How To Start a Copywriting Side Hustle: Step-by-Step Guide


In the age of the internet, there are countless ways to make money, and among the most profitable and in-demand opportunities is a copywriting side hustle.

By mastering the art of communication through writing you can successfully build another income stream that can even be your primary source of livelihood.

For businesses, the difference between a professionally written copy and a mediocre one can make a significant impact on their revenue. Therefore, skilled copywriters are always in high demand despite the rise of AI.

Learning how to start a copywriting side hustle can feel overwhelming, especially without a roadmap. However, this step-by-step guide will inform you of all the copywriting skills needed to have a successful copywriting business.

Copywriting Side Hustle

In this article, we will discuss 10 steps on how to become a good copywriter and make your side hustle profitable. Each step will guide you closer to success.

I also included an extra step for those aiming to scale and grow even more.

If you are interested in additional or generic steps that apply to all types of side hustles, check out this article on how to start a side hustle.

Let’s dive into it.

1. Understand the Core Principles of Copywriting

Before doing all the steps necessary to begin your copywriting side hustle, it is necessary to know and understand the core principles behind each piece of writing that will bring you extra cash and value to both the clients and the customers.

Principles of Copywriting

Here is a breakdown of these principles:

  • Purpose-driven Writing – This is one of the main differences between regular writing and copywriting. It’s all about driving action. Each piece of writing should have a purpose, whether it is making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or marketing for some online courses.

  • Know Your Target Audience – Copywriting is all about communicating with your audience to drive them to do action. The best way to do this is to understand who they are and what are their likes and dislikes.

  • Clarity Beats Creativity – Creativity is always appreciated, it gives some life to some boring writing. But if you have to choose, it is always recommended to write a clear message that your audience will easily understand.

  • Focus on Solving Their Problems – If you are promoting a product or service, instead of telling your target audience how good they are. Tell them the value that they will bring, and how can they solve the problems of your audience.

  • Clear Call To Action (CTA) – Since copywriting is purpose-driven writing, not including a clear call to action is like sailing with a destination. You have to guide your readers on where to go and how to go about it. Some examples are buttons and links that go to a particular page.

Related: How To Start Freelancing With No Experience

2. Self-Educate

Creating successful copywriting services does not always mean that you need a degree or formal education in marketing or communications.

What it requires is a commitment to learning.

This is because you will face a lot of hardships on your copywriting side hustle journey. A lot of people will not pay attention to your writing in the beginning. Some will not even read it.

It will require a series of trial and error to know your writing style that works.

Also, different clients expect different things from you, you have to be able to adapt and learn what the products or services they are offering, and how to write about them.

The best way to learn how to write is to read.

Learning Copywriting

Start copywriting by first reading foundational books that will further your understanding of the copywriting principles that we discussed above.

Books such as “The Copywriter’s Handbook” or “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” are some of the best to know copywriting and the science behind persuasion and creating compelling sales copy.

Also, tools such as Grammarly and some SEO assistants can help a lot, especially if you are in the beginning stages.

Just be sure to study and learn at your own pace and own schedule since sometimes starting copywriting can feel like a full-time job.

Related: 7 Great Freelancing Jobs For Students To Start A Business

3. Decide Your Niche

Deciding your niche is crucial at the beginning. This will be the foundation of your writing.

Yes, you can be a good writer and be able to write about anything, but to make copywriting a side hustle that earns you extra income, you need to decide your niche.

Some freelance copywriter can write about any topic they want, but will still choose a specific field to be an expert in.

This is because of one fundamental principle of copywriting, remember it is purpose-driven writing. This means you are not writing just for the readers to read it, but for them to take some action.

Deciding on a niche will help you know the style of writing that your customers in that field will be encouraged to engage with.

Here are the steps to help you decide your niche:

  • Know Your Passion and What You Are Good At

  • Research the Market

  • Scope the Competition

  • Do Some Trials and Errors with Your Niche

  • Commit to a Niche and Be an Expert on It

4. Build a Copywriting Portfolio

To launch a successful copywriter side hustle career, having a portfolio is a must.

Your copywriting portfolio will showcase your skills, past work, and experiences and why clients should hire you.

Copywriting Portfolio

Here are some of the steps you need to take to create a compelling copywriting portfolio:

  • Step 1: Create and Compile – Create writings for fictional brands and compile all your work.

  • Step 2: Quality over Quantity – Choose only your best work to be displayed in your portfolio.

  • Step 3: Use Real-World Examples – Incorporate some real copywriting examples even if they are volunteer work or for a friend.

  • Step 4: Have an Online Presence with Testimonials – Set up an online presence whether it is a website or a social media account that includes positive feedback from past clients.

  • Step 5: Regularly Update and Maintain – Consistently update your portfolio to make sure that you showcase the best of your work.

Building a copywriting portfolio isn’t only for your clients but also to see your progress over the years.

5. Set Up an Online Presence

In the last step, we discussed having an online presence with testimonials. This is one of the most important steps in the beginning stages of your copywriting journey.

Freelance copywriting can only be done if you have an online presence, otherwise getting a client will be as hard as reaching the heavens.

Having an online presence helps build connections with your potential clients, this is because it is like an online resume that can show much more of who you are and what you are capable of.

Online Presence

These are the detailed steps to take to build an effective online presence:

  • Choose a platform – Based on your niche, determine where you can find your target audience, it can be in social media such as Twitter or Facebook or on the web, in this case, you need to choose a platform that is great for building professional websites and landing pages such as WordPress and Wix.

  • Create Quality Contents and Examples – After choosing a platform, begin adding quality content to them. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, then regularly add social media posts, if you have a website do some blog posts and content marketing examples.

