Wondering if you can can make a good living freelancing before making the leap from your 9-5 to full-time freelance? Don't worry, you're not the only one. While it’s easy to look up salaries for regular full-time jobs, the hard numbers on freelance income aren’t as easy to find.
Short answer: yes, it is possible to earn a good living as a full-time freelance writer. However, your earning potential will vary depending on several factors.
In this post, I’ll answer the questions I had when deciding whether or not to launch a full-time freelance copywriting business.
- Is freelance copywriting lucrative enough to make a full-time living?
- How much can I earn as a freelancer?
- Are freelance copywriters in demand?
- Is copywriting hard to get into?
- How do I become a copywriter with no experience?
- Can anyone be a copywriter?
- What skills are needed to be a copywriter?
By the end of this post, you'll know howviable it is to pursue a full-time freelance writing career and the steps you need to take to ensure you reach your income goals.
Can you really make money as a freelance writer?
While becoming a highly paid freelance writer is 100% possible, your ability to earn depends on your work ethic, confidence, and taking the right steps.
My story: I went from working a traditional 9-5 in sales to becoming a full-time freelancer with no professional writing experience in about four months.
My journey started with a google search. I had quit my toxic full-time job with no backup plan and was collecting unemployment. I googled “careers in writing that pay well” and “high paying writing jobs from home.”
After reading a few articles, I learned about freelance content writing. But knowing about the career field wasn't enough. Before taking the leap, I needed to be sure I could make a living as a writer.
^^This very graphic from an AWAI webinar convinced me that I could earn a living full-time if I could get enough clients.
The harsh reality? As a sales rep, I used to make 90K+ a year. In my first year as a full-time freelancer, I made around 50K. "Six-figure freelancer" is a compelling marketing concept, but making that amount is rare when you're first starting out.
While 50K was far from the dream, it worked for me as a single person living way beneath my means and had already paid off all of my debt.
While 50K might have been a “step back” as far as income goes, I was still incredibly proud (and surprised) that I could pay my bills, work from home without a boss, doing something I loved doing: writing.
If you want some stats, take a look:
- Studies show that more than half of full-time freelance workers feel more financially secure working for themselves versus their traditional jobs.
- One report found that there are more than 15 million full-time freelancers, with 1 in 5 earning a salary of $100,000.
- 60% of freelancers share that they’re able to make more money than they did at their previous jobs.
- Freelance copywriters can earn up to $250 an hour.
- 75% of freelancers reported that their wages remained stable during the pandemic despite the increase of remote work and a presumed declining demand for freelancers.
There’s no doubt freelancing can be lucrative, but your income will depend on the following four factors. Examples of these decisions are:
- Your chosen writing niche
- Your web presence and marketing (i.e.: your website, your LinkedIn profile, and portfolio)
- Choosing an effective, consistent strategy for how you’ll get clients
- How confident you are in communicating your value to clients
Income factor #1: Your freelance writing niche
Your ability to command high rates in your copywriting business depends on your writing niche.
Iexplain the importance of choosing a writingniche in my post, The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Freelance Copywriting Niche.
Examples of high paying niches are:
- Digital marketing
- and my personal favorite, software :)
Income factor #2: Your web presence and marketing
Here’s what you need to effectively marketing yourself as a freelance writer:
A professional website
Don’t miss out on this step. Your website is critical in making a good first impression you on potential clients. This means having…
- Your own website with a portfolio page
- Your own website domain (meaning: yourwebsitename.com)
- Your own email domain (having @gmail.com is a no-no)
If the idea of building a writer’s website is overwhelming, I understand. I didn't even know what a web domain was when I got into freelancing, and I had certainly had never built a website.
Despite being a total beginner, it took about a week for me to build my site. Luckily I went with cheap web hosting through Bluehost and easy drag and drop site builder, Weebly.
A freelance-optimized LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is your best friend for landing freelance clients. It's the fourth most popular social network in the world, with over 450 million members. If done correctly, your LinkedIn profile will do most of the selling on your behalf.
Over 50% of a clients’ decision is made before connecting with the person who will provide them with the goods or services they need. This makes LinkedIn one of your most valuable marketing tools.
