How To Make $10,000/month as a copywriter
$10k months. Consistently. BAM!
If you’ve ever wanted to know what most freelance copywriters’ top goal is…whether you ask them, get a sneak peek into their journal, or hear ‘em ugly cry on Zoom with their mastermind peers offering support…it’s this.
“Make $10k in one month”
I can’t speak for others but when I made swift inroads into the online jungle as a service provider – this was my dream impossible goal.
Impossible goal = A goal that makes you sweat because you know deeeeeep down in your psyche that it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility but is simultaneously not easily attainable. In fact, it could take months. Or years.
And I could hold my own (masala chai) amidst the company of my uber educated Indian friends with MBA/doctorate/triple PhD degrees.
(if there’s one thing Asians love boasting about more than their personal wealth investing strategies, it’s the kind of clients/influential people/positions they’ve earned in their gainful employment)
So, when I announced I was going to become a freelance copywriter (as my new career choice after a successful run with a traditional business)…I encountered raised eyebrows, a barrage of questions – mostly curious about how I was going to make this work – and a customary “oh, good luck.”
But I was gonna show them. And I did. Two years later 😀
If you’re just starting out as a copywriter, service provider, or any service-based entrepreneur — or you’re seriously considering it — here are some of my $10k in a month lessons that would help you get there.
# 1 If you want to be a good copywriter, get ready to suck at writing copy.
I know it’s not something you want to hear, but it’s true. And the quicker you accept it and let that not deter you from making it in this industry, a better copywriter, you’ll evolve.
I had zero experience in digital marketing, advertising, or anything close to the written medium (looking at you, my dear journalist friends). The only written form of communication I used in my pre-copywriting career was emails to customers quoting frying oil prices. All of three lines.
(I was a food export manager in my former life. Yup. Very glamorous 😆)
Incidentally, I didn’t know it then but this form of “sales copy” introduced me to Gene Schwartz’s customer stage of awareness – particularly stage # 5 – Most Aware.
So, how did I embrace the suck and kept going?
I wrote daily. Okay, 3 times a week TBH.
I’d pick a topic for the week in which I wanted to improve my skills. And for three days,I spent all my waking hours watching copywriter greats teach me these skills on demand, a la CopySchool (heralded by the lovely Jo Wiebe).
Then, I’d get to work. Pretend I had a client, and I was hired to write their landing pages. I even offered to write and rewrite a few friends’ landing pages – for zilch dollars. It was good practice for me and while the money would’ve been nice. I was hungry to provide as much value as I can to earn quick wins and channel that into testimonials.
If possible find a copywriting mentor who’d happily tear your work to shreds. Figuratively, of course, unless you’re handwriting sales letters and emails.
This is one thing I didn’t know I could do when I started. I had no mentor to help me with my craft. Truth is, I didn’t know they existed, and it didn’t occur to me to look. Had I worked with one, I’d have collapsed my learning curve and made improvements faster.
Whether you work with a copywriting mentor or not….
Produce, suck, iterate, and recalibrate.
I realize I’m giving you an old-school route to success in a highly digitized, instantaneous, Instagrammable world…but I’ve found very few substitutes to achieving sweet smelling success.
If you’re in it for the long haul, this strategy works. Albeit with a box of Kleenex and dark chocolate by your side on dark days when you question if you’ll ever “make it.”
And there will be plenty of those.
# 2 Pick your team…and bat for them.
Not your baseball team.
But the team you’ll write for. Yeah, I’m going to ask you to do what you’ve heard many mentors tell you already.
Pick a niche.
*I can hear the groans coupled with deadpan faces*
Try it out for 90 days at the minimum. If you don’t like it, then pivot.
*How’s that for another overused word?*
Yes, it’s overused. SHUT UP, SHUT UP!, SHUT UPPPPP!!
(See, I’m still embracing my copywriting suckiness – proof that continual learning, evolving, and being willing to suck is the only constant.)
Without inviting you to another deep rabbit hole of Googling “target markets you can write for”…I present to you my definition of niche…and ultimately, help you pick yours with minimal drama.
Niche = People + Market + Your copywriting skills
Grab a piece of paper, create three columns, kick your kids and spouse out of the room, and get into deep thinking mode.
You start with filling in the last column, i.e. Copywriting Skills.
Emails (according to this example) isn’t exactly a skill per se, but it’s something you enjoy writing, learning, and it will make you raise your hand to working with a client if the opportunity comes your way.
You want to nail down your copywriting skill in a similar way. What do you love or want to explore using your copywriting know-how?
