Freelance copywriting is a good career
How do you become a successful freelance writer, Jessika Fichtel?
Hello Jessika, nice that you are taking the time for an interview with us. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Very much. My name is Jessika Fichtel, I am 30 years old, studied journalism and have been a freelance and freelance writer for over five years.
I actually managed to make a living from writing - many still consider it a myth.
Immediately after completing your studies, you started your own business as a freelance writer, blogger and copywriter.
Did the idea of self-employment mature during your studies and what advantages or disadvantages do you see from your own experience as a freelance writer compared to a permanent position?
Honestly? Until I registered as a freelancer, I could never imagine being self-employed.
In my case, the independence arose more or less out of necessity. There wasn't a suitable job for me after graduation, so I created one myself. But even if I became a freelancer like the Virgin Mary had a child, I haven't even regretted this decision to this day.
It is simply the greatest thing to be able to decide for yourself how, with what, when and where to earn your money. In my opinion, flexibility and self-determination are the two greatest advantages of being self-employed compared to a permanent position.
You get used to it pretty quickly and at the moment I don't know how I would react if someone offered me a permanent position.
What types of texts can you work on?
My big hobbyhorse are blogs - from the conception and topic research to the writing of the texts to the follow-up checks and the entry in the CMS.
But you can also hire me for classic website text, e-books, press releases, journalistic assignments and print stories. Copywriting is absolutely not my thing!
Thematically, I mainly work in the areas of career, outdoor, digital lifestyle, fashion and sustainability. Thanks to good research knowledge, I can also familiarize myself with other topics.
Do you have a tip for budding copywriters on how best to set their hourly rates? How did you go about it?
First of all, you should consider what your work is worth to you.
Many copywriters, but also other freelancers and freelancers, are not even aware of this. In the beginning I also sold myself clearly below value, but first needed to get started. So I thought it was okay to accept jobs that tend to be poorly paid - but always with the aim of constantly improving myself.
Furthermore, with the hourly rate, you should never forget the expenses for taxes, insurance and (super important in my eyes!) Old-age provision. An hourly rate of 20 euros sounds pretty high for many employees, but it is a drop in the ocean for the self-employed.
My colleague Lilli Koisser delivers a very good and above all open article on the subject of "Calculating the hourly rate for copywriters" on her blog.
During my research, I also noticed your own blog about your independence. Which channels do you use to generate your orders and what role does your own blog play in this?
When I landed the first couple of reasonably well-known customers, I made myself and my work visible on social media - specifically: Facebook, Twitter and Xing.
Amazingly, my customer acquisition became a sure-fire success from then on. I generate a lot of exciting jobs, especially via Xing. My freelancer blog itself plays a rather subordinate role in acquisition.
It was different with my city blog Feels like Erfurt. What started as a hobby has developed into a real door opener over time. Not only did the blog help me network, it also brought me some great regional customers that I really enjoy working with. Even though I have now completed the chapter “Feels like Erfurt”, the blog still has a positive effect on my work as a freelancer.
I have also found that the good old word of mouth as an acquisition channel should by no means be underestimated - both regionally and nationally.
Following the previous question, I would like to ask again how copywriters at the beginning of their independence can manage to get into the field of vision of potential clients?
I got the lousy start-up jobs mentioned above through the usual copywriting job boards. Everyone can think what they want from them.
I know that many copywriters are “too fine” for this, but for me they were a great start. That's why I always recommend her to copywriters who are at the beginning of their careers and who ask me for tips.
Job portals are okay - if you constantly have the right to increase your price per word or hourly rate and get away from this acquisition channel. As I said, social media helped me a lot.
I think it's important to make a name for yourself. In this context, personal branding is an extremely exciting topic that I've been dealing with for a while.
In my opinion, what can not hurt is a separate blog and guest posts on other sites such as frau, frei &, Edition F or Chapter One Mag.
Do you have one or more tips from your own experience that you would like to give prospective self-employed people on their way?
Listen to your gut feeling!
Mine once really sounded the alarm at a customer and "advised" me not to cooperate. Now he's insolvent and I'm sitting on open accounts.
Otherwise I like a quote from Walt Disney that Judith Williams hammered into us in the "Den of the Lions": If you can dream it, you can do it!
This is precisely why I am venturing beyond the limits of being a freelancer and working on an e-book with which I would like to pass on my knowledge and experience to budding copywriters.
Thank you for the interview and we wish you continued success Jessika.
Image: Christin Schreiter
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