Yesterday, I introduced you to Christy Strauch, business coach and author of Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. I'll be talking with Christy later this week and giving you my review of this book. Today, however, I asked Christy Staunch to be a guest author here and tell us, since many of you are authors, how writing is a small business. Enjoy!
Can Writing Be a Small Business?
While you are writing your breakthrough novel or screenplay, there are other ways to earn money writing.
To do this, you have to ask yourself a crucial question. Can you write what other people want you to write? If you can, here are some ways to turn writing into a small business, while you’re finishing your other work.
As a writer, you have already noticed that a lot of business writing (ad copy, press releases, and even technical manuals) could use more of a writer’s touch. Business writing can be stilted, passive and boring, but it isn’t always, nor does it have to be. You can fix it! Ad agencies and companies themselves hire freelance copywriters to help them; you can help companies or their marketing consultants write their blog posts, press releases, web site copy, technical manuals, employee handbooks...the list is endless. You can go into business yourself as a copywriter, or work through an agency. For some real-live experience about how to earn money in the copywriting world, start with http://copywritersroundtable.com/
The next way you can turn your writing into a small business is to break down your ideas into information products to sell on your website. This may be tougher if you write fiction, but not impossible. Do all your writing friends call and ask you for writing advice? Do you have a sure-fire way to overcome writers’ block? Do you have a reliable method to flesh out your fictional characters’ characters? Are you a highly-skilled user of your word processing program? Or, if you’re writing non-fiction (especially a how-to book), can you distill some of your strongest points into a smaller product that people could buy from your website?
There is a lot of advice on the Internet about how to create information products (see http://www.ittybiz.com/ for a start). If you have ideas for products, the Internet will provide loads of information on how to get started. Watch out for get-rich-quick schemes, though. Anybody who says you can be a millionaire the first year is lying.
Finally, if you’re a prolific writer, willing to write something at least daily, and have an identifiable audience (for instance, you’re a mom writing about your autistic kid or a college student writing about how you’re getting by on no money, or an extreme-sports person writing about your adventures), you can start a blog and post advertising using Google’s Ad Sense program. This takes significant work (you have to build up a large audience so you have enough people to click on the ads next to your blog, in order to generate meaningful revenue). Go to www.google.com/adsense for more information.
If you decide you want to turn your writing into a small business, and you’ve also decided you can write for other people, the final step before you start, is to figure out who you want to write for. Seek out companies whose products and services you support, and figure out how you can help them. If you decide you want to create information products, who will they be for, and what does that audience need from you? Same for a blog.
Just like in any other business, the first work in your writing business is to understand your prospective perfect customer, his needs, and how you can help. Coincidentally, I wrote a book about how to write a business plan for small businesses, called Passion, Plan, Profit; 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. You’ll greatly improve your chances of success if you use it to plan first.
You can see more on Christy's book here