Essentials for starting a freelance writing business?

I want to start a freelance writing business to supplement teaching part-time. My wife and I are concerned about start-up costs. What would be the essentials for getting a business started?

  • Hi John:

    I think the first thing you need to consider is living expenses. Once you have a grip on where your living expenses are going to come from and how much they are going to be, then you have to consider the expense of maintaining the business.

    By that, I mean, how much is it going to cost you to advertise, host a website, attend conferences, etc. If you get the big pieces out of the way, then it's easier to plan your way forward.

    Good luck, Barb

  • Hi John,

    I think it can cost you very little to get started. The things Barb mentioned are important down the line for a full-fledged business, but for now, you should start by getting a few clients to write for. You'll find that once you have a few, more and more will fall into place! You can host a portfolio website for free or very little. And the good news is, freelance writing really doesn't cost much as all you really need is your computer!

  • The best thing about starting a writing business is you can do it from anywhere! As Barb mentioned earlier, consideration of living expenses is a factor. If you work from home (an office with a desk computer or your laptop in the living room), you can even go so far as to write off part of your utilities on your taxes. (That's also if you manage to turn a profit the same year.)
    And Jess also made a good point, starting with a few clients, even family members. (My first freelance client was a close family member, and it can spiral from there.) First, tell your family and friends, give them business cards (hello, VistaPrint!), and set up a Facebook company page.
    And if you ever need a hand with your work, let me know; I'll make sure to give you a rate that won't break you for first year! :)

  • Even if you do your writing as a "side line" for awhile, I would suggest treating it as a start-up. This means setting up a bookkeeping system to track your expenses (new computer/printer/scanner, etc.), costs (toner, paper, travel, research), along with your housing/living expenses and income from all forms of work/investments...you get the idea. This will put you in a better position to evaluate your alternatives. I agree, it doesn't have to cost much, and the less it costs, the better off you may be. You won't have dug yourself such a deep hole that you'll pay for it down the line. Oh yeah, if you have a decent nest egg it will help you get over the humps.

    Best of luck!

  • Hi John--What kind of writing do you want to do? Are you thinking creative writing type of ghost writing, submitting work to publications to be published etc? Are you thinking about marketing type of writing for clients? Travel writing or financial writing? Are you thinking about editing people's websites and doing some SEO with that?

  • Hi John:

    I think the first thing you need to consider is living expenses. Once you have a grip on where your living expenses are going to come from and how much they are going to be, then you have to consider the expense of maintaining the business.

    By that, I mean, how much is it going to cost you to advertise, host a website, attend conferences, etc. If you get the big pieces out of the way, then it's easier to plan your way forward.

    Good luck, Barb

  • Hi John,

    I think it can cost you very little to get started. The things Barb mentioned are important down the line for a full-fledged business, but for now, you should start by getting a few clients to write for. You'll find that once you have a few, more and more will fall into place! You can host a portfolio website for free or very little. And the good news is, freelance writing really doesn't cost much as all you really need is your computer!

  • The best thing about starting a writing business is you can do it from anywhere! As Barb mentioned earlier, consideration of living expenses is a factor. If you work from home (an office with a desk computer or your laptop in the living room), you can even go so far as to write off part of your utilities on your taxes. (That's also if you manage to turn a profit the same year.)
    And Jess also made a good point, starting with a few clients, even family members. (My first freelance client was a close family member, and it can spiral from there.) First, tell your family and friends, give them business cards (hello, VistaPrint!), and set up a Facebook company page.
    And if you ever need a hand with your work, let me know; I'll make sure to give you a rate that won't break you for first year! :)

  • Even if you do your writing as a "side line" for awhile, I would suggest treating it as a start-up. This means setting up a bookkeeping system to track your expenses (new computer/printer/scanner, etc.), costs (toner, paper, travel, research), along with your housing/living expenses and income from all forms of work/investments...you get the idea. This will put you in a better position to evaluate your alternatives. I agree, it doesn't have to cost much, and the less it costs, the better off you may be. You won't have dug yourself such a deep hole that you'll pay for it down the line. Oh yeah, if you have a decent nest egg it will help you get over the humps.

    Best of luck!

  • Hi John--What kind of writing do you want to do? Are you thinking creative writing type of ghost writing, submitting work to publications to be published etc? Are you thinking about marketing type of writing for clients? Travel writing or financial writing? Are you thinking about editing people's websites and doing some SEO with that?