Writing and memoir professionals too often have little sense of what a memoir or writing-based business is or how it functions. Too frequently, when people think of a business they imagine a machine shop, or a dry cleaning store, or a computer repair place rather than a writer’s office. But…writing as a business?
If you are to survive into the next years and thrive, you must think of your work as a business based on an art form.
Here’s a functional definition of business. It is a venture that provides a product to a client at a price which is less than what it would cost for the client to provide that same product for himself, but at a price which is still profitable and advantageous for the service provider.
In short, for instance, when a writer provides book co-authoring to a client, the client gets the book at a price which s/he perceives as so much less than the cost of writing it him/herself (remember: opportunity foregone can be very expensive for the client) and the writer gets to earn his/her hourly billable income which “adds value” to his/her own life.
When everything works well, both the client and the business owner are very happy with the business arrangement.
Watch Your Bottom Line—3 Approaches to Financial Success for Your Memoir or Writing-Based Business
Keep your eyes focused on your bottom line as you grow your memoir or writing-based business. Otherwise, you will soon hit insolvency! Here are three tips for running a lucrative company.
- Pay attention to where your income comes from and keep doing the things that pay you well. Avoid doing just the things you like to do, feel you are good at or think are nifty. Study the characteristics of (profile) your most lucrative clients and the channels by which they came to you. Go out after other clients just like them using the same channels that attracted these clients.
- Keep your instinct to “do good” and “be nice” in check. (Most of writing and memoir professionals are MBTI NFs which is quite a burden to carry into the world of business!) You are not a missionary out to convert the world to personal history. (Or are you? Take a hard look: If you are, it’s time to abandon the fiction that your effort is a business and you’d better find a sugar daddy fast!) If you are a business person, your goal is to support yourself and possibly a family so you must never care more for a project (by subsidizing it with poor pay or too many hours) than a client does. Remember that a business must deliver goods in a way that is beneficial both for the provider and for the client. One-way approaches risk ending up in cul-de-sacs!
- Don’t work as hard as you can! (That’s a recipe for self-righteousness and burnout-neither of which serve your business!) Instead, determine your target annual income and then manipulate all the ingredients to achieve that goal. Never try to earn “as much as you can.” Always work to attain the income goal you have set. This is a power position. If you exceed your figure, you can choose to continue or you can choose to take the rest of the year off. Having a written-down yearly-income goal is a wonderful prod to creative thinking. Committed to one in place, you will be constantly trying to achieve it. Without one, you are likely to merely “do your best!” Remember: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
At its best, a business is a win/win situation. Learning to turn a writing passion-essentially an art form-into a business can be a long process, but it is a necessary one if you are to stay in business over the years–and if you want to enjoy the process. Otherwise, you will have to take up a day job to pursue your writing or memoir work on left-over time. Not a sustainable proposition.
Learn to run a memoir or writing-based business. Good luck.