How To Become A Highly Paid Copywriter (w/o experience)

How Much Should You Charge Per Hour As A Freelance Copywriter?

When it comes to how much exactly you should be charging, there’s no right answer. When in doubt, charge at the lower end of the median when you’re a beginner, and raise your prices from there as you get more experience. According to Payscale, the current median hourly rate for a freelance copywriter is $34.16.

How Much Should You Charge Per Page As A Freelance Copywriter?

If you want to charge based on the type of content you’re writing, check out this chart from professional copywriter Abbey Woodcock. She surveyed 68 copywriters for IWT to find out how much they charged:

copywriting survey paymentcopywriting survey payment

You can see that there’s a HUGE disparity between a highly experienced copywriter and a beginner copywriter. This should be encouraging for anyone just getting started.

Also, even when you’re a relative beginner, you’re still making a good amount of money for your services. Say you write an About Page for a company and charge $85. If that About Page only took you an hour to write, that’s a fantastic ROI on the time you spent on research, writing, and editing.

Tips For Improving Your Copywriting Skills

I’ve been a copywriter for over 15 years, everything from a New York Times Bestselling book to million-dollar sales pages. So, I have some tips to share with you as you get started in your career (or side hustle) as a copywriter.

Tip #1: Focus On The Reader 

This sounds obvious, right? Aren’t all writers focused on the reader? Not at all. It’s shocking how often writers lose focus when they’re writing. A lot of writers sit down at their desks, stare at a blank page for a minute, and think, “What should I say?” And then, wham! They’ll just dive right into whatever they feel like writing about. They go off on long tangents. They inject their writing with random stories. And they make everything about themselves (this is I, I, I syndrome). In the process, they kill their writing.

Mediocre writers talk about themselves. Great copywriters write about what their readers care about. This takes planning. You also must be meticulous about the actual words you use. But it’s important to know: the best writers focus their copy on their readers, not themselves.

One of the best ways to do that is to stop talking about YOURSELF and talk to your audience. That means to drop all the “me” and “I” in your copy and start saying “you” instead.

  • NO: My customers don’t like studying — maybe I can help them shortcut the studying process!
  • YES: Do you hate studying and do anything to avoid it? Do you wait until the last minute even if you have an exam the next morning to even touch your paper?
  • NO: I’m proud of the results that I’ve helped my readers achieve.”
  • YES: You will see extraordinary results. Our team has helped thousands of people, just like you, create breakthroughs after breakthroughs in their business. Now it’s your turn.
  • NO: I know you’d benefit from our services. I’ve helped dozens of people lose weight.
  • YES: If you skip a day of going to the gym, who holds you accountable? That makes it easier to skip two then three then suddenly, you wake up and find you haven’t worked out for a month. Well, make sure never happens to you again so you look and feel incredible.

Do you see the difference? When you focus on your readers and write to them, you turn tired, boring writing into exciting and relevant copy.

Tip #2: Focus On Learning More 

Good copywriters never stop improving. They don’t wake up one day and think, “Wow, my writing is perfect; I’ll never have to change it again.” That would be absurd.

Beyond that, they’re constantly investing in themselves. They read books on copywriting and marketing. They buy the newest courses. And they read other copywriters’ stuff to stay in the loop. They know it’s important to stay sharp and always keep up-leveling their skills.

Tip #3: Be Humble 

Good copywriters aren’t fighting tooth and nail to defend every idea they have. They’re always looking for feedback. That could mean they show their first draft to a friend to see if it’s interesting. Or it might mean reaching out to customers directly for their take.

Good copywriters know that getting feedback on their early first drafts helps their writing improve by 10x or even 100x. They don’t see feedback as criticism. They see it as an opportunity to improve their work.

Notice that I don’t say anything about grammar or editing skills. Those things are important, but you can develop those skills over time with practice. What I pointed out are the mindsets that you MUST bring to the table.

You can work on your technical writing skills later on, but if you’re starting out with the wrong frame of mind, you’ll never make it as a copywriter.

So adopt these mindsets. If you do, you’ll already be 90% of the way to being a good copywriter.

Tip #4: Use The Bar Stool Test

Imagine you’re sitting at a bar with your closest friends. You’re having a few drinks and chatting away.

After a few minutes, your friend asks you, What does your business do again?

Would you read off the mission statement from a company about page and say something like, were you on a mission to drastically reduce process inefficiencies for our valued clients?

No. If you used stiff words and robotic phrases like that, they’d look at you like you were crazy.

So what would you do? You’d take a sip of your drink and just start talking, using simple words and stories.

Good copywriting works the same way.

It’s not super-dense technical material. It uses short sentences and reads the way people talk.

If you want to be a copywriter, read everything you write out loud. If you find yourself thinking, “There’s no way I would ever say that,” trash it and start over.

Tip #5: Bring Your Writing To Life With Specifics 

Vague copy might as well not exist. It doesn’t get people excited or even keep them reading. So any time you find your copy drifting into the clouds, you should try to bring it back down to the ground level with some specific examples. Take a look at these simple edits to vague copy that make them exponentially more powerful:

  • Boring: I don’t like commuting.
  • Specific: Every single day, I wake up and think Oh God, I can’t take yet another 45 minutes of sitting through gridlocked traffic just to get to some job that I don’t even like.
  • Boring: You’ll have freedom and flexibility.
  • Specific: Want to take a break from work and see a movie at 1 p.m. on a random Wednesday? You can do that. Have a friend in town and want to meet him for lunch? You can do that, too and no you won’t have to ask your boss if it’s okay.
  • Boring: You’ll look great.
  • Specific: You’ll finally be able to fit into your high school jeans and be the envy of all your friends.

These simple tweaks will make all of your writing much stronger.

And once you understand how to apply these frameworks, you can start earning money right away. Let me show you what I mean.

Tip #6: You Can Earn Money While You Practice Your Skills 

Copywriting can be a lucrative career, but you don’t have to go all in at the beginning. You can earn a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars per month doing it on the side in as little as a few hours per week.

How? Think about it like this: every company has something they need to sell, but not every company knows how.

They may have an amazing product or brilliant idea, but no idea how to get people to buy it.

That’s where you, as a copywriter, come in. You can help them sell their products and services better.

All you have to do is work with them on the copy in their sales letters, emails, and on their website.

Think of the horrible sales pitches you’ve gotten. You don’t have to be a great copywriter to do better. And as long as you beat the competition, you can earn good money.

There are thousands of people looking for these types of jobs every day. The only hard part is selecting good clients to work with (some people just don’t value copywriting and that’s okay).

Often,  new copywriters end up chasing low-paying gigs and working with clients who don’t value their services.


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