Advice For Someone Starting Out

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Hi, I am on day one of what I hope will become a successful career in copy writing. I have a plan which is enough to get me started, but not very refined, and a goal of supporting myself with freelance work by March 2020. I'd appreciate any advice you can give me, either on things I need to add to my plan (below) or tips you might have.

My Plan for becoming a Freelance Copy Writer
  • Study (beginning with courses on Udemy)
  • Start writing copy based on what I have learned for my own website
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Start by marketing my services on Fiverr and building my portfolio
  • Read books about copy writing

I haven't gone into any real detail. I would appreciate any advice on courses I should be looking at on Udemy, podcasts I should be listening to and books I should be reading.

Thanks for reading
#advice #starting
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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Jimenez
    Hi There and congratulations on your quest! Indeed, you seem to have everything well planned.

    I started working on SEO and overall online marketing just like you, in copywriting. . . though a few steps underneath your plan. I would strongly suggest that as you progress you start on querying and applying to highly ranked copywriting sites such as Constant Content and the like. While they will squeeze the most out of you, as experience it can be valuable.
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  • Profile picture of the author modwilli
    Hey James,

    I respect your ambitious goals but there is some advice about copywriting that has stood the test of time.

    If you want to get better at copywriting, you should copy old, proven sales letters and other sales copy by hand - paper and pen - no computer. By writing out sales letters by hand you'll get develop an intimate relationship with good copy and it will make you a better writer. There's a great website that has a ton of free sales letters from the late, great, Gary Halbert. Check out The Gary Halbert Letter

    Here's an article where he talks about how to get better at copywriting fast: How to Write Better Copy, Faster
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    • Profile picture of the author James Loscombe
      Thanks modwilli, I am definitely planning to copy sales copy by hand. I've been working on How To Create Advertising That Sells by David Ogilvy and will move onto something else after that. Do you have any suggestions?

      I will look at The Gary Halbert Letter as well.
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      • Profile picture of the author modwilli
        Originally Posted by James Loscombe View Post

        Thanks modwilli, I am definitely planning to copy sales copy by hand. I've been working on How To Create Advertising That Sells by David Ogilvy and will move onto something else after that. Do you have any suggestions?

        I will look at The Gary Halbert Letter as well.
        There's a lot of really great copywriting books out there but I suggest diving deep into one book. I would start by reading Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. David Ogilvy even said that "Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life." If you stick with the classic and focus on daily, rigorous practice of the fundamentals you will be in great shape.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mouhamadou Diouf
      Nice piece of advice modwilli. The Gary Halbert letters are a good start, alongside with the Adweek Copywriting Book.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by James Loscombe View Post

    Hi, I am on day one of what I hope will become a successful career in copy writing. I have a plan which is enough to get me started, but not very refined, and a goal of supporting myself with freelance work by March 2020. I'd appreciate any advice you can give me, either on things I need to add to my plan (below) or tips you might have.

    My Plan for becoming a Freelance Copy Writer
    • Study (beginning with courses on Udemy)
    • Start writing copy based on what I have learned for my own website
    • Listen to podcasts
    • Start by marketing my services on Fiverr and building my portfolio
    • Read books about copy writing

    I haven't gone into any real detail. I would appreciate any advice on courses I should be looking at on Udemy, podcasts I should be listening to and books I should be reading.

    Thanks for reading
    Maybe ZAG, lest you become one of the 50,000 copywriters at Freelancer, Upwork, WF, Fiverr, et al, all who seem to be begging for work.

    Those that ZAG, the non-sheeple, are ones who have a chance of reaching your goal.

    But, you're off to the TYPICAL, follow the herd, be part of the crowd routine, so who knows, maybe you'll be one of the ones who reaches his goal, good luck with that.

