Anna Gunning

PRO

21 February 2017

How other copywriters can support your freelance business

Networking with peers can bring unexpected benefits

“Where can I find freelance copywriting work?”

Is a question I’ve heard a lot on my social feeds this year. And amidst the traditional responses about social media, local networking, beefing up your PCN listing, content marketing and email marketing, there’s another route you shouldn’t forget:

Connecting with other copywriters

Other copywriters aren’t your competitors.

I know it’s tempting to think: ‘I’m looking for work, they’re probably looking for work, I must batten down the hatches and protect my business.’

But that’s a mistake that can cost you income and professional support. Here’s why.

Scalability is a big challenge for freelancers

When I worked in agency, we had a team of in-house copywriters to handle the workload. When you’re freelance, it’s just you. Which means you’re limited by the number of hours in a day/week/month. And you don’t spend all of your time writing – there’s all the management that comes with running your own business.

Let’s say I get an enquiry. I’ve already got work booked in and can’t shift those deadlines, but the client seems nice and I want to be helpful. I have 2 choices:

  1. Say ‘Thanks but I’ve got other client commitments during that time’ and recommend another copywriter
  2. Take on the job and subcontract work to another copywriter

Both those scenarios require a relationship with another good copywriter – someone I can trust to deliver a quality service (because my reputation is tied up with both scenarios).

You’d be surprised at how often freelancers want a name to put forward.

Subcontracting can make you a better copywriter

I’ve been very lucky in my career. I’ve worked with brilliant creative directors and copywriters who have given me constructive criticism and helped me develop ideas.

When you’re freelance, you leave lots of that infrastructure behind – and it can be lonely with no one to proofread your work or challenge (or confirm) your ideas.

When you do work with a more senior copywriter, you get that feedback loop. You open a document full of tracked changes and you start to refine your approach and technique.

So if you’re looking to fill your pipeline, have a word with your peers

Email other copywriters in the PCN directory, post in the PCN forums and LinkedIn groups, tweet using the #copywritersunite hashtag. You may be surprised at what comes through.

Connect with me over at Gunning Marketing, on Twitter and on LinkedIn.


What do you think?

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Claire Hawes

May 11, 2017 at 2:55pm

I belong to a freelance network group in Brighton. The attendees are mainly programmers. They discuss problems with each other, learn from each other and share work around. If networking with peers works for programmers, it can work for copywriters too.

PRO

Matthew Drzymala

June 21, 2017 at 10:22am

A great piece. As somebody who is just starting out in copywriting, a network would be great!