My copywriting skill was writing sales pages. Absolutely loved them, and I charged $997 per long form sales page when I started out. Which soon led me to auditing them for clients…and now I teach other copywriters and digital marketers how to run these as successful productized services.
Point being…Pick one area of your copywriting expertise.
Narrow it down to ONE deliverable.
Get specific. Sticking with our email example, brainstorm the different types of email services you can offer.
Next, come up with a list of markets/industries that could use your copywriting skills. Don’t edit yourself – go wild with this one.
Finally, in the People column, list either the people who you’ll need to get in touch with to pitch your copywriting services. Even better if you can source their names and social media handles.
Now begin the process of elimination. Starting with the last column (your skills). What specific copywriting skill appeals to you, you enjoy it, and is monetizable? You can have more than one (I see you multi-passionate folks), but I’d limit it to two.
Next, circle the markets in which your skills are in demand. If you’re not sure, circle it anyway. I’d pick at least three. Follow suit for the last column in this table – people. Identify the people you’d need to connect with in your chosen markets. If you’re going after the local businesses, this is easy.
Friendly stalk them, interact with their content, and become their advocate (re: share their content, tag them, DM or email them when the time is right. I cannot emphasize this enough).
# 3 Get good at promoting your services – like really good.
This feels scary. Copywriters prefer to hide behind “work.” Work that they like to think is productive and will eventually spin gold (a.k.a. Generate income)
To be more specific, it looks like this:
- Posting 5 times a day on social media to build awareness
- Writing and editing blog articles
- Taking another course because who knows – it might just be the answer to their prayers
Instead, it needs to look like this:
- Send customized cold pitches to businesses offering your services. This is my favorite way to get clients. Don’t worry about rejection. Pat yourself on the back when you hit “send” (I have an excellent paid resource for this. Check it out 👉here.)
- Form win-win collaborative partnerships with other service providers who aren’t direct competition (for example, link your writerly arms with a website designer so you can offer your web copy services to their web design clients and vice versa. )
- Apply for jobs advertised on job boards, whether these are mentioned in paid communities or free Facebook groups.
- Email peers in your industry – you don’t have to limit yourself to copywriters – and ask to set up a coffee chat (in fact, when you do these consistently with the intention to build relationships, you’ll build goodwill and stay on top of mind. Tell them you’re looking for copywriting gigs and if they know anyone who’s hiring. Or launching if you’re a launch copywriter)
- Email old clients and check in on how they’re doing. Ask them if they’re working on a new offer and if you could be a part of the execution team.
Get comfortable with feeling discomfort asking for what you want. Suppress the inner cringe that emerges when you make the ask, “hey, do you need help with your launch sequences?” Follow it up with “you can totally say NO if you’ve got that covered. But I had so much fun working together on our last project, I thought I’d ask.”
OR, you could say “I love your brand and messaging, that I’d love to work with you in some capacity.”
Even if you don’t get the ideal result you want (a.k.a. a paying client. Or four.) – you’ll make tremendous progress in your CEO journey because you’ll learn to ask for what you want. And do it consistently, I’m positive you’ll get at least one lead, referral, or an inquiry in your inbox on Day 33.
Notice, I didn’t say you need to create content or TikTok reels to sign your next client. Unless this strategy is working for you in your business – I’m assuming 3 out of 4 of your social media posts have CTAs to the effect of: “Hey, click on my bio to book a call with me”
Unless you’ve got that down to a science…it may not be the right time to conquer a new social platform.
Which leads me into point # 4…
# 4 Don’t bother with content creation or list building. Build relationships instead.
This one will surely ruffle some feathers. In the online world, there’s a heavy focus on offering value. Unfortunately, for entrepreneurs starting out in this space, they misconstrue this as creating 5 different lead magnets or writing 5,000 word blog posts and publishing them on your site.
Not saying this isn’t important, but as a budding service provider, I’d much rather you focus on signing a client. Or three.
Does that mean you shouldn’t be a guest on podcasts or do a free training in someone’s mastermind? Absolutely not – but if you’re not actively promoting your business and your services within your free content, no one is going to hire you.
Same goes for list building and email marketing.
*Yes, I know I’m going to invoke the internet marketing God’s wrath over this*
List building, nurturing, marketing, content creation – while important, don’t have a place in your first year of business. Especially if you want to have a consistent cash flow coming in. What does help is, building relationships with strategic partners and making your intent known that you’ve got a valuable service to offer.
So, yes, I’m telling you to hold off your list building efforts – temporarily at least – and fixate on selling.
