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5 Challenges Freelance Copywriters Face and How to Overcome Them

Updated: Jun 7, 2023



If you’re reading this, it means you finally took the plunge into freelance copywriting - congratulations, my dear brand-new solopreneur! Taking this step into the unknown is already a success on its own and you should be proud of yourself.


It’s 2023 now and freelance copywriters are the “it” guys and gals in the content marketing space. With businesses clamoring for attention in the online realm, the demand for persuasive, compelling copy has never been higher.


Sadly though, with great demand come great challenges and none of us enthusiastic wordsmiths are immune to them.


That’s why I’ve compiled this blog post on the most common challenges freelance copywriters face and ways to overcome them. Chances are you will come across a few - if not all - of them as you ride on this copywriting rollercoaster.


But don’t worry, if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to conquer all the trials the god of copywriter’s misfortune may bestow upon you.


So avoid pulling your hair out screaming, get comfy, and let's turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and success.




Challenge 1: Finding Clients as a Freelance Copywriter

Let me guess: You’ve read a lot about how to become a copywriter, and you may have even purchased a course or two on how to write better - you’re all set on theory.


But if you want to establish a solid foundation for your copywriting career, you need to get busy. It all begins with finding clients who appreciate your stellar word-weaving skills and securing those projects that set your creative juices flowing.


It's like building the very scaffolding that will support your copywriting empire.


Now, how do you find people who are willing to pay for your words? It’s not like you’re gonna put a bell on your neck and start jingling “I’m a copywriter, hire me!” all over town. Well, yes and no.


If you want to land clients, first they have to know that you exist. And this is where Solution No. 1 comes in.


Solution

Building a professional network is your golden ticket to success here. Connect with like-minded souls, attend industry events, and join relevant groups. Cast your net wide, and you'll be amazed at the fish you'll reel in.


And in today’s digital age, this has never been easier. Online platforms are an absolute gold mine of potential clients. Start by promoting your services on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other social medium that is relevant to your niche.


At the same time, don’t just sit around and wait for the fish to bite. Embrace your imposter syndrome and pitch to any business you can find - especially if you’re at the beginning stages of your career.


So what if they say no? So what if you get ignored? Don’t let that stop you from reaching your goal of landing a client.


If you’re more on the shy side, though, or you want to test the waters first, I suggest you start with job boards and see what writing gigs are offered there. Good places to start are:




When I was starting out, I got more rejections and ghosting than I got a green light on a pitch. I’ll be honest with you, it didn’t feel good - at first, I felt like such a failure, I wanted to crawl under the bed and never show my face in (digital) public again.


Luckily, I’m too stubborn of a human to let it make me quit. The more I got rejected, the more I pitched. Eventually, someone said yes. Then I got another yes. Then another. Suddenly, my schedule started filling up to the extent I got overwhelmed.


Which brings me to the next common challenge freelance copywriters make and that is:


Challenge 2: Managing Workload and Deadlines


Ah, the delightful juggle of managing a mountain of projects and looming deadlines. If at first, you were afraid that nobody would want to hire you, now you’re sitting there scratching your head wondering how to juggle your project like an expert circus performer - and avoid getting burnt out while at it.




When you have an influx of projects coming your way, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. The thrill of landing clients and securing projects can quickly turn into a frenzy of overlapping deadlines and a seemingly never-ending to-do list. It's like trying to tame a tornado of words!


Believe me, I know - my notebook still has bite marks on one of its edges, and my old keyboard was missing the N and the S.


So, what do you do when you have too many projects on your hands and don’t know which side is left and which is right?


Solution

Repeat after me: organize, prioritize, embrace the power of technology.


The key lies in effective organizational skills and time management. Picture yourself as the conductor of an orchestra, skillfully orchestrating your tasks to create a harmonious symphony of productivity.


Prioritize. Break down your workload into manageable chunks, identifying high-priority tasks that demand your immediate attention. Create a schedule that balances your time, allowing for focused work and well-deserved breaks to recharge your creative batteries.


Embrace the power of tools and technology. Explore project management software, task-tracking apps, or good old-fashioned to-do lists. Statistics show that 54% of workers believe that using automation tools will save them more than 5 hours.


You can try: Todoist


Find what works best for you to stay organized, track progress, and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.


Remember, quality over quantity. It's better to deliver a masterpiece on time than a rushed piece of mediocrity. Set realistic deadlines and communicate openly with your clients to manage expectations and avoid last-minute panic.


