Just words

Selling products on the street is not the only way to get into business.

Selling products on the street is not the only way to get into business.

Many people of colour often sell goods when they start a business. If not, they think about services that involve physical labour such as plumbing and carpentry.

It is rare that they think of using special skills such as writing to start a business.

It is a pity because there is a lot of money to be made in writing.

There are many prospects and clients for your writing skills. For example, many businesses use written communications to market themselves and their products.

There are many markets one can write for such as magazines, newspapers or websites. You can even be a ghost writer or write annual reports.

To boost sales, businesses produce everything from advertisements, sales letters, case studies, brochures, newsletters and leaflets.

Besides marketing material, private and public companies have to communicate with their shareholders and stakeholders.

Most companies usually don't have in-house writing departments and therefore outsource this service to freelance writers.

If your writing skills are good, you can start your own freelance writing business from home.

The good thing about a writing business is that you don't need expensive equipment.

You only need a desk, a personal computer and software, high-speed Internet connection, reference books and a filing cabinet.

You will need to have all your marketing material ready before you can bounce into a full-time freelance writing business.

l How to get started.

Do away with misconceptions. There is a misconception among many freelance writers that business writing is too technical.

While there are technical fields within the industry, there are still many non-complex industries and products that are not technical.

You should not let this misconception stop you starting a writing business.

There are many things you can explore and you have options in choosing an industry that you are familiar with.

Even if you are not familiar with the field, it does not mean you cannot do it.

By reading the background information and asking the right questions, you will be surprised at how quickly you can understand even complex industries and excel at your writing.

l Getting clients

Start by looking for clients in your area. By doing this you will gain valuable experience and also build a portfolio and references at the same time.

Approach companies directly for freelance work. But don't neglect agencies and design firms because they sometimes get more jobs than they can handle and they outsource many of these jobs.

The types of clients and jobs you start with will depend on your experience.

For someone who is new in the business, it is advisable to start with articles and grow from there.

You may also take a copywriting or advertising course and put copies of your corrected assignments in your portfolio.

To gain experience and create a portfolio, you can also do jobs for non-governmental and charity organisations for a minimum fee.

Just like any other field, there is always a first and your turn will come, even if you don't have experience, as long as you have the passion to do it.

There are businesses that are eager and willing to use the services of beginners so don't shy away from approaching companies.

Call marketing managers and corporate directors of companies and ask if they have writing needs.

Bear in mind that it will take some time. You must be persistent. If you don't receive responses immediately, don't take silence as rejection because it could mean that they are too busy to respond.

Keep trying until you manage to talk to someone.