If you have a flair for writing and want to make it your profession — on your own terms — I say, Go For It! I did. And I haven’t regretted a moment of it. (Nope, not even those lean periods.)
It can take a while to get established as a professional independent writer, but like any goal, it all starts with taking the first step. Although it may take time to get established, it isn’t all that difficult.
The basics you need to get started:
- a passion for writing
- the discipline to work alone
- a laptop or PC to get the work done
- and, of course, you need reliable access to the Internet
If you want to start your own writing business, did you answer ‘yes’ to all of the above? Being able to stay motivated with no one pushing can be a challenge.
Passion can get you started, but you also need the ability to write. That doesn’t mean you have to get a college degree, but you should have an affinity for writing and know how to put sentences together. Taking a course or two to help you assess your skill level can only benefit you. Professional writers know that spellchecker is a resource, not the end-all be-all for spelling and grammar checking.
The Internet has opened up a lot of opportunities for self-employed writers, especially those who understand and grasp the difference between writing for print and writing online content.
Once you have the above points covered, it’s time to delve into some details.
A key component to becoming a freelancer is deciding what type of writing you are going to focus on. Here are some questions to help you get started:
- What type(s) of writing do I enjoy the most?
- What type(s) of writing am I best at?
- Did something in high school set me on a path?
- Did a college course pique my interest?
- Am I writing anything in my current job that can be expanded?
- Have I received any compliments for my reports or research?
- What do I enjoy reading the most?
- What do I want to write?
- What types of businesses/clients do I want to work with?
- Do I want to meet face-to-face with clients and only work locally?
- Why do I want to be a solopreneur and have my own business?
The last question is the most important. Without knowing why you want to be in business for yourself, it’ll be hard to be successful at it.
I’ll continue to write about starting and owning your own writing business in the coming weeks. Next week I’ll talk about why I’m doing it.
Lisa J. Jackson, MBA, is a small business owner specializing in writing solution briefs, case studies, white papers, e-books, and more. She works with businesses of all sizes across many industries on topics ranging from marketing to small business management to manufacturing. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.