As the founder of Filthy Rich Writer, Nicki Krawczyk teaches other people how to become profitable copywriters.
In our chat, Nicki talks about how you can become a copywriter, the skills you need to land clients, how to pitch your first client, and how to set your rates so you can get paid well for doing it.
I also asked Nicki what courses copywriters should take and which books they should read.
Nicki has her own courses, and she details some of the lessons and how she helps her students.
In this episode, we discuss:
Nicki: But copywriting, because a company can directly see the results in their bottom line, they’re willing to pay well for it, you know? Copy is, you know, it’s not just about being salesy or pushy, or I should say it’s not at all about being salesy or pushy, it’s about connecting a target audience that has a want or a need with the company or the organization that has the best solution for that want or need and connecting them in a way, and with wording and with messaging, that resonates with that target audience, that makes them understand that connection.
Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.
Bryan: Is it true that writers can’t earn much money?
Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins and welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast. Years ago, it was certainly true that it was difficult to earn a good living as a writer. It was true because you had to ask permission to publish your book, you had to ask permission to find a writing job in a magazine, and there just weren’t as many opportunities for writers of all types.
I know, because back in 2008 and 2009, I spent a year or two out of work. I was unemployed and I was claiming social welfare but I still wanted to figure out how to earn a living from writing and that’s when I discovered the world of content marketing and later, blogging, and, from there, copywriting. All different skill sets, all different types of writing, but they have one thing in common: You can do all of them online and you can get paid well for doing it.
It’s pretty easy to set up a blog and if you exercise a bit of patience if you understand the basics of search engine optimization, and if you produce content consistently, your blog will rank, and then you can start monetizing it through advertising, through creating courses, or through affiliate marketing.
That strategy takes a year or two before it gains traction. In other words, before your website starts to attract traffic. It also requires a little bit of elbow grease because chances are, if you’re starting out, you don’t have money to hire other writers because you got to pay yourself and when I started my site, Become a Writer Today, I wrote some 250 posts by myself before I started working with freelance writers.
Now, I should say I was doing this on the side of a day job when I was working as a copywriter. I was working as a copywriter for the British software company, Sage, and that’s actually the subject of this week’s interview. No, not my time working as a copywriter for Sage but how much copywriters can earn and what you need to break into the skill of copywriting.
If you’re unfamiliar with copywriting, it’s basically writing the words that sell products and services. Copywriters produce everything from what you see on an Apple sales page to e-mails you get from brands to descriptions you see on Shopify stores. When I was working as a copywriter, I spent a lot of time writing sales pages about accounting software and about other software for businesses and I also reviewed some of the e-mails that went out to customers and prospects to make sure that there was a good story within them and that there was also a compelling call to action so that this particular e-mail funnel would generate revenue for the business and so I would get paid.
Copywriting is a great skill set if you’re a writer because it forces you to clarify and condense your thinking. It also gets you to apply a commercial mindset to your craft. Many writers balk at that but, if you want to earn a good living as a writer, you need to be able to combine the art and creativity that goes along with writing every day with a business mindset and with a scientific approach. In other words, work in your art and your craft in the morning and work in your business in the afternoon.
Even if you’re not a copywriter, you could write your stories or your articles in the morning and you could pitch clients or promote your books in the afternoon through podcasting or setting up ads, and so on. Professional full-time writers who earn a good living find time for both.
Now, one person who’s done just that and who teaches other people how to become profitable copywriters is Nicki Krawczyk. She is the founder of Filthy Rich Writer and I really love the name she set out for her particular site because it plays on the misconception that writers can’t earn a good living.
And, actually, I was recently talking to a family member and he asked me about my book sales and he said was I going to be one of those broke, penniless, starving writers. I laughed and I was going to explain about all the opportunities that are online for writers today but because it was a family barbecue, I didn’t really get into it. But it is a common myth that writers can’t earn a good living and that’s what I want to dispel in this week’s interview with Nicki.
