Continuing to answer the questions of an inquisitive freelance-copywriter-to-be, this post is the second of two. Here’s the first one in case you missed it.
- I am currently working on building a portfolio and don’t intend to officially go into business until September. Are there any reputable charities in the Willamette Valley that need pro-bono copywriting and are willing to work with newcomers to the business?
- Assuming that I’m earning enough to afford it, I am willing to travel to meet with clients on occasions – I love visiting Portland – but doing so is time consuming and costly enough that it will not be possible for clients who need me to work short jobs. Do the people who hire copywriters in Portland generally feel comfortable not meeting their freelancers in person?
- Is your group [Copywriter Conclave of Portland] willing to accept a copywriter who is physically located outside of the Portland area, but working for firms doing business inside it?
- If I determine that I would like to join your group, what sort of goals should I set to become qualified?
I’m sure there are a million charities/non-profits in the Willamette Valley that need copywriting assistance. If you offer them your services pro bono, they will very likely say yes. There’s a good business case for doing pro bono work at the beginning of your career. It can get you some decent samples fast. Know when to stop though. Working for free gets expensive if that’s the majority of your workload.
Meeting in-person is the most effective way to make long-lasting relationships. You definitely don’t have to though. I’ve worked with clients that I’ve never met except via phone and email. I will say that the majority of my work has come from people I’ve met face-to-face, and with whom I have a personal relationship. Since those relationships have been established, we’ve not needed to meet in-person to do business together. All it takes is an email to assess availability, a phone call to get brought up to speed, maybe an in-person meeting, and then I complete the project from home.
In general, people hire people they know, like, and trust. Your best bet is to set up meetings with prospective clients for times you’ll be in that city, and start building your professional relationship with them based on a foundation that includes a handshake, eye contact, and your physical presence. Go remote from there.
Not at this time. As I mentioned in the answer above, there’s no substitute for your physical presence, or in this case, being in the physical presence of your peers. One of the main purposes of the group is to build strong local connections with people we know, like, and trust. We’ve all spent quite a bit of time together since 2011, and the relationships we’ve built and nurtured are critical to our success. We meet for happy hour on the fourth Wednesday of the month. If you’re ever in town then, let us know!
1) Live in the Portland Metro area
2) Be a full- or part-time freelance copywriter
3) Do high-quality work
4) Come with experience and knowledge that will benefit the membership
(NOTE: If you’re just getting your feet wet as a writer, this isn’t the right group for you. Join us for happy hour and we can swap advice and tips and such, but the level of knowledge amongst members is high, and we want to keep it that way. We’ll be rolling out a MENTORSHIP PROGRAM in the next few months, so if you need to fill in the gaps between your desire to be a freelance copywriter and your experience as a freelance copywriter, stay tuned.)