On September 30th, 2016, I sat staring at the spreadsheet I used to track my finances, a bit of awe and a lot of excitement starting to overwhelm me.
I hit the “SUM” function again, just to be sure.
The number under “Total Income” read $5,564.75.
Hol – ee – sh*t.
That September was the fifth month since I decided to “become a copywriter”. I was ecstatic. I was elated. I felt like I’d finally f*cking made it.
If you’re an online business owner, you know that there are these milestones that pretty much everybody uses to measure their success.
Getting your first client.
Making your first $1000.
Hitting 5 f*cking K.
I’d hustled my butt off the previous few months. Blowing up my Instagram account with copywriting tips and inspiring quotes (my fave thing to do), blogging and creating content upgrades to grow an email list (something I enjoy), and even hanging out in Facebook groups and trying to figure out WTF to do with LInkedIn (these ones make me wanna barf a little).
Little by little, all that hustle started to pay off. Inquiries were coming in, “big names” were taking notice, and the dinero was rolling in.
I’ll tell you that when I first opened my internet doors for business, I wasn’t confident that I could make $5K a month. I actually tried not to think about it (why have a plan, right?). I focused on one foot in front of the other, one client at a time, one invoice, one project.
That’s why I was so thrilled and, honestly, surprised when I saw my September income. It was unexpected.
This is definitely one of those – if I can do it, so can you – kind of situations. And I want to break down a few of the things I did to make it happen.
What I did to hit my 1st $5K month as a freelance copywriter
1. I created ongoing work with a client.
One of the first things I did when I started my business was identify some people I thought would be ideal clients.
My niche is coaches, consultants, and other online service-providers (because I came out of the coaching world), so I made a list of these business owners I wanted to write for.
I made a point to connect with one of these coaches on social media to get on her radar. Then I emailed her, we ended up talking over the phone, and she became my first source of ongoing income.
This was an hourly situation, which I don’t actually recommend, but it ensured that I had money coming in every single week.
Ongoing client income = $1,216.25
2. I partnered with another copywriter.
One of things that surprised me the most when I started freelancing was the willingness of other copywriters to share the wealth (aka clients).
The reality is that there’s a shortage of skilled copywriters, and because it’s a time-consuming practice, good copywriters typically have more inquiries and work than they can handle.
I had met a very talented copywriter at a business event in New York the previous February through a mutual friend. At that time I was in the final throes of my health coaching business, so it wasn’t until maybe June that this copywriter reached out to me to say how pleased she was that I was entering the field.
It turned out that she was looking for someone she could partner with and wanted to know if I was interested. Umm… hell yes I was.
Now, I realize that this kind of landed in my lap, and you might not have a copywriter randomly reach out to you in this way. But I want you to understand that making friends with “your competition” is a smart thing to do. Because it’s not a competition at all. It’s a community, yo.
So, in September of 2016, I partnered with this copywriter on a website project and earned a nice chunk of change.
Partnering income = $2,500
3. I said yes to a lot of small, one-off projects.
In the beginning months of my business, one-off projects were my bread n’ butter. Typically beginning entrepreneurs who needed their website copy or a sales page written would come to me for that single project and then bounce.
Working with so many different people at once (sometimes up to 6 projects at a time) was stressful, but it helped me get some systems in place so I wouldn’t lose my mind. It also helped me refine my writing and revision process, learn what an ideal client actually was (not just someone who was willing to pay me), and get good at writing in a variety of “voices”.
My rates were low enough to accommodate a lot of businesses, and I was in total “yes-mode”. I was saying yes to every client, opportunity, and situation that came my way. I wanted experience, I wanted income, and I wanted them fast.
One-off project income = $1,848.50
Something to note about this breakdown
The majority of this income was not guaranteed to repeat itself.
Other than the ongoing client I was working with, the rest of my income was hope & pray status. I didn’t yet have a solid system for bringing in clients, and I was at the mercy of the other copywriter for work.
The following month my income dipped, and I didn’t quite hit the $5K mark.
This is why it’s important to focus on building recurring revenue through retainers, partnerships, passive income, etc. Otherwise you’ll spend every moment of your life worried about bills and paying rent, and that shit sucks.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What’s your biggest takeaway from my experience? Have you hit the $5K month mark in your copywriting business? Are you still reaching for it? Share in the comments!
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