“Money,” Woody Allen once said, “is nice to have — if only for financial reasons.”
Or as one of my copywriting mentors used to say, money isn’t just about affording a better life, taking care of your family, or safeguarding your retirement. It’s also a way to ‘keep score.’
Is that a sad testament to the shallowness of humanity? Or a reassurance that ambition and the drive to thrive are alive and well? It’s up to you. But personally, at least on one level, I think he’s right. Think about it.
We know that there are higher things than the material trappings of being a working stiff. Yet, when you see the Forbes 400 list of the world’s wealthiest… do you look? And when you do, do you stop at looking at the net worth or do you secretly search for the age, education, and hard-luck background stories too?
Most of us can’t help it.
We want to know how we’re measuring up. Spiritually, intellectually, aesthetically of course. But let’s face it, those things can be tough to measure.
Income, on the other hand, is easy.
Either you’ve got it or you don’t. And as a measurement of success, it ends up a universal equalizer, non-negotiable and true. Sure, applications of wealth, obsessions with wealth, understanding of wealth and what it can mean, those things can all vary. But wealth itself, for everybody it’s a common denominator. A means to living in the manner we hope we’ve earned.
Long story short, having a little extra scratch on hand… ain’t such a bad thing.
And having a lot more, well, that’s a hard idea to resist too.
Okay, so now that we all feel good about money and having some… how do you measure up?
Some time ago, CR friend Chris Marlow put together a survey of fellow copywriters.
Keep in mind, most of her responses came from the U.S., some from Canada and some from the U.K. This could be as much because the survey is in English as it is a fair representation of the global market.
Also, most of the responders (61%) are in the 1-5 year range of experience. And more than half have written for both specialty markets and what they would consider “general” fields.
Most write for either the “Marketing Communications” field or “Banking and Investment” with a majority writing for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business products.
So… what are we making, year over year?
Just over 25% — at the time I had taken the survey — landed in the $50K to $75K category… with nearly 15% making between $75K to $100K… and a small but impressive slice taking in as much as $300K to $400K per year. (I’m in the latter category, but know plenty in the middle and a handful in the first).
How are they finding their best business, biggest paying assignments, and favorite clients?
What fields yield the most copywriting opportunity?
What types of pieces did they write for most — speeches, brochures, e-zines, direct-mail letters, radio and space ads, and more — and what did they charge for each?
All this, you’ll have to get from Chris.
She compiles and sells the survey results every year. I recommend it not for affiliate income (in fact, I can’t find my affiliate link at the moment and want to get this post up, so this is just a straight shot over to Chris’ site (click here)), but because I know that by knowing how others pull off this career, you’ll get some ideas for yourself.
And maybe a little inspiration too.