Secrets Every Smart Freelancer Should Know

Julie Hassett

Hi, Julie Hassett here.

Let me ask you …

Have you envisioned your perfect day living the writer’s life?

I certainly have. I did it almost every day for two years!

Then one day – just like that! – it was no longer only in my mind.

I told my bosses at the bank where I was working that my freelance business needed my undivided attention.

And two weeks later, there I stood … toting a cardboard box from my emptied-out desk (you know the one … with the plant, framed photos, coffee mug) to the elevator on the 17th floor.

I was bubbling over with nervous excitement as I pushed the down button for the last time.

I stepped into the same elevator where, nearly two years ago, I saw a brief newsflash on the TV monitor that said, “Copywriters make $100,000 a year working from home.” It planted a seed in my mind. And now, there I was, harvesting my dreams.

With my heart racing and stifling the urge to high five everyone I passed, I stepped out into a brand-new world … as a writer.

The next day, I woke up and walked five feet to my new home office. No imagining anymore … it was now time to get down to business.

For you, that day may be closer than you think. The day you say a permanent good-bye to your commute … your boss … your 40-hour work week.

And when that day comes, I want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for those first few crucial weeks as a freelancer. Because your behaviors at the start will become your habits.

Those habits can make the difference between a career that skyrockets and one that sputters.

This week, I’ll give you practical tips to get your writing, marketing and learning ducks all in a row.

You’ll also learn how to easily manage your time, so you wake up every morning task-oriented and ready to be productive.

And I’ll show you my favorite methods for picking yourself back up if a little anxiety or lack of focus starts to cloud your vision.

In fact, I want to share the first secret with you now …

I want to ask that you complete a very important task, so that you’ll have it ready to go as soon as you make the transition into full-time freelancing.

I want you to draft a letter that you’ll soon be sending to all your contacts announcing your career change. Here’s what it should do:

  • Describe what you do
  • Briefly touch on the path you took to get there
  • Offer your services
  • Ask for referrals

Then, when you’re ready to make the leap, you’ll begin emailing that letter to five people on your contact list each day. If you have a mailing address for your business, you can also print the letter and send it along with three of your business cards.

As an example, have a look at the letter I drafted right here. Remember to personalize the beginning of each email or letter to get better engagement and a better response rate.

Dear ______________,

How are you?! What’s new?

We've been out of touch for a while now (too long!) … but, I’m reaching out to let you know about a career change that officially happened for me this week (although it’s been almost two years in the making).

After nearly eight years (with a year hiatus in Tennessee), Monday marked my last day at Wells Fargo. Over the last year and a half, I’ve built a freelance copywriting business in the evenings and on weekends. And even prior to that, I was learning the craft of copywriting.

I know a lot of people aren’t clear exactly what I mean when I say “copywriting” – it’s essentially the writing component of marketing. It’s any kind of persuasive writing that gets the reader to do something or to simply know, like and trust you and your business.

Most of what I do is writing for the web (those pages where you read all the information you need to make a purchase or give your email address in exchange for a free book) and email marketing (the emails that come after you give your email address).

I also write E-newsletter articles, blogs and direct-mail copy for a number of clients.

I’m getting in touch with you just to make you aware of what I do. And, in the case that you or someone you know should need copywriting or marketing services, I can be contacted anytime for a chat.

My website is

I hope you’re doing well! Please be in touch. I’d love to hear an update from you also!



Tell me … when are you planning on making the leap? Did you already do it? Was it just like you expected? Leave me a note in the comments.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the “Three-Part Workday” structure that will cover all your business bases. And, I’ll give you a tip that will ramp up your inspiration even when tackling tasks that might scare you a little … like marketing yourself!

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Published: April 28, 2014

36 Responses to “Secrets Every Smart Freelancer Should Know”

  1. Julie,

    I am currently just beginning my adventure as a B2B copywriter. My situation however has placed me in a very difficult position. I was recently downsized and I need to make strides as a copywriter as quickly as possible to replace my income. I was curious as to whether you or someone you know would be willing to mentor me to help me make a reasonable income during my learning process, thank you.

    Guest (J Jeff Truran)

  2. What a brilliant suggestion. I have been imagining my last day as well. Enjoyed 'being there' with you on yours. How exciting. This is great. I've written my letter and it's ready to go when I am. Thanks, Julie!

    Sue Dyson

  3. Hi Julie,

    Great article! And, congratulations on making the leap!!

    I wish I'd had your sample letter when I started!

    Can't wait til tomorrow's article. I'm very intrigued by the "Three-Part Workday” structure. :)

    Christina Gillick

  4. Hello Julie,

    I have been sowing the seeds to become a freelance writer for over a year now. When I was laid off permanently from my day job, I put all my time, money and effort into writing. Sadly, I have yet to earn a dime. Although my articles have been published in newspapers and magazines, I haven't yet found a paying client. I was forced to accept a part-time day-job. I do have queries pending with several national magazines. Due to scheduling delays, none will be published until next winter. Any suggestions? I need to generate income immediately! Thanks.



