Each week, I get several questions about how much copywriters charge. I used to joke: “Pick the number you first thought of, and triple it. Then add $100 for housekeeping chores.” This is a way of saying that most new copywriters set their fees much too low. Then, they keep them low. Sooner or later, they burn out, because writing copy takes time and energy.
How much to charge?
Charge appropriately from the time you set up your copywriting business. Copywriting is writing to sell. You’re making money for your clients, so charge appropriately.
A decade ago, I suggested that new copywriters start at around $60 an hour. These days, your starting rate needs to be $100 an hour. Professional copywriters charge $200 an hour — some charge more. Some charge at a standard rate, and on larger projects, take a percentage (royalty) of the profits.
Although we’re talking about an hourly rate, you’ll charge by the project. You might charge a direct mail client $2,500 for a package, for example.
Tip: don’t discuss your hourly rate. The client doesn’t need to know it. He’s only interested in how much you charge for the project. If a project takes you longer than you estimated, that’s nothing to do with him. If you estimate on the generous side, you’ll be able to complete projects more quickly than you estimated.
I published the article below a couple of years ago; it contains a lot of useful information, so here’s how to set up your new copywriting business in a month.
Create a A Successful Copywriting Business in a Month
Want to build a successful copywriting business fast? You can. Indeed, you can do it in a month or less. I’ll show you exactly how to do it in this article. Whether you’re a newbie copywriter or are an experienced pro, get ready to succeed beyond your dreams.
New writers tend to get hung up on trivialities. They over-think everything instead of taking action. Stay focused. Your job is to sell, using words. I’ve been writing copy for decades, so I know it’s easy to get distracted.
For the next month, pay attention to advertising, by focusing on the benefits and the offerings, and you’ll be fine.
Let’s get started.
1. Think Like a Copywriter: Remember the Benefits and the Offer
The first step is the most important. You need to think “benefits and offer” all day every day — it’s the way copywriters think, and you’ve got endless opportunities to practice this.
How? Just look around you. We’re all surrounded by advertising from the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we close our eyes at night.
Pay close attention to advertising, starting now.
2. Find People Who Are Selling: Use Your Local Paper
Now you’ve developed the right mindset (keep paying attention) you’re going to get clients, the easy way.
Forget the Internet for now, and focus on your local area. Grab your local newspapers, and use a highlighter pen to highlight display ads. “Display” ads are the ones which appear in the main body of the paper, using text and images. (Classified ads are smaller, and appear in their own section.)
Study each advertisement. Think. How could you make the benefits better? Can you think of better offers?
Now make a list of the advertisers so you can call them.
3. Pick up the Phone: Communicate
Now you’ve got your list, pick up the phone and call the businesses you’ve just listed. Talk to the managers or marketing managers of the businesses, and tell them you’re a copywriter.
Offer to write an ad for free. Yes, you heard me. Free, gratis and for nothing. Tell them you’re just starting out, and want some testimonials.
4. Keep Communicating and Selling
Here’s a secret. When you’re dealing with businesses in your local area, realize that most have never met a copywriter. In addition, they all think their ads are much too expensive, and want to get more value for their money.
If the ads you write succeed, you’ll succeed. You’ll have a stable of eager clients in less than a couple of weeks.
Copywriting is selling, using words. You’ve got a valuable skill, and your “benefits and offer” practicing constantly builds those skills. Get started today. In less than a month, you’ll be well on the way to being a successful copywriter.
Post updated on February 9, 2014