Why Pricing Matters – How Much Should You Charge As A Freelance Copywriter

Copywriters already get a bad wrap with clients.

Most clients have been burned at least a time or two by a high-falootin’ copywriter promising the world and delivering… a pile.

That means your potential clients are savvy to most of the tricks and tactics people before you have attempted to use to pull one over on them.

Now, this is primarily true with direct response copywriting and not so much for content marketing or writing blog posts…

But… how you price yourself immediately builds a picture in your prospect’s mind of what working with you is going to be like.

If you don’t charge enough?

They’re going to assume you are inexperienced, lack confidence, and can’t deliver on what you’re saying you will.

Charge too much?

You’re getting into an actual sales process that requires you building value in yourself, then portraying that value to the client in a way that resonates with them.

Find the balance?

All you have to show is proof of past results, let the client know what to expect, when to expect it, and how you’re going to back up what you’re claiming to be able to do.

I’ve tested this theory dozens of times, too.

Here’s what I’ve learned…

Charging > 2 Cents Per Word

This is where most writers start.

Or, worse, they lack the experience (or confidence) needed to even charge 2 cents per word and jump straight to the bottom of the barrel.

Now, if that’s you right now, don’t take offense to what I just said. I’m going to be real with you and let you know that charging 2 cents (or less) per word is why you are stuck.

If you can write in English, you can write in a conversational tone, and you have even half-a-personality, you need to be charging at least 2 cents per word.

Something happens when you tell a client that you’re charging more than the average bear — they take notice.

They have respect for you (even if it’s only a little) because you’ve shown that you respect yourself.

You are immediately showing you have been through the bottom of the barrel, you’ve learned a lesson or two, and that you value your time.

Again, even if it’s only a little.

I’m going to run down some mathematics for you so you can see the difference.

Let’s assume you’re writing an article a day.

Each article is 2,500 words in length.

If it takes you more than a day to write that you are thinking too hard. Again, don’t take offense — I’m here to help you get better.

The first part of getting better is facing what you’re doing wrong head-on and fixing it.

At 2 cents per word, that 2,500-word article is going to pay you a massive $50.

Not bad in many parts of the world but if you live in any developed country that 4, 6, or even 8 hours of work for $50 isn’t going to cut it.

You’re going to get burned out.

At 2 cents per word, you would be better off working at a car wash for $8.50 an hour. You would actually earn more and wouldn’t be wracking your brain to do it.

But, let’s go one further and assume you’re writing 2 articles in an 8-hour day.

You’ve made $100 for 5,000 words of content. Congratulations.

I was in your boat in 2014. I was forced to either get a job or prove I could provide for my family so I took gigs paying 2 cents per word just to get my foot back in the door.

This is coming off the back of a highly-successful life insurance “mini-career” where I realized I enjoyed writing and working from home more so I bailed.

But, those 5,000 words a day at 2 cents per word got me to $500 a week. For that, I was forever grateful. I could finally provide for my daughter again even if I was living on my momma’s couch. (A story for another day… maybe a podcast episode?)

But I knew I couldn’t stay there for long.

Knowing what I knew about SEO and driving traffic, I put myself in a position where I was surrounded by people I knew would pay more for my skills.

That’s when I started…

Charging 2 Cents to 5 Cents Per Word

It didn’t take me long to get burned out.

The first time I used freelance writing to pay the bills was in 2007. I was learning SEO and how to use my writing “abilities” (if you can call them that) to rank websites in Google by posting a bunch of articles all over the interwebs.

That strategy still works today, and I’ll teach you how to use it for passive income later, but when I did it I charged a penny a word.

That means it took me all of 6 months to realize, even though I had doubled my rates from my first foray into freelancing, I wasn’t going to get very far.

Writing 5,000 words per day isn’t sustainable. Even on your own projects.

You only have so many mental calories available and unless you’re in tip-top shape upstairs you’re going to quickly run yourself into the ground.

That means the quality of your work will drop and you’re going to be back at the beginning of the pack, competing for lower-paying work with the rest of the yahoos willing to charge less than 2 cents per word.

And, remember, I’m not calling people yahoos to offend you but to wake you up if you’re in that group. There are better ways. I will show you the ways, Young Padawan.

When I got smart and doubled my rates, my clients improved.

Instead of working with new entrepreneurs and business owners that didn’t understand the value of content and the impact it has on their business, I started working with people who had long-term visions and goals.

They wanted someone they could rely on and trust. They needed to know their investment in their business was being taken seriously.

They weren’t the type to hire people who only charged 2 cents per word. They’d already been burned too many times on that one, too.

They knew that paying less meant they had to spend more time working with the writer to portray their ideas, they had to spend more time editing the content they got back and that as the hours added up it kept them from focusing on the areas of their business they were good at.

In other words, they realized that “you get what you pay for” and that “time is money”.

Those are my types of people.

But, still working with SEOs and affiliate marketers meant that my income was capped.

I found more gigs paying between 3 cents to 5 cents per word or $150 to $250 for the same 5,000 words a day, but it was still 5,000 words per day.

It left me completely tapped out and unable to work on my own projects — which, again, is something I want to show you how to do so you can build a true career from your writing skills.

I don’t want you being a freelancer your entire life. It’s a long, hard road, and I’ve met more freelancers that bailed than I have ones who figured out building their own businesses was the key to sustainability.

Compare this to charging 2 cents (or less) per word on “value seekers” who didn’t see the long-term vision in their business, it was like night and day.

I made more, my clients made more, the relationships were easier to manage, and I didn’t have to do much selling.

But, again, I was capped.

Writing 5,000 words per day doesn’t leave a lot left in the tank to work on your own stuff. So I went back to the drawing board to figure out what needed to change, and how I could “upgrade” myself again.

I knew that I needed to…

Charge 5 Cents To 10 Cents Per Word

I hope you’re starting to see a pattern here.

Every time I’ve gotten burned out, I’ve always resorted to figuring out what I needed to do, as a writer, to increase the rates I was charging.

Usually, that meant learning how to re-position the value I was delivering to the people I was working with.

It also meant increasing the quality of people I was working with.

Very rarely did I ever successfully increase my rates with existing clients.

I learned pretty early on that trying to do that, especially after they had fed you so many projects, was nearly impossible to do. While it did happen a couple of times it always changed the relationship and that relationship usually fell under shortly after.

