I completely applaud Ed Gandia for his article in today’s Wealthy Web Writer e-letter.
Ed quite openly shared his own tale-from-the-trenches experience that caused him to lose out on a $45,000 project.
This is priceless information for the rest of us. Part of it is because Ed is a hugely-successful B2B copywriter who has topped out over six figures for years, so he’s definitely somebody worth listening to.
The other priceless part of Ed’s article is the fact that he shared a hard-learned lesson. Most of us get frustrated by the steady (yet true!) flow of success stories from ultra-successful writers. This makes it enormously helpful to learn those writers encountered their own learning curves.
Kind of helps us realize bumps along the way are pretty normal, you know?
When Did You Realize Web-Writing Is Actually A Business?
Besides the refreshing honesty of Ed’s article, it holds still more value for us. That value comes in the form of excellent business-positioning advice.
Let’s face it. A lot of us love this career because we enjoy writing and want a freedom-filled lifestyle with unlimited income. But, few of us feel comfortable with managing the business side of web writing.
That’s certainly my story. In fact, the day I packed up and left my corporate job, my boss (whom I couldn’t wait to dump), said, “Good luck with your business.”
I thought to myself, rather haughtily, “Stupid woman. I’m not starting a business. I’m going to be a writer.”
Obviously, the joke was on me. Becoming a full-time writer versus a working web writer are two very different things. This meant I encountered a very steep learning curve during my first year in this career.
How To Get Comfortable With The “Business” Conversation When You’re Just Starting Out
Here’s the cool thing I’ve learned since that time: The business side of web writing isn’t actually that bad. Parts of it are even fun, believe it or not, and grow easier over time.
Plus, you don’t actually have to jump headlong into the business side until you’re ready.
When you seek work through the job boards, you have a good idea of what to expect. For instance, you know you’re up against anybody else who applied. In most cases, the fee is already pre-set. Also, it’s unlikely you’ll be asked to meet face-to-face since job posts come from all over the world.
If you are asked for a fee, you can consult your resources (we have a lot here on the site) and send a quote by email.
These steps may be more preferable to you than sitting across a table from a client, trying to make eye contact and keep your hands from fidgeting while asking tough questions about budgets and competition. In Ed’s article, he explains his own initial discomfort with this kind of situation.
Gradually, Business Talk Will Come Easier
After you have a couple of projects under your belt, you’ll notice a wonderful thing start to happen.
For one, you’ll have credibility in the way of live samples. You’ll also have experience communicating with clients.
You’ll also have a better handle on the value of your work and will be more comfortable estimating fees.
This means that when that big opportunity comes in, whether it’s a face-to-face meeting, a teleconference, or an email exchange, you’ll confidently ask your questions, name your price, and state your terms (refer back to Ed’s article for the three questions you need to ask).
If You Want To Get There Faster…
Does this mean you should ignore the business side of web writing in the beginning? Not at all. It just means you don’t need to panic if you’re not comfortable talking business. Keep pushing forward and you’ll get to the point where you are comfortable.
If you want to get there quickly (because face it, the quicker you get there, the more money you’ll make), then there are plenty of great resources you can access. Do a search on the “business of web writing” right here on the site and scores of helpful articles, just like Ed’s, will pop up. Or, take advantage of the Wealthy Web Writer forum. There’s even a thread specifically about Building Your Business.
Better yet, check out AWAI’s new home study program, The “Business Side” of B2B Copywriting: How to Get Clients, Grow Your Business, and Boost Your Income. It’s a remarkably thorough program that shows you how B2B business works in general, which will help you understand more about your client’s business and your own. (After all, if you write for the B2B market, you’re marketing yourself to businesses.) And, it eliminates the trial and error which is so challenging for all of us.
It’s applicable even if you don’t write B2B copy. Understanding more about the logistics of any copy-related business will help you expand your own.
So, use the resources available to you and press forward in a way and at a pace that suits you. You’ll probably even surprise yourself by how quickly you feel like a business-professional. You may even soon land a very attractive project that launches your career.
Thoughts? Questions? Write them in below, I’ll see how I can help.
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