Building your freelance copywriting business from scratch isn’t easy.

  • How do you get started?
  • Where do you find your clients?
  • How do you build up a portfolio?

They are just a few of the questions that will be flying round your head.

I have been a freelance copywriter since 2007 and I am frequently asked those questions by copywriters just starting out.

But there is often another one too – Should I write for free?

A fledgling freelancer has a problem – potential clients want to see a portfolio of work. But you can only amass a portfolio when you have clients.

So how do you get those first clients?

Should you write for free?

If a newbie was to ask me whether I think they should write for free, I’d probably say no.

If they asked whether I’d every written anything for free, I’d have to say yes.

How’s about that for confusion? But I have only every done free work in exceptional circumstances. And I’m not alone as this post by Lorraine Thompson shows when she gives 5 cases for working without pay.

When would I work for free?

  • As a donation to a charity that I support
  • As part of a mutually beneficial barter
  • If it’s a ‘too good to be true’ portfolio enhancing opportunity
  • For friends and family
  • If it helps promote me and my business

If you are asked to do some work for free stop and give your response serious consideration. Is it really going to benefit your business?