Do you want to launch an online copywriting business?
It’s no secret that copywriting is booming.
Everyone, from huge brands like Nike and Apple to your local coffee shop, needs good copy to market their business, increase their sales, and stand out from competitors.
In fact, the demand for copywriters is predicted to grow by 7.6% between 2016 and 2026.
In our increasingly digital world, copywriters craft copy for incredibly important marketing assets, such as websites and sales pages…
…and, in short, there hasn’t been a better time to start a copywriting business!
In this blog post, you’ll get a step-by-step guide on how to launch your copywriting business, build an authoritative brand, and land high-value clients that you actually WANT to work with.
Just a warning —
This is NOT a blog post on how to become a freelance copywriter. We’re focusing on how to launch and run a successful copywriting business. Check out this blog post for a step-by-step on how to begin copywriting, improve your skills, and get your first clients!
How to Start Your Own Copywriting Business: A Guide
1. Take Care of the Legal Basics
The first step to starting a small business is making sure that you have a proper legal foundation.
Registering your business, opening a separate business bank account to separate your personal finances from your business revenue and expenses, and understanding when you need to pay taxes are incredibly important.
Sure, you can start freelancing and get a couple of paying clients without any of these legal foundations in place.
But if you’re actually serious about building and running your business…
…well, you need to start treating your “side hustle” like one!
So, start with setting yourself up for success with being crystal clear on what the legal side of running your freelance copywriting business is going to look like.
2. Do Market and Competitor Research
If you’re wondering how to start copywriting online and make your business stand out from the competition, the answer is simple:
Copywriting is becoming increasingly popular and having good copywriting skills is not enough to build a full-time business.
Doing market and competitor research will help you identify how you can position your business to make it stand out.
What is something that no one else is doing that you can offer?
What kind of message and content marketing will resonate with your audience the most?
How can you make your business unique?
Take a closer look at your target audience and other copywriting businesses and figure out what you can do differently or better.
3. Build Your Brand
Some freelance writers believe that creating a cute logo and picking out a few pretty colors and fonts is enough to build a memorable brand and impress potential clients.
But the truth is that there is SO much more that goes into creating a strong brand, from your brand messaging & voice to your brand values.
Here are three areas that business owners need to pay attention to.
What does your brand stand for?
Where do you see your business in 5 years? In 10?
How are you making a difference?
You don’t have to have your big vision 100% figured out when you launch your business — and it will DEFINITELY evolve over time! — but it’s important to have a foundational understanding of where you see your business going in the future even in the early stages.
What’s your signature way of communicating with your target audience?
From your mission statement to the words and sentiments that are immediately recognized by your audience as on-brand for you, creating solid brand messaging is a huge step to building a memorable brand.
Don’t just keep this in your head —
Create a brand messaging document for your business to use when you’re writing your own copy and content…
…as well as share with any contractors or team members in the future!
→ Wondering where to start? Take this quiz to find out what kind of a storyteller you are.
Creating a strong visual identity for your business is important —
And it goes deeper than just finding nice colors and brand elements.
Your brand design needs to be strategic to reflect and elevate your brand message.
Whether you’re doing your branding yourself or outsourcing to a designer, make sure that your design extends beyond the aesthetics.
4. Launch Your Website
Your website is the heart of your brand.
You don’t need a big and complicated 10-page website if you’re just starting out…
…but it’s important to have some kind of website presence to drive your leads to, even if it’s very simple.
A one-page landing page website is the most basic website that you can build, and it’s a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on your website design.
Alternatively, go with the four basic pages: home, services, about, and contact.
As you’re writing copy for your own website, keep in mind what you want your website to look like in the future.
Do you want to start a blog to bring more traffic in? Launch passive products, like copywriting templates or merch?
In other words —
Start simple, but keep your bigger business vision in mind.
5. Come Up with a Marketing Plan
Now that you have a website with your services and offers clearly laid out, you need to figure out HOW you’re going to bring your target audience to your website.
Consistently marketing your business is essential to find clients and start booking out in advance, so take some time to come up with a solid marketing plan.
Here are some ideas.
Market Your Business on Social Media
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even TikTok are great ways to build brand awareness and find new clients.
Don’t make business accounts on all social media platforms at the same time. Doing your best on one social media channel is always better than struggling to stay consistent on multiple.
Start with social media where your target audience hangs out the most.
For example, Instagram is popular with small business owners and entrepreneurs while LinkedIn is great for landing gigs with bigger brands.
Harness the Power of Email Marketing
The awesome thing about email marketing is that, unlike social media platforms, you actually own your email list and don’t run the risk of losing it overnight.
Your Instagram or TikTok account has to adhere to certain rules and can get restricted or even deleted at any point.
You have much more control over your email list — not to mention that for every $1 that you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42!
Networking and PR
Getting visible and building valuable partnerships is a great way to bring organic leads in.
Pitching to well-known publications or writing guest posts for other businesses is a great way to get your name out there.
PR may not bring leads to you overnight, but it’s a great way to build up long-term visibility for your brand.
Networking and becoming a part of communities that are popular with your target audience are also a great way to get referrals…
…and form strategic partnerships with professionals in complementary niches.
Wondering how to get freelance copywriting work without doing a ton of outbound marketing and cold emails?
Most leads who need design also need copywriting, so having a strong relationship with a designer — or a couple! — is a great way to get referrals and bring in repeat business.
6. Stay Consistent
Building a business is hard work — and it’s important to stay consistent with it if you want to see it pay off.
When your business is in the initial stages, you have to wear many hats. You are the CEO, the copywriter, the marketer, the customer service representative…you name it!
So, especially with marketing and lead generation, it’s easy to stop being as consistent after you’ve landed a couple of big clients or entered a busy season with lots of client work on your plate.
It’s important to stay consistent with your marketing and outreach even if you are busy or booked out.
Marketing your business is a long-term game. The effort you put into it now may bring a client in two or three months later.
This is why consistent marketing efforts are how you avoid the feast and famine cycle, when you’re very busy with client work for a couple of months and then don’t have any bookings until you start marketing again.
7. Work on Your CEO Mindset
Running a copywriting business is not the same as being a freelance copywriter.
When you commit to running a business, in addition to being a copywriter, you also have to become a visionary.
This means thinking ahead, always looking at the bigger picture, and finding the right people to outsource to.
It can feel scary at first to let go of complete control over some aspects of your business…
…but having fresh perspectives and new skills can actually help your business grow!
Looking for the first step to bring your copywriting business vision to life?
Start with taking this storytelling quiz to discover your secret weapon in marketing!