Make Money as a Copywriter
If you're someone who prefers the structure of a 9-to-5 job or thrives in an office environment, you're probably not going to embrace the kind of “do-what-you-like” lifestyle that comes with copywriting.
But if you've ever fantasized about what it would be like to live “the writer's life” … to escape the daily rat race, face new and exciting challenges every day, and have the freedom to wake up anywhere in the world and make your own decision on whether or not you want to work today.
If you've ever dreamed of being able to live and earn a great income no matter where you decide to move to overseas –– maybe in a house by the sea in Latin America, an historic European city, or even on a Greek island for a summer …
Then copywriting could be ideal for you.
Copywriting is a mega-industry, ripe with opportunity. And yearning for people who can fuel it with fresh marketing messages and one of the best benefits of the freelance copywriter’s lifestyle is that you can get paid in U.S. dollars… yet live virtually anywhere in the world. That includes all those countries with a super-low cost-of-living.
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See the articles below for more information on copywriting.
Ever since the internet caught on, people have been figuring out how to use a laptop to connect with money-making opportunities all over the world. As a result, there’s now between 3.3 million and 8 million completely untethered workers roaming the globe. I’m thrilled to be one of them.
I’ve always been fascinated by Spain, with its unhurried pace…warm people…and colorful history. So a year ago I spent several months traveling from the medieval villages of Girona in the northeast, down to the windswept beaches and emerging surf towns of the southwest.
If you can write a simple email to a friend—and you like to share ideas with other people—you have all the qualifications you need to make a good income, live wherever you want in the world, and be your own boss. Age…experience…location…none of that matters. I’m talking about freelance copywriting. People often think they need a lot of qualifications to become a copywriter. But, the truth is, you don’t need a special education to succeed in this industry. There are successful copywriters who didn’t finish high school.
Back in 2009, I was taking a six-week holiday at a beach resort on the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand. Almost everyone there was on vacation, of course. And they were having a great time, enjoying the fun and sun, and spending money. Lots of it. Not earning it. But not me… That’s because I’m a freelance copywriter. That just means I write sales letters, promotional emails, and other communications…just easy, conversational English.
I haven’t always done what I do these days. In fact, during the first year of my new career, I didn’t even know that’s what it was called. It was only after a client told me that “good copywriters are hard to come by” that I realized. I smiled, politely nodded my head, and then frantically googled the term “copywriter” after she left. I honestly had no clue up until that point that the simple promotional writing I was doing was called copywriting. I started out as a songwriter and an artist. But I had an exhaustive and demanding touring schedule that required me to be on the road 51 weeks of the year. After performing and writing for more than 25 years, the passion was gone.
I hear you’re looking for a portable income to help you move overseas. I don’t blame you. Why live where you don’t want to…when you can live anywhere? The beaches of Central American are on your doorstep…Southeast Asia has some beautiful—and low-cost—places where you can set up home…and the cultures of Europe are waiting to be explored.
I’d wanted to visit Ecuador for almost 12 years before I finally set foot there. At the time, I didn’t realize it was going to be my new home. I thought I was just visiting… But when you’ve got a portable income, vacations go on forever. Money wasn’t an issue and I could easily afford to stay in Ecuador. I picked up a new apartment…a weekly cleaning lady…and lots of new friends. I had both the funds and the flexibility to be as social as I wanted. And I settled into a new kind of life in the colonial city of Cuenca—one that I truly, truly love.
Strange things happen when I tell people at a dinner party that I “write” for a living. At first, they’re excited…thinking they’ve just met a famous author, journalist, or screenwriter. “What have you written? Anything I might have seen or read?” I answer, “Maybe, but probably not. I’m not ‘that’ kind of writer…” I can see disappointment sweep across their faces.
The other day, my friend Rony asked me if I wanted to go to the neighboring island of Koh Samui for a little R&R. It sounded tempting, but I wasn’t feeling like making the trip. So I politely declined and told her that I had to get some work done here on Koh Phangan. Then, she completely busted my objection.
Our balcony in Costa Rica looks out at the tops of the trees, giving us a perfect view of the forest. Toucans, tanagers, and tropical birds I’ve never seen before gather there every morning. Three-toed sloths graze in nearby branches, while the Pacific Ocean laps in the distance. As my husband and I sip coffee and watch the show each morning, I can’t help but be thankful for my good fortune.
