Guest post by Lisbeth Tanz
If they had asked me, I could have told them that doing this work isn’t the easiest way to earn a living, at least not initially.
No new business is easy – but when you consider that all you need to start a writing business is a computer, Internet connection, telephone, fax (maybe) and writing talent, it seems like a slam dunk.
However, starting a writing business takes more than just good writing skills. It takes business savvy (or the willingness to develop it), the ability and desire to work hard to get established and an understanding that money won’t start flowing immediately (unless you’re really, really fortunate).
Here are 10 things to consider before you declare yourself in business as a writer:
- Identify the things you know a lot about and would enjoy writing about.
- Determine how much time per day you will be able to pursue your writing business dream.
- Determine the market(s) you want to pursue. Do you want to write for magazines? Newspapers? Web content providers? Your own content? Do you want to create your own products? Do you want to be an affiliate marketer? (You’d be surprised at how much writing is necessary when you promote the products of others effectively.) NOTE: Each of these markets is different and you may not be able to find work for some of them on the job boards.
- Analyze (don’t just look at) the top job boards: guru.com, elance.com and odesk.com. There are others, but these three are probably the biggest. I could write a post or three on just this topic. You’ll want to look for what the most successful bidders are doing and emulate them.
- Take a stroll over to Craigslist to see what freelance gigs might be posted there. Sometimes I find hidden gems on my local Craigslist.
- Now that you’ve done some research, you’re better prepared to write down three goals you would like to achieve with your writing business in the next three months, six months and 12 months. Setting goals helps you stay focused.
- You’ll also want to calculate how much money you must earn to make this venture worthwhile. You can learn how in this post I wrote about calculating your freelance writing rates .
- If you don’t have any writing examples, create some! You won’t need many, but you will need to create a few that can demonstrate your writing ability.
- Consider where and when you’ll do your writing. If you have three kids under three, this could be a challenge. But people manage extreme or difficult situations and still make time for writing, so get creative with your planning.
- If your skills aren’t up to snuff, search for mentors, websites and books that can help you improve your skills.
There are many other things to consider, but these should get you started. You might have noticed that I didn’t talk about coming up with a business name, creating a logo, making business cards, etc. That’s because you will best serve yourself by considering these 10 points before you jump headfirst into a writing business.
Many thanks to Melanie for giving me the opportunity to guest post on Solo Mompreneur!
Lisbeth Tanz is a freelance copywriter and editor. Her business, The Hired Pen, was started on a wing and a prayer in 2004 (before she understood the 10 points above). Since then she’s written and edited for a wide variety of business clients, but focuses primarily on alternative health and wellness, home improvement and pets/animal companion writing. She’s continually amazed at all there is to learn about writing and business and enjoys sharing her newfound knowledge with new and experienced writers at www.savvyfreelancewriters.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn .