Help A Newbie Out For A Second...

13 replies
I have this determination to be a freelance copywriter, so over the last month, I went through John Carlton's Marketing Rebel course and Eben Pagan's Marketing Step-By-Step, and religiously wrote down their ideas, concepts, etc. to internalize them as best I could.

I think you know where this is going though, which is that I got completely obsessed with learning and have been reluctant to TAKE ACTION and start applying my new knowledge.

I'm ready to take the leap now, and I need advice on how to start whoring myself out to get a good track record so I can actually start making some dough.

This is what I'm thinking: I'll give away my services for just $1, and even though it's my first time they'll be getting knowledge from $2,000+ worth of material I went through, plus, I can honestly say that if something I try doesn't succeed, it is my nature to change things trying again and again until I make it work.

Any more tips from pro freelancers on how to take that first step? Where should I look for my first client? Should I limit myself to specific markets or take anything that comes my way? Should I have any up-front requirements from the client?


Any advice or tips you have for taking that first step would be stellar. THANKS.
#advice #beginner #copywriting #help needed #newbie
  • Profile picture of the author Matt Ausin
    For starters, don't give your services away for $1.

    You don't want the clients you'll attract that way. They're going to be bottom-feeding idiots that won't even run your copy and writing for their products is something you won't want to showcase anyway. So you'll be trapped in a loop.

    Provided you can string together a semi-decent piece of copy... The fact that you have no experience is not a problem.

    There's a ton of ways to work around that.

    For example, negotiate a deal with an experienced copywriter who has some proof and credibility that she or he is going to review your work before you send it off to a client. Charge, I don't know, $1,500. Give the experienced copywriter $1,499 to work with you on really nailing this letter, everybody wins. You get your $1 (which you would've charged anyway according to your plan, except this time you're not lowballing yourself) and a decent letter in your portfolio, your client gets decent copy, and the experienced copywriter gets $1,499 for his work.

    (Cue in the "$1,500 will get you shitty copy, I charge at least $30,000 a letter" crowd. Don't listen to that. $1,500 can get your copy reviewed by a really good copywriter.)

    As to where to look for clients, it depends on what market you want to work in. I started in WF and then expanded to a few other markets, but that is not necessarily the best way. Just "a" way.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      These guys are doing a webinar on the subject:

      Free Teleconference on Getting Clients


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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        In the training and studying you've done,
        has their been anything about price justification?

        Why I bring this up, is because a client would love
        to see his or her product or service pitched at a
        high dollar value and get it...as you would.

        If you can demonstrate this in your own sales message,
        then it saves you starting off at $1, or slave labor
        prices.

        Best,
        Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by drewcer View Post

    I'm ready to take the leap now, and I need advice on how to start whoring myself out to get a good track record so I can actually start making some dough.
    Drewcer,

    In your case, since you're at the very beginning of your journey, your best bet would be to create a product. Then sell it yourself by writing a sales letter and driving traffic to it.

    The experience you get will be invaluable to you.

    If you fill in your education gaps as you go along ---you'll learn how to determine what a market wants, how to drive targeted traffic to an offer, and how to write sales copy that converts.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author MaxTurner
    I am going to have to agree with everyone here. It seems that whenever I did free work for people, that's exactly what I attracted... more people wanting my work for free.

    Although I am in the same boat as you are, learning copywriting is fun, difficult and challenging but isn't everything that's worth it?

    Don't sell yourself short.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Drewcer, you're a copywriter now. Your job is to sell. Giving away your time, skills and talent doesn't prove anything.
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  • Profile picture of the author drewcer
    Thanks, extremely valuable feedback.

    I had studied pricing strategies, but for some reason I felt like I had no value until I "prove" myself.

    I totally see now why I don't want to give away my services, even when starting out.

    Thanks a ton!

    Drew
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    • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
      Originally Posted by drewcer View Post

      Thanks, extremely valuable feedback.

      I had studied pricing strategies, but for some reason I felt like I had no value until I "prove" myself.

      I totally see now why I don't want to give away my services, even when starting out.

      Thanks a ton!

      Drew
      Yes, but to echo the other guys, you prove yourself through your writing...giving your services away only proves that you're desperate.
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    • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
      Originally Posted by drewcer View Post

      Thanks, extremely valuable feedback.

      I had studied pricing strategies, but for some reason I felt like I had no value until I "prove" myself.

      I totally see now why I don't want to give away my services, even when starting out.

      Thanks a ton!

      Drew
      Pricing yourself low to attract business is definitely a strategy. But here's the thing - it's a losing strategy.

      When you price yourself low, you're competing with lowballers. They can always just lower their prices and outsource. Can you survive when there's hardcore downward pressure on your price?

      No, to put it bluntly.

      When pricing is your only strategy, you've turned your services into a commodity, something you'd buy like toilet paper. The only thing keeping people loyal to you is your price. And that's when your business is really in danger.

      You're in the beginning stages, and it's very hard to see value in something you haven't tried. I understand. I've been there. If you're brave enough to hang your shingle out there and be a copywriter, be brave enough to ask for money. Get paid to learn.

      Don't start your career off on the wrong foot. Once you're involved with price buyers, it gets nasty. It's super difficult to get disentangled from that downward spiral...it's like quicksand, pulling you in.

      Start off by having a pep talk with your biggest supporters, whatever you need to believe in yourself. Believe you can do this job. Pick a fair price, build value for your clients, and get out there and get shit done.
      Signature

      Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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    • Profile picture of the author Chriswrighto
      Originally Posted by drewcer View Post

      Thanks, extremely valuable feedback.

      I had studied pricing strategies, but for some reason I felt like I had no value until I "prove" myself.

      I totally see now why I don't want to give away my services, even when starting out.

      Thanks a ton!

      Drew
      I know exactly how you feel man.

      I was like this not too long ago.

      Charging $1500+ made my pulse rise and my knees wobble.

      Who the hell was going to pay me thousands of dollars for copywriting?

      It felt better once I saw the results I could produce... and now I'm much more comfortable charging for what I'm worth.

      You just gotta jump in.

      But as others have said... your writing sells.

      My opinion on what to do?
      1. Get a Warrior For Hire post up. Charge $300 or so for your first.
      2. Don't hang around at this price for long. You might get more enquiries but keep moving rates up... $297... $397... $500 and so on. (Maximum of 3 clients at each price point.)
      3. Get a website up, and stick it in your sig... this way you'll be able to quote clients on a project basis rather than having a set rate.
      4. Network and get to know people. It'll pay back big time.

      Chris
      Signature

      Wealthcopywriter.com :)

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  • Profile picture of the author JamesDLayton
    Yep I started on Fiverr as people know. I managed to upsell a lot of the $5 jobs to $200+ but yeah there were clown shoes asking for "rewrites" on a 300 word $5 letter. Not that it was usable really, more like a blueprint for a larger work they should buy. (crafty strategy). Anyway Fiverr had its time I've moved on. I just wanted a shit ton of work up front to get into the "idea" of being a copywriter. I ploughed through 40+ jobs in that month. At the VERY least I was writing sales copy to practice (even Seth said I had grown light years from my first efforts) and got paid too. Enough to buy books and grow to the next level anyway.

    That's all it is really. Level up. Level up. Level up.

    James
    Signature
    "We are what we think about
    all day long." - Earl Nightingale
    One of the easiest transformations I ever undertook as a copywriter was reading that quote every day.
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