You’re searching for the secret to becoming a freelance copywriter, right? Maybe you’re sick of the 9 – 5 or maybe you just like the idea of getting paid to write.
Either way, it’s not as hard as you think to become a freelance copywriter.
I’m here to help you so you can quit your job in 2021!
Just to let you know, this post may contain affiliate links (meaning if you buy from one of my links I make a little money at no extra cost to you). Find my full disclosure here.
Snapshot: How to Quit Your Job & Become a Freelance Copywriter (2021)
- Freelance Copywriter, Content Writer, or Blogger: What’s the Difference?
- How to Start Getting Paid to Write
- The Best Freelance Writing Websites to Find Jobs for Beginners
- How to Make Enough Money as a Freelance Copywriter to Quit Your Job
Freelance Copywriter, Content Writer, or Blogger: What’s the Difference?
When I was a beginner freelance writer, I used to think copywriting, content writing, and blogging were all the same thing. No wonder I made so many mistakes, lol.
I was pitching the wrong people, applying for the wrong gigs, and oh the list goes on. So, before we jump in, let me tell ya what’s what!
What Does a Freelance Copywriter Do?
A freelance copywriter is someone who writes specifically for marketing reasons. They write:
- Landing pages
- Email campaigns
- Product descriptions
You get the gist.
Typically, copywriters are employed to sell something. It’s very result-based and analytical.
So, if you’re into that kind of thing (maybe you’ve worked in sales before or enjoy crunching numbers), copywriting will be right up your street.
What Does a Freelance Content Writer Do?
A content writer promotes brand awareness on different platforms. They write:
- Blog posts
- Website copy
- Social media campaigns
- Press releases
- Scripts for videos and podcasts
Basically, content writing is a little less “salesy” than copywriting and tends to include more long-form content.
What Does a Freelance Blogger Do?
I mean, this one’s pretty much self-explanatory but I’ll tell ya anyway. Freelance bloggers just get paid to write blogs (like the one you’re reading right now).
That doesn’t mean they get paid any less, though! Their main focus is to drive traffic to websites and build rapport with their readers.
FYI – the lines between what a copy, content, or blog writer does are blurry. You might see a copywriter gig advertised then realize they’re actually looking for a freelance content writer (or vice versa).
Make sure you read through the job description before sending your pitch!
How to Start Getting Paid to Write
You can use the same system to start getting paid for any freelance writing field. So, whether you want to become a copywriter, freelance blogger, or content writer; this is how you get started!
- Get Your First Client
Now, I know what you’re thinking:
“Surely I need to write samples before I get my first client?”
Well, there’s no point wasting your time writing samples or pitching until you’ve found your first client. Aaaand, it’s completely possible to do so without spending hours writing samples.
I go into a lot more detail about this in my 2021 Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Freelance Writer With No Experience. You can check that post out here.
- Write Samples in Your Niche
Now that you have some published work, you should write some samples in your niche. Three to four samples will do – focus on quality over quantity!
- Pitch Potential Clients
All that’s left to do now is pitch potential clients. You can start by applying to freelance job ads or go straight to cold pitching.
Whatever works for you!
Remember, freelance writers generally get paid more from the clients they cold pitch than from successful gig applications.
The Best Freelance Writing Websites to Find High Paying Jobs for Beginners
Although I’m a huge fan of cold pitching, I have found a lot of success from websites like ProBlogger. The first time I made over 2K in a month was all thanks to a client I found on the ProBlogger job board.
So, here are some of the best freelance websites to find high paying jobs for beginners:
😩 Cut Taken: 0%
💸 Average Earnings For Beginners: $0.03 – $0.06 per word
When I first started as a freelance writer, I’d browse ProBlogger every morning and apply to all of the new gigs. You can search for gigs in your niche or just apply to any that take your fancy.
I prefer working this way as it means I can tailor my pitch to the client. Plus, I never really chose a niche (I’m very indecisive) but, with ProBlogger that didn’t matter.
I’d just take a look at the gigs and apply for the ones that sounded the most fun (and the ones that paid well, lol).
One thing I will say is that gigs found on ProBlogger tend to be quite low-paying (I’m talking $0.03 per word – ouch). But, when you’re just starting, money is money!
Trust me, I’d take any job I could get as a beginner freelance writer.
😩 Cut Taken: 5-20% (depending on the price of the project)
💸 Average Earnings For Beginners: 0.06 per word
If you work extremely hard on your profile, you can make a lot of money as a freelance writer on Upwork.
It takes a lot of effort to work your way up to being a top-rated freelancer on Upwork but it’s definitely a good place to start for beginners.