Instead of trying to charge my existing clients twice as much as I’d been charging them before, I started searching for clients who would pay my higher rates.

I spent my time figuring out where other writers were who were charging the same already, what they were doing differently, the types of people they were working with, and why the relationships worked so well.

I reverse engineered other writer’s successes to figure out where I was going wrong.

That’s something else I want you to think about.

Everything I have learned has been hard-fought wisdom. I haven’t had mentors guiding my way — at least, not until 2017 and 2018 when I actively sought out people who were in a position I wanted to be in and paid them for their time.

Which, again, that’s a story for another day and what took me to the lessons I’m going to break down for you at the end of this post.

For now, I’m going to keep you focused on what I did to break out of the 2 to 5 cents-per-word range to break into the 5 to 10 cents-per-word range.

This is where I had to start believing in the long-term. Most of the work I did at this time revolved around my own beliefs. I had to go back to the days when I was ranking websites and the value of a piece of content paid off for years.

From 2007 to 2012 I had pieces of content that ranked in Google and made money day after day the entire time. I had to remind myself that’s what people paid good money for because they knew the money was more than just their initial investment.

They truly believed in the long-term sustainability in their own business and knew that getting the sustainability they wanted took working with someone else who put the same level of quality into everything they did.

Or, they would rather work with someone who had their same long-term goals and knew that keeping quality high was the key to keeping work flowing. That constantly evolving my own skills was a way they would benefit more and not have to hire a full-time employee.

I was becoming an asset to their business instead of a commodity.

Instead of just writing content, I was coming up with marketing strategies, helping them optimize conversions, create new offers, target new audiences, uncover new competitors, rank for new keywords — growing their business with them instead of just handing off a piece of content with an invoice.

And, as time goes on, I’m going to teach you those same skills. When you can become an asset to a solopreneur, blogger, marketer, or website owner, you become irreplaceable. They don’t balk about your invoices even if you charge 10 cents per word.

You set the stage for them going forward — they won’t hire a writer for less than 10 cents per word again. They begin to see the quality you deliver and compare it to what they’ve gotten in the past and then look at your relationship as valuable to the future of what they’re doing.

Now that you have a bit of a visual of what working with clients who pay more tends to feel like, and how they view their relationship with you, let’s run some more mathematics.

At the 5,000 words per day and 2 cents-per-word I was making $100 per day.

Raising the rates to 5 cents per word gave me 2.5 times the same pay. For those 5,000 words I would get paid $250 per piece of content.

At 10 cents per word, that same $250 piece of content cost the entrepreneur $500.

But, again, you have to think about it from their side of the table. Over the lifespan of that content (some of my clients from 10 years ago are still using my content to this day), they’re making far more than $500 off of their investment.

One entrepreneur makes $20,000 per month from an article I wrote 5 years ago that is still ranking in Google today. That’s a massive ROI.

Not all clients will achieve those results, but I let you know to show you how they’re viewing the service that you are offering them. They see the $250 to $500 as a drop in the bucket. They’re happy to trade $500 for investing into the next handful of years in their business.

And, charging more for what I did had another side effect… I got addicted to the same results and kept pushing, trying to figure out how I could charge even more for what I did.

Greedy? Maybe.

But, at 10 cents per word I wasn’t writing 5,000 words per day anymore. It was more like 2,000 to 3,000 words a day, and the projects didn’t happen every day.

So while I was making more, on average, I was working less, too. I didn’t have to grind non-stop to be able to pay the bills and I didn’t dread when a client reached out to me knowing I was about to be grinding for 2 weeks straight to finish a project.

Me being me, though, I ventured out and started trying to figure out how to start…

Charging 10 Cents To 25 Cents Per Word

Now, I’m going to be upfront with you.

I’ve only had a few clients in my 12-year career as a freelance writer / content marketer that have ever paid me 25 cents per word, as a per-word rate.

I have had quite a few projects that I earned, on average, 25 cents per word (or more) which I’ll break down in the next section of this post, but actually charging a client 25 cents per word for content doesn’t happen very often.

I’m telling you that to let you know to shut your dreams off now.

When you stumble across one, embrace them, give them exactly what they want, help them solve problems, and focus on growing their business, but don’t expect to just start charging 25 cents per word at any form of scale.

For the most part, a “good” freelance writer is going to settle in around 10 cents per word.

If you’re working in more commercial-based niches or high-dollar niches and industries like finance or marketing, you may come across clients willing to pay 25 cents to a dollar, or more, per word.

But, the content is going to be incredibly in-depth, well-researched, sourced, and incredibly accurate.

So, while the rates may seem great on the surface, they’re usually the only piece of content you are working on for a week at a time.

You’ve gotta think about your dollar-per-hour average when you’re thinking about your rates, too.

If you can write 10,000 words per week at 10 cents per word, you can make $1,000 for your 40 hours.

If you’re only writing 2,500 words at 25 cents per word, you’re making the same $1,000 for your 40 hours, but more of your hours are focused on research, editing, and going back and forth with your client.

In my experience, clients that pay from 5 cents to 10 cents per word tend to stay hands-off. They hired you because you know what you’re doing and they can trust that you’ll deliver what they (or their audience) wants to see.

Ideally, 10 cents per word should be where you settle in, in my humble (but experienced) opinion.

It’s not hard to make $1,000 a week when you’re charging 10 cents per word. There are plenty of clients who expect to pay it and you can offset yourself with lower-paying content at 5 cents per word until you find enough to ramp up and build your skills.

The difference in quality between 5 cents-per-word and 10-cents-per-word is non-existent.

The changes you’ll have to make are the types of clients you’re seeking out and looking for, your ability to show them the long-term value of what you’re doing, your ability to maintain a relationship with them, and your skills in other areas — primarily, content marketing, SEO, advertising, etc.

At a certain point, you are going to have to upgrade from being “just a writer” to a “content marketer” or a “copywriter”. They are different. I’ll put together another post breaking down the differences later.

For now, just realize that the difference, for most people, between making 5 cents-per-word and 10 cents-per-word is having the ability to ask for it and believe you’re worth what you’re doing.

If you believe it, clients will believe it, too.

If you don’t, they’re going to lowball you and you’ll learn what not to do next time.