Side note: If you’re wooing a strategic partner, you could create a free resource that will do two things well; 1) demonstrate your expertise and 2) offer valuable tips, new perspectives or insights to this person. This exchange could lead to a conversation and possibly help you score your next project, a referral, or stay on top of mind when the need arises.
#5 When you make a conscious decision to make $10k in a month – don’t invest in ANY courses or programs to “learn more copywriting” – You know enough.
Like the “free value trap” above, this one’s just as potent but does far more harm than good.
I can’t emphasize this enough, but when you’re going all in with the intention of creating ONE specific result in your business – you have to make space for it to manifest.
* Yes, I said the M word. But stay with me…*
Which means taking a subtractive approach. It could look like this:
- Unsubscribe from email newsletters you haven’t opened in your inbox for more than 60 days. Chances are, you’ll never read ‘em.
- Don’t sign up to buy new courses or programs to learn “more” before you feel confident to make an ask, sell your services, or create some tangible ROI. Concentrate on getting your ROI from what you’ve already bought. Consume less. Act more! I think you’re noticing a theme.
- Take a break from social media for 30-60 days. Yup, really. This will do wonders for your inner comparison meter that violently fluctuates between “doing okay” to “OMG, I suck compared to Mr./Ms. Awesome, and it’s best I quit.” Remember that the ones you admire in your space all started at point zero. They weren’t an overnight success. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Especially when you don’t see immediate results. And the truth is, you won’t.
- Develop a strong positioning for the services you offer. This is based on the courses you’ve already taken to hone your craft. For example, if you’ve mastered writing sales pages thanks to completing a couple of online courses (or reading books and blogs on the subject), how could you turn what you know into a compelling offer? Create a services page and list the specific outcomes you create for your clients. By taking stock of what you already know and amplifying your awesomeness, you focus less on the externals and, frankly, the unnecessary fluff.
Signing 3 clients will turbocharge your confidence and get you closer to your $10k goal more than buying 3 online courses that teach things you kinda know already. #totalwasteoftime.
# 6 Offer ONE of your services at $1k or higher.
This works for two reasons.
#1 It makes the math easier. A plus for copywriters and creatives because it isn’t our strength. The only math we like? What our words make our clients and the sound of positive conversion metrics. Mmmm…me want more cookies of that, please!
Say, one of your services is a long form sales page, priced at $1k.
You’ll need to sell 10 to make $10k.
Or you can increase your price to $2.5k.
Sell this deliverable to 4 clients, and voila, you’ve made $10k.
Less than $1k means you’ll work with basement bargain hunters, micromanagers, and the type of clients who’ll suck every drop of joy out of you. These clients don’t understand the impact of good copy, let alone appreciate highly skilled and hard working copywriters.
Whether it’s a sales page or a 5-email sequence…you want to start at the $1,000 price point. Reassess your pricing when you’ve got a waitlist and/or you’ve created sweet wins for your client launches.
#2 When you set your minimum price as $1k for a single copywriting deliverable – it demonstrates confidence and inner faith. Cheesy as this sounds, but you’ve got to sell YOU to you before you can convince someone to hire you. A thousand dollars denotes badassery, confidence, and an unshakeable knowing that what you have to offer is immensely valuable – unlike 3-figure price tags.
# 7 Celebrate your wins.
Hit your $10k goal in one month?
Whoop whoop 👏👏
Throw a party, splurge on a silk scarf, take the day off, but whatever you do, please don’t put your head down and continue working.
Recognize that you accomplished what you set out to do – which is no easy feat if you’re an entrepreneur.
I, for one, will always regret this because I didn’t take a silent pause to register this glorious feat when it happened. I shrugged, blamed it on random luck, and started to look for all the other ways to go after the next big thing. Quickest route to burnout and disillusionment if you continue on this path.
Making your first $10k as a copywriter can be paved with challenges, setbacks, and disappointments.
Sometimes it can take longer than expected. So, don’t wait until you’ve achieved your goal to celebrate.
Every tiny win deserves an applause and a lil’ celebratory dance.
You made the ask? Win.
Closed the sale? Win.
Doubled your price to $1k for an email sequence despite your fears (and your mom telling you it’ll flop?). Triple win!
The “laugh all the way to the bank” couldn’t ring truer in this case.
Embrace the sucky process. That’s what you and I signed up for. You might as well enjoy it 😀
Want to set and achieve your impossible goal in your business?
Let me help you ideate, optimize, and execute a profit-rich business, so you stop asking “is this possible for me?” to champagne clinking “heck yeah, goal accomplished” moments in 2022.