There’s more to being a freelance copywriter than just writing good words

Something I’ve found challenging since taking the plunge and going freelance is that I am no longer merely a copywriter. As a freelancer, I must fulfil numerous other business functions in addition to doing a great job on my copywriting work. Finding the time to run a business takes some planning, and it’s something that hadn’t even occurred to me until I sat down at my desk on my first day of freelancing.

Today I want to draw attention to the fact that we’re not just copywriters. We’re all these things as well…

We’re salespeople

Writing words that sell a client’s product or service is one thing, but selling oneself is quite another. I don’t consider myself a natural salesperson; it was an aspect of previous jobs that filled me with dread. As a freelancer, I love the fact that I can hide away in the shed at the bottom of my garden and write without interruption. But the reality is that I also have to attend meetings, in which I must pitch the idea of working with me and convince a client to sign up with me. It’s daunting, and it would be even more so for a brand new copywriter without much of a portfolio to refer to.

Line of people sitting on chairs juggling

We’re project managers

As copywriters with multiple clients, we’re also project managers, meaning that we must make sure that work runs on time and budget. We keep track of how numerous projects are going, what resources are needed and from whom, we ensure that clients have realistic expectations, and so on.

We’re accountants

When we’re not writing, pitching or managing projects, the chances are that we have our accountant hat on and we’re busily drawing up quotes, invoicing, recording payments and expenses, and chasing late payments. One of the first things I did when I went freelance was hire an accountant, but I soon realised that although he takes care of my tax return (the scary bit), everything else would be up to me. (I couldn’t live without Wave for accounting matters.)

We’re marketers

Then there’s the marketing side of things. We have to promote our own businesses in order to attract work, and that means maintaining a website, running social media accounts, advertising, perhaps even doing some email marketing to existing and potential clients.

We’re personal assistants… to ourselves

Those emails aren’t going to answer themselves. Those contracts and NDAs aren’t going to sign themselves. And that stack of Christmas cards ready to send to clients? Nope, they’re not going to write themselves, either. There’s plenty of admin work to do as a freelance copywriter, and on top of all the other demands on our time, it’s a wonder we actually find the time to do any copywriting.

Still, at least as a freelancer you don’t have HR to worry about…

Photo credit: Pauline G


26th May 2015

Andy Nattan

Great post Rachel. That’s the one thing I didn’t fully plan for when I made the decision to go freelance. I’m amazed how much of my working day is spent doing anything but writing copy for clients!

26th May 2015

Rachel Barker

So true. Self promotion is definitely my least favourite aspect of the job!

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