Your LinkedIn profile is one of the easiest ways for clients to find YOU. While you’ll need to send a high volume cold pitches and LOIs in the beginning, clients will eventually start coming to you if your profile is optimized with the right keywords.
A compelling writing portfolio
A freelance copywriting portfolio is an organized collection of your best writing samples, stored in an easy-to-browse-file.
It’s important that the writing samples within your portfolio are relevant to the client and laid out in a way that doesn’t require the client to do too much digging.
Don’t have any writing samples yet? You don’t need to have work already published by clients to create an effective portfolio. You can build your portfolio from scratch with no prior experience.
You might not have clients or any published work right now, so to get portfolio pieces, you must create them yourself. This means you’ll be writing “on spec,” meaning you’ll write them first and then submit.
To create your portfolio from scratch, even if you have no writing experience, I show you how here.
Income factor #3: Getting freelance clients
If you’re starting your freelance business from scratch or have no professional writing experience, cold-pitching and sending letters of introduction (LOIs) is the main client acquisition strategy you should pursue.
The majority of writers know about cold emailing, but few realize that you can build your entire freelance copywriting business on LinkedIn by sending cold messages. Using LinkedIn is easier because you don't have to find email addresses and you don't have to publish your own blog or social posts.
There’s so much bad advice out there about how you need to “organically engage” and jump through hoops to get a clients’ attention without reaching out to them directly. People will tell you it’s sleazy or salesy or that it’s a bad business practice.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’re feeling hesitant about send cold messages to clients, let me remind you that:
- You are not a telemarketer calling someone in the middle of dinner.
- You are not an MLM boss babe asking someone to join your pyramid scheme.
- Offering your copywriting services to marketers in need does NOT make you sleazy!
The clients you’re messaging are already tasked with searching LinkedIn and other platforms to hire writers. You’re just being proactive and placing yourself in their line of sight.
Income factor #4: Confidence and mindset around client communication
Meeting with clients. These meetings are sometimes called client calls, discovery calls, or exploration calls, but they simply involve speaking with a potential client (usually via video call) about working together.
Those of you who are introverts: I will let you know as soon as a client discovery call is no longer necessary! For now, accept that speaking to a client will greatly improve your chances of landing them. When clients plan on spending thousands, they need to know, like, and trust the person they’ll be handing over money to.
Since freelance writing involves a lot of collaboration (exchanging feedback, editing, strategy, etc. ), clients want to know who they’ll be working with.
The goal of the meeting with your client is to show them that you can handle the job. It isn't about being phony, braggadocious, or arrogant. To learn how to be confident on calls with clients, click here.
As empathetic writers, we already like to make people comfortable, so handling clients canactually come more naturally to you than a super-salesy, outgoing person.
Is copywriting hard to get into?
At first glance, copywriting can seem like a complex career field that only seasoned writers can get into. Especially when you think of famous advertising geniuses like David Ogilvy and Gary Halbert.
Can anyone be a copywriter? Maybe not everybody. Let’s be realistic. But if my story is any inspiration to you, just know that I was able to become a full-time copywriter in less than four months without:
- Any existing network, referrals, or writing contacts
- Any published samples to put in my portfolio
- Any professional experience as a paid writer
- A degree in journalism or marketing
In other words, it is possible to overcome the most common “obstacles” new writers let stop them from pursuing copywriting.
Instead of asking how difficult it is to become a copywriter, it's more useful to focus on the skills needed:
Effective copywriting requires more than just the ability to write. Copywriting is the art of selling with words. Your effectiveness will come down to your ability to persuade and use psychology principles.
With the advances in AI, writing is becoming a commodity. However, the skill of empathizing and strategizing before putting words on paper makes you a “good” copywriter.
It’s important to keep in mind that copywriting skills will develop over time. You won’t be a pro when first starting out and that’s okay. Copywriting is a game of trial and error and constant improvement.
I kind of sucked in the beginning. Especially as I was shedding the academic essay writing style, I learned as an English Lit major.
Despite my lack of experience, clients hired me anyway. I think this was in large part due to my ability to sell myself.
While I may have felt like an imposter in the very beginning, I quickly learned that clients wanted someone to listen to their vision, be consistent, meet deadlines, and create content.
