Growing Your Writing Business

Whether you write from home or do other work in an office, your life is a business. You may not think that you are a business owner, but you are.

When my wife started processing mortgage loans for a company where the loan officers were being fed leads, they told her “This is your business.”

So she did what every business owner does: whatever it took to succeed! She worked long hours, called customers often, asked for referrals and handled questions quickly.

Another thing a successful business owner does is talk about their business. You must always work your game plan, looking for a window of opportunity, a way to close the sale.

In my business as a writer, I’m fortunate to have my wife as a business partner. I do the writing, and she does the marketing, pricing and generating leads and ideas. That makes me a better writer, because I can concentrate on my work.

Perhaps you don’t have the “other you” doing what she does for me. Instead, you just have to devote part of your time to being the owner and another part to being the manager. You can break up your day and do both. Sure, you only get paid for the writing. However, all you do is write, you will eventually reach a plateau.

I’ve seen some people get discouraged. They have concentrated on what they’re immediately getting paid for, and they forget the long-term goal: to gain more business that will ensure tomorrow’s pay. Here are some ways to do this:

Network
Get started networking! How many times do you run into people during the day? When you are grocery shopping, talk to the lady in line. At the post office, talk to the guy walking in the door. Don’t be shy! Tell them what you do, and find out what they do. You can mentally put together a 30 second “commercial” for yourself, hand them your business card and collect theirs.

Customer Service
Always be courteous, informative and helpful to people you want to work with. If you don’t know an answer, tell them when you’ll get back with them. Follow up with them at that time, even if it’s to say “I still don’t know.”

Close the Deal
This is the single most important part of owning your own business. Always look for an opportunity to close the deal. Sell your customers the idea that they really want to read your writing. People don’t buy what they need – they buy what they want. It’s your job to tell them what they want. Think of it – did you need another pair of shoes or did you just want it?

Marketing/Public Relations
How else will people know you are writing? Marketing is a big job. Are there places in your community where you can post signs for free? You can get the word out to a lot of potential customers by spending a few hours on the computer. Plus, the library always has information that can help you grow your business.

Advertise, Advertise, Advertise
You may not think this is part of your skill set, but you will need to do this to be successful. Maybe you have a friend who can help you.

Follow Up, Follow Through
I can’t stress enough how important this is! I had sent a few invitations for people to sign up on AC. My invite screen kept saying “Not Joined.” I scratched my head for a few days and wondered. The invitations hadn’t been unsolicited. The recipients knew they were coming and wanted them to come. I had sent out a broadcast of “hey, how’s it going” e-mails, saying I hadn’t seen them join yet and when were they looking to join? I had reminded them of the turn around to make some money. A few wrote back stating they had joined. So I followed up with the administration and they said there was a glitch.

So when you finish writing today, ask yourself, “What have I done today to grow my business?”

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