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3 Things To Consider

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By Author: Jason Trout
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Your Business Plan
I highly recommend laying out a business plan before you begin. There's no better way to judge how you're progressing, and also know where you want to go. There are tons of books on this subject, ranging from in-depth corporate plans to small-business owner plans. Being naturally a bit lazy, I opted to put together a relatively simple plan.

What I did was to take a calendar and start laying out goals and when I wanted to reach them. This helped keep me on track with everything, and it was all in one place. Since I started out doing this part-time I had the luxury of slow, step-by-step development.

I opened my calendar, let's say, to February. I began by marking dates that I wanted certain thing completed by. As an example:

• Feb 12 - Complete 1st 2 articles for submission
• Feb 21 - Contact Graphic Designers
• Mar 4 - Open Separate Savings Account
• Mar 5 - Begin Ad Campaign ($300 Budget)

I think you get the idea. I began mapping out where I was going and what I wanted to accomplish. I also did the same thing in a word document. I spelled out in writing ...
... what my objectives were, what rules I would follow to get there, and what methods I would use to achieve my goals.

A business plan, whether simple or complex, is essential to keeping you from wandering blindly forward. You'll have to know where you're money will go and where it will come from. You'll also have to have a way to chart the growth (or failure) of your business.

Your Survival Budget
Ok, this one is critical. If you're going to do this full time, here's what I recommend. Calculate what your monthly living expenses are, and have enough money in your bank account (my separate account I mentioned above) to cover you for at least 8 months and write my paper. Some authorities recommend 6 months - but I'm a scaredy-cat, I like heat and running water - I wanted a bigger cushion. If you think 6 months is good for you, go for it. But the last thing you want to be saddled with is fighting the bill collectors instead of dealing with clients.

When you're figuring your budget, don't forget that you'll also be supporting a new business. Ink, paper, website (maybe), all these things need to go into your budget. The easier you can make it on yourself, the better off you'll be. If you can find ways to cut personal expenses - do it.

For example, if you can survive with basic cable instead of 1000 channels, you'll have more money for your business. After your business is running smoothly, you can have all the channels you want, but you have to get there first. So think about where you can really save without depriving yourself of everything.

Skills You Need to Succeed
In the world of freelance, there's room for everybody. Whether you're an accomplished author or just breaking into the writing scene there are possibilities for all.

Obviously, the better writer you are, the more client's you're going to win. But even poor to mediocre writers can make money in this field. In fact, to be honest with you, I have seen some really poor writing, and yet, there it is...in print. So even if you're skills aren't polished, don't get discouraged.

What skills will you definitely need?

• Researching Skills - there will be many times you're called upon to find all, or most, of an article or book you're working on. This is especially true with ghostwriting. Being able to search the web, libraries or print media efficiently will cut your turn around time. This means you'll finish faster and get paid sooner. Being concise with your search terms on the web, or asking for assistance from the librarian will go a long way toward reducing your research time.

• Interview Skills - Whatever kind of writing you decide you're going to do you will be faced with interviewing the client. You'll need to be able to extract all the information you need to get the project done correctly. Whether it's copywriting, ghostwriting, E-book writing, if you you're doing for someone other than yourself you'll have to know how to handle the interview. Knowing where to start and what to ask can mean the difference between 2 re-writes of 10.

So I've included a few questions below that should be asked almost all the time. (This, of course supposes you already know the basics of the project.)

o What is your target audience?
o How long do you intend the work to be?
o Do you have any reference sources you want me to include?
o Are you expecting any graphs or tables in the work? If so, are you going to provide them, or will I have to produce them?
o How do you plan to market this e-book? (assuming it's an e-book project)
o Is this a stand alone book or are you considering a series?

Knowing the right questions to ask will simplify things for both you and your client. You also have to listen attentively, because often, the interview will lead to other questions you hadn't planned on. Listening to what the client wants and anticipating how he wants to accomplish it will help guide your interview process.

About the Author
I’m Jason Trout and I have a passion for writing.
Work in Study Essay. I enjoy writing on a variety of topics and I take pleasure in immersing myself in learning about new and exciting areas. My primary writing focus is on article, blog and site content, but I am always open to other areas of writing

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