How I made $12,000 in a few months as a failing freelance copywriter using “Money Momentum”
If you’re a copywriter — or even just looking to make your first buck online… Congratulations. You’re in the right place.
We’re going to talk all about “money momentum” and how to land your first jobs even when you’ve got literally nothing to your name.
Also — I know SOMEONE is going to say: “that’s not a lot of money.”
And you’d be right.
It’s not 10 lambos and a private jet…
But I know plenty of freelance copywriters struggling to make ANYTHING.
This is for the frustrated freelancer who just wants to get started. It’s not for the already successful copywriter making $50,000 per sales letter + royalties.
So… while I am going to tell you how to GET clients when you have none, I need to give you some context first.
As someone who failed and failed and failed for the first 2 years of my copywriting “career…” I’m going to give you a perspective none of the “gurus” would be willing to touch.
Because here’s the thing… people like giving money to people who are already making money.
Have you ever noticed that?
When you’re brand spankin’ new — no one wants to hire you.
Dan Kennedy calls it “Empty Parking Lot” syndrome.
It’s basically the idea of: People like giving money to successful people.
It’s like pre-selection in dating. Women like to date guys they know other women want to date. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong — or even fair.
It just is.
But once you accept that it’s just a fact of life, you can start to understand how “money momentum” works.
It’s the idea that once you get your first copywriting job — things gets easier. People hit you up asking if they can pay you to write stuff for them.
You aren’t chasing down prospects, spamming your WhatsApp number in every chat that won’t ban you and you’re not taking on crap clients for pennies on the dollar.
Instead — you’re working on your terms.
You’re the one picking which clients you write for and which ones you fire.
BUT YOU NEED TO START SOMEWHERE.
And that “somewhere” is with a “good client” and stability.
That means — don’t listen to the gurus pitching you crap about “burning the ships” and “going all in” on their courses or whatever.
That works for SOME people — and you probably know if that’s you.
But if you’re like me and don’t like being under a ton of pressure to perform and make magic happen…
If you’re the type to crack under pressure or have mental breakdowns when things get tough…
THEN DO NOT BURN THE SHIPS.
I happen to have an unusually strong work ethic which is how I was able to survive “burning the ships” several times with various gurus.
…and by “survive” I mean I’d generally recuperate the thousands of dollars I’d spend. Maybe I’d make a little bit more than I paid — but not by much.
However — I saw a lot of my fellow “course-mates” simply fail.
As someone who coached for several thousand dollars in a high end coaching program, one of the BIGGEST things you have to do for your students is keep them motivated and engaged.
It’s really easy for most people to get thrown off course — even AFTER paying $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, even as much as a non-refundable $5,000+.
Heck — even the weather can be enough to throw people off.
And for most of us — money just isn’t a huge motivator. It’s NICE. And we panic when we don’t have enough of it…
But it’s not enough to keep someone going and that’s why there are so many metaphorical charred corpses on metaphorically burned ships.
DO NOT BURN THE SHIPS.
You’re probably not doing this for the money. There are some people out there who do — and no judgement there. I’m jealous of people like that because it seems like such an easy motivator…
But if you’re like me, you’re trying to become a copywriter because of what money can buy you. Or perhaps like me a few years ago… you just hate your job.
If that’s the case, I’ve got bad news for you.
STEP 1 TO SUCCEEDING IN COPYWRITING:
Save enough money to survive for at least 6 months before quitting your job.
Find time throughout the day to study copywriting at work and see if you even like it first. If you do, studying will come easily.
If not — you learned that it’s not for you and that’s great too.
Trust me on this one. I screwed myself HARD by not doing this. It also meant I took on clients I shouldn’t have and they didn’t help me advance my career at all.
One day I’ll tell the whole story — but now isn’t the time for that.
Bottom line — don’t assume everything will work out immediately. This will play a key role when it comes to getting clients later.
Now… onto the meat of this talk.
Getting your first client.
Now — I’m going to assume you know what copywriting is and how to do it. If not, let me know in the comments so I can write some articles on the subject.
The long and short of it is — your BEST BET for clients is your network.
Yes. That’s right. R-E-F-F-E-R-A-L-S.
(But I know I have to cover stuff other than referrals too)
Your second best bet is to “pay your way”, but let’s avoid that discussion for now.
Family, friends, people in your life and online who might own a business. People who have something to sell, need a resume written… anything involving persuasive writing is fair game.
All you need to do is reach out to them.
Call them up, send a FB message, send a DM, send an email…
Basically reach out somehow.
Just act like a human.
Don’t send things like: “Hello I need a job. Please hire me. Here’s my WhatsApp. Looking forward to hearing from you.”
And don’t ask them to “hop on a call” with you.
Do yourself a favor and make things easy for them. Keep everything LOW FRICTION. Most people don’t like getting on phone calls. Heck — if you’re talking to someone running a business, they might not have TIME for a call with you. Especially not knowing if you’re worth their time (harsh, but true).
Get to actually know the person you’re talking to if you don’t already know them well. Inquire about their business. Ask questions about their business and keep your eyes and ears open.
People who need help with something will often give you clues.
For example — they might ask for your advice on things. They might mention how something isn’t going great. Or you might have to prod a little with intelligent questions.
People who need help with something might ask about things related to it.
