Can a Copywriter Earn 6-Figures? Absolutely. And I’m Going to Show You How to Do It.
One thing I’ve learned as an entrepreneur:
It’s easier to build a 6-figure business than it is to land a 6-figure job.
And even if you do manage to land a 6-figure job, chances are you don’t get the location independence and time independence that comes with having your own business.
So really, becoming a copywriter and starting your own copywriting business is a win-win.
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a copywriter and earning 6-figures or more, I’m going to give you the low-down on how to get it done.
A Day in the Life of a Copywriter
Before we get into how to become a copywriter, let’s take a look at what you’ll actually be doing as a copywriter, and what exactly you’ll be charging your clients for (and here’s a hint: you’re not charging for just writing!)
Who Does a Copywriter Work For?
Copywriting is a B2B service, meaning, your copywriting business will be providing services to other businesses. As a copywriter, you’ll get paid to write sales pages, email copy, sales letters, social media captions, advertisements, and any other writing that has the purpose of making a sale.
You might work for an agency, work in-house for a brand, or freelance. All of these afford you the opportunity to make six-figures as a copywriter, but we’ll go into more detail later on what each of these options looks like.
What Copywriters REALLY Get Paid to Do
Anyone can write.
But can just anyone write copy? And write copy that moves the needle? Nope.
Copywriting is a highly specialized skill. A good copywriter knows not only the right words to say, but what order to put them in. This takes knowledge of marketing psychology, consumer behavior, emotional intelligence, and a good command of whichever language you’re writing in.
And, don’t forget, tons and tons of research.
As a copywriter, you’ll often spend more time researching than you do actually writing. Market research, competitor analysis, customer profiles––all of this plays a role in excellent copy.
Copywriters aren’t just paid to write: they’re paid to know HOW to write.
Freelance vs. In-House vs. Agency Copywriters
So, you want to become a copywriter: but you don’t know whether or not to start a copywriting business and freelance, join an agency, or apply for an in-house copywriting position.
Let’s break down each of these three and weigh the pros and cons:
Working as an Agency Copywriter
What it means to work as an agency copywriter: Working at a copywriting agency means that you’re one of many copywriters on a team. A copywriting agency is a B2B agency that focuses on one specialty: writing copy. If you join a copywriting agency, you’ll likely be working on multiple accounts at once, and might write in a variety of different niches.
The pros: Some of the best things about working for a copywriting agency are that you don’t have to source your own clients, you don’t have to worry about discovery calls, contracts, client management, and often there are editors on the team so you don’t have to worry about your own editing. You’re simply there to write, and if you’re a contractor, you can still control your own schedule.
The cons: Agency copywriting can be lower-paying than if you were working directly with a client, because there are multiple people that are involved in each project. And, you may not have as much creative control as you would if you were sourcing clients and managing the project yourself.
Is working at a copywriting agency right for you? If you want the benefits of freelancing (like time and location independence), but you don’t want the hustle of sourcing clients, managing relationships, and project management, working at a copywriting agency might be the best route for you.
In-House Copywriting Jobs
What it means to work as an in-house copywriter: An in-house copywriting position is part time to full time at a single company. You might work for the business as their only copywriter or on a team with other copywriters.
The pros: As an in-house copywriter, you will either be paid hourly or on salary, meaning that you’ll have a consistent income. You’ll be paid as an employee, meaning you don’t have to worry about self-employment taxes at the end of the year. And, you won’t have to worry about finding your next client.
The cons: If you choose to work as an in-house copywriter, you’re an employee of that business. That means that more often than not, you’re limited when it comes to days off, and may have to report to an office. You have to follow the rules and SOPs of the job, meaning attending meetings when required and adhering to set hours.
Is working as an in-house copywriter right for you? If time independence and location independence are not factors for you and you enjoy the stability and structure of employment, an in-house copywriting position might be your dream job.
Starting a Copywriting Business
What it means to have your own copywriting business: When you start your own copywriting business, you’re working as a freelancer. That means you work with a variety of clients on a temporary basis. The duration of your contracts can vary; you can work with clients short term or long term, depending on the scope of the work and your contractual agreement.
The pros: When you own a copywriting business, you are the boss. You source the clients, you manage the projects, you decide who to work with, you set your prices. You are location and time independent. Your time belongs to you, the direction of the business is your responsibility, and you make all of the decisions.
The cons: While starting a copywriting business is an empowering, freeing experience, it doesn’t come without its own stressors. Starting a copywriting business can be a slow climb; building your client base (and your reputation) can take time. And, until your copywriting business grows, you may need to wear a lot of hats.
Is starting a copywriting business right for you? If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, are self-motivated, and crave the freedom to write from wherever you want, whenever you want, and you’re willing to put in the work to get to that point, starting a copywriting business might be the best decision for you’ll ever make.
