Pioneer in the advertising industry, Leo Brunett said- “The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.”
Copywriting is such a creative yet effective profession that requires enough skill that helps to sell your business. It is more or less similar to any other business, but the only difference is companies hire these people, the so-called ‘freelance copywriters’ to help market their projects.
If you are quite influenced by this copywriting service and want to make a career out of it, then start planning for your own business. Don’t freak out if you don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in your body. Starting a copywriting business is as simple as any other small business. Though it does involve few risks like most other businesses, with strong and effective business strategies you can overcome the chance of a severe economic downturn.
Here in this article, we will help you learn how to start a copywriting business through a step-by-step guide on how to initiate a copywriting business.
Keeping reading to explore more on this!
A step-by-step guide to starting a copywriting business
Starting a copywriting business involves a multitude of factors that need proper attention. To start with your copywriting business you must have a clear insight into the details. Moreover, initiating the business may confuse you as to which pointers to be included to earn a decent revenue for running your business. Check out the below pointers to get all your doubts cleared!
1. Basic requirements
To start your copywriting business from scratch you need to focus on some basic requirements. The foundation of a successful business lies in the basics and hence, you need to organize all your requirements like a computer, internet connection, a website, etc. The initial phase of your business days may involve various expenses. Do remember to add the extra expenses when you buy anything. Track all your expenses so that you can claim accordingly while filing your income tax. Moreover, registering your business is one of the basic requirements as this can protect your business from unexpected legal issues.
2. Outline business strategies
A plan of action with a definite set of business strategies, goals, and objectives is essential for a smooth-running business. Not only it helps in proper functioning, it also boosts your business growth. Analyze the market and set your business agendas accordingly, so that you can reach out to your target clients. Implement effective promotional strategies so that you can survive the tough business competition. Monitor the ongoing service rates of your competitor to plan your financial strategies, as this would help you to set your rates.
3. Choose your services
Copywriting business involves a wide variety of services like product descriptions, blog posts, banner advertising, newsletter, white paper, and whatnot. Depending upon your expertise in specific areas you need to decide what services you are going to offer your clients. If you have experience in a particular writing type then you can focus on that niche to get your copywriting business off the ground.
4. Create an online portfolio with your writing samples
Whether copywriting business or any other, what is most important is getting clients for the services you claim to provide. Getting more clients means more projects and in turn earning more revenue. Just strong business strategies aren’t enough to fetch you clients, your portfolio highlighting your talents will attract more customers.
Your experience is your resource. And it is actually true! If you are an experienced copywriter, then you can gather all your writing samples and showcase your talent by developing an online portfolio. Demonstrate the range of working experience you had with various media agencies or industries before you started with your business. Moreover, list out your services and offer a bio to the client so that they come to know about your background. This way you can draw potential clients to your website.
Even if you do not have samples, you still can get clients by considering a spec work. Writing for big brands without actually working for them would help you highlight your skills and get more projects.
5. Upgrade your skills
Improve your writing style, pattern and implement new techniques to make your work much more attractive. Keep yourself upgraded so that you can be at par with the ongoing market trends. There is no age bar for learning. You can always look out for online courses to enhance your skills. This way you can help grow your business by fulfilling your customers’ needs.
6. Develop a brand
No matter how skilled you are and what services you promise to provide, you need to have a strong marketing strategy to develop your business growth. Developing a brand adds more weight to your business credibility. This is a marketing strategy that helps you get closer to your clients. An attractive graphic look with a colorful logo and readable font can be used in business cards or websites as a strong marketing tool.
7. Create your website
Once you are done with developing a brand, create your website. This is the easiest way to centralize your copywriting business. This helps your clients to have a base from which they can approach you. Besides, a professional social media presence is as important as having a well-designed website. Your social media profile would provide you an active vibrant platform to highlight your skills, your sample work and would also allow you to interact with your existing client and other potential customers.
8. Pitch your business to find clients
Achieving more projects and getting more clients is your goal, and this is what helps you to run a successful copywriting business. Convince your clients to hire you by sending pitch emails. A pitch mail should have the link of your portfolio, give an introduction about yourself, your service, and the reason as to why you should be hired.
Participate in networking events:
To keep your business afloat, you need to find new clients constantly in your initial days. Attending networking events is a good opportunity to meet potential clients. Whether a networking event of advertising agencies, copywriting agencies, or tech startups, do attend such events to meet new people that can help you to get new clients.
Ask for referrals:
You can ask for referrals from your existing clients to get more projects. Offering some discounts to your clients for providing referrals may boost your business relationships as well.