Another way to increase what you’re making from your work and cross that coveted $5,000 per month mark, where you finally feel “free” as a freelancer (again, in my opinion — Florida is expensive and health insurance + taxes is no joke) is to start…

Charging Per Package

I mentioned earlier about ways I’ve been able to sell my services and make out better than 25 cents-per-word without writing direct response copy.

And, again, I’m going to tell you very specifically that content marketing is incredibly different than direct response copywriting.

Content marketing helps your clients drive traffic. Copywriting helps them drive sales.

The sooner you realize that, the better.

Article writing is a commodity that gets beat down to the lowest bidder. Entrepreneurs that buy “articles” think that words on a page constitutes having a business and they’re always looking for whoever will do it the cheapest.

Avoid them like the plague.

While you’re getting your feet under you, though, you can start packaging your services together.

Since you know an entrepreneur is going to be using your content to drive traffic, you also know that they’ll be publishing the content to multiple different traffic sources.

To give you an example, one of the packages I regularly sold was blog content + an FB post/ad + an email. It was relatively easy to sell a 1,000-word blog post, a short FB post, and a short email for $250.

The client already saw the value — they could share to their social media and email their list, driving traffic to the optimized blog post you just created for them. Over time, they would get search traffic from the content, on top of the social and email traffic they got on day #1.

There’s quite a few different packages you can put together so you can raise your per-word rate, but that’s a quick example of one I’ve used successfully in the past.

The clients you are selling them to aren’t looking at you as a per-word writer-for-hire. They’re buying a service from you but you’re delivering it as a package result.

Once you reach the point of productizing your services, you can also start spending money on advertising and landing those sweet, sweet retainer deals.

Retainer Deals

This is, pretty much, the Holy Grail for freelance content marketers and copywriters.

Whether you realize it (or not), having that income coming in consistently can dramatically improve your work life and help you focus further down the road.

When you’re moving from project to project you are constantly on the lookout for the next project. You’re always waiting for a client to randomly pop up wanting you to do some work for them.

Retainers come in a few different flavors, though. Sometimes they’re disguised as jobs. You have to pay attention for when an entrepreneur wants to lock you down and when they’re trying to get you to commit to working for less.

They’re also something that tends to favor more of the copywriting side of freelancing, instead of content marketing.

If you land a client that runs a well-maintained blog, for instance, they’ll bring you on to write a post each week, along with some social media content and some email content.

You can rely on the weekly work coming in while taking on smaller one-off jobs in between the time each post is due for your “retainer”.

So, even if you aren’t being promised a specific amount of work on a regular basis, when you’re asked to do the same thing over and over again you can assume that they’re viewing you as their writer.

Treat those relationships with the utmost respect and you can live off them for years.

Agencies are usually quicker to offer retainer deals than entrepreneurs and bloggers will, simply because they are already accustomed to hiring employees.

When you’re working your way up the freelancing ladder, keep an eye out for potential retainers but don’t pass up other work just because you’ll only settle for the consistent work.

Again, as I start breaking down more of the copywriting and content marketing side of the business, I’ll dive more into retainers and contracts.

For now, I am focusing my efforts on helping good writers escape the grind, charge more, land better clients, work less, and make just as much money.

The high-end stuff is being saved for a later date!

So How Much Should You Charge?

More than you’re comfortable with.

Always.

This is something I learned from another copywriter and email marketer, but it’s a saying that goes something like…

“I charge more than you’ll want to pay but less than I want to make.”

It’s incredibly powerful for putting your potential client back at center, where you’re showing them you have respect for what they’re doing but you also respect yourself.

I tend to look at pricing a few different ways — I know that I need to make between $50 to $100 per hour of actual work to be able to cover my bills and feel like the project is worth my time.

When you’re just getting started that may not be possible.

However, once you figure out a dollar-per-hour figure that you need to hit, you are able to stand behind your rates with more confidence. That confidence affects your client’s perception of you and makes them want to hire you even more.

People who respect themselves (especially where pricing is concerned) get respected, in return.

Right now, I have a couple retainer deals. I have a handful of clients that pay per word with some paying 5 cents per word that I’ve held onto for years. Others that pay 10 cents to 25 cents per word that came along as I raised my rates and let go of bad clients.

Then, every so often, I get large direct response copywriting packages worth multiple figures.

Those are the icing on the cake and are the exception, not the rule. I do know a ton of copywriters that only focus on high-ticket direct response packages but I also think they work a lot harder than they should.

My business is what I consider a “lifestyle” business. I make enough to be happy and I work enough to stay moving forward. What I don’t do, though, is work my ass off, burn myself out (been there, done that, three different times), and I make sure that my clients understand I have a life outside of work.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point but I wouldn’t trade my business for anything.

Even after The High Paid Writer becomes a success, my niche blogs start generating passive income, and my eCommerce site starts turning regular revenue, I don’t think I’ll stop freelancing.

Keeping my sword sharp and having more than one stream of income is my priority now, and going deep into the future. There’s no point spending years building a skillset only to turn your back on it when the tree starts to bear fruit.

So, if you aren’t where you want to be right now, focus on your business, focus on your client’s results, and focus on keeping yourself happy and healthy. The rest will fall into place.

If you want a goal to aim for, here’s one that I recommend to every writer…

Packages & Products Are Easier To Sell

If you’re not looking for retainer deals (because they can feel like having a job at times) and you’re wanting to get away from charging per word, packages and products are the easiest way I know of.

Whether you create a digital product that you sell yourself, or you use your writing and marketing skills to sell physical products on a website or blog that you control, products will always give you the most profit for the least amount of work — after you get the ball rolling.

Package deals are what I consider “icing on the cake”.

For me, getting a large, high-ticket direct response copywriting package is where I thrive. It’s where I’ve spent the majority of my time honing my skills and seeing my clients get results because of the work that I’ve delivered is an incredible feeling.

To give you an example, taken from my previous post “7 Types Of High Paid Writing”, you can bundle a package for SEOs and affiliate marketers.

You already know they’re trying to rank in major search engines and have been commissioned to create content that will achieve that goal for them — bringing in organic search traffic.

But, how hard do you think it is to sell email marketing and social media marketing to those same clients? Do you think they’ll say no to you if you are giving them an extra email and a social media post that they can use to drive email and social traffic to their content?

What started as a $100 SEO blog post turns into a $250 SEO blog post because you’ve increased your value to the client (which lets you raise your rates) and you’re giving them more sources of traffic to tap into. Instead of just delivering a blog post and moving on, they’re getting an email and a social media post.