    Guest (Terri Yochum)

  5. Hi Julie, I read your email, I saw your letter and visited your website, and I must say "I am really impressed". It is hard work being paid off.
    I work for as an academic writer. It is not a very high paying job, but it is enough for me to polish my writing skills. I have just joined AWAI and seriously want to become a copywriter with six figure income. I am already a freelance academic writer, I am trying to devote more and more time to my copy writing endeavors.

    Guest (Tauqeer)

  6. Julie! First Congrats! Always good to hear of the next person who made the leap. I too have a flexible job - but mine is from home already (1 day a week in someone else's home office), but I'm ready to be on my own.

    You've given me the incentive (and direction) today to move forward a little faster. I do have one client already, but why not 2, 3, or 4! Can't wait to read the rest of this week's articles! Best of luck to you!

    Diane of Get Focused

  7. Hi Julie,

    I loved reading about your reluctant entry into your full-time freelance biz. I only just started the journey March 7 of this year. I had already recovered from the shock of losing my position/income just before Christmas last year, and was ready to venture into a industry, and…well…a new LIFE.

    I had not planned on starting the business this soon but, as they say, "stuff happens"!

    A visit to a local trade show led to an invitation to a networking event. I came out of that meeting with 3 very strong leads. I'm working it as best I can. It's a huge learning curve and I'm loving it!

    Thanks so much for the letter template. I will use it this week.



    Guest (Lee Nourse)

  8. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for this article. Congratulations and good luck to your copywriting business!


  9. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for this article. Congratulations and good luck to your copywriting business!


  10. Hi Julie, I've been trying to make freelance writing work, but have had a hard time finding the actual work. Also, I want work that can help pay my bills.
    I signed up for AWAI and Barefoot Writer in the hopes that by the end of taking courses, I will actually receive work.
    I am still wondering about that now.

    It is great to hear success stories, thanks for sharing.

    Guest (Diana)

  11. Thanks for the great article, Julie.

    I'll officially retire from the city where I'm utility director in March of next year.

    I've had a small, part-time freelance business for several years that I really enjoy. My time is very limited, so it's not a big money-maker. But I'm getting good experience and I enjoy it.

    My plan is to transition to B2B writing in the water industry, which is my expertise of 34 years.

    I look forward to the rest of your blogs!

    Donna Kaluzniak

  12. Well. That might be the most inspirational blog, with the biggest kick up the pants that I have read for a very, very long time.

    Just adding in that letter made it all the more realistic and possible. Thank you!


    chris brannick

  13. Hi Julie!

    First of all, congrats on making the transition to The Writer's Life!

    Your "Grand Opening" letter is ingenious, and I'll be using your template to send my own announcement letter. It's really a big step--I equate it to choosing to be baptized, for one is "telling their story" of where they were, and then stating their commitment to achieve the goal of where where they want to be.

    I look forward to the rest of your blogs this week. Thanks again!

    Warmest Regards,

    Burton Bliven

    Guest (Burton Bliven)

  14. Congratulations Julie! Your story is so inspiring. May I ask what programs or courses you studied to get started? I am interested in web writing as well. I'd like to initially find something that will begin to generate an income stream and then build on that. Thanks again for the inspiration and for sharing your intro letter template!

    Tracy Wilson

  15. Thanks so much for your article Julie.I am slowly making the transition from teacher to copywriter. Working though the accelerated course right now. I am really enjoying it, lots of ideas running through my head. I am holding onto your articles for when I'm ready to launch my career, that's the part of most worried about. Your story is very encouraging, can't wait to write my letter!
    Thanks, Diana F.


  16. Julie,

    I really enjoyed your article. I have been trying to get started in copywriting for a couple of years, but have had a hard time picking a niche. I've finally decided on B2B copywriting for IT, since I have lots of IT and technical writing background.

    I would enjoy learning more about how you balanced a full-time job with starting a copywriting business, as this is a position I am currently "enjoying".

    Congratulations and best of luck in your pursuit of "the writer's life"!

    Jim Lawrence

  17. Hi Julie,

    Thank you for taking the time to review this aspect of the writers dream. I am new member with many irons in the fire and this article is great to help organize this part of my dream of getting to be a B2B writer.

    I hope to follow in your foot steps soon!

    Looking Forward

  18. Julie,

    Very inspirational! I am still studying the Accelerated program, and go through periods of progress and loss of momentum.

    I work in a banquet setting, and work is getting very busy. I need the income, but the unpredictable schedule and long hours make it difficult for me to stay focused.

    Goals have been set: First, to have my first copywriting client before my next birthday (September). Next is to make my living as a writer by the end of the year.

    Thanks again! I really needed that!

    Guest (Garth Osborn)

  19. Julie, thank you for taking the time to help us using your own experience! I am using the Accelerated Program to start out with. I got 3 jobs from my Restaurant letter! Although these aren't big money jobs, I feel like they are GREAT experience and stepping stones to my future 6 Figure Income jobs. I will keep the template you wrote so I can use that when I apply for my future jobs. I believe the boot camp will give me the connections I need to go to the level I am striving for! Can't wait!

    Guest (Willow Rose)

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