A Deepdive Into the Copywriting World
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, it’s time to take a closer look at what it means to work as a copywriter (plus, we’ll get into that “how to make six figures as a copywriter” stuff).
How Many Types of Copywriting are There?
There are a LOT of types of copywriting, but let’s talk about some of the most common ones that you might find an affinity with.
Brand copywriting is all about the experiential part of the brand. A brand copywriter typically works with other members of the creative/marketing team to develop campaigns, messaging, and advertising that creates a sensory experience as opposed to direct marketing campaigns.
A brand’s personality, tone, and language all play a role in brand copywriting. Is a brand playful? Irreverent? Passionate? Quirky?
For example, let’s take a look at the Starbucks tagline that’s on all of their cups: “That first sip feeling.”
If I ask you how you like your coffee, your tea, or whatever, or, specifically, what’s your Starbucks order, there’s a pretty good chance you know exactly what you want and how you want it.
And that first sip of morning coffee is ALWAYS the best.
This tagline isn’t pushing for an immediate sale: it’s creating a feeling, a vibe, an emotion. The simplistic design and the copy work together to create an alluring advertisement for their ideal clients: those who want a pleasurable, uplifting experience.
With this tagline, Starbucks wants you to associate their brand with happiness. And it works.
Direct Response Copywriting
This form of copywriting is what people mostly associate with the role of a copywriter. A marketing copywriter creates copy in a variety of different formats, such as landing pages, sales pages, or advertising copy..
A direct response copywriter writes the words that are meant to make the audience take an immediate action.
Social Media Copywriting
Social media copywriting isn’t to be confused with social media content writing, although someone who specializes in social media copywriting may do both.
Social media copywriting is exactly what it sounds like: writing with the end goal of the audience taking an action, whether it’s to click on an ad, go to a landing page, or make a purchase.
Keep in mind that social media content writing has the goal of educating, informing, or entertaining an audience (think content that is designed to position a business as a trusted authority) while social media copywriting is meant to sell.
With UX copy, WHERE and WHEN you say it is just as important as HOW you say it.
UX copywriting, or user experience copywriting, is copywriting that encompasses the entire user experience. UX copywriting involves structuring copy in a way that moves an audience seamlessly towards the action.
Structure, user journey, and design all play a role in great UX copy.
If you find that you would prefer to create the “path” a user takes when visiting a website for optimal experience, you might find UX copywriting is where you excel.
While email copywriting can be part of marketing copywriting, writing email copy is an entire skill set on its own.
Email is still one of the number-one ways to connect with a warm audience, and email copywriting skills are in high demand.
An email copywriter can create power-packed copy in fewer words, knows how to A/B test headlines, appreciates that a user could click “unsubscribe” if the value isn’t there, and is up-to-date on email deliverability practices.
It’s important for ALL copywriters to have an understanding of SEO, but copywriters who specialize in SEO stand in a league of their own.
A business with an SEO copywriter on their side has a competitive advantage: copy that has what it takes to scale the ranks of search engines AND converts an audience into customers.
SEO copywriters understand how to create copy that appeals to both search engines and their users simultaneously, which is more difficult than it sounds.
The Money Stuff: How You Can Make Six-Figures as a Copywriter
Alright, here we go: the reason you’re probably here: how to earn six-figures as a copywriter.
Let’s dive right in.
So, you want to make six-figures as a copywriter. What should you charge as a beginner? What should you charge as an intermediate-level copywriter? What should you charge as a seasoned copywriter with several years of client experience? How do you know when to raise your rates?
And how do you break it down so you’re making six-figure years as a copywriter?
First: Let’s break down what a six-figure year looks like for a standard 40-hour workweek if you’re charging by the hour (we’ll talk project-based pricing later).
Six-figures per year is $100,000.
That’s $8,333 per month.
That’s $2,083.25 per week.
That’s $416. 65 per working day, if you work a five-day workweek.
And if you’re working 8 hours per day, that’s a little over $52 an hour
So, baseline, to make six-figures as a copywriter, you need to charge $52 an hour if you’re working full “workdays.”
But, part of what’s so attractive about becoming a copywriter and starting your own freelance copywriting business is that you don’t HAVE to work full time hours. You might not want to put in a full workday, and you might not want to work the standard 5-day workweek.
So let’s break it down even further so that you can see how to make six-figures copywriting without having to feel like you’re chained to a regular job––even if you’re a brand new copywriter.
What Should You Charge Hourly for Copywriting?
One thing you should always keep in mind is that copywriting is a specialized skill, and what you do as a copywriter has a direct impact on revenue. Charge accordingly.
In the table below, you’ll see some average rates for copywriting for copywriting beginners, intermediate level copywriters, and experienced copywriters.
|Beginning Copywriters(0-3 years experience)||Intermediate Copywriters(3-6 years experience)||Experienced Copywriters(6+ years experience)|
So, do the math using the breakdown above. You can make six-figures as a copywriter working less than a full-time work week–easily. And the more technical skills you have, the more education you have, and the more experience you have, the more you can charge.