There’s lots more we cover in the interview. She also talks about how you can become a copywriter, the skills you need to land clients, how to pitch your first client, and how to set good rates so you can get paid well for doing it. I also asked Nicki what courses and books copywriters should take. Now, Nicki has her own courses that she offers. I’d also recommend checking out the copywriting courses by the American Writers and Artists Institute. Those are the courses that I took when I became a copywriter but, that said, Nicki’s courses are worth a look too and she gets into some of the lessons inside of her courses and how she helps her students.
If you find this week’s interview helpful or useful or it dispels some of the myths you might have about earning a good living as a writer, please reach out. I’m on Twitter, it’s @bryanjcollins. I’d love to hear from you or even if you’ve got suggestions for topics or guests for future shows. If you really enjoy the show, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. It costs just a couple of dollars a month and I’ll give you discounts on my writing courses, software, and books. And, finally, please consider leaving a short review on iTunes or simply sharing the show with another friend who enjoys writing because more reviews and more shares will help more people find the Become a Writer Today podcast.
Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Nicki.
Bryan: I worked as a copywriter for 10 years on and off for software companies and B2B brands. How did you get into copywriting?
Nicki: Well, you know, a billion years ago, when I was in high school, my dad was a marketing director at the time, he’s retired now, but he used to bring home extra work for me to do and then would give me feedback so I kind of learned at an early age but really forgot about it, you know?
Went to school for PR, didn’t like PR, did events at a health club for a while, and just I wasn’t finding anything fulfilling and then, actually, my mom sent me a book because it was — back then you had to go to the post office and put a book in the mail and it was, you know, I think the book actually was kind of silly, something like the six-figure writer, something like that, and it had advice about, “You need a fax machine in your home office,” and silly things like that but what it did was remind me that copywriting was actually an option because even though I knew about copywriting, I think you probably find it very similar, a lot of writers have no idea that copywriting even exists.
Bryan: It’s funny because copywriting is not traditionally taught in schools, universities, or through most education courses. It’s kinda something you learn from books and online.
Nicki: Yeah, it blows my mind — I mean, it’s good for my business that it isn’t but it blows my mind that you can’t, you know, major in it in college.
Bryan: I learned copywriting by buying copywriting books and by taking some courses online but, to be honest, I probably really learned it by getting some hands-on experience from clients who wanted me to write sales pages for them. Is that the kind of work that you started to do? And what clients did you work with?
Nicki: Well, you know, when I first started out, because I had just recently — because I was just recently working at a health club, I started out by pitching health club clients because, you know, we teach our students you can have a broad array of clients but when you start pitching, capitalize on what your background is.
If you have special knowledge of an industry, as I did with health clubs at that period of time, which I’m sure I’ve since lost, that can be a great way to get your foot in the door because you do already have that specialized knowledge in addition to knowing about copywriting.
Bryan: Probably one of the key things a good copywriter has which is an understanding of the industry and also their target audience, which sounds like you had.
Nicki: Yes, absolutely. But, you know, that’s also something that you learn anew with each client. You know, when you get on a call with each client, you learn everything that you can about them and about what they’re offering and who their target audience is and why their product or service matters to that target audience.
Part of, frankly, what makes copywriting so interesting is that you get to learn all kinds of new things about all kinds of new people that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
Bryan: What interested me about copywriting is it’s one part art, as in it’s creative, and it’s another part scientific, as in you’re gauging what’s getting the best response. For example, if it’s an e-mail, you’d be looking at the open rates and click-through rates. Is that something you found in your work?
Nicki: Absolutely, yeah, yeah. I say something very similar, I say it’s half creativity and it’s half strategy and, in fact, I often liken it to word puzzles because you have certain parameters and certain pieces to use and you’re trying to solve this puzzle and you’re just kind of trying to put it all together and to make it fit.
Bryan: When you’re working for your clients, how do you go about ensuring a copywriting project delivers what they want for their products or for their services? Is there anything you look for from your clients?
Nicki: It all starts out with that initial input call, you know? After you have the discovery call and the client says, “Yes, I wanna work with you,” they agree to your budget, all that kind of thing, that initial input call where you go over the creative brief, you ask additional questions, that is the key to a strong project.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, as you know, when a project goes off the rails or a client wants multiple, multiple rounds of revisions, it’s because it was a — they didn’t either do an input call, which is crazy or, you know, the copywriter didn’t ask all the questions that they were prompted to do. So, if the copywriter and the client aren’t on the same page to begin with, then the whole project is just gonna fall apart.