This type of packaging works well to get you out of the “price per word” crowd and into selling packages and also lets you become known for something besides being a “writer”.

Another type of package is catered to marketers that are driving traffic in hopes of making a sale.

If you are learning direct response marketing (or you’re already proficient) you can sell large packages that bring a visitor from brand new to engaged customer.

I’ve sold countless packages that include everything from the landing pages, cold ads, retargeting ads, email copy, sales page copy, and order forms. This isn’t on a price per word basis. It’s a much larger 4 and 5-figure package because you’re solving a very specific problem for the client.

So, if you’re trying to get away from charging less than you know you’re worth, and you know you are delivering value and solving problems, spend time digging through this post to figure out where you’re at and what you need to overcome to get to the next level.

Then, spend your time wrapping your mind around how you can package your services so you can sell them for a fixed fee instead of being treated as a commodity in the marketplace.

Commodities are easy to replace.

Assets are not.

When you become an asset, your path to becoming a High Paid Writer gets a whole lot easier.

7 Types Of High Paid Writing

“Pick a niche” and you’ll get rich, right?

That one little statement may be true for most people but, for you, could send you on a downward spiral that leaves you wondering… “who the heck do I actually serve?!”.

Choosing a niche is one way to develop a consistent income as a High Paid Writer, especially if you’re focused on a niche inside of an industry that is worth billions of dollars per year.

However, you could spend years trying to define that niche and the more time you spend searching the longer it’s going to take you to find.

Here’s what I mean…

Without having an ideal client in mind, choosing a niche is going to be nearly impossible to do.

You can’t find who your perfect client is until you have had a handful of nightmare clients.

That means you need to work your way through the low paying jobs, with clients that don’t appreciate you, doing work that you’re not exactly familiar with until… one day…

It hits you like a “Eureka!” moment.

The epiphany of all epiphanies comes to you and you finally determine which industry you’re going to serve, and you make up your mind that you’re going to be among the best in that industry.

Sounds good, right?

It should. It’s the path that I took.

I’m here to tell you, though, that simply “having a niche” isn’t enough.

Sure, you can be “The Fitness Copywriter” or “The Financial Copywriter” but all that does is tickle your potential client’s ear lobes a little bit.

It may get their mental calories spinning your direction but it isn’t enough to get them reaching out to you.

Instead, you have to solve a very specific problem inside of that niche.

So, rather than being “The Financial Copywriter” you could become “The Best Financial Advertorial Copywriter” or “The Best SEO Fitness Copywriter” and your goals are starting to take shape.

Instead of just “writing copy” or being another one of the dime-a-dozen copywriters that all serve the “financial” or “fitness” industries, you’re different.

You’re creating copy that is designed to rank in the search engines, in the case of “The Best SEO Fitness Copywriter” or copy that is designed to drive profits from cold traffic, in the case of “The Best Financial Advertorial Copywriter”.

But, even then, choosing that niche specialty can feel like a pain in the arse.

And, again, I’m speaking from experience here.

It’s why I became the best damn email marketer in a small handful of niche industries. People know me for being able to deliver amazing results in the sobriety niche, the business opportunity market, the digital marketing industry, and a small set of others that I won’t get into here.

So, if you’re still fighting for scraps or you want to fine-tune your skillset so you can be known as THE one perfect person for the problem that you solve… I have a treat for you.

I’m going to lay out 7 of the most profitable (for you and your client) types of copy you can write so that, when you do select an industry or a niche, you can dial down even further and accurately portray the problem that your copywriting services solve.

#1 – SEO Copywriting

This was my first foray into copywriting. I did it for myself, and for clients.

I joined a community back in 2007 that taught people how to set up small “niche” blogs that could earn anywhere from $100 to $10,000 per month from Google’s AdSense advertising program.

A wild swing, I know, but I built blogs that operated at both ends of the spectrum — some earning $100 per month, others earning $10,000 per month.

The entire business model relied on one factor: the more you wrote, the more you earned.

It was, essentially, the wild wild west of digital marketing. People were new to advertising online, search engines were still new, Facebook didn’t have the power it has today, and search engine marketing was everything.

After joining the community, though, I started to see a gap in the market — a ton of people were still working a regular job (myself, included) and needed articles that were optimized to rank in the search engines for their chosen keywords.

I took on the first client without realizing that what I was doing may have been against the community’s rules. Thankfully, the community owner put together a “Service Provider” program and let me pay a small monthly fee (on top of the community fee) to offer my services as a writer.

This first gig allowed me to quit my mid-level management position and quickly earn $40,000 in the first 4-6 months while I waited for my own sites to start earning.

Even back then, optimizing websites to rank in the search engines was still a 4-6 month wait so the time I would spend on my sites during the morning was offset by the time I would spend writing for clients the rest of the day.

Eventually, I got tired of writing for clients and started focusing on my own portfolio of sites, instead.

But, every time I’ve started taking freelance clients again, it has always seen me falling back on old faithful. Relying on established SEOs and marketers to write their SEO-focused content is what has paid the bills for me more times than I can count.

Today, there’s a method called “The Skyscraper” that content marketers and SEOs rely upon, heavily, and charging anywhere from $100 to $250 per skyscraper post is relatively easy to do.

If you’re looking for an easy niche and can write 2,500 to 4,000 words per day (the research is already done — I’ll show you how to write Skyscraper content in another post, on another day) you can easily earn $100 to $250 a day, or more.

At one point in time, I was creating 2 of these pieces each day for a total of anywhere from $250 to $500 in daily income.

But, that comes with a major caveat — writing 6,000 to 10,000 words a day leads to burnout, fast.

Which is actually what led me to figuring out how to get paid more for “doing less”. Writing 10,000 words per day for $500+ a day is an amazing income, but I’ve always pushed myself to bigger and better. That’s when I started learning about direct response copywriting.

That’s also when I had my first $5,000+ day.

#2 – Email Copywriting

Email has been my bread and butter since I decided to shift from SEO copywriting to direct response.

In my opinion, writing a high-converting email is one of the easiest ways to start making good money as a copywriter, for a few reasons.

First, the content that you need to base your copy off of is already available. Most companies, entrepreneurs, and information marketers already have a course created.

It’s up to you to turn that course into “aha” moments and bridge the gap between where that person’s perfect customer is before they read the email to where they ultimately desire to be after reading it.

