A former ghostwriting student called me to chat. Her sister wants to make writing sales as a side hustle. “She’s looking for projects she could complete in an evening. Any ideas?”
Of course I have ideas… 😉
Quick writing sales: projects you can complete fast
A tip: pay attention to writing chores people dislike doing. You can turn these into writing gigs which take less than 60 minutes — and get paid at several times your usual hourly rate.
One writer who’s a colleague from my magazine writing days always asks her clients what they hate most. “I’ve found some gems,” she said. “One CEO paid me extremely well to mine his autobiography for tweets, then post one a week to Twitter.”
- “Personalized” holiday greetings (personalized is in quotes because the client hires you to do the personalizing);
- Text for “personalized” notes;
- “Pearls of wisdom”: aphorisms and maxims for your client to use in his speeches and elsewhere;
- Jokes, witticisms, and puns: you can create these and sell them to your clients.
Let’s look at some profitable projects you can complete in an hour or less.
1. Reviews: use it, love it, write a review
Companies find it challenging to get reviews. (If you’re a self-publishing author, you’ll sympathize.) They hire consultants and PR hacks to interview their customers, but this is expensive, as well as time-consuming.
A friend shared a review-writing strategy with me years ago; it’s effective today. Whenever you use a product, pay attention: you’re a customer, and your opinion counts.
Take some notes. (Take a few photos too.) Did you like the product? What was good? What was bad, or could be improved?
Rather than posting a short review on Yelp or similar, offer your review to the marketing manager of the company which sells the product.
Why this works: genuine reviews are HARD to find. If you’ve used a product and can write a genuine review, your words are GOLD.
2. Get paid to speak someone else’s mind
Most people hate public speaking. Combine this with the struggles people have in turning their thoughts into words, and you’ve got an avid market for your freelance writing.
How to get into speech writing:
- Watch some speeches (TED talks on YouTube are good);
- Practice. Choose a topic. Outline a speech on the topic;
- Add speech-writing to the services you provide.
3. Take the horror out of presentations (get more clients)
If you’ve ever worked at a corporation, you know that everyone does presentations. People will hire you if they think you can help with their presentations. For example, pitch presentations are vital to any business. They can bring in millions of dollars’ worth of business.
Become a presentation guru, and your hourly rate for your freelance writing will make your friends’ eyes water from envy.
Although presentations will take you longer than an hour to complete, you can consult on someone’s presentation quickly.
4. Pick an industry, count the events
Google “event company.” Events need a huge amount of material, including website content, letters, speeches, and invitations.
Most event materials will take you less than an hour to create, and pay well. Indeed, if you’re helping out at the last minute, they pay VERY well.
(Charge a premium for your services if you’re hired because a writer let the co-ordinator down. This often happens.)
5. Turn your snarky quips into money: write greeting card verse and T-shirt slogans
Many writers make an entire writing career out of writing greeting card material. If you approach companies which publish cards, this is a very competitive area, but it’s fun and lucrative if your mind works that way.
Consider writing PERSONAL greeting card materials; that is, greetings for individuals and for businesses. You’ll get best results if you advertise your services before major “greeting” days of the year, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day etc.
6. Cash in with weddings: speeches, invitations, news items and more
This is a fun market, and no one will blink if you charge $3 a word or more for wedding-related material. Weddings are big business.
Be imaginative at getting these gigs. Check out the engagement notices in your local paper, and offer your services. Leave flyers at local wedding boutiques, florists, and catering companies: anyone and everyone who has anything to do with weddings becomes a candidate for your services.
You’ll make more writing sales when you think in terms of quick projects
Many writers favor long projects; the more hours, the more income. But if you pay attention, you’ll soon discover that speedy little projects can be your most profitable writing sales.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.