The smell of fresh paint is just one sign things are changing in our Cuenca apartment these days… There’s new furniture. New towels, linens, and dishware. From top to bottom, this place is in the middle of getting a post-wedding makeover as I settle into the married life.
Last year I traveled to nine countries. I stayed in Costa Rica for six months and Mediterranean Malta for three months. This year, I am once again dividing my time between Costa Rica and the Mediterranean…as well as visiting seven other countries. Right now, I’m in London, taking a break from the tropics and the glorious island life. My days are filled with visiting attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Eye…while stopping off at quaint English pubs for lunch and perhaps a beer or two. By night, I’m enjoying the buzz around Piccadilly Circus.
When I quit my job to travel the world for a year‚ the last thing I wanted to do was work. Well, at least not in the capacity that I used to as an editor in Manhattan. In fact‚ part of the reason I left the country was to take a break from the New York corporate rat race. When I first moved to Quito, Ecuador in 2012‚ I worked at two language schools teaching English. But after several months‚ I wanted to explore another way to make money.
“Yeah, right.” That’s the first thought I had when I discovered freelance copywriting…way back in 2001. I just couldn’t believe that it was possible to “make great money…writing just a few hours day…from anywhere in the world.” There was just no way. WAY too good to be true.
In late March of this year, I was sitting at the dining table at a friend’s house in Glasgow, Scotland, where I was visiting for a couple of weeks after leaving Costa Rica and enjoying a short four-day stop-over in London.
As I write this, I’m preparing to leave on a flight bound for Guatemala. My wife and I plan on staying a few days in the city of Antigua—one of the world’s best-preserved colonial cities—and then heading over to El Salvador.
It was one of those days when I was at my desk early. First I checked email, then it was time for a morning meeting. Next, I had a few minutes to type up my notes, and I was off to another appointment.
Thinking internationally enhances every aspect of your life—even when it comes to marriage! That’s what my fiancé and I have found as we put the final details on our wedding plans. You see, for many married couples, the future is very much set in stone…or at least that’s how it seems.
I’m a writer. And in the age of the Internet, that’s a great thing to be. I didn’t plan it that way, of course. In my case it was just dumb luck. After a dozen years as an undergrad searching for something to hold my interest long enough to actually get a degree, I stumbled on journalism.
From 1993 to 1999, I traveled and lived all over the world. And during that time, I got to experience wonderful places like the white-sand beaches of the British Virgin Islands…the cafes of Aix-en-Provence, France…the wild summer parties of Corfu, Greece…the exotic culture of Bali, Indonesia…and more.
My best friend from high school saves $84 a month because I live and work in Ecuador. My sister slashed her dental bills. And I recently discovered a way for family members to double the value of their cell phones…
I’m very lucky to be doing what I’m doing. I’m even luckier to be doing it from where I’m doing it, which right now is Ecuador. I’m a writer, and I trained a long time to do this, although not really on purpose. And I never thought it would lead me overseas. My undergraduate training was in journalism. Just the facts, ma’am. Who, what, when, where, how, and why…and maybe a job at the local newspaper. (Remember newspapers?)
When I reflect upon my lifestyle since becoming a copywriter in 2001—after 20 years in banking in Australia—I know I made the right choice. I started in banking as a clerk at 16, and worked my way up to senior management positions. When I quit my job as a commercial lending manager after 15 years, I was so stressed out from working 80-plus hours a week on multi-million dollar loan applications.
On a beautiful morning, I was up early to watch the pale light filter through the trees as the sun rose. The forest came to life as I sat on my balcony. I sipped a cup of rich, locally grown coffee and watched the tropical birds flit through the branches in the early morning sunlight. I refreshed my coffee and settled back to enjoy the sounds of wildlife around me, while my husband slept in our room.
As I watched my fiancé fall off his surfboard for the hundredth time, my pancakes arrived. Warm and fluffy, they were so big the edges drooped over the sides of my plate. But my server was very sad and apologetic. There was no maple syrup left…anywhere in town. I’d just have to make do with the mango spread—made in-house from local, naturally-harvested fruits.