I hope that makes sense — your goal as an email copywriter is to persuade people to take action on an offer that they have probably already seen before.

While creating autoresponders will have you writing to people that may have never seen the offer, a large majority of the email clients I’ve had were writing to a list that they already owned and either haven’t emailed because they were nervous or didn’t email because they made enough money already.

The short emails are a great way to cut your teeth and, again, are one of the easiest types of copy to create, in my humble (but usually accurate) opinion.

Second, every business owner that is building an email list needs a good copywriter to keep that list warmed up, engaged, and actively seeking solutions to their problems.

It’s your job, as the email copywriter, to consistently deliver the content their audience wants to see.

Since emails tend to be lower paid work, anywhere from $100 to $250 per email in most cases, it’s a smaller investment for the entrepreneur. It’s not hard to get them to trust you with a small set of emails until you prove yourself.

Also, email is an easier sale.

Most entrepreneurs struggle with email marketing, the technology behind it, building an autoresponder, and doing it on a regular basis. That makes it easier for you to sell.

Third, email copywriting opens the door for other types of projects.

If you are writing emails to an offer that doesn’t convert, you can offer to consult with the entrepreneur to help them dial in their strategy. This may require you know a bit more about marketing (which you should if you’re a copywriter) but they’ll appreciate you creating a strategy they can use to turn a profit.

You’ll be able to convert their existing offer or content into a new sales letter, landing page, order form, and other types of copy to ensure that they are optimizing for conversions from front to back.

The end goal for most entrepreneurs and information marketers is to be able to run paid traffic profitably, so giving them a strategy they can use to achieve that goal puts more money in both your pocket and theirs.

Finally, by learning how to write high-converting email copy, you’re learning a skill that will carry your own business further into the future.

Email is still the best medium to use for marketing, whether it’s your own products or your client’s products. “The money is in the list” and “you don’t own a business until you own a list” are both statements that I live by.

The list that you build is something that you control and can’t be taken away from you. Prospects that want to hear from you WILL open your emails and read what you have to say.

If you’re trying to make a transition from writing articles or blog posts and want to start taking your career in a direct response marketing direction, email copywriting is a great skill to start learning now.

#3 – Sales Letter Copywriting

If you’re going to learn email copywriting, you should also learn how to write a sales letter that converts.

The emails that you write will drive traffic on your client’s (or your) list to a sales page, so if the offer on that sales page isn’t converting, chances are high your emails are going to be a wasted investment.

That’s not how you keep clients — they’ll only continue paying you if the sales you generate covers the fee that you charge. #QuickLessonInKeepingAClientHappy

While you’re learning email copywriting, learning how to write a high-converting sales letter is going to be a natural progression for you.

If you’re nervous about it right now, don’t be. There’s a ton of marketers and copywriters that make writing for conversions sound harder than it is but, with a little empathy and compassion, understanding who you’re writing to, and what they ultimately want is more than enough to get by.

The “advanced tactics” are just that — advanced tactics used to sell you into a copywriting course or program, and are rarely needed for most markets.

I’ve worked with billion-dollar companies and I can tell you from firsthand experience that those tactics are hardly ever used and many entrepreneurs and information marketers frown on them.

This is especially true for programs costing thousands of dollars. If you’ve been researching freelance writing or you’ve been a working freelance writer for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of the programs I’m talking about…

…the ones that promise you can make $10,000 to $100,000 per sales letter and collect commissions and royalties and you’ll be a millionaire in your first year from your first sales letter.

It sounds like a great pitch, right?

Because it is — it’s a pitch to separate you from your hard-earned money.

When it comes to charging for sales letter, I follow a general rule. I charge a minimum of $1,000 for “low-ticket” offers that cost less than $100, and $2,500 for offers over $100 up to $500.

Once the client’s offer starts climbing above $500 the amount of work you have to do to generate the sale increases, significantly. That’s when I start looking for a 10x multiple of the sales generated.

To give you an example, if the client is charging $1,000 for their offer, I will charge for 10 sales of that offer — or $10,000.

It’s not hard for a converting sales letter to generate more than 10 sales, so pricing this way gives your client a baseline figure they can easily attach their results to.

If you (and you should) generate them more than 10 sales within the course of a year, their investment is paid for and every sale after that is profit, for the most part.

While there are quite a few nuances to pricing like this, and you do need to understand the sales process, I haven’t faced much pushback when I let clients know why I charge what I do and how the goals that I set for the page easily offset the fees that I charge.

Especially when I’m already writing the ads and emails that will be driving traffic to this sales letter.

Again, sales letter copywriting is a natural progression and another tool you’re going to want in your toolbox if you are going to venture away from writing SEO copy, blog posts, and articles.

Once you understand the process of taking a new visitor from where they are, warming them up to the entrepreneur or information marketer you’re selling for, and then get them to complete a conversion, you’re far more valuable to the business than you realize.

You are, for all intents and purposes, their digital sales force. If you do a good job and generate profits they will usually never let you go. It’s hard to be outbid by a lesser copywriter because finding a good copywriter is so hard to do.

The demand for a copywriter that can hold their own dramatically outweighs the number of good copywriters that are still working.

Most copywriters, at some point in time, realize that their skills are best used in their own business and start to position away from working with clients and into working for themselves.

Just giving you a glimpse of your future, if you so choose to accept the challenge.

#4 – Webinar Copywriting

Writing a webinar is, in my experience, one of the most profitable types of copy for both you and your client. If you’ve never heard of a “webinar” before, it’s a digital sales presentation created from a deck of slides, usually in Powerpoint or Keynote.

Webinars are most typically used for high-ticket services and courses, ranging in the $1,000 to $10,000 range, with some going even higher.

The goal for the webinar is pretty simple — either make a sale or generate a phone call where the client’s sales team can close the deal.

As of this writing, I’m contracted through multiple webinar agencies and regularly solicit webinars for my own freelance clients.

The agencies I write for charge $30,000 and $50,000 per webinar, respectively. Again, this follows the “10x rule” to an extent — where the agencies are charging for around 10 times what the product or service sells for.

It may seem like a massive amount of money if you’re just getting started but once you realize the amount of work that goes into creating a profitable webinar you’ll realize that $30,000 to $50,000 is actually “cheap” for these types of presentations.

I don’t throw those numbers out to make you start having pie-in-the-sky dreams of making millions writing webinars — that probably won’t happen.

