place to start. Local small businesses might be interested in having some leaflets written for door to door delivery. Contact them by letter, listing your services and your rates. When you have gained a little experience, go online and subscribe to some of freelance websites. Elance, Freelance Work Exchange and Getafreelancer are quite good, but be prepared to compete with other bidders from all over world. Some Indian freelancers will work for as little #3 an hour, so you're up against it. Still, I think it's worth experience. I get some of my assignments this way.
Build a website or have someone do it for you. I'm of opinion that all businesses should have a website if they want to stay in business.
Create a mail shot and work your way through your local Yellow Pages. Sell yourself. It's what you will have to do anyway, so get used to it.
5. What should I charge for my services? This is just a guide. You'll instinctively know when you've become established.
A one page letter consists of around 500 words and should take no more than 2 hours to write, revise and finalise. If you want #10 an hour, that'll be #20 for job. Don't bother quoting a price per word as you'll find yourself writing a load of drivel in order to fill pages.
Again, once you're established you can charge what you think your work is worth. It's not uncommon to charge #400 for a 6 page sales letter, if you're good.
6. What do you think is most essential skill of a successful copywriter? If you can't do this, you won't be very successful.
"Write as you talk"
That's it! You must be able to communicate with your reader right off page. Your words must be conversational. You must be able to 'speak' to your reader and stir their interest, their emotions, their desires.
If you're trying to sell them something, you must be convincing. Your letter has to be compelling and attention-grabbing. Finally, your letter has to make them take some action. This could be filling in a form, making a phone call or writing a cheque. It's a call to action.
Still think you have what it takes?
Then go forth and return with bountiful harvest of your creative genius!
Good luck and warm regards,
(# denotes GBP or US Dollars)
Bill Knight is a professional International Copywriter based in the UK. He writes mainly for the UK and US markets, but also has clients from all over the world. http://www.knight-writer.co.uk