Mistakes I Made When I Started Out As A Freelance Copywriter
Whether it’s drunkenly calling your ex, or handing over your bank details to a scam caller, we all make mistakes. Most people never confess to them publicly, as everyone wants to present the best version of themselves, particularly on social media.
But we learn through our mistakes, and owning up to them is great for your personal development. Even better, if you share your mistakes with others, you can help to prevent people from making the same ones!
I’m sure that no business owner gets everything right the first time. However, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and still feel like I’m winging it to some degree now! So, today I’m sharing the copywriting mistakes I made when first starting out.Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful when starting your own business.
I Priced My Services Wrong As A Freelance Copywriter
Having never been self-employed, I initially charged only a little more than my salary when I was employed in-house. I didn’t take tax, sick pay, or holiday pay into account. I also didn’t take into consideration that my employer had charged clients far more than they were paying me!
It wasn’t long before I figured out that I was VERY competitively priced. However, impostor syndrome took over and I was afraid to raise my fee in case I scared off my clients.
Eventually, I decided to raise my fee for all but my first few clients. These guys trusted me with their copywriting before I had much in the way of experience and frequently used my services. Happily, years later they are still regular customers. Looking at you, PoshRads!
And guess what? I didn’t scare clients off with my increased fees. Sure, I lost a couple, but I actually got more clients to replace them without any trouble. People expect to pay for quality – you get what you pay for! My fees are still competitive, just not ridiculously so.
The takeaway? Charge what you’re worth.
I Never Switched Off
Going freelance should mean that you can work whatever hours you choose. But I used to feel guilty if I didn’t reply to a client’s email at the weekend when I was with my kids, or at 10 pm when I was in the middle of binge-watching Orange Is The New Black!
You wouldn’t feel obliged to reply outside of working hours if you weren’t freelance, so why do it now that you are?
The takeaway? Let go of that guilty feeling and enjoy time with your family and friends.
I Negotiated My Price Too Much
In the past, if I client told me my price was too high, I’d negotiate to fit their budget. It’s taken a while, but I’m confident enough now to know what I’m worth. If a client says they can’t afford it, I offer a payment plan.
The takeaway? My fee is my fee. Take it or leave it.
I Attended Networking Meetings Constantly!
Oh my word, I hate networking so much. I love people, but I’m much better in one-to-one situations – I can’t stand groups.
Network meetings seemed like ‘forced fun’ to me. I’m sure no one can be there because they enjoy it. I could easily be wrong, but how anyone can get pleasure from that is beyond me!
I found public speaking an absolute nightmare. I’m a writer, not a talker. I’d make myself physically sick with worry about having to stand up and talk about my business. Several times I was so frightened that I was going to burst into tears that I couldn’t say anything at all and just had to apologise and sit back down.
Nowadays, I don’t network at all. And I don’t make myself feel bad about it. I wasn’t getting much work from it anyway. I’ve found that the majority of my business as a freelance copywriter comes from word of mouth and LinkedIn. Plus, for the most part, networking was costing me more money than it was making!
The takeaway? Life’s too short to stress about things that don’t make you happy. If you’re good at networking and enjoy it, go for it. If not, don’t bother. You CAN make your business work without it.
I Obsessed Over What Everyone Else Was Doing
The impostor syndrome is strong in this one! I felt like a total fraud as a freelance copywriter for a long time, and often still do. To make myself feel better, I’d copy what other people were doing. Networking, videos, fancy marketing, you name it, I’d have a go!
The other day, I went through some old videos on my Facebook business page. The cringe factor was overwhelming!
I made videos because that’s what everyone at the aforementioned networking groups seemed to be doing. It wasn’t long before I realised I wasn’t good at it and it’s really not for me. Again, I’m a writer, not a talker. I’ve deleted a few of the worst ones but left some to remind myself of how far I’ve come.
The takeaway? I hate this phrase, but it’s really quite fitting here. You do you! If it feels wrong to you, it probably is wrong for you. And again, if you don’t enjoy something, don’t do it.