Copywriting as a Portable Career for Expats

copywriting is a career you can pursue anywhere

“My question is how much schooling or classes did you invest in or is this a path you self taught?”

A reader sent in that question after receiving a recent email about portable careers. (If you don’t receive emails from Future Expats, here’s a copy of what you missed.)

She was asking about my training as a writer.

JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book by hand on cafe napkins while her daughter slept. Most of us today use computers and need an internet connection, but wherever you can hook up your laptop, tablet, or even smart phone, you can be in the writing business.

There are plenty of different ways to earn an income writing, too.  Besides fiction (which doesn’t generally pay very well unless you’re a mega-bestseller), you can write:

  • Articles and blog posts
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Sales letters
  • Landing pages
  • Email autoresponders
  • Video scripts
  • E-books and print books

You can write on any subject under the sun.

Who will hire you to write for them?

  • Corporations
  • Small businesses
  • Professional businesses (lawyer, accountant, etc.)
  • Retailers
  • Consultants
  • Politicians
  • Medical professionals
  • Manufacturers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Not-for-profit organizations

What’s the Difference between Writing and Copywriting?

Writing is one of the most portable of careers, and copywriting is the version of writing that pays the best.

portable copywriting careerCopywriting is persuasive writing, usually for the purposes of marketing or advertising. That’s where most of the good money is for writers today.

That long letter you get in your third-class mail with all the underlining and bullet points? That’s a traditional direct marketing sales letter. It’s the pushiest form of copywriting.

That type of copywriting is not my style, so I don’t do it. There’s plenty of copywriting that’s not at all sales-ey.

If copywriting sounds like an interesting portable career to you, here’s how I recommend you get started.

  1. Make sure your English skills are adequate. You don’t need to be the best writer in the world, or know every rule of grammar. You do need to be able to write clearly so readers can understand you.
  2. Once you’ve got that squared away, get Copywriting 2.0. It’s a program from my friends at AWAI that will teach you what you need to know about the art and the business of copywriting in today’s online world [aff]. Best of all, your satisfaction is guaranteed for a full year — 365 days!
  3. Subscribe to Wealthy Web Writer. It’s a monthly subscription service that gives you access to a boatload of information about running a successful web writing business. It includes tips and techniques, information about tools and technology, interviews with successful web writers, and webinars and teleseminars. There’s also a member forum, and they’re adding new information all the time. I’ve been a member since it started (I write for them regularly as well), and it’s a tremendous resource.It also includes a member forum where you can ask questions and interact with other members — sometimes that’s the best part! It’s a friendly and very encouraging community. [aff]
  4. If your interests run more toward writing for magazines, newspapers, blogs and a more journalistic type of writing, Carol Tice’s website Make a Living Writing is a fantastic resource.
  5. Here’s a completely free resource, and it’s great. Set up a free membership to get Copywriting 101.

Working as a freelance writer can be hugely rewarding — emotionally and financially. Good copywriters can easily earn six figures, or, you can work just part time to fund a comfortable life overseas.

This article was updated on July 5, 2017. It contains affiliate links, so if you click the link and make a purchase, I earn a commission. You pay no more than you would otherwise, and the commissions help me keep this site going.

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