9. Establish your rates
Establishing your rates for copywriting services that you will charge your clients, is an important step and can be challenging for freelancers. Research well on the ongoing rates as well as the rates offered by your competitors with similar experience providing similar services. Setting hourly rates as well as per-word rates is a good idea to offer some flexibility to your clients. Moreover, it is essential to count all your business expenses while setting your rates. Keeping a low rate may be tempting for your clients and can get you more projects as you get your business off the ground. But do remember to set a margin to make sure that your rates are sustainable in the long run.
10. Create your legal contract
A business without a legal contract can run down into losses or face legal implications anytime. Hence, outline a contract by articulating the service you provide, timelines of project completion as well as payment clearance. It should be signed by both you and your clients.
11. Accounting system
A business guide without accounting tips would lead you astray in this competitive business world. Starting with a copywriting business isn’t tough, but a lack of proper accounting knowledge may cause serious financial issues. Let’s learn what you need to consider under this section.
Create professional invoices:
It isn’t wise to keep your invoicing work pending until the last hour. Get your invoices ready and send them immediately when you are done with your work. Online invoicing software could help you with a professional invoice template that saves a lot of hassles and is easy to do. If you are doing it manually, ensure you assign invoice numbers, mention the contact details, itemize the list of services, mention the rates per work, taxes, and total amount due along with payment due date. If you feel creating such professional invoices is too complex, then take the help of online invoicing software.
Billbooks is one such software that caters to all your business accounting needs.
Pay attention to taxes:
Don’t be so engrossed in your business success that you miss out on tracking your taxes and encounter nasty surprises at the last minute. It is your responsibility to pay your taxes. Keep a track of all our invoices from the beginning and organize them in a spreadsheet. Apply this to the income tax authority once complete.
Insurance for your company:
To safeguard your copywriting business from any financial loss, cover your business with professional indemnity insurance. In any case, if your clients incur loss and claim it from you, your insurance will be there to cover you.
Bonus tips for starting a Copywriting business
The above guide will help you understand how to start a copywriting business smoothly. The below-mentioned additional tips will help your business to get off the ground with added benefits.
Proper business planning
A business without proper planning does not sail through. If you are freelancing then you must implement business plans essentially to keep your business steady. Discover the unknown factors and map them out. Figure out the following factors for the smooth running of your business:
- Target market
- Start-up and ongoing operational cost
- Brand creation
- Service rates
Create the legal entity of your business
Form the legal entity for your business to avoid legal complications. There are primarily three forms of business structure:
- Sole Proprietorship
Open a business account
Open a separate business account to keep your personal assets separated from company assets. This will keep your personal asset in case your business suffers any economic downturn or legal issues. Moreover, it also makes tax filing much easier.
Create a legitimate business website
Creating a business website is as essential as designing your business brand and logo. All legitimate businesses have well-designed websites that share every detail about your company background, services, rates and even contact details. It is not necessary to always create highly creative and attractive websites. It should be well-organized and must have a professional look with all the important details. Moreover, make your social media presence more prominent besides creating websites.
Marketing your brand is of utmost importance for the growth of business as well as to promote your brand. Social media platforms are a great way to do so. Besides, there are few more ways to promote your business, like:
- Email marketing
- Press release
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Direct response advertising
Setup business phone system
Creating a phone set up for your business will help you to keep your personal life and business life separated from each other. Moreover, it becomes much more automated and your potential customers can contact you whenever required.
The charges of freelance copywriters depend upon their experience and the type of work they do. They charge on a per word, per page, per hour, or project basis. But generally, they charge between $25 to $100 per hour.
You don’t necessarily need a degree to become a copywriter. But in recent days, employers are looking for candidates with bachelor’s degrees in particular fields like English, Communicator or Journalism. This allows students to complete their internships with the companies and look for full-time work.
From print and digital advertising copy, website and social media content to speech writing and blogging, copywriters work in different contexts depending upon their contract with their clients.
Profit potential in copywriting business is unlimited and one can make around $31k to $93K per year. To make your business more profitable you need to specialize in a particular field of copywriting. For example, technical writing demands more money than any other form of copywriting job.
A small business can operate with the help of two writers. Whereas, a large company can function with the help of a team of writers in a proper office setup.
The day-to-day activities in a copywriting business involve the following task:
1. Meeting new clients
2. Working on a new assignment
3. Billing for completed work
4. Managing workflow
5. Meeting other companies and brands and working on their assignments
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Starting a copywriting business may bring up initial hurdles, but getting into the swing will make it a lot more simple. Now, as you know the tips and tricks as to how to start a copywriting business, it’s time to put your plan into action. What are you waiting for? Get started now!