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Starting out a career as a copywriter can be a little daunting. There’s a lot to take on board, skills to master and learning to deal with clients you may never meet and who probably live on the other side of the world.
There are certain things and strategies that need to be learnt especially if you plan on providing copy for Internet marketers. Setting yourself up to work from home is relatively easy and inexpensive, but you need to be able to win projects so you can pay the bills and the only way you can do this is by building up fantastic feedback and reviews on sites you choose to work on!
Get your Free Guide to Copywriting Part 1 Here!
This guide to copywriting provides lots of tips, things to avoid and advice on how to set up your copywriting business so that you earn the kind of income you need to survive in a competitive world.
Remember, working from home is great, but it has its drawbacks too. You need to be very disciplined and you have to want to succeed without cutting any corners or lowering your standards to do so.
The key to being a successful copywriter is to be consistent, take your time when you craft an article for a client and be proud to have your name attributed to copy you write!
Part One is all about the basics, the things you need to know and where to look for work. But it’s also about the sort of mindset you need to be a successful copywriter!
Get your Free Guide to Copywriting Part 1 Here!
Finding copywriting work online can be a real headache, not only are well paid jobs hard to come across, but the competition is rife too. It can be pretty frustrating which results in many freelancers having to take on part-time work to make ends meet.
The good news is there’s a choice of freelancer job sites out there which are all platforms where people can post projects and look for work, but the bad news is some are not as professionally run as others. These include the following sites which I’ve listed based on personal preference rather than anything else.
- Easy to navigate and as professional as you will get these days
- Free to register
- Rates are not that exhorbitant
- Receiving payment from the site is fast and efficient
- Disputes are dealt with fairly and in a timely fashion
- Site admin is sometimes very efficient other times you tend to get robotic replies which can be frustrating
- Community was one that could be trusted, but more and more fake identities are appearing on the scene which is a real shame for members who opt to be more transparent
- Quite hard to navigate which makes looking for relevant and interesting projects to bid on a time consuming exercise
- Free to register
- Rates are just about acceptable
- Receiving payment from the site could be made a little easier
- Disputes are dealt with in a strange and long winded manner
- Site admin appears to be efficient, but it’s often hard to get across just what is wrong – again you often get robotic replies back for any queries you may have
- Community is a mixed batch of employers who want to pay peanuts for top quality work and members who are willing to provide the work which tends to lower the standards of the site. Quite a few fake identities which makes it hard to know who you are working for or who is actually providing the copy if you are an employer
- Another hard site to navigate which means it is time consuming to find work or post a job on the site
- Free to register but you have to buy credits in order to work on the site
- Rates are just about acceptable
- Receiving payment from the site is not the easiest in the world!
- Disputes are dealt with pretty efficiently, but tend to always favour employers
- Site admin – hard to deal with if there is a problem due to robotic and automated responses which can be very frustrating
- Community is a mixed batch of amateurs, semi-professionals and professionals, but jobs tend to be very poorly paid. Again lots of fake identities which makes working on this platform pretty hard
- A site that was at one time a pretty nice platform to work on, but sadly as it got bigger it became one of the worst around which is a shame
- Free to register
- Rates are quite high these days which makes it harder to find well paid work
- Receiving payment from the site is a real pain and often takes far too long which is unacceptable in this digital world
- Disputes are dealt with in an okay manner although they always tend to lean towards project creators which is another big minus for the site
- Admin is robotic and not really available to settle any disputes or answer queries in a professional manner which can be frustrating
- Community is a complete shambles with many, many fake identities having been allowed to “rule” the roost which makes it a very hard platform to work on
Alternative Ways to Find Work
There are alternative ways to find work, which includes setting up your own website, but this needs to be done in a very professional manner. You can use Craiglist, but again I’ve heard of many copywriters who’ve encountered many problems getting their invoices paid.
