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The pros and cons of a freelance copywriting career

Copywriter at workDid you wake up yesterday morning and decide to become a copywriter? Probably not. It’s much more likely your copywriting career will start gradually.  As time goes on, you’ll do some research to find out if a career in copywriting is feasible … and if it’s for you.

Whatever stage you’re at, whether you’re still floating the idea or doing some serious research, do take time to read this blog.  It’s full of useful, honest advice to help you decide whether a copywriting career is for you or not.  And to make sure you get an unbiased point of view, we’ve enlisted a wealth of guest bloggers to give their advice too.

In this post we’re going to take a look at some of the pros and cons of being a copywriter and what life is really like for a freelancer in today’s market.

Many aspiring copywriters picture an idyllic working life spent painting compelling pictures with words, whilst sitting under a sun-dappled apple tree with their laptop and a long cool drink.  That’s OK – we all need dreams.

Of course, the reality is the sun will shine on your screen, so you can’t see a word you’ve written.  You’ll probably be stung by wasps, angry because you’re invading their space, and your long cool drink will develop a froth of drowning fruit flies.  And if the weather doesn’t improve, you’ll probably freeze to death in the process!

So now your bubble has been well and truly burst, let’s take a look and see what you can expect when you make the decision to launch your copywriting career.

Pros of a freelance copywriting career

Status!

I’m starting with this one because when you become a copywriter, you’ll probably be bursting to tell people what you do.  It’s very satisfying to impress people with the words … “I’m a writer, actually”.

Freedom and flexibility

Because most copywriters are freelance, you will have more freedom and flexibility than most people.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking a copywriting career means loafing around with your feet up all day and getting paid for doing nothing!  Copywriting is hard work and demanding.

But you will be able to choose when and where you work.  If you’re an early bird, you can work at 5am and night owls can work until the wee small hours.  As long as you meet your deadlines, you can work when it suits you.

Fit your work around your family

As a freelancer, you can combine your copywriting career with your family commitments.  With a little time management, you can be there to collect your children from school and keep your childcare costs down.

Satisfy your thirst for knowledge

If you’re thinking of becoming a copywriter, you’ll need an enquiring mind.  Before you can write about something, you have to research your subject thoroughly.  If you enjoy learning and finding out about new things, this is a definite pro!

Variety and creativity

Unless you work in a very specific niche market, a career in copywriting involves a lot of variety.  One day you could be writing about engineering widgets and the next about an exotic holiday destination.  No two days are the same so there’s little danger of boredom setting in.  There’s nothing quite like being paid to be creative with words when you love writing!

Cons of a copywriting career

Financial pressure

When you’re self-employed, there’s nobody to make sure you get paid at the end of the month.  You’ll have to budget for both the famine and the feast months.  In an earlier guest blog, Philippa Willetts explains why you can’t afford to take your foot off the marketing gas.

Loneliness

While working from home gives you freedom, it can also be a lonely affair as guest blogger Gillian Jones described.  As a freelance copywriter, you’ll have to learn to deal with these feelings of isolation.

Motivation

It can be hard to stay motivated when you work from home.  A freelancer needs to have a disciplined approach and manage their time wisely.  It’s very easy to find something more pressing to do than getting on with your work!

Responsibility

As a freelancer, you’ll have a lot of responsibilities.  You have to deliver your client’s copy on time and within budget.  You also have to wear a lot of business hats.  You’ll have to be bookkeeper, marketing manager, office cleaner, receptionist, tea maker, filing clerk, etc, etc.

In sickness and in health

When you’re self-employed it isn’t easy to take time off.  If you’re feeling under the weather and have a deadline looming, you have to get the job done come hell or high water.  Having a copywriting buddy can help, but ultimately, the buck stops with you.

So … 5 pros and cons of being a copywriter.  Like any career, copywriting has it’s ups and downs, but I’ve yet to meet a copywriter who doesn’t think it’s the best job in the world.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

 

Picture credit: 123RF

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