Figuring out how to find your first copywriting clients is not an easy task, I willingly admit that. It will take some trial and error, not to mention some significant hustle, to Do The Thing.
But that’s okay, because life is long, and you’ve got time to spend and hustle to give, I’m betting. Elsewise you wouldn’t be here.
Yes. I just used “elsewise.” I’m Mr. Darcy. (No idea if he actually said “elsewise,” but it seems like he might, right? I think this aside might be derailing your belief in the fact that clients actually pay me to write copy, so I’m going to stop now.)
Anyway, time to find your first copywriting clients! Let’s get started.
Maybe sit down, because it’s about to get groundbreaking up in here:
To find your first copywriting clients, you have to let clients know you’re there.
Whoa, right? Like, did anyone else just get chills?
… No? Okay, you can just go, then. Clearly, you’re not worthy of the upcoming genius either, which consists of several tried and true, very obvious methods of attracting attention:
Okay, I’ll assume you’re going to run off like a good little lemming and do all of that yesterday. (Do as I say, not as I do … in other words, don’t wait five years to get your lame act together like I did.)
But then the question becomes: Where’s your portfolio?
Wait, so why are portfolios a dead-end for copywriters?
I’m going to take a strong stance today, and that stance is: Don’t bother creating a writing portfolio.
Because, seriously, I’ve never been asked for mine. Ever.
Just like no employer has ever asked me to hand over my school transcripts to prove I’m, like, good enough to sit in one of their cubicles. That doesn’t happen. Or at least, it shouldn’t in the writing world. Your work needs to stand on its own. (Obviously, a client still has a right to request to see what you can do. We’ll discuss that below.)
Think about the last autobiography you saw that was authored by FAMOUS PERSON with GHOSTWRITER YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF.
Did you, just a tiny bit, get bummed out? Were you less excited, knowing you wouldn’t experience the author’s own voice? Did it bump that book down on your TBR?
That’s what happens to clients when they have to share credit for their work. They deflate, they lose limelight. They don’t want to … and that means your portfolio is full of holes, often missing your best work.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Can you still have a portfolio? Of course! Can you still get clients who are willing to acknowledge their content as yours? Yes.
But frankly, most of my clients prefer to stay off my website. It gives them more legitimacy not to have to share the credit.
So, I don’t ask them too. Instead, I keep them on reserve for references (which they always provide happily), I blog my tail off and I majorly hustle to create lots of other content.
Now, of course, you can’t very well ask someone to hire you for a freelance writing contract if they can’t see samples of your work. Most blogs won’t even give you a guest post on this basis.
Instead, offer paid samples. This is a super-short assignment – mine are 1,000 or less, and used to be 500 max – where the client can see what you can do. It’s not free, so they’ll treat the exercise more respectfully, and you’ll get paid for your time. I ask for a retainer, but that’s up to you.
And that’s it! if you put these plans in place, you’ll find your first copywriting clients–ones like you never dreamed.
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