Copywriting Tip #23: Do a deal (a contra deal)

If a prospect doesn’t have the budget to pay for your copywriting, but they’ve got a really cool, interesting business, maybe there’s an opportunity to have a contra deal. What’s contra?

I’m glad you asked.

Contra is when people swap services. So, for example, let’s say I do a contra deal with my local yoga teacher. She gives me yoga classes to the value of $500, and I give her copywriting valued at $500. Simple. We help each other, we find out more about what each other does and because there’s no money changing hands, there’s less pressure to perform or be perfect. On top of that, you’ll create work that can be used in your portfolio. A win-win.

Should you work for free?


No, I don’t think you should unless you simply cannot find anyone to do a contra with or if you believe that they can offer you access to a range of other clients who will pay.

Here’s the thing. If you do something for nothing, they’ll value it at that. As a result, they won’t take it seriously, they’ll make lots of changes and they’ll take their time with it too. Not a good way to work.

It’s a bit like putting on an event and not charging for it. People don’t turn up, devalue it and don’t make an effort. If you do work for free, send an invoice for the work, nominate the value of the work and then cross it out, saying ‘mates rates’ or ‘a special deal for you’ so they know that next time the clock will be turned on and a fee will apply.

Whatever route you take, just make sure you ask for what you want and that you put a value on your services. After all, if you don’t, why would they?

Action: Find a local business who need your copywriting services and offer to write copy for them in exchange for their services.