Professional development

I’ve Decided to Be a Freelance Copywriter: Help!

By Cynthia Maldonado on July 31, 2023

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A woman sits on a couch as she works on her laptop.

You did it! You took the leap and decided to change your career entirely. You worked hard, learned new skills, completed courses, and committed to being your own boss. You are now well on your way to becoming a freelance copywriting boss babe.

The heavens part, and the angels sing. Confetti falls from the sky, swaying to the rhythm of champagne bottles popping in the distance. You have arrived!

…Now what?

In my experience, the transition between preparing for a career change and embarking on that new career can only be described as overwhelming. This is particularly true if you have chosen to work for yourself. 

Once the excitement over completing the required coursework wore off, I was hit with a tidal wave of panic. I had absolutely no idea where to begin and made the ill-informed decision to avoid starting.

After three weeks of resistance-fueled procrastination, I finally got back to work. I like to think I spent that time paralyzed by fear and insecurities so that someone else may not have to. 

And so, here is a compilation of what helped me get out of the freeze state and begin moving forward.

Blocking

I’m a big-picture thinker; I always have been. Queen of the big idea, I see the end goal before taking the first step. While I’m a huge advocate of positive visualization, it simply can’t take the place of action. Personally speaking, too much emphasis on the result generally leads to being unable to focus on the small steps necessary to achieve it.

Blocking is taking a large project and breaking it into smaller, more manageable tasks. While many do this automatically, I know I’m not alone in having a brain constantly firing on all cylinders. Taking the time to sit down and create a step-by-step game plan is incredibly soothing. Don’t even get me started on the dopamine hit I get when I can mark something as completed.

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable

Cliché and cringe? Yes. True? Annoyingly so. No one likes to feel uncomfortable, but there is no way around this when starting something completely new. The sooner you embrace this, the smoother the ride will be.

Telling everyone and networking, networking, networking

Do you know what everyone in your social circle does for a living? Do you know what all their friends do? Probably not. You’d be surprised how many business contacts and potential clients can be found this way. This step may require stepping out of your comfort zone, but I cannot overstate its benefits.

While you’re putting yourself out there, why not join a few networking groups and events? PR is very much a relationship-driven profession. Take every opportunity to expand your professional circle and connect with industry professionals and potential clients. If you are worried about feeling like a fraud, simply view this step as a fantastic opportunity to learn from people currently doing what you want to do!

Keep learning

Perhaps due to having grown up with a basement full of encyclopedias, I firmly believe this is an excellent rule to live by. In the ever-evolving landscape of PR and communications, it is downright necessary. I can’t stress the importance of staying open to learning new things and adapting when necessary.  

Keeping this in mind helped take me out of my rut. When I didn’t know what to do next, I would pick up a book or read a blog about copywriting. The more I learned, the more confident I felt to take the next step.

Writing everything down

If you open the Notes app on my phone or the notebook on my nightstand, you will find pages upon pages of random, non-sensical musings. I began writing in this stream-of-consciousness style whenever I had an idea throughout the three weeks. I largely credit it with helping me find the motivation I was lacking.

Aside from the obvious benefits of honing your writing skills, this simple practice really helps get those creative juices flowing. Letting the words and ideas flow out of you without any constraints allows you to embrace your imagination fully. Consistently doing this helped me remember why I chose to write in the first place.

You also never know when you may strike gold. They say that no idea is a bad idea. While I’m not sure that is the case, I can confidently say that even the worst ideas can sometimes inspire highly effective copy. 

Get into the habit of writing down all ideas and inspirations and re-visiting them from time to time. Chances are, if you had written down that random idea in grade school that seemed too crazy to work, you’d be a multi-millionaire by now.

Starting something entirely new is daunting. It may be more accurate to say it has moments of flat-out sucking. But like everything in life, getting over that first big hurdle is the hardest part. As time passes, I find new tips and tools that continue to help propel me forward and move toward my big picture.

And what does that look like for me?

I am spending my days infusing my wild imagination into my writing, all while facing the ocean and sipping on a margarita.

Feel free to join me.

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