How did you land your first copywriting gig?

18 replies
How did you get that first copywriting gig? How long did it take you? How much did you make? What was the job?

I'm looking to get started in this and I'd like to get writing! I'm also new to the forum by the way. I really hate my job and want to make some more money!
#copywriting #gig #land
  • Profile picture of the author Drewdude1991
    Bump bump bump. Sorry.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10110829].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Originally Posted by Drewdude1991 View Post

    How did you get that first copywriting gig? How long did it take you? How much did you make? What was the job?

    I'm looking to get started in this and I'd like to get writing! I'm also new to the forum by the way. I really hate my job and want to make some more money!
    Dude, this isn't a free coaching smorgasbord.

    Start with the stickies.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10111459].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    My first client was a d*ck...

    A real a-hole.

    Never listened to a word I said, never took any of my advice, didn't try
    testing out different things I suggested.

    Wouldn't do the dishes or clean my laundry.

    Oh sh*t... that's right... my first client was ME.

    I started in 2001, wrote and wrote and wrote... trying to get
    better at copy for my own businesses.

    Once I got my stuff circulating on the top of Clickbank
    I started getting daily emails from people asking me to write
    for them.

    So, that's one way... do your own thing first, get good,
    get your stuff out there and circulating, and if it's good
    and makes waves... people will find you, you won't have
    to look for them all the time.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10111561].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    My first client was myself as well. Back in 1991, got excited about the opportunity to build my business using direct mail and decided to try it.

    Came up with an offer for my software development firm. And with just one letter mailed twice to the same list of about 100 Clients, covered cash flow for about two months. Without doing any work.

    I was hooked. It opened a huge door in my mind. Came up with all sorts of ideas. Some worked like crazy. A few were duds. But had enough success I spent the next 10 years just writing for my business.

    The biggest reaction I got were my Christmas letters. I basically made a huge offer as a Christmas present to Clients (around Christmas obviously.) It was a personal letter which also positioned something as a gift the Client would benefit from the entire next year.

    I also did tons of magazine feature articles and columns.
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10111601].message }}
    • I think my patter went something like this:

      Gee, I can see you're looking for someone with killer experience and a portfolio fatter than Gordon Gecko's wad, so I'm kind like an outside runner here -- hell, maybe I'm not even hobbling along within a hundred miles of the track -- BUT if I were to write some of your stuff, my first X words would maybe look like this:

      [invent some shit]

      This approach still works.

      Experience, qualifications, references (and all that stuff) counts for a lot, which is why shiny medals are worth big bucks if dangled appropriately and shamelessly once you've earned 'em.

      BUT if you can show, right away, al presto -- hey, lookit how I can fix up your stuff -- then you buck the odds on your lame mule, big time.

      Worst case scenario? You're dismissed as an audacious chump.

      Long as no one crits my hairdo, I'm fine on that baby every time.

      So, I got to talk up a fashion website for peanuts.

      Earned enough for a few bottles of wine and a fancy meal, but at least a whole bunch of peanuts are out there strutting their stuff in half decent pants.
      Signature

      Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10111996].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author thebiwriter
        Originally Posted by Princess Balestra View Post

        I think my patter went something like this:

        Gee, I can see you're looking for someone with killer experience and a portfolio fatter than Gordon Gecko's wad, so I'm kind like an outside runner here -- hell, maybe I'm not even hobbling along within a hundred miles of the track -- BUT if I were to write some of your stuff, my first X words would maybe look like this:

        [invent some shit]

        This approach still works.

        Experience, qualifications, references (and all that stuff) counts for a lot, which is why shiny medals are worth big bucks if dangled appropriately and shamelessly once you've earned 'em.
        This is awesome - thanks!
        Signature

        Copywriter and Entrepreneur
        Website | Twitter

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10168871].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      My first client was myself as well. Back in 1991, got excited about the opportunity to build my business using direct mail and decided to try it.

      Came up with an offer for my software development firm. And with just one letter mailed twice to the same list of about 100 Clients, covered cash flow for about two months. Without doing any work.

      I was hooked. It opened a huge door in my mind. Came up with all sorts of ideas. Some worked like crazy. A few were duds. But had enough success I spent the next 10 years just writing for my business.

      The biggest reaction I got were my Christmas letters. I basically made a huge offer as a Christmas present to Clients (around Christmas obviously.) It was a personal letter which also positioned something as a gift the Client would benefit from the entire next year.

      I also did tons of magazine feature articles and columns.
      Rick,

      You rarely talk about your time with Jay Abraham on the forum. I think I've only seen you do so once.

      Are you contractually prohibited from doing so? If not, your experiences working with him would make for some interesting reading.

      Alex
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10123825].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        My first client was myself back in the late 80's.

        Ran little ads in about 6 newspapers for a weight loss product.

        Back then I had to get them first believe in the product, myself and themselves
        enough to lose weigh,t to phone me...

        2 Get them to write down my bank account number

        3 drive to the bank and deposit money into a bank account
        belonging to somebody they had never heard of before seeing that ad.

        4 Phone me back with deposit number

        5 Me phone the bank to confirm the deposit.

        A few years later i ran little classified ads
        to send for information.

        I'd post out the info and had one guy send a little over a thousand bucks in the mail.

        That was scary and exciting at the same time.

        Scary because I hadn't started or have much of a clue how to
        put together the product he paid for, so posted the check back.

        Exciting because words in print can turn into money in the mail.

        Built and sold businesses based on the power of the written word.

        It's only been when I've shared results with others that people came to me asking for help. Gave out freely then started charging for consultations which
        some lead to the writing of the client's ads.

