Today we’re going to look at whether you should start a copywriting side hustle.
With the growth of social media and website traffic that has come with the digitization of business, copywriting is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative side hustles on the market.
As I mentioned in my “14 Ideas for Side Hustles in 2021” blog, copywriting is a great way for you to earn good money on the side. It’s also something you can do from anywhere!
Ok, it’s not passive income (which is everyone’s favorite!) but you need multiple income streams and they can’t always be passive.
TLDR: Copywriting can be very profitable. Let’s talk about how to start a copywriting side hustle!
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What is copywriting?
Copywriting is simply defined as “writing marketing and advertising text”.
The text that is created is therefore referred to as “copy” and can be created for just about any promotional material, in any type of marketing.
The most common types of copy you could write include website copy, social media copy, email copy, and sales copy. These different forms of copy refer to the different text that is used for different types of marketing.
For example, social media copy is going to look a lot different from website copy. This is often because social media platforms have very limited character use. You’ll also notice that some companies use a very different tone or style of writing on their social media platforms.
Websites, on the other hand, don’t have any limitations on how much can be written; and businesses may again want to use a different style of writing (short- versus long-form) on their websites.
So what does this all mean for you? Basically, if you’re looking to start a side hustle as a copywriter, you need to make sure you specify what type of copywriting you want to specialize in. This will help you to get the greatest returns on your side hustle.
What's the goal of copywriting?
Ultimately, the goal of copywriting is to create engaging written content for any promotional materials or platforms.
However, there are also platform-specific goals of copywriting.
On social media, the goal of copywriting is not only to gain new customers and get business; but it is also to get likes, gain followers, and drive people to a website or store. The copy on social media should be brief, yet engaging, so people want to ‘read more’, and visit the profile.
People scroll their social media feeds so quickly now you need to GRAB! their attention
Websites, on the other hand, often use copywriting to fulfil the goal of gaining more traffic, boosting SEO, and driving viewers to certain parts of the website (whether that be a blog, store, or other page on the website). The copy on websites should be informative, simple, and align with the branding of the company.
Sales copies are used on sales and promotional materials like billboards (if those are even used anymore), pamphlets, or sales materials that are given to clients. The goal of these is to gain people’s interest, so the copywriting must be bold and brief. Sell Sell SELL!
One of the other key types of copy is email copies. Email copies are sent to existing clients or people who have signed up for online newsletters and email lists. Because of this, email copy has to be engaging, and has to draw people back into the website to buy products or services.
There are of course many other types of copies that you can write (white papers, scripts, case studies, etc). However the four mentioned above are the most common and all-encompassing forms of copywriting that you can start as a side hustle.
So, depending on what type of copy you want to write (whether it be one or all different types), you need to plan your side hustle and marketing accordingly.
How To Start A Copywriting Side Hustle!
Now we’re onto the juicy bit!
The bit where you get stuck in and start making money.
Regardless of what type of copywriting side hustle you want to have, it’s so much easier to start than you may think!
Step 1: Decide Where To Sell Your Copywriting Services
There are now plenty of places where you can advertise your copywriting services.
Some may start out just working for friends/family or taking jobs by word of mouth.
Come on now! It’s the digital age – you have to get online as soon as possible!
There are infinite places you can list your copywriting services, we won’t bore you by listing them all.
One of the simplest services and also our current recommendation is Fiverr.
Yes, they’ll take a commission. Unfortunately that’s the price you have to pay to be listed on one of the biggest freelancing marketplaces in the world.
Some other platforms where copywriting side hustles have been booming in the last few years: Indeed, Upwork, Freelancer, Flex Jobs, Writers Work.
Step 2: Consider Taking A Quick Copywriting Course
You don’t have to take a course, however to compete with the big-dogs I’d highly recommend it.
This does not mean taking a long and expensive course sold by some influencer or marketing “guru”.
I’m talking about spending 1-2 hours in a well rated course up-skilling so that you can smash the competition. After all, you want to WOW your customers so they’ll leave good reviews and keep coming back.
You may notice that Fiverr also provide online courses. At $40 they are definitely a worthwhile investment to kick-start your writing skills. Here are some great ones to take a look at.
Step 3: Choose What Forms Of Copy You Want To Write
Next, decide what forms of copy you want to write.
According to Brafton, there are 9 types of copywriting that you can pick up, these include:
- Marketing copywriting. This is the most general form of copywriting, and includes writing promotional content for videos, online advertisements, flyers, stickers, and direct mail. A good place to start.
- Social media copywriting. Social media copywriting covers the big channels like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, and more. Quick, snappy, engaging.
- Branding copywriting. This often involves creating things like slogans, logos, and other content like this.
- Direct response. Direct response copywriting includes the copywriting on a website that people see first. It is the copywriting that get’s people attention and directs them a certain way, including towards email, pop-ups, and landing pages.
- Technical copywriting. This commonly includes writing content on websites that helps explain technical concepts. Pays well but requires research and can take longer.
- PR copywriting. Includes newsletters, media communications, and other forms of copy that informs media about a business.
- Long-form copywriting. This includes blogs, articles, and other long-form content as seen here at Fire The Boss. Obviously I do this most days – be warned, it can be time-consuming (and addictive!)
- SEO copywriting. This includes writing the keywords and key phrases that show up on a website to improve its SEO ranking. Super important in this day and age.
- Email copywriting. As I mentioned above, email copywriting is just the copy that subscribers or people who fill out forms on a website will see. Short and to the point.
Step 4: Set Up Your Online Marketplace
Once you’ve decided what kind of copywriting you want to do, the next step is get set up on an online marketplace. Using Fiverr as an example – complete registration as per the below.
You’ll then be guided through the processes of starting a “gig”. This is the listing through which customers will buy your copywriting services.
Make sure the description is immaculately written! Any spelling or grammatical errors and you can kiss bye-bye to your copywriting dreams.
Step 5: Build A Customer Base
Once you’ve set yourself up on these platforms, you need to work on developing two key things that will help your side hustle grow. Your personal brand and your portfolio.
Both your brand and your portfolio will grow as you become more experienced, and as you pick up more jobs.
This means that your copywriting side hustle might start out slow; but once it picks up and people start noticing your work, it can pick up. Fast.
Most platforms use a rating system. As you increase your ratings you appear higher in the search results and can charge much more for your services. On Fiverr, the aim is to be a Level 2 or Top Rated Seller. That’s where the big bucks are made!
To build your brand, you can also create a personal brand website for yourself, or create a personal brand social media page. If you connect this with a profile on a platform, or make it accessible for potential clients, you will be much more likely to gain new clients.
The same goes for your portfolio. Once you’ve completed some jobs (and of course gained the permission from your clients), you can build a portfolio online that showcases your work.
Get Out There And Write!
All that’s left to do now is find a comfy chair and a good internet connection. Many freelance copywriters can make upwards of $50,000, or even $100,000 per year depending on their rates and experience. In fact, the sky is the limit and some sellers have pushed way beyond that (like this one, or this one).
Now is certainly the best time to get started on your copywriting side hustle!
Need some help? Drop us a comment below.
If you’re interested in other side hustle articles, keep an eye out for our upcoming posts on side hustles for Engineers, Lawyers, and Dieticians.