How to Get Started as a Copywriter with a Day Job

Have you ever wondered, “How am I ever going to get started as a copywriter while I still have a day job?”

Well, Kathy Unfricht-Daly runs a thriving copywriting and consulting business. And she got her start while at her day job.

At work, the opportunity to gain copywriting skills may be right in front of you

Until 2008, Kathy was employed at an enterprise B2B company, where she was working in a call center. According to Kathy, the other people on the sales teams were guys who were really good at sales, but really bad at talking on the phone.

For about three weeks, Kathy sat next to a guy who had a horrible sales pitch. She said, “He was getting hammered by our manager because he wasn't closing anything.”

The company kept track of everything: how long you were on the phone, how many dials you made, and how much money you were bringing in.

“He was just bombing all of his metrics and he had three little kids at home and his wife had gotten laid off at the same time, so he needed help,” said Kathy. Even though he wasn’t a natural, he had to make his job work.

Start by helping people sell more and get results

Kathy started to coach him on his cold-calling skills. She wrote him some new sales scripts, and worked with him on his voice modulation and all the things that go into an effective phone sales presentation.

After only two days, he landed his first major sale, for $75,000!

The best part about that sale was the customer had been dissatisfied with the enterprise B2B company, but was willing to come back because the man Kathy had coached was just so nice on the phone and he helped them solve a problem.

Kathy said, “After that, he was on fire.”

After that experience, Kathy realized how much she enjoys cold-calling. (Now that she has her own business, she offers cold-calling consultations as a service.)

Find more opportunities and let your reputation grow

Word started to spread around the company that Kathy was good at helping people get more sales over the phone. More people started to approach her for advice.

She said, “I was helping a lot of other guys find their voice and so I became kind of the go-to person when someone needed to work out a script or do something like that.”

She was also helping people get better results in another area …

She was interacting with salespeople from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sony on a regular basis, and at that point, it was really important to be sending out emails with new products. The only problem was that the salespeople were supposed to personalize their messages, and most people didn't know how to do that.

So, she was able to get started as a copywriter, crafting emails for herself and for others. That led her to proofreading, reformatting, and doing all the back-end tech work that goes into sending them too.

“None of them were copywriters. They were all salespeople. That's how I learned to actually format emails and to get in front of people and get higher open rates.”

There was one problem. Because everyone was sending the emails out with their own names on them, they couldn’t admit she was doing it for them.

When you move on, take your clients with you

Around 2008, everyone was laid off. But everyone kept calling Kathy, because they all got new positions and they realized they still needed her help. And her skills were still valuable.

If you are still working at a company, you are in the perfect position to gain copywriting and marketing skills. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to use your skills to sell more, and help other people sell more.

Start to think of the people who are benefitting from your help as clients, and keep in touch with them even if they change jobs.

No matter how big or small, keep track of the results you get. Use that information to get started as a copywriter and land more work.

Are you still in the trenches of a company? Tell us in the comments about how you’re developing your skills.

And if you’d like to check out Kathy’s website, here’s the address:

This article, How to Get Started as a Copywriter with a Day Job was originally published by B2B Writing Success.

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Published: March 16, 2017

9 Responses to “How to Get Started as a Copywriter with a Day Job”

  1. Hi Mandy I'm gathering all the information reading, from The,AWAO Team.


  2. Well, iam stuck again,trying to figure which niche to use.Where to get started,how to begin. I hope this is for me,not sure yet.I have writing skills,but need focus and a niche.I need a Push or kick in the butt to get started.Something has to happen soon, or i'm out.I won't give up without a fight.

    Jack the Procrastinator

  3. I am still in the process of learning how to get started. Thank you for the valuable inputs here. Looking forward to become successful in writing.


  4. Thank you for the valuable inputs here, I am in the process of learning how to get started in writing.


  5. Thank you for the valuable inputs here, I am in the process of learning how to get started in writing.


  6. This actually pointed some thoughts into my brain. I'm a teacher and teaches English and Literature. I guess, I have to hype my skill of reviews and summary. Do you think that could be a skill?


  7. I work FT and have gotten a couple clients freelance so far in my niche. Did you ever get asked if you are a full time writer? If so, what did you say? I am not sure how to handle that situation should it come up. I don't want to be dishonest but I don;t want to lose an opportunity either. Thanks!


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