How Much Can You Make Copywriting

Every business needs copywriters. Despite the fact we're all taught to write in preschool, very few do it well enough to sell anything.

So, great copywriters are the unsung heroes of the marketing world. Although few and far between, everyone's vying for their attention.

So... How much can you make as a copywriter?

How much you can make as a copywriter depends entirely on where you get your information.

On social media, tons of gurus preach how easy it is to earn $10,000+ per month as a copywriter.

how much can you make copywriting

But, a quick Google search produces some borderline depressing results.

"Around $62,170 per year" is barely enough to live comfortably with roommates in most major cities. And a maximum of $10k per month, according to ZipRecruiter? With those numbers, what's the point in learning something entirely new?!

Let's look at the numbers first. Then, I'll get into why they're entirely misleading.

Average salary for a copywriter

According to data from Payscale, the average salary for a full-time copywriter in 2023 is $57,355 per year. Other data from shows us the typical freelance copywriter salary ranges between $51,868 and $65,506.

So, the numbers are pretty similar whether you're a freelancer or a full-time employee.

Why the numbers don't tell the whole story

Whenever people discuss how much you can make in a profession, their immediate reaction is to look at medians and averages.

And to that, I'd ask, "Are you average?"

Assessing your potential earnings based on a generalization of copywriter salaries makes zero sense.

There's a big difference between what Joe Schmo is pulling from his full-time employer doing B-level work and what you can make by grinding hard and finding 3 or 4 decent-paying clients.

What your income as a copywriter actually depends on

In another article I published about copywriting rates, I broke down a few different factors that play into how much you can charge as a copywriter.

Here they are, summed up:

  • The value you provide. If you can save your clients time and effort while making them lots of money, paying you a fraction of that value is an absolute no-brainer.
  • Your niche. Some niches are harder to write for than others. Some copywriting services are in high demand with low supply.
  • Your experience level. As you gain experience, develop your writing skills, and find your niche within the industry, you can start demanding higher rates.
  • Amount of research involved. Copywriters often charge a few thousand dollars for content requiring in-depth research. The average white paper costs $4,500, for example.
  • Project scope. If you're making a few edits, you'll obviously earn less than someone ghostwriting for social media on a monthly retainer.
  • Client source. Copywriting clients on Fiverr and Upwork won't pay more than $25/hour. If you have a solid reputation and the numbers to back it, minimum $2,500 to $4,000 per month per client is standard.

So, is it really fair to say "average" salaries give you an accurate representation of what you can earn as a copywriter?


Which copywriting niches pay the best?

The adage that "the riches are in the niches" is only true to an extent. There's money in tons of different copywriting niches if you're valuable and know where to look.

If you build your copywriting business in any of the following areas, you're set:

  • Social media ghostwriting
  • DTC ecommerce
  • Email copywriting
  • B2B SaaS
  • Technical writing
  • Landing pages and sales copy
  • Direct response copywriting
  • Blog post writing
  • Bylines and PR writing
  • Healthcare/medical
  • Legal
  • Crypto/Web3
  • Travel and hospitality

Especially when you're starting out, you'll almost certainly work in more than one of these — email marketing and blog writing for a DTC brand, for example.

There's more to it than just the type of writing you do, though. Two main factors determine what niche will make you the most money:

Business impact

You could be the best copywriter in the world and convert 100%, but it still wouldn't move the needle for a company selling small batches of $10 products.

Take what I do, for instance (Twitter ghostwriting).

A lot of my clients are rich guys with no understanding of Twitter or time to learn it. But they know it's profitable.

And because they get extra leads and business opportunities, the $4k to $12k per month they give me pays for itself 5-10x over.

Additional skills

It's not always about the money.

You'll get much farther and be much happier if you can find the intersection between your interest and market demand.

When you find that sweet spot and combine it with writing, you've struck gold.

Another point I should mention is those who are really good at technical stuff suck at writing.

  • Search engine optimization
  • UI/UX
  • Software development
  • IT
  • Data science
  • AI/ML
  • SaaS
  • Blockchain
  • Creative writing
  • Medical/legal certifications

If you can stack any of these skills with copywriting, you're automatically worth six figures.

How much experience do you need to be a copywriter?

Every successful copywriter starts somewhere. It's entirely possible to start freelance writing with no experience. But, same as with anything, you'll get more money with experience.

Here's how to build that experience:

  • Work for free
  • Land your first copywriting clients
  • Use those clients to build a portfolio
  • Keep grinding and get your first "big break" — the client who pays you $5,000+ for a single project or commits to paying you monthly retainers of $2,500+.
  • Keep building your portfolio with projects that have real business impact.
  • Learn new skills (like SEO) that make you even more valuable.
  • Raise your prices with each new client, and don't forget to negotiate.

One little caveat: It's hard to grow as a copywriter if you're not interested in your work at all. Successful copywriters are passionate about what they do. If that isn't you, don't bother.

Should you go the freelance or in-house route?

Ultimately, the decision to pursue a full-time copywriting job or pursue copywriting on your own boils down to the type of person you are.

Being an in-house copywriter

If you decide to pursue a full-time copywriting job, you're basically trading the challenge of finding clients for freedom and earning potential.

Having a full-time job and structure is convenient for some, but you'll ultimately spend 95% of your time being told what to do and how to do it.

Full-time jobs also don't reward efficiency.

You're stuck with the same salary, regardless of how much work you actually do. And you're there for 8 hours no matter what, so you might as well take a whole day to get that sales letter done.

Being a freelance copywriter

Working for yourself means setting your own hours and working the projects you want, but being a freelance copywriter means taking a risk.

  • You have to find potential clients, which means marketing yourself constantly.
  • You're responsible for finding your own healthcare, retirement funds, etc.
  • It's based on efficiency — good copywriters who work fast make 10x as much.

The tradeoff? You can earn a lot more money going freelance, simply because you're not limited to one company's salary cap.

I wouldn't say most copywriters are making $10,000/month, but thousands are. And it's a lot easier than you think.

Plus, freelance copywriters have a lot more flexibility. You can work anywhere in the world. And your clients don't care whether it takes you 30 seconds or 30 hours to get the job done — as long as you deliver quality work on time, they'll keep coming back.

If you value freedom and you're serious about building your business, apply to join my Growth Ghosts cohort. If we're a good fit for each other, I'll teach you everything I know from building my own business.

Who is Dakota?

I show you how to build a high-paying creative business without doing work you hate.

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