How to Build a Successful and Profitable Writing Business

Are you a writer or author who's tired of struggling to build a successful - and profitable - writing business? If you're ready to learn the real "secrets" of how to make money as a writer, then keep reading, because this article was written for you.

Building a successful writing business - like any other business - isn't hard -but it takes some planning and work to turn the "dream" into a reality. Here are the Top Ten Tips you need to to know - and do - to make it happen for you:


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    Have a clear vision of what you want. Take some time with creating your vision - after all, you're going to spend more time working than you do with anything and usually - anyone - else. So think about what you want - from your work - and in your life. Do you love to travel? Then think about incorporating some form of travel writing into your business vision - so you can get paid to do something you want to do - and take your trips off your income tax as well! Love eating out? Watching the latest films? Going to the theater? Visiting art galleries, museums or special places of interest? Then add that to your services or repertoire.
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    Writer know thyself. To be successful in any business, you have to know your strengths and your weaknesses. Make sure that you play to your strengths and find someone else to fill in where you're weak. (For example, it's difficult for many writers to proof their own work. If you're a poor speller, or English isn't your primary language find someone who's good at it and let them review your work before sending it out.)
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    Know your industry or niche. There's been so much talk online - especially in the Internet Marketing field - about "niches" and finding a good niche, and choosing the right niche - that several articles about this subject alone could be written. But in this case, what you need to think about is this: your experience, (which could include life, business, hobbies, volunteer work, interests and passions). When you're deciding what kind of writing business you want to build, make sure that it's something that you can see yourself doing for the next several years. Remember too, specialists make more money than generalists - and it's easier to be a big fish in a little pond, than a little fish who gets lost - or eaten by a bigger fish - in a big ocean.
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    Know your competitors. Another part of doing your research means looking closely at your competitors. You want to know who they are, what they offer, how they offer it...and perhaps most importantly of all - what they're NOT offering. One of the fastest ways to become successful - especially in a competitive marketplace, is to specialize by serving a specific part of your chosen niche and providing services that your competitors are not. (Or bundling your services in a unique way that provides your ideal customers with something they can only get from you.)
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    Know your ideal customer. If there was nothing stopping you from getting to work with anyone you wanted, who would it be? Do you like the idea of having the government - and the long-term contracts, stability and high pay that goes along with that? Or do you enjoy the variety, excitement and constant change that comes from working with people in the arts and entertainment industry? Or maybe you have a way of taking highly technical and/or complicated information and making it simple and easy to understand? The point is, whoever you want to work with, you need to know - and be able to articulate - who they are, what they want, and why they should choose to buy from you rather than anyone else. You'll also need to know where to find them and what to say to them so they want to work with you, too.
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    Know what your complete offer is. This might sound a little strange - after all, you're a writer. You offer writing services. But if you think that's ALL you offer, you're wrong. Your complete offer should also give your prospective client the information they need to know about: how you work, your working schedule, your guarantee, your policies, your communication guidelines, and - last but not least, your fees.
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    Create an overall marketing strategy. You can do this quarterly, semi-annually or yearly, but make sure you schedule time to do it on schedule. When you're just starting out, you might want to strategize quarterly - because the way you market when you're just starting out is going to change as you begin building your business and gaining regular customers will change.
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    Chunk your marketing strategy down, and create a month by month schedule, and then further break it down into something that you do every week.
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    Follow up. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes most writers make - they don't follow up with prospective clients. This is one of the easiest - and least often used strategies for building your writing business. Take the time to follow up with prospective clients, current clients and past clients.
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    Fail Quickly. If there's something you don't know how to do - find someone you trust and ask for help. If there's a skill you need to learn, then cowboy up and just do it! (For example, don't let something that can be learned - like html for example -stand in your way of building a successful writing business.)


  • Keep a journal. Make note of what you do, how you did it, and what results you achieved. Not only will this keep you from making the same mistakes again later on, many best-selling authors use this technique to create the content for their next book. It's also a great source of information for your blog, Frequently Asked Questions, articles, teleseminars, audios and content for your Website. It gives your clients and prospective clients a "behind the scenes" look at your business.
  • One of the top 5 reasons the Small Business Administration lists for small business failures is "isolation." This can be especially true - and difficult - for writers. Because writing is, by its nature, a solitary pursuit. But you don't have to be isolated. Join your local Chamber of Commerce (or one that fits your specialty or niche or background). Join or create a mastermind group. Mix and mingle with other writers. Use social networking to your advantage.
  • Winning at business is a game like any other - to win you need to know the rules, the strategies and whenever possible, play to your strengths. Since this is your business we're talking about, make sure you're setting things up to win.
  • When thinking about the vision for your business, many writers find creating a "vision board" helps them to be more clear about what they want. If you're not into vision boards, think about a mind map, or journaling, or even using a spreadsheet, chart or something that resonates with you and helps you to stay on track of your goals.

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