In fact, I’d wager that it will never happen for you.

The two agencies I write webinars for have been in business for 10+ years and they specialize in webinars, only. One doesn’t even write ads, emails, landing pages, or order forms for the webinars they hand off to clients.

It is strictly the webinar and nothing else.

That means learning how to create profitable webinars is a niche that you could find yourself venturing into, but you’re going to specialize in webinars, alone.

Learning how to write landing pages, the emails and followup sequences, advertisements, order forms, sales letters, and everything else will lead up to you learning how to write (and sell) webinars.

If you are planning to take this route, think of becoming known as a “webinar copywriter” a three to five year goal. It isn’t going to happen overnight and you’re going to need to specifically focus your efforts on writing a webinar that gets results.

Then you can parlay those results into your next client. Repeating that process until you’re known for being someone that can turn a profit from a large investment.

With that being said, though, there are two sides to the same coin.

Yes, it is harder to become known as a “webinar copywriter that gets results” but it’s also far less competitive than putting your name into the “email copywriter” or “SEO copywriter” ring.

When the barrier to entry is higher, the competition drops off fast.

#5 – Cold Traffic Ad Copywriting

As you move up the chain, you’re going to start seeing patterns in how you can get paid more for the same work that you’re already doing.

What started out as you writing SEO copy, blog posts, and articles that are designed to bring in organic traffic — or traffic that the marketer or entrepreneur doesn’t have to pay for — will lead you to work with clients who want to spend money to drive traffic.

Clients that are spending their own money to drive traffic to their website, products, and services are, in my opinion (again, humble but accurate) more profitable to work with, when you can generate profits.

Knowing the foundation revolves around driving “cold” traffic to their products and services means you are getting closer to being the person responsible for generating those profits.

When you’re writing emails, you’re relying on the quality of the list that you’re sending those emails to.

You’re also relying on the quality of the offer, the sales letter, the order form, etc, to ensure that the emails you create are actually generating sales.

When you create the sales letter and order form that those emails drive traffic to, you find yourself having more control over the quality of the conversion.

Again, if this sounds too advanced, give yourself time to wrap your head around it — as a writer you are a marketing partner for the business that you’re working for. The sooner you realize that and start learning marketing, the sooner you start getting paid more and become a High Paid Writer.

And, remember, the skills that you’re learning to use in your client’s business are the same skills that will help you shift away from freelancing so you can build your own business down the road.

You’re always working for something. Even if you don’t see yourself owning your own business outside of freelancing right now, you can still make a very lucrative career out of understanding your client’s business from beginning to end and delivering copy that helps them achieve their goals.

Cold traffic (think Facebook Ads or Google Ads) encompasses everything that you’ve learned up to this point.

Most marketers will drive the cold traffic to a landing page so they can collect their email. Then, they will send emails to warm the audience up to them and work through the “know, like, trust” factor.

After, they will use those same emails to pitch offers and generate sales by driving traffic to a sales letter or an order form.

They’ll also use retargeting (or remarketing) ads to continually stay in front of their potential customers and generate sales for less than it costs to bring that person into their business in the first place.

You can either learn how to create Facebook Ads and Google Ads yourself (which I recommend) or you can spend time wrapping your head around how the process works so you can confidently sell those services to your clients.

Remember, the more types of copy you’re able to offer to your clients, and the better you understand how a business actually operates, the more you’re going to get paid in the long run.

If you already understand SEO copywriting, venturing into learning how to write copy for cold traffic isn’t much of a stretch, either. It does have a bit of a learning curve to it but, again, that learning curve keeps your competition limited.

Once you select a niche or industry and you start fine-tuning your skills to be able to deliver the entire copy package, from front to back, you’re going to become a valuable asset to every company inside of that niche or industry.

Good copywriters that understand traffic and the flow of that traffic from being cold to the business to an active and engaged customer are worth their weight in gold. I promise.

#6 – Local Business Copywriting

If all of that sounds too complicated for you, or you want to add another type of copywriting to your existing business so you can branch away from just writing blog posts and articles while you’re learning direct response copywriting, I highly recommend learning how to write for local businesses.

This is a natural extension of writing search-optimized blog posts and articles because most local businesses are still relying on SEO to bring in new customers.

The concepts that you’ll use when you’re writing the content that local businesses use on their website does capitalize on many of the principles you’ll learn while wrapping your head around direct response copywriting.

In other words, it’s the easiest way to learn direct response copywriting without throwing yourself into the competitive ring of copywriters trying to track down information marketers and entrepreneurs as their clients.

Most local businesses aren’t doing millions of dollars in sales every year. Most local businesses also have a website that isn’t performing the way they want it to.

Think of their website as a business card instead of a method for generating more revenue.

You can build your entire business around helping local business owners turn their website from a business card that doesn’t function for bringing in new business to a direct response marketing asset that regularly drives new leads and customers for them.

The same types of clients that you’re creating SEO blog posts and articles for will also have local clients you can write the website copy for. They go hand in hand.

Look at the SEOs that you’re working for as being in the same boat you are.

They are optimizing their client’s websites and doing the work for them while building their own websites on the side. Their own websites focus on affiliate marketing while their client’s websites focus on growing their business.

As a freelancer, you should be focusing on helping your clients grow while also wrapping your head around how you’re going to build a business for yourself.

That means SEO agencies and local marketing agencies are going to be your biggest source of work when you’re writing SEO content or helping revamp local business websites to generate more leads and revenue.

Local website copy is also easier to write than direct response copy for digital courses or high-ticket programs and services.

Cutting your teeth on this type of copy is a lot easier to do, too, because the rates aren’t nearly as expensive as creating email marketing campaigns, sales letters, webinars, or cold ad copy.

It’s easier for you to get results for your client’s clients because they are usually operating in spaces that have lower competition.

Local business is nowhere near as competitive as selling digital products and high-ticket services.

I’ve made a good amount of money writing for SEO agencies and web designers that have local clients who need direct response copy. In general, you can charge anywhere from $100 to $250 per page and most websites have anywhere from 5 to 10 pages.

Do the math — it quickly adds up. When your clients are charging their clients anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 for a website, they have no problem paying you $1,000 to $2,500 to create the copy that is going to make that website perform.

This is especially true for SEO agencies that are optimizing local business websites to generate more leads and customers to the business.

