Before taking the leap from a secure job (is that even a thing these days?) into the unpredictable world of self-employment, there are a few things you should know before becoming a freelance copywriter. I’m coming from a place of “been there, done it,” so I have some advice that might help you with your journey.

While I’m still finding my feet, these are the five things I’d encourage you to think about before you dive in. After all, fail to prepare and prepare to fail… (Soz, couldn’t resist!)

1.   Have some clients on the side

Unless your circumstances don’t allow it, it’s wise to build up a bank of clients before quitting your job. Start networking and getting your name out there – word of mouth is a powerful tool and it won’t be long before your services are in demand.

Nurture these relationships. In doing so, your clients will recommend your services to colleagues and peers who are looking for a copywriter. Boom – job done. You’ve got yourself a client base to get started with.

2.   Build a portfolio

Try to find some easy gigs to get your portfolio up and running. This will provide you with work to show potential clients if they ask for it.

You don’t necessarily need an all-singing, all-dancing website to start with, but having an online blog to showcase your work is the easiest way to keep everything in one place.

Eventually, you might want a website that showcases your services and tone of voice, but you might be more comfortable investing once you’ve earned some money to put back into your business.

Also, NEVER WORK FOR FREE!

3.   Get your prices nailed

Whether you choose to charge per word or project or prefer an hourly or daily rate, you should set your standard rate from the get-go so that you don’t fall short.

Ask any other freelance copywriter and we’ll all have a different idea on what you should charge. My advice would be to avoid charging by the word. This doesn’t reflect the research time your copy needs or your skills and experience.

ProCopywriters has put together a great guide on suggested rates for hiring copywriters. Ultimately, you need to charge what’s right for you, but this document is an excellent place to start.

4.   Sort an accountant

As per UK law, you pay tax on all earnings over £1,000. Even if your copywriting business is just your side hustle for now, that amount doesn’t stretch very far. So, it’s best to get an accountant on your books or at least find someone who can do your yearly tax return.

It’s dull and tedious and not creative in the slightest. But finding someone to do the boring bits leaves you with more time to do the stuff you’re good at. It’s a no-brainer – but do it sooner rather than later so that you don’t have to worry about it while you’re busy looking for work.

5. Don’t let anyone stop you

When you’re ready to hand your notice in, it’s normal you’ll want to ask your nearest and dearest for advice. But if your gut is telling you the time is right, follow it. Nothing is permanent, so if you find your freelance career doesn’t work out or it’s not quite right for you, you can follow a different path instead.

So, are you ready to tackle your new adventure? If this article has inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please get in touch on lmcgachie@yahoo.co.uk to let me know.

Pssst, calling all business owners… I currently have space in my diary for new projects, so if you’re looking for an experienced and talented freelance copywriter (who’s not too comfortable with self-praise), get in touch.