Bryan: Finding clients is also quite difficult. Do you think a new copywriter would have to work for free?
Nicki: No. No, no, no, no. We never recommend working for free. You know, here’s the thing, if you’re willing to work for free, why on earth would anybody pay you for it? And what does it say about the quality of your work if you give that away for free?
You know, when you are a new copywriter, as long as you have at least done some learning and done some practice and built some experience, you know, which you can do with practice work, you can do with spec pieces, not working on spec but with spec pieces and sample pieces, you have some knowledge and you should be charging for that knowledge.
When it comes to finding clients, the key is to effectively pitch clients. Getting your message out there. You know, the pitching that we teach strips all the sales out. It’s not about sales, it’s always about providing value, coming into someone’s inbox with enthusiasm and with good ideas, no sales, but, no, a copywriter should never work for free.
Bryan: You described pitching clients. It sounds like you don’t recommend using typical jobs boards or sites like Upwork.
Nicki: No, I definitely don’t. You know, the thing is is that I think people look at those sites and think, “Oh my god, this is perfect, people are posting jobs, all I have to do is go on there and apply for jobs and I’m gonna be full, I’m gonna have plenty of work,” and it’s just not how those sites work.
You know, the thing is, first of all, people post jobs looking for — and I know, I post for designers, I post for developers. I’m looking for the highest quality I can get for the lowest price I can get and, as a service provider, that’s not what you should be looking for.
On top of the fact that you have to go into it, you have to spend time putting together a proposal and because you’re a copywriter, it’s gotta be a pretty darn good proposal and then also, because you’re competing with so many other key people, you have to undercut your rate in order to be competitive.
So, best-case scenario, you get work for working for way less than you should be. Worst case scenario, you spend all your time putting together proposals for these projects that you never get. It’s not a good ratio, you know? One job for multiple who knows how many copywriters whereas when you’re pitching, you are in control of the opportunities. It’s one of you and any number of opportunities out in the world.
Bryan: Are these cold pitches, Nicki, or are they clients that somebody would have a relationship with and then introduced you to?
Nicki: I mean, it can be, certainly. If you have a relationship, capitalize on those relationships, but they don’t have to — we don’t — I wouldn’t call them cold pitches just by the way that we write them because we have our students do research, learn about these companies so that when they reach out, there is knowledge and research and genuine enthusiasm.
It’s not those awful math pitches that I think we’ve all gotten in our inboxes that’s just copy and paste and they don’t care who it’s sending to. Each pitch — and, yes, the first couple of pitches take a while but you’d be surprised at how quick you can get at it, but each pitch is personalized and researched and contains, again, genuine enthusiasm for the company and what they’re doing and an idea for how you can benefit the company.
Bryan: Are your students pitching smaller businesses or do they pitch larger businesses?
Nicki: Oh, any size. I mean, it really does work with any size if — when you come — when you put yourself out there, focus on value. It opens so many more doors than I think anyone would ever expect. But, yeah, it works for small businesses, it works for large businesses, absolutely.
Bryan: Is it a case of sending an e-mail and following up or reaching out on Twitter or LinkedIn?
Nicki: Definitely e-mail and following up and you’re right, that following up is a key element because people’s inboxes are so crazy. It can be very tempting, especially for new copywriters, to assume that they didn’t get a response because, “Oh, they didn’t wanna talk with me,” when, you know, I can tell you as a business owner and I’m sure you would say the same, Bryan, inboxes are crazy, it doesn’t mean that we don’t wanna respond to you, it doesn’t mean that we’re not interested, but it gets pushed down.
So, those follow-ups are key. But there are tactics for, yeah, reaching out to people. You have to be careful about reaching out to individuals directly on LinkedIn or on Facebook or things like that because, especially on Facebook, because it’s very easy for people to mark you as spam or to, you know, discount you. But, on Facebook, you can get involved in groups and while you don’t necessarily have to be pitching yourself in there, just being in these groups is a valuable resource and offering tips here and there, help here and there, it can be a great way to get clients interested in you.
