Rewind to 3 years ago, just before the pandemic, I was working in makeup retail as an agency girl. I would pick up shifts whenever I wasn't studying to help me pay my way through uni years.
Now being a fully-fledged content writer for an awesome company, and building this blog on the side, I thought I'd talk a little about my journey and what steps you can take to get into copywriting and make money from it, too.
My Background 🚶🏽♀️
When Coronavirus broke out and lockdowns fell upon, of course, my time in retail came to a sudden halt and there were little to no jobs going – especially part time, student ones.
During this time, I kept a hold of my Medium blog where I'd write about a few experiences and life lessons I'd picked up as a working / studying, 20-something individual. These blog posts were nothing fancy, they got a handful of reads (mainly from my own family members) and that was that.
The reason I'd write so much was because I felt it was the appropriate outlet for me. Some people love to talk to those around them about certain experiences, I always found that a bit overwhelming so typing it out would be the relief I needed.
Considering there weren't many jobs going in the outside world, I thought why not turn my writing into something I can earn from during the lockdown?
My First Gig 🥇
Like any person looking for employment or a freelancing gig, I was emailing people day and night. All my browser tabs were filled with 'writing positions available', and I was constantly sending out DM's to 'big names' just to get any sort of response.
At the time, I had a huge interest in the beauty industry so I sent a neat, cold email to this beauty clinic I'd been following on Instagram for a while. I simply asked if they had any admin roles going (anything to do with marketing, writing or advertising).
The email was a hit with the owner and, although, she had nothing on offer, she was eager to take my details and availability. Here's the cold email template for you to try out and win over some employers! 🤙🏽
Anyways, I began doing some admin and data entry work for this clinic over the summer/autumn of 2020, and over time, my role shifted to writing up blogs and copy for their website.
What did I learn from this experience?
Never be afraid to ask for more. Although initially, my role consisted of creating email marketing lists, once I talked about my love for writing, they were more than happy to get me onto blog posts.
Getting your foot in the door is a valuable step to achieving results. Don't be disheartened if your first move isn't as exciting as what you hoped for, because it's simply the building blocks to help you reach the top.
Moving Into The Freelance World 👩🏽💻
Once I'd gotten the hang of writing for a brand, I was intrigued as to how writers level up.
I created a Fiverr account for myself – but truth be told, I didn't get the hang of using it and it just wasn't my cup of tea.
What worked for me was:
- Creating a LinkedIn account
- Putting some of my skills and (little) experience in my bio
- Sending DMs to big LinkedIn writers
- Getting in touch with writing agencies.
I remember sending a message to this lady called Sarah (real name disclosed for privacy purposes). I told her about the little work I'd done for that clinic, and how writing is a huge passion of mine. Thankfully, she was on the look out for some freelance copywriters for her agency, we set up a meeting and she gave me a trial run!
Although this may seem like a breeze, it required a ton of patience.
Sarah wasn't the first person I contacted it. She just happened to be the first person to kindly get back to me. I faced a lot of rejections, but I knew there was something out there for me so I didn't stop pursuing.
I'd watch YouTube videos and practice essential steps to being a better writer to produce quality work and boost my 'author reliability'.
What I Enjoyed About Freelancing for an Agency?
- Ability to work on my own time
- Take on projects that would pay me around £250+ per project
- Could take on as many projects as I could manage in the month
- Working from anywhere
- Getting my name on big sites without having to communicate directly with clients
The tough thing about working with an agency? – If they don't have clients, you don't have work. Be sure to do your research and ask your employer how often projects come in so you can estimate how much you can make a month.
Working Full-Time as a Content Writer 📑
Although freelancing is awesome, if you really want to pursue writing from that angle, it's all about making a big name for yourself and having direct connections with ongoing clients.
With being a third year uni student, taking the time to build those connections didn't fit in with my schedule, unfortunately (partly the reason an agency worked in my favour!). I'd love to work exclusively with a handful of clients in my years to come, but to keep my writing energy going in this current moment, I looked into contracted writing roles.
Again, LinkedIn came to the rescue – this platform is honestly game-changing and if you haven't got your profile going yet, I'd really recommend jumping on board!
In all my applications and interviews, I stayed completely transparent. I didn't lie on my resume, I told them straight up that I've dipped my toes in freelancing and projects here and there – but "hey, I'm eager to learn on the job!"
In the creative industry, you'll find prospective employers want to see serious willingness to learn on the job.
They want to see that you're passionate, and that you're not going to let your lack of experience int he field stand as a barrier to you being a valuable part of the team.
You Have To Be Willing to Learn
The fact is, anyone can be a successful writer.
There's so many different ways to make money in the creative industry with all the digital-ness we have around us!
It takes for you to be confident in taking a shot in the dark, and proving yourself when an opportunity lands in your lap.
The great thing about this sort of work is that just 'building a trusted name' for yourself does a world of wonders. So no matter the work you're doing or the project you have, be someone that people are happy to communicate with, always.
I don't know where the world of writing will whisk me off to next, but I hope my journey so far has inspired you to seek bigger and better opportunities in the things you love.