“What’s the best autoresponder?”
“How can I make a funnel?”
“How do you create courses?”
Those questions imply someone is thinking about doing something.
Autoresponder Dude might need help writing daily emails.
Funnel Gal might need help writing the copy for her funnel.
Course Person might need help selling his course.
Where can you go where people would need your services and expertise?
From there — how do you get on their radar?
How can you let them know in a tactful way that you can help them?
There are also Facebook groups out there that will allow you to post up your information. Those groups tend to be low quality — but not always.
Some Facebook groups might also have job postings.
You can even go on Fiverr or Upwork, but those aren’t my wheelhouse and I’ve never used either one.
The whole goal here is to get your first client.
Just get ONE.
Get ONE job. That’s all it takes to get started.
Once you write something for anyone — you have a sample.
A piece of work you can show to others.
And if it got any sort of result — even better!
Don’t get picky with your first jobs. Don’t expect to make a ton of money either. My first job was writing Instagram captions. I got paid $30/caption.
But it gave me a start. It gave me samples to point to.
It also gave me a little more confidence that I could get paid to write words.
And here’s the thing…
Once someone knows you’re good to work with…
They’ll keep coming back to you in the future to give you more work.
What’s it take to be “Good to work with?”
- Be responsive when they message you. Don’t ignore them for days.
- Be punctual — turn in your stuff ON TIME at the latest.
- Always do you best work. Even if it doesn’t “make tons of money…” when you put in the time, it shows.
- Don’t nickel and dime your clients early on. (If I see a good client, I’ll work for free knowing I’m VERY likely to get ongoing work later that pays for whatever I lost on the first job)
- Go above and beyond. How can you make the client’s life easier when it comes to your copy? Can you make a cover test for them? Slides? Suggest a way to improve the offer? Everything counts.
Now let’s get back to “money momentum.”
This is where it all comes together.
Remember when I said I’d work for free just to get a good client?
Here’s where it all comes together.
You want to get to a good client ASAP.
When I first got started I had some big name clients — but I didn’t get data from them. I didn’t get “results” because I didn’t get numbers.
You WANT clients who are willing to show you numbers. How much money did your ad make? What was the average order value? Did you boost it (relative to the current control)? What was your clickthrough rate?
Without data — it’s hard to prove you wrote something for someone unless you save screenshots of chats. And even then, it’s not all that useful (that’s why I won’t mention those “big names” I wrote for outside of some tight-knit closed copywriting circles — you don’t have to believe me if you don’t want to).
The thing here is — you want a GOOD CLIENT who is willing to WORK WITH YOU.
You want a GOOD CLIENT who PAYS ON TIME or IN ADVANCE.
You want a GOOD CLIENT who APPRECIATES WHAT YOU DO.
You want a GOOD CLIENT who SHARES RESULTS AND DATA WITH YOU.
And you want a GOOD CLIENT who ACTUALLY RUNS YOUR COPY.
Remember — even if you throw people “free” emails to send to their list or a “free” sales page to test…
It’s not free.
Even if they only use organic traffic, it’s not free.
If your copy doesn’t beat the control — that costs them money.
If they use FB ads, getting eyeballs on your copy costs money.
And if you get the chance to write cover tests like I have…
Testing things like that can EASILY cost the business $20,000+ just to TEST your “free” idea.
So nothing is “free” and you want to always make sure you ASK if someone wants a sample from you.
Show them your writing FIRST (as in — a portfolio) and then ask if they’d like something done.
Don’t just hand someone the burden of running your stuff without asking because it’s like handing them a mystery check.
When they cash it — that check could bounce. It could be positive or negative.
And most business owners just don’t have the time for it if they don’t have some level of confidence in you.
Now — I know that was a rant and a half, but it’s important to know that.
Money Momentum comes into play when you find that good client and do great work for them.
Once they trust you after a single project — you’re likely to get more projects.
Because they know they like you.
They know how you work.
They know you’re reliable (if you’ve been following my advice so far).
And most importantly…
They don’t have to go back out into the wild blue yonder hoping to find a good copywriter who isn’t an unresponsive, unreliable dick.
That’s how I turned $500 into $12,000 in just a few months.
I took on a job for $500 (I offered to do it for $250 or even free, but the client liked my portfolio and was willing to pay $500).
And guess what I did?
I followed my own advice.
I wrote the best copy I could.
I turned it in on time.
I was responsive.
And I gave my thoughts and advice when we went over the copy.
That helped set me apart from the others — and despite the fact that my copy didn’t actually “work…”
Because the client liked the copy anyway and saw lots of potential in it — I wound up getting more projects from the same client.
And in 5 days, I made my client over $10,000 with a handful of emails (and a whole lot more after those initial few days).
Sometimes people will be willing to bet on you if you’re good to work with. Never underestimate the power of just “being pleasant/agreeable.”
And that’s the real secret.
You want to use the idea of money momentum to keep getting more projects from good clients. Then once you can say you’ve got clients — you won’t have to take clients who aren’t willing to pay you enough because you’re not desperate for cash.
And once people start hearing about your successes and exploits — you’ll start having people asking you for help with their projects.
And projects will start to build over time and maybe one day you could be booked out years in advance like a true-blue A-Lister.
This was more of a brain dump than an actual guide — but I hope you got something useful from it.