Challenge 3: Dealing with Creative Blocks

There is no freelance copywriter in this world that hasn’t struggled with this. If they say they haven’t, their pants are on fire. And as irony would have it, the steadier the workflow, the bigger the chances of a creative or writer’s block.


Our brain can only do as much, we can’t expect it to be a perfect word-coughing machine any time we sit in front of the computer. Sometimes it just doesn’t want to cooperate. (I’ll let you in on a secret: because of writer’s block, this blog post was edited 3 whole times before being published).


When those creative juices aren't flowing, it can feel like navigating through a dense fog, and that hinders our progress and stifles our ability to deliver an exceptional copy. And then again goes the circle: insecurity, imposter syndrome, withdrawal, and all the other stupidities our brain deceives us about.


Solution

If I was writing this post a year ago, I would start this section with:


“Embrace the power of exploration. Allow yourself to wander into uncharted territories of inspiration. Seek out diverse sources of creativity, from books to art, music to nature. Let your mind roam freely, absorbing new experiences and ideas that will fuel your writing endeavors.”


Then I would add:


“Incorporate structured techniques to jumpstart your creativity. Try mind mapping, where you visually map out ideas and connections. Engage in brainstorming sessions, both solo and with fellow creatives, to generate fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.


And when you feel stuck, step away from the screen, go for a walk, or indulge in a creative hobby to refresh your mind and reignite your passion.


Embrace the power of rituals and routines. Establish a writing routine that signals to your brain it's time to get into the creative zone. Whether it's a cozy nook, a favorite playlist, or a cup of steaming coffee, find what sparks joy and sets the stage for your creative brilliance.”


But since a few months ago, when Chat GPT and all similar AI writing tools took the stage, I can honestly say: when dealing with writer’s block, ask ChatGPT to provide you with some guidelines. It’s a great place to start without having to stare at a blank page forever.


That said, all the above mentioned is still valid as a strategy because ChatGPT can only take you that far. If you want to be among those top 10% looked-after freelance copywriters, you need a refreshed and energized brain that can never be replaced by a tool (no matter its level of sophistication).


Challenge 4: Handling Client Feedback and Revisions

The double-edged sword that freelance copywriters often face. On one hand, they can provide valuable insights and help us refine our work. On the other hand, they can present unique challenges that require finesse and professionalism to overcome.


Client feedback is a treasure trove of information. It allows you to understand your clients' expectations better, bridge any gaps in communication, and ultimately deliver a final product that not only meets their requirements but exceeds them.


That said, it's important to acknowledge that feedback can sometimes be subjective. You may find yourself juggling contrasting opinions and suggestions from different clients, leaving you in a tricky spot.



The key to successfully handling client feedback and revisions lies in your ability to remain professional throughout the process. As freelance copywriters, our primary goal is to provide a service that ensures our clients' satisfaction.


So, how can we accomplish this? Here are some strategies I've learned along the way:


Solution

Embrace open and honest communication

From the outset, establish a clear channel of communication with your clients. Encourage them to provide specific feedback, emphasizing both what they liked and areas that may need improvement. Foster an environment of open communication and you minimize misunderstandings and ensure you're on the same wavelength as your clients.


Seek clarity and ask questions

If a client's feedback feels ambiguous or unclear, don't hesitate to reach out and ask for further clarification. Request specific examples or ask them to elaborate on their concerns. This shows your commitment to truly understanding their needs and delivering work that hits the mark.


Separate your work from personal attachment

We pour our heart and soul into our writing, so it's natural to feel emotionally invested. However, it's important to detach ourselves from any personal attachment and approach feedback objectively.


Remember that the client's feedback isn't a judgment of your worth as a writer but an opportunity to refine and enhance the copy - which is the main goal here.


Embrace the power of constructive criticism

Feedback, even if it stings a bit, is meant to help you grow. Instead of becoming defensive, focus on the constructive aspects of the feedback.


Recognize that clients share their thoughts to improve the overall quality of the copy. Embrace their suggestions and implement revisions that align with their objectives, knowing it will make your work stronger.


Offer alternative solutions and be a collaborator

Sometimes, you may find yourself disagreeing with a specific revision request. Instead of dismissing it outright, engage in a constructive dialogue and offer alternative solutions that address the underlying concern.


Present your reasoning, back it up with examples, and show that you're a collaborator who wants the best for their project.


Set clear boundaries and manage expectations

To prevent scope creep and ensure a smooth working relationship, establish clear guidelines regarding the number of revisions or the scope of changes in your contract or agreement. This helps manage expectations and provides a solid foundation for your work.


