When I decided to start writing for the internet, I had no idea my client base would quickly stretch over four continents and would involve juggling marketing efforts, outsourcing, and precision scheduling along with writing. I just planned on doing some writing.
I don't think my experience is unique. There are a lot of content writers out there who entered the field because they wanted to write and soon found themselves staring down the long barrel of actually owning and operating a small business. Some have been able to handle the situation, others are struggling with it, and some just can't do it.
I live in Johnson County, Kansas, which covers quite a few of Kansas City's suburbs. One local company, Garmin, makes GPS equipment, chart plotters, and other similar devices. You may have heard of them, as they are a leading producer of these things. I don't know if they advertise nationally, but occasionally I will hear one of their radio ads around here. The general theme is usually sort of a "know where you are going" thing. It's too bad Garmin's labs haven't introduced a tool with a nice soothing voice you can attach to your computer monitor that will tell you when you are headed in the wrong direction or that can guide you to your preferred destination.
I see many talented writers who cannot scrape out a living online because they don't have those other small business skills. They, like me, just planned on doing some writing. Either they don't find enough work to stick to it, or they quickly get more than they can possibly handle. It's a tricky business.
If you happened to land here because you are just planning to do some writing, let me make a recommendation. If you are serious about making a living at this, prepare to spend half of your time or more for awhile learning the other ropes in addition to writing content. There's no Garmin plot charter available to navigate the seas of the content world, but there are some great resources that you should check out before deciding to hang up your virtual "writer for hire" shingle in too visible of a spot.
Get good scheduling software. Learn how long it really takes you to complete certain tasks so that you can manage your time. Develop a marketing strategy with the help of great online resources and books. Learn a little bit about running a small business. Run through numbers and determine how much you want to make, how long it will take you, etc. Plot a course before you really set sail.
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