Bryan: I get a lot of pitches from people, not just with copywriting ideas but asking to put links on my site. To be honest, at this point, I don’t even open e-mails anymore because they’re just generic copy and paste pitches but when it comes to a copywriting pitch, what should somebody include?
Nicki: So, yeah, generic copy and paste is such a waste of everyone’s time. It shows such a laziness and, you know, I don’t mean to say that to be mean to people who have been taught to do that but it’s the worst way of putting yourself out there in the world. But, when you research a company and you really get to know them and what they do and what opportunities there are, so like I said, it should be, because you’ve done the research, it should convey enthusiasm, “Hey, I like this about the company, I heard the CEO on this podcast, I liked it. I’m a fan. You’re this, I bought this,” or whatever.
Research will turn up something to be enthusiastic about with the company. And point two is that you have to convey value. There’s no point in sending these e-mails if it’s just about you. If it’s, “Please give me a job,” you have to take out anything like that so in these e-mails, the next element you wanna include is an idea that will benefit this business.
Now, obviously, you don’t tell them the how to execute the idea, hiring you as the copywriter is the how, but the what, the idea should be the what and it should be something that genuinely benefits their business and, of course, obviously, there’s a lot of copy around this, but they’re not a lot, but copy around this and then asking for, in a very, very pleasant, non-pushy way, say, “Hey, I’d love to talk with you about this idea.
Do you have time to hop on a call next week?” So very low pressure. One of the people on our team equates it to showing up at a stranger’s house but showing up with a gift, you know? Most pitches are knocking on a stranger’s door and asking for a favor and not even taking — knocking on a stranger’s door having no idea who that stranger is and asking for a favor. Whereas this type of pitching is knocking on that door, knowing who that stranger is, and bringing a gift that you got just for them. Does that make sense?
Bryan: It does, it does. You described how the pitch should talk about a what rather than the how. Does that mean the person writing the pitch should explain what a business owner would change in their e-mail funnel or on their product sales page or something else?
Nicki: I don’t recommend talking — there’s a difference between suggesting an idea and saying, “Hey, here’s what you’re currently doing. This is specifically what you should change.” That may be part of the idea, you just have to be very, very careful, especially if you start saying, “Hey, I saw this page, this is bad on this page.” You never want to disparage anything that a company is currently doing.
First of all, because you don’t know who you’re talking to. If it’s a small company, the person you’re e-mailing could have been the person that wrote that. If it’s a large company, it could be the marketing director who is dotted line responsible for that being written.
So, no matter what, you always want to come in with a positive vibe, I guess, for lack of a better word, definitely a writer better than, you know, extemporaneous copy speaker, but you can come in and say, “Hey, I saw this, you’re already doing great. Here’s another opportunity I saw.” That’s absolutely a way to go about it. But — or, on the other side, “Hey, here’s this opportunity that you are not taking advantage of at all yet,” and sometimes it can be worthwhile to say, “But your competitors are.” The key, though, is just be sure never to say anything negative about any current copy or any marketing initiatives, anything like that. It’s all about focusing on improvement.
Bryan: Yeah, I like that. When I was a freelancer, I often found it difficult to figure out who exactly to contact so what approaches do you recommend for somebody to get the right e-mail address or to figure out who they should pitch?
Nicki: Absolutely. You know, it depends on the size of the company. The nice thing is, is that LinkedIn has made that research a lot easier so you can look up a company and you can, first of all, if it’s a company that’s I would say over 10 to 15, maybe even over 20 people, look for the creative director because if there is a creative team, it’s very likely you’re gonna be reporting to the creative director. If not, look for a marketing manager or look for a marketing director.
And if it’s a very, very small — there are, you know, there are solopreneur clients that absolutely need a copywriter’s help so you may actually be reaching out directly to the solopreneur owner of the company but do try to get it as close as possible. Now, the nice thing about when you craft a really, really valuable pitch versus one of those crappy mass pitches that everyone just automatically deletes, when you craft a really valuable pitch, it’s so much easier for the person who gets the e-mail, if they’re not the exact right person, to just forward it along.
