At most fast food restaurants, employees are trained to do more than one aspect of the job. The same employee who handles the drive-thru window could also work the front line or put burgers together. They’re trained to do other jobs within the restaurant because the managers know the benefits of having their employees multi-task. The more productive an employee is, the more profit the company makes in the long run.
The number one mistake most freelance writers make when it comes to earning a living is focusing on only one area of writing. And if you want to make a decent income with your words, you must branch out. Become a multi-job writer.
How can you do that?
Break into writing copy for businesses.
Lowes, IBM and UPS – what do they have in common? They’ve all used the talents of freelance copywriters. A Lowe’s store hired a copywriter to write the words on the tags you see tucked into plants. IBM used a copywriter to write software and training copy and UPS needed the skills of a copywriter to write for their in-house magazine. While you should aim for the `household name’ companies, don’t forget about smaller, though just as lucrative ones.
Peter Bowerman, author of Well-Fed Writer says, “For every $multi- billion behemoth, there are dozens of $25-, $50-, $100-million + companies who have tons of needs, plenty of money for it, and are less likely to have in-house resources.”
Copywriting is a fast-growing, well-paying field and businesses can use your writing skills to help them market their product or services.
Need ideas for which companies you should contact? Use what I call the head-to-toe idea search. Start at your head. Who can use a copywriter? Hair salons, wig companies, hat manufacturers. What about eyes? Eyeglass companies, eye doctors, etc.
Remember to market your work to the people you already interact with on a regular basis, such as your physician or dentist.
Unsure about how to write copy for businesses? Learn. Read books, take a class or find a mentor.
Did you know that not all the books you read on the market today were actually written by the author whose name is listed on the cover? It’s true that if you ghostwrite the byline won’t be linked with your name, but have you ever tried to cash a byline? Same way with articles. Not every article you read was written by the author listed along with the title.
Do you write well? Have great spelling and grammar skills? (Again, if you don’t know how, this is something you can learn.) Learn to do editing for websites. Ever notice the misspellings in MLS listings? Agents are in the business of selling, not writing.
Contact your local real estate office, ask for the manager and offer to edit their listings, or better yet, offer to write the copy yourself.
Do you have a talent in one area of writing? An area you’re successful in? Charge a fee for teaching an online workshop/class and show others how you do what you do.
Don’t forget about your local newspaper. Many papers have sections dealing with happenings around town – if yours doesn’t, query the editor and suggest they hire you to write one.
Editors often use freelance writers to write obituaries and the police beat (especially the newspapers in smaller towns). I called a newspaper recently to get an answer about another matter. During the conversation, after I explained what I do for a living, I was offered a writing job.
The advertising director of one newspaper in my area said many writers don’t get hired simply because they never ask. When it comes to making more money, remember to always look for opportunities, whether it’s telling someone what you do or sending out a query.
Sonya Weiss is a freelance writer living in South Carolina. She specializes in articles on writing, health, parenting and women’s issues as well as writing copy for businesses.