PAID TO WRITE: Become a Freelance Copywriter in 6 Weeks

So you want to be a freelance copywriter, huh? Get paid to write, work from home in your pyjamas, never have to answer to your douchebag boss again – all that?

Relatable.

And have you never done anything about it because, well – it’s just a stupid dream, isn’t it?

You’re not good enough. You don’t have the right connections or qualifications or skills, let alone the experience.

It’s easier to stay in your safe, comfortable — albeit soul-destroying — job. At least this way you know you can pay your bills and treat yourself to a bottle of red and a ribeye on occasion.

It’s unrealistic to think you could eventually jack it all in and strike out on your own, reaping your sole income from writing stuff on the internet for people you’ve never even met.

… Right?


My Journey from Barmaid to Well-Paid Copywriter

Back in 2012, I was working as a barmaid and earning minimum wage. I was living in a shitty apartment with two of – swear to Christ – the weirdest dudes I’ve ever met. I mean, honestly, who the fuck writes a cheque for 17p?

Now I’m a full-time freelance copywriter and I get paid thousands to write stuff for businesses. (Like, actual thousands. For a single project. That I can complete in two or three weeks.) I rent a two-bedroom flat all to myself. I have a home office. No one talks to me immediately after I wake up and I can leave the bathroom door open while I take a dump. I’m living the dream.

I’ve also been hired to write for The Guardian (yes, that Guardian), lectured at Edinburgh College about copywriting, and had people come up to me at conferences and say Are you Karen Marston?

It didn’t happen all at once, of course. I experimented a lot. In the beginning I was writing excruciatingly dull articles about airport car parks and garage doors, and I was getting paid a pittance for the privilege.

Over the years I figured out how to position my business to attract better clients who had more fulfilling projects and higher budgets.

I created this course to show you how I did it – and how you can do the same. We’ll skip over the writing-for-a-pittance part, though.

Before we go on, let’s clear a few things up.


What is This Freelance Copywriting Thing, Exactly?

Copywriting is writing to persuade. It’s writing to make people want to buy stuff or do a particular thing, like hand over their email address. It’s being a silver-tongued rogue on the page. In short, it’s writing for businesses.

There are many types of copywriting: ads, flyers, website copy, app copy, video scripts, marketing emails, social media updates, blog posts and more. If you write it for a business? It’s copywriting.

It may not be the romantic vision you had of yourself as a writer – but it’s a start. And if you want to make a living writing, this is the surest way to make it happen. Plus, it’ll give you the time and freedom to work on the other stuff – your sci-fi novel, your nuanced screenplay, your magnum opus – without wondering how you’re going to pay rent this month. (Which makes it a lot more enjoyable, by the way.)

And freelancing means you get to do it on your own time, decide which projects you take on and turn down, and work from wherever the hell you want, be it on your sofa surrounded by pizza, in your hotel room overlooking San Francisco, or at the airport on your way to Prague. (Yes, I’ve worked in all these places.)

This course focuses on digital copywriting, rather than print, because that’s what I do. I write stuff for the internet, and I communicate with my clients primarily over email and Skype, often never meeting them in person.


How Much Can You Expect to Earn?

I can make no guarantees on this front, but I can give you an idea of what’s possible.

I currently charge agencies a daily rate of £350 and a half-day rate of £200. When I quote for individual projects – such as writing a business’s website copy – my hourly rate works out considerably higher, at around £150 or more. It’s not uncommon for me to quote £3000–4000 for a project that’ll take me a couple of weeks.

Here are a few things my past students have said shortly after completing the course:

  • We agreed on $300 USD per 1500–2000 word article!!!
  • I made $1100 in the first month and I’m projecting $2000 by the end of February
  • I’ve made almost $400 in the last couple of weeks
  • I made around £250 my first month and £470 the next
  • This month I’m projecting approximately £1000
  • So far I have made $1000!
  • I expect to cover my investment in this class 4 or 5 times over by the end of my first month
  • I make on average $80 an hour
  • My new refurb Mac arrived 3 hours ago, paid for by what I made through this class
  • I’ve now landed this gig making between £350 and £500 an article

As you can see, it varies a lot. For more details of my students’ successes, check out the testimonials further down the page.


Is This Course Right for You?

This course is designed for people who have zero experience in either freelancing or copywriting. I’ll show you everything you need to know to get started.

However, it is NOT designed for people who suck at writing. I won’t teach you grammar – you should already understand it. If you struggle with spelling and aren’t sure how apostrophes work, aiming to become a professional writer will probably not end well for you.

Another thing you need to make this work is the right attitude. What that means is this: you will never feel ‘ready’ – but you will do it anyway. If a client asks you to do something, you say yes. And then you figure it out.

