Start Your Own Copywriting Revolution
We've been talking all week about building a profitable freelance business.
All are important for building a strong foundation.
But to make it profitable, I'm going to suggest one massive shift:
Start your own copywriting revolution!
Turn things upside down, do the opposite of what most freelancers do (and what I've often done in the past), and really take control of your business.
Let me explain …
For most of us, it's against our nature to be assertive and take charge. It's easier to sit back, refine our craft, submit spec assignments and proposals, and wait for clients to "give" us work.
I'm not saying it's bad to do those things. I've spent my share of time operating in that mode. I still do sometimes.
But if you operate for too long like that, you become passive. You end up doing piecework and being at the beck and call of your clients. You don't earn what you're worth.
This year, my goal is to flip that model on its head and instead follow Nick Usborne's advice:
1. Take control of the steering wheel. You be the driver.
I recently slipped into the passive trap. "Can you do a brochure?" the client asked. "A short bio for the newsletter? An 'About' page for my wife's website?" I kept saying yes every time he called because I needed the business. But I didn't enjoy it, the money wasn't that great, and I felt like an employee again, doing whatever my boss asked me to do.
A better approach is to take charge and make things happen instead of waiting for clients to give you work.
I did this with my very first client three years ago. A friend of mine who ran a sales training company invited me to their monthly meeting. Without knowing anything, I spoke up and proposed a monthly editorial schedule using email marketing. I was in the driver's seat, and it set the tone for an ongoing, profitable relationship for both of us.
2. Charge for your value, not for your time. This ties in with being in the driver's seat. Prospects may ask you for your hourly rate, but you shouldn't have one. As soon as you quote an hourly rate, it lets them unfairly compare you to another copywriter who's quoted them a rate.
Charge for the value you provide to the client instead. A quick example: a client asked me to do a three-minute online video script. It only took me about an hour, they were thrilled, and I made $300. But if I had told them my rate was $300 an hour, they probably would have walked away.
A few factors can influence your value. If you were referred to the client, their perceived value of you is higher. If you have success stories you can share with them of other clients who had similar needs, you can base your fee on that. It's not an exact science, and if anything, I prefer to quote a little high. If it's out of their price range, you can always do part of the project for less or negotiate a middle-ground price if you want the business.
I would only caution against pricing too low because the client will base their perception of you partly on the fees you're charging.
3. Make more money with each project. A passive copywriter listens to what the client wants, does the work, gets paid, and moves on.
It's a passive approach.
When you're the driver, you look for ways to add value to the client while increasing your pay.
I had a client in the fitness industry recently. At first, she asked only for a critique of their website copy. Very simple project, only $200. I did a thorough job and then suggested a different approach, including writing an online video script. I also proposed a series of six autoresponder emails and a new version of their landing page.
I turned a $200 job into a $1,700 one. The client was thrilled, and my work increased their sales. More important, they viewed me as more of a professional because I stepped up and advised them on how to grow their business. I didn't just wait for them to give me an "assignment."
The Revolution Starts in Your Head
I didn't start doing these things overnight, and I still have a long way to go. It's not always comfortable to stretch out of your comfort zone. It's not natural to act as a consultant, get paid a few hundred dollars an hour, or take control as a "driver."
It all starts, I believe, with thinking of yourself as a professional who brings immense value to every client. You have unique skills that can't be compared with anyone else.
The shift starts in your mind.
How do you know what those skills are worth? Check out my article "How to Determine Your Value in the Marketplace" for some ideas.
Have you made that mental shift? Are you ready to start your own revolution? Any small (or big) success stories so far? I'd love to hear from you. Leave your comment below.
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