    GordonJ
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Originally Posted by James Loscombe View Post

    My Plan for becoming a Freelance Copy Writer
    • Study (beginning with courses on Udemy)
    • Start writing copy based on what I have learned for my own website
    • Listen to podcasts
    • Start by marketing my services on Fiverr and building my portfolio
    • Read books about copy writing
    James, I'm afraid I don't see much of a plan there. Points 1,3 and 5 come under the heading of research, which is something you should already have started in earnest if being a freelance copywriter is your intention. Indeed, it's a habit you should continue throughout your freelance career.

    Your research will suggest a more clearly defined plan of action, which might well start with writing copy for your own site. Certainly you'll need some way to measure how well you've assimilated your learning and how effectively you can put those lessons into practice before launching your service to paying clients.

    From what you've posted, my suspicion is that you first need to do a bit more reading and studying on the subject before deciding what direction to take.

    Good luck!
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    Write a wise saying and your name will live forever. (Author unknown)

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    • Profile picture of the author James Loscombe
      Thanks Frank, that's what I thought as well. This is really just a "plan" for getting myself started. 1, 3 and 5 are certainly things that I intend to make habits and as I learn more I will refine the areas that I study. I don't know what direction to take currently but I have some ideas and really just exploring the area more.

      I don't intend to start marketing myself to paying clients for some time. I would like to build up a portfolio of relevant content before starting to do so.

      Thanks for taking the time to respond.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mary Jimenez
        Personally, I launched myself to the marketing area before doing anything. Then, I did study marketing back in college, so I wasn't with no knowledge at all. That being said; if you are not aware of what road to take and you have done some research. . .

        Why not dabble the water around and about? The wonderful thing about the internet is that you can be whomever you like without any fuss or trouble.

        I would suggest creating and alternative personna and then launching to a cent-size site such as get a freelancer or so, the reasons (IMHO) are:

        * You will get a true sense of a wide variety of clients. Copywriting technically is wonderful, but since you are writing for someone else's pleasure, it can be harder than you think.
        * You will get to experience topics, areas and languages. I wrote for a car rental company in the UK for many months, and I have to say I have never ever been to the UK.
        * If only just for fun, you can monetize what you know. It will also give you a good standing to your capabilities and your natural gifts.

        Of course, that is just IMHO
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  • Profile picture of the author Mouhamadou Diouf
    Hey James,
    That's what I would do too. But my list would start by reading books and swipes from the greatest copywriters. Try swiped.co
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  • Profile picture of the author TrickyDick
    If I were starting out, here's what I would do....

    Everyday, visit swiped.co... and spend 30 minutes browsing around. This will give you many copy examples and good analysis.

    Read these two:

    How To Find Your Big Marketing Idea by Todd Brown

    Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy That Grabs Their Attention and Compels Them to Buy by Maria Veloso

    Don't just read.... actually answer the questions... and work through the exercises. You may want to go through Maria's book three or four times to get it to really "sink in."

    Find people that you can write copy for in your "network" or here on Warrior Forum. When you think your copy is ready, post a review request in this forum (Copywriting). Keep in mind, you'll get a myriad of comments... Some vague... and useless. Some just rude.... and (still) useless. Others will be pure gold. Keep the gold... Toss the rest. :-)

    Here's what I'd avoid.... Wasting time listening to podcasts... or YouTube videos initially. You need to acquire knowledge and put it to use...

    The temptation will be to buy a million Copywriting books..... and courses. You'll want to try a dozen different Copywriting formulas.

    The problem with this is you're stuck in learning mode... and not actually doing. You could spin your wheels for months or years without earning a red cent.
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    How did Benjamin Franklin, now noted as an excellent writer, improve his prose writing?

    He would pick a writer whose style he admired, then take an essay of theirs, jot down the main ideas and then attempt to rewrite the piece from his notes. He would then compare what he had written with the original, observing the differences.

    This can easily be adapted to copywriting. The key learning happens when you see all the little things that the master writer did that you did not do. Ask yourself why they did it that way. If you can then incorporate most of those differences into future exercises, you will be on the road to becoming a pro.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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