If you wanted to buy into a franchise fast food chain, it would cost you six figures or more.
And if you want to begin a freelance copywriting business, and are aiming to make six figures a year…how much would you be willing to invest?
What, you thought starting your own business would be free?
It can be free, if you want to freelance as a hobby.
But it’s not free if you want to build a freelance business that will earn you a big, fat income.
And it’s not just about the training…
Time and time again I find freelancers who are perfectly happy to invest in learning their craft…as a writer, a copywriter, a designer, coder or anything else. They are willing to pay thousands of dollars to acquire the skills they need.
And then, for some odd reason, their wallets and purses snap shut. They don’t want to invest another penny.
So they sign up for a free site-building service from their hosting company. They grab a tired and cheap-looking template for their website. They get their uncle’s cousin’s nephew to design a logo. They write a 500-word home page about how good they are at their craft. And then they sit back and wait for prospective clients to start knocking on their door.
Well, good luck with that.
Back to the coffee shop and the bare naked truth of being in business.
Once you have invested in the rent, equipment and salaries of a real-life business like a coffee shop, you then have to invest in making the place look great, and in marketing.
That means working with an interior decorator and hiring a designer for your signage and promotional materials. You’ll also have to invest in letting coffee lovers in your community know why they should come and try your coffee.
First, the infrastructure and backend of the business. Then the front end – the marketing.
While freelancers can skip most of the infrastructure and backend, because we can work at the kitchen table, we can’t or shouldn’t skip the marketing end.
Setting up as a freelancer is free only until shortly before you open your door for business.
What this means…
It means you forget about putting up a so-so website.
Instead, you hire a good designer to create a great logo for your business, and a website with a professional look and feel. (If you don’t know any designers, try a service like 99Designs.com)
Next, you are going to pay a web developer to put your site together and make it look great and have all the plugins and functionality you need. (For freelancers, I can’t think why anyone would use anything other than WordPress for their website. Check out ProFramework.com)
Then you are going to ask your logo designer to put together your business stationary – your business card, your letterhead etc.
Now for the lesson I want to share…
Way back when I was starting out as a freelancer in the UK, in the early 80s, I knew a designer who started freelancing at about the same time. There was no web back then, so she decided to create a brochure featuring some of her best work.
She designed the brochure herself, but to get it written she turned to one of the top copywriters in London. I imagine he gave her a friends-and-family rate, but I know she paid quite a chunk of change for that copy. She also paid a tidy sum for four-color printing for the brochure.
Did she succeed? She sure did. Her brochure was fantastic and was featured in various industry magazines. She got in front of all of her best prospects within a few weeks…simply by having the front of her brochure, and her story, featured in those magazines.
Here is the lesson: She made herself look irresistibly good from the very first moment. She made herself look serious, professional and valuable before even doing her first freelance job.
Now imagine what she could have done. She could have written the brochure herself. That’s what most designers would have done.
But she was smarter than that.
Now it’s time for you to be smart.
If you are just starting out, spend that $1,000 on making yourself look great. If you are freelancing already and have a website that makes you look anything less than amazing, get it redone. Spend the money.
(If you’re freaking out about the cost, you can probably get everything I have described here for more like $750 or even $500. The point is, you have to spend money in order to look good.)
And once you have launched or re-launched your business, and are impressing everyone who comes to your website or looks at your business card, it’s time to put aside a monthly budget to promote your services.
But that’s a topic for another post.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
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