And remember, that’s only an hourly breakdown. Let’s move on to project-based pricing.
How Much Should a Copywriter Charge Per Project?
Maybe you don’t want to charge by the hour, and instead, you want to charge by the project. Meaning, charging a flat-fee per sales page, per email-sequence, and so on.
You can hit six-figures as a copywriter even more easily than hourly using this pricing structure–especially if you’ve nailed down your copywriting process.
I’ll break down some of the most common copywriting projects and prices by beginner, intermediate, and advanced level copywriters**:
|Project Type||Beginning Copywriters(0-3 years experience)||Intermediate Copywriters(3-6 years experience)||Experienced Copywriters(6+ years experience)|
|Short-form sales page||$250||$500||$750-$1200|
|Long-form sales page||$400||$650||$900-$1350|
|Email sequence (4-6 emails)||$300||$1000||$1000-$1200|
|Web copy (home page, about page, etc)*price per page||$250||$500||$650-$1000|
|Video scripts*for a 60-second script||$300||$600||$750-$1000|
|Digital Ads (Facebook, Instagram, Google PPC)*price per ad||$200||$400||$500-$750|
|Brand Copy(taglines, brand guidelines)||$500||$1000||$1500-$3000|
**averages based on my experience in the field.
Those are some pretty impressive numbers, right?
And they’re totally achievable.
But, keep in mind that while you need to charge what you’re worth, it goes both ways: if you’re not experienced enough or haven’t developed your skills enough to be able to deliver excellent, effective, persuasive copy that generates real results, you’re not ready to raise your prices.
Copywriting Offers MASSIVE Growth Potential
Your pricing as a copywriter isn’t just dependent on your number of years in the field; you might excel quickly, create an awesome reputation, deliver top-notch client experiences, and generate massive revenue for your clients. You might want to charge more, and more quickly.
And really, in the end, it’s up to you.
When you become a copywriter and start a freelance copywriting business, you’re the boss. You set the rates and control your income.
The best part?
If hitting six-figures isn’t your focus, you can work part time and still make enough money to live on (and then some) working as a copywriter. AND…depending on what you charge, you can still make six-figures writing part time.
How to Become a Copywriter
Ok, now that we’ve gotten the numbers out of the way and you’re ready to start your dream career as a copywriter, let’s talk about the steps you need to take to make that happen.
Learn the Basic Skills
Everything and everyone starts with the basics. You can’t start writing amazing copy and charging big bucks if you don’t even know the fundamentals.
To become a copywriter and earn six-figures, you need to have your foundational skills in place.
If you haven’t yet mastered the following skills, take copywriting courses, listen to copywriting podcasts, and ready copywriting books until you’re confident in your skills.
It should go without saying: A copywriter needs to have writing skills. And I’m not just talking about good spelling and grammar (although those are equally important). I’m talking about the ability to write in an engaging way that flows like conversation.
If you’re not a good writer, copywriting probably isn’t a good career fit.
But, if you’re inherently good with words and writing is second nature, you can take the skills you already have and apply them to writing copy.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that working as a copywriter means a lot of research? I meant it, and I can’t reiterate it enough. You need to know how to perform adequate research on an audience. You need to know how to analyze the customer journey. You need to understand–in depth–how to gather information, how to translate it, and how to apply it.
Even if empathy doesn’t come completely natural to you, you can learn how people’s emotions influence their purchase decisions. If you want to become a copywriter, you need to know what makes a consumer tick, so you can write the words that make them click. You need to be able to tap into the consumer’s psychology, dig deep into their core desires, and bring them to the surface.
Once you can figure out what someone wants, you can compel them to make a purchase.
Here’s the thing: You don’t want to convince someone they need a product or service. Instead, you want to compel them so they’re making that decision on their own. To do this, you need to master writing with persuasion.
What persuades someone to buy?
At the core of every purchase is emotion. No matter what it is.
Even the least emotional purchases you can think of (like tax preparation services) are driven by emotion (in the case of tax preparation, the core emotions would be peace of mind or relief).
Copywriting uses both sides of your brain. When it comes to copywriting, applying critical thinking might look like dissecting the user experience of a sales page and figuring out where best to apply calls to action, where to use urgency, and where to use negative and positive future pacing.
Determine Your Niche
Once you’ve locked in your basic copywriting skills, you need to decide what it is that you want to write.
If you’re a new copywriter, it might be tempting to just write anything and everything to gain experience. But, if you don’t start with a focus, it’s likely you’ll get overwhelmed. I always recommend that new copywriters start their careers by writing both what they know and what they like.
For example, if you’re really into health and science, medical copywriting might be the best niche for you.
