Some online copywriting courses promise you can earn six-figures. Technically, this might be true, but there is a lot they aren’t telling you.
Many experienced, full-time copywriters earn six figures. In addition to knowing core copywriting strategies, six-figure copywriters are also skilled at finding clients and probably have a solid base of repeat business.
Making six-figures as a copywriter is a realistic expectation. However, it may take a few years to get to that level of income.
Can You Truly Make Six-Figures as a Copywriter?
Since 2014, American Writers and Artists Institute, Inc. has sold an expensive eBook called The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.
AWAI claims The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is everything you need to launch a six-figure copywriting career.
This claim is misleading and has promoted the false belief that anyone can buy the program and begin making six-figures as a copywriter. It won’t happen like that.
Incidentally, there are better and more affordable ways to learn copywriting.
How Much Money Can You Make Copywriting?
Contrary to online hype, copywriting is not a way to make quick easy money. It’s work.
However, if you love writing, you might find enjoyable work, even fun, and an excellent way to earn a living doing what you love.
Payscale.com reports that an entry-level copywriter working as an employee will earn an average of $40,000 their first year. That’s not even close to six-figures.
A first-year freelancer might earn more, if they hustle.
Pegging the average income for freelance copywriters is challenging. Many are part-timers and there is no central database compiling the income of freelancer.
Part-time copywriters are thought to earn less than $20,000 a year while some fulltime, highly experienced copywriters report earning 7 figures a year.
How Do Freelance Copywriters Make 6 Figures?
The income a copywriter earns is directly related to the value they create for their employer or client.
Copywriting is one of the few professions that can significantly boost the profits of a business.
The more a copywriter contributes to the bottom line, the more valuable they are to their employer or client. By the same logic, the more they should earn.
In other words, a copywriter’s income is based on how skillful they are at making money for their employer or client.
Some copywriters build their careers to the point of earning an extraordinary income.
Copywriters who are paid per project and are also paid a percentage of the money they make for the company earn the highest incomes.
Experienced copywriters who can consistently build profitable marketing campaigns might go out on their own and establish their own agency.
Instead of working for an employer or for clients, they build their own marketing campaigns. Once a copywriter is in this position, their income potential is unlimited.
However, it takes more than copywriting skills to launch and manage a full marketing campaign. It requires online marketing skills as well.
Is Copywriting a Good Career?
For the right person, copywriting can be an excellent and rewarding career.
There is a high demand for copywriters and the need is growing exponentially. Demand is far exceeding supply.
The global economy is driven by consumers continually buying products and services. The consumers buying decisions are primarily driven by advertising created by copywriters.
If you choose to be a copywriter and can create persuasive copy that generates profits for your employer or clients, there will always be a demand for your services.
What Does It Take to Be a Successful Copywriter?
Copywriting is persuasive writing. Because it is essentially sales in print, a copywriter must understand the process of selling.
At its core, selling is about understanding what the prospective customer wants or needs and showing them how the product you are promoting fulfills their need or desire.
In addition to understanding the needs of the customer, the copywriter must thoroughly understand the product she is promoting. This degree of customer and product knowledge begins with research.
A copywriter must be good at research.
Anyone who can read and write can learn copywriting and apply it. However, not everyone has what it takes to be a successful copywriter.
Naturally, a copywriter must enjoy writing. A writer can sit for hours stringing words together and polishing what their work.
Because writing is a solitary activity, a copywriter must be able to work well alone without supervision. Working alone begins with learning copywriting and continues with each project.
However, a copywriter must also have solid interpersonal skills as she will often meet with clients or marketing teams.
Not surprisingly, copywriters must be creative and able to find unique solution for every project. Ideally, they possess a full range of creative intelligence.
The best copywriters can mentally tune out the world and focus intensely on the creative process.
A key characteristic of successful copywriters that is rarely mentioned is empathy. Empathy is the capacity to feel the emotional experiences of someone else.
Through empathy, a copywriter can better understand the needs and desires of the prospect.
While it’s possible to write compelling copy without empathy. Empathy gives the copywriter a considerable advantage.
Finally, a copywriter must understand business because they will be writing to improve the profits of companies.