If additional revisions are requested beyond the agreed-upon limit, communicate the need for additional compensation or discuss alternatives that are fair to both parties.


Remember, your ultimate goal is to deliver copy that not only satisfies the client's requirements but also showcases our skills and expertise. Embrace the feedback, learn from it, and watch yourself grow as a freelance copywriter.


Challenge 5: Managing Finances and Negotiating Rates

The world of finances—often the Achilles' heel of many freelance copywriters, myself included. As freelance copywriters, our financial well-being directly impacts the overall success and sustainability of our careers.


It goes beyond simply earning an income - it affects our ability to thrive, grow, and ultimately build a prosperous freelance business.


Here's why paying close attention to our finances is paramount:


Connecting success to financial stability

Financial stability is the lifeblood of our freelance careers. It's what allows us to weather the storms, invest in our professional development, and build a solid foundation for long-term success.


When we manage our finances effectively, we can focus on delivering exceptional work, nurturing client relationships, and ultimately thriving in our chosen field.


The challenge of rate setting

Setting rates—the delicate dance that requires finesse and confidence. Deciding on rates that truly reflect our skills, expertise, and the value we bring to clients can be intimidating.


We strive to strike that sweet spot where we are competitive in the market while ensuring our rates are fair and representative of our worth. Undervaluing our services not only threatens our financial stability but can also lead to burnout. On the other hand, overpricing may lead to missed opportunities. It's a constant balancing act this one.


Riding the income rollercoaster

As freelancers, we're no strangers to the ebb and flow of income. Some months bring bountiful projects and healthy paychecks, while others leave us yearning for more. It’s the ever-so-famous “feast or famine” concept.


Managing these income fluctuations requires careful planning and a knack for budgeting. It's essential that you have financial safeguards in place to handle lean periods and ensure a consistent stream of income over time.


Negotiating contracts with confidence

Negotiating contracts can be a nerve-wracking experience. It involves navigating discussions around rates, project scope, deadlines, and deliverables—all while ensuring you protect your financial interests.


That’s why approaching negotiations with confidence and a clear understanding of your value proposition is crucial. It's about finding that delicate balance between meeting client expectations and securing fair terms that align with your expertise and effort.


Solution

Research and self-reflection

Dive deep into understanding market rates and industry standards. Research what others in your field with similar skills and experience charge for their services. Combine this knowledge with a healthy dose of self-reflection to recognize and embrace your unique value proposition. Find the sweet spot where your rates reflect your worth and resonate with clients.


Calculate your costs and set income goals

Determine your desired income and consider the expenses associated with running your freelance business. Factor in overhead costs, taxes, insurance, and any other financial obligations. Calculating these costs will help you set realistic income goals and ensure you're covering your expenses while making a profit.


Cultivate a diverse client base

Don't put all your financial eggs in one basket. Seek out a diverse client base that encompasses long-term clients, one-time projects, and retainer agreements. This diversity helps to mitigate the risks associated with income fluctuations. Continually prospect for new clients to maintain a healthy pipeline of opportunities.


Budget and save strategically

Develop a budget that encompasses both personal and professional expenses. Track your income and expenses diligently, staying aware of where your money is going.


Consider setting aside a portion of your income as savings to create a safety net during lean periods or unforeseen circumstances. Having that financial cushion will provide peace of mind and stability in the face of financial challenges.


Sharpen your negotiation skills

Negotiation is both an art and a skill that can significantly impact your financial well-being. Invest time in honing your negotiation skills, learning how to effectively communicate your value, and assertively advocate for fair compensation.


Strive for win-win solutions where both you and the client feel satisfied with the agreed-upon terms. Negotiating confidently and professionally is key to achieving financial stability.


Seek financial advice and support

Don't be afraid to reach out for professional financial advice or seek support from fellow freelancers. Accountants or financial advisors who specialize in working with freelancers can provide guidance on managing your finances, maximizing deductions, and planning for the future.


Engaging with communities of freelancers can also provide valuable insights and support from those who have navigated similar challenges.


A Few Words Before You Go

Running a freelance business is never easy - especially when you have to do it alone. From struggling to find constant work, to managing multiple projects, avoiding nightmare clients, to setting decent rates for your writing services, it’s all just a game of management and perseverance.


But you know what? There are plenty of freelance copywriters just like yourself who have or are struggling with these challenges. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed or even scared. Just don’t let it engulf you.


March forward with confidence, knowing that you have what it takes to thrive in this competitive landscape. Embrace the challenges, celebrate your victories, and let your words leave an indelible mark on the world.


Go forth and conquer, my talented friend!


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