Start a Home Based Writing Business

Writing for a living can be a rewarding and fun career. If you have the right mix of talent, experience, and self-motivation, you might prosper with your own home-based writing business. Low start-up costs and flexible hours are just a few perks associated with starting a writing business out of your home. Drafting a business plan and ad.


Developing a Business Plan

  1. Analyze the market. [1] Investigate the writing market insofar as is possible. What kind of writing do you hope to do? What are other writers doing similar work charging? Can you compete with those other writers in terms of quality and cost? Answering these questions in a thoughtful, thorough manner will give you a solid sense of where and how you should be directing your writing business.
    • Contact other writers in your field or a similar field to ask for advice and tips on how to start and grow your own writing business. Writers are friendly folks and many will be willing to help you.
  2. Draw up an executive summary. The executive summary delineates the overall position of your business and where it is headed. This is regarded as the most important aspect of a business plan since potential investors will see the executive summary first.[2] Include your vision and mission statement for your business. Your vision statement should be your specific list of goals and actions which can build your business in the future.
    • For instance, your vision statement might be to collect $20,000 in advertiser funding and gain a progressively wider readership to your periodical, newspaper, or website.
    • Your mission statement should, by contrast, be based in the present and represent the continuous process your business is engaged in. For instance, your mission statement could be to “Provide high-quality, accessible, useful science writing to a lay audience.”
    • Be clear and concise when crafting your vision and mission statements. Don’t include vague phrases like “Provide excellent customer service” in either statement.
    • Your executive summary should also include general info about your company history, your growth, the services or types of writing you provide, and an overview of your funding request, if applicable.
    • Don’t let your business plan lock you in to a specific course of action. If your situation changes, or you decide that your writing business needs a better business plan, you can always alter the plan. Keep your business agile and adept at analyzing the writing market.
    • In a new home-based writing business, you should focus on the decisions that led you to found the home-based writing business, and how it will fill a gap in the writing market.
  3. Delineate the organization and management of your business. This section should include info about your business’ organizational structure and ownership.[3] How are business decisions made? Who makes them? If your business consists of, say, just you and your partner, explaining your organizational structure might seem unnecessary, but to potential investors, knowing who does what is important. Demonstrating your business has an organized structure is an important step in attracting new partners or staff if you decide to expand your business in the future.
    • Decide what kind of business you want to operate your writing business as. At the small scale of home-based businesses, you’ll probably found a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited liability corporation. The type of business you form determines your next steps, including what kind of bank account you’ll need, whether you need to file articles of incorporation, articles of organization, and whether or not you need to
  4. Craft your funding request.[4] If you need funding for new editing or word-processing software, server space for your website, or other expenses, you’ll need to present a viable business plan to a bank to secure a loan. Your funding request should include a specific timetable of how you’ll spend the money and how you’ll pay it back.
    • Include data on potential future funding requests as well. Project at least five years out.
    • Describe your past and potential future earnings. As a new business, you might need to draw on your past writing experience in order to show you understand the writing market.

