As a writer, you probably read the stories about writers who are working from home and making six-figure salaries with envy, and wonder, "Why can't that be me? I must not be good enough to make that kind of money." I'm here to tell you that it's possible for anyone to build a very successful freelance writing career and earn a six-figure salary, while never leaving home.
The key is diversification and flexibility. You have to be able to diversify your talents and be flexible enough to apply them to a variety of different sub-fields within the broader writing category. While your passion may be fiction writing, you still need to put food on the table while you write your novel. It's still important to pursue what you're most passionate about, but being flexible enough to apply your talents in more profitable areas will allow you the freedom to pursue your ultimate dream. Are you flexible enough and motivated enough to use your talents in other areas that have the potential to make you lots of money?
There are endless possibilities of profitable areas you could pursue in your writing career. Networking and marketing yourself properly could land you freelance writing opportunities in blogging, writing e-books, ghostwriting, copywriting, resume writing, and more. Corporations are always in need of talented writers to write copy for their websites, for external communications, such as press releases, and even internal communications. While many companies utilize in-house staff for these tasks, most often it's a secondary job for a staff member who has no experience in writing other than what they've done for that company. It's your job to educate them on how outsourcing those tasks to a professional writer could net them greater results from their communication efforts.
There are two challenges most often faced by writers, and I have solutions for both. The first is that most writers are, by nature, not skilled in the areas of accounting and business management. I chose to outsource my back-office functions to a company called MBO Partners, which handles contracts, invoicing and collections. They also act as an employer of record, which means I get a single W-2 at the end of the year, simplifying my tax-management process. I still have control over my business, still market my own services and choose which clients I work for, but still am able to take advantage of all the tax deductions that come with owning a business.
The second challenge most often faced by freelance writers is the ability to market our own services. Typically writers have more introverted personalities, and most of us aren't comfortable tooting our own horn. Thanks to the internet, it's not necessary to have face-to-face interaction with potential clients in order to get new business. There are many indirect ways to attract customers that are highly effective, although it is still beneficial to fine-tune our sales skills and have the courage to make cold calls now and then. It's also still necessary to take initiative and submit proposals for potential work. Go to your potential customers with ideas and solutions; don't simply send an email saying, "Hi, I'm a freelance writer, do you have any writing needs?" Make sure you do your research on your potential clients and think of how what you offer can improve their business. That's the information you need to convey when approaching a customer.
I have found that it's essential for any freelancer or independent consultant to have a web presence. Websites are much more affordable than they used to be, and if you have any tech savvy you might even be able to create your own. As a writer, you should also have a blog. This is a perfect opportunity to showcase your writing abilities, and gives you an easy place to point potential clients where they can get a feel for your style. It's also important to network using the internet. There are a ton of social networking sites that allow you to build a profile explaining your business and services. Get involved; participate in discussions and make contacts. Offering free advice is the best way to position yourself as an expert in a given field, and the best way to get clients coming to you without minimal effort on your part.
While all this may take some time, it's easy to see that anyone willing to diversify their skills and dedicate the time and effort to an effective marketing strategy can build a solid base of clients that could net them a significant income while working from home.
Angela Stringfellow is a marketing communications consultant and an MBO Partners associate. Visit their website, http://www.mbopartners.com
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