Ten years ago I was just starting my copywriting journey.
I had discovered the term after attending a webinar but that was all I knew. So I did what most people do when they hear about a new idea.
I learned as much as I could.
I was reading books, attending free webinars and even paid for a course.
None of these actions were bad but there was one vital step I missed.
Get a copywriting job as soon as you can
Writing for someone else is completely different for writing for yourself.
It's the best things you can do to build your copywriting skills.
Here's five quick reasons why.
1. Put all those copywriting tips to the test
Skills can't be learned just from book, they need to be done.
And while I applied the copywriting principles I was learning in the content writing I was doing, it's not that same as writing direct sales copy for someone else's goal. It's better than nothing but there is a better option.
Getting paid to write forces you to turn ideas into knowledge.
2. You'll get REAL feedback
You and your mom may like your writing, but does anyone else?
When you get paid to write, you'll find out. And you'll know what you need to work on. You'll also find yourself working twice as hard because you know that you can't settle for "good enough" when someone is going to tear it apart later.
Tough critiques will help you grow faster.
3. Getting paid is motivating
I can still remember the first PayPal statement I got for my writing.
I know I told about a hundred people and immediately started pitching for more jobs to repeat the experience. While I don't feel the same joy when my pay-check comes in today, I do smile regularly that I get paid to write.
And being paid to write can help with your mental health too.
4. Getting paid will kill your imposter syndrome
When someone pays you for your content, you have proof that you aren't an imposter.
You may not be the world's best copywriter (I'm not!) but being paid means that someone has seen value in your work and wants to financial reward you for it.
Every time you think "I can't do this", look at the pay-checks of the people who think you can.
5. You need to build your portfolio
Your portfolio is key to getting more work.
Bigger clients will want to see what you've done before they hire you. It's a classic vicious circle (how can you get work if you haven't done work to prove you can do the work?).
One way to break the cycle is to get a crappy job quickly when your standards are lower.
So, how to get your first job?
If you're onboard, then you have two options.
Head over to a job site like upwork and create a profile for yourself (and apply for some jobs).
Let your friends and network know you are available for hire.
Best of luck.