How to Avoid the Rookie Copywriting Business Mistake that Will Keep You a Rookie Forever

A couple of days ago, fellow Circle of Success instructor Roberta Rosenberg and I were brainstorming our presentation for this year's FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.

Roberta was adamant we stress that copywriting is a business.


Many copywriters go into copywriting not realizing how crucial this is to their careers. And how not understanding this can slow or halt your pursuit of the writer's life.

I know one newbie who made this mistake.

Me. And I floundered … until I got the message.

I don't care how good of a copywriter you are. You cannot truly succeed unless you approach your writing career as a business.

There are two phases to this:

#1. Setting up the foundation of your business

#2. Performing daily activities and maintenance

Let’s take a quick look at each of them …

For #1, here’s what you need to consider for building the foundation of your copywriting business …

But first let me stress: the important thing is to handle these things quickly and keep moving forward. Don’t let them become an obstacle or roadblock on your forward progress.

  • What niche will you write for?
    Roberta and I have both heard beginning copywriters say they’re going to write for financial or health … because that’s where the big money is. Or others say they’re going to be generalists, but success as a copywriter comes from specializing. (Christina talked about this yesterday.) And on basing your niche on your experience, passions, and the current demand in the market.
  • Do you have an effective marketing message?
    An effective marketing message is a written message that sets you apart from other writers. This includes longish copy for your website, shorter copy for your “elevator pitch,” and a compelling tagline to “brand” your services.
  • Do you have a professional presence on LinkedIn?
    With over 500 million members in over 200 countries, your chance of connecting with potential clients on LinkedIn is phenomenal. To distinguish your copywriting business on LinkedIn, you must have a professional presence … and know how to use it to attract potential clients.
  • Have you put together a compelling information kit?
    A strong one can convince clients to hire you … before you’ve even spoken with them.
  • Are you ready to launch your copywriter’s website?
    A professional website showcases you professionally. But it also alerts prospective clients you’re savvy about writing for the 21st century.
  • Have you set a professional fee schedule?
    One of the top questions AWAI gets is “What should I charge?” Many beginners worry charging too much will price them out of a job. What they don’t realize is that charging too little can also price them out of a job with many, top clients.

Answer those questions to set up a successful copywriting business — and don’t let them become a source of procrastination.

With your business foundation in place — you can focus on phase #2, the daily activities that will help you create and maintain long-term success for your business.

That means …

  • Showing up … every day.
  • Setting a work schedule and taking it seriously.
  • Writing every day.
  • Honing your craft via ongoing learning.
  • Spending time consistently marketing yourself and attracting new clients. (We’ll talk about that tomorrow.)
  • Handling the administrative tasks for billing, accounting, taxes, and communications.
  • Building a network of clients and fellow writer colleagues.
  • Setting new goals to keep your business growing every day.
  • Managing your projects effectively.

Your success in the writer's life depends on approaching your career as a business. And knowing all the secrets you need to know to make that business a success.

What questions do you have about building your writing business? Let me know by commenting below. I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

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Published: June 13, 2017

11 Responses to “How to Avoid the Rookie Copywriting Business Mistake that Will Keep You a Rookie Forever”

  1. I often see comments regarding the importance of setting up a professional LinkedIn profile, and I agree with all of those.

    But what do you do when your day job requires your LinkedIn page to reflect what you do for your employer? And even if it doesn't but you don't necessarily want to broadcast to your day-job employer that you've got this going on the side or that you're looking to build your escape plan as a copywriter...what do you do then?

    I'd love to see Will write about this!

    Michael Rhoda

  2. I thought this was a great article, simple and straightforward.

    While completing the last stages of my six figure program I've really been concerned about the administrative tasks associated with launching the business and I do not feel comfortable proceeding until I understanding how to handle them.

    So my questions are:

    What do I need for my taxes every year? (Are there particular forms or records that I need to keep throughout?)

    How would I go about filing them?

    Are there any special steps I need to take when filing taxes?

    When working freelance, would I need any actual licensing in order to offer my copy services?

    I would be very grateful if you could point me in the right direction in order to answer my questions!

    Many thanks!


  3. I'm interested in B2B. I'm not a business person. Don't have much experience with business except as a consumer. Would it be a mistake to pursue this path?

    I like the idea of the variety potential.

    [FROM WILL: Not at all, Kim. If you have experience in a particular industry (or industries) or are a devoted consumer in certain industries, you actually have tons of experience you can leverage into a successful B2B career. Good luck!]

    Kim Hoskins

  4. Hi Will,

    Great post today! This is one I will be printing out and saving for future reference. A very concise little roadmap for setting up and growing your business, which I hope be doing in the very near future.

    Look forward to seeing your presentation with Roberta at Bootcamp! Thanks again for a very useful post today!

    [FROM WILL: Thank you for your encouraging post, Jim. see you in Delray.]
    James (Jim) Bonner


  5. Will,

    Thank you for answering my question nonetheless. I'll check out that general information and I appreciate you responding to my comment. Thank you!

    Guest (Devan)

  6. Hi Rebecca and Will, building a business is to create a new client with taxes, lucrative.

    Guest (Darrick)

  7. To Michael,

    I'm in a similar situation. I resolved it by using a "nom de plume" for my LinkedIn account. Writers frequently use a different name for their writing lives, even some very successful copywriters.

    Anyone looking for me under my personal name won't find me. It has the added benefit of helping to differentiate between personal & professional in my own mind and others.

    Guest (Karen Lee)

  8. Hey Will,

    Have had the pleasure of owning and operating a small business with my husband, but due to the economy, well you know the story.

    That was 5 years ago, and am laying a foundation for a NEW one!

    Thanks for the tips, always good to know if your on the right track, especially when working the "rust" off.

    Look forward to meeting you at the upcoming Bootcamp. I'm so excited, I feel a shifting happening, and it's all good.

    Terri Laurian

  9. My big question for this process has always been handling the business side of this business. I don't get the taxes, the accounting and I'm not sure how to fix that. Does anyone have some advice, resources?

    Guest (Kaiti Young)

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