"Every company is a media company," Tom Foremski, ex-FT journalist and editor of Silicon Valley Watcher, said a decade ago. Even companies not concerned with news or journalism must make meaningful connections with customers through writing.

With the growth of content marketing, blogging, and social media, the demand for good writers remains high.

Starting your own writing business is easier than ever, but making it work as a full-time gig remains challenging. This article will help you consider whether making writing your primary occupation or looking at it as a side gig might be a good opportunity in 2020.

Recently, I helped a digital company search for a full-time copywriter. The search failed. None of the professional writers considered full-time, long-term jobs.

They’re all self-employed now; they figured out how to make freelancing profitable. In this era of omnipresent content, top-notch writing is in high demand – and freelancing has its benefits.

The broad market and flexible hours make this profession ideal for people with the right skill set. But before you dive in, evaluate and be critical of your skills. Are you a skilled writer? Are you ready for full-scale customer service? Writing full time is one thing, managing client relationships is another. Are you knowledgeable enough in certain areas to create compelling writing?

Yes? Good, let’s get into the details.

What should you consider before starting a writing business?

1. Wages

The pay an aspiring writer can expect at first might seem discouraging compared to mid-level office positions. Despite the demand for quality writers, there are not many who exclusively make a living from freelance writing. It’s not impossible, but it takes years of hard work. Each small writing gig can build positive relationships with companies, leading to bigger and longer-term projects.

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Pro tip: Price your work according to your skill level and project scope after thorough research.

2. Working with clients

Competition in the writing field is high. To create lasting relationships, provide outstanding customer service. Go the extra mile and underpromise while overdelivering.

Always meet expectations—get clear on what the client expects from the beginning. Write a brief proposal for each job, listing the exact scope of work based on the client’s expectations.

Pro tip: Create a detailed questionnaire to guide your conversation with clients and form the foundation of your scope document. Ask your client to sign the proposal before starting the project. Keep a copy on file.

3. Affordable growth

Writing requires low startup investment. A major in writing or journalism might help, but certificates are not necessary. You’ll need a computer, internet connection, and a comfortable workspace. Establishing yourself as an authority will increase your price tag. Choose the industry you feel confident about and become an expert. Keep learning, find a mentor, and improve your grammar skills.

Pro tip: Work on your writing skills like you would on any business skills. Keep reading, blogging, and freewriting.

4. Flexibility

Most writers value having a flexible schedule. You can work from anywhere as long as there is Wi-Fi. You’re not tied to one employer, allowing you to set different hourly rates for different jobs. However, freelancing alone may not make you a millionaire. You can start scaling your writing business while keeping your day job.

Pro tip: If you have flexibility, consider moving to a country with a lower cost of living.

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How do you get started?

Choose your niche

Here is a list of high-demand writing services. Narrow it down to options you feel confident about.

Build a portfolio

Create a relevant portfolio that convinces potential clients. A web page with your best writing samples is a foolproof solution. Published writing samples are even better.

Get your writing samples together

Browse through your Google Docs for good pieces. Publish your work on a Medium blog and share it on LinkedIn. Join a writing community and seek feedback from a professional editor. Showcase particularly good pieces on your own blog or business Facebook page. Ask for permission to use excerpts from client orders.

How do you attract paying clients?

In general, bigger companies have bigger budgets and can be more lucrative. Medical and business writing have higher fees. Use your personal network to reach out to friends, colleagues, and online connections. Send pitches to local businesses to immerse yourself in their brand and voice. Use online platforms for occasional work or to grow into something bigger. LinkedIn can be a source of potential client leads—customize your pitch for each company.

Pro tip: Use rejections as opportunities to fine-tune your pitch.

What can you do today to start your writing business?

– Set your rates

Define your areas of expertise

– Practice writing

– Start a blog

– Shout out to your social circles

– Write a pitch proposal

You can do it. Starting a writing business is challenging, but with proper planning, outlining your roadmap, defining obstacles, and deciding how to overcome them, you can succeed. Now go for it.

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