They’re not gonna do that if it’s a cruddy mass pitch because obviously, it’s just — it’s like one step up from spam but when it’s a really well-crafted e-mail and it has a really fantastic idea in it, nobody wants to be the person who deleted an e-mail that was valuable. It’s just so much easier for them to send it to the correct party. So don’t be too, too worried, or I should say copywriters shouldn’t be too, too worried about getting the exact right person.
Bryan: So, I’ve got the job and now I’m wondering about setting rates or agreeing a fee with the client. Any suggestions about what to do or not to do?
Nicki: Well, you know, here’s the thing is that you should go into any project thinking, “I want to learn as much about this project as I possibly can initially before I put my pitch together,” because the more you know about a project and everything that’s gonna entail, the better you can put together your pitch. And you should, in a nutshell, as you know, putting together pricing is a very big topic but, in a nutshell, you should take some time to figure out what your hourly rate is and we have a whole training on how to do that and then figuring out your hourly rate, figure out how long it’s gonna take you to, of course, to write the project.
How long is it gonna take you to do the initial input call? Factor in time for any additional calls. Factor in time for edits. Factor in time — your own personal edits, because you wanna edit before you send to the client.
Factor in time for revisions and then factor in time for any research, if necessary, and then once you have those hours, you can multiply that by your hourly rate and that will at least give you an initial ballpark of what would be a reasonable price for you to charge for that project, a number that you know you would be happy with if they accepted that rate. That’s a good place to start but, unfortunately, pricing is a little bit more complicated, it’s not quite an exact science.
Bryan: It can be, it can be. It’s definitely good to work out what’s your ideal rate per hour is beforehand. So, once you’ve got through all those stages and you’re actually working on the project, are there any copywriting hooks or formula that you teach your students that work quite well for beginners?
Nicki: I’m not a big fan of templates or anything like that because every project is different and every client is different. And, frankly, if templates or formulas like that worked, then people wouldn’t need copywriters.
They would just, you know, like a Mad Libs book, they’d open it up and fill in the words, but there are fundamental foundational concepts. You know, it’s, as you know, it’s a full career so it does require training and so totally different from any other kind of writing. It’s definitely something that I’ve found that people who have a natural affinity for writing do much better in and also people who are open to learning and, yeah, if you already have a writing background, if you’re already a journalist or something like that, that can help but it is a very different type of writing.
So, learning the fundamentals, learning the more advanced tactics, and then, potentially, I was gonna say more important but at least equally important is actually taking the time to practice them before you do work with clients. You know, it’s one thing to learn it and it’s one thing to — it’s another thing entirely to actually sit down and write copy. You know, in our course, we have practice projects with creative briefs and all that kind of thing and we — not only do we encourage our students to work on it, to write and practice it, but also to post what they’re doing in our student-only Facebook group so that they can get feedback from other students and they can get feedback from our coaches and they can give feedback, which, frankly, for learning is just as important, if not more so. So, yeah.
Bryan: Yeah, it’s good to get feedback whenever you write but particularly for copywriting because you need to know if it’s gonna convert. Otherwise, you’re not gonna get any more work. Could you describe some of the shifts that a writer needs to make to transition from writing a blog post or a piece of content, or perhaps they’re even they’re an ex-journalist like I was, to becoming a copywriter? How are they to change their writing?
Nicki: Yeah, I think especially for those of us, or I should say those who have more of a journalistic or English major background, it can initially be a little bit of a shock to the system because, you know, putting together long paragraphs and packing paragraphs with information and especially from academic backgrounds and long sentences and very formal writing is generally not what you’re looking for as a copywriter.
The copywriter has to work with the brand voice, of course, it’s never about you, it’s about the brand, but that means keeping things short, generally, keeping things concise, keeping things focused. You don’t want to present someone with a page full of paragraphs because nobody’s gonna read it and the thing about copywriting is, you know, we were talking earlier about hooks which is one technique that one incorporates but you have to catch people’s attention with something that’s valuable to them or it’s interesting but you also then have to keep them reading with valuable, interesting copy and it can be very difficult to shift out of that.
