In this episode, I’m going to be answering the question, how much money do you need to start a writing business?
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Hey guys, welcome to Write Bites, a series of 10-minute episodes on writing, marketing, and freelancing. In this episode, I’m going to be answering the question, how much money do you need to start a writing business?
And this is a pretty common question I get, whether it’s related to, how much startup capital do I need to launch or more commonly, – it gets asked associated with my paid comprehensive course. It’s the idea that after the investment of getting this course, how much additional money am I going to need to actually make this business work?
The Most Important Answer
And the thing I want you to know first and foremost is that the answer is $0.
You don’t need any upfront capital to start a writing or in most cases, any sort of a service business outside of something that requires some sort of unique software.
That is the beauty of launching a service-based business. You’re not dealing with any cost of goods. You’re not dealing with any manufacturing costs.
You’re selling your time.
And in most cases that doesn’t come with any sort of overhead. It doesn’t come with any sort of, upfront costs that you have to invest.
And this applies to courses as well. As I tell all my readers and watchers and listeners, you don’t need to purchase a course even to succeed in this business.
At the end of the day, succeeding in any service business comes down to just two things:
- Can you perform the service at an acceptable level?
- Can you get that service in front of enough people that a small percentage of them will say, yes, and pay you for it.
That’s all it comes down to.
And you don’t need any money, especially if we’re talking specifically about writing, you don’t need a dollar to start doing that right now. You can go out and start pitching your writing services with no expenses.
The Answer You’re Actually Looking For
So that said, the core answer is zero.
But the secondary answer, a lot of times what people are looking for, is there any way that I can invest money to achieve a better result?
Whether it’s to grow faster, whether it’s to secure tools that will help me succeed, whether it’s to increase my ceiling. And the answer there it, to some extent is, yes, you can find things to invest in.
Which of those you want to invest in: it comes down to your unique situation, and it also comes down to whether or not you found your flywheel – your kind of core process for growing your business.
So we’re going to dig into that a little bit, and I’m going to walk through that over the rest of this episode. But just to reiterate, when we’re talking about launching a service business, particularly writing, you do not need any money to start right now and go get actual results, start landing, actual paying clients.
They may not be super high paying clients. They probably won’t be, unless you’re coming in with, professional writing experience from a full-time job or some other background, you’re probably going to start with low paying gigs and that’s okay.
That’s how virtually all of us start.
And honestly, if you’re in a situation where you have more time on your hands and not a lot of extra money on your hands, that’s the way you want to do it.
Don’t sink money that you can’t afford to lose even in training, even in my training. Because at the end of the day, there’s no reason to when you can just immediately go out and start pitching.
Validate that you are actually willing to follow through on this process and get real clients. Validate that you can go out and make money, regardless of what I’ve told you about how accessible it is, how low the floor is.
Regardless of what anyone else tells you, once you go out and secure a real client, it’s no longer theory. It’s no longer what someone told you. Now it’s a real, tangible business.
And then you can reinvest the funds that you make from those first few gigs back into your business. And there’s no risk. You’re not risking anything except for your time.
So if you’re in a situation where you’re worried about the money side of starting a writing business, that’s what I recommend you do.
Don’t spend a dollar, until you’ve actually gone out and landed some gigs. There’s tons of free resources. There’s over 176,000 words of free content on my site alone. And I’m just one of hundreds of writers who puts out great content on their blog. So go use that and validate that you’re actually going to get out and land some gigs. Validate that you actually have the follow-through and persistence to make this work, and then dive into what we’re going to talk about now.
Investment Option #1: Automation & Outsourcing
So that said, once you’ve gone through the process of accomplishing something manually, then one of the simplest ways to invest money in increasing your return is automation or outsourcing. So basically looking at the process that you’ve gone through to land clients, and think how can the time consuming elements, of this or the elements that I don’t enjoy, or the elements that I’m just not good at – how can I replace my manual efforts here with automation or with outsourcing?
So for example, when we talk about the SEO side of things, for me, one of the big things that I’ve never – I did it manually for the first two to three years of being in the space, and then I just, I hated doing it manually, so I started looking to outsource – it was link-building.
I did a lot of guest posts. I did a lot of even paid gigs where I was partially, what I was wanting to do is link back to my own site. And then later when I started to work to do SEO for clients, started doing links for them.
And it’s just one of those things doing it at scale is an absolute pain in the ass. And I hate it. Absolutely hate it. To do it at a high quality, it’s just very time consuming. So to me it made sense to find someone who specializes in that and outsource that process to them.
A similar thing that I’ve seen a lot of people in our Write Minds group do and even some of my students who aren’t in Write Minds as well is they automate the pitching process. So they go through the process of figuring out what pitches bring them their 5% success rate t, he types of businesses that they’re going to pitch for that, and then they use either software or a VA to automate certain parts of this process to go in and do more pitches than they would have time to do themselves while doing the fulfillment of the writing for the clients who say yes.
And one thing I would note here is: never try to automate a process that you haven’t made work manually. I see this a lot where people believe me when I talk about the success of pitching, but they’re not willing to actually go in and manually pitch. And so from the very beginning, they’re doing this half-assed approach of trying to automate it from the get-go before they’ve validated a working manual process.
And what happens is you end up skipping a lot of steps. You end up not understanding where the key performance points of the process are because you haven’t actually done it really. You’re preemptively trying to teach it to someone else.
I’ve seen people trying to outsource the whole process, but… outsource lead generation: I’ve never seen a single example of it working effectively, for whatever that’s worth. Pieces of it, yes. The whole thing? No.
So if you have someone telling you, “Hey, pay me X amount and I’m going to send you, 10 to 20 qualified leads per month.” I have never once seen that work successfully for someone.
Keep that in mind.
Investment Option #2: Premium Training
The other thing is beyond just direct automation and replacement, obviously there’s the training side.
My copywriting course is designed to take the process that I went through and teach it to you, so you can skip a lot of the steps and the hassle and the confusion along the way. I’ve done that. I’ve purchased courses in that same line many times throughout my career. I’ve invested at this point over $40,000 on coaches , courses and consulting. And it’s had a huge return for me.
And you see a lot of people online who are doing great stuff. They found a certain, piece of the puzzle, a certain part of the journey that they then accelerated by using someone else’s blueprint who kind of already brute forced their way through it. And then they give you a more efficient strategy, which you follow to get results quickly.
It doesn’t mean you don’t end up having to iterate. It doesn’t mean you to get to skip the work. You don’t get to skip the work. It just gives you a more efficient game plan, a more clear path and helps you move through it more quickly, more efficiently, and in a lot of cases, just more confidently.
There’s so much second guessing that comes in building a business. So just knowing, “Hey, someone’s already validated that this works.” So when you hit those points that it’s a struggle, that’s what that’s for.
So anyway, hope that’s helpful if you’re looking at, building your own business this year , just to understand that this is not a high capital investment.
If you have more time than money, service businesses are one of the most amazing ,accessible places to start, and writing is obviously my personal favorite in the service business category. So I hope that was helpful, and I’ll catch you in the next episode.
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Do you agree? Do you disagree with the fierce heat of a thousand suns?
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