        Best,
        Doctor E. Vile
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10123860].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Chriswrighto
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        Rick,

        You rarely talk about your time with Jay Abraham on the forum. I think I've only seen you do so once.

        Are you contractually prohibited from doing so? If not, your experiences working with him would make for some interesting reading.

        Alex
        I'd like to hear this too.
        Signature

        Wealthcopywriter.com :)

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10124450].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        Rick,

        You rarely talk about your time with Jay Abraham on the forum. I think I've only seen you do so once.

        Are you contractually prohibited from doing so? If not, your experiences working with him would make for some interesting reading.

        Alex
        Alex, I can "toot my own horn" any time I want when it comes to people I work with. As you can imagine, doing so would lift my public reputation considerably.

        It's deliberate strategy on my part not to. It's an agreement I make with every Client.

        I wouldn't read anything into it, other than I have learned my best work is done behind the scenes.
        Signature
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10124522].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Len Bailey
    Originally Posted by Drewdude1991 View Post

    How did you get that first copywriting gig? How long did it take you? How much did you make? What was the job?

    I'm looking to get started in this and I'd like to get writing! I'm also new to the forum by the way. I really hate my job and want to make some more money!
    Hi Drew. Welcome to the forum!

    I started copywriting back in 2004 writing print and radio ads, brochures, press releases, etc. for local businesses (restaurants, florists, carpet stores, etc.) and non-profit organizations. I billed $35 per hour (slightly less for non-profits). Most jobs took between 2 and 4 hours.

    At the same time, I took a job as the Advertising Sales Manager for a local newspaper -- which gave me invaluable insights into how to help my writing clients increase their ads and PR effectiveness.

    But what really kick-started my career was taking an in-house position as a copywriter at Littleton Coin Company. The company had been in direct response biz for over 60 years and really had it down to a science.

    I worked my tail off and learned anything and everything I could about copywriting and marketing. And two years later Clayton Makepeace recruited me to join his team. Two years after that (2010) I returned to the freelance arena. Now I write everything from micro ads to magalogs and tabloids -- and earn much more than $35/hr.

    The main key -- at least in my case -- was plain and simple hard work on my part. Bust your tail and don't slack off, even when your only client is yourself. Especially then. And NEVER stop studying the business to improve your craft.

    Hope this helps. And good luck!

    Len
    Signature

    Len Bailey
    Copywriter/Consultant
    Feel free to connect on LinkedIn or Twitter

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10123693].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    Started by writing my own business mailers back in the early nineties.

    Was influenced by Jay Abraham material at the time.

    Biggest breakthrough was a headine I wrote in 1998...

    "No Aussies at Boomerang World Cup"...

    ...even though Fosters [Aussie beer] is sponsoring the Americans at the event in St Louis and Qantas has sponsored the Swiss team...

    there will be no Australian team attending because they can't get sponsorship.

    Sent to all media organisations.

    7 hours later got 5 minutes on National prime time news at 6.12pm.

    By 6.30 had verbal commitment for $20K from public relations manager of Aussie company.

    Following day filmed hand over of $25K check for next evening news.

    Four weeks later had 12 guys competing in St Louis.

    Same time got my business on the front of International Decor magazine [head office in St Louis and I invited Executives to attend event]

    Both my son and I set new World records at the event and ended up in Sports Illustrated.

    Flew First class to New York and closed the Today Show with Matt Lauer and Katy Couric throwing boomerangs around Rockefeller Plaza.

    Now I don't ever try to sell writing services but I've had my fair share of success and similar magical outcomes from efforts made for both my own business and the few people who have chosen me to help them.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10124441].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author BrandyW
    You just have to get yourself out there. If you know anyone who could benefit from your work you can offer to give them a trial run of your work, and if they like you they can hire you. There are several sites like freelancer or upwork(odesk) where you can find people who needs writers. (you will need to go through a lot of job requests before finding a good client who cares about quality over cost. There are several other sites you can go to as well. Thing is, unless you already have clients, you'll need to produce something to show what you are capable of. There are several places online where you can self publish, just do a google search for such places. Write some great content around a subject you are familiar and experienced in. Find a site where you can publish your content online and publish it. As long as you don't use an alias for your published content, you can refer potential clients to it to verify your skills. And be open to rejection and to criticism, as you may or may not receive plenty, albeit, usually meant in a constructive way. Write more content you can give out to a few people who would benefit from the content. Ask if you can use them as a reference if they are satisfied with your work. There are so many ways you can get started and get your first client. The most important thing, however, is that you need to write. I could probably go on all night about this subject, but bottom line is the most important thing you can do is write.
    Signature
    Brandy Werczynski
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10174314].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ryanmilligan
    Banned
    Found someone with a good product but bad copy and pitched a sales copy to them and let them use it for free in turn for 20% of the commission of every sale.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10186699].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bojan92
    I found my first job on odesk, and the experience was okay, i finished 5 articles and took 20 dollars
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10195113].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author TJoseph
    Lurked around the forums here for long enough and jumped on a post for someone who was looking for a copywriter.

    Suggested a few ways they could improve what they were doing (just adding value and showing that I was someone they would love to work with) and viola...presto chango...got my first gig.

    -TJoseph.
    Signature
    Want To Know How People Make A Full Time Living Off The Easiest Money Making Site In The World?
    Check out my new WSO
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10195379].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author SplashCopy
    Straight out of uni. But that's no help I guess.

    Read loads. Write loads.

    Try and get a guest post going somewhere and develop a feel for writing for the digital generation. Speaking purely from a business point of view, there's nothing as valuable and memorable as a quality freebie!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10254321].message }}

Trending Topics