Looking to do a good deed for the day? Consider helping a new copywriter out!

20 replies
I'm not one to shy away from spontaneity, but having some kind of a plan certainly helps me sleep better at night! This is going to be quite long and I apologize for that in advance.

I'm looking for help navigating this copywriting thing, and would appreciate anything at this point. A little bit about me - I'm a recent graduate (B.A. in Screenwriting) and got into Copywriting about a month ago, using Upwork (just trying to get my foot or even my toes in the door). I went from $0/week to ~$200/week in the past four weeks. I see it as improvement, but also not enough to pay the bills.

I have gained paid experience in product descriptions, Facebook ads, blogs, website content, SEO, and a couple of other small things.

My question is - where do I go now? I was originally planning on going to an agency, but then I read about how awful the work/life balance was and to be honest I don't really want to spend 70 hours/week ANYWHERE. Call me spoiled, but it's just not my cup of tea.

So, I'm looking for ways to ramp up my freelancing so that I can make some real money. I just don't really know where to head now or what I should learn. My "plan" is to keep working with my existing Upwork clients and learn as much as I can in the month of July, then in early August start to separate myself from the site and start going after other clients.

What do you guys recommend I learn before then? I KNOW I need experience with autoresponders, landing pages, and maybe a few other things. I would LIKE to learn more about the technical side of things, like how to test conversion rates so that I can market myself better and be more enticing for clients to hire, but I don't even know where to start on that!


This post is definitely coming off a bit more as a diary than I intended, and maybe I needed that. But, I would just love some advice. Really, my main question is: Is it a reasonable plan to try to learn the technical side of copywriting like split testing so that I can market myself as an individual and worthwhile client and start making some legitimate money? If not, what do you recommend?

Thanks!
#making #plan
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Find yourself a copy coach... someone who can guide you in all phases of the profession...

    1. How to write effective copy
    2. How to get high-paying clients
    3. How to work with clients

    You've already made one huge mistake (that I know of)... you've positioned yourself incorrectly.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author ZachAttack09
      Hi Alex, thanks for the reply.

      Could you elaborate a little bit on what you mean by positioning myself incorrectly?
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  • Profile picture of the author neshaword
    Very simple. Upwork is not the only freelance platform in the world. How about Freelancer and Guru?
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Having a writing background can help with your copywriting career because
    you should have already acquired the discipline of writing. You will still need to
    learn the special nature of copywriting although your story-telling chops
    should help greatly.

    Here is my recommended reading list for my copy students. You may
    find this helpful. http://learncopy.com/CopywriterReadingList.pdf

    Best,

    Ray Edwards
    Signature
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    A couple of points, you have something to BARTER with, your education, the B.A. in screenwriting. Probably several people would trade you (I for one).

    Instead of your plan, why not have something for sale by the end of JULY?

    You'll need a website (a few bucks), and an autoresponder (look for a free month or some deal).

    Now you need SOMETHING to sell. There is PLR, ton to be found here.

    A quick case study (recent)...Warrior Barb Ling had a "dime sale" last month, she sold a HOTSHEET (my term), she called it a Cheatsheet. A simple ONE page resource on List Building. I paid 3.77. She sold a couple thousand dollars worth, and by her newsletter reports did over 4k in a few weeks, with her affiliate programs as back ends.

    So, a single piece of paper (virtual) generated 4 grand in less than a month. Just food for thought.

    You could create a HOTSHEET or short report, a resource for screenwriters maybe? Do a dime sale too (that is when you up the price after X number of copies have been sold, from 3.25 to 3.50 after the first 20).

    Start with a sig file here. Learn how, in a few days, to use the autoresponder tools, for example, Aweber forms and list building and management tools.

    If you know how to put up a quick website, then don't delay, get started. I won't speak for AlexC, but he usually means you don't want to start presenting yourself as a noob, and the best way NOT to do that is to charge higher prices from the get go. He can correct me if I'm wrong.

    If you were a good student, and your classes included story telling and the Hero's Journey, you have a better start than 95% of other newbies to copywriting.

    Better to begin today, right? You can continue getting jobs at any and/or all the service provider sites, just make your work day about...

    solving your problems in the direction of your goals.

    As for technical things, first you need to get started. Add a free or low cost tracking software. The data you want is:

    Where is your traffic coming from? (Paid, organic, referral)
    How long do they stay? Bounce rate. Conversion rate. And this comes down the road after you have something to sell.

    Spend some time studying markets, the ones where you don't have low hanging fruit, and it might be best if you focused in on a few, rather than trying to write for anything and everybody?

    So, put together an even better PLAN with deadlines, targeted prospects, and even the financials. Good luck.

    GordonJ

    PS. NO affiliation, but here is a typical FREE site, with CPanel: https://www.freehosting.com/client/cart.php?gid=1 Google and you'll find dozens just like it, and for 12.95 domain registration (and it really doesn't matter for now what you call it), you'll have a site, and I think for a penny or so, you get a 30 day trial of one of the autoresponders. Money well spent to immerse for a month in the "technical" parts you need to GET STARTED.


