6 Things You Really Need For Your Freelance Writing Business

by Anne Wayman

Freelance WritingPeople thinking about starting a freelance writing business often ask what they need. Usually they are talking about the stuff. That’s important and here’s a list of what I think you need when you want to open your doors as a freelance writer:

  1. Some place to write. Although a separate room in your home you can use as an office, is ideal, any place you can set up will do in the beginning.
  2. The right equipment. A bare minimum would be a a decent computer with Word or Open Office. Open Office is a free software suite that includes a Word-like word processing program. It’s almost as good as Word and will be compatible with most of your clients – something like 99+% and it’s free. You’ll also need a printer, black and white is fine, a phone and an internet connection.
  3. Your own website with your own domain name. It doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. At You’re a Writer You Need a Website I point to 1and1. com as both a place to find and register a domain name and a host for your site. I’ve recently switched to BlueHost. They charge annually and don’t have the site building tools 1and1 does.
  4. Business Cards. Business cards let others know you’re in business and give you a sense of being a professional. The article What Should Your Business Card Say may help. I get my cards at VistaPrint.
  5. Social Media Accounts. LinkedIn is the most important for finding jobs and making professional contacts. I’ve found it worth joining a few groups aimed at the writing I’m interested in. Twitter is fun and can be a real help in finding information quickly or making contacts. Be careful if you use FaceBook – it’s got a reputation of often being a security risk. I’m there but I’ve set my privacy high and I don’t pay much attention to it. Be careful! Social Media can be a time-sink. Use it consciously.


Although these things are essential for a successful freelance writing business they won’t, by themselves, make you successful – which brings us to Number 6:

Only you can do that. What you really need is persistence, determination and moxie – that’s what makes you unstoppable.

What makes you an unstoppable writer?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Keating August 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm

As for unstoppable – nothing beats a great support system. Friends, family and especially OTHER WRITERS.

I say writers especially, since we’ve all had “What was I thinking?” Syndrome at one time or another (and another, and another…). It’s nice to have some friendly voices to help drown that out.
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Anne August 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Yep… that too.

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Mark Keating August 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Anne:

Great advice (as always). And you saved the best for last – #6 is really #1.

For hosting – I’m switching to Green Host It. They offer hosting, domain registration (and transfer, if you’re like me and switching from another company) support for content management (WordPress, Joomla, etc.). And actually run on 100% renewable energy, not power “scrubbed” with renewable credits. (more on that here). And still cost-competitive with other hosting companies.
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Anne August 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Yeah Mark, number 6 is number 1 – and I’ve said that elsewhere and will continue to. Good for you for hosting with a green company… not sure what bluehost does.Didn’t know about Green Host It and just switched.

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Sarah Elisabeth August 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I use Hostgator for hosting, webnet77 for domain names.

I’ve found Facebook is my strongest base for connecting with readers (and clients). The business I blog for has a huge following and that’s where they get the hits for their blog.

It seems everyone just needs to find the social media outlet that works best for the type of freelancing they do, and focus on it (although you should still have a presence on all the main ones).

What makes me an unstoppable writer? Believing my writing is actually worth something :-)
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Anne August 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I was with hostgator for quite awhile… moved to bluehost and am not yet ready to do a review of them. So far so good. Don’t know webnet77. Facebook is okay and I’m having good luck with linkedin at the moment. It all changes. And yes, believing in your own worth and the worth of your writing is critical.

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John Soares August 18, 2011 at 11:47 am

Anne, I agree with everything you say here, except about 1and1.com. I’ve registered a bunch of domains with them and have had many, many problems, and these are still ongoing.
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Anne August 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Thanks John, I know Jenn Mattern has had real problems with them too… you’re using hostgator, right? They worked for me for quite awhile and I finally moved because I couldn’t get support with an unknown wordpress issue or thesis issue… am now with bluehost but not ready to do a review yet. Hosting does in truth seem to be a mixed bag.

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Emily Suess August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

The only things I see missing from this list are clients! ;)
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Anne August 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

ah, the clients! ;)

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Nicky Parry August 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Open Office is great – I have it installed on my netbook. I use Word on my Mac & work computer, but didn’t want to buy another version just for my netbook for when I’m travelling. Open Office is a great alternative for when I have down-time on my travels and feel like putting some words into a word document. My #6 would be “Coffee Maker”, LOL!
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Mark Keating August 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Right on Nick! Coffee is the grease that keeps the creative wheels turning!
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Ron's SEO Copywriting Tips August 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

Umm…I don’t really agree with you. Open Office is good. Just installed it, but nothing near the MS Office. It’s a lot better!
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Anne August 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm

The concern I have about openoffice is compatibility with client’s word… do you have any info on that?

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Nicky Parry August 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

Sorry, I’ve no idea Anne – I only use OO on my netbook for emergency writing while traveling, & typically I’ll cut & paste anything into a Word document when I get back home.
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Anne August 23, 2011 at 12:55 pm

ok, 6 is now coffee and the current 6 will become 7, for those of us who read comments.

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Nicky Parry August 30, 2011 at 8:31 am

Hehe! :)
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