Why freelance copywriting isn't my "side hustle"

Warning: ranting ahead.

I've seen numerous posts on LinkedIn describing copywriting as a profitable "side hustle" - and this rubs me up the wrong way.

What's a side hustle?


The Cambridge Dictionary definition above is pretty straightforward.  

Is there anything wrong with starting a copywriting business while you do other work?  Absolutely not.  I started my business while I was working full-time in a pizzeria, often scribbling business ideas on the backs of old orders.  

But the idea of copywriting being reduced to something that never develops into anything further than a side gig doesn't sit well with me.  Here's why copywriting isn't my side hustle.

Excellence takes time
While I fully appreciate most people don't have the luxury of leaving their current employment and immediately launching a copywriting business, in order to be an excellent copywriter, you need to devote time to your craft.  That's extremely hard when you're juggling a job and likely have other commitments.  

Running a copywriting business is time-consuming
The day-to-day running of a copywriting business includes all sorts of activities, including:
  • Emailing
  • Networking
  • Answering the phone
  • Cold pitching to your dream clients
  • Attending meetings
  • Keeping your social media updated
  • Keeping your blog updated
  • Keeping your portfolio updated
  • Keeping your CV updated
  • Keeping your accounts updated
  • Actually writing
  • Sharpening your skills (learning, classes, practicing, etc.)
I know that, in order to give each of those tasks the attention it deserves, I need to allocate the correct amount of time for each one - and often I fail miserably.  Add to this all the tasks you need to do in your personal life (housework, family time, walking the dog, exercising, etc.) and the idea of having another job in addition to all this would make me want to crawl in a dark hole.

Clients deserve the best
I'm fairly expensive and I want to make sure I'm worth what I charge.  For me, that involves giving each client my full attention.  If copywriting was my side hustle, shoehorned into my evenings or lunch breaks, I know my writing would suffer and the clients' experience would be poor.  Clients often comment on my fast response times and how quickly I'm able to action amends.  This is because I have the luxury of allocating time in order to do this, in order to make them my priority. 

In conclusion
For those interested in copywriting, I say go for it!  I'd never heard of copywriting until 2020 and I honestly wish I'd started years ago - instead of unknowingly doing it in my career as a journalist.  

None of this is intended to be discouraging to anyone thinking about making copywriting their career or even dabbling in it to see if it's a good fit.  I simply feel describing copywriting as a "side hustle" doesn't give this incredibly rewarding career the respect it deserves.