Monday, March 3, 2008

Investing In Your Writing Career

Some say you have to spend money to make money. I don't agree with that statement entirely because I started my writing career on dialup with a free hosted WritingUp.com blog on an old pc and didn't spend a dime.

In no time I was published in a magazine and making a modest full time living. I did spend a lot of energy though and my hard work got me somewhere fast. Fast forward two years later though and my business is busting at the seams without the ability to grow because I didn't invest in it. I was working 70 hours a week but not getting much further ahead. In fact I felt frustrated and ready to examine my plans.

Instead of continuing on at that level it was time to make a few small investments. I have recently learned that I may need to invest to take my career to the next level.

My next step was to get myself a website.

While a free blog and free Freewebs, Wordpress or Google page will get you results and help you make do, nothing will say professional like your own website. It only cost me $35 to get my first website off the ground. That registered my domain name for a year and included 3 months of hosting. I've had new clients and networking opportunities come out of this site that wouldn't have previously been there. I credit my website to adding further credibility to my career as well and even had successful freelance writers making twice what I earn come to me for jobs because my website must have impressed them. My SEO knowledge and lots of self promotion efforts are making my website a great investment for me.

The next step was my Internet connection.

Newsflash! After almost two years of writing for a living from home I upgraded my internet connection. It cost me $224 to get a line of sight wireless Xplornet dish put on my house just last Friday and it was money well spent!

I am already astounded at how much I'm seeing my productivity and my free time increase. It used to take me 45 minutes to pay a handful of PayPal invoices. On Friday a task that would've taken me 20-30 minutes took me five. I do weekly article directory submissions for a client and that time has just been chopped in half!

Sending e-mails is faster with large attachments and I can finally watch YouTube videos (Not that it's very work related but still!)! I didn't invest sooner because I thought I had to spend $1000 due to the old technology available as satellite only and figured that as soon as I did spend that money, cheap DSL would magically become available. A new service offering that was cheaper arrived and I decided it was well worth the investment into my business. Not only will I become more productive and earn more but I'll get more time with my family and balance is extremely important in the writing life!

Next investment: a laptop.

A faster computer and getting unplugged from this little corner of my house will give me the ability to work from anywhere which in the summertime will make me a happier writer and a better mother as I can spend time outside with my kids working while they play and be accessible to my clients and team when I am away at a friend's cottage or visiting someone for the day.

Other considerations I'm looking at: advertising and paid networking or bidding sites. I'm still looking at my options here.

While you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a writing career off the ground, there comes a time where you might decide that investing in your writing business can help you earn more money and have more job satisfaction. I'm looking forward to hopefully both in the short term!

10 comments:

Debra said...

I finally broke down and got a website last year. It's been a terrific marketing tool. Plus, the cost of developing it was a great tax write-off. So upgrade away and have fun with your new toys...er...tools!

Dana Prince said...

Yes, I agree, Deb. I put it off for ages thinking my free tools were doing just fine but I've seen a big difference in my business just from the website alone.

Thanks for stopping by,
Dana

holli jo said...

Dana:

Congrats for getting the good Internet. I'm sure you'll see a huge difference in your productivity.

I'm just about at the point you are talking about - working hard, but not getting any further in my career. I'm feeling frustrated and not sure what to do about it. Maybe it's time to get a website...

Dana Prince said...

Hi Holli,
I love my new connection. It's wonderful!

Yes it might help you to start working on self promotion so that you can get some higher paying and niche gigs. In the early part of a writing career it's typical to write lots of anything just to get paid and get experience but there does come a time that most writers decide to focus in a particular area or target specific type of work.

WritingHermit said...

I’ve been investing in writing courses and will soon be looking into some professional memberships. I agree wholeheartedly with your post that at some point in your career you do have to invest in order to make your career move forward. I’ve also noticed that well-researched investments tend to pay for themselves in terms of great new gigs.

Charlotte said...

One of the things I've been working on lately is valuing myself and my work higher. I used to take just about any job I got but after having a couple awful experiences where I wrote waaaay too much for what I was being paid, I decided, no more. It is amazing what a difference just changing my mind about it has made! It took awhile--I knew it intellectually for quite some time before I really knew it and felt it through and through. Good luck to all!

sue jeffels said...

I started with a website on squarespace last October and it's just gone to a pr2-can't imagine why. But I have also got a domain name now and a site on wordpress. I do agree Dana, it does increase your business.

Dana Prince said...

@WritingHermit: I'm considering professional memberships as well. I need to do some homework there and completely agree with you about researching investments.

@Charlotte, I am trying to do that as well. Thanks for popping by and blogrolling me. I've been to your blog many times (LOVE the name!) and have blogrolled you too

Sun Singer said...

At the beginning, it always seems extravagent buying things that later on turn into necessities. I guess one needs to reach a comfort level with the buisness to take the plunge into websites and new hardware and software.

Nice to see that you need that stuff.

Malcolm

Dana Prince said...

Thanks, Malcolm. It's nice to be past the stage of being a beginner in the world of freelancing.

Nice to see you. It's been awhile! Must stop by your blog and see what you & alter ego Jock have been up to :)