1. "People don't plan to fail, they fail to
plan" holds true for small businesses, including writing. A plan is a roadmap
to profitability. The success rate of businesses that do write business plans
is roughly 80%. Writing a plan forces one to think of opportunities and
obstacles, strategies and markets. Dig into How to Really Create a
Successful Business Plan by David E. Gumpert and Instant Business
Plan by Gustav Berle and Paul Kirschner. Sites with business plan
recommendations and examples include http://www.office.com/ and http://www.sba.gov/
2. Note the advice of authors who run
successful businesses. Books to check out include $ix Figure
Freelancing (http://tinyurl.com/a2y4j) by Kelly James-Enger, The Well-fed Writer
(http://tinyurl.com/8xzfr) by Peter Bowerman, Writing for Quick Cash
(http://tinyurl.com/73fgr) by Loriann Hoff Oberlin, The Renegade Writer
(http://tinyurl.com/bwsef) by Linda Formichelli and How to Become a Fulltime
Freelance Writer (http://tinyurl.com/94y2k) by Michael A. Banks.
3. Glean inspiration, information and winning
tactics from books written for entrepreneurs - Six-Week Start-Up
(http://tinyurl.com/83oq7) by Rhonda Abrams, Guerilla Marketing
(http://tinyurl.com/ddr2d) by Jay Conrad Levinson and You Can't Teach a Kid
to Ride a Bicycle at a Seminar: The Sandler Sales Institute's 7-Step System
for Successful Selling (http://tinyurl.com/8zb7o) by David H. Sandler. Look into The Home-Based
Business Kit: From Hobby to Profit (http://tinyurl.com/7eskv) by Diana Brodman Summers. Visit your state's official
website to get the proper forms for starting a business.
4. Negotiate (or have an agent or attorney
negotiate) rights advantageous to you while keeping you in good standing with
reputable editors and publishers. It's in the publisher's interest to obtain
as many rights as possible, and it's in your interest to keep as many rights
to your work as possible. According to Writer's Market, first serial, foreign
language, foreign English language, audio, and electronic rights are
negotiable. Every right you retain is a product you're entitled to sell. Find
info about contracts at The Authors Guild (http://www.authorsguild.org) and The National Writers Union (http://www.nwu.org). Get basic copyright information at (http://www.copyright.gov).
5. "Many times we love to do something, but
that doesn't mean we love the process we have to go through to enable us to do
that thing and make money," says a career coach. Increasing net earnings from
writing requires scribes to engage in non-writing activities. Hone skills to
market, advertise and sell your writing. Develop the discipline to track
income and expenses. Demand a good day's work of yourself.
6. Sell more to your current clientele.
Editors who bought your writing before are likely to buy from you again. They
know they can count on you to provide interesting, informative material in a
timely, professional manner. Every article I've sold this year has been to
editors who've been buying my work for years. Hmmm
it's time for me to follow
L. Peat O'Neil's advice in Travel Writing (http://tinyurl.com/9dcgz).
7. "Few writers start at the top," O' Neil
said. "Find your own level, work in it, then work up out of it
your local publications." Build credibility and a clip file of your published
works. Then "aim higher as you sharpen your writing skills and get to know
what various editors want." You'll earn higher fees from higher-level markets.
8. "Sell solutions, not products or services!"
Ray Potter says. Potter is a volunteer counselor at SCORE (http://www.score.org), an affiliate of the Small Business Administration
(http://www.sba.gov). First identify the customer's need or problem.
Second, identify a product or service that makes the problem go away. Third,
create a business that zaps the problem the way the customer wants it zapped.
Identify publishers' needs by studying their websites and entries in reference
books. American publishers are listed in Writer's Market (http://tinyurl.com/dxc83), British publishers in Writers' and Artists' Yearbook
(http://tinyurl.com/7gx85), and Down Under's in The Australian Writer's
9. Identify other organizations' needs and
problems by reading their materials or noticing a lack of written materials.
Click http://www.elance.com where businesses and individuals post requests for
academic papers, college admissions documents, copywriting, creative writing,
editing and proofreading, grant writing, press releases, articles, speeches
and more. Visit http://www.writerswrite.com/buscomm for business communications resources.
10. Create an income stream. Rudy Aukshun
proposed a biweekly opinion column written from his senior citizen
perspective. The local newspaper editor OK'd the idea. Marie Heil, an expert
on guns, writes regularly for three special interest magazines. Her reputation
earns her plum assignments and speaking engagements. Trade and niche
publications prefer relying on regular contributors rather than gambling on
writers unknown to them.