It was a huge relief when I realized freelance clients weren’t expecting an award-winning writer or marketing expert.
How do I become a copywriter with no experience?
I have good news: you CAN become a full-time freelance copywriter with no experience. Here’s how:
Step 1: Choose your copywriting niche
Step 2: Create two writing samples for your portfolio
Step 3: Purchase a domain and create your writers’ website
Step 4: Set an income goal
Step 5: Create a freelance-optimized LinkedIn profile
Step 6: Start cold-pitching (sending letters of introduction LOI) to freelance clients via LinkedIn
I detail these six steps in my free guide: The First 6 Steps Every Freelance Copywriter Must Take When Starting Out.
Despite having no experience, I landed my first freelance copywriting client in less than 30 days using cold-pitch messages on LinkedIn.
Prior to contrary belief, you don’t need to work for pennies beginning of your copywriting career just to get your foot in the door. I was making a full-time income in four to six months. I never resorted to freelance marketplace sites notorious for low-balling like Upwork and Fiverr.
Here’s the truth about the freelance writing industry: there is no shortage of clients looking to hire freelance copywriters. The problem is that most copywriters don’t know how to pitch and market themselves.
Companies are hiring writers every day. You just need to position yourself correctly and take the right steps.
Is copywriting oversaturated?
Many articles online claim that the freelance writing market is saturated as if that’s not a reason to pursue it. While there are many freelance copywriters out there, there are even more businesses that need copywriting services!
- By the year 2027, freelancers are projected to make up the majority of the workforce in the United States, with 50.9% of the working population. (DDIY)
- There are 34.5+ million businesses in the US, 543,000 new businesses created each month and1.5+ million nonprofits in the US. (Source: Filthy Rich Writer)
The truth is, if you can write well, correctly market yourself, and keep clients happy, standing out amongst the crowd isn’t that difficult.
I strongly suggest that if you’re interested in writing and being self-employed that you give your freelance business a try regardless of market saturation. If many people are trying to do something, it usually means there is a strong demand for it.
Getting clients is the key to a lucrative freelance business
Here’s the bottom line on making a good income as a freelance writer. Getting into copywriting and becoming a freelancer with no experience hinges on your ability to get clients.
From my own experience as a full-time freelance copywriter and the statistics available, it's clear that making good money as a writer is possible, as long as you take the right steps.
Getting your foot in the door as a freelance writer will require effort and persistence, but it’s not impossible, so don’t give up!
You can become a copywriter with no experience by positioning yourself correctly online and taking control of your destiny by cold-pitching and sending LOIs.
Without clients, you won’t have an income or a freelance business, so knowing how to land clients is one of the most important things to learn. Maybe even more important than the copywriting itself.
You can build your entire freelance copywriting business on LinkedIn by sending cold messages. And you don’t have to create your own blog of post thought-leadership content.
The best part? You can do it without UpWork just by sending connection requests, cold pitch messages, and passively engaging with likes, comments, and shares.
How much money can I make from copywriting? ›
The average salary for a Copywriter with 7+ years of experience is $86,467. The average salary for <1 year of experience is $61,250.Can you make 10k a month with copywriting? ›
If you want to command $10,000 per month as a copywriter, you must have the skills to generate much more than that in value for your clients. This is not easy, but it's certainly doable. Only two things are required: practice and patience.Do copywriters get paid a lot? ›
You can make up to six figures annually, and some copywriters even pull down seven-figure incomes. There are plenty of examples out there of successful copywriters making great money. So, yes, making good… heck, great money as a copywriter is absolutely possible.Can you live off of copywriting? ›
Copywriting can be a lucrative career, but you don't have to go all in when you start out. 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.Is copywriting a difficult career? ›
Copywriting is absolutely no harder a career to break into than any other one. But very, very, very few people are going to successfully build a career if they don't actually know how to write copy!Is copywriting a difficult job? ›
It takes a lot of hard work, experimentation, and dedication. Learning copywriting rules isn't that hard, what's hard is understanding the market and the customer. This requires years of experience.Can copywriters become millionaires? ›
Like money rich.
