One day a fortnight I sit down and write fourteen 250-word stories. I send these stories out daily via e-mail. Each subscriber pays $10 a month and, with just under 300 subscribers, I have a monthly income of almost $3000.
My story service began from a very simple idea. When you are reading a good story, sometimes you can get so intrigued in it that you take the story with you even after you finish reading. When I read a story with a strong character, I feel like I take some of their strength with me, even after I have finished reading. If I am really intrigued in the character, I actually find myself acting how they would act.
And so my idea was to provide people who needed support or inspiration with a character they could find strength in. And to deliver them this on a daily basis.
I chose women in business as the people I could support and started an email story service aimed at providing these women with inspiration. I named it WOW, Women On Work.
For each story I pick a typical situation and then I describe my character dealing with it. Having to make small talk with the person you know detests you, being called on in a meeting when you have no idea what they are talking about and having to fire an employee are just some of the situations I have described. My stories always have the same character and she always deals with these situations the way you wish you could.
My business service started out small. I started by offering it to people I knew for free. I did this for a few months, getting feedback from them so I could perfect it. Once I figured out what would work I started to charge my $10 fee. I had a big advantage getting subscribers because of the fact that women tend to network. One subscriber that was happy with the service sometimes led to about ten more.
I also placed ads in a magazine focused on women in business and in a natural health magazine under the self-help category. Both of these ads bought in about a dozen new subscribers. And those dozen bought in about ten times more. I have found that word-of-mouth was essential to my success. Very few people started off subscribing until someone they knew recommended the service. My business grew from no paying subscribers to almost 300 in just under a year.
I decided on women in business because I could identify with these women. But I could see this service working for any type of person needing some sort of support. Smokers trying to quit, teenagers coping with growing up, freelance writers coping with constant rejection.
I believe there were two main things that led to my success. The first was choosing a subject that I knew about. This made writing the stories easy. The second was testing them out for a few months before charging for it. Since word-of-mouth was my main way of getting subscribers it would not have worked if people had not been happy with the service. And until I perfected it, they wouldn’t of been.
The best thing about my business is that it gives me the freedom to write whatever I feel passionate about. It takes me two days a month to write my stories. The rest of the days I can write whatever I like without the constant pressure of making a sale. As well as that, I am offering a service that is helping people and that gives me a sense of satisfaction.
There are many markets out there. Many people needing help or hope or inspiration. Choose one you can identify with. And if you can write, and especially write fiction, it is an opportunity that may be just what you are looking for.
Isobel Michelle is a freelance writer based in Australia. Her specialist topics include business, women’s issues and writing for children. Her imagination is her strength and fiction is her passion. She also manages several business ventures including a newsletter service for women in business titled ‘WOW’ (Women On Work).
Isobel can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in subscribing to the newletter or would like more information on it you can email the above address with ‘WOW’ in the subject line. Questions or comments about the service are more than welcome.