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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Expanding Your Dream
by Kelley Hunsicker

When you made that final step to becoming a full-fledged writer, did you have visions of money rolling in from your well crafted, well thought out, could-only-be-written-by-you pieces? Are those dreams now being shattered - rejection by rejection? There's no denying that it's tough to become a successful writer. Along with talent, it takes tenacity and persistence. If your dream is of one day becoming self-sufficient, it is attainable.

First, start thinking of yourself as a professional. You also need to view your writing as a home-based business. You may need to purchase a business book to see what your local and state requirements are, for example licenses, fees, etc.

Most of what you need could be made rather cheaply right off your computer. Make sure you have letterhead, envelopes, phone, e-mail, and a phone book. Have you picked out a name yet? Now you are ready to begin.

Finding Your Business Niche
Most of us have been employed at one time or another in our lives. Many of us still are. Any employment experience will be an asset to your writing career.

Do you have experience in sales, retail, coaching, secretarial, teaching, and so on? Get several sheets of paper out. On the top of each one list the business you worked for. Under the heading list anything writing related that had to do with that business. For example, were there newsletters for employees, customer letters, training programs, etc.? Anything you have done, no matter how insignificant you may think it to be, is your direct and intimate knowledge of that business. What was good about the business? What could be improved? What were you most impressed with? Did you have any ideas for improving the business while there? Write everything down. This will give you an idea as to where to start and where your business strengths lie. Then you need to begin creating a portfolio from this experience.

A Portfolio From Scratch
A portfolio you say? But I don't have anything to put in a portfolio. Nonsense! We are creative people aren't we? Then let's get creative.

 When you were making your list of business experience, did you perhaps do any kind of writing for them? Maybe business letters, employee memos, newsletters, thank you cards, training programs, etc.? You will start with these. If you don't have copies, create samples by remembering what you did and how you did it.

Next, try to remember any type of writing that was important to the business. Create your own samples, inserting your own style and flair. Be creative and do your best work. Now, anything that you felt needed improving in the business, whether is was inadequate employee training, low employee morale, poor customer service - devise a plan to improve these things. These will be more samples of your work and what you are capable of doing. When you are finished, I think you will be surprised by how much writing samples you have.

Now it's time to get your work seen by your potential clients. You have to get your writing into your perspective marketplace.

Getting Noticed
Depending on your personality, this may be the hardest part for you. You need to become visible to your potential clients. How are you going to do that? Begin by making your business brochure. There are several computer programs that are capable of making very nice looking tri-fold brochures.

 Begin with your mission statement. What will you do for your client? Keep it simple. Include what hiring you would contribute to their business. In essence, you are selling yourself. You should include some of the types of businesses that you have experience in. Look in your newly created portfolio for your business experience information. Also include some of this same information on your business cards and letterhead. Now, with all this complete, it's time to pull out the phone book and find your potential clients. This next step could be a little more costly depending on which avenue you choose.

To Call or Not To Call
In your yellow pages, turn to the listings for each type of business that you have experience in. Look for a corporate office listing for each. Here's where you decide which way you feel most comfortable with.

- You can call the office directly and ask to speak to someone in their marketing department. If they don't have one, ask to speak to someone in Human Resources. Tell them who you are and what types of work you can do for them. If they use freelancers but aren't interested right now, ask if it would be alright to send an information packet for their files. If they agree, mail them a packet with a cover letter, your business card, your brochure and some samples of your work. One important bit of information, when approaching the market by telephone, always have a script card prewritten. It will help you to stay focused and remember exactly what you are going to say. You always want to sound professional when contacting these people. Always know in advance what your rates are. You can find books in your library and book stores as well as in market guides to give you an idea of what you are worth.

- If you are not ready to call clients directly, you can use a direct mailing approach. This will cost more and will not be as effective as direct calling. Try to mail letters to at least 500 different businesses. The more letters you mail, the better your odds of making a sale. You will want to repeat this step twice a year. Keeping your name in front of potential clients is key to your success. If your clients are satisfied with your work ask for referrals. With each job you complete, you'll want to pick up a few more leads. In time, you will have a large client base built up with each new job providing new clips for your portfolio. Don't forget to send thank you cards when the job is complete.

Maybe this isn't the type of writing you first envisioned, but it will certainly help pay the bills while improving your writing skills. If you are a serious writer, success is possible. All you need to do is expand your dream.

A little over one year ago, Kelley Hunsicker gave up her career as a Human Resource Manager to spend more time with her family. She is a student at the Institute of Children's literature and has sold articles to Hopscotch, Boys Quest, Fun for Kidz, Wee Ones and ICL "Writing Tips."









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