10 Tips for Your Writing Business That Have Nothing To Do With Writing
I would never insinuate that I'm God's gift to writing or a perfect small-business owner. As writers, we constantly try to be better at the craft – perhaps we occasionally flirt with perfection, but we never quite get there. And even when we're brave enough to start a writing business from scratch, there's no denying that it takes endless hard work to be successful.
I'd venture to say there isn't a day that goes by when we're not learning something new from those around us and finding better ways to do things.
So when I started my writing business, Edit This®, nine years ago, I promised myself I would make up for what I didn't know yet by not complicating the easy stuff. For me, the "easy stuff" had nothing to do with writing blogs, website copy, or even freelance articles for newspapers and magazines. Those things were at the core of who I was as a writer, but I wanted to also be better at other things that made life simple for my clients.
Too many writers today who own a writing business or have considered starting one from scratch focus so much on their ability to write that they don't think about the other stuff that – while having nothing to do with writing – can mean the difference between having lots of clients or not near enough.
Have you started a writing business, or are you at least thinking about it? Our consulting and coaching services are geared toward writers because we've been in your shoes and want to see you succeed! Call Steve today at 469-360-3611 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 Tips for Your Writing Business That Have Absolutely Nothing to Do With Writing.
Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Yes, this is cliché. But some business owners take this mindset for granted. How you treat your customers directly impacts the long-term success of your writing business. If you treat people with respect and honesty, they'll keep returning and referring their friends.
Answer your phone, and reply to texts and emails.
I am blown away when business owners do not follow up with existing or potential customers. Answering the phone, returning a call, or responding timely to a text or email should be standard practice. When my wife and I shopped around for general contractors for a kitchen remodel, we called several places for bids and didn't get a call back from one until a week later. Some never called back. To me, that says you don't want my business. We all get busy, but I try to return every call, text, and email within an hour – worst-case scenario, 24 hours. If customers can't find you, they'll call another writing business.
Never reschedule appointments.
Obviously, there are always exceptions to this rule. But your client's time is just as valuable as yours. If you commit to meeting them on a particular day at a specific time, I think it doesn’t look good if you can’t follow through with that meeting.
When in doubt, over-communicate.
When it comes to my writing business, I make this a habit in everything I do with clients and business partners. Going out of your way to communicate ensures transparency, facilitates innovation, and keeps everyone on the same page.
Under-promise and over-deliver.
Too many writers who own a writing business try so hard to be competitive with other companies that they make these outlandish promises they can’t back up. For example, they might say they'll get a rough draft to you by Thursday, and it's still not done a week later. This is a textbook case of over-promising and under-delivering, and clients hate when a business does that. After all, their happiness revolves around the expectations you set. If you instead under-promise and over-deliver, you’re more likely to meet those needs and create a memorable moment for that client. For example, I told a client recently that I could complete a project by Friday. He was elated when I gave it to him 48 hours earlier than expected.
Avoid answering your phone when sitting with a client
If you are with a client, the last thing you want them to see is the top of your head as you look down to answer a text or pick up a phone call. That tells them you aren't interested in their business – they aren't important enough to have your full attention. If you expect a phone call and have to answer, let the client know beforehand.
Know your worth.
Customers are always looking for good deals, but you must remember that most people will pay at or above your fee if they know they will be taken care of and the job will get done right. Know your worth when it comes to your writing business. They'll be more inclined to choose you if they feel they have the right person for the job.
If you make a mistake, own up to it and fix it.
This is pretty easy if you ask me. But often, people feel the need to get defensive or point fingers at the client. It's bound to happen that you will make a mistake in business. Own up to it and go above and beyond to make things right.
Use a calendar.
I rely on my calendar for everything and constantly have it by my side. So it boggles my mind when other people don't do the same thing! As a result, they are constantly late, no-showing, double-booking themselves, and missing important deadlines. Using a calendar, and staying diligent about it, helps you look like a rock star in front of clients for the simple fact that it keeps you on schedule and helps you plan ahead personally and professionally. There are a million reasons to use a calendar, so please start using one.
Don't burn bridges.
You never want to burn a bridge if you can help it because the person or organization you burn could become your biggest nightmare. Plus, it’s just not nice. Listen to what the client or business partner is saying and understand their perspective before rushing to judgment. Choose options to resolve the problem instead of saying something you will regret.
Want More Writing Business Tips? Call Edit This!
I feel an incredible sense of responsibility to share with other writers and editors who are just starting out on their own what worked, what didn't, what I wish I did differently, and everything in between. This way, they can start their writing business faster and with more confidence than I ever had all those many years ago.
A writing consulting and coaching professional works collaboratively with a writer to help take their passion for writing from a hobby to a successful freelance writing career. We aren’t your editor, writer, ghostwriter, or second set of eyes, and we won’t take the steps toward small-business ownership for you. But we will coach you through getting that business started, including giving you practical advice, actionable step-by-step instructions, accountability and structure, and anything else we can do to help you overcome obstacles that may pop up.
Everything starts with a FREE 30-minute call. From there, you’ll have three 45-60-minute phone, Zoom, or in-person sessions per month, where we provide customized step-by-step instructions to keep you on track and turn your hobby into a successful writing business.
There are hundreds of ways to flex your creative writing muscles and build a successful freelance writing business. And we want to help.
STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This®, a writing and editing services company in Denton, TX. He is also a consultant and coach and the author of Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.