  • Optimize for SEO – Make sure that clients can easily find you on search engine result pages. This includes having the right keywords at the right places, and overall high-quality content.

  • Display Testimonials – Testimonials help decide future clients to choose you based on the experience of your past clients, so make sure they are positive feedback.

6. Determine Your Rates

Determining your rates is the same as understanding your worth.

It is to make sure that you are not being underpaid, but you also have to live up to the expectation that your rates will bring.

It is only natural to expect more from expensive copywriters, which most of the time will be worth it for the clients.

Here are the steps you need to take to determine your right rates:

  • Research the Market

  • Determine your Skill Level and be Honest with Yourself

  • Craft a Unique Value Proposition (What value will you bring?)

  • Decide on a Pricing Model (Do you want to be paid by the hours, per word, or per project?)

  • Be Flexible but Do Not Undervalue

7. Network and Pitch

Building connections is part of the copywriting side hustle journey.

It is going to be a lot easier to gain clients if you have connections that can vouch for your and your skills.

Through these connections, you can also find more leads on clients that need your services.

Copywriting Network and Pitch

Here’s a good game plan for networking:

  • Join Relevant Groups and Associations Based on Your Niche and Target Audience

  • Identify Potential Clients from These Groups

  • Craft a Compelling Pitch That Clearly States Your Value and Skills

  • Follow Up to Know if They Have Read Your Pitch or if They Are Interested

  • Seek Referrals to Gain New Clients.

8. Stay Updated

In a world where information can spread in a matter of minutes, it is important to stay updated about the latest trends and tools for copywriting services.

This will ensure that your copywriting skills are as effective and relevant to your clients and readers.

Here’s how you can ensure you’re always updated:

  • Subscribe and Follow Industry Blogs

  • Engage in Online Forums such as Quora and Reddit

  • Invest in Continuous Learning such as Courses and Books

9. Ask for Reviews, Feedback, and Testimonials

Having a strong reputation is vital to make your copywriting business a successful one.

It will boost your credibility and make potential clients trust you more in managing their content marketing.

Copywriting Feedbacks

After completing a project, make sure to ask your clients for feedback. Aside from boosting your credibility, it will also help you know the areas you need to improve on.

Consider adding a form that collects feedback too from your social media or your website.

Also, whether the given feedback is positive or negative, remember to thank them or respond for taking the time to write back. Always, address any concerns with a professional tone and manner.

Most clients will know a lot more people from their field, use this opportunity to build connections, and find more leads on potential clients.

10. Stay Consistent

Consistency is important in any business venture.

This is because more likely than not, it will take some time to be successful or even just to see progress.

Copywriting as a side hustle is the same, it will usually take several projects for someone to acquire all the skills necessary to be profitable.

Creating high-quality content regularly will build your reputation and credibility as well as increase your income potential.

So, be sure to stay consistent but still track your progress and adapt.

Extra Step: Establish an Agency or Team

Establish an Agency or Team

Scaling your copywriting side hustle to an agency or a team is a big step.

You are now entering the field of entrepreneurship and this will amplify your reach, income, and influence in your niche or industry by allowing you to handle more projects and clients.

Here are the steps for establishing an agency for your copywriting business:

  • Measure your Workload – Ask yourself if you are constantly turning down new clients and opportunities and are always overwhelmed with your to-do list, it might be time to expand.

  • Hire and Mentor – If you reached a point where you have so many clients and projects to manage it might be time to hire new writers and mentor them, since you will have acquired all the skills by this stage.

  • Implement a Quality Control System – By hiring writers you quantity of projects and clients you manage will increase make sure that the quality of work is still consistent.

  • Foster Continuous Learning – As we mentioned above, the world of copywriting involves continuous learning of new trends be sure to stay updated together with your writers.

Building an agency or a team of copywriters takes time, skills, and experience, but with the right amount of dedication, it can be the peak of your copywriting career.

For more business and side hustle ideas:

Top 10 Side Hustles for Teachers to Make Extra Income

27 ‘Side Hustle’ for College Students: Opportunities to Explore

30 Blue Collar Side Hustle to Try Now!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is copywriting a good side hustle?

Yes, copywriting is a great side hustle for those looking to earn some extra cash in their free time. As you gain more experience and skills, more projects and clients will come turning it into a recurring income and then it can go from a side hustle into a business venture.

Will copywriting be taken over by AI?

No, because even if AI has made significant progress in the field of scientific advertising and copywriting, the human touch that brings emotion and connection to the writing is irreplaceable. AI can make the copywriting process faster but not better.

How do I get a copywriting job with no experience?

To get a copywriting job with no experience, start by offering free work and accepting small projects to build your portfolio. Utilize job boards and LinkedIn profile opportunities to find leads on potential clients and showcase your skills. In the beginning, cold emailing clients and companies can open new doors for new job prospects.

Can you make 10000 a month with copywriting?

Yes, you can make $10000 a month with copywriting. As you master the art of purpose-driven writing, with more skills and experience, your client base will grow together with your income. After several successful clients your reputation will begin to flourish and then reaching 10000 a month will now be feasible.

Is copywriting a high-income skill?

Yes, copywriting is a high-income skill. The difference between a great copy and an average one significantly affects the potential revenue of companies, thus making copywriters in high demand. As you navigate the learning curve and secure more clients, your copywriting skills will be more valued.

Final Thoughts

Starting a copywriting side hustle is not only about learning how to write persuasively, it also includes positioning yourself strategically in the marketplace to get clients that will pay for the value you provide.

As with any type of business or venture regarding earning extra money, dedication, and patience is necessary as it takes time, skills, and experience to be successful.

Lastly, embrace your journey from the beginning, and do not forget to celebrate your small wins.

Good luck with your copywriting side hustle!

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