Were you on your high school newspaper staff? Me too. This is the first step to a home business as a freelance writer. And now that you’ve got some life experience behind you, you’ve got so many more options than you ever had before.
So What Can I Write About?
There are two very strong ideas that you can write about: (1) Things that you already know, and (2) Things that you can research.
It is a serious misconception that writers simply know everything they write about. A few do. But most don’t. Even me. I can write a really good blog post on about 80-90% of the topics on this website, but every so often I have to go do some research too.
So don’t be intimidated if you don’t know a whole lot about a lot of stuff. If you’ve got the ability to go find out about it, you are home free.
Finding the right writing gig is kind of like trying on shoes. Some fit. Some don’t. And if they are snazzy, even if they don’t quite fit, put them back on the shelf … just in case.
Let me share with you the stories of a few friends who make decent livings as writers. Perhaps one of these will “fit” you perfectly.
(1) Write Kindle Books As Your Home Business
I don’t know how much money the author of “Shades of Gray” actually made, but it was a LOT of money. And she did it herself, with a book on Amazon in the Kindle format.
- There are some real advantages of writing for a Kindle reader:
- The format is relatively easy to set up;
- It costs nothing to load books onto Amazon for sale as a Kindle;
- The book doesn’t have to be huge; in fact, most are on the smallish size;
- You can add or delete titles as you choose;
- Amazon even lets you put up an “author page” that links to all of your books.
There’s lots more, but you get the just of it.
The sky is truly the limit on topics. There are very sexy books, of course, but also romances and histories and westerns and mysteries and how-tos and poetry and biographies and … well, everything. Just everything.
My friend Kay tells me that the key is to maintain a formatting that translates to a Kindle, which means little centered text or bolds or italics. No fancy fonts, of course. Just straightforward paragraphs with commentary and dialog. She says that this is not a task for those who fear self-promotion, but is an open door for many.
And Kindle books are not just for adults. As I write this, the fastest growing marketing segment is books for children. It is easy to take a Kindle on a trip, or on a picnic, or to Grandma’s house. And there are not a lot of titles online for kids.
It costs virtually nothing to give it a shot. So go for it, and see if it works for you.
(2) Be A Professional Blogger
Georgia got hired as a freelance blogger by a large company that makes craft items. Her on-going assignment is to come up with clever new craft projects for teenagers.
There are thousands of freelance writers like Georgia, those who get contracted to write on particular topics for particular blogs. Many of the larger websites and blogs hire outside independent contractors to write blog entries for them. Depending on the market segment, and your skill, some of them will pay $50 to $200 per post. (Sorry, this site does not hire outside bloggers.)
Start looking for large blogs and websites in your field of expertise. Usually down on the bottom of the home page there will be a mention of “Submit Articles” or “Guest Bloggers”. Pitch your specific idea of a blog topic to the editor, and see what happens.
Note: Just saying “I want to blog for you for $200 per post” really won’t work. Come up with a solid idea, and write to the editor about that idea. Once the editor is interested, discuss terms of payment.
(3) Be A Copywriter For Catalogs
Do you know those stunning descriptions of that lacy negligee that you drooled over? A real person wrote that. Maria is one of those kinds of writers. Maria specializes in women’s catalogs, but there are writers for garden tools, craft items, children’s items, books, and absolutely every interest group you might think of.
Some companies pay extremely well for writers to write those blurbs that describe products in their catalogs. Odds are that you won’t be able to start out with the really high paying assignments, but get a catalog or two on your credit list, and anything is possible.
(4) Write Annual Reports In Your Home Office
Businesses rarely have someone on staff who can write really good annual reports. Some of the language is purely legal, and they will provide that. And some of it purely financial reporting, and they will provide that as well.
But all the other stuff — the background of the company, new directions, advances, new board members, new patents — all of that stuff needs to be actually written.
If your career included working for larger corporations, this may well be your entry into the world of freelance writing. It can be quite lucrative; it is challenging; and it uses skills you’ve already got. Home businesses just don’t get much better than this.
(5) Write Press Releases From Your Freelancing Home Office
Large companies have a PR staff; small and mid size companies don’t. That works to your advantage as a freelancing writer. There are typically bunches of things that these companies need to have written. I use press releases as an example, but odds are that they also need posts on their website, manuals for new employees, information packets for the press — just bunches of stuff that drives the regular staff nuts.
Particularly if your background includes mid-level manager assignments in particular industries, you could be well qualified to turn that into a full time freelancing home business.
The entry into many of these business positions is to (1) contact people from your past, those who know your skills and dependability; or (2) working of projects for non-profits in your area. Non-profit gigs work well because important people usually sit on their Boards, and these important people can be references for real paying assignments.
OK, there are five great ideas to get you started on your freelance writing career at your home business. There is lots more, and we will talk about this again before long. But for now, see what you can come up with, and leave a note for the rest of us below.