How do you break into copywriting? It starts with your very first client.
But the problem is, that first client is usually the hardest one to get.
(But it gets SO much easier after that — I promise!)
So, where ARE those potential clients hiding?
Here are the exact strategies I used to get copywriting clients when I was just figuring out my way around the entrepreneur land.
How to Become a Copywriter with No Experience
Here’s the thing —
The only way to become a freelance copywriter is by actually DOING copywriting projects and building your portfolio.
In fact, getting the first few freelancing writing jobs is so important for the future of your copywriting career, that you may even want to do a project or two for free at first to build up your portfolio.
(But, of course, finding copywriting clients that pay is MUCH better and something you should always aim for FIRST!)
Where do you start? Here are 6 ideas.
1. Explore Freelancing Websites
Job boards like Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour are typically where most new freelancers try to find their first gigs.
The logistics vary from platform to platform, but the idea is that people looking for copywriting services post jobs and then freelancers can apply for them if they want the gig.
There are pros and cons to freelancing on a platform.
A big pro is that finding clients is EASY — the jobs are posted 24/7 and applying for one is typically as simple as writing up a short proposal and hitting the submit button.
The problem is, there are approximately a million other freelance writers applying for that same gig, so your chances of actually getting it are…low.
(Okay, maybe not a MILLION, but it can definitely be hundreds.)
And even if you manage to get the gig, the pay is typically VERY low — which makes exclusively relying on freelancing platforms to make a living not sustainable in the long run.
That said, there are DEFINITELY diamonds in the rough out there and you may find a freelancing client who pays good rates — so you may get lucky!
Overall, freelancing platforms are a great way to get copywriting projects for beginners, but are typically not a sustainable way of making money long-term.
2. Tap into Your Network
Getting referrals from your network is a great way to break into copywriting.
The key is to ask EVERYONE: your family and friends, old co-workers, random people you went to highschool with…
..basically, as many people as possible!
This way, when someone somewhere in the world is looking for a good copywriter, you’ll be top of mind for a large, diverse group of people.
Referrals are great because people will immediately trust you more than if you were a random person applying for a job online. So, network, network, network!
3. Pitch Local Businesses
Small businesses always need marketing help.
So, if you’re wondering how to get your first copywriting job, the answer may be your favorite corner coffee shop, neighborhood gym, or any other local business you frequent!
Connecting with business owners in this context is often easier because they will like the fact that you already know and love their business — they may not even expect you to have very advanced copywriting skills.
Plus, you’re likely the only one pitching them copywriting projects, so there is not a lot of competition.
4. Social Media
Social media is a fantastic way to connect with potential clients — and grow your brand awareness.
(I personally hang out on Instagram!)
With a ton of social media platforms available out there — from YouTube to TikTok — it can be tempting to try to market yourself * everywhere *, but take it one step at a time.
It’s better to REALLY establish yourself on one platform vs. sporadically show up on many different ones.
So, pick one or two channels to start, and begin growing your audience and connecting with prospective clients.
Growing your freelance business on social media won’t bring you a ton of leads overnight, but over time it can become a really consistent source of traffic and income.
So, start working on that Instagram or LinkedIn profile!
5. Join a Community or Directory
Hate networking events and exchanging business cards? Wondering how to get your first client as a copywriter without having to attend one?
There’s another way to grow your network and connect with your target audience — and you won’t even need to leave your house!
Online communities or directories are a fantastic way to market your freelance services while building personal connections (and potentially even making new friends!).
Freelancing Females, HerHQ, and Quench Collective are great corners of the internet to check out 😎
P.S. Online communities and directories are also great places to do some guest posting to build up your visibility (if they run a blog).
6. Cold Pitching
There is a right and a wrong way to cold pitch potential clients.
In fact, a more appropriate way to call the right way to pitch clients would be WARM pitching…
…because it’s the opposite of sending cold, impersonal emails to dozens and dozens of companies every day.
To craft a pitch that’ll land you your first copywriting client, it’s important to thoroughly research the business you’re going to pitch before sending them that email.
Go on their website, check out what they’ve been up to on LinkedIn or Instagram, and write an email that shows that you have done your research and are actually interested in working with THAT specific company — not just ANY company.
These “warm” pitch emails take more time to draft than cold emails you can just copy and paste and send to a bunch of different leads…
…but your efforts are much more likely to pay off 👀
Real Talk About Breaking into Copywriting
Now that you know how to get clients as a freelance copywriter…
…the most important thing is to stay PERSISTENT until you land that first gig.
It’s not enough to KNOW how to find clients for copywriting — you also need to be willing to put in the work.
When you run into rejections, remember that it’s just a part of being a freelance copywriter and KEEP. GOING.
Need a break while you’re at it? Take this free quiz and find out what kind of storyteller you are!