Can You Write?

I came across this article today and thought I’d share it with everyone. I’ve been on Malaysian forums whereby women (yes, homemakers are mostly women) ask about work-at-home job opportunities. They ask for jobs. But the way I see it, if the job is not forthcoming, there is no reason why you can’t go out and get something done.

For instance, writing. Good writers are HARD to come by. Good writers know their craft and they know how to turn boring into beautiful. If you have writing skills, use them to give yourself a job instead of waiting for one. It is not right for educated women to ask for jobs stuffing envelopes – my god, did we all go to uni just so we could stay home and stuff freaking envelopes?
But what if you don’t have the skill? Then learn it. Learn from books, from others, and if you’re online, you’d be spoilt for choice. That’s why this article below is quite spot-on about turning your writing ability into a cash cow. Yes, it speaks of the US market but I know of women who have made good money from writing right here in Malaysia. A friend of mine gets so many writing jobs that she has to outsource some to her friends, otherwise she won’t meet her deadlines!

Write for Food (and Good Money, Flexible Lifestyle and More…):
Discover the Commercial Writing Field

by Peter Bowerman

The heavy equipment manufacturer, a foreign firm with U.S. office in Atlanta, needed to create their first U.S. brochure. Their existing European-voiced marketing materials just weren’t cutting it. To speak to their American audience, they needed an American writer. And yours truly got the nod for this 12-page full-line marketing piece. The fee: $4500.

Some other examples… A six-page telecommunications industry newsletter every month for a year: $4500 monthly. Six weeks worth (about 30 hours a week) of brochures, sales letters, newsletter articles and more for a global staffing giant: $16,000. An eight-week (150 hours total) PowerPoint project for a Fortune 100 company: $15,000. All projects I’ve worked on and all examples of the lucrative world of commercial writing.

For the last decade, downsizing and outsourcing have sculpted the corporate American landscape. Corporations – large and small – and creative agencies are all doing more with less. As a result, many rely heavily on well-paid freelancers to write their marketing brochures, ad copy, newsletters, direct mail campaigns, video scripts, Web content and much more. And I hear it all the time from clients: how hard it is to find good, smart, reliable writers who can write well, think strategically and help companies clarify their marketing messages.

Plenty of Work

The possibilities are rich. What we see as consumers (e.g., ads, direct mail pieces, consumer newsletters, brochures) is just the tip of the iceberg. That’s called B2C: business-to-consumer. What we don’t see – except as employees of a company – are two huge additional arenas of work. First is B2B (business-to-business), all the materials created by businesses to market to other businesses.

Not to mention “internal communications” – all the projects that exist solely within a corporation and for their eyes only: newsletters, sales sheets, web sites, presentations, videos, CD-based training programs, PowerPoint presentations, procedure manuals and the list goes on and on. Much of it is outsourced.

But don’t assume that all this work exists only within large corporations. Ponder the vast number of small-to-medium-sized companies (25-100+ employees) with so many of the same needs, but even less likely to have the in-house staff to execute them. They may need more educating – not only about the very existence of outside writing resources but how to craft these projects as well – but the work is absolutely there.

Caveat: This is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. You’re not likely to land juicy projects like I describe above right out of the gate. I didn’t. But I built it steadily. If you have no portfolio, you’ll have to build one (details below). But as writing fields go, it’s one of the most accessible and lucrative out there.

Marketing Ability?

Yes, this business IS a sales and marketing venture. But, don’t freak. Marketing isn’t some lofty science understood only by Harvard MBAs. And it’s NOT about being a slick, pushy salesperson. Marketing is simply letting your market know you’re out there, consistently, and in a variety of ways that cut through the clutter. And remember: you and your writing ability are the products, and if you believe in both, it’s a far easier “sell.” Most importantly, good writing skills are at a premium.

Writing Ability?

How good a writer do you have to be? Certainly, no one’s going to pay you $60-80 an hour if you’re lousy. That said, there are plenty of fields such as healthcare, banking, manufacturing and technology, which have steady needs for clear, concise copywriting that doesn’t have to be a work of art. Start studying your junk mail, the little newsletter inserts in your electric bill, the rack brochures at your bank. Could you write that?

What About a Portfolio?

In the beginning, you may not have much to show a prospective client. Start with any projects you may have done in any of your jobs: a marketing manual, press release, newsletter, sales sheet, speech, article, etc. Try doing some pro bono work for a charity or start-up firm, or team up with a graphic designer in the same boat, and approach those same type entities together. The best part? All this can be done while you’re employed elsewhere.

Landing It

Reach these companies by cold calling, direct mail postcard mailings (check out www.modernpostcards.com), joining business networking groups, or by tapping your contact base. Leverage your past industry experience and contacts and get started by pursuing work in that arena.

Why not get paid well to write and carve out a life full of freedom, flexibility, AND more time to pursue your writing passions? The commercial writing market is full of lucrative possibilities. As you read this, thousands of writers are landing countless, high-paying writing jobs. Why not you?

© Peter Bowerman

Love to write, but hate to starve? For a complimentary report (“Why Commercial Writing?”) on building your own high-income writing career with enviable freedom and flexibility, visit www.wellfedwriter.com, home of the award-winning Well-Fed Writer titles and complimentary monthly newsletter by Peter Bowerman, one of America’s leading experts on the lucrative field of commercial freelancing.

0 thoughts on “Can You Write?

  1. Hi Vino: You can try online publications because they are always on the look out for contributors. You can try offline publications too. In today’s world and with Google around, nothing is hard to find anymore. Just takes a little bit effort, some fast Googling and you’re halfway there.

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