Looking to make money with a great side hustle? Copywriting could be just the ticket for you. In 2024, this flexible, creative endeavor is rising in popularity and can also be lucrative. To drop some numbers, the average copywriter earns about $57,294 per year. If you go the freelance route on Upwork, you could pocket $19 to $45 per hour.
Whether you've already got a full-time job and want to boost your income with a side hustle, or if you’re interested in diving into the freelance copywriter pool, this guide has got you covered. We'll walk you through various niches in the copywriting world, from SEO to email marketing. Let's get started.
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Sales pages and landing pages
- Product descriptions
- Social media optimization
- Podcast script writing
- Startup pitch decks
- Small business services
- How to start a copywriting side hustle
- Tips for succeeding as a copywriter
- Copywriting as a side hustle FAQs
- Start your own copywriting side hustle with Upwork
1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Ever wondered why some websites pop up on the first page search results on Google, and the rest are banished to subsequent pages? It’s due to the efforts of people who work in something called search engine optimization (SEO)—a field you shouldn’t overlook if you want to explore freelance copywriting.
What is SEO copywriting? It's the art and science of crafting compelling content that search engine algorithms score highly. You're the go-between for Google and your client's audience.
There are lots of SEO writing jobs available on Upwork, and the hourly rate is $19-$45. To set your rate, consider your skills and any experience you may have, and research similar copywriters’ rates. You’ll want a portfolio to show prospective clients you understand SEO fundamentals. If you don’t have experience, you can do some mock projects to show your abilities.
2. Social media
Social media is more than just memes and viral trends; they are crucial platforms for marketing and customer engagement. If you have a talent for writing catchy posts that get likes, shares, and comments, you can turn those skills into some extra cash.
Social media copywriting is the wordsmith's version of a party planner for the internet. Your job is writing Instagram captions and Facebook posts that make people stop scrolling, engage, and maybe even become customers. You're the digital pied piper leading the masses toward that "Buy Now" button or "Subscribe" link. If you're great at catching people's attention on social media, this is your stage.
You can find social media copywriting jobs on Upwork. Just be sure you’re familiar with social media platforms—even the ones you don't use. Each has its own vibe, audience, and unwritten rules. Some social media jobs will also require you to have some graphic design, video shooting, and editing skills. As for pay, social media managers on Upwork generally make between $14–$35 per hour.
3. Email marketing
Email marketing is about sending the right messages to the right people at the right time. If you're good at writing email that gets people to click and read, you could excel in email marketing. The key is to create eye-catching messages that won't get lost in their spam folder.
You can’t just fire off random messages willy-nilly; you have to devise full-blown email marketing campaigns. Think targeted messages for product launches, newsletters to keep the brand front-of-mind, or follow-up email to rekindle customer relationships.
You can find clients on Upwork's email copywriting section. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are looking for talented writers to help nurture customer relationships via email.
4. Sales pages and landing pages
Imagine you're a digital tour guide, but instead of guiding folks through historical landmarks, you're guiding them to the "Buy Now" button. If you have a knack for making anything sound irresistible, this might be your gig.
Sales pages and landing pages are meant to keep the visitor engaged while nudging them toward making a purchase or signing up for a sales letter email list. It's the art of persuasion condensed into a single webpage.
5. Product descriptions
Product descriptions are the unsung heroes of online shopping. They are deceivingly simple but absolutely essential. Instead of a cheesy sales pitch, you've got to weave compelling narratives about ordinary items, making them seem as indispensable as air. New products are always hitting the shelves, making this a go-to side hustle for finding consistent work as a copywriter.
If you think you can juggle this with your full-time job, why not give it a try? Upwork has many product description gigs, and many companies are looking for writers who can make their products sound like the next big thing.
6. Social media optimization
Your social media profile is like your public face, presenting a certain image to the world. However, with the right strategies, you can enhance this profile to better showcase the strengths and capabilities of your business. This is where social media optimization (SMO) for businesses steps in, helping you maximize your online impact.
While social media copywriting gets all the glory, SMO is the wingman who makes accounts shine even brighter. Here, you'll be polishing LinkedIn summaries, spicing up X bios, or making Instagram profiles more eye-catching. Your job is to make people go, "Whoa, who's this?" and not just "Meh, another profile." Want to turn this into another income stream? Uwpork’s social media optimization section is your go-to place.
7. Podcast scriptwriting
If you're good at crafting narratives and know how to keep an audience's attention, podcast scriptwriting might be an excellent fit for you. Podcasts are an increasingly popular medium, covering nearly every subject you could think of. From true crime to health and wellness, there's a podcast for nearly every interest. Your role would be to create the roadmap that guides the host and audience through each episode.
A well-scripted podcast informs and entertains, keeping listeners engaged episode after episode. Good scriptwriting can make or break a podcast, so your skills can be invaluable here. If this piques your interest, you can look for podcast scriptwriting gigs. It's a unique way to use your writing skills by contributing to the success of a show.
If you found the idea of writing product descriptions enticing (like we discussed earlier), then you might want to explore e-commerce copywriting on a grander scale. We're talking about the whole enchilada: product titles, bullet points, main product descriptions, and sometimes even seller profiles.
This is especially needed to optimize stores and products on Amazon. Check out Amazon listing optimization jobs on Upwork.