But don’t worry: you won’t be going in blind – or alone. That’s what this course is for. Feeling intimidated but not too intimidated? Excellent. Keep reading.


How The Course Works

I offer three levels of service: basic, enhanced and ultimate.

All students get a new module via email each week (5 in total) containing everything you need to know to get your business up and running – from how to write copy to how to find clients (see below for details).

All students will also be given prompts to help you figure out what you want your business to look like, as well as instructions on how to set up your website and plan out your next steps.

Enhanced-level students get a critique of your website and business plan at the end of the course, with suggestions on how they could be improved to be more successful.

Ultimate-level students get all of the above and weekly 30-minute coaching calls via Skype (6 in total), during which we can discuss your ideas and goals for your new business.


The Course Content

Week 1: Understanding the Work

  • What copywriting is
  • How businesses use copywriting
  • Different types of copywriter
  • The types of things you’ll be writing
  • Who will hire you – and why
  • The psychology of persuasion and selling
  • A four-step formula to write good copy
  • Specific tips for writing for the web
  • SEO – what it is and why it matters

Week 2: Branding Your Business Effectively

  • The different ways you could brand your business
  • How to decide which one’s right for you
  • Should you be a specialist or a generalist?
  • Your most powerful tool: your voice
  • Choosing your business name
  • What to charge and how to do it
  • Should you publish your rates?
  • Convincing people you’re a good writer with no experience
  • Social proof – why you need it and how to get it

Week 3: Marketing and Finding Clients

  • Where to find clients
  • How to make clients come to you
  • How to write a good pitch/proposal
  • Blogging and whether you should bother
  • Building your brand with content marketing
  • SEO and getting found on Google
  • Do you really need social media?
  • What networking actually looks like
  • Referrals, word of mouth and testimonials

Week 4: Working with Clients

  • A step-by-step process for working with clients
  • Communicating confidently
  • Commanding good money
  • Scoping out projects and quoting for them
  • Invoicing – when and how
  • How to act professionally
  • Setting boundaries around your work
  • Following briefs
  • Asking questions
  • Positioning yourself as the expert

Weeks 5–6: Setting Yourself Up for Success (with step-by-step instructions)

  • How to create your website
  • How to write all the copy for it
  • How to set up a professional email address
  • Planning your next steps
  • Other useful resources

This course features all-new content and I’m still in the process of writing it, which means it may differ slightly to what’s listed above. But if it does, it’ll be better.


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Don’t Just Take My Word for It

These testimonials are from students who took this course’s predecessor.

  • Hi Karen,

    Just had an hour-long Skype chat with a potential new client and we agreed on $300 USD per 1500–2000 word article!!!

    Drawing up a contract as we speak. I’m so damn excited!!! Our next meeting is Tuesday to finalize topics, etc. and go over contract details. Thanks for everything, Karen! You gave me the organization, ideas, and confidence to make this happen. I’ll keep you posted. xo

    With gratitude,
    Alicia

  • Hey Karen,

    I wanted to take a moment and thank you SO much for your freelancer course! It was literally a life-changer for me.

    I made $1,100 in the first month, and after picking up a couple of higher-paying gigs, I’m projecting $2,000 by the end of February!

    Karen, if it weren’t for this course, I probably would have landed a corporate job by now that I wouldn’t have been truly happy in. I love freelancing so much more, as I work with people I enjoy being around and write about topics I give a damn about. I would never have realized what I was missing out on if I hadn’t taken the leap of faith.

    The course has already paid for itself more than ten times over, and now I can pay the bills with extra money at the end of the month. I’ve already recommended it to other aspiring freelancers I know, and I tell them it’s worth every penny.

    Take care and keep rockin’!

    Sarah Blais

  • Hi Karen,

    I wanted to send my thanks to you for your course and overall existence. It’s been a few weeks since I started your course. I completed it on Tuesday last week.

    Since Tuesday I have had my first client, a referral from a friend, and my first client meeting which was really positive.

    Thank you for inspiring me to do something I have always felt too stupid and useless to do. I always wanted to be a writer with a ‘no bullshit’ attitude and it’s been really helpful knowing you make a living doing it.

    This is the happiest I’ve been in a long time and despite the potential for failure, I’ve never been less scared of anything in my life!

    Did I say thank you? Because I mean it…

    Ta,
    Josie Pymm

  • Hi Karen,

    Just a quick note to say thanks for all your help in getting my business up and running, and that I have my first client! To be honest, I’ve been so busy with the day job that I haven’t had time to chase many jobs, but I responded to the two I drafted emails for in the final week of the course and after a follow-up email, I’ve got the sustainable homes blogger job! Six-month contract for a blog a week at rates I’m happy with, which I’m amazed about considering my lack of testimonials or portfolio.

