Blog to support the book "Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs" by Kristen Fischer

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Stalking the Elusive $100,000 Writing Career (Part 2 of 2)
Earn $60-125+ an hour writing for business and make time for your creative writing

By Peter Bowerman

In our last post, veteran freelancer and “Well-Fed Writer” author Peter Bowerman gave us an insider’s look at the lucrative field of “commercial” freelancing, painting an attractive picture of a surprisingly accessible writing field that both pays handsomely and offers some enviable lifestyle benefits. Read on for more nuts-‘n-bolts of getting started.

Plenty of Work
The sheer volume of potential commercial writing work is mind-blowing. What we see as consumers (e.g., ads, direct mail, consumer newsletters, brochures) is just the beginning. That’s called B2C: business-to-consumer. What we don’t see – except as employees of a company – are two additional gargantuan arenas of work. First is B2B (business-to-business), all the materials created by businesses to market their products and services to other businesses.

The second is “internal communications,” another huge arena of work: all the projects that exist solely within a corporation to communicate with employees: newsletters, sales sheets, web sites, presentations, videos, CD-based training programs, procedure manuals, and the list goes on and on. Much of it is outsourced.

While we can just picture the huge volume of this kind of work within large corporations, imagine the vast number of small-to-medium-sized companies (25-200+ employees) with so many of the same needs. Yet, firms of that size are even less likely to have the in-house staff to execute them, but usually DO have the money to pay for it. They may need more educating – not only as to the very existence of outside writing resources like us, but how to craft these projects as well. But, rest assured, the work is there.

Landing the Work
Given the importance of writing to their business process, these companies expect to hear from writers, yet, according to what many of my clients tell me, few actually do. Reach them by cold calling, direct mail postcard mailings, joining business networking groups, social media sites like LinkedIn and others, by tapping your contact base, or ideally, some combination of all the above. Leverage your past industry experience and contacts and get started by pursuing work in that arena.

First Steps
While you’re still working at another job, focus on building a portfolio of samples by gathering projects you’ve done in current and former jobs; doing pro bono work for not-for-profits and start-ups; or just “creating” a portfolio from scratch, concentrating on crafting more corporate-type samples (i.e., the project types described earlier). In the pro bono or “creation” scenarios noted above, perhaps you team with a graphic designer starting out as well, so you both end up with samples for your “book.” Then load them all up to a web site. Visit www.writeinc.biz, then Portfolio to get an idea of project types.

The Adult Conversation
Starting a commercial writing business is no “get-rich-quick” deal. Your mother was right: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is no cakewalk. Building a writing business takes a lot of hard work, but know that, 1) there IS a need for good writing in the business world; 2) hiring freelancers over full-time staff makes sound economic sense for companies, and for many reasons, and finally; 3) if you’re a good writer (not even brilliant, just good), you can find your place in this field.

Many writers dream of making their writing mark in a more literary way. Until then, why not get paid well to write and carve out more time to pursue your writing passions? The commercial writing market is big, growing and pays handsomely. As you read this, thousands of writers are landing countless, high-paying writing jobs. Why not you?


Peter Bowerman, a veteran commercial freelancer and business coach in Atlanta, Georgia, is the author of 2010 title, The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less, an updated edition of his original 2000 award-winning Book-of-the-Month Club selection. For more details, and to subscribe to his popular monthly ezine and blog, visit www.wellfedwriter.com. He chronicled his self-publishing success (60,000 copies of his books in print and a full-time living for eight-plus years) in his award-winning 2007 release, The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living. www.wellfedsp.com.

link | posted by Kristen at 11:21 AM |

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