Well, my English teacher always told me this, or, you know, I can’t end a sentence with a preposition, I can’t start a sentence with and, but copywriting, generally, depending on the client, of course, but it’s a lot more like the way we speak than it is the way we wrote English papers if you will.
Bryan: Yeah, I’d agree with that. It’s definitely more conversational. What about getting the tone right for a client? Is there anything a copywriter or a new copywriter could do? Because the way I write something, even if I understand the fundamentals of copy, might not reflect the tone or the voice of the company that I’m working for.
Nicki: Yeah, and it definitely has to, right? When you go in and you write a piece for a client, it’s not about your voice, it’s about melding seamlessly with that client’s voice. So, one of the first things you need to do is get a really good understanding of what that voice is. What are — what describes — what traits does that brand voice have? Is it friendly? Is it straightforward? Is it authoritative? Is it quirky? Is it, you know, any number of things, and one of the best ways too to get that information, to kinda suss it out, is to ask your client for, you know, what pieces have you done in the past or what websites or what whatever have you done in the past that you’ve really liked?
And go through and ask yourself this question: What does this tone sound like? What are the traits that it embodies? And then too, look through to see if there are any words or phrases or usage of words that they use regularly to try to get yourself into that mindset so that you can set aside your own writing style and really like put yourself in your client’s head.
Bryan: Yeah, setting aside your own writing style can be difficult when you’re a new copywriter. So, a couple years ago, I bought into this misconception that writers should be broke to get good at their craft and I think it’s still a belief that a lot of writers have but you’ve taken that concept and you’ve actually flipped it on its head and your business is called Filthy Rich Writer, which I think is a really memorable name and it really —
Nicki: It is.
Bryan: — plays on the misconception that a lot of new writers have so I presume you don’t believe you need to be broke to succeed as a writer today.
Nicki: No, no. It’s — and, you know, the thing is is that, to us, being filthy rich means having a job you love, doing it well, and being paid well to do it and part of the reason that I started the company and called it Filthy Rich Writer is because I wanted people to go, “Whoa, what is that? That’s different.” I thought, again, like you were saying, that writers had to be poor. There are certain challenges for other writing fields, you know? It is hard to make six figures as a novelist.
Depending on what kind of journalism, it’s hard to make six figures as a journalist or, you know, if you just write blogs, similarly, but copywriting, because a company can directly see the results in their bottom line, they’re willing to pay well for it, you know? Copy is, you know, it’s not just about being salesy or pushy, or I should say it’s not at all about being salesy or pushy, it’s about connecting a target audience that has a want or a need with the company or the organization that has the best solution for that want or need and connecting them in a way, and with wording and with messaging, that resonates with that target audience, that makes them understand that connection.
We’re paid well for what we do. It takes some work to learn and it takes some practice but it is an industry in which writers can be paid well and it’s funny because I, every once in a while, someone will post on the page and say, “This is terrible. I write for my soul and I write for,” you know, that kind of thing, which, first of all, I don’t know why on earth we would celebrate creative writers, for example, not being paid well. Like why is that something — that’s not a badge of honor, you know?
That’s something we need to change, first of all. It’s not — you’re not a better writer because you’re not making any money at it. But, second of all, I think it’s a great thing that writers can make money as copywriters. It’s a wonderful thing that we’re actually paid well for our skills and, you know, I would love to just point out that F. Scott Fitzgerald was a copywriter, you know? Salman Rushdie was a copywriter, Kurt Vonnegut was a copywriter. There isn’t this dichotomy between, “Well, there’s creative writing and there’s copywriting.” The two can absolutely live in the same head, in the same, if you — I would say probably brilliant heads in those three men’s cases. So it’s, yeah, I think it’s a great thing that we can be paid well and wouldn’t it be great if more writers got paid well for their types of writing too?
Bryan: Yeah, doctors get paid well, why not writers? Could you give an idea of some of potential earnings that a copywriter could make in a year?
