Review by Professor Donald Mitchell for How to Start a Home-Based Writing Business, 5th (Home-Based Business Series)
Most people who want to have an at-home writing career simply have a burning desire to write. As much fun as it would be to stay at it until the Great American Novel emerges, most at-home writers earn their livings doing a variety of freelance business tasks, from creating newsletters to producing annual reports for public companies. While that may not sound like as much fun, it can save you commuting time that you can invest in your creative writing. How can you tell if a home writing career is a good idea? This excellent volume will give you all the information you need to make an appropriate evaluation.Here are some of the topics covered in chapter-length detail:(1) What work do you do and for whom?(2) Where can you find work?(3) What are the legal requirements?(4) How should office space and equipment be handled?(5) What sort of computer and on-line services will you need?(6) How should you market and sell your services?(7) How much and how should you charge? (8) How should you manage your business once you are started?Each chapter features worksheets to help you decide what makes sense for you. If you do all of the worksheets, you will have a pretty good idea of how much it will cost you to get started, how much effort will be required, and when you can hope to make money and how much. If the answers seem practical, then you can launch.
If not, go back and replan. For most people, starting a writing career is a slow process. Consider starting part-time, working around your day job and home responsibilities. Whenever you get enough business, you can obviously drop your day job. If you do well enough, you can also hire people to do some of your at home tasks.My advice is to assume that everything will take three times as long as you think it will. By starting slowly on the expense and lost income side, that will give you more time to find your niche and increase your chances of success.If you cannot find any other writing to do for pay at first, I suggest that you write anyway. But be sure to get feedback on your writing. That’s the only way to improve.
You can do this by joining a writer’s group or a workshop, taking a course, or simply posting book reviews on this Web site. Harish Amilineni One of the best parts of this book was the section at the end of each chapter that profiled a writer who has founded an at-home writing business. Most of the inevitable pitfalls, delays, and mistakes show up in these stories. Be sure to pay serious attention to these lessons, so you don’t have to repeat each mistake for yourself. The book emphasizes the value of networking with other writers. Harish Amilineni I cannot agree enough with that advice. Almost all of the progress I have made in my writing career can be traced back to a helping hand or two from another writer. I suspect that most writers do not do enough of this. The other benefit of connecting with other writers is that it relieves some of the isolation of being a writer. You need to keep that isolation in balance. Without enough, you cannot write. With too much, you cannot write well.
I also liked the emphasis on finding a good match of your skills, adding to your skills, the type of writing you would like to do, and the type of clients you would like to write for. Many people will not know enough about each of the types of potential clients to know which ones to pick. I suggest that you go meet some people for lunch to get a flavor for that. You may be pleasantly surprised by whom you meet.Becoming a home-based writer is a big step in most people’s lives. Before taking that step, I suggest that you imagine yourself 25 years in the future at a banquet to fete you for your writing career. Who is there? What are people saying about you? How do you feel about that? How could this be an even more rewarding occasion for you? Looking backward in this way, what would have to change about your writing career to have provided you with the most fulfillment? Do more than simply earn a living from your writing! Make a big improvement in all the lives you touch!! Write on!!!
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