This article is based on a conversation with Chris Orzechowski, a New Jersey-based freelance writer and e-commerce email marketing strategist. Business Insider verified his annual income with documentation. Text has been edited for length and clarity.
At first I became freelance writer to supplement my income as a teacher in a public school. I started studying copywriting in 2013, but didn’t find my first paying client until 2015.
My first idea was to create a blog in the hope that it could monetize the web. I launched a few websites, and nothing worked properly, but I learned a lot in the process.
My most recent portal, in 2013, was a wrestling training blog. He built a decent following and even made some money from affiliate marketing. But after 6 months of working 5-6 hour night shifts and earning almost no money, I knew something had to change.
It was at this time that I learned of the existence of writing and that people have paid you to write ads for them, whether in an email, sales page, or video. I knew I could write and I loved doing it. So I bet on it.
I went to Amazon and bought about ten books on writing, including Scientific advertising Yes The ultimate sales letter. I also started reading blog posts and consuming content from top writers like Andre Chaperon, Frank Kern, and Russell Brunson, and invested in online courses like CopyHour and Copy Chief.
Then I went looking for clients and got my first job. They paid me $300 and I wrote a bunch of emails, 5 web pages, a product insert (an advertisement that accompanies the item you purchased) and a few other deliveries. The project took me about 3 weeks, but I didn’t mind. I couldn’t believe someone would pay me to write something for them.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve brought in $974,000 in gross income and have clients in over 30 countries. I devote an average of 4 to 5 hours a day to my business.
In 2015, I had to make a decision
By the end of my second year of teaching, I was devastated, but my business had started to take off. That year, I earned about $7,000 from the projects.
I had 2 options: find another job or start writing full time. Eventually, I found another job as a teacher.
Would I have been able to sprint and get enough customers to replace my lost revenue? Maybe, but my girlfriend (now my wife) and I were buying our first house. I was planning on proposing to her that summer and I couldn’t take the risk. So I told myself that I would work every evening and every weekend to develop my side business.
My new job was a high school math teacher in my hometown. They paid me $54,427. worked from editor at lunchtime and after I get home at 4 p.m. until 9 or 10 a.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, I did 4 to 8 hours of overtime. In 2016, I made about $52,000 working for clients, almost as much as I did in my full-time job.
I invested most of the money I earned as a writer in training and business development. One of my biggest expenses was a 5 week training program called real free lifeby Kevin Rogers, which cost $5,000.
I have also invested in continuing education with Rogers to continue to grow and learn. I subscribed to other marketing and copywriting associations and communities, like those of Ryan Lee and John Carlton, to learn from different masters.
Over time, I felt ready to take the leap
In 2017, I met the principal of the school where I worked for a mid-year evaluation. The first thing he said to me was, “Chris, I feel like your head and your heart aren’t in this. Unless you change and start showing me something. , I will not renew your contract.”
I was making money from my side job. I had clients – even one with a contract of about 8 months at the time – and I had trust, a portfolio and a network. My reasoning was: imagine if I had my best 40 hours of the week to focus on the business instead of my worst 40 hours.
A week later, I walked into the principal’s office and handed him my resignation letter. I was free.
When I started writing full time, I tried everything to get clients.
Many people recommended me to send e-mails. I did this at first and got almost no response. The few people who responded weren’t serious.
It wasn’t until I reached out to business owners who expressed a need for writing help that I started to gain traction. I found most of my first clients in various Facebook groups.
Sometimes people would post a project they needed help with or a job posting. Other times, people would ask me for feedback on their ads and emails, so I basically gave them free public consultations.
I started recording videos in which I reviewed their text and gave them suggestions. I would then reply to their messages with a link to the video.
Many people in these groups were watching these videos and seeing my comments. I befriended as many people as I could, and when they needed a writer, they called me.
I’ve also done other things like offering a free 60 minute email marketing training session in one of the Facebook groups.
What I did to charge more
First of all, I became “famous in the niche”. I have become very well known in the field of copywriting because I have been publishing content on the subject every week for over 5 years.
Second, I accepted the law of supply and demand. I’m a single man and I get new clients every week, sometimes every day. I don’t have time to work with everyone, so I can choose the best of the best and only work with the people I really want to work with, at the rate I want to charge.
If a client doesn’t like my fees, that’s fine; I have clients around the corner.
Finally, I published content about the results I obtained. Every time I make a pitch or campaign that works well, I break it down so other people can replicate that success in their own business, and I overwhelm people with proof. People are convinced of my results when they contact me.
I don’t spend a second convincing anyone to hire me. That’s what my content is for.
If you want to make a lot of money as a writer, you have to refuse to listen to reason.
You have to believe in yourself, even when you know that your colleagues, friends, and even family members think you are crazy.
With the pandemic, I felt like quitting my business every week for 2 years in a row. I was in a huge growth phase and was reinvesting a ton of capital back into the business, and it seemed like the whole world was conspiring against me.
But when I went to bed at night, I remembered why I was doing this. One of the reasons was that my son was born a few weeks after the lockdown came into effect. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I knew now was not the time to slow down. I was not going to let my family down.
I also knew that many people needed my help. There were people who were like me, trying to scale their business so they could quit their jobs. There were customers trying to sell to pay their wages. How could I fail them? He couldn’t, it just wasn’t an option.