What It’s Like to be an Austin Copywriter
Updated: Apr 2, 2021
I started freelancing full-time at the start of 2016. I had just resigned from my previous 9-5 job and was still in the market for the next opportunity.
My friend Aaron knew my writing and encouraged me to become a freelance copywriter for local tech companies. As he reasoned, “You’re a good writer and you live in a tech city. Why don’t you just write for all these startups?”
And like that, my Austin copywriting career began.
A year later, Sarabeth and I got married—and in the same week she resigned from her job at UT to join me in the business. We’ve been freelancing together ever since.
What it’s like working as a copywriter in Austin
Somewhere in the ballpark of 170 people move to Austin every day, making it among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Many of the often-noted characteristics that make Austin so appealing for employees, also makes it great for freelancing: tax-friendly, healthy living, laid-back lifestyle, stellar food, and a relatively low cost of living compared to other major cities.
In short: there’s opportunity here. New innovative businesses seem to sprout every day. As freelancers, living in Austin gives us the opportunity to help some of those exciting companies grow and connect with their ideal customers.
While we serve clients from all over the world, there’s something special about partnering with local companies. Beyond the possibility to meet in person, it also just connects us on something beyond the shared work. We can compare our favorite restaurants, bump into one another around town, and easily make introductions when clients need other resources. We've gotten to work with established local companies like JB Goodwin, AppSumo, and OutboundEngine, among many others.
Why Austin is great for freelancing copywriting
The “Keep Austin Weird” mantra comes from the ongoing call to support local businesses. As a result, Austin is home to many wonderful and quirky small businesses that enrich this city with character you won't find anywhere else.
Sarabeth and I have found Austin to be a very small business friendly city. Throughout our entrepreneurial career, we have mostly worked from home, but when we've needed a break from the house, Austin is perfect for finding cozy co-working spaces, coffee shops, and bars.
We live in South Austin, so most of the places we’ve co-worked are on this side of town. Before COVID-19, Sarabeth and I worked regularly from Nomadic Beerworks. But our go-to spot changed every few months. Stouthaus, Radio, and Spokesman are great for coworking. And for coffee to-go, we frequent Praxis a lot too.
It goes without saying that Austin is a tax-friendly place to live and run a business. There’s not much I can add to that statement, so I won’t try.
The walkability of Austin is also a nice perk for freelancers. It gets us out of the house almost daily to explore trails. Sarabeth and I share weekly walking meetings around Lady Bird Lake, for example. We grab a coffee from any of our favorite coffee shops and spend an hour once per week planning the future of our business.
In summary: As a business-friendly city, Austin offers a lot of opportunities for freelance copywriters. More local businesses need good copywriters than there are copywriters available in the market. If you’ve ever dreamt of making a good living as a writer, I believe being a freelance copywriter in Austin is one of the surest paths to fulfilling that dream.
Resources for freelance copywriters in Austin
Austin has a burgeoning freelance community. Freelancing can be a lonely vocation, but local communities like Austin Freelance Gigs and Austin Digital Jobs make it a lot easier to connect with other freelancers in Austin. Freelance Austin is another established resource for monthly networking.
I’ve met many Austin copywriting clients through these groups as well as had the chance to connect with other freelancers to compare notes, refer work, and simply connect with fellow business owners.
While not geared specifically toward copywriting, I’ve also gained a lot from being a member of Writers League of Texas over the years. They host multiple writing workshops and conferences throughout the year. I especially love their annual event The Agents & Editors Conference.
In 2018, Sarabeth and I briefly moved to Fort Worth. We lived walking distance from the best coworking space I’ve ever used: Common Desk. Since moving back, Common Desk followed us to Austin and have opened multiple locations around town. It literally took a global pandemic to hold me back from