Yes, of course it can. But like I said in the beginning of this article, you get out what you put in. Don't expect to make a million dollars in your first year. It takes time to build up the experience, expertise, and social proof you need to charge the big-bucks.
How Many Hours Do Copywriters Work? Many copywriting jobs require a typical 40 hour work week, while options like freelancing provide a writer more freedom in working hours. Some copywriters only work with a few clients, and others pack their schedules full of as many clients as they can find.Which type of copywriting pays the most? ›
Medical copywriting, finance copywriting, legal copywriting, and tech copywriting aren't the only high paying copywriting niches out there, but in 2022, they're some of the most lucrative.Is copywriting a high income skill? ›
The top freelance copywriters often receive a set rate in addition to a share of the profits their work generates. It's one of the easiest and most beneficial high income skills that can be learned.
Is copywriting a stable job? ›
Not only is copywriting in demand, but it's also a skill that absolutely every business, big or small, needs to succeed.Is copywriting a stressful job? ›
Copywriters will see frequent time pressure on the job, likely contributing to an occasionally stressful work environment.Is copywriting saturated 2023? ›
Let's get this out of the way right now. The market is not too saturated. Yes, there are millions of people who identify as freelancers in the world. There are also millions of jobs for freelance writers of all types.What do copywriters do all day? ›
Copywriters are tasked with writing text for advertising or other marketing purposes. They may write blogs, content for websites, copy for advertisements, television and radio scripts, social media posts, brochure material, or direct mails.Can you earn 6 figures as a copywriter? ›
It CAN happen in your first year. You CAN become a six-figure copywriter. But for most, it comes with some related work experience like marketing or sales, a good network of contacts, a little luck – or a combination of all three. But that's ok!Why do copywriters fail? ›
Usually copywriters who “fail” fall into one of two camps: they don't have training or a system for landing clients, or they have training, but are afraid of failure. If you fall into the first camp, you'll want to first get training. If you fall into the second camp, you'll want to listen to today's episode.What is the hardest part of copywriting? ›
As a copywriter, it's your job to find out what's exciting about the subject. This is the true challenge of a copywriter – to really understand the audience, you've quickly got to become an expert in the area and THEN find something unique the audience doesn't know about.How much does a beginner copywriter make? ›
How much does a Entry Level Copywriter make in the United States? The average Entry Level Copywriter salary in the United States is $54,601 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $49,401 and $61,501.Can I be a copywriter with no experience? ›
It doesn't even require much experience. Many high income copywriters started closing big-ticket offers when they were first starting out, with little or no experience. Perhaps you've also discovered that this job allows you to work from anywhere and be your own boss.What are the disadvantages of copywriting? ›
Copywriting as a Job: Disadvantages
Churning out copy day in, day out can get tiring. Smart writers know they can't write for hours each day without filling their “creative tank.” To do so means burnout. Most writers work alone to produce copy, even when they're part of a creative team.
Are copywriters in high demand? ›
Copywriting is one of those skills that will always remain in high demand. It will keep growing in the years to come. According to statistics, the job market for copywriters is expected to grow by 7.6% by 2026. If you think about it: Every business out there needs a copywriter to promote their products and services.Is a career in copywriting worth it? ›
Copywriting is a very lucrative, special type of writing that is often mistakenly overlooked as a career choice. The skill of copywriting is in high demand.What industry hires the most copywriters? ›
4 Hot Industries for Copywriters
- Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals. ...
- Technology. ...
- Finance/FinTech. ...
Copywriting is the perfect side hustle for many reasons. Not only can it pay well, but you can work as a freelance copywriter from anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access. Plus, all kinds of industries and companies need copywriters to craft stories and messages about their brand.How many words do copywriters write in a day? ›
IF you want to become a serious freelance writer, you have to be writing more than 100 words a day. Depending on what you are writing, you will probably be averaging over 1000 words a day.Do copywriters just write? ›
Copywriters all have the same goal of writing to get sales or want some type of action to happen. The majority of copywriters tend to specialise in a certain field. So, you could have a medical copywriter, social media copywriter, or SEO copywriter. Some copywriters will do more than just write copy.How long should it take a copywriter to write 1000 words? ›
The quick answer is that your typical professional copywriter is often able to research and write a 1000-word article in around one to two hours. However, this writing speed does require some confidence and efficiency.What is the highest paid writing job? ›
- Technical Writer.
