How to become a freelance copywriter: getting started, landing clients, and more

Learn how to build a successful freelance copywriting business

June 19, 2024

For many who work in content and copy, how to become a freelance copywriter is a question that is at the top of their minds. You have the writing skills but aren’t sure how to get started as a freelancer, land clients, or run your own freelance business. As more and more workers opt to quit their full-time gigs in search of more flexibility and autonomy, it’s clearly very possible in today’s workforce. So how are these freelancers doing it? 

There’s no one specific way to go freelance, but there are a few things to keep in mind when learning how to become a freelance copywriter. Putting a focus on these will help set you up for a lucrative and successful freelance career. 

Showcasing your work effectively 

One of the most important things you’ll need to do to find great clients is to showcase your work effectively. This means building a portfolio of your best writing samples — ideally your own website — and creating a freelancer resume. And just like with full-time jobs, you should always tweak and adjust your resume to make sure you’re highlighting the work that is most relevant to this particular job. 

For freelancers, this can actually be even more important because you’ll quickly have a lot more clients under your belt than you would if you were working full-time roles and switching companies every few years. Being strategic about what to highlight for each potential client helps you grab their attention by highlighting the most relevant work as quickly as possible. And it helps them see that you’re already thinking about their specific needs. 

Stats and results speak volumes

For writers, it’s always tempting to showcase the work you’re most proud of in terms of the actual writing. But it’s important to remember that this isn’t actually what potential clients will care about — not the most important thing, at least.

All of the work you decide to show to potential clients should be well written. This is the bare minimum. But clients want to see actual results and metrics, not just nice copy. If you have pieces of copy that have helped drive quantifiable results for your clients — conversions, sales, increases in organic traffic, etc — you should be showing this copy and highlighting the results. This will be what lands you the best clients and jobs. 

Figuring out pricing 

Figuring out how much to charge as a freelancer can be extremely challenging, and it can require a lot of trial and error. The information below can help you get a general idea of how much freelance writers are getting paid, but this should only be used to help guide your rates as you’re getting started. 

Depending on how much professional experience you have, many new freelancer writers begin by taking on lower-paying projects until they have enough work to build a portfolio that will attract clients. Just keep in mind that you should aim to do this for as short an amount of time as possible so you don’t undersell your work. 

As you get more clients, you should try to look at your rates every so often and consider raising rates for new ones. If you’re not having trouble landing new clients, it’s probably worth raising your rates a little to see how companies respond to higher rates. And if you’re having trouble landing clients, your rates might be a little too high for your current portfolio and skill level. 

Be prepared for tax season

Freelancing comes with a lot of upsides compared to full-time work, but tax season might just be the biggest downside. You’ll need to keep track of your different income sources in detail throughout the year and you’ll pay a self-employment tax, in addition to your income tax on all of the money you earned. 

One upside is that you can make certain tax deductions when you’re self-employed, but they must be directly related to your business and you’ll often need to provide proof during tax season. If you’re struggling to make sure you have your taxes right as a freelancer make sure to look out for these common tax traps to avoid as a freelancer. If you still feel unsure, it might be worth it to consult a professional tax expert and make sure everything is done correctly. 

Where to find clients

This one is the trickiest, but the bright side is that it’s only tricky at first. The more you land clients, the more new clients will find you through referrals. And the more freelance work you produce, the pickier you’ll be able to be when it comes to choosing new clients. 

There are a few different ways you can find freelance clients as you’re learning how to become a freelance copywriter. If you don’t have a lot of work under your belt, sharing with your network is often a great way to get started since the best connections are often made through people that already know us.