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Secrets of Making Six Figures as a Freelance Copywriter ? or in Practically Anything Else

March 23rd, 2005 by Bob Bly

In his post on this blog, John Thomas asks, ?What counter-intuitive ?secrets? would you say there are to becoming a successful direct response copywriter, since that would be a particular business you are familiar with??

I assume he means ?freelance? direct response copywriters, since most of the top DM copywriters are in fact self-employed.

The answer, John, is the same for freelance copywriters as it is for dentists, optometrists, financial planners, attorneys, CPAs, and anyone else offering professional services on a freelance or independent basis:

Assuming you are reasonably skilled in the service you provide, the differentiating factor between those practitioners with the highest incomes and the others in the same field is the ability to marketing and sell their professional services to clients.

In other words, success at self-promotion is the biggest (but not the only) factor separating the $50,000 a year copywriter from the $500,000 a year copywriter ? or the financial planner writing $1 million in premium (and earning $65,000 a year) from the one writing $10 million in premium (and earning $650,000 a year).

Do you agree? Are those who make the most money in any profession the best salespeople and marketers ? or the best craftspeople and technicians?


This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005 at 8:01 am and is filed under Success. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

108 responses about “Secrets of Making Six Figures as a Freelance Copywriter ? or in Practically Anything Else”

  1. Jim Logan said:

    Another great question!

    Let’s say you have two people: Person #1 has remarkable sales and marketing skills and average technical skills. Person #2 has remarkable technical skills with average sales and marketing skills.

    By “average”, I mean meeting the market requirement, not poor, not outstanding…just average.

    I believe Person #1 wins the contest of 1099s. Their average technical skills satisfy customers and their remarkable sales and marketing skills promote them to more and greater engagements.

    Person #2 Wows! their customers with technical skills however, they aren’t able to leverage their success as well as they should with their average sales and marketing skills.

    In Corporate American you see this all the time.

  2. Bruce DeBoer said:

    I couldn’t agree more. Selling yourself is – in my opinion – often tougher than selling something or someone else.


  3. Steve Slaunwhite said:

    Bob, you’re right, of course. But I would like to suggest another differentiating factor that’s a close second: client service.

    A big part of my success over the years has been due to repeat business. Keep clients happy, and they keep calling with more work.

    A freelance copywriter keeps clients happy by delivering great copy… and (this is going to sound trite, but it’s true) by being a nice person. By “nice” I mean being friendly, professional, easy to work with, helpful, on time, a problem solver, an expert.

  4. Aaron said:

    So Bob, other than using this blog, what else do you do to self-promote?

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  12. Nina said:

    Hello Bob,

    Speaking of success, I was talking to a popular coach and she politely stated that I most likely will not be able to make $15,000 in 3 months as a copywriter. I have a few copywriting projects under my belt, but not too many. Do you think it’s possible for a semi-new copywriter to hit the $15,000 mark and beyond within a 3 month time frame?

    Thank You.

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