- Greeting Card Writer.
- Travel Writer.
- Grant Writer.
- Don't work in-house. ...
- Get a shed-load of experience. ...
- Ask for more money… ...
- … ...
- Don't have a life outside your work. ...
- Learn how to add value. ...
- Find a niche and exploit it. ...
- Really question what 'rich' means.
Because B2B writers are in such high demand, B2B copywriting can be one of the easiest areas to break into as a new copywriter.
Which skill is highly paid? ›
7 high-income skills to learn
- Data analysis. ...
- Software development. ...
- User experience. ...
- Web development. ...
- Project management. ...
- Account management. ...
- Content creation and management.
Since marketing and advertising are always-on parts of running a business, copywriters are always in demand. Moreover, marketing-focused copywriting is a very lucrative vertical.What is the easiest high income skill to learn? ›
- Copywriting. Copywriting is a specialized form of writing that is intended to sell a product. ...
- Content Creation/Content Marketing. ...
- Online Course Creation. ...
- Graphic Designer. ...
- Web Designer. ...
- Web Developer. ...
- Software Developer. ...
- Project Management.
In the near future, AI will be no different from a word processor. It's simply a tool to help writers get more done in less time. Can AI replace copywriters, and take over content creation and human creativity at some point in the future? It's highly unlikely.Is copywriting a good career in 2023? ›
You totally can! The great thing about copywriting is that it will always be in demand. In fact, as the world increasingly moves online, the demand for copywriters will only continue to grow. After all, someone has to write all those website descriptions, social media posts, and email newsletters.How hard is freelance copywriting? ›
Despite our high demand, freelance copywriting isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. Running a successful copywriting business requires long hours of deep work as well as some marketing and business skills. It can take several years to get where you want to be.Does copywriting have a future? ›
Copywriting is an important skill that will become even more important in the future. The ability to write clear and creative copy that speaks to people and moves them to action will be increasingly in demand.How old are copywriters? ›
There are over 4,882 freelance copywriters currently employed in the United States. 53.7% of all freelance copywriters are women, while 46.3% are men. The average age of an employed freelance copywriter is 42 years old.Do copywriters need to be creative? ›
Without creativity, there can be no great copywriting. While copywriting is synonymous with marketing, marketing is changing faster than the speed of light.How long should a copywriting be? ›
The basic rule of copy length is the same as headlines – as long as necessary, but no longer. The key is writing copy that is interesting and informative to someone who actually cares. But beyond that, there are some guidelines that can help, so let's see what the experts say about different types of copywriting.
Can you make 100k as a writer? ›
Yes, you can make $100,000 per year as a writer.
The chances of earning over $100k for a writer are actually pretty good because the highest-paid writer positions typically pay at least $102,000 per year.
Average starting Salary for Junior Copywriter in India is around ₹1.2 Lakhs per year (₹10.0k per month).How much does a freelance copywriter get paid? ›
The average hourly wage for a Freelance Copywriter in the United States is $26 as of January 26, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $24 and $30.How much should a copywriter write in a day? ›
IF you want to become a serious freelance writer, you have to be writing more than 100 words a day. Depending on what you are writing, you will probably be averaging over 1000 words a day.Will AI replace copywriters? ›
It is unlikely that AI will completely replace the need for human copywriters in the near future. While AI technology is capable of generating written content, it still lacks the creativity and flexibility of human writers.Is copywriting a rare skill? ›
Great copywriters are rare. They know how to use their writing skills to make people do what they want. So what skills do you need to become a great copywriter?How do copywriters make passive income? ›
- Earning royalties for copywriting work done once, but paid for as long as the copy is used. ...
- Selling published products where you create the content. ...
- Selling published products where others create the content.
How much does a Copywriter I make hourly in the United States? The average hourly wage for a Copywriter I in the United States is $26 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $24 and $30.Can you make money as a copywriter with no experience? ›
It doesn't even require much experience. Many high income copywriters started closing big-ticket offers when they were first starting out, with little or no experience. Perhaps you've also discovered that this job allows you to work from anywhere and be your own boss.