Characteristics of a Copywriter in Brief.
Here’s a list of the skills and attributes a successful copywriter must possess.
You don’t need all these skills and attributes to begin a copywriting career, but the more you acquire sooner, the closer you will be to earning six-figures.
Also, if you’re considering a career as a copywriter, ask yourself, do you have, or can you learn the things on this list?
A Successful Copywriter…
- Loves to write
- Understands Business & Sales
- Is creative
- Loves to research products and prospective customers
- Has solid interpersonal skills
- Can work equally well alone or on a team
- Can empathize with the prospect
How to Learn Copywriting.
Most people who spend gobs of money to learn copywriting never become copywriters. Don’t let that be you. Think like a businessperson from the beginning of your copywriting career.
We’ve seen that a copywriter needs a sound business mind. If you want to be a six-figure copywriter, your education begins with thinking like a businessperson.
A savvy businessperson knows that their first objective must be to stay in business. The second objective is to minimize risks and maximize profits.
Most businesses fail because they are under-capitalized. In other words, they run out of money.
The point is, don’t spend money willy-nilly as you learn copywriting. Pinch every penny until it screams.
There are a lot of expensive copywriting courses and training materials online. Many of these courses hype unrealistic income expectations and are promoted like get-rich-quick schemes.
The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting offered by AWAI sells for nearly $500. That’s an outrageous price. It’s just an eBook. You don’t need it and I don’t recommend it.
There’s a lot of reasons for this. I suspect many were mislead and thought it would be an easy and quick way to make six figures.
Some may have realized they don’t want to do it. Often, the hyped training just doesn’t deliver.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to learn copywriting and it would be foolish to do so.
How to Learn Copywriting Cheap.
The truth is, for someone who loves to write and who can think creatively, copywriting is easy to learn.
After learning the basics, what holds most would-be copywriters back is lack of confidence. You can’t get confidence from a course, no matter how much it costs.
The point is, as a business-minded aspiring copywriter, you want to minimize your expenses.
Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on training, you can learn copywriting for about $20, if you’ll self-start and to the work.
If you think you might want to be a copywriter, read The Best Copywriting Guide.
How to Grow as a Copywriter.
Once you have the core skills of a copywriter and the confidence to perform, the real learning begins.
A secret seldom revealed in copywriting books and courses, is how the most successful ad campaigns evolved over time through A/B testing.
It is impossible to launch a perfect ad campaign on your first try. Even the most seasons pros can’t go that.
For example, a copywriter uses proven formulas and methods to create a sales page, but can’t be sure it will make sales until she tests it.
The first version of the sales page is the control, call it A. It’s published and its performance tracked. A second version is created by making one change to version A.
Call this second version B. If it outperforms A, B becomes the new control and a second B is created to test yet another small change.
A/B testing continues throughout the life of the campaign. This is how adequate first efforts become copywriting perfection.
The feedback loop of A/B testing also helps the copywriter grow and improve.
If you have digital marketing skills, you can launch a marketing campaign for an affiliate product on your own and A/B test. This will provide excellent feedback that will help you improve your skills.
Another way to get feedback is to hire a professional copywriter to coach you or enroll in a course that provides feedback. Once you have core copywriting skills, you’ll be prepared to evaluate prospective courses and coaches.
How to Become a Six-Figure Copywriter.
There are several ways to become a six-figure copywriter. All require patience and additional skills. Take the long view and think of it as a journey, not a destination.
If you go the corporate route and work as an in-house copywriter, it will probably take longer to earn six-figures a year.
Assuming your starter salary is about the average, $40K/year, it will probably take several years to climb the corporate ladder to a highly paid supervisory position.
As a freelancer, it’s a matter of finding clients and adjusting your rates upwards over time. You might write for your first clients for free or for fees well below average.
When you have as much business as you want, increase your rates by 15 to 20%. Keep raising your rates until you begin to lose customers.
Copywriting and Affiliate Marketing
A third way to earn six-figures as a copywriter, is to be an affiliate marketer and write copy for your own campaigns. With this strategy, your earning potential is unlimited.
To learn more about the incredible income potential of combining copywriting and affiliate marketing, read Copywriting and Affiliate Marketing.