Can unemployed writers make money as entrepreneurs?

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(Photo by Sekimura)

(Photo by Sekimura)

You want to sell your writing, but in this economy you’re finding you can’t sell your writing – at least not fast enough to keep your bank account healthy. What do you do when the reality of your dream is not what you expected? A lot can go awry in any endeavor and writing is more suceptible to slumps than other businesses. Are there other things you can do that will incorporate your writing skills but create a niche you can live in?

Need a writing career boost? Looking for a regular paycheck?

Let’s think about some of the ways freelancers are launching careers. You can be an entrepreneur, turn your hobby into something bigger. If, in spare time, you love to sew, create fashion accessories and market them at Ebay or at craft fairs. Create your own website. If you can’t stay out of your woodworking work shop, come up with an irresistible product, make it better than anyone else does, and sell it in classified ads.

You can become a consultant, using skills you acquired in your writing career. You’re great a researching facts, managing time, and communicating. You can polish your expertise in another area, like parenting. Think outside the box and market your services to young parents who find that children aren’t born with operators’ manuals.

Many struggling writers find success selling their consulting services back to or freelancing for the company that “downsized” them. Like this – you were a staff tech writer for the Chicago Tribune before heads rolled. Now you can go back, pick up work as a stringer or freelancer and, in off hours, work part-time teaching others to do what you did. Talk to your community college – even if you lack a degree, adult educations programs accept instructors based on life experience. Many park districts pay instructors to teach creative writing, digital photography or personal journaling.

Get down to finding entrepreneur opportunities

The key ingredient to thriving when you’re self-employed, no matter what scale your operation weighs in at, is getting your product or service to the marketplace. Long ago, vendors gathered at village markets to meet with customers. Everyone was on an equal footing – you set up your wagon, shouted out your product, and anyone interested would come to you, money in hand.

Now, you have to find your “niche.” Figure out who would be a good user of your product, create interest and excitement, do a fantastic job, and charge reasonable prices. A tall order, but not impossible.

There are dozens of excellent books and websites on small business selling and marketing. You can take entrepreneurial courses in almost every community college. Experts and consultants are available to mentor you. Still, you must have the desire to sell or market yourself, and the ability (a learned talent –  anyone can learn if they apply themselves and work it).

If the thought of providing goods or services to consumers tickles you, but the thought of spending more than 50% of your work time marketing leaves you panic stricken – you might think about hiring someone to do the selling. Or you might consider working for someone else.

No matter your direction, research before you leap. You have a lot to offer in the marketplace. You deserve respect, excellent compensation, and lots of recognition. Age and experience, dedication and motivation are sought after, prized. Organize your search, make a commitment and know that there are jobs out there. It takes serious perseverance to connect.

May I suggest you also read:

  1. Inspired entrepreneur
  2. Jobless in Chicago (or anywhere else)
  3. Five great pay off writer resources
  4. Using your computer to get work
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