March 7, 2014 Jason

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Copywriter

no - I don't think I'm Don Draper. My liver isn't strong enough

no – I don’t think I’m Don Draper. My liver isn’t strong enough

I was recently invited to be on a panel at the University of Victoria with a selection of local freelancers and contractors, providing a bit of insight into what you can do with your degree. It was an excellent experience, with lots of great questions and good conversation. And chocolate.

One of the questions that came up was “What’s a typical day for you?” and I thought this might be a great topic for Freelance Focused. I’ve asked a few local freelancers to contribute, and over the next week or two we’ll be sharing our stories. If you’re interested in contributing, shoot me a note and we’ll work you into the schedule.

My Typical Day as a Fulltime Freelance Copywriter

4:30 – 6:30am: up and at’em. This is when I get my focus for the day, check emails, respond to overseas clients, and check/tweak my books on Amazon. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll write a couple of pages of my next short story or do a blog post.
6:30 – 9:00am: Feed the pups, walk the pups, chat with Mrs. Brandscaping, exercise (hate it but doing it anyways), and check the news.
9:00 – noon: Client projects/prospecting. I use ColdTurkey to turn off my social media distractions, and coffitivity to stay focused on the work in front of me.
Noon – 12:30pm: Lunch and social media. Hello reddit!
12:30 – 2:00pm: Continue with client projects. My goal is to complete one thing per day, which is quite easy with small projects, but bigger jobs are done in stages.  Completing something each day tends to be much more enjoyable.
2:00 – 4:00pm: Admin. The exciting part about being a freelancer. The benefit of doing this in the afternoon is it’s not likely to affect your clients if you push it off. Take care of the billable work first, then the office stuff (but you can’t skip the office stuff)Wind down for the day and prep for tomorrow.

Now that’s the structure I try to follow, but what I actually do during the day will depend on the needs of my clients. On any given day, I’ll be working on:

  • Blog post/ghost writing
  • Product copy
  • Pitching a new project
  • Writing a creative brief for a new project
  • Ad copy
  • Landing pages
  • Sales letters
  • Taglines
  • Web content

I’ve been trying to follow the 20% rule that Google uses: 20% of my time is for personal projects, whether that’s putting up a new site or spending some time on creative writing. Like every copywriter on the planet, I have a novel burning inside me, desperate to get out. I’ve been fighting it every step of the way, but I think I’m losing that battle and may actually break down and start writing it soon. Time will tell…

Future “Day in the Life” stories will feature other writers, web designers, and marketing experts – stay tuned!

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