Nicki: Well, I mean, it varies completely depending on whether you wanna do it part-time, full time, whether you wanna do it on staff, how long it’s been since you started, how quickly you ramped up, how willing you are to actually get out of your comfort zone and start pitching those clients. But the potential, the potential is absolutely seven figures. It’s, you know, if you work it out, seven figures is only like, if you’re working full time and that’s not writing full time, that includes editing and researching and working with your clients but, you know, six figures is only 50 bucks an hour if you’re working full time. That’s very doable. And I would say that’s kind of like a low- to mid-range price for most copywriters.
So, six figures is very doable but how, if that is your goal and, you know, you wanna be full time or you can work 30 hours and still make six figures at a higher, you know, hourly rate, whatever, there are all kinds of factors, but it really depends on, again, full time or part-time. Obviously, if you’re doing it part-time, it’s gonna be a little bit harder to get to those six figures, but it depends on, you know, we say to our students, we give you all the tools, we give you all of the support but it’s still up to them to take the action, to learn and to practice and to go out there and to start pitching and start working with clients, yeah, but, absolutely, six figures is definitely a possibility.
Bryan: It is. I would say particularly for somebody who works in B2B or looks at technology companies, you can easily earn six figures from copywriting. It seems like a lot when you’re starting out but it’s more than possible. I supposed more an advanced question, the seven-figure copywriters tend to have a percentage rather than a fee so a percentage of the sales page or the funnel or whatever it is. Is that still possible today?
Nicki: There are very few seven-figure copywriters that are actually just writing copy. They’re either also — they also have an agency, often you’ll hear that. They’re writing copy themselves but then they’re outsourcing to other people.
The number of clients who are willing to pay like, say, $10,000, $20,000 for a homepage is a lot smaller than I think those guys on Instagram and their — the photos in front of their Ferraris would like you to believe. So, actually, seven figures just writing copy is, I’ll be honest with you, very unlikely.
However, if you wanna parlay your copywriting career into also, you know, creating an agency and outsourcing to other copywriters, great option or if you want to then also, I don’t know, train or whatever, that’s certainly a possibility, but I think there are a lot of — maybe not a lot but a few copywriting “gurus” out there with their Instagram photos of them throwing money in the air and leaning up onto Ferraris and —
Bryan: Yeah, I don’t believe what I see on Instagram, but what I was more wondering is do you know of copywriters who take a percentage of the sales generated rather than charging a set fee? Because that would seem to me like a really good way to take your earnings to the next level.
Nicki: It’s a possibility but it’s a risky way to do it. You have to have a very, very good understanding of your client’s business. You also have to have a really ironclad contract. You also have to be — you also have to understand and potentially have some control over all the other elements because, you know, you can write a great — you can write the best sales page ever but if they’re sending crummy traffic to it, nobody’s gonna buy and there goes your percentage, right?
Or if it’s amazing sales page but the product itself is kinda terrible, nobody’s gonna buy. If they’re sending it from the wrong target audience, they’re opening at the wrong time, if there are technical glitches, any of that kind of thing, if they’re not making sales, there goes your percentage.
So it’s a way to do it, it’s just you have to have a very, very solid relationship with your client. You have to know their business inside and out, you have to trust them to the nth degree because there are all kinds of intricacies when it comes to sales as well, you know? Do you get paid out on affiliate payments? Do you get paid out on, you know, any number of things? So, possible? Sure. Very risky and a copywriter should think carefully before they go into that.
Bryan: Sounds like it’s one for advanced copywriters rather than beginners. So, Nicki, if somebody’s listening to this, they want to learn more about you or get started copywriting, where should they go?
Nicki: Yeah, absolutely. Well, so if they’re listening, I assume they like podcasts so they should check out our Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, but you can also find us at Filthy Rich Writer across the web and Instagram and Facebook, of course, and if copywriting is something they’re interested in or they think, “Maybe I just wanna dip my toe into it,” we have a free video training at freecopywritingtraining.com.
They can check it out. It’s about how to land your first client but, obviously, if you’re not ready to yet, there’s still tons of information to give you a better idea of what copywriting as a career actually entails.
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