Need a copywriter, but don't have a lot of cash? Read this...

12 replies
I wanted to post this here because I know a lot of people come to the copywriting section of the warrior forum looking for a copywriter, but maybe they don't have the biggest budget in the world.

It is easy to get discouraged when you come in here and see dozens of copywriters, all with rates into the $1500+ range (most are higher), and all of them recommending that you DON'T pay less than that for sales copy.

Obviously, it isn't recommended that you pay less for one of the most important aspects of your business than you'll pay for cable TV this year - but when you're just starting out, chances are, you don't have a choice.

Maybe you only have a couple hundred dollars to your name to get this product off the ground. Maybe you got ripped off somewhere along the line in product development, and your budget just can't fit a high priced copywriter anymore. There are 1000's of "maybes" that all lead to the same thing - while you'd love to have 4 figures to spend on a copywriter, you just might not have it right now.

A lot of copywriters won't admit this, but we get it. We understand where you are, because we were THERE. All of us started somewhere, and it likely involved having no income from our copywriting business at some point. We were beginners. We built our portfolio, got new clients, built our rates up to that 4 or 5 figure mark, and make a nice living from our writing - NOW.

But there was a time for all of us when we weren't making thousands of dollars for copywriting. There was a time for all of us when spending $1500 on a salesletter wouldn't just have made us cringe, it would have been impossible. There was no $1500 for a sales letter.

It wasn't a matter of not being "serious" about our business, or not "thinking things through", and it didn't mean that we weren't going to be successful at some point.

All it meant was that our copywriting income at that point couldn't support an expense like that - just like your internet marketing income now might not be able to support the expense of a copywriter.

Now, if you have a few hundred dollars that you're able to spend, you're ahead of the game. You've got SOMETHING.

I wouldn't recommend spending it on a cheap copywriter, though.

Spend it on an expensive copywriter - one that offers critiques within your budget.


Because by spending a day or two writing up your own sales letter, and then getting a professional opinion on what you should change to improve your conversion rate from a real, producing copywriter, you're increasing your odds of success.

Now, you might be thinking "but Cherilyn, why would I pay a few hundred dollars for a critique when I can get one for free, just by asking?"

And you're right - you can. There are dozens of very generous copywriters here, who offer up their time and their services to those who ask, without expecting anything in return.

The problem is, there are also plenty of generous copywriters here who haven't cut their chops yet - they're still developing a portfolio, learning the game, and getting experience - who will provide you with a critique, too.

And sometimes, you'll get conflicting responses. One person will say "this part sucks" - and then someone else will say "no, it doesn't - but this part does!"

Can you afford to spend hours sorting through all of the responses, figuring out who to listen to? Do you really know the track record of everyone here well enough to be able to instantly filter through the critiques and find the best responses?

And what about the fact that these are *free* critiques? Most copywriters worth their salt will be too busy with client work to spend hours giving you a critique for free. Of course, many of them will offer some advice on quick changes that can help you - and they're wonderful for doing it. But you'll never get the whole picture by piecing together free critiques.

I urge you, Warriors... If your budget is limited, but you need a copywriter - hire someone here for a critique. Their rates vary, but I do know of at least half a dozen copywriters here who charge only a few hundred dollars for a critique. Many of them have proven, professional track records.

Every time I see someone get a poor conversion rate by hiring a cheap copywriter, it makes me cringe - because I know that person probably only had a few hundred dollars to spend.

Not because they weren't serious, or because they didn't know what they were doing - but because they were just starting out.

Next time you're about to hire an inexpensive copywriter, consider getting a critique done instead. You won't get the same value as a complete salesletter, of course - but dollar for dollar, your money is far better spent on a critique from a seasoned pro than a complete letter from a rookie.

Good luck!

- Cherilyn
#cash #copywriter #lot #read
  • Profile picture of the author maximus242
    Great article

    xResponsive Advertising Agency | Direct Marketing | Online Advertising | Create Breakthrough Campaigns for Your Business

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    • Profile picture of the author Copydog
      Another way to go is to barter something other
      than money for a critique.

      Perhaps you're ace at setting up a Wordpress
      blog or a website.

      Well, you could offer to set one up in exchange
      for a professional critique.

