Today, writers, speakers, presenters and website providers have a wealth of opportunities that are almost crying out for good communication skills. What's more, you don't need to be a top-notch communicator to earn a great living writing, speaking or presenting on topics that interest you.
Even better, your choice of work can mean you can create a low-cost, low-stress lifestyle, living where you want, enjoying the benefits and perks of the writer's life. To get started, you only need access to a standard PC, modem, phone line and an Internet access account!
For example, consider:
- Advertisements: the power house of business selling.
- Audio scripts: can be fun, yet not necessarily profitable unless you can secure regular work.
- Books and full-length novels: great if you get lucky and hit the big time. Still not profitable for most though. However, self-publishing could offer better returns.
- Brochures: every organization needs an identity and publicity. Lots of profitable options here.
- Case studies: companies and other organizations may find carefully written case studies to be highly profitable marketing vehicles that can get through the normal barriers to selling. How can you break into the case studies market from scratch? Answer: first, offer to write 2 or 3 case studies for medium-sized companies for free on the agreement that at the end, you'll.ask for testimonials from key named representatives of the companies you choose. Then use these sample case studies and testimonials earned to target named, key marketing managers of larger companies and organizations.
- CD, DVD and video scripts: a narrower field, but once your name becomes more widely known within this niche, an option that can be highly profitable.
- Copywriting: probably the most profitable business area, with a wide range of potentially high profit projects to consider.
- E-books: publish your novel for low cost. Distribute and sell through your own website and multiple vendors across the Internet who specialize in selling e-books.
- Editing: few people like writing - especially in business. You can fill the gap.
- Guidebooks: in a complex world, guides can help make sense of the details You can provide guides in PDF and leave printing options for your clients to determine.
- Ghost writing: you write the book for a set fee and someone else's name goes on the front cover as the author. How most celebrity books are written (since few celebrities are authors).
- How-to materials: probably one of the best niches to consider. Just find out which topics are popular. Learn about them and write your works. Or to really hit the big time,create a How-to CD-ROM or DVD.
- Magazine articles (online and / or paper printed): most magazines rarely get enough good material - one reason why many struggle. Find your niche and build relationships. The ability to write to a deadline is crucial. Just make sure you get paid on time. Typically, payment may take between 60 - 90 days.
- Newsletters: in-house or freelance. Lots of opportunities here.
- Newspaper stories: ferocious competition and aggressive deadlines but great kudos and can be profitable.
- Plays: fun, creative, yet not necessarily profitable until you have established your name.
- PR (Press Releases): lucrative area - especially for non-traditional, human interest story-based press releases. From a publicity angle, the conventional press release may be essentially dead nowadays as few are of sufficient interest to hold attention.
- Presentations: lucrative area creating Microsoft PowerPoint slides.
- Scripts for radio, TV and film production: once established, the sky is the limit. Be careful: lots of ways to steal your work. Deal only with proven, honorable providers. If possible, get legal confidentiality documents signed before handing over any of your works. An industry full of sharks and crocodiles. Beware.
- Short stories: great way to get started in fiction writing; getting known and publicized.
- Software manuals: can be profitable although maybe governed by industry trends, highs and lows.
- Speeches: tricky to get started but once you're known, regular work can be available.
- Subscription-based membership websites: like InternetTIPS.com, so naturally, this is "the sweet one." :-) I know I'm biased, but creating, managing and providing member websites can be wonderful for all sorts of reasons. Some offer free membership sites. Others set up successful in demand pay to access content. Another group simply provide additional content for their customers and clients to access. The key point: you have multiple choices. Get to understand your customers to determine the subscription website model that is best for you.
- Technical writing: can be profitable if you have an eye for detail.
- Thought-piece articles: write to win by persuasive argument, especially valuable to business customers.
- Web content on a wide range of topics: a new area with high growth that shows no signs of stopping. Lots of options to earn income.
Experiment with any of the above. Eventually, you'll find a niche that naturally fits your preferred style of working.
Key tip: do keep in mind, although many people may want access to your creative works, some may try a surprising range of tactics to avoid paying you, from delay excuses to outright refusal. Therefore, I suggest that you consider how to ensure you will get payment before you release your work.
Think seriously about how to get at least 50% payment in advance. Resist any pressure to sign before you've had time to properly evaluate "the small print". Usually, the best option is one that puts you in total control (hint: your own website).
How Smart Writers Change their Writing Game
The real key point is, we're living at the start of a true golden age for communicators. Though we have one drawback to the new golden age: we writers need to do more ourselves than just write. Many writers just want to write and let someone else deal with promotion.
Yet with the rapid development of the Internet, writers in particular, no longer need to be at the mercy, whims, wiles and caprices of an unscrupulous conventional publisher.
What's more, even though many still do, today, writers no longer have to totally rely on earning a paltry 7% - 10% royalties for each book sold (that's most likely on cost, not retail), paid twice yearly or annually.
The structure of traditional book publishing today combined with ever growing cut-throat competition means that publishers too can have a hard time making a sufficient number of books profitable, in order to finance the majority that at best break even, or more likely, create a loss.
Usually, through the sharp negotiating skills of "a good agent", only celebrity authors or well established "A-list" authors can command huge advances and royalties of more than 15%.
That's why, unless writing advances are adequate to support a writer during the process or creating a book, are paid regularly on time and resulting book sales consistently high, for most writers, living off typical royalties alone does not provide adequate income to support even a basic lifestyle.
Thankfully, the multitude of low-cost opportunities available to communicators today who are willing to explore outside of the traditional writing scenarios, means that many can now spread their talents across several areas and so make a good living and truly maintain their own destiny.
In addition to the various project ideas above, consider two especially exciting areas:
- When accomplished carefully, writing and self-publishing across a range of digital mediums can offer a significant return on your time and skills investment.
- A growing and potentially highly lucrative field for any established writer is to offer a range of high caliber services writing marketing materials for medium- and large-sized companies and organizations.
Welcome to the new wave.