9. Startup pitch decks
Ever watch "Shark Tank" and think, "I could write a better pitch"? If you have the gift of pitching new ideas, products, and businesses, this might be a great opportunity. You can write the PowerPoint slides that can make or break a startup's dream, influencing whether they get the funding they need.
The pitch deck is more than a collection of facts and figures. It's a story. Your job is to help the startup articulate its vision in a way that resonates with investors. Interested? Check out the Upwork pitch decks section to find startups in need of your special skills.
10. Small business services
If you’re a freelance writer looking to make an impact, helping small business owners can be a great gig. Small business owners are often the lifeblood of communities, but are too swamped with the nitty-gritty of running a business to focus on their website, brochures, and marketing materials.
You could be the pen-wielding savior they didn't know they needed by crafting content that describes their services in an engaging way that drives conversions and impacts their bottom line. Whether it's creating a captivating “About Us” page or designing a brochure that doesn't go straight into the recycling bin, if you've got the skills to make it happen you find a great side hustle.
Check out Upwork’s business writing listings for available jobs in this niche.
How to start a copywriting side hustle
So, you're itching to get started in the world of copywriting? Great choice. But let's not dive in without some prep work. Here's a handy roadmap to help you kick things off.
1. Gain skills and understand SEO copywriting
First things first: if you're considering copywriting, you'll want to be well-versed in SEO. SEO copywriting is about creating content that search engines love without sacrificing readability for your actual audience. It's crucial to strike a balance between SEO and engaging writing.
To learn the ropes, consider enrolling in an online copywriting course. There are plenty of online courses and YouTube videos to help you learn the fundamentals. It'll elevate your copywriting skills and make you more marketable.
2. Identify platforms to find clients
Alright, you've got the skills—now you need copywriting clients to actually pay you for them. Popular platforms to kickstart your freelance writing include Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. Each has its own unique features, client base, and vibe.
- Upwork. Great for freelancers who are looking for both short-term gigs and long-term projects.
- Freelancer. Similar to Upwork but the job boards have more one-time, quick projects as opposed to longer-term roles.
- Fiverr. More geared towards creatives offering specific services like graphic design at set prices.
These job boards are fantastic starting points for finding copywriting clients.
3. Develop a portfolio
Let's be honest—clients aren't just going to take your word for it that you're amazing. They want proof. This is where a freelancer portfolio of your writing skills comes into play. Don't have samples? Create some mock projects to showcase your abilities. A LinkedIn profile loaded with case studies and testimonials will also add credibility.
4. Set competitive rates
Now comes the trickiest part for many newbies—deciding what to charge. Pricing depends on a lot of factors, like the project's complexity, the word count, and your experience.
When just starting your copywriting business, be prepared to be flexible with your rates to attract an initial client base. As you gain experience and credibility, you'll be able to adjust your rates accordingly.
5. Network and market yourself
Social media platforms like LinkedIn, X, Facebook, and Instagram are your new best friends for networking. Join writing communities online to exchange insights and tips with other writers. Also, consider building your own website and leveraging content marketing to showcase your expertise and attract more clients.
Tips for succeeding as a copywriter
Here are some tips to maximize your earnings and growth as a new copywriting professional:
- Be curious. Stay updated on trends in marketing, SEO, and social media to keep your writing relevant.
- Invest in your skills. Take copywriting courses to hone your skills and make you more marketable to clients.
- Build a niche. Specializing in a specific area can make you an expert and let you charge higher rates.
- Collaboration is key. Always include rounds of edits in your contracts for both client satisfaction and fair payment.
- Meet deadlines, but don’t sacrifice quality. Timeliness is crucial, but never at the expense of quality.
- Always be networking. Keep your LinkedIn and Upwork profiles updated, and be ready to pitch your services at a moment's notice.
- Use tools to your advantage. Use SEO and writing tools to streamline your work process.
- Keep an eye on your finances. Use accounting software or a professional to track your income and expenses. Remember, if you’re operating as a freelancer, you’ll need to plan for your taxes.
- Value your work. Set competitive but fair prices for your services to avoid burnout and maintain quality.
Copywriting as a side hustle FAQs
Let's address some of the most common questions you might have when considering copywriting as your next side hustle.
Is copywriting a good side hustle?
Absolutely! Copywriting is an excellent side hustle for extra income. As a freelance copywriter, you have the flexibility to work on projects that align with your schedule, making it a perfect complement to a full-time job or other commitments.
How do I get a copywriting job with no experience?
Landing a copywriting job without experience is possible if you're proactive. Start by taking online courses to learn the basics, then build a copywriting portfolio featuring mock projects or volunteer work. This shows potential clients your writing skills and your initiative to start copywriting even without formal experience.
How much does a copywriter make in a year?
The average annual salary for copywriting services varies significantly based on factors like experience, specialization, and location. However, the average annual salary for a copywriter is about $57,294. Freelancers on platforms like Upwork can expect to earn between $19 to $45 per hour.
Start your own copywriting side hustle with Upwork
Explore these avenues within the copywriting world, from SEO and social media to email marketing, sales pages, and more. Whether you have a full-time job and are looking for a lucrative side hustle or are considering making copywriting your new career path, the potential for success is high.
Ready to kickstart your copywriting side hustle? Browse various copywriting jobs on Upwork tailored to various skill levels and niches. Your next big opportunity might be a click away.
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