A writer's life sounds like a great career choice for a lot of people.
Setting your own hours, working in your pajamas, waxing poetically about whatever subject comes to mind–it seems as if it's about as close to perfect as you could get.
But fantasy and reality are two very different things when it comes to freelance writing business. A freelance writing business does provide a way for the right person to make a living doing what they love. But successful freelance writers never lose sight of the fact that it's a business that demands the same attention as any other small business startup.
- Do a reality check. Before you launch of freelance writing business it's important to assess the reasons behind your decision. If you're tired of working 9-to-5 and you think that a freelance writing career is the easiest escape route–keep your day job. Most freelance writers work much harder and longer hours than they did when they work for someone else.
- Pick a genre. There a lot of different kinds of ways to make a living as a freelance writer. Some are more realistic than others. For example, novels are the most difficult writing category to break into and sometimes takes years even for successful authors to earn a living. Business writing or copywriting, on the other hand, has a much quicker payoff for talented writers.
- Create a plan. If you are already employed somewhere else, the transition to full-time writing business is probably going to take a little time. Fortunately, freelance writing is the kind of business that you can do part-time until you have enough work to make the leap to full-time.
- Get clips. You're going to want to start creating a portfolio of your work right away. Editors and clients frequently rely on your writing samples (or clips) to determine the quality of your work. If you're just starting out, fill your portfolio with unpublished work or writing clips from fictitious clients.
- Market yourself. These days, it's impossible to operate a successful freelance writing business without marketing yourself. For better or for worse, marketing has become a necessary skill in the writer's toolbox. At the very least, you'll need to have a website that describes what you do and makes it easy for editors or clients to view your work.