Many freelance writers get to the point where they “specialize” in a certain area. They find a niche and it becomes their bread and butter. The specialty may seem evident at first, or it comes to you organically. Initially I wanted to write for magazines full-time. Then as my writing business evolved (and it keeps changing) I realized that writing web content not only makes more money, but I enjoy it more.
I’m not really at a crossroads trying to find focus. That happened by itself. The choice I’m weighing right now is size.
My writing business has grown just as I dreamed it would–and then some. I’m at a point where I need to decide if I want to keep going to see how it big it can be, or if I want to stay where I am.
Over the past few weeks I have turned away projects and starting to screen potential clients differently. I realized that this year will bring changes.
Options to Grow:
- Get an office space. I’ve found a few affordable options. Having a separate working space outside my home would be nice if I developed staff and wanted a space for presentations and workshops. It could also grow into a writing center, which is something I have been toying with for years.
- Hire writers. The amount of business I have now is all I can manage. I will need to find writers to complete select projects if I intend to grow