    I also got shortlisted for the other job (Upwork advert for Norwegian travel company) but I think they ended up going with a much cheaper offer, so I don’t feel too bad. Really happy – and very nervous – but looking forward to getting started.

    Also, the Facebook group is ace and I’m sure I’ll be making even more use of it in the months to come.

    Cheers,

    Ali

  • Hi Karen,

    Your course helped me so much. I was amongst a lot of other digital nomads all working on their businesses in the past month, but the way your course was written was a very easy, no-messing-about way to get my website up and live.

    Other writers who were trying to do the same as me were caught up with trying to choose the right templates, getting caught up on jamming their content with SEO keywords, muddling their way through and guessing at what needed to be done.

    I actually got the site and branding knocked out in two weeks and was then able to start getting clients and building blog content. Thank you!

    Rachel

  • Hi Karen,

    I’ve written quite a few websites since I took your writing course a year ago, and have been flat out with all sorts of projects. Currently editing a huge website about pre-schoolers for an NZ government department, which is a great job to have! I’m really glad I took the course and moved into web writing. It’s a fun format. Thanks again, so much.

    All the best!

    Sylvia

  • Hi Karen,

    I hope you know how much I enjoyed taking your course. I thought you would want to know that I sent my first invoice last Friday. I created a website for a scholarship and wrote the content and created the forms. It was very exciting to complete my first project. Hope all is well. So glad I found you!

    Diana

  • Hi Karen,

    I hope you don’t mind but I thought I’d write and let you know how my life has changed in the last 6 months…

    Firstly, thank you. Your courses, your comments, advice and posts in the Facebook group have been really helpful to me.

    Shortly after finishing the course, I began working. Each month I was able to earn a little bit more. I love the fact that I can work from home doing something I enjoy. I have been very lucky in finding nice clients who are happy with my work. I am slowly starting to receive other types of writing.

    Many thanks for all your advice and support. You’re a unique and really incredible person. Happy, happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year (or Hogmanay, as you’re in Edinburgh!).

    Lindsay

  • Hey Karen,

    I’ve already found two full-time clients to write for. Your course was a game changer for me, because it pointed me in the right direction and made me focus on one thing instead of ten.

    I’ve grown fond of writing, and I can say this career path is right for me.

    Anyways, thank you so much for helping me out. If you want me to, I can write a testimonial for you and your course. I want to tell everyone who still has some doubts to join your course.

    Ivan

  • Karen,

    Without being overly sappy, I just want to say thank you for creating this course. I’m sure you’ve heard this a lot, but I’m very seriously grateful. I have been in an intense ‘stuck’ phase for over a decade, overthinking every possible career path that would lead me to the lifestyle I wanted (and out of the stuck-ness!). I’m even in the middle of finishing up a master’s degree, which I started simply for job-security purposes.

    Just with your course, I’ve made almost $400 in the last couple of weeks, even while being insanely busy with school and my other part-time job. This has only proven to me that I really have found the thing that will get me where I want to be. I’m finally confident that I have found the way to be in charge of my life and career path.

    I’m so glad that you created all of this. More than I can ever say.

    Best,
    Sarah

  • Karen!

    I really learned so much from your class and have recommended it to friends many times over.

    I signed up for the course because I knew it was going to make me a professional writer. Anyone who visits Untamed Writing can easily see that it’s managed by a talented writer who knows what she’s doing with her business. So who better to teach others how to do the same?

    Professional writing was an industry I wanted to break into because I wanted to be able to work from home once I had children. I wanted to be able to set my own schedule and actually enjoy what I do. I’ve worked in a corporate office environment and it sucked my soul dry. Working for myself in my own home is empowering and gives me confidence I didn’t have before. I love when people ask what I do for a living. ‘I’m a freelance blogger. Right now I’m doing work for Mapquest.com.’ I feel so fancy.

    Thanks so much, Karen. I really appreciate all you’ve done for me. I hope we can stay in touch because I get the feeling that you’re going places. You’ve already gone places! Imagine what the future could hold!

    I wish you all the best and hope that others will benefit from your wisdom like I have!

    Asia

  • Hi Karen,

    I wanted to share some great news with you! Thanks to your course, I found an amazing position with a great marketing company. While this was never what I would have expected when I signed up (my initial goal was to set up my own freelance writing biz – which I did, and which has got me where I am today), I couldn’t be more happy with the direction my career is going in. So thanks Karen, you are the fucking best.

    Hannah

  • I worked my last bar shift the day I finished the course, so I started full-time right off the bat. I made around £250 my first month and £470 the next. This month I’m projecting approximately £1000.

    For the first time ever in my adult working life, I actually look forward to Mondays. I enjoy my work and I’ve built a financially viable business from scratch whilst living in one of the most expensive cities in the world (London). I don’t use an alarm clock any more, I work from home and I don’t have to answer to anyone except myself.

