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Are there any real life copywriters out there willing to give me advice?

(15 Posts)
eviz Wed 17-Sep-08 01:19:32


I am currently on maternity leave with DD2. I hate my job.

Looking to find something more productive and enjoyable to fill my working day. Have been playing at copywriting (family and friends businesses) - just basic copy - press releases, email invites, web copy - nothing too taxing.

Time has come to decide whether to take copywriting more seriously and make it my career.

So tell me, if you will - does it pay? Or does it only pay if you've had some fantastic advertising/media/PR career to add some clout to your CV? Is it as competitive as I fear it might be?

In very basic terms, I need it to pay more than £200 a month for the next few years, (working in the evenings) with a view to working during the day when DC start school.

Would be really, really pleased to be enlightened from a real live copywritersmile

escape Wed 17-Sep-08 09:13:42

it is competou - do yoitive, but how good are yu have a niche, or a specific flair?
You could eaily achieve your financial objectives i feel.
Do you have PDF wor samples taht are emailable?

pinkdelight Wed 17-Sep-08 10:27:00

I used to be a copywriter, but within companies, not freelance. It could be tricky to get work without having the connections already and a solid track record, but I guess it's a good test of your copywriting skills to approach some prospective clients and see if you can sell yourself to them with the power of your writing!

escape Wed 17-Sep-08 13:48:00

I second the fact that any prospective clients, upon seeing good, relevant work are likely to hire you for something at some point.
What is it you prefer to write about?

eviz Wed 17-Sep-08 14:02:24

Hi, thanks for your replies.

My experience so far has included web copy and direct mail for a few start-ups (a construction company, and a recycling company). I've written a business proposal for a friend starting up his own photography business. I've written press releases for a children's animal farm, and more recently I've been asked to write web copy, press releases and general PR for a dance company (my favourite, since dancing is my hobby).

So far I haven't really charged anything (get payment in kind - entry to the farm etc).

I am beginning to realise it really is hard work, but I do really enjoy it, but ultimately it would have to pay! £200 is the amount per month I'd clear if I was working in my day job 3 days per week after paying childcare, but after the children start school I'd want to work on a more full time basis. My current salary is just under £30k if full time - ideally I'm looking to earn more - is that realistic?

So in terms of market - I'm thinking business start ups, but also interested in copy-editing - business writing (i.e. editing and formatting reports, business proposals) but quite fancy doing technical writing too. That's because I seem to be better hashing around other people's words rather than coming up with my own.

Thanks for your responses, I really appreciate reading your thoughts. Keep 'em coming!

eviz Wed 17-Sep-08 14:05:23

pinkdelight - how did you get into that kind of work? I am thinking about trying to wrangle some experience from an organisation that employs copywriters, but haven't been able to find anyone. I take it you didn't enjoy it since you don't do it any longer?

snowleopard Wed 17-Sep-08 14:07:25

My friend is a copywriter and gets paid well - she works p-t. I don't know exactly how much but when I told her I was getting £17/hour from one of my clients and found it a bit measly (I work in book publishing), she thought I'd said £70 and didn't bat an eyelid. When I said "no, £17" she nearly fell off her chair. She gets several hundred a day at least. I think advertising and things like food packaging pay the best. You could send samples of your work to advertising companies to start with.

eviz Wed 17-Sep-08 14:08:21

OOh escape - you're a real life copywriter I see! I don't have any samples on PDF, but plenty on Word - although I'm not massively proud of them (mostly rushed out over a few evenings to try and help a friend rather than paid work. I have a lot to learn!)

eviz Wed 17-Sep-08 14:43:27

Snowleopard that's really interesting. The guy I wrote the business proposal for s a specialist food photographer (frozen fish fingers, ready meals etc.) Perhaps I should give him a call..

When I did the copy for the start ups, it was working alongside a freelance sales consultant (she cold called to generate new sales - not my cup of tea!) but the companies paid £200 a day for either her or my services. I felt like a complete fraudster. Only did it a few times, though.

spicemonster Wed 17-Sep-08 14:52:40

But if people are prepared to pay that kind of money then that's fine? I think women in particular don't charge enough when they're self-employed.

I work in-house as a copywriter at the moment but in a very niche area. I know that if I go freelance (which I'm planning on doing in a few years' time) I can charge around 1000 a day. So I think 200 a day for non-specialist stuff is entirely reasonable. You should be able to charge about 500 a day with good experience under your belt.

Like any freelance work, I think if you charge too little, especially to bigger companies, people will just think you're not that good.

eviz Wed 17-Sep-08 15:15:42

Spicemonster, I'm resisting the urge to ask you what market you're in. It's a very strong urge though grin

Instead could I ask your opinions as to a good market in which to specialise? I'm not adverse to retraining, and would gladly specialise if I could command even half that daily fee.

PuppyMonkey Wed 17-Sep-08 15:19:43

Have you tried sending your CV to local PR companies? They often need people to do extra bit of copy and press releases and stuff.

spicemonster Wed 17-Sep-08 16:37:35


Thing is eviz, I've been doing this for about 10 years which is why I could potentially get paid that much (and I should add that I don't make anywhere near that working as a full-time employee, believe me!). I work in a professional services firm, writing proposals for new business. I'm not sure how you would go about specialising in it unless you've worked in it for a long time. What do you do at the moment? Is there something there you could use as your specialism?

I think puppymonkey's idea is a good one. Also it might be worth contacting your local business link as that will be a good place to find smaller businesses who might need brochures written.

eviz Wed 17-Sep-08 20:14:47

Spicemonster - your post has really got me thinking. I currently work for the NHS, in commissioning (we commission services - from private companies/in-house providers etc). I deal with performance montoring, contract renewals, amendments, service level agreements. That kind of thing.

It's just struck me whether there would be a market for copywriters in this area - business proposals for private providers who wanted to contract their services to tne NHS? I know how the NHS works, am used to reading stacks of boring legislation - maybe I could put it to good use?

Thanks for your suggestion too PuppyMonkey. At the moment I have quite a bit of work on offer through word of mouth, but I want to plan which direction to go in after my maternity leave is over.

spicemonster Wed 17-Sep-08 22:53:50

Now that could be a real goer eviz. The company I work for pitches for loads of work in the public sector and there are a couple of people who now work for us who have worked in public sector procurement in the past who have been hired to provide that inside track. Approaching your suppliers could be a very smart move indeed

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