They need direct response copywriting to help capitalize on the organic search traffic that they are getting paid to drive to the website. Without getting conversions (because the copy sucks) they aren’t going to have that client for very long.

If you noticed, I save this one for last because it’s the easiest to learn and, if you’re like most freelancers that I think are reading this, you’re already writing blog posts and articles that are designed to rank in the search engines.

That means you should already have an idea of what local business owners need and can easily shift from writing articles and blog posts to creating local business copy that’s designed to rank in the search engines and convert visitors into a phone call or a new customer for the business.

A local business is the easiest to wrap your mind around, too, when it comes to learning direct response copywriting.

A visitor comes to the website with one goal in mind: to solve a problem or spend some money.

It’s your job to create copy that helps them complete their own goals while the business gets a new customer in the process.

Since they are a local business with less competition, you can look into other similar businesses in a different location to get ideas for what you should be writing.

I’ll have some tutorials coming up to help you learn how to write high-converting copy for local businesses but, for now, I want you to think about a possible end goal for your business…

#7 – Writing For Yourself

Nothing, anywhere, compares to the types of revenue you can generate when you’re writing copy for yourself.

It doesn’t matter if your clients are cutting you in on a percentage of the sales you generate or you’re being given a partnership in the business because of your skills…

Writing copy for yourself, your own blog, your own offers, your own list, your own webinars, you name it, will always give you the highest return on your time invested.

That one concept, by itself, is why The High Paid Writer exists.

I’ve worked as a freelancer for more than 10 years, owning multiple businesses of my own while moonlighting as a freelancer, and I can tell you there is nothing more rewarding than developing a skill set that you know generates revenue for your clients and using that same skill in your own business.

There are a couple of different routes you can take when it comes to writing for yourself and using your skills in your own business, that I’ll get into another day.

Whether you want to keep working for clients and call it a day, or you want to eventually quit working for clients and start working on your own business that helps people, I’m here to help you make the best of both worlds.

I’m still an active freelancer, working with multiple agencies and a handful of my own freelance clients.

I’m also building a business using my writing skills to create additional income streams — The High Paid Writer being one of them.

I have a few blogs going outside of this one that are focused on affiliate marketing and eCommerce, so I’ll teach you how to do the same thing for yourself as time goes on.

For now, spend some time thinking about what your end goal is going to be. Do you want to work with clients and create a business that scales, eventually hiring writers you can put to work so you can focus on the business?

Do you want to freelance and keep a minimalistic lifestyle that lets you work when you want, where you want, and how you want?

Do you want to eventually work your way away from freelancing and start putting your writing skills to use in your own business, where you’re in complete control?

There’s no right or wrong answer and what you come up with after you think about it is incredibly personal.

What I can say to you, though, is that I’ve taken every possible route I can imagine at some point in time over the last 12 years.

I’ve owned a massive portfolio of affiliate websites that relied on search engine traffic.

I’ve managed a team of 22 writers that took over writing so I could focus on bringing in more clients for them to take care of.

I’ve worked on million-dollar launches and worked with billionaire marketers. I’ve worked with small agencies and web designers and I currently work for agencies that charge $30,000 to $50,000 per project.

I’ve built my own email lists that I mail regularly to generate sales, and I’m learning media buying and advertising so I can profitably drive cold traffic to my own business.

I’ve built blogs that made $10,000 per month, and created direct response marketing campaigns that generated $160,000+ from a single email series.

This is the culmination of a 12-year career as a freelance writer and direct response copywriter, and my goal is to help you get to where I am faster than I got here. I learned through the school of hard knocks with no mentors guiding my way.

I made a ton of mistakes that held me back, and cost me multiple different “successful” businesses.

My goal for you is to become a High Paid Writer with less hassle, help you define exactly what you want to achieve, and help you do it in less time.

If I can do that, I can consider my mission a success.

So, here’s my mission for you, should you so choose to accept: spend some time thinking about your future and what you want to accomplish.

If you want to make enough to take the financial pressure off of your family, my hat’s off to you.

If you want to have enough clients to eventually hire other writers, my hat’s off to you.

If you want to build a blog that generates passive income, my hat’s off to you.

If you want to create high-converting direct response campaigns for clients, my hat’s off to you.

Or, if you just want to see where this career takes you, knowing that you’re learning from someone who has already been down the road you’re about to travel (whichever road that is), you’re in the right place.

Stick around, learn, wrap your mind around what I have to offer, and (if you’re so inclined) reach out to me to let me know where you’re at, how I can help you, and what your version of “success” looks like.

Signing off,

Joshua

You Need Multiple Income Streams

Writing is never enough.

If you’re freelancing, especially if you are still charging a fixed price-per-word, I am going to break something down for you that you probably do not want to hear…

Whatever your definition of wealth is, you’re probably not going to achieve it. If you don’t have a clearly defined outcome for what being “wealthy” means to you, you’re always going to be on a grind.

For me, my definition of “wealth” isn’t the same as most people — definitely not society’s accepted definition of the term.

Now, I want to be upfront. I’m as real as I can get with everyone reading this and I want to lay it out in a way that benefits you.

That means I’m never going to climb up on my soapbox and preach to you.

When I write these posts it is almost a therapy for me. It makes me feel good to know I’m helping people.

And I always promise to show up exactly where I’m at. There’s no sugar-coating or trying to make myself appear bigger than I am.

I am, at this moment, a freelance writer just like you.

I have around a dozen clients that I create content for on a price-per-word model.

I have a few clients that I charge package pricing for direct response copywriting.

I’ve been up, and I’ve been down. Both are stories I’ll share with you as time goes on but, for now, I want to let you in on why you need multiple income streams.

And how to build those streams so they sustain you, tap into your writing abilities, and give you back more of your time.

After all, that’s my definition of “wealthy”.

To me, being “wealthy” and “successful” revolves around how many people I can help, while I make money doing it, and it (hopefully) doesn’t require 24 hours a day to do.

I have a life outside of my business just like everyone reading this.

My daughter and I love going to theme parks and exploring those hole-in-the-wall “tourist traps” that most people don’t visit.

I enjoy working on and building cars. I buy cars that are 10 to 20 years old so I can fix them myself. I have aspirations of building custom cars in my garage while my daughter helps out.

It’s a bonding time for me and her.

I want to be able to travel to see my family across the United States and, just maybe, travel outside of the country.

