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Nine Ways to Increase Writing Income
by Beth Fowler
Whether a person earns money baking donuts or writing articles, behaving as others do who are serious about business can increase income. As one business advisor (www.SCORE.org) puts it, "Business is business."
1. Work the network: "All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust," writes Bob Burg in Endless Referrals which gets a 5-star rating at Amazon.com. Terri Lonier author of Working Solo (www.workingsolo.com) recommends joining two different types of networking associations. "Choose an association related to your industry or field, and another that has more of a general business focus. You'll meet experts in your specific market in the first type, and mix with successful entrepreneurs from all areas in the other kind. Each will provide valuable contacts."
2. Develop a 30-second commercial: Be able to state what you do in a few sentences so a 10-year-old can understand it. The commercial covers who you are, your business name, what your business does, how it helps clients. A writer's commercial might go like this, "Hi, I'm Bob Floyd of The Write Words. We work with clients to increase market penetration by gaining visibility in newspapers, magazines and anything people read." Bob did not say, "I'm a writer."
3. Get business cards: To lower the chances of a card becoming instant trash, use the standard 2" x 3.5" size, opt for ink that won't run if the card gets wet, use three colors, select a simple, bold image appropriate for writers, select font size and style that's easily readable. Include a word (Writer) or message ("Using the right words to connect you to your prospects and customers.") Website, fax number, cell phone, office phone and email address should fit on the card. List specific services - press releases, web copy, editing - on the back.
4. Have a website: Writer Cindy Kaloniski's site www.thewordhelper.com contains ample white space, some graphics, lots of places to click for more information, testimonials, samples, and how to contact her. Cindy addresses prospective clients in terms of their problems (not her wonderful talents). Client-centered questions include Overwhelmed? Struggling with writer's block? Is proofreading optional? Her attention-grabbing sentences prod prospects' vulnerabilities and, therefore, their need for her services as with, "After you've worked hard on a project, the last thing you want your readers to find is a mistake."
5. Put your image to work: Catherine Bell, president of Prime Impressions (www.prime-impressions.com), says, "Within seconds, the person you're meeting for the first time forms an opinion about your economic status, educational background, credibility and confidence. You need to ensure that the messages you send through your appearance and actions are congruent with your professionalism… A good pen is very important if you'll be writing in view of business associates. People like to associate with those who appear successful."
6. Work the system: According to Entrepreneur.com, Subway is the top food franchise of 2009. The success of Subway and other franchises is due to a system that is replicable in Tokyo and Toledo. Your system can include a standard query template in which you insert the particulars for each project, the number of queries you'll send per week, numbers of hours or blocks of time to spend on each business activity (research, client communication, writing, marketing, networking, social media, invoicing and accounts, and business planning).
7. Be money savvy: When you ask a contractor to remodel your kitchen, you expect him or her to provide references, examples of previous jobs, a fee that's within the range of other contractors' quotes, a contract covering payment terms and performance criteria, and to seek recourse if payment isn't made as per the agreed upon terms. As with contractors, so to for writers.
8. Create balance: Imagine driving a car with uneven tires. Riding toward one's destination will be slow, bumpy and stressful. Other parts of the car will become damaged if the tires aren't fixed. When our life wheel is not round, we suffer. The price we pay can be obvious and immediate. The cost can also accumulate incrementally and insidiously. Lee Iacocca, automobile industry titan in the ’80s, wrote in his autobiography that if top executives couldn't manage to find time to take vacations with their families, they had no right managing part of his corporation. Creating balance gives writers more creativity and energy for writing for dollars. Get a life wheel at www.innernorth.com/lifebalancewheel.htm.
9. Diversify: Don't have a blog? Start one to promote your business. Always write for sports magazines? Query a travel magazine. Never ran a writing workshop? Develop one and offer it though existing education providers.
We writers tend to think of our professions as special. Different from other occupations. While that's true, we can employ the same tools other serious, successful businesspeople use. No matter what our fields of expertise are, we share a common goal: increase income.
© Copyright 2009, Beth Fowler
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