    Originally Posted by ZachAttack09 View Post

    I'm not one to shy away from spontaneity, but having some kind of a plan certainly helps me sleep better at night! This is going to be quite long and I apologize for that in advance.

    I'm looking for help navigating this copywriting thing, and would appreciate anything at this point. A little bit about me - I'm a recent graduate (B.A. in Screenwriting) and got into Copywriting about a month ago, using Upwork (just trying to get my foot or even my toes in the door). I went from $0/week to ~$200/week in the past four weeks. I see it as improvement, but also not enough to pay the bills.

    I have gained paid experience in product descriptions, Facebook ads, blogs, website content, SEO, and a couple of other small things.

    My question is - where do I go now? I was originally planning on going to an agency, but then I read about how awful the work/life balance was and to be honest I don't really want to spend 70 hours/week ANYWHERE. Call me spoiled, but it's just not my cup of tea.

    So, I'm looking for ways to ramp up my freelancing so that I can make some real money. I just don't really know where to head now or what I should learn. My "plan" is to keep working with my existing Upwork clients and learn as much as I can in the month of July, then in early August start to separate myself from the site and start going after other clients.

    What do you guys recommend I learn before then? I KNOW I need experience with autoresponders, landing pages, and maybe a few other things. I would LIKE to learn more about the technical side of things, like how to test conversion rates so that I can market myself better and be more enticing for clients to hire, but I don't even know where to start on that!


    This post is definitely coming off a bit more as a diary than I intended, and maybe I needed that. But, I would just love some advice. Really, my main question is: Is it a reasonable plan to try to learn the technical side of copywriting like split testing so that I can market myself as an individual and worthwhile client and start making some legitimate money? If not, what do you recommend?

    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by ZachAttack09 View Post

    Hi Alex, thanks for the reply.

    Could you elaborate a little bit on what you mean by positioning myself incorrectly?
    A simple answer won't help you.

    But this will...

    Go to the Advanced Search feature, and search on the word "positioning". Be sure to limit your search to Titles only and the Copywriting section.

    You'll see some good posts on the subject.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Zach,

    Don't use PLR to create a give-away. As a professional copywriter, you never want to sub-contract out your core competency. In the case of PLR, you would be doing exactly that if you used another person's work as your own.

    Also, the give-away should be on a subject related to sales copy, not list building.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      Zach,

      Don't use PLR to create a give-away. As a professional copywriter, you never want to sub-contract out your core competency. In the case of PLR, you would be doing exactly that if you used another person's work as your own.

      Also, the give-away should be on a subject related to sales copy, not list building.

      Alex
      Of course, you are right if one is offering copywriting services...BUT,

      the basics of a web site, a landing page, an autoresponder and learning how to SELL something, is the value of using PLR.

      He is a college grad, well equipped to write a simple one page HOTSHEET on screenwriting and it could tie in DOWN THE ROAD for his Copywriting business.

      I'm addressing this:
      ********
      I KNOW I need experience with autoresponders, landing pages, and maybe a few other things. I would LIKE to learn more about the technical side of things, like how to test conversion rates so that I can market myself better and be more enticing for clients to hire, but I don't even know where to start on that!
      ********

      PLR is fine, for getting the technical side of things under your belt.

      I gave him ONE idea to help him GET STARTED, I'm sure he would appreciate any others too. List building was an EXAMPLE used by a fellow Warrior, which generated 4k in one month, the kind of money which could allow him to buy a 3K course on copywritng even.

      What the subject matter is, is irrelevant, the PROCESS is what he could learn and learn it by doing.

      GordonJ
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

        What the subject matter is, is irrelevant, the PROCESS is what he could learn and learn it by doing.

        GordonJ
        Thanks for making that clear.

        Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author ZachAttack09
    Thanks to everyone for the replies!

    So right now, my plan has sort-of transitioned to this:

    - Create a PDF guide (not sure if there's a technical word for it) on Screenwriting and what I learned from film school
    - Create a sales letter/landing page for the guide
    - Sell it for something like $3
    - Monitor traffic, tweak as I go

    If it works well, I'll have money from that and have proof that I can do work like that. How does this sound?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by ZachAttack09 View Post

      Thanks to everyone for the replies!

      So right now, my plan has sort-of transitioned to this:

      - Create a PDF guide (not sure if there's a technical word for it) on Screenwriting and what I learned from film school
      - Create a sales letter/landing page for the guide
      - Sell it for something like $3
      - Monitor traffic, tweak as I go

      If it works well, I'll have money from that and have proof that I can do work like that. How does this sound?
      It's called an e-book. Unless you give it away in which case it's called a freebie or ethical bribe (or any number of other terms).

      Normally, e-books are priced low (or given away) so the marketer can build a list and pitch other products to the people who obtained it.

      But since your sole purpose is to write a sales letter that converts well (and use the conversion rate as credibility when you offer your copywriting service), I suggest you sell it for a higher price.

      A bald-faced, bare-assed rookie can sell a $3 product. Consider selling it for $27 or even $49.

      How do you plan to drive traffic?

      Also, have you determined if there's a market for the e-book?

