How I Earned $25K Writing Mini-Books for a Company, and Landed Other Corporate and Government Writing Jobs! – by Marlene Caroselli

How I Earned $25K Writing Mini-Books for a Company, and Landed Other Corporate and Government Writing Jobs! – by Marlene Caroselli

If you are one of those writers who is also a reader, a reader primarily attuned to current events, you can use your skills to land some lucrative gigs. It’s a question of contacting businesses and government agencies that may be struggling with demands placed upon them internally or externally, demands requiring them to adjust to the changing times. Trends aside, you can also save organizations considerable time and money by providing written material for a variety of documents—mission statements, values statements, or even a skills-based curriculum.


Millers of old supposedly checked the stones they used for grinding cereal to make sure they were not too hot. They needed advance warning of overheating so they smelled for smoke by putting their noses to the grindstone. You need not do anything this drastic to achieve success with your writing. To illustrate, I once contacted the Human Relations Department of a Fortune 100 firm to ask if they could use mini-books related to the values they had established for their employees. While the $25,000 I earned may seem overly generous, the material I developed was made available to over 100,000 employees worldwide (between regular employees and outsourced workers). Consider, too, that the material was not time-sensitive so it was shared with existing staff and new hires year after year in a variety of formats—orientation packets, classroom material, intranet postings, materials provided to customers, etc.


Even though I was never an official state or federal employee, I have had many contracts with various branches of government over the years. For example, when email problems first began to arise, I proposed a curriculum to New York State to help employees avoid the many negative consequences that electronic communications can create. And, when Total Quality Management (TQM) gripped businesses, governments, entrepreneurs, and educators alike, I reached out and offered an overview of the major tenets of the movement to various firms. When the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 put regulations in place for public companies and ethics was the topic of the day as a result, I began writing about various ethics issues.


Ideally, since you are a writer, you are also a good researcher. And, if you have a general interest in business issues, whether or not they are trending, you may be able to find substantial freelance jobs. To illustrate, when I learned that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management had defined five executive competencies, and also learned around the same time that a Department of the Interior office in the Southwest held an annual Leadership Academy, I wrote to the person in charge of the Academy. I proposed making a presentation that included handouts with information and activities related to those core competencies: Leading change, Leading people, Achieving results, Sharpening business acumen and Building coalitions and communication. That one inquiry led to a multi-year contract with the department.


Having sold my business a few years ago, and being mostly interested now in writing books, I still find myself considering the nexus of writing and corporate possibilities from time to time. Here’s what I mean. Not long ago, I read that a major airline prides itself on a hiring process that stresses attitude and not skills. The CEO stated that he believed skills can be acquired but a bad attitude would offset whatever skill-value an employee might bring to the company. If I were still in the business of courting businesses, I would contact the company, and offer to write a series of questions to be asked during the interview process. The questions would help ascertain attitudes of applicants.

Think about it. The average HR specialist can earn an annual salary of $65,000—that’s about $260 a day. Depending on how quickly you could research the types of questions that reveal attitudes, and then prepare a list with annotated notes, you could charge at least $250 for the information. It would probably take the specialist at least a day to do the research and compile the list—given all the obligations and interruptions he or she must deal with in a typical day. Your $250 list would represent a real savings in research and writing time for that company. (There are more than 70 million Internet entries on the topic of the psychology behind interview questions.) And, of course, your list could be sold to an unlimited number of organizations, thus earning you much more than $250.


Jack Welch earned the nickname above when he was CEO of General Electric. He is known for many things, among them the observation that “when the rate of change outside the organization is greater than the rate of change inside the organization, then we are looking at the beginning of the end.”

If you are the sort of writer who is interested in the events impacting the business world, you can help organizations make the changes that will facilitate transitions. And, even if you are not interested in the changes occurring in our fast-paced world, you can propose writing material related to business practices that don’t change—such as the questions that are asked during the hiring process.

All it takes is a well-written letter of inquiry.



Dr. Marlene Caroselli is the author of 62 books, the majority of which have been written for corporate training departments.


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