    Oh, and the thought that I could go and live anywhere in the world without having to worry about what I’ll do for work is extremely liberating. In short, it’s awesome. Do it. It’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent.

    – André Spiteri

  • I wanted to be a freelance writer, but lack of confidence and the fear that it was a terrible idea held me back. Then I came across Karen’s website and loved her ballsy, take-no-prisoners attitude, so I signed up.

    After what felt like ages (but was only a month) I was offered two roles in a week. So far I have made $1000! Now I have two great clients who I’ve signed annual contracts with.

    If you’re thinking about signing up, but are hesitant – do it. Working with Karen for just six short weeks gave me the confidence I never thought I’d have when it came to writing. I went into the course having no idea what type of writer I was or wanted to become. I am now working as an educational writer from the comfort of my own home. If this is what you want from your life, this course will be how you get it.

    – Mel Green

  • Signing up to Karen’s course proved to be the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m now able to support myself comfortably from writing alone, which is a situation I could previously only dream of. Whether you want to earn a little extra on the side or create the foundations for a full-blown freelance career, Karen can help.

    You’re probably wondering if the course is really as good as it seems. It is! I’ve just booked a one-way flight to Australia, where I intend to spend a year or so writing/surfing/developing skin cancer. Obviously could never have done this without Karen’s course. Thank yooooou!!!!!!!!

    – James Robinson

  • I took the course and started emailing hundreds of prospective clients. It took a while but one day it finally kicked off and I got a lot of responses. I found myself suddenly chained to my laptop writing 6 hours a day, but I didn’t mind as I was happy it was paying off.

    Because of Karen’s course, I now have the freedom to go off and travel whenever I feel like it and fund myself as I go. I would recommend it to anyone.

    – Katie Lamb

  • After 18 months of spinning my wheels and deliberating over how to become a writer, leave my job, and swan off around the world with my family, Karen’s freelance writing course caught my attention. Maybe it was the swearing, but I think it was the resolute honesty.

    Joining up has been the best career decision I’ve ever made. I’ve more than made my course fees back, but what I’ve really gained is the ability to plan, get out there, and shoot for my dreams. No false promises. No bullshit.

    If you really want to live your dreams, it takes work and action. If you want guidance and support during the speed wobbles, plus a step-by-step plan that generates income while you get the fuck on with it, do this course and keep active on Untamed Writing’s Facebook group.

    My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier.

    – Malcolm Wilson

  • I’m so glad I made the investment in Karen’s course. I love to write and have been toying with the idea of freelance writing for a while but never quite found the time to figure out how to actually get it done.

    So when I heard about Karen’s class I jumped at the chance to have someone walk me through the process step-by-step. And that’s exactly what she did – each week I received an easy-to-follow set of instructions and exercises that turned into a live business.

    It’s only been a week since I officially launched, but in that short time I’ve already made contact with four potential clients and am in the process of finalizing a contract to write all of the copy for a website that’s launching next month. I fully expect to have covered my investment in this class four or five times over by the end of my first month in business.

    – Michelle Warner


Questions I’ve Been Asked At Least Once

Can I really do this without experience or qualifications?
Yes. When it comes to running a freelance writing business, there are far more important things than having a degree in creative writing or work experience at your local paper.

Can I pay in a different currency?
Yup. Whatever currency you use, PayPal will automatically convert it into GBP, so you don’t have to do a thing.

Will there be any additional expenses?
Yes. At the very least, you’ll need to buy your own website hosting and domain name, which can add up to around $100.

Am I guaranteed to make my money back if I take this course?
Come now, you already know the answer to that, don’t you? But I will say you could make your money back by scoring just one client.

Do I have to take your course to be able to make this work?
No. I mean, that would be a spectacular business model on my part… but no. You can figure all this out for yourself if you want to. But if you’re sick of yourself never taking action on this freelance writing dream, well… you know. It might be a good idea to take a course by a no-bullshit chick who’ll give it to you straight.

Can I do this work while I travel?
Theoretically, yes. It’s harder to do this sort of work while on the road (as is true with most things), but one of the beautiful things about being a freelance writer is that you can do it from anywhere with an internet connection.

Can I take this course if English is not my first language?
You can, if you also happen to be able to speak and write English fluently. It will be hard to get paid a decent wage as an English-language freelance writer if your written English is poor.

Does it matter where I’m from?
Nope. You should be able to find clients in whatever country you’re from, though there’s nothing to stop you from going global if you’d prefer that.

YOU DIDN’T ANSWER MY QUESTION!
Ahhh, oh god, okay. EMAIL ME: karen@untamedwriting.com.


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