Another option is to submit a request through websites like the Writer’s Job Board . It’s just one of the platforms around that allows you to apply for copywriting jobs that cover many different niches. Another plus in going down this route being that most of the jobs posted also provide submission guidelines which makes it easier for copywriters to work to. Finally, and as a real bonus these jobs tend to be very well paid as compared to those posted on freelancer websites.
There are other sites offering a similar ‘job board’ service and I will publish these in future posts which hopefully will make it that much easier for copywriters to find work and earn a respectable living to boot!
Author: Honey Wood
Sell your unpaid work through SampleSafe
Tell the world about your copywriting skills at I Just Won a Job
Tight deadlines? Don’t you just hate them? I often get asked to write an article (or two) that clients tag as “urgy purgies” and will, on the very odd occasion agree to write them, but only for very favoured customers.
The reason being that it takes time to ‘craft’ good copy, these things should never be rushed and anyway, having to meet a ridiculously tight deadline is both boring and stressful.
However, there are other reasons why copywriters should turn down projects which boast a turnaround time that leaves them breathless and just a few of these reasons are listed below.
Job description: Client wants 10 in-depth articles on UK tax laws and they want them within 24 hours!
Now the majority of well-versed copywriters know their limitations and are quite happy to take on the occasional tight deadline when the topic is familiar to them. However, clients who need multiple well researched and therefore factually correct articles on a very specific and difficult topic within a tight deadline are, quite frankly, living on another planet!
It shows that the client is either totally disorganised and therefore probably not somebody you may want to work for – or – another copywriter let them down and now they are grasping at straws to get the job done by yesterday.
There is also a very high probability that their rates of pay are less than desirable, hence the proverbial cock-up with the first copywriter. I must point out here that this is just my own calculated guess as to why they need the articles written so quickly!
Job description: Client needs 25 rewrites done – very easy work – should only take a fast typist 5 minutes to run up a 500 word rewrite (claims the client)
Now for those who are just starting out their career as a virtual copywriter, re-writes are an easy way to find their feet and although usually very poorly paid, taking on a rewrite project can bring in a few pennies when other work is slow coming in.
However, rewrites and short deadlines are not a good marriage because the chances are the copy that needs rewriting is so badly written you can hardly make sense of it!
Result? A real headache, lots of stress and a few choice words being bandied around the house!
There are a lot of clients out there who presume they know how long it takes to rewrite a 500 word article although they cannot string a few lines together to form a easy-read brief!
These are real ‘stay away’ from projects which are just not worth your time and effort especially if there’s a ridiculously tight deadline!
Reasons to turn down tight deadlines
- You’ll end up rushing the copy which could result in you lowering your standards!
- Is it really worth working for a client who is so disorganised they leave posting the job till the last minute?
- Ridiculous deadlines and terrible rates – is it really worth it?
- Good copy that you’ll be proud of takes time to research first and then to write – you need to ask yourself if you really want your name to be attributed to dreadful copy?
- The internet is loaded with average, mediocre, terrible and utterly diabolical copy – do you really want to add to it by providing a badly organised client with more of the same?
- Accepting a tight deadline on a difficult topic will leave you exhausted. It’s just not worth it because your talents should be put to better use working for clients who set realistic deadlines along with good rates of pay = think about it!
Author: Honey Wood
Protect your copy with SampleSafe
Why not share your success as a writer through I Just Won a Job!
There’s nothing more annoying than finishing a project and then finding the client either doesn’t like your work or knit picks about the quality which usually results in them not wanting to pay your invoice. It can leave you feeling angry, frustrated and basically very low.
If the job was large and leaves you out of pocket, there are things you can do to recoup your money. Read on to find out how.
Before You Send Your Work to a Client
It depends on how well you know a client as to how much you trust them to pay an invoice. But with this said, if you make a habit of doing certain things no matter how long you’ve been providing copy for a client it means you protect your work no matter what.