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author ZachAttack09
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        It's called an e-book. Unless you give it away in which case it's called a freebie or ethical bribe (or any number of other terms).

        Normally, e-books are priced low (or given away) so the marketer can build a list and pitch other products to the people who obtained it.

        But since your sole purpose is to write a sales letter that converts well (and use the conversion rate as credibility when you offer your copywriting service), I suggest you sell it for a higher price.

        A bald-faced, bare-assed rookie can sell a $3 product. Consider selling it for $27 or even $49.

        How do you plan to drive traffic?

        Also, have you determined if there's a market for the e-book?

        Alex
        Hey $27 or $49 sounds even better. There's definitely a market for it. Driving traffic is something I'll have to look into more, but that's also part of the experience for me.

        I have some great ideas for blogging that will push people towards it, will have to look into other methods as well. Any advice where to start looking?

        Thanks again.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          Originally Posted by ZachAttack09 View Post

          Hey $27 or $49 sounds even better. There's definitely a market for it. Driving traffic is something I'll have to look into more, but that's also part of the experience for me.

          I have some great ideas for blogging that will push people towards it, will have to look into other methods as well. Any advice where to start looking?

          Thanks again.
          Free traffic generation methods take time. Got 6 - 12 months for your blog to gain traction and generate targeted traffic? If so, have at it.

          The Facebook ad platform offers excellent targeting capabilities... run ads there.

          Based on the questions you're asking, you have a long road to haul. Trial and error is a brutal taskmaster.

          Get a coach.

          Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Where to start looking? At the beginning. Teach yourself what you don't know because, at this point, you don't know what you don't know (if that makes sense).

    The people in here have given you terrific advice.
    Is it copywriting you wish to do or writing in general? I ask as both types are marketed differently.
    Signature

    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Website / Blog for more info.

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    • Profile picture of the author ZachAttack09
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      Where to start looking? At the beginning. Teach yourself what you don't know because, at this point, you don't know what you don't know (if that makes sense).

      The people in here have given you terrific advice.
      Is it copywriting you wish to do or writing in general? I ask as both types are marketed differently.
      There has been some great advice indeed!

      I have taught myself some important skills, but there are definitely more to learn and always will be. I think the next steps will be learning about marketing myself, sales letters, and learning how to track clicks/where people are coming from.

      I already have writing down pretty well.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Truth bomb:

    If you don't have the mindset... if you don't have the intention of going through the "I love this so much I'd do it for free" phase... then odds are you'll never be good enough to be in a position to demand the decent money you want.

    You won't always have to put in 70+ hours a week for $200, but unless you're willing to pay your dues, odds are you'll give up and quit long before you make decent money.

    Every good copywriter I know has gone through this phase. (And with a smile on their face, spent every bit of that $200 on copywriting books and training. )

    P.S. Let me clarify: I am *not* saying you HAVE TO GO through this phase. Rather, I'm saying you have to be WILLING to go through this phase.

    Albert E. N. Gray summed it up:

    "The common denominator of successful people is the willingness to do the things unsuccessful people don't want to do."
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      If you don't have the mindset... if you don't have the intention of going through the "I love this so much I'd do it for free" phase... then odds are you'll never be good enough to be in a position to demand the decent money you want.
      That's baloney.

      There's plenty of successful copywriters who didn't (and don't) love writing copy enough to do it for free. Agencies are full of them. And many freelancers too.

      Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author DKCopywriter
    Don't take this the wrong way guys, and maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not entirely sure OP will generate much interest in selling a one-page report on screenwriting for $25-$40 or however much you'd recommend charging.

    Why should I, as a screenwriter, buy your one-page report when I can buy "Save The Cat": one of the more well-known screenwriting books, for only $15 or so?

    Save The Cat is also 195 pages long, according to Amazon. Whereas your report is only going to be one page.

    Now it may be good to send the report to people who sign up to your email list, but I honestly can't see any good reason that people would shell out $25+ for a one page screenwriting resource.
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    • Profile picture of the author ZachAttack09
      Originally Posted by DKCopywriter View Post

      Don't take this the wrong way guys, and maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not entirely sure OP will generate much interest in selling a one-page report on screenwriting for $25-$40 or however much you'd recommend charging.

      Why should I, as a screenwriter, buy your one-page report when I can buy "Save The Cat": one of the more well-known screenwriting books, for only $15 or so?

      Save The Cat is also 195 pages long, according to Amazon. Whereas your report is only going to be one page.

      Now it may be good to send the report to people who sign up to your email list, but I honestly can't see any good reason that people would shell out $25+ for a one page screenwriting resource.
      I definitely see what you mean. I was never planning on doing a one-page report! I was aiming more along the lines of 70-80 pages, and would also certainly (attempt to) differentiate from the major screenwriting books like "Save the Cat," as we're taught to in school!
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

    That's baloney.

    There's plenty of successful copywriters who didn't (and don't) love writing copy enough to do it for free. Agencies are full of them. And many freelancers too.

    Alex
    I appreciate your opinion, but you missed the point, Alex.

    Unfortunately, given your disrespect, it's probably better I spend my time on more productive conversations rather than trying to clarify.
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