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How to Become a Copywriter: The 5-Step Guide to Permanent Income

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How_to_Become_a_Copywriter_5_Step_Guide_Permanent_Income | The Copy Cartel

“I want to become a copywriter but I don’t know what step to take. Can anyone please help?”

That’s a post I saw in one of my copywriting groups. And at The Copy Cartel, we realize this is a fairly common issue with beginners.

We think it’s great you want to become a copywriter and make money with the power of words. Because the right words always bring value.

But we don’t like it when people say…

“I don’t know what to do.”

“I don’t know what step to take…”

Because it reinforces inaction, excuses, and fear. The Copy Cartel wants you to focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t do.

Nobody knows how to do anything unless they start doing it. But it’s also okay to ask for help.

So here’s your 5-step guide to permanent income.

Because as long as you feed your brain some copywriting goodness… and apply it, you’ll never have to worry about money flowing into your bank account.

All you need to do is follow these 5 simple steps. 

Step 1: Know the Value of Copywriting 

To become a copywriter, you must know what copywriting is. And copywriting is assembling the right words together that get people to buy or respond. 

Notice how I said assembling instead of writing? You don’t necessarily write copy, you assemble it like a piece of furniture that has good structure. So all the parts of the copy need to be in the right place.

Now why is that important? 

That’s the key to getting rich, finding love and starting a movement. Imagine having a superpower that gets people to do what you want.

That’s valuable. And remember, people only buy or respond to what they value. Business owners will pay top dollar for the right words that get people to act. 

Just think of the customers a business needs and how to reach them. That means someone has to write ALL these words or copy that goes into:

  • TV ads
  • radio ads
  • social media
  • direct mail 
  • e-letters
  • etc

Basically, if it needs words to sell or get a response, that’s where you come in. 

So if you can write a good ad, sales letter, or script that makes money, you add value to that business. If you write a really good ad, a business will use it for as long as possible and everywhere at once. 

Meaning, you can even get paid royalties.

If you can help a business make 1,000,000 in profit, they’ll be more than happy to pay you $10,000 or more! 

That’s only 1% of their profits you helped them to. No wonder some copywriters make up to 6 or 7 figures a year!

That means you are that dude! Don’t let any business dismiss your worth to them. 

You literally help people make neverending money. 

So charge what you’re worth. 

If you don’t know what to charge, start with how much you’d like to make an hour then triple it That’s your new hourly rate (keep it reasonable and realistic, though.)

And for upfront rates, that really depends on a sales call or email. Consider what the business stands to make as profit for the project and negotiate a fair percentage of those profits as commission.

But pricing is another in-depth conversation for another time.

Step 2: Join a Copywriting Group

Next, join a copywriting group. You want to surround yourself with other copywriters, especially the experts in your field. This will be your support network. 

Harry Potter would have never been a powerful wizard if he wasn’t learning from master wizards and witches at Hogwaffs or whatever. 

So introduce yourself and share your story! Tell people why you want to become a copywriter. You never know how much of an impact your story can have on another group member. 

In addition, you gain new family and friends. Here’s what you also get when you join a good copywriting group:

  • free copywriting resources, books, and swipe files
  • access to expert copywriters and their products, services, and knowledge
  • networking, job boards and job opportunities 
  • daily content and copywriting tips
  • peer reviews  
  • copy breakdowns of winning ads
  • visibility and leverage (when you interact and stay active)

And you get all this when you join groups like the:

Now, don’t join a copywriting group just to be a fly on the wall. Interact with the group. Make sure you:

  • ask and answer questions
  • like, comment on, and share posts
  • post and share expert and helpful content
  • promote your favorite copywriting groups externally 
  • share job and networking opportunities that are a better fit for someone else

Those are just several ways to add value to your copywriting group. That’s because you never know who’s watching. And the value you add doesn’t only benefit others in your group, it benefits you as well. 

For example, when I joined the Black Copywriter Coalition, I shared copywriting articles, free copywriting books, and promoted it externally. 

This led to a 7-figure copywriter, Donnie Bryant sharing my work. Which led to some copywriting gigs falling right into my lap (no cold emailing necessary)

Those opportunities gave me visibility, leverage, and a reliable source of a bigger and neverending income. 

That’s the power of copywriting groups.  

Step 3: Read and Breakdown Copy Every Day

If you want to 10x your copywriting skills, you will need to consume copy every day.

Read, watch and listen to ads. Especially successful and proven ads that sell and get you to respond in some way. Starting today, you can: 

  • read any successful ad
  • breakdown why the ad works
  • write your own ad using a successful ad as a template.

You can also keep a collection of the ads you breakdown as a swipe file. In fact, keeping a swipe file is one of the 7 golden rules to better copywriting.

Continue to read more copywriting books written by the experts. Learn about the history of copywriting. 

But keep up with current trends as well. Some of The Copy Cartel favorites include:

  • Scientific Advertising
  • This Book Will Teach You to Write Better
  • The Copywriter’s Handbook
  • Copywriting Secrets
  • Cashvertising

Check out this list of at least “10 Books Every Copywriter Should Read – Twice” from our affiliate partners at the American Writers & Artists Institute.

No matter what, you should eat, sleep, and breathe copy going forward.

Step 4: Start Writing the Right Words (Content, Ads and Creative Stuff)

Let me tell you a story about how I was destined to become a copywriter in 4th grade back in Ghana. I didn’t know it then but when I think about it, it made a lot of sense.