Setting Up Your Business

  1. Maintain a safety net in the early stages of building your writing business.[5] Working as a writer is always tenuous and challenging, especially when you are not employed directly by a periodical or established outlet. Work part-time with your writing business early on and keep your full-time job. Decide carefully when to write full-time. Set some benchmarks to know when you should transition to making your home-based writing business a full-time endeavor.
    • For instance, you might decide that when you earn at least $2,000 each month from your writing business that you’ll make it a full-time gig.
    • Maintain enough savings to carry you through months of lean times. You should have enough money saved up to cover your expenses for at least six months.
    • If you have a supportive spouse or partner with their own income streams, you’ll be in a better position to take the risk needed to make your home-based writing business a full-time job.
    • If possible, maintain flexible part-time work which could be scaled up in the event that your home-based writing business is not providing you with enough income to meet your needs.
  2. Set up your home office. You should already have most of the things you’ll need to start a writing business: a printer, a phone, and an email address (though you might want to make a new email address for your business correspondence). Additionally, you’ll need a comfy chair.[6] Head to your local office supply store and try out a few office chairs.
    • Get a chair which supports your spine and provides support. You’ll be spending a lot of time sitting if you’re starting a home-based writing business, so you might as well be comfortable.
  3. Invest in the software and digital tools you need. Most computers today come with free word-processing software. If, however, your computer does not, you might need to shell out a few hundred dollars to get MS Word or another reputable word-processor. If you’re looking to save money (and you should be), check out a free option like OpenOffice or Kingsoft Office.
    • A good word processor should have a clean, simple interface and be intuitive and easy to use. If a word-processor doesn’t make it immediately obvious how to change margins or utilize a different font, avoid it.[7]
  4. Decide on a pricing strategy. There are several ways to price your writing.[8] You can price your writing per word, per page, per hour, or per article. If you price your writing per word or per page, the longer the article, the more you get paid. In this case, you’ll need to decide on the cost per page, as well as the exact formatting layout your client wants your piece to conform to.
    • Charging per project can be risky since you might end up taking longer than you though you would on a given project, and thus end up earning less than you would have if you’d charged per page or per word.
    • Charging per hour can also be hard, since an employer will have no way of verifying how long you took to write a given piece.
  5. Set your prices. Ensure your prices are competitive. Analyze the going rates for the type of writing you're specializing in and set your price at a comparable level. If the average rate for science writing, for instance, is $10 per page, you could set your prices at $9.50 per hour when you're starting out, then raise them to $11 or $12 per hour after you gain a reputation as a solid writer within the genre.
    • Decide what you want your salary to be when setting your prices. For instance, if you plan on working a standard 40 hours each week and want to earn $2,000 each month, you’ll need to bring in at least $500 per week, or $12.50 per hour.
    • Charge based on the kind of writing you’re doing. Resume edits and reviews are generally easy, so you need not charge a high rate for them. Medical or technical writing, on the other hand, require a high degree of accuracy and know-how, and can justifiably earn a much higher wage.
  6. Plan around your financial needs.[1] Ask yourself what your budget is and how you will generate income for your business. Advertising can be expensive. Other business expenses like travel, insurance, computers, or web hosting costs should also be considered.
    • Draft a business plan in order to secure funding from banks or loan agencies. The business plan should provide specific funding requests and describe exactly how loaned money will be used.
  7. Build your credibility.[1] Clients want to know that you are talented and have strong ethics. Post high-quality content to your website or blog. Make your site and its content useful and easy to navigate.
    • Having a degree related to writing is a useful bona fide, but practical credentials are more useful. If you can cite other writers or articles which link to your writing, or you know how many average page visit you get per day, use this info to bolster your reputation.
    • WordPress or Tumblr are useful, free content systems which you can utilize to present your work. Keep your layout clean, professional, and slick.
    • Include a concise but memorable bio on your website. Besides your writing, describe your interests and work history whether it’s related to your writing career or not.
    • Develop a snappy logo and a memorable name for your business. Build your brand carefully and maintain its integrity by producing quality writing.
  8. Attract clients. If you’re looking to write for clients as a technical writer or a freelance journalist, you’ll need to get noticed. Email or direct mail samples of your work and article pitches to outlets which accept them.
    • If you hope to engage in writing advertisements for a business, position your writing business as offering a solution to their marketing needs.
    • If you want to write for a specific publisher or periodical, identify their submission policy. Investigate who is in charge of reading and editing potential pitches, and address your questions and concerns directly to that individual.[1]
  9. Target your audience.[1] What kind of audience are you writing for? Answering this question will help you figure out what tone you should adopt when crafting content. Be specific about your interests, talents, and abilities in order to find your niche. Consider also whether you want to write online, in print, or both.
    • Identify the major publications which might be interested in your writing. For instance, if you are writing about hiking and the outdoors, you could pitch articles to ‘’Outdoors Magazine’’ or ‘’The Mountaineer.’’
    • Promote your work via social media. The more reblogs, likes, and retweets you get, the more people will recognize you as a quality writer.
  10. Write about topics you are knowledgeable and passionate about. If you’re interested in the environment and ecological science, for instance, you might be best suited to writing about issues pertaining to fracking, energy policy, deforestation, and animal rights. You might be hesitant to limit yourself to a specific set of issues or topics, but doing so will help you find your niche and further develop your voice and reputation as a writer.

Networking to Build Your Writing Business

  1. Network with people locally. Connect with people in your writing niche -- editors, community leaders, other writers -- nearby in order to get your work recognized and attract new business. Network with community members, especially if you’re writing to a local audience. Making connections with others who are writing or working in your particular market niche will help you gain an audience. These connections will also be useful in helping you get the scoop on unfolding stories you might be interested in.
    • In your local community, volunteer or attend local town council meetings to get to know your community leaders.
    • Have some business cards made up so you can leave them with people who are interested in your writing. Be sure to include your name, number, email, social media accounts, and your business’ name on the card.
  2. Forge connections with people outside your local area. Networking sites like LinkedIn are useful for developing contacts further afield. Connecting with more distant individuals is important if you’re interested in or writing about issues of national or global significance. Email, online forums, and social media make networking at a distance easy. Traveling to national conferences or seminars for writers, journalists, or professionals in your area of expertise is a good way to gain a wider network of contacts as well.[9]
    • Advertise yourself as resume reviewer or writer on job boards where many people are looking for such a service.
  3. Stand by the people who have served you in the past.[1] Show that you are grateful for introductions or letters of reference from your former clients by sending a thank-you email to clients upon completion of a project or acceptance of an article. You need not write anything extravagant or lavish them with gifts; a simple reminder that you appreciated their business is good enough.
    • Express thanks and maintain a good working relationship even with clients who are demanding, impatient, or ungrateful. Don’t take their criticism of your writing personally, and try to see things from their point of view.
    • Rely on your past clients or employers to provide you with positive letters of recommendation. Use their testimonials in promotional materials for your new writing business. Satisfied customers will be your ambassadors.[10]


  • Advertise your services at colleges and universities. Students (and teachers) always need help in manuscript preparation.
  • You don't have to write the next great American novel to make a living as a writer. You can make a living preparing newsletters, collection letters, writing advertisements, and drafting resumes for people and businesses.


  • Expect proofreaders and editors to do some changes, corrections, or deletions, but not much nurturing or mentoring unless you have unusual or great abilities.

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Sources and Citations