Starting a writing business is a reality that many journalism graduates wish they can accomplish. Most freelance writers begin their career working in local newspapers, online content mills, and magazines. While starting a business in the writing industry can lead to a successful empire, it requires creativity, being fiscally responsible and the ability to hire editors or writers. It is important to know your worth and determine whether to charge customers for your time with an hourly rate or per assignment. Before you think about starting a business in the writing industry, take these necessary steps.
Writing a Business Plan
The goal of writing a business plan is to describe your plans and what you will do to achieve your long and short term goals. Starting Business has a list of Business Plan Templates that will help you get started.
- Executive Summary
A business plan must begin with an executive summary that tells a reader what it is that you want. It can include an investor to support your business financially or a loan from a financial institution.
- Description of the Business
A description of the current state of the writing industry in addition to future projections are a valuable part of this section. Conduct research on this topic because a lender or investor can tell if you wrote a quick summary or made an effort by adding statistics, government data, and industry facts.
- Marketing Plan
An analysis of the writing market will help you to figure out marketing strategies to include in this area of the business plan. It will project that you have a clear vision and promoting the business to increase sales is a priority for you to expand.
- Competitive Analysis
Identify your businesses strengths and weaknesses in comparison to competitors in the industry. Describe how you will overcome weaknesses with strategies that other companies use to remain successful.
- Operational Plans
The way that your business will function is an essential part of the operations plan. The responsibilities of you as the CEO, your editors, writers, and graphic designers need to be the selling point. The expenses that will be incurred to pay employees, marketing and other expenditures will allow the reader to understand if your business is worth investing.
Determine Prices for Your Services
The rates that you charge a customer will depend on your experience and a proven track record that your work is high quality. Complete a search in Google to determine the rates that a beginner, intermediate and advanced writer charges. Depending on your level of writing, you can charge between $0.05 to $2.00 per word. Most writers at the beginning of their career accept less of a rate than what they are worth. It can become a never-ending cycle when you begin to realize you are being cheated of thousands of dollars a week. Be confident and prepared to negotiate with prospects.
If you decide to work on assignments that charge an hourly rate, the rate has to be realistic and align with the compensation that is set based on different factors. As a result, compensation should determine the type of assignments that you select. If you want to earn high profits, you have to either have the experience or be prepared to take courses to improve your writing skills.
Establish a Financial Strategy
According to the website Mars, "New unproven ventures are risky and spend more cash than they generate." If you are a person that is limited in resources, an investor or lender will be the backbone of your business. To gain the interest of a creditor, you have to have a clear vision of how the company will generate revenue and it needs to be available for people to read. In the document a financial plan and how you raise capital has to be included.
Here are a few points to consider:
- Pinpoint milestones that are achievable and use the SWOT analysis to assist with how you plan to build the business.
- For each milestone write a summary of action steps and the impacts each step will have on the company.
- Explain the amount of capital that needs to be acquired to boost business.
- Review strategies in the plan of activities and ensure that each milestone matches the financial goal.
Starting a Website
- Home Page
An effective website is an online business card that reflects your writing skills and the services that you have to offer. On the main page, write a brief biography with your education and a few of your most notable accomplishments. On the top of your main page add a professional picture of yourself and an online submission form for potential clients to submit an inquiry. It is important to include a call to action for people to contact you when your services are needed.
- Online Portfolio
Some quality writing samples need to be on this page. Ensure that each writing sample has high definition pictures, and the content is free of errors. If you write assignments for different industries, add at least one to two samples each that you will be confident in showing prospective customers. A portfolio needs to have a variety of samples which includes technical writing, creative writing, marketing content and a personal blog. A freelance writer that presents a diversity of writing skills is more likely to be selected for an assignment.
- Writing Services Page
Although an online writing portfolio is an effective way to show your skills, visitors need to have an understanding of what you offer. Start with an introductory of a few skills and expand on details based on your experience.
Here are a few examples:
- Technical Writing: Press releases, proposals, marketing plans, and white papers
- Creative Writing: Poems, fiction books, journals, and speeches
- Academic Services: Essays, reports, PowerPoint presentation
Ask your professors, previous employers, and customers for testimonials that thoroughly describe your work in detail. For example, if you worked as a Marketing Specialist for a company, add the percentage of return on investment for an event you worked on. In the case that you wrote a blog for an entertainment website, ask the editor for the number of views for each article and include the number of social media shares of your best blog.
For each testimonial add the name of the person, their position, the name of the company that they work for and their location. Before publishing the testimonial on your website confirm with your contact that the information is accurate.
Searching for Freelance Writers
When your writing business begins to see an increase of customers, it is normal that you will feel overwhelmed. One of the top ways to be successful is to use leverage your time by finding writers that will help you with completing work.
- Take the time to think about the right candidate for the position. If you do not have an idea of what you need, it will be easy to select a new writer that will waste your time.
- Find an online website that offers a place to add a profile to find qualified writers. Post a position on the site and add a detailed job description that includes the education and writing experience that you wish to see in a writer.
- After you receive a high number of applications, review the information that each applicant sent. If you have questions about the application, send the author a message and be professional.
- Once you select an author, provide specific details of the type of support you need. Include the number of words per assignment, topics, ask for their contact information and negotiate a rate that will work for the both of you.
Build a Marketing Strategy
Marketing your services to a particular target audience will safeguard your business from setbacks. The only way organizations will know that your company exists through marketing efforts. One of the benefits of a writing business is that international companies post freekance job postings on the internet every day. With an active website, you can send a query or pitch ideas to publications and organizations for a chance to write a variety of assignments.
While it is convenient to find opportunities online, using your time to find prospects offline is a way to find businesses in your local community. You can attend networking events, business conferences, employment fairs or mail a postcard to firms in the area.
The most popular marketing platforms include email campaigns, social media, e-newsletters, e-books, and pay per click advertisements. Depending on your budget and the amount of experience you have with each strategy, you can use creativity to distinguish yourself toward a bright future as a writing business owner.