It certainly doesn’t require a degree in business management, although an occasional course at a community college or webinar might be helpful.
A lot of business is common sense. Not all of it, of course.
In many ways developing your own successful freelance writing business requires six or seven things. Here are the six; I’ll talk about the seventh in a bit.
6 elements of a successful freelance writing business
- Handling money
- Setting prices
- Customer service
- Commitment to constant improvement
Let’s look at each briefly:
You can be the greatest writer in the world and if no one knows about you it won’t lead to an income or a successful freelance writing business. Marketing – and you can call it anything you like including naming it something odd like Harold – is about getting your name in front of the people most likely to buy what your write.
At a minimum it’s your professional website where you list your credits, show some samples, tell folks about you and give your complete contact information.
You also need to get out there where those who need your skills can find you. It might be cold calls, cold emails, knocking on doors, answering ads… there are a million ways. Find two or three that you will do consistently and watch your profits soar.
Being business-like about your money isn’t really complex. You’ve got to understand what’s coming in, and what’s going out. The easiest way to do this is to track your money. You’ve also got to earn more than you spend, and save a bit. Of course, this includes invoicing your clients accurately and regularly. But it’s really not much more complicated than this, if you set up a system that you understand and keep it up to date.
Just like the baker, the butcher, and the candlestick maker, you’ve got to get clear about your prices. Charge too little and you’ll end up going broke, too much and you won’t get enough clients.
There’s lots of help out there, including my series on setting prices. If you want a successful freelance writing business you’ll work on setting prices that reflect your worth.
As you build your successful freelance writing business you’ll provide excellent customer service. This doesn’t mean you let clients walk all over you.
You need good boundaries and information like 8 Things Freelancers Don’t Want to Hear Clients Say & How To Respond will help you figure out yours.
Commitment to constant improvement
This is about being always willing to learn and grow. You’ll of course want to improve your writing. You’ll also want to continue to learn about all six of these elements of a successful freelance writing business.
Planning – the first or seventh
Many experts suggest that the first thing someone going into business needs to do is plan. Although I’m a believer in planning and in goal setting as part of planning, I’m not sure it always should come first.
Maybe that’s because it didn’t work that way for me. I’ve also seen and even experienced for myself how easy it is to get caught up in trying to write the perfect plan and never get to the writing I want to do in my freelance writing business.
As I’ve said upteen times give or take, for the writer nothing really happens until we actually sit down and write. Start there is my advice and figure out the rest as you go along.
Yes, you need each of these elements in varying amounts for your freelance writing business to really work. No, they don’t have to happen all at once.
As we say, easy does it, but do it.
What’s your take? Have I left something out? Have you? Let’s talk about it in comments.
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Write well and often,