QUESTION ON Starting a Freelance Technical Writing Business
I graduated with a degree in Technical Writing, and am interested in starting a web-based contract writing business (possibly with a focus on grant writing). I know little about how contractors work, how to find npos and others who need grant writers, and how to protect myself as a freelancer. I plan to work from home in northern Michigan, a fairly isolated area. Any advise you have would be greatly appreciated.-
Advice by Mershon Bell
One great place to start is www.guru.com. They have requests for business writing and you may find work there – if not now, later.
Finding clients for a web-based business is similar to finding clients. You have to network, network, network. Start by contacting people you know – both live and virtually. Tell them what you’re doing and what services you can offer. Ask them if they know anyone who needs your services.
Get names from your local library or the Internet of organizations and associations for not for profits in particular fields i.e. Association for Community Mental Health Providers, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (www.aahsa.org) Track down smaller organizations that can’t afford to hire their own in house grant writers. Offer then a per project, hourly, or percent of the grant rate.
I’m not sure what you mean by “protect yourself as a freelancer”. My advise is don’t assume you “need” protection. As a professional writer for over 15 years, I’ve never needed protection. I’m very careful about approvals, etc. and have never carried liability insurance. You may want to incorporate if you feel shaky about protecting your personal assets. Personally, I’ve always stayed a sole proprietor and been fine. Be very clear about the scope of your project and get things in writing.
Good luck on the launching of your new business. You’ll be providing a great service and making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations.
Mershon Bell, Certified Personal/Professional Coach
Recommended Resources on How To Start a Freelance Technical Writing Business
- Your Freelance Writing Business: A practical guide for starting and running a freelance technical and business writing service
- Bob Bly’s Guide to Freelance Writing Success: How to Make 00,000 a Year As a Freelance Writer and Have the Time of Your Life Doing It
- Secrets of Profitable Freelance Writing
- Technical Writer’s Freelance Guide. (book reviews): An article from: Technical Communication
Article originally published in March 2005. Updated February 24, 2012