Copywriting will not necessarily make you rich, but it is a profession that can give you a decent income.
Many copywriters start with little to no experience and over time, can become successful if they know when to level up.
Copywriters who become wealthy typically offer far more than just their writing skills. The real money is usually in the hands of those who teach courses, write books, and offer writing tips and tools.
Can You Actually Make Money From Copywriting?
Yes, it is possible to make money from copywriting. Many do it as a full-time job or as a freelancer taking on numerous clients.
However, as a newbie don’t expect to instantly find high paying work. With copywriting you often have to work your way up. You may start off being paid a very small amount if nothing at all if you’re looking for the experience.
Because of this, it can be highly beneficial to have some savings to support you until you can earn enough only through your copywriting.
The median of a copywriter is $51,785 in the US. Freelance copywriters can charge anywhere from $10 to $95 per hour.
Is Copywriting a High-Income Skill?
Copywriting can be a high-income skill if you specialize in a topic, like microcopy for UX or technical documentation for software. Specializing often means more money, confidence in the topic, less time researching, and lower competition. However, having a specialty comes with time.
Certain clients will pay more than others, but this can also depend on how you present yourself. This is why it is important to keep a portfolio as evidence of your abilities. In fact, most high-end copywriters have portfolio websites.
Three examples are Ádám Mattyasovszky, Clare Barry (a.k.a. Copy Clare), and Kelsey O’Halloran. To get there, this may even mean writing for free just to get your name out.
Often, you’ll need to negotiate your rate. You will likely have several rates for different clients and topics.
But you’ll never get ‘rich’ if you fail to increase your rates. A wise copywriter might even include in their agreement an increase to their rate over time, especially if their work has proven successful.
In the beginning, if you lack experience, you can be competitive by charging lower rates than others. This can be advantageous for writers who live in countries where expenses are lower.
How Much Money Can You Make From Copywriting?
The median annual salary of a copywriter is $51,785 in the US, according to Salary.com. Most copywriters earn between $46,784 and $58,300, the website reports. Base pay, benefits, and bonuses can vary dramatically depending on your industry, employer, and level of experience.
Is the picture any different for freelancers? Looking at Upwork’s 27 best freelance copywriters, they charge from $10 an hour at the lowest to $95 per hour at the highest, at the time of writing. But at the lower end, it can range from nothing to pennies.
Often it depends on how much experience you have, or it may depend on how much work you want to take on. Bear in mind though that a copywriter who makes $10 an hour could still make more than a copywriter who makes $95 an hour if they have more work.
To become a ‘rich’ copywriter, you typically need to package it into a business and offer wider services than just writing.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Copywriting?
Depending on the amount of time you spend copywriting, the faster you will learn to master it. Learning copywriting is a continuous process and in most cases, you learn on the job.
While there are a variety of courses on learning how to become a copywriter, completing a course may only give you a head start—don’t think that’s all you need.
In some senses, it’s like learning to drive a car—you can read all the books in the library about being a good driver, but you will never become one until you get behind the wheel and start driving. You will likely learn a lot more on the job, reading the work of others, proofreading, and feedback from clients.
Working with a variety of different clients can also give you a wealth of experience as different clients have different requirements and writing styles.
Is Copywriting Hard to Learn?
Not if you’re keen to learn, listen to feedback and learn on the job. However, there are skills you will benefit from having:
- Written language skills. You should have an excellent command of the language you write in, if not copywriting can be very difficult. You do not need to have a degree in writing or literature to be considered qualified, though it certainly makes the start much easier.
- Research skills. Often underappreciated, being able to research topics can help you write more informative copy that will engage readers.
- Accounting skills. You won’t become rich if you don’t know how much you’re making!
- SEO skills. Knowing how to cleverly structure content with keywords and not spoil what you have written goes a long way.
Other highly useful skills that can help make you more profitable are basic HTML knowledge and image editing.
Is Copywriting a Good Career?
Copywriting is a good career because businesses always need writers to help create texts for their ads and marketing campaigns to sell their products or services. As with most other professions, though, there is a risk that copywriters will one day get replaced by robots.
It draws in a wide variety of people. For creative types, such as novelists or screenwriters, copywriting is a great way to use their writing skills to make money while working on their projects.
And individuals with knowledge on a specific topic, such as software engineering, can also make a good living as a copywriter. They may even have an upper hand as they already have a niche to write for.
Sales and marketing jobs are often good for creative types, while those who are experts in certain topics, are typically better at more technical jobs.
Who Is The Highest Paid Copywriter?
Clayton Makepeace is the highest paid copywriter of all time, according to Neil Patel. Supposedly, he made five to ten times more than most copywriters and even more than copywriter coaches. Sadly, he passed away in March 2020.
Much of what Makepeace earned was actually from royalties. He said in his best year, 2003, he nearly earned $3 million.
Copywriter royalties are essentially commissions a copywriter can earn from the content they write for their clients. For example, if you write a client a sales email, a copywriter could receive a percentage of the sales that were made from that email.
But Makepeace wasn’t just a copywriter. If anything, Makepeace was more like a consultant who showed his clients how to make the best out of marketing their products.
And we will see that to make the most out of copywriting, you often have to go that little bit further than just writing.
How to Make Money Copywriting?
To make a good income as a copywriter, you will typically need the following:
- Know your worth. It can be hard as a beginner to know your worth. Some writers feel so grateful to get paid to write they often offer rates far lower than they should and end up working far more.
- Specializing in a topic. When you lack a specialty, you often have to look for clients. When you have a specialty, then often come looking for you. Topics of a more complex nature typically pay higher.
- Building long-term relationships with clients. Finding good writers is tough and clients would prefer not to lose the ones they have, especially if they have invested in teaching you how they want their copy.
Most copywriters make money by charging rates per word or hour, but this is not the only way to make a living from copywriting.
Remember Clayton Makepeace? He learned that to get rich copywriting you needed to take the skill and package it into a business. Today, some of the most successful copywriters do this, teaching others what they have learned.
- Ramit Sethi. Sethi is a blogger and owner of I Will Teach You To Be Rich (which is also a book) and Growthlab. He offers a range of courses related to finance, employment, business growth and productivity.
- Dan Lok. Similar to Sethi, Lok also offers a variety of courses and books, though more related to social media marketing, sales, and, of course, copywriting. He also has several programs on wealth enhancement.
- Brian Clark. Clark founded Copyblogger, an online content marketing platform, and Unemployable, which packages freelance and ‘solopreneur’ strategies for content marketing.
So, Can Copywriting Make You Rich?
To get rich from copywriting, you need to have the knowledge and the vision to set up a business.
Clayton Makepeace, Ramit Sethi, Dan Lok, and Brian Clark are all examples of copywriters who learned to package their skills and turn a fortune from them.
Most copywriters learn on the job and income can vary considerably. To make a good income from copywriting you should know your worth, specialize in a topic, and build long-term relationships with clients. Copywriting alone will not necessarily make you rich.