Work As a Freelance Copywriter in Your Spare Time Or As a Full-Time Career

Learning how to write effective copy gives you two financially valuable opportunities:

  1. You can work as a freelance copywriter in your spare time or as a full-time career.

  2. You can use the skill to increase the money you’re making from your spare-time business.

Either opportunity puts more coin in your pocket at the end of the day.

But today I’m going to tackle the first opportunity, and show you what you can expect if you decide to pursue freelance copywriting as a full- or spare-time career.

And just to make sure you and I are on the same page, let’s start with the obvious …

What is a copywriter?

Look at the ads in your favorite magazine or newspaper. Listen to the words on radio ads or TV commercials. Look at the writing in the direct-mail letters you receive at home. Read the words on websites that sell products and services.

All of these words were written by copywriters.

Unlike news or editorial writing, copywriting is all about getting the reader to take action.

That’s the job of a copywriter. To use words to get a reader to take a specific action.

And that action can be anything. It might be to click a link in an email, fill out a form, sign up for a magazine, buy a set of pasta bowls, donate to a local charity, get your city planner to approve a proposal – any action at all.

How much can a freelance copywriter earn by working from home?

That depends a lot on your own plans and ambitions. But here are some examples that you can use to get an idea of the kind of money you could make, depending how much time you want to put in:

David works full-time, but wants to earn some extra money for vacations and for the family’s savings plan. He puts in some time during the evenings and on weekends and makes $25,000 a year.

Elaine is a stay-at-home single mom. She has two young children to care for, but still manages to find four hours a day for her freelance copywriting business. She makes $70,000 a year.

Paula is ambitious and works long hours, not only on copywriting, but also on the growth and development of her freelance business. She makes $120,000 a year.

Jack is a real go-getter. He not only found he has a real talent for copywriting, but also that he’s a terrific networker and business developer. He has negotiated some lucrative contracts with a number of big companies and will be making more than $300,000 this year.

You get the idea? The great thing about being a freelance copywriter is that you can adjust how much you work and earn to suit your own personal circumstances and ambitions.

You don’t HAVE to aim to make $100,000 a year or more.

But nor do you HAVE to limit yourself to $100,000, if you have ambitions to make a lot more.

The decision is all your own.

What kind of qualifications do you need to be a copywriter?

None! And this is why I love my job at AWAI so much. I’ve met successful copywriters from all different backgrounds. There is no “mold” when it comes to copywriting.

You can be 18 or 80.

You can have a Ph.D. or not even have finished high school.

You can have a job as a plumber right now, or as a lawyer, or have no job at all.

You can live in a big city, or in a cabin up in the mountains, and you don’t have to live in the U.S.

All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. And if you have a laptop, you can travel to visit family or friends during the week, and your clients don’t even have to know you’re not in your “office.”

Are copywriters still in demand, now that the economy has tanked?

Great question. And the quick answer is a resounding YES! And here’s why …

When times are tough economically, companies will do all kinds of things to reduce costs. They’ll close stores and plants, and let as many employees go as they can. Even senior-level employees.

But one thing they HAVE to keep doing, if they want to survive, is sell their products or services as effectively as they can.

This means they always need top copywriting talent. They need good copywriters to help them move their products … urgently.

That said, they might let some of their in-house copywriters go, if they have any. They might do the math and realize that it costs less to hire a good freelancer than it does to pay the salary and benefits of a full-time employee.

But one way or another, companies absolutely HAVE to keep selling.

Even during an economic downturn or recession, good copywriters are still in strong demand.

Can you really learn to be a copywriter simply by taking a course?

It depends on which course you take.

And that really is the truth of it. The craft of copywriting CAN be learned from a course. That same course CAN also show you how to get started. It can even help you get your first paying clients.

But you have to choose the right course.

You probably already know AWAI has a program called the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. Of course, I’m partial to it because I know it inside and out, and have personally met and worked with hundreds of people who started successful freelance copywriting careers by taking it.

No matter what course you take, though, the fact remains: you don’t need to get a degree or pay a lot of money for expensive training to become a successful freelance copywriter.

If you can write a simple email or letter to a friend, and you like to share ideas with other people … you have all the qualifications you need to become a copywriter.

It doesn’t matter what job you have right now.

It doesn’t matter if you have no job at all.

It doesn’t matter what age you are, or where you live.

It doesn’t even matter where your clients are located!

With the Internet, you can do work for companies on other continents, if you wish. (Did you know I actually live in Texas, even though AWAI is in Florida?)

You can even conduct your entire business by phone and email.

So if you’ve been thinking about “testing the waters” and taking a step toward learning how to write copy, check out AWAI’s popular Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

You have all the qualifications you need to become a successful freelance copywriter. So if it’s something you want to try, there’s never been a better time.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: April 7, 2009

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