Thanks to the location independence my career provides, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of making a living from some truly amazing locations all over the world. Places like the top deck of a ferry crossing the Gulf of Thailand at sunrise…in the sleeping cabin of a night train on the way to Sapa, Vietnam…in a pub on Dublin’s Temple Bar…
I went from a life where I was struggling financially—despite working three jobs—to one where I work “part-time” and make a great income. As a result I live wherever I want to. Right now I’m just minutes away from gorgeous sunrises on the beach. I’ve been able to pursue hobbies I’m passionate about, including ballroom dance, music, and songwriting. More importantly, this year my new income stream will fund my travels to Europe and Central America—two places I’ve been meaning to visit for quite some time now.
In December 2012, I was sitting in my beautiful waterfront apartment in Malta, a small, hidden gem of an island in the Mediterranean, drinking coffee while soaking up the stunning views. The turquoise waters were glistening from the warm, morning sun, pleasure boats everywhere. That view was also my office view.
The words jumped out at me from the email on my screen. “We have an emergency! We need your help!” At that moment I was on vacation in Mexico with my husband. When I worked in a corporate job, seeing an email like this while on vacation would have made me nervous. But not this time.
I stood in the window of my apartment in Lucca, Italy, concentrating on painting the scene below. The narrow street was filled with the usual locals who were doing their daily marketing and stopping briefly in a centuries-old church to light a candle. As I tried to capture this slice of life on canvas, I looked out to see a pair of tourists aiming their camera at me—the artist in the window above. Once the shutter clicked, they smiled and waved and I waved back. But my own smile was followed by warm satisfaction that I was living a dream: spending several months in Italy so as to really experience the culture and become part of the fabric of local life.
They thought we were crazy. My wife and I announced to friends and family that we were moving cross country—from Utah to Florida. To them it was unexpected. And it was. We decided to move on a whim, after all. Within just a few short months, we were on the road. And 2,200 miles later we finally arrived in sunny Florida. There’s a good reason I’m telling you this. One that may help you fund your own future adventures.
It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. “Jason,” my friend Brad told me. “I know you can work from anywhere in the world.” He was right. Freelance copywriters like me can make a living—and often a very good living (in excess of six-figures per year)—from just about anywhere in the world. All you need are the secrets to writing a simple sales letter, a laptop, and an Internet connection…and you’re good to go.
“And I know,” Brad said, “that you’ve never been to Thailand.”
My fiancé and I headed out for a double date with friends in the States recently. We were visiting Florida, and our friends wanted to get our opinion on the authenticity of a new Peruvian restaurant. It was very good and very close to the real thing…right up until the check arrived! Our half of the evening came to $70—but in Cuenca, Ecuador, our home overseas, a similar meal would have been less than $50…for all four of us.
There is a tidal wave of opportunity coming your way… Opportunity that could pave the way quickly for your live-abroad move. In fact, whether you want to live in Cuenca, Panama City or Paris, that move could now be financially more comfortable…and you could make it with greater mental satisfaction than you might otherwise expect.
Six weeks ago, I left my luxurious, sea-view condo in Costa Rica (my second home) to return to my first home—Malta, a Mediterranean island, surrounded by turquoise waters. Relaxing with a glass of champagne in First Class on the way over to London, I knew I was going to miss the long, sandy beaches, stunning sunsets each night after playing beach volleyball, and the amazing wildlife and postcard-perfect scenery.
You’re already well on your way to a portable, lucrative income…even if you don’t realize it yet! But every time you convince a friend to join you at the restaurant you like…get your choice when you head to the movies…or talk someone out of the house on a lazy Saturday…you’re practicing the one skill that makes it possible for you to make a comfortable income anywhere you want.
Years ago I decided that before I ever settled down I wanted to live in five new cities around the world. But when I originally imagined this “jet-setter” lifestyle I believed I would need to sell a company or save hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it a reality.
It’s been just over a year since I let my lease expire, packed my bags, and took off around the world with my growing business and my small dog.
In case you don’t know—and some don’t—copywriting means writing ad copy. The headlines. The print ads you see. Billboards. TV ads. And sales letters.
A career as a freelance copywriter is a pretty cushy “job.” You can work at home or from wherever in the world that you want that to be.
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