With everyone working remotely these days, many people (creatives especially) are entertaining the idea of switching careers. One career that’s both high in demand and attractive to switchers is copywriting. If you have a great command of language and love working with designers to create brilliant content together, you might be asking yourself, what’s it really like to be a copywriter? We interviewed one of our freelance writers to get more insight.
Artisan Talent: Hi! Tell us who you are and what you’re currently doing for a living?
Alicia: Hey, my name is Alicia Berbenick (she/her) and I’m a copywriter with over twelve years of experience. I live in Brooklyn, New York, but I work with clients from all over the country. While I used to be full-time, working in-house for fashion brands like Macy’s and J.Crew, I’ve been able to branch out within the last year. I truly work on everything from the smallest affiliate ad to writing long-form advertorials.
Artisan: Give us some context on how you ended up at this place in your career.
AB: It’s kinda funny—I wanted to be an English teacher at first. But 2009 (like today) saw many people getting creative with how they could make their careers work better for them. Sacked with student loan debt and zero available teaching jobs, I looked for alternative ways to make money. My introduction to copywriting fell into my lap unexpectedly through a friend’s connection with Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I didn’t even know what copywriting was at first! But the job was entry-level and I had a solid background in English and Creative Writing. I was hired and have been working steadily as a copywriter ever since.
Artisan: How do you start your day off to facilitate creativity and productivity?
AB: I feel like every creative person mentions this, but I begin my mornings with my Morning Pages, straight out of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I don’t care how corny it sounds—getting all of my weirdo thoughts and anxieties out first thing in the morning really helps me get centered and prepares me to do creative work. And, of course, I gotta have my good coffee at hand while I scribble. Then I meditate a little, get ready (yes, even if I’m working remotely), and get to work. I usually also listen to fun playlists to get my brain in a focused headspace.
Artisan: What are the elements of your day that bring you joy? What about career satisfaction?
AB: Freelance copywriting is really rewarding in that I’m creating something different every day. One day I can be writing a blog article that I know will provide information and potentially help or entertain readers. The next day I’ll be crafting a TV ad script for another client or helping develop an entirely new brand voice for yet another client. The longer I’m in this line of work, and the more connections I make, the more varied my skills become—which can make for a pretty great, steady paycheck after a while! Plus, being freelance means I can also choose to set time aside for other things I love...like drawing or making music.
Artisan: What’s the biggest challenge you encounter?
AB: I’m just going to be real—few people or companies really know the value of strong writers and will balk at our pay rates as well as the time needed to do a great job. I get that budgets are tight, but it really does take time to create quality copy backed by hours of research, brainstorming, and rounds of editing. The general misconception is that we can just “whip something up” in an hour or two. I’ve been doing this for over a decade and that attitude doesn’t seem to change, so be prepared for it and stand your ground around pay if you do go into copywriting.
Artisan: What are your long-term goals?
AB: I’ve been freelancing for the last two years and really enjoying the space it creates throughout my day. Freelancing has given me the ability to dabble in learning other skills, like editorial illustration. I’d like to combine these skills in the future to write books and articles with watercolor illustrations all by yours truly. That is another thing about copywriting that I love—you’ll never run out of content to create, or different ways of creating it, and you’ll never stop learning.
Ready for a job in copywriting? Decide that maybe another path is right for you? Check out our open jobs to find your next project or full-time role.
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