It was the greatest year of all time- 1999. And it was another day at Christ the King International School. Our student body was broken down into 4 factions. Sort of like Slitterin, Hugglepuff or whatever. 

Anyway, you were either part of the Bees, Doves, Eagles, or Sparrows. I was a Sparrow (although I wanted to be an Eagle). 

And we had a weekly competition for which faction would get the most points. And the class faction with the most points at the end of the week won prizes such as extra playtime, candy, activities, field trips, etc.

So the stakes were always high. 

And I had the opportunity to win an extra 30 minutes of free play for my 4th grade Sparrows. 

The week prior, Mrs. Kwaidoo had been teaching us about description and how certain words carry a certain weight or emotional tone. It was tied between the Bees and Sparrows in our English Challenge.

She asked us to rewrite this phrase using better vocabulary to match her tone. 

That sentence was…

“Where are my children? The mother asked.” Then she acted distressed and raised her voice.  

“Can anyone come up with better vocabulary? Think about a mother that is upset asking for her children. Do you think  ‘asked’ is descriptive enough?”

We yelled no in unison. And a wave of hands shot up in the air trying to get Mrs. Kwaidoo’s attention. She picked someone from the Bees to answer.

“Where are my children? The mother yelled!”

“That’s good but someone already said yelled”

“Shouted?”

“That’s the same thing, that’s not good enough.”

Then like a flashbulb over my head; I knew the perfect word. I called out to Mrs. Kwaidoo, and shot up my hand as high as I could.

“Yes, Kuuku?” 

Where are my children? The mother DEMANDED!

And next thing I know, Mrs. Kwaidoo cheered with glee. Fellow Sparrows jumped up and down swarmed around me in the classroom, and the Sparrows won an extra 30 minutes of free play. 

It was a very validating experience. I became more popular and was finally recognized as a “shark” or genius. Classmates started coming to me to help with their essays.

All because I said the right word. And I enjoyed writing ever since. 

Why is this important? 

Because as a copywriter you must know your audience and assemble the right words together that sell and get the right response. So, apply what you’re learning right now. 

Write your own offers for your services. Reach out to clients and businesses. Understand what they need and offer to rewrite their ads, create new campaigns, and help them acquire more customers based on your research. 

But make sure that every word you write has the desired effect on your reader or audience. And keep the best words that get a response.

Put those winning words in your portfolio and showcase your skills and track record. 

You can also create a website to showcase your portfolio and offer your services. Now while a website isn’t necessary, you still want an online presence to leverage your skills, stand out, and connect with others. 

So make sure you are active online or exist somehow to your potential clients.

And writing everyday doesn’t have to involve copy all the time. You can do some creative writing as well. You can write:

  • journal entries
  • letters to friends and family
  • short stories
  • poems
  • music, etc.

As long as you keep your mind sharp with copy and staying creative, you’ll find it easier to get people to respond with action.

So, know your audience and use the right words.

Make sure the right words fit!

Step 5: Get Work or Start a Business

Now it’s time to put your head down and do the work. 

You can only read so many books and hang out in copywriting groups for so long. Start writing good copy and showcase your value so you can get paid.

Here’s what you can end up doing:

  • go to copy job boards, business professionals or owners, and offer your services with the right words (incorporate your portfolio, website, testimonials, track record, and content so you stand out)
  • apply to work as an in-house copywriter for your favorite industry or product (again, demonstrate your value to stand out)
  • create a system, platform or business to reach more clients, customers and funnel them to your services (we can show you how)

Doing this puts your work out there so you gain visibility. Demonstrate your expertise with your copywriting knowledge. 

This means you should pick a niche or particular industry you want to write copy for. Or you can work closely with several businesses to put out a great campaign or funnel.

This should be your end goal and major focus. 

The whole point of a copywriter is to write stuff that sells and gets people to act. On repeat. 

You want to have the track record or impressive stats that backs up your skill and worth as a copywriter.

Step 6: Teach, Recruit and Maintain (Optional Bonus)

At The Copy Cartel, our core belief is creating value. We think of the people we serve and how to best serve them.

And part of that value is to teach people the power of words. And we want you to help us spread that mission. So teach and share what you’re learning about copywriting. 

Share your knowledge with the world.

And recruit others who are looking for a new career path into copywriting and show them why it’s worth it. This is a great networking opportunity in itself.

Talk about:

  • The clients you’ve written for and show how you did it to anyone that will listen
  • The fruits of your labor and show it to the world (whether it’s vacation pics or certified recognition)
  • The people you’ve helped with copywriting and how you can new clients too

Finally, make sure you maintain relationships with your recruits. Keep in touch with them. Check in on them and hold them accountable in their progress. 

This generates a lot of social capital because people like it when you show genuine interest in their growth.

And people trust and buy more from the people they like.

But at the end of the day. The only successful copywriters out there are the ones that do the necessary work. So don’t recruit any dead weight or people that are all talk.

If you enjoyed this article, share it with your copy buddies and join The Copy Cartel

And if you are also serious and want to start your copywriting career, learn from the experts, and boost your permanent income to six-figures, sign-up for AWAI’s Accelerated 6-Figure Copywriting course.

Stay Blessed.

~K

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Kweku Duncan

Kweku Duncan

I'm a copywriter and Editor for The Copy Cartel. I love to write and help people promote their value with the power of words. When I'm not working, I like to play video games and enjoy life.

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