Lately I’ve had a number of people ask me for advice on building their copywriting business.
I’ve even had someone from Ireland contact me with a list of questions!
So, I guess I’ve made it then if an international copywriter-wannabe is asking me for advice.
Seriously though, while’ I’m not on the same level as some other copywriters out there, I do have more than an arm’s length of experience in this freelance writing gig.
So, rather than constantly field a barrage of questions via my LinkedIn platform — because I’m pretty sure someone from Yemen needs my help — I thought I’d write a blog post.Want to grow your copywriting business? Here are the top 5 things that I did...which worked! Click To Tweet
The top 5 things I’ve done to grow my business.
1. Niche, niche baby
That’s right. I niched. It was a pretty scary thing to do at the time, because like many others who have niched before me, I worried about whether I would get enough work and would it really build my business? I mean, how many organisations out there just want health content?
Plenty, as I discovered. Once I decided to focus on helping health organisations with their health and medical content, the work that was once dribbling in, began flowing – and some weeks pouring in. It seemed that in no time at all, I had built up a steady stream of clients in my pipeline, some of whom became regular clients, and this stream hasn’t really stopped in almost two years.
The next logical step in my journey to niche was to rebrand my business, and become The Melbourne Health Writer. BTW – have you seen my new website? I think it’s super cool.
2. I nailed my USP
A natural progression after deciding to niche, was to nail down my USP — unique sales proposition. Also known as an elevator pitch, your USP is pretty much a quick run-down of who you are, and what you do, and it should be short enough to present to someone during a trip in an elevator.
Mind you, I don’t know why a random stranger sharing a confined space would ever ask me what I for a living. But I digress…Defining your USP will help you define your target market and stop you targeting everyone with a heartbeat and a wallet. Click To Tweet
Defining my USP helped me define my target market. This in turn helped me focus my time, energy and resources marketing to those I wanted to work with, as opposed to targeting everyone with a heartbeat and a wallet.
And guess what happened? Yep. I got more of my ideal clients, and less of the — well, let’s say difficult clients, shall we?
3. I became a Copy Beast!
The single-best thing that I have done for my copywriting business is to join The Clever Copywriting School (TCCS).
No, it’s not a secret school, and it’s nothing like Hogwarts — although collectively we do all kinds of magic with words, blogs and web copy.
Put simply it’s a treasure trove of resources, advice, and support from one of Australia’s best copywriters, Kate Toon. But it’s so much more than that. It’s also a wonderful community of other copywriters (aka copy beasts) with whom you can have those virtual watercooler conversations with, ask questions, and help with advice from time to time.
We even have our own national copywriting conference called CopyCon, which is an absolute blast. And I’m super-stoked to be one of the presenters next year. (insert squeal here). So, you should totally come too. You can read what we got up to this year.
If you’re serious about improving your copywriting, marketing and overall business processes, do yourself a favour and join. It’s the ultimate place to be for budding and seasoned copywriters.
NOTE: I don’t get any kick-backs or endorsements for recommending TCCS to anyone, nor do I gain any benefit if someone joins upon my recommendation. I just think it’s an awesome place to be.
4. I put sparkle in my LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn has been described as the modern-day equivalent of a business card. It’s also been described as Tinder for business! But don’t let those new connections who start to send you sleazy messages put you off this social media platform.
I’ll be honest. Until recently, I didn’t put much stock in LinkedIn. I thought of it as an online version of my CV. I never interacted with it, and I certainly didn’t spend time on developing my profile. But this year I have. And as a result, I’ve made some great business connections (along with the odd creepy stalker. Sigh!).
Since investing time in my LinkedIn presence, I’ve picked up some work from the kinds of clients I want to be writing for. One of them is even a Walkley Award-winning journalist! Huzzah!LinkedIn can be a bit stalker-ish. But you can also make some solid connections that will lead to more copywriting work. Click To Tweet
5. I became a bouncer
Just like bouncers keep the riff-raff out of the nightclubs, I’m keeping the riff-raff out of my business. That means I don the dark glasses, and get tough about who I let into my business. Let me tell you, it’s paying off.
Once upon a time, I would say ‘yes’ to anyone, provided I could fit them in my schedule. I’d ignore warning bells or red flags, because it was a job and you know — money.
But after more than five years, and my fair share of difficult clients, including clients who abused me, threatened me, and didn’t pay me, I decided enough was enough. So, I’ve toughened up and will only work with those who pass my screening tests.
If any potential clients do any of the following, they’re out before they’re even in!
- quibble about my rate
- have unrealistic expectations when it comes to deadlines
- aren’t willing to fill in a copy brief
- aren’t willing to pay a deposit
- don’t know what they want
- question why they need to provide feedback on copy.
Of course, this doesn’t always mean that the odd dodgy client won’t sneak through. But if they do, I am quite prepared to cut them loose — midway through a project, with a refund if necessary.
And before you ask: Yes, I have cut clients loose!Be a bouncer in your own business. Because if you don't keep out the riff-raff, who will? Click To Tweet
Of course, there are loads of other things I’ve done to build my copywriting business. But I know from experience that giving copywriters too many other things to do (other than copywriting) can be overwhelming.
So, I’ll leave that for another blog post.
Besides, I’ve just received an email from someone in Brunei wanting to know how to become a copywriter…