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How I Got My First Copywriting Client

One thing I hear so often in the freelance world is the frustrated “but how do I get clients?!” exclamations.

Cause’ you could have all the best skills in the world, the most efficient back-end systems in place, and the ability to rock any and every discovery call.

But what are all of those things without leads?

And it brings us to the age-old conundrum of how to get work experience without any work experience.

That’s the exact dilemma I found myself in when I was trying to get my first copywriting client as a brand new, bright-eyed copywriter ready to get to typing. But one who was only hearing crickets. 

I knew I just needed to get a couple of clients to get the ball rolling, but, at the time, that felt like an impossible feat, and suddenly all of the doubt came pouring in.

And well, I don’t have to go into all of *that* because I’m sure you’re pretty familiar. 

Instead, let’s skip to the actions I took to get the ball actually rolling!

Here are the ways that I was able to pick-up my first few copywriting clients when I was just starting out, with literally zero recent experience under my belt but all of the ambition of a 5-year-old proudly walking into school on her first day of kindergarten, Lisa Frank backpack and new shoes in tow. 

How I picked up my first copywriting clients


I have mixed feelings about third-party contracting sites. Largely because they often encourage service providers to significantly lower their prices in order to bid against competitors. 

And, while this is obviously problematic, I also do think you can have a good experience if you take it with a grain of salt.

At first, Upwork allowed me to get work with some of my very first clients. And while, no, I didn’t make much money, I was okay with that because I was focusing my effort on building up my experience and portfolio over my income. 

Before I started charging more for my services, I needed to feel confident that my services were worth the price tag I was attaching to them. And this experience helped me build that confidence.

And more so, I was able to experiment with different kinds of projects, like proofreading, blog writing, and email marketing for e-commerce brands. Among some other very random (and totally irrelevant) opportunities. 

(One project had me purchasing a newly launched Sudoku workbook to review. The promise was that, after I provided my thorough review centered around my experience as a user, I would be provided with a refund of the cost of the book, as well as payment. After I purchased the book, my husband shook his head. “You’re never going to see money again.” But I did! And it was a unique project that had me thinking differently than I normally do.)

Having a chance to play around with different niche’s and projects helped me discern what I liked and what I didn’t like, and how I could approach various projects from different perspectives. 

Eventually, I connected with a small marketing agency and wrote emails for their e-commerce clients. This gig lasted just about a year, paid well, and taught me lots! In my eyes, it was priceless.

While I don’t use it much anymore, I’m wildly grateful for the experiences and connections I made while on it. 

And so if you’re early in your copywriting career—or any career in a similar field—it might be worth trialing it to get your toes wet and build your skillset.

Cold Pitching

I knowww. When you were clicking open the link to this blog post, I can imagine that some small part of you was hoping that cold pitching wouldn’t be on the list. 

But hear me out. 

When done intentionally and thoughtfully, cold pitching offers a lot of potential!

I’m going to share a cold pitch message I sent out that actually worked for me. But since it’s been a while since I sent it, I’ve learned a little bit more about the fine art of cold pitching, so I’m going to show you what I’d do differently this time around—even though, bless me, it did work!

The coach I sent this to responded that she did actually want to take me up on this. Afterward, she hired me for several other projects and introduced me to another client.

Ok, so first things first, I sent this message via a DM on Instagram. If I were to do this again, I would search out the individual’s email instead.

And second thing here, I might get even more specific about the work they’re doing. You want to show them that you’ve taken the time to actually learn more about them. 

Why are they going to give you their time if you haven’t fully given them yours, ya know?

I touched a little bit on her work here, but I wasn’t quite as specific as I could have been!

In my effort to not come off super sales-y, I think I came off a little too sales-y than I would gave liked. Honestly, I think I could have just kept the line about who I am and who I work with, and nixed the rest…

…easing right into this. I don’t think the education on why homepage copy is important was needed here. 

I ended the DM with my contact information and thanked her for her time, telling her that I really appreciated it. Expressing gratitude shouldn’t be skipped!

Now every person and business owner is different. What works for one may not work for others. But I found that starting with a value-driven free offer was a great way to:

A. build a connection with potential clients

B. get the experience I needed to grow my skills. 

But if there’s one thing I can tell you about cold pitching it’s this: puh-leaseeee don’t copy and paste the same message to every single business! I know it takes more time to get personal, but that’s how you’re going to build connections.

Getting your very first clients early on in your new business can feel close to impossible.

But I promise that it’s not. Once you make it over that hump and begin to make connections, you will literally be amazed at all the ways new clients make their way to you.

You just have to keep going during those tricky times.

Hey, I’m Kristie and I write website and email copy for the best businesses! I also help business-owners like you feel grounded and less chaotic. 

Here’s how we can stay connected:

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Wander through my blog for more free content similar to this!

Work with me! I help with website copywriting, email marketing, and even plain ol’ copy audits if you just need someone to take a look at your work.

Send me a message! You can reach out to me right here with any questions, inquiries, or just to say hi!

So glad you’re here! XO

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