Prior to sending valuable copy/content to a client, try setting up a routine which is as follows:
- Copyright your work – watermark or other
- Register your work with a company like SampleSafe – this service automatically checks for plagiarism too!
Next, push the send button so your client receives the work they ordered from you, informing them the content/copy has been registered or has a copyright watermark on it which is the polite thing to do.
What to Do if Payment is Not Forthcoming
If payment is not forthcoming or the client starts to give you grief in any way, shape or form and you feel they are doing their level best to get out of paying your invoice, you have several options open to you which are as follows:
- Publish your copy/content/articles on your own blog – it’s yours so you have the right to do this because until the work is paid for the copyright still belongs to you!
- If you did register your work with SampleSafe request that it be added to the “Unpaid Content For Sale” page on their website – there’s a tiny fee for this service, but nothing compared to not getting paid at all!
- Start proceedings against the client for the unpaid invoice – this can be costly and time consuming which means you have to weigh up whether or not it’s worth the hassle!
- If you find the client has used your copy anyway, report them to Google – this can take a long time to prove but sometimes it works and is worth it – the downside is you still don’t get paid for your work!
- Offer your work to other clients who might need similar topics written – again the wait can be pretty long when it comes to getting paid!
Tips & Advice
- Be careful when you agree to work for new clients
- Be wary when you are asked to provide copy by a “middle man” for one of their clients – this can often lead to issues with payment and you never know who you should be really talking to in order to resolve the problem
- Always try to resolve the problem before you do anything, but if the client continues to be difficult then take action
- Always ask for a deposit before you start any project and make sure the deposit is not just a fraction of the total cost of the work you will be providing – it should be at least two thirds of the total!
- If you are new to the virtual writing scene, sign up to a few freelancing websites and then work through them bearing in mind you have to stick to their rules – do not abuse their terms and conditions because it could mean your account gets suspended – sometimes indefinitely!
- Always remain professional, a client is a client and not a friend – you should be amicable but you have to remember the customer is not your best buddy or close family friend but someone you are doing business with!
The laws pertaining to copyright are there for a reason which is to protect work created by authors, musicians and the like. But what about images of a person posted on the web? All too often, I’ve come across an image of a well-known person which has been stolen and used by someone else to create their own profile on a website like Peopleperhour.
Not only is this deception but it could be viewed as fraud too. Sadly, the web has made information extremely accessible to some rather unscrupulous people who think nothing of stealing other people’s identities, and this includes their image which they then proceed to use as their own.
Does it really matter?
Yes, it most certainly does, because if a person is willing to pretend to be someone else, they are also more than likely willing to deceive unsuspecting clients in other ways too. This includes stealing someone else’s content and putting their name to it. Ultimately this can affect the real people these unscrupulous freelancers are pretending to be!
The problem is this type of theft is incredibly hard to police although a quick Google image search will soon let you know if an image of you is being used by someone else in their freelancing profile. Sadly, this is something that people usually only find out about if another person spots the image and then lets the real person know.
Using Someone Else’s Photo in a Profile is Wrong
Taking out legal action against another person who is masquerading as you on the internet can be time consuming and costly because finding out who they really are can be extremely difficult. The other thing you need to bear in mind, is copyright laws tend to vary in different countries.
If you find out or are told that someone is using an image of you in their profile, the first thing you can do is contact the site’s admin and tell them they have a member who is impersonating you. If the website fails to do anything about it, you need to read through the site’s terms and conditions of use and then take appropriate action.
A well run freelancing website would take the matter very seriously as do social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to name but three. If all fails, you should sign up to the website yourself and post your image in your profile. The person masquerading as you may just opt to choose an image of someone else, but at least they stop pretending to be you!
Lastly, you should write about your experiences at having others use your image in their profiles and do so in your own blog and then publicise your article through Twitter, Linkedin and any other social media platform you typically use. If you have a lot of followers, word would soon get around that somebody on the internet is impersonating you on a freelancer job website or other!
Author: Honey Wood