I’ve received some questions about what you need to start a writing business. The short answer is: “you need a customer; someone to buy your writing.”
But what if you’re not sure what kind of writing business you want? You might set up as a freelance writer, or maybe you want to self-publish books…
Decide what your ideal writing business looks like.
Your writing business: what will you write? Who are your customers?
Start by thinking about what you enjoy writing. Do you like short projects? Maybe you like longer projects, or you enjoy blogging.
Once you’ve decided, spend a few hours setting up a website. Your website tells those who are looking for a writer who you are and what you do. It saves you answering the same questions over and over.
Set up your website (but be wary of “free”)
In 2021, many professional writers who say they want to build a writing business avoid creating a website. (Oh woe, it’s so much hard work. Why bother when you can use a free service?)
They set up a page on Facebook or LinkedIn and call it good. That’s the “website” for their writing business. I don’t have anything against those two networks. But…
When someone searches for your name on Google, and the only references which come up are your LinkedIn profile and your Facebook page, it’s not a good look. It implies that you don’t believe in your writing. Your clients and readers expect to be able to check you out on your own website.
As I say to my students, if you don’t have a “name” website which shows up in Google, to your clients, it means: “Hello… $25 and less an hour.”
Avoid the pitfalls of a social media “website”
Building your entire writing business on social media has major pitfalls. For one thing, you have no guarantee that your page on a social network will even be there next year, let alone five years from now, because you’re a “digital sharecropper”.
“(Digital sharecropping is) a sharecropping system, but the sharecroppers are generally happy because their interest lies in self-expression or socializing, not in making money, and, besides, the economic value of each of their individual contributions is trivial.”
Start with a one-page website: you can set it up in an hour or two. More on setting up a writing business quickly here.
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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.