That’s more of a fear of flying than fear of travelling but we all have our phobias.

But, to me, being wealthy is having enough.

Knowing that each day my work fulfills me.

Just being a “writer” or even a “copywriter” isn’t enough to achieve that.

I’m still trading time for money. As long as I have to put in the hours to generate income for my family I will always be in that situation.

It hasn’t always been this way, though.

When I was 24 I started an affiliate SEO business building small 5 to 10 page websites that ranked in Google and generated money on “autopilot”.

Now, the money wasn’t complete autopilot like so many people want you to believe.

It takes a lot of work and effort, along with focusing on the end goal, to build those tiny little assets that generated money each month.

But, once the work has been done the revenue tends to stabilize and the checks do, indeed, come each month.

And it relies on your ability to write blog posts that cater to a specific niche market.

Now, if that sounds confusing, scary, or like it’s too hard right now, don’t worry. I am going to publish a case study showing you how I do it.

But that’s only a second income stream.

There’s freelance writing and copywriting, or trading time for money. And then there’s building small niche sites that can generate $500 to $1,000 a month on their own that do not require you to actively work on them.

As you may have noticed with this site, The High Paid Writer, I’m focused on seeing what’s possible, while designing my lifestyle, and getting away from trading so much time for money.

That means I’m teaching people like you how to do what I’m doing. You get to follow along my journey on the way back up.

Because remember, I’ve been up and I’ve been down multiple different times.

I’ve had the world, and I’ve lost it all. More than once.

If I can help at least one person avoid the mistakes I’ve made while learning how to capitalize on their writing abilities, I believe I’ve done enough on this planet to have made my mark.

So outside of actually writing for clients, and building small niche affiliate websites, what else is there?

How else can you generate income from your writing skills without having to actively be involved?

Well, there’s teaching what you know to people you can help. I will, eventually, be releasing a program that summarizes my 11 years of experience and sell it to people who are willing (and ready) to invest in growing with me.

Most of my content will remain free. I know there are people who are just getting into being a writer that probably aren’t ready to invest yet. That’s perfectly fine, I enjoy helping them, too.

But, since the topic of this post is having multiple income streams, having a private community of writers that I can consistently help, people that I get to see grow firsthand, hear their wins, helping them overcome obstacles, that’s both spiritually rewarding and financially rewarding for me.

I believe that writers need a different type of community. One away from all the “hustle and grind, bro” lifestyle designers that are in the world trying to peddle their wares.

Having that community will be a third income stream for me. But we’re not done there. There is always more you can do.

Once you have established yourself and are surrounding yourself with proven business owners and entrepreneurs, you’re going to get pitched to become a partner in their business.

As a copywriter, a content marketer, and a freelance writer, you are the backbone of their digital business. That means people are going to want a piece of your skills but want you to put your own skin into the game.

Instead of getting paid upfront for your work, you’re going to be embracing delayed gratification and getting paid on the backend. More often than not, these deals are going to be some of the most lucrative you can embark upon.

Taking a percentage of a business that’s bigger than you, because you put your time in upfront, is incredibly rewarding.

That’s something to be reserved down the road, though. I don’t want you to get ahead of yourself because these retainer and partnership deals are few and far between and they require a ton of due diligence on your part.

On top of doing the writing, building small affiliate websites, teaching people what you know, and taking potential partnership deals, the next step revolves around making your money work for you.

That’s where personal finance and investing comes in.

I’m, again, going to be upfront with you. I haven’t been the best about investing in the future or managing my finances. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this to you right now.

I’m personally taking classes on investing, personal finance, budgeting, and all the other good stuff that comes along with making your money make more money.

I’ll share what I learn as I go and I have a post coming out on personal finance for freelance writers but, for now, I wanted to show you the importance of having multiple income streams.

I also wanted to show you what can be possible when you start embracing the fact that you’re now a writer and that writers can make good money.

They can become “wealthy”. Becoming “wealthy”, though, requires you to define what that word means to you.

To me, it means that I can take a step back and enjoy what I’ve created.

To know that I’m helping people. To know that I’m giving my daughter a future that most kids wouldn’t have. To understand that I am giving back instead of constantly taking.

And, most of all, to know that I can be secure in a career that chose me instead of one that I chose for myself.

Looking back over my life, I never imagined I would become a writer.

I had so many grand plans and schemes, business ideas, and ways to get “rich” one day but life let me know… it was always about the money and chasing that type of life just isn’t a fulfilling adventure.

So, I’m going to leave you with this.

If you’re struggling right now, take your eyes off the day to day work and start focusing further down the line.

Define your goals. What does “wealth” mean to you?

What would your perfect life be if you had it and money was no obstacle?

I’m not talking about being able to go out and pop bottles in the club, buy Lamborghinis, or McMansions on the cliffside in California.

If those are your goals, more power to you. I hope you achieve everything you could have ever imagined.

For me? I’m a bit more conservative.

A nice house, a couple of cars that run, a bank account that grows, working on projects I enjoy working on, helping people overcome obstacles and become better versions of themselves, and to see people I’ve helped become High Paid Writers is my version of being “wealthy”.

It takes work but if you look to the future instead of your day to day, it’s a whole lot easier to just dive in and do what it takes.

As time goes on I’ll break down different ways I’m using my 11 years of experience to create multiple income-generating revenue streams, how I’m saving more while making more, and how I’m getting the most out of this life while I’ve got it.

If there is one thing I can suggest for you, after reading this, it’s to spend some time thinking about what you want out of life.

How can writing help you achieve those goals?

The answers may not be apparent to you right now but I hope to open your eyes to what’s possible as a writer. You really can have it all, if you choose to work for it and have laid out what “all” means to you.

I’m learning that the key to happiness isn’t money.

It’s about being around people you love, that make you smile and enjoy yourself, giving back to people you can help, taking care of yourself physically and spiritually, and not letting yourself stress out over things you have no control over.

If you can define what “wealthy” means to you, I think you can look back at what you’ve accomplished and feel a sense of pride, knowing you’ve done what you could when you could and you’ll have fewer regrets.

Again, I’m writing this for you as much as I am for myself, so I hope it helps open your eyes to at least a few possibilities.

As time goes on I’ll break down the how behind the why and help you elevate yourself above what most people think about freelance writers and copywriters so you can carve your own path into the life you call your own.

Until next time,

Here’s to you becoming a High Paid Writer.