If you’re addicted to tech and can’t get enough of the latest advances in computer science, technical copywriting could be your jam.
You know the saying…
“The riches are in the niches.”
Let’s say two copywriters approach a potential client. One copywriter specializes in the client’s niche, and the other is a generalist. The client is more likely to choose the copywriter who’s well-versed in their industry. And they’re willing to pay more for that type of experience.
Keep in mind that while some niches are more lucrative than others, don’t choose something that you hate researching or writing about just because you’ve heard it makes money. You’ll end up burning yourself out.
Nail Down Your Services
So, now you know what you want to write about. What’s next?
The next step in becoming a copywriter is to determine what you want your services to be.
Do you want to write exclusively sales pages?
Did you take an email copywriting course and decide that’s the route you want to go?
Is ad copy your jam?
Decide on your services, create your pricing structure (refer to those above tables!), and you’ll be on your way to making six figures as a copywriter.
Identify Your Dream Clients
Ok, so you know what niche you want to write for and what type of copy you want to write. Now, you need to figure out who you want to write for.
Who’s your dream client?
Do you want to work with startups? Do you want to work with solopreneurs? Do you want to serve exclusively women owned businesses?
Figure out exactly who your dream clients are and then research where they hang out online, what their pain points are that copywriting could solve.
Build Your Copywriting Portfolio
Copywriting is unique in that you don’t necessarily have to have clients to create a portfolio. You can create a copywriting portfolio with no experience at all.
If you’re following these steps in order, you’ve determined your niche. You’ve decided what type of copy you want to write, and you’ve identified your dream clients.
Now, you’re going to create a copywriting portfolio for that dream client.
Think of who your client serves and what they offer. What kind of copy might they need? Create copy for your portfolio that would appeal to them.
Create a Digital Presence
This (in my opinion) is one of the most fun parts of becoming a copywriter and starting your own business. You get to use the creative side of your brain to create your digital presence and market yourself.
Here are the fundamental digital assets you need to have when first launching your copywriting career:
- Website (even if it’s just from a template) with a blog to showcase your expertise.
- Social media channels (focus on where your dream clients spend their time)
- An email address (even better if it’s firstname.lastname@example.org)
- A calendar link (make it easy for potential clients to schedule with you).
These are the basics. As your copywriting business grows, you can add other digital assets like a YouTube Channel, a podcast, or expand to more social media sites and go for omnipresence.
Build Your Backend
Once you start getting clients, you need to know how to manage them. Create systems and processes for onboarding, project management (I use Monday.com for my agency), and offboarding.
The more organized your backend systems and processes are, the less time you have to spend on administrative tasks and the more time you can spend writing, making money, and growing your business.
Make it Official!
Get your legal stuff in order and make it official! Register your business, get your freelance copywriting contracts together, talk to a CPA and figure out how to file taxes, and get business insurance.
Now’s the time to go out and find those dream clients. But how do you do it?
There are several ways to get your first copywriting client.
- Reach out to people you know. Do you know anyone who owns a business? Reach out to them and ask them if they’d like help with their copy! Business owners are busy, and taking something off their plate can be a selling point on its own.
- Network. Attend a local business owners networking event or find networking groups online.
- Cold pitch. This is a common (and effective) way to get your first copywriting client. Cold pitching involves sending messages to people you don’t personally know that haven’t reached out to you first.There’s a right way and a wrong way to do cold pitching. Do it right!
- Join freelancer sites. If you approach freelancer sites like a professional opportunity instead of a quick-grab for clients, these sites can be lucrative. Get familiar with sites like Upwork or PeoplePerHour and make connections with people actively looking for copywriting services.
And Pitch Yourself Again!
Don’t be afraid of rejection. Especially if you’re just starting out and don’t have any social proof like testimonials to share, it can take time to get your first couple of clients. Don’t get discouraged. Every single copywriter on earth started out as a beginner at one point.
So, You Want to Be a Copywriter: Where Do You Start?
You can start right here, right now.
If we haven’t met…
Hi! I’m Liz.
As someone who has dedicated their life to the craft of copywriting, I can tell you that copywriting is one of the most flexible careers in the world that actually allows you to make good money.
In fact, I went from the lucrative world of freelance copywriting to starting my own copywriting agency (which is even more lucrative!).
Not only do I own my own business, I own my own time, I own my own LIFE.
And I want that for YOU, too.
I have tons of tools, templates, resources, and copywriting courses right here on my website so that you can launch, grow, AND scale your own freelance copywriting business.
From my super-popular Ultimate Sales Page Kit to my Email Copywriting Accelerator Course, freelancer templates, and copywriting portfolio builder, I’ve got everything you need to get a jumpstart on your new life as a sought-after, highly paid copywriter.
I want to be the first one to say congratulations on this new chapter in your life. You’re going to absolutely love it.