1. Start with the Basics
Ready to hang your shingle and call yourself a freelancer? You'll need a few basics to get your business off the ground.
Business cards, letterhead, supplies and even your own ad campaign can be basics you might not think about at first. They're essential to getting prepared for your new career path, though.
2. Make a Plan of Action
It's not just the big businesses that need a plan of action. As a freelancer, you are the business and you need a plan too. Not only does this give you information you need to identify your goals, it also gives you key information you can use to market yourself to potential clients.
3. Set Your Rates
Deciding what you're going to charge is one of the most difficult decisions you'll have to make as a freelance copywriter. It's crucial that you set your rates right from the start.
Your first decision is whether to charge by the hour, by the project or to include both rate types. This poll gives you an idea how other freelancers charge their clients.
Your rates will also effect how you work with clients and get paid. Spend a lot of time developing your rates and evaluate what you can live with as a fee beforehand because clients don't want to work with freelancers who are constantly changing their rates and rate types.
4. Create Writing Samples
You can't show off your writing talent if you have no samples. If you don't have any writing samples to your credit, there is an easy solution.
Spec Ads give you the chance to create writing samples even if you don't have any copywriting projects under your belt. Spec Ads aren't just for copywriters with limited or no experience. They are an excellent way for you to show potential clients how you would write for their particular industry.
5. Prepare Your Portfolio
Get your portfolio ready now before the clients start calling. The last thing you want to have to deal with at the last minute is preparing your portfolio the night before a client meeting.
Having your portfolio ready to go at any time also gives you the opportunity to adapt your portfolio content based on what the client is looking for in a freelancer. This lets you switch out your projects based on the client's needs, showing your ability to work with any type of client no matter what the product/service.
6. Develop a Freelance Contract
When that first client calls, you want to have your contract ready to be faxed or presented in person. As excited as you may be to get that first client, you don't want to start working on any project until you have a signed contract in your hand.
Creating a freelance contract is key to any freelancers success. It's your first line of defense if you ever find yourself with a client who doesn't want to pay.
7. Find Clients
Remember all those basics you got together in step one? Now it's time to put them to good use.
Whether you're approaching agencies for freelance work, trying to get small businesses to use your services or both, you can take several different approaches to find your clients. Take those business cards and your portfolio to small business conventions to cities all around you. Send out your materials advertising yourself to advertising agencies, especially smaller agencies that need freelancers because the cost of a permanent, full-time copywriter is too much for the agency to bear.
Just be persistent in your search for clients and soon your freelance copywriting career will be so successful, you'll actually be turning new business away!