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Kim Wilson
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Launching A Commercial Copywriting Business: Your Steps to Full-Time Commercial Freelance Writing Success
by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications and Associates

If you're planning to leave your present job and pursue a full-time career as a freelance commercial copywriter, don't tell your boss to take his job and shove it. Your boss may actually be the one who contributes to the success of your copywriting business by giving you repeat work and funneling referrals your way, as you build your business and secure more clients.

With little selling and investing little or no money into start-up costs, you can turn your present or previous employer into your first paying client. Instead of telling your boss to take his job and shove it, ask if he'd be interested in hiring you to write his next brochure or sales letter.

If a credible relationship exists, the chances of receiving work are good. If not, don't worry. Other strategies exist to help the beginner succeed.

Sometimes what it takes to succeed is to create opportunities for yourself—before you officially go into business. Here's how to do it.

1) Identify primary and secondary sources of income. Money is always a predominant concern when starting a business. Everything tends to cost twice as much than predicted and everything takes twice as long to complete. Without some sort of financial backing, your business may go broke before you're able to showoff your stuff.

List all sources in which you derive your income from. The most obvious source is your present job, a primary source of income. Many writers still hold a regular job as they launch their own businesses, so they can still expect a weekly paycheck. You may have to reduce your hours at your present job so you can work more aggressively at establishing your business, otherwise you may feel as though it's taking forever—which it may.

Other sources of income, known as secondary sources of income, may include money in the bank, your spouse's income, a bank loan, credit cards, and other people (relatives and family members) who may be willing to lend you money.

Figure out how much you'll need to launch your business and support yourself, then subtract this amount from your primary and secondary sources of income to determine if you have enough money to forge ahead. If not, seek out ways to get the money—and don't give up no matter what.

2) Make a business plan. No one succeeds in business without a specific, step-by-step business plan. A business plan is more than an outline or a list of steps of action: it's your daily consultant, success coach and financial forecaster.

A business plan contains all aspects of your business—it contains specific information on start-up costs, what you want to earn in a year, what your services include, who your clients are, daily, weekly and monthly goals, and so forth.

Don't be ignorant into thinking you don't need a business plan, and don't be lazy in creating one. Your business plan will not only be rewarding and useful in the long term, but it's also exciting to create and it'll begin to elucidate potential future obstacles that you can plan ahead now to overcome.

Use your business plan to guide you in the direction of success. Many business books contain helpful information on creating a business plan. Buy a business book today and begin your business plan.

3) Identify work locally. Dozens and dozens of businesses exist in your own business community that are willing to outsource work to you. Your task is to identify these businesses that could use your copywriting services and develop a plan as to how you'll secure the work.

Locating work locally is more convenient for the beginner since he or she is aware of the business community and can initiate a sell more quickly.

4) Join a local writer's association. Another lucrative business generator is joining a local writer's association, especially one that offers a free job bank or referral service to its members. In addition, you can meet many freelancers who will funnel work your way, if you let them know who you are, what you do, and how eager you are to assist them with any of their assignments.

Try to join a local association, instead of a national one. Local associations tend to be more effective in getting you work because they're smaller in size and it's easier to network with the members.

5) Join a local association related to your specialty. One way to effectively solicit clients is to go directly where your type of prospective clients congregate, such as an association. If you do copywriting services for accountants and lawyers, why not join an association that attracts these types of professions and start to network with them. Soon they'll realize who you are, what you do, and how you can help them, and they'll be inclined to outsource work to you.

6) Build your own library of information. The more you know, the smarter you will become in making decisions, overcoming obstacles, and speeding up the process of achieving success.

Always invest in at least one book each month and begin subscriptions to all magazines that can assist you in your quest for success. Some favorites: Writer's Digest, Advertising Age, Ad Week, Marketing Demographics, PR Quarterly, Success magazine, Home Business Computing, Entrepreneur, and Today's $85,000 Freelance Writer.

The topics of your books and magazines should be focused on business, writing, consulting, self-help, marketing, etc.

7) Secure an anchor client. An anchor client is the type of client who gives you repeat work on a regular basis—sometimes, you can expect to receive work at a certain time.

For example, an anchor client may hire you to produce his monthly newsletter, so each month you can expect the job—and a paycheck.

8) Team up with a mentor. Nearly all people who achieve success acquire a special gift during their journey to the top—that gift is the gift of giving and helping others. When you ask for help, you will receive it. Your job is to make the most out of this help.

Single out the one person who helps you the most, and do whatever it takes to befriend that person. Besides the friendship that develops, that person will become a very valuable mentor who will be fain to help you succeed at all costs.

Again, the greatest source to locate a mentor is joining a local writer's association. Then, when you have joined the top ranks of successful self-employed writers, return the favor and become a mentor to someone else.

9) Network with other freelancers of all kinds. Another lucrative strategy to get work and referrals is from other freelancers, of all traits, not just from other writers. By letting freelance graphic designers, layout specialists, photographers, and illustrators know who you are, what you do, and how eager you are (and how thankful you'll be) to help them with their assignments, they'll be more inclined to farm out work to you and even go so far as recommending their clients to you for copywriting work. Always repay the favor by doing the same.

10) Get Internet access. For only $20 a month (even less these days), you can bring a wealth of information to your computer screen. One of my favorite uses of the Internet is to study web sites of successful commercial copywriters and then model what's working for them for my own success.

Brian Konradt is the owner and operator of FreelanceWriting.Com (http://www.freelancewriting.com), a web site dedicated to help writers master the business and creative sides of freelance writing. Mr. Konradt is also the principal of BSK Communications & Associates, a communications/publishing business in New Jersey, which he established in 1992.










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