No Experience? No Problem. How I Snared $6,000 in Client Work My First Week as a Freelance Copywriter …

Written word Monetize in magnifying glass surrounded by written words expertise, passion, knowledge, uniqueness, value

Writing emails is a great way to make a living as a copywriter. The projects are short, often less than 200 words, yet you can make $100-$250 per email, even as a newbie.

But the one thing I hear all the time from my copywriting coaching students is …

"But Jay, I don't have any writing experience to speak of yet. Who's going to hire me?"

Legitimate question — and one I'm sure we all struggled with when just starting out …

However, there IS a way you can completely bypass the whole "experience" barrier and start getting clients quickly.

How do I know? Because that's the way I did it. Let me explain …

Back in January of 2006, I officially launched my career as freelance direct-response copywriter. I gave up a good job to spread my wings and go out on my own, and I was basically starting over from scratch.

Which means I had ZERO presence, ZERO prospects, and ZERO knowledge on how to get either.

So that first Monday, I did what many of us have done — walked around my house with my head in my hands thinking, "Am I COMPLETELY insane?"

(Sound familiar? I'll bet there's a lot of nodding heads out there.)

But on Tuesday, I had an epiphany of sorts …

I put together a list of 11 targeted prospects and sent all of them the same basic message, only changing the name of the recipient. These went out at 9:00 a.m. that morning.

By noon, I had already received THREE responses to my inquiries — an unheard of rate (27%) for this type of marketing, especially in just three hours.

One of those prospects was especially interested. And by Friday of that week, I had secured my first freelance gig for a total fee of $6,000.

That job led to more and more work. And over the next few months, I made around $25,000 just from that first client.

Not a bad start, eh?

So let's review:

Monday — clueless and lost

Tuesday — idea and implementation

Wednesday/Thursday — back and forth with potential client

Friday — $6,000 heading in to my bank account

And that all happened to a guy who had ZERO experience as a freelance copywriter.

So how did I do it? Easy …

Instead of focusing on what I DIDN'T have, I focused on what I DID.

You see, I had a more in-depth knowledge of this niche than most copywriters, and I knew I could knock it out of the park pretty quickly if given the chance.

So I crafted my marketing message to focus on my NICHE experience — not my WRITING experience — and the prospects came out of the woodwork to talk with me.

Truth is, most clients could care less about how much you've written or who you've written for or any of that stuff …

What they REALLY want is someone that knows their market inside and out … a writer who can talk to their prospects and customers in a way they can instantly understand and respond by taking action right NOW.

Your prospects don't want to have to train you in their business — they just want to hand you a pile of projects (the same pile they've been staring at for weeks, wishing somebody would take if off their desk) and say, "HERE — now who do I make the check out to?"

See how this works?

So before you start marketing yourself, think about targeting those niches where you can leverage one (or more) of these three things:

1. More KNOWLEDGE Than Other Copywriters

Look, we all know more about some things than other people, right?

So think about that for a moment — what little tidbits can you mention in water cooler conversation that make people say, "Really? I had no idea!" These could be potential niches for you.

Were you once a circus clown? Did you travel around the world on a sailboat? Or climb Everest? These are things that make a potential client perk up.

And before you say, "Yeah, right Jay — who's going to hire me based on anything quirky like that?" Consider this …

I currently have a student who once skated in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. And guess who's she writing for now? Yep — the Olympic Channel.

She scoffed when I suggested targeting that niche. But sometimes, that's where you find the hidden gold mines.

2. More EXPERIENCE Than Other Copywriters

This crosses over a bit with knowledge, but think about your current or past job experience and how you can leverage that …

What industry was it in? Did you manage people? Was there technology involved? A special skill set? All these are things you can leverage to catch the eye of a potential client in those same niches …

And before you tell me how you want to get away from that "old world" and do something new, remember — you don't HAVE to stay in the same zone forever.

You can just take a few easy gigs to get going and build some momentum, then you can let those clients slide away while you focus on what you really want to write about.

That's what I did in the beginning stages. I didn't want to make a career in that first niche. But I knew I could get hired a lot faster there.

So I did the whole "grin and bear it" thing for a few months to pay the bills while I marketed myself in other areas. And when those new clients started coming my way, I let the first one go and never looked back.

3. More PASSION Than Other Copywriters

Here's a place that can be both fun AND lucrative …

Think about those things you're really passionate about. Maybe it's a hobby. Or a side interest. Or even a political or religious affiliation. Something you've always enjoyed doing or being a part of, but never really thought about as a niche choice.

For example, years ago I was really into golf. So I figured, "Why not see if I can find work there?" I made some inquiries and landed a gig with one of the top golf marketers online.

And right out of the gate, I was BLOWING them away with my copy. Why? Not because I was more talented or experienced. But because I was passionate about the game and knew the golfer inside and out. And that translated easily into my copy.

In fact, it wasn't long before I secured a HUGE retainer with this client that lasted for several years. And the best part? In the mornings, I would write about golf. Then in the afternoon, I'd grab my sticks and go play 18.

Talk about the copywriter's lifestyle!

So you see, getting clients when you have no writing experience doesn't have to be a struggle …

All you have to do is leverage what you already have instead of worrying about what you don't. And when you make this simple marketing mind-set tweak, don't be surprised if your copywriting career takes off like a rocket!

You ready to hop on board? Let me know how I can help you get going by posting a comment below.

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: December 19, 2018

7 Responses to “No Experience? No Problem. How I Snared $6,000 in Client Work My First Week as a Freelance Copywriter...”

  1. This article was very informative! I am wondering what kind of emails are these? Please let me know-Janeen M.

    Guest (Janeen)

  2. Dear Jay White, thank you for this article.
    My attempts to getting clients, the whole thing, has been filled with sore pain.
    I will love to use the PASSION option, as my special weapon.

    So how so I craft my message to clients in the Financial Niche, in a way that shows my passion burning, that they can't resist hiring me?

    I am not originally an email Copywriter.So I will be needing your step-by-step help on this.
    A Game plan, Your Guidance, elements to include in my message.

    Guest (Abraham)

  3. Jay,

    I am just starting, but my creative niche is in the Film industry. I am a Jack of all trades, so I know every job aspect of the industry. I did that so I could get onto a set with any position, and know how to work my way up from there.

    So, my question is, where is the best place to start?

    Jordan Galle

  4. This is $25,000? This was designed for people that already have money and can afford it. I knew there was something up. I cannot afford to do well in life, no matter how hard I try. Atleast I do work, so I'm not lazy.

    Guest (Quateria)

  5. Jay, This article answered several of my questions and gave me a really great exercise. I'm really looking forward to your class next month.

    Guest (Susan)

  6. Hi Jay, Thank you for a very informative presentation. You answered one of my most pressing questions: How do I begin? I have been in the real estate and insurance businesses for over 40 years. The answer to my question was obvious!

    Hal Fishler

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