The back office preparation required to start your writing business is the same for virtually all home based businesses that include or revolve around the internet.
Whether you goal is just to “make a few extra $’s a week” or become a full time, professional writer, it is essential that you treat it as a business. It will give you and those around you, family members, partners and friends, a clear picture that this is a serious venture and that you are going to become a professional business person.
You need to create a neat & tidy space in your home from where you can write in peace and uninterrupted. It is impossible to write quality articles if you have one eye on the television, whilst logged in to facebook and answering phone calls and chatting to the family.
I have my home based office in the basement, I lock the door and disappear for hours, but I get so much more work done. Years ago I used to have a small desk in a spare bedroom so you will have somewhere to call your office and where folks need to know to leave you alone.
Next decide on the times you are going to work and let family and friends know that you are working and will be unavailable. I have found that creating a routine is the best way to proceed. I always write down in advance what I am going to do the following day, so that no matter how I feel when I wake up I know the minimum that I need to do. I also set myself a daily income target. Its easy to forget that the whole reason for having any business is to make money.
I start work at 7.00 am, do my forex analysis and then write for the next two. I then go to the gym, followed by my favourite café and a walk along the beach.
In the afternoons I try to have specific days for specific tasks, for example on a Thursday I deal with phone calls, emails, administration and non profitable stuff like that. I NEVER answer emails on a morning. Emails, along with facebook and twitter are the worst way to start the day, it is so easy to be distracted, lose focus and before you know it half the day has gone and you have achieved zero income.
Writers need to be very disciplined to achieve their daily output. Put in place a plan and stick to it as much as is humanly possible. The plan needs to be realistic. Having a goal of “Earn $10.000 in your first month” is clearly not going to happen and will lead to negativity when you don’t achieve it. Your first months goal could simply be to create your office, routine, make a realistic plan, set your goals and spend XX hours a week learning how to write profitably.
Learn how to write to a level that will attract hungry buyers who will be want to buy multiple articles from you and who will be willing to give you great feedback & recommend you to their friends and colleagues. In this mini course the aim is to show you how to become a decent writer. Those of you who really want to stand out from the crowd and accelerate your learning and skills should consider investing some time and money in a course that teaches specific skills.
In researching this program I & some of my students have been testing various courses and will provide unbiased reviews for you to consider. For example the BIG money to be made writing from home is to become a copywriter, top copywriters can charge up to $20.000 for just one page and they are in big demand. An average copywriter will charge $1500 or more for a single page so its definitely a skill that’s worth learning. This is the course that was recommended to my by my copywriter: Accelerated 6 figure Copy Writing Course for a relatively small outlay you can master a skill that will give you the opportunity to join the big league. It was written by Michael Masterton who has written sales pages that have sold over a $BILLION so if you want to learn from someone who has truly “walked the walk” then he is your man.
If money is an issue right now then don’t worry about it, I will show you in subsequent articles how to get started as a writer and bring enough $’s to quit your day job, if that is your goal, or simply add decent additional income if you choose to stay in your present employment.
Create a simple accounting system. If you have excel that is fine to be going on with, if not simply make a sheet in word. You need to create a page for income, which is very easy. Simply record each time you receive a payment.
Then create a page for purchases. All equipment that you buy to be able to trade, such as a computer, printer, desk and even simple things like pens and paper needed to be recorded and receipts kept. Once you start to earn a reasonable amount and declare the money you will be able to claim the cost of these expenses back against your income. You should also be able to claim a % of the running cost of your home, mortgage interest, electricity, gas, local taxes, etc -the basic principle is the same wherever you are in the world, but its best to check either with an accountant or business friends in your area for tips and advice.
If you start to make a substantial income then you need to discuss with your tax advisor whether its worth creating a company structure to minimise your taxes.
Only when you have put in place this structure and learned how to write for a specific market or style should you start to advertise your services on Elance or additional sites.
It is CRUCIAL that you set up your profile, cv and work history correctly in all job sites. If you simply dive in and do not do it properly & professionally then it will hurt your business now and in the future.
In a separate article I will explain exactly the steps you need to take to market yourself properly.
In the meantime you should create a www.paypal.com account and have it verified so that you can receive more than the basic level which is currently around $2400 a year.
Consider options to speed up your output. If you are not very fast at typing then consider ways to increase your output. If I have a lot of articles to write I do my research first, make lots of notes, then dictate into an Olympus hand held recorder. There are also free voice recorders you can download from the internet: I then send the recording to a transcriber I found on Elance.com who types it out for me and returns it the next day. All I need to do then is edit the articles before I post them. There is a cost involved but as I can speak 3 times faster than I can type my output shoots up, so its cost effective as well as time saving.
Another option is to consider investing in Dragon Naturally Speaking software. This, theoretically, is an awesome piece of software that allows you to simply dictate to your computer and Dragon turns your voice output into text. Be advised though that initially you have to spend time teaching the software the nuances of your voice and your vocabulary & earlier versions I tried simply were not good enough. However I have just bought the latest version, they supply it to hospitals and lawyers so accuracy is vitally important, I will provide a review next month when I have had chance to test drive it thoroughly.
If I can get it to work properly then it will save me 1000’s of hours and $1000’s in transcription bills and double my output so for less than a few $100 it could revolutionise my business and substantially increase my profits. If money is tight right now you don’t need it, but the serious operator should certainly give it a try (there is a 30 day refund period).
Update on Dragon software: I have had it a week and still can’t get the thing to work anything like it does in the sales video. Unless something amazing happens in the next few days I am going to send it back for a refund.
Keep investing time and money to become the best writer and business person that you can. There are dozens of different ways to make money as a writer so the more you know the more chance you have to earn. Once you start to see the money rolling in then its often best to specialise in a particular genre but the simple premise of the “more you know the more you can earn” will help get you started.
Its important to keep up with new ideas, strategies and developments and to always be on the look out for the latest hot craze or niche. In the following articles I will explain some of the ways you can make money from writing and selling your services online. Do not rush into chasing customers until you have mastered this next section. In a subsequent feature I will explain the importance of creating your “shop window” in Elance so that you will be head & shoulders above most of your competitors. Have patience, follow the step by step guide and do this properly. Time spent mastering the basics now will result in higher earnings when you are really ready to launch your business.
Now You have prepared yourself, lets get started on some articles! How to Write Original Content
Author: Marc Walton