      A win-win situation for both parties, and you
      get to keep your cash for other needs.

      “Your critiques are good.”
      Drayton Bird
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  • Profile picture of the author Kpick
    Interesting and a good read.
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  • Good thinking Eldo!

    The point here is to get potential copywriting clients thinking outside of the "$2000 copywriter or $200 copywriter" box, and see that even high priced copywriters will often offer services closer to your own price range. It may not be ideal, but as I said in the post - dollar for dollar, you'll get a lot more value (and likely a higher conversion rate for your buck) by hiring a real professional to critique your letter than having an inexperienced copywriter write it for you from scratch.
    Take your product from idea to profit in less than 90 days! Work with me to develop and implement a step-by-step plan for success!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    Actually, as long as they have all the material available, and I don't have to play detective to get any other info, I'm willing to do the lesser paying jobs.

    My reason is simple - there was a time when I genuinely didn't have enough money to pay for copywriting, or anything else for that matter. I was so desperate to get started I got into debt trying.

    I'd prefer to help people out if it means they won't get into debt. It's one of the most debilitating things that can happen to anyone.

    And I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    To add to Cherilyn's point about free critiques...

    Yes, you can get free critiques.

    Yes, experienced copywriters with a proven track record will often chime in.

    But it'll only be one or two points... based on a quick read of the letter.

    If it's a paid critique, we'll tear the letter apart... look over it from top to bottom... and give you every single thing we can think of that'll help your conversions.

    We won't do that in a free critique.

    I'm not saying free critiques aren't valuable - they can be.

    I just wanted to add to Cherilyn's point and foster some deeper understanding.


    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Very true, Dan - I touched on that in my post, but you put it much more eloquently. The kind of copywriter you want critiquing your letter simply won't have the time to rip your letter apart from top to bottom for free - they'll be too busy with clients!
    Take your product from idea to profit in less than 90 days! Work with me to develop and implement a step-by-step plan for success!
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by Cherilyn Woodhouse View Post

      Very true, Dan - I touched on that in my post, but you put it much more eloquently. The kind of copywriter you want critiquing your letter simply won't have the time to rip your letter apart from top to bottom for free - they'll be too busy with clients!
      Cherilyn and Daniel... Good points about the paid critiques.

      Reality 101 says that working for free rarely pays the bills.

      I can't speak for every copywriter but as much as I enjoy helping other people, there's a finite amount of time I can dedicate to free work without cutting into paying client work. So the paying clients get significantly higher priority (which you'd expect to receive if you were a paying client).

      Take care,

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      • Profile picture of the author Copydog
        Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

        as much
        as I enjoy helping other people, there's a finite
        amount of time I can dedicate to free work
        without cutting into paying client work.
        Important point, Mike.

        And offering someone a $4 ebook in exchange
        for a critique also won't get many takers.

        “Your critiques are good.”
        Drayton Bird
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  • Profile picture of the author Foresight2020
    Cherilyn, et. al.,

    Thank you for starting this thread & your responses - how did you know I was looking for this information?

    This is a great suggestion - "almost obvious" - but nonetheless brilliant suggestions of how to get better leverage with one of your scarce resources (money).

    We're getting ready to kick off an affiliate marketing program in the "parenting of teenagers / families in crisis" niche, and also to reposition an "offline" (what a misnomer!) consulting practice - and "copywriting" is what has been on my mind today.

    ...and I learned something - there's a difference between article writing and copywriting. So, I'll need to focus a little more and think about what exactly we need, where and when, and then figure out where to scrape the funds together.

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  • Profile picture of the author Len Bailey
    Great thread -- many Warriors should find value in everyone's posts.

    One other possibility to consider: Many copywriters will forego or decrease their fee in exchange for a percentage of sales.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    Len Bailey
    Feel free to connect on LinkedIn or Twitter

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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    I agree, great advice Cherilyn. Hiring a sub par copywriter "because you can't afford a good one" is like buying fingerless gloves to climb Everest.

    Sure, you know you need gloves to protect your hands, but why spend money on ones that end up giving you frostbite and cuts... and leaving you with no money for band aids?

    Personal critiques are definitely a great budget option... but still very effective.
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