How to Start a Successful Copywriting Business and Get Your First Client

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mentor for freelance writers, how to start a copywriting business

One of the most common questions I get from writers who are starting to build their copywriting business is “How do you find clients?” More importantly, How do you find your very first freelance writing client?”

It’s a great question. While many writers shift into the freelance world with experience from full-time jobs (like I did) others don’t have that. Starting a business from scratch can feel daunting, but I’m here to tell you—you got this! 

Before I share my tips for getting writing clients, I realize you might be wondering “Who the heck am I and why should you listen to my advice?” Fair question.

I’m a full-time writer & strategist specializing in brand copy and content strategy for service-oriented businesses. I started my own business in 2017, but have been writing professionally since 2010. During that time, I’ve worked with over 75 clients and published hundreds of articles for B2C and B2B brands. 

My business was born as a way to travel more, make my own hours and work with brands that inspire me. So far, so good! 

3 Strategies for Scoring Your First Freelance Writing Client

When I mentor other writers I always tell them, there’s no one secret method that will instantly score you tons of writing gigs. Building a client base takes time, effort, and the process is different for everyone. You have to try a lot of different strategies to see what works best for you.  

Job boards like ProBlogger and Freelancewriting.com are a good place to start. LinkedIn is a great resource for freelance and remote jobs too! You just have to tweak the search settings. 

Beyond that, here are three things that have worked for me. 

Leverage Your Personal Network

Everyone knows someone who is starting a business, helping their boss with a project, or advancing their side hustle. And people who love you will be more invested in your success. I’m talking about your friends, your old bosses, and even your mom.

Choose 5 – 10 primo contacts who you think will know people. Then draft up a simple, friendly email asking for referrals who might be interested in what you have to offer. 

Next, draft up a different text for your Facebook feed. Start with something casual like “Hi friends!” Include your business as an exciting announcement and that you’re taking new clients (explain what you do quickly and clearly). Include a pic of you they haven’t seen—not a headshot, but a personal photo that shows off the real you that they know and love. 

A few things to note: this is not a sales pitch—you’re selling past them. Let people know that you’re actively building a web of connections for a potential client roster. Keep it friendly, personal, and thank them

Use Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are amazing, not only for learning more about your craft and networking with other professionals but also for finding a J-O-B that pays cash money. Fun fact: One of my first clients came from a Facebook group. That client has resulted in multiple referrals that have helped me scale my business. 

Because Austin, TX is my hometown, I leveraged the group Austin Freelance Gigs. Many major cities should have something similar—just play around with the search feature. There are also several groups that function like job boards. I recommend Cult of Copy Job Board and Freelance Copywriter Collective – the JOB Board, for starters.

Once you’re in, scan the discussion for gigs that appeal to you and respond with a comment and a link to your portfolio (your website, link to an article you’ve written, or if you have nothing else, a Google Doc with a spec piece will do). 

Do also introduce yourself in a post that includes: 

  • The type of service you offer
  • Your superpower
  • A link to your portfolio or samples 

Optional: 

  • Your “Why” for this business
  • A recent (glowing) client testimonial

Scripted

In general, I don’t recommend Upwork or Fiverr for freelance work, and I largely recommend that you stay away from the “content mills”. There are simply too many clients on there looking for people to work for pennies. And sadly, there are plenty of writers and creatives who are willing to comply. Collectively, this drives down the value of the skilled work that we do and hurts the industry at large. 

However, Scripted is the one content broker service that I would recommend for writers who are building their client base. Once you apply and pass their writing test, you’ll create a profile and add some writing samples. Your samples allow you to show your expertise in certain areas. 

There are a few things that make Scripted a valuable platform for budding writers:

  • There is a wide variety of clients from many different industries
  • Brands can find you and invite you to jobs based on your profile
  • You can also propose and pitch jobs that interest you through a simple system
  • The money goes straight into your bank account via Stripe

Here’s the most important one: You name your desired price for a proposed job. 

I’m not gonna lie, there are clients on Scripted who want a 1000 word blog for like forty bucks. Spoiler alert for the newbies: that’s way too low. But the good thing about Scripted is, you don’t have to accept low-paying jobs if you don’t want to (and for all of our sakes, you shouldn’t).

My tip for pitching is to price a bit higher than what the platform suggests for your proposed word count. Include some info about your experience, past results, and happy clients in your pitch, plus a rough outline of how you would approach the piece. 

I’m working on some more resources for writers on getting started, how much to charge, how to get samples, and creating your online portfolio. If you’re interested, shoot me an email so I can make sure you get them.

I also offer 1-to-1 mentoring for writers who are looking to grow their business and if you mention this post, I’ll give you 10% off your first session:) I hope this was helpful and best of luck! 

how to start a successful copywriting business and get your first client

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