Depending on your situation, finding work on freelancing websites like this could be your best bet.
If you have a lot of time to commit to platforms like this, you can easily replace your income in just a couple of months. This article from Freelance to Win shows just how much you can grow your income on Upwork.
All I’ll say is don’t charge too little for too long!
😩 Cut Taken: 35%
💸 Average Earnings For Beginners: $0.08 per word
I think Constant Content is a great platform for beginner freelance writers to find work. They have a minimum price of $7 per article so you’ll never have to charge too little for your work.
However, you have to be able to churn out articles pretty quickly to make Constant Content worth your time. If you can work fast, you’ll love it.
If you need more time to research and write, I’d recommend using Upwork instead.
😩 Cut Taken: <10%
💸 Average Earnings For Beginners: $0.06 per word
Although it’s geared more towards experienced freelancers, beginners can still find jobs on Guru. It works much like Upwork, where freelancers are rated with percentage rather than a star-rating.
You’ll probably find that most of these freelancing websites are quite similar. However, sites like Guru have slightly less competition for work because they’re not as popular.
I’d recommend you sign up to as many sites as you can and choose the one that suits you best (or the one that makes you the most money). Then, you can start growing your visibility on the platform.
😩 Cut Taken: Unknown
💸 Average Earnings For Beginners: Around $2 Per Hour
iWriter is a great website for finding blog writing jobs for beginners. They claim you can earn up to $80 per 500 words (that’s $0.16 per word) once you’ve progressed through the ranks.
To become an elite writer, you have to first write at least 30 articles rated 4 or higher out of 5.
If you want to give iWriter a try, you’ll have to do a short application. Don’t worry, it’s simple; just a short written English test followed by a research test.
I used iWriter about a year ago and I thought it was pretty good. However, you have to be able to research and write articles very fast to make it worth your time.
This article from Tough Nickel is helpful if you’re thinking about applying for iWriter.
How to Make Enough Money from Copywriting to Quit Your Job
Now you know how to become a freelance writer, it’s time to figure out how to take things to the next level. The truth is, as long as you work hard you can easily make at least $1000 in your first month.
BUT, is that enough?
How Much Money do You Need to Support Your Lifestyle?
Before you even start writing, get clear about how much money you need to support your lifestyle.
You might want to cut down your expenses before starting your business but try to be realistic. Could you cut your expenses in half or is 25% all you could manage?
Over budgeting is fine, but under-budgeting could cost you your business!
A college student with low expenses might only need to make $1000 per month whereas a single parent with two kids might need to make $2000.
In that case, the college student would most likely be able to quit her job well before the single parent. Getting clear about how much money you need will make your life as a freelancer so much easier.
Be Strict (and Realistic) With Your Time
This part is super important; be realistic about how much time you can spend on your side-hustle.
How many hours can you work per week? If you’d happily work all weekend and every weeknight to get your business off the ground, that’s great!
But, it’s also fine if you only have a couple of free hours per week. As long as you’re realistic with your time, you can easily put a plan in place to quit your job.
Most people could make at least $1000 in their first month working full-time (35 hours per week). So, you could say it takes around 140 hours to make $1000 as a beginner freelance writer.
That means if you can only work 4 hours per week, it could take you up to 35 weeks (8ish months) to make 1k.
However, in those 8 months, you could save a percentage of your 9-5 income. Then you’ll have a safety blanket when you do start making enough money to quit your job.
As a freelancer, you have to be incredibly strict with your time. Try to hold yourself to the hours you said you’d put in at the start.
Try not to give up before you’ve even started. It takes a lot of work to get a freelance business going while you’re working 9-5 but it will all be worth it in the end!
Set Goals and Stick to Them
Getting clear about your goals will make quitting your job 10x easier. Try making a very specific plan so that you can hold yourself accountable.
It might look something like this:
1st Month: Find my first client
Two 1000 word commissions per week at $0.06 per word equals $120 (that’s $520 average per month).
2nd Month: Find my second client
Four 1000 word commissions per week at $0.06 per word equals $240 (that’s $1040 av. per month).
3rd Month: Find my third client and cut down hours at work
Six 1000 word commissions per week at $0.06 per word equals $360 (that’s $1560 av. per month).
4th Month: Find my fourth client and quit my job
Eight 1000 word commissions per week at $0.06 per word equals $480 (that’s $2080 av. per month).
And so on…
Your plan might be faster or slower depending on how fast you can right/how much time you have.
You’re probably never going to feel ready to quit your job. It is a terrifying thought.
That’s why you’ve got to stick to your goals. If by the fourth month you’ve hit your goal then it’s time to quit whether you’re ready or not!