When I started my freelance copywriting business, I had no idea what I was doing.

273 days later, I hit six-figures.

During those 273 days, I learned a lot. Mostly about what not to do.

Here are just a few tips that might help you create your own successful freelance copywriting business. And keep you from having to learn some of the lessons I did… the hard way.

1. Ignore what everyone else is doing.

Your freelance copywriting business is about you. It’s about your goals and your life. So don’t let anyone else tell you how to run it. If you do that, you run the risk of spending your time and effort building someone else’s business.

You’ll spend a year or two working and then realize that you don’t even like what you’ve built.

Get clear about exactly what you want out of the business. And then be creative about figuring out how to go out and get it.

If you’re at a complete loss for which direction to go, just remember Earl Nightingale’s advice:

“Look What At What Everyone Is Doing and Then Do The Opposite.”

2. Stop following the gurus and start following yourself.

Even the biggest gurus started out broke and clueless. So if that’s where you are, you’re in good company.

If I can attribute one skill above all others (even my writing) that is responsible for making six-figures as a freelance copywriter, it is this one:

The ability to use my brain and think for myself.

That’s not a skill that is really encouraged these days. But in business, it’s a skill that can make or break your success.

As you get your business going, this becomes easier and easier… as your confidence and bank account grow.

But that’s no reason to wait. Think for yourself. Don’t ASK people to tell you what to do. They’ll surely have an opinion.

But following what THEY think is best for you can lead you on some very frustrating (and less than profitable) wild goose chases.

3. Fewer clients, more value.

If you know anything about marketing, you know that it’s expensive to acquire a customer and very profitable to keep your existing customers buying from you again and again. Same thing is true in the freelance copywriting business.

When you go out looking for clients, don’t look for startups and don’t look for one hit wonders–the businesses that only have one product to sell.

Those aren’t really businesses. Those are promotions. And although the fee for the project might be good… once it’s over, it’s over.

And that’s not good for your future income.

So target clients who have real businesses, with more than one product to sell, who need the help of a freelance copywriter on a regular basis.

By working with the same clients again and again, everyone benefits. You write better copy and they get better results.

4. Understand the value of high quality copy.

So what IS the value of being the world’s best copywriter?

Not as great as you might think.

What you need to remember is that there is a HUGE difference between being an excellent copywriter and actually making a lot of money in the copywriting business.

The first is about learning how to write… the second is about learning how to run the business of writing…

Two very different things. Chances are, if you already have some clients, your copywriting skills are good enough (for now) to make a whole lot more than you’re making.

My hunch is, you can stop focusing exclusively on your copywriting skills and start focusing on your business building skills.

5. Become your own client.

You’re the best freelance copywriting client you’ll ever have.

You’ll never yell at yourself, you can’t get fired… and best of all, you get to keep all of the money.

So get started creating your own products. Don’t wait until you’ve “made it” in the freelance copywriting world to start your own projects. You don’t want to get sucked in by the easy money.

Because the payoff is far bigger when you’re actually the one who’s selling your own product.

There’s a reason that successful business owners can pay copywriters huge fees. The reason is that they are making a whole lot more money than the fee they pay the copywriter.

Moral of the story: own the business–and sell your own products.

Become your own copywriting client. You won’t regret it.