When you’re at the beginning of your copywriting career, you get many questions from potential clients. One of the most common questions you’ll get early on is: Can I see some of your previous work? This is how most people find themselves in a catch 22 situation – they need a portfolio to get a client but to have a portfolio – they need a client. So what to do in these situations?
What you might say in this situation when you’re brand new to copywriting is: Well, I don’t have a portfolio because I am new and I just started doing this. What this leads to is your prospects being reluctant to do business with you. And you can’t blame them – if they didn’t see any of your work and you are new, how could they possibly trust you?
This is a frustrating situation to be in. We understand that. But the real question is – are you going to let it prevent you from starting a lucrative copywriting career?
Today we share with you 5 proven strategies to start your copywriting career, even if you have no experience and no portfolio. These are your strategies to get the foot in the door and if you follow them you will be able to get clients fast.
Getting Into the Game
Working for free is no one’s ideal choice. This is not something that you or anyone else likes to do or should do for very long. But for some, getting one or two paid gigs is the best way to land that first high paying client.
Unpaid or low pay gigs are available everywhere and they will get you a chance to prove yourself and network at the same time.
Now, we’re not saying you should do this forever. All you need to do is – get your feet wet. Warm-up a little so you can get in the game.
Now, here are 5 other proven ways to get your copywriting career started.
1. Volunteer to Start Copywriting Career
Nonprofit organizations are always looking for writers. They need someone to write their emails, newsletters, press releases, fundraising campaigns, and emails. These can be your animal shelters, your environmental groups, parent-teacher organizations, or any other causes you support or want to support.
All you need to do is send them an email and say: I am a copywriter looking to get some experience – could I help you with some of your writing and promotional materials?
This will get you the foot in the door that you need and you will be able to produce work that becomes a part of your portfolio.
How to reach out to them? You can simply write them an email or connect with them over LinkedIn. Offer to do one project for them, and if they like what they see, there’s a high likelihood that they will hire you for other projects as well.
A Safe Road to a Permanent Client
Approaching people like this will give them the impression that you are a good person who cares about the cause they represent. And more importantly, it will give you the opportunity to also show them what you can do. If you do your job well, chances are you will be hired as a copywriter for that same or some other organization very quickly.
Get a Referral or an Endorsement
If you go this route and write for a nonprofit, you will have other possibilities. You see, they might not hire right away, but if you do a good job – you can get a referral or an endorsement.
Getting a referral will allow you to get a paid client faster and to also expand your portfolio.
However, do not expect this to happen. It’s nice if it does – but this should not be your primary motivation. The main reason why you’re doing this is your portfolio. Keep your eyes on your main prize – a good portfolio you can use to get high paying clients.
2. Approach Your Religious Organizations
If you belong to a church or any other religious organization, you can approach them too, and offer your services. They are also always looking for writers to share their message and their work.
If you approach such a group as a member, then it will be very easy for them to offer you some gigs. They will trust you because you know their message and purpose from the inside and they will trust that you can convey it the way they would.
This is a great opportunity to practice.
3. Approach Bussiness Owners
Another thing you can do is to approach local business owners. This is what Dan Lok did too when he was starting his copywriting career. He would talk to any business owners he knew and ask them – Do you need any kind of brochures or help with any other kind of writing?
If they do have a need then you have an opportunity to show them your skills and to also get credit and an additional piece of work in your portfolio.
All you’re asking for in this case scenario is an endorsement and the right to showcase this wor to other future prospects. That’s very easy for them and most of the time they will say yes.
All businesses need marketing material. Once you do a few of these you will have a full portfolio ready to go.
4. Take An Online Course to Start a Copywriting Career
Another effective strategy for building your portfolio is to take an online course. As a matter of fact, Dan Lok teaches a seven-week course for high-income copywriters. He teaches people how to make thousands and tens of thousands of dollars with nothing more than the power of the keyboard or a pen, combined with their other skills.
If you want a proven path to a six-figure income, then click here and read more about this course. Every week, students from around the world join this class virtually from the comfort of their homes. Every week they get an assignment to do, so by the end of seven weeks, they have a portfolio ready to show to their new clients.
If you join a course like this, your homework can be used as an example fo the work that you have done. Emails, landing pages, ads that you can present to your clients. This is why Dan Lok’s students can show their portfolios and land clients even before they finish the course.
5. Rewrite Other People’s Copy
So you go through different landing pages, emails, ads, and you save what you like. You can direct these pieces and rewrite them in your own words. If you do this, you will end up with several types of writing that you can include in your portfolio.
But make sure to be honest. Do not lie and make sure you do not misrepresent yourself. These are not your clients and you should not say that. You can simply show your prospects samples of the kind of work you can do.
This is how your clients can get a glimpse of your skills. They can get a sample of your work and see your capabilities.
Don’t Overdo It
Remember – this is just a portfolio. You do not need to provide 30 samples of your work. You need just a few. The point is to make a clear statement for your client and show them what you do. A confused mind and a confused client never buy, so your priority is to clarify for them what it is that you do.
When you send clients your portfolio, make sure you send them only what they need. What do we mean by that? Well, if someone wants to hire you to write emails for them, then send them a few examples of emails. If they are looking for landing pages, then send them a few landing pages examples. You don’t want to show them emails when they look for landing pages, do you?
Now…the more you work, the better and bigger your portfolio gets. Be selective about what you share and with whom. Select your worm carefully and tailor your choice to each specific client.
Ask Good Questions
When you’re talking to your prospect – do not talk about yourself. They are not interested in your history and experiences. They are interested in themselves and what they need to get done.
So first, talk to your clients on the phone. That will allow you to get a better sense of who they are and what they’re looking for. Ask them about their needs and what they want to achieve with their business.
Pose some good questions. Try to find out as much as you can about their needs and the outcomes they are looking for. Listen to them carefully and position your copywriting business and a solution they need to get where they want to be. Dan Lok has many videos on YouTube about sales and closing and you can realistically go on his channel and check them out.
Successful Copywriting Career is About Persistence
Many people struggle with this question. But you see, Dan Lok himself is an example of someone who never let that stop him from becoming one of the best copywriters today.
He started a copywriting career because of his first mentor, Alan Jacques. Alan used to run a very successful company called Business Breakthrough Technologies. He’s the first guy to bring Robert Kiyosaki, founder of Rich Dad Company, to Vancouver.
Alan taught Dan how to write copy when he was in my early 20’s. It was a difficult process because English is not his first language. He often speaks of calling business owners to offer his services and them simply saying: If you cannot even speak proper English on the phone, how can you write copy for them?
Dan didn’t let this stop him. With time, it got easier and he became fascinated by his results. The first time he sent out a direct mail piece, he got a check in the mail from people he had never met and never seen. This is what made him realize that he can make money by simply putting pen to paper and using his words.
To become a great copywriter, he knew he had to learn from the best, and to him, Alan was the mentor he needed. His copywriting mentor was Gary Halbert, arguably one of the greatest copywriters of all time.
About 10 to 20 years ago, Gary was making millions, charging $15,000 to write a letter plus royalties. His company mailed millions of direct mail pieces every year. His copy had to sell to make those millions.
So Alan learned from Gary, and Dan learned from Alan for close to one year by working for him for next to nothing. That’s the million-dollar year of his life because he got a million-dollar education. Alan taught him how to write headlines and how to come up with offers.
From Writing Ads To Books To Online Copy
You see, when Dan Lok started a copywriting career, he realized that he would get more orders if he wrote a certain way. He observed this for some time and wrote notes on things that worked and didn’t work. This is how he wrote and published his first book. It’s called Influence and it’s also available on Amazon. It talks about the 47 principles of what worked and what doesn’t work in copywriting.
That’s how he started his career. In his early 20s, he was charging $2000 for a marketing piece, such as a sales letter, and he worked with four or five clients per month, making about $10,000 a month. Decent money, right?
Later he evolved into marketing and internet marketing. Some believe one of the reasons he made a lot of money online was because of his timing and he agrees with that. When he got into it, it was early on and there wasn’t a whole lot of competition.
Timing has something to do with it, but also the foundational copywriting skill that he built up before taking it online has a tremendous effect. When he put a long sales letter online, it worked like direct mail had worked, and that’s how he accelerated his success.
There’s An Easier Way to Start Your Copywriting Career
Now, we gave you a few tips and ideas on how to start building your portfolio. But all these require dedication and consistent hard work. But what if we told you that there was an easier way?
Dan Lok and his team worked to gather all his knowledge and best writing practices and build Instant Scripts – a copy generator that allows you to fill in the blanks of simple, yet extremely powerful, email templates instead of staring at a blank piece of paper for hours.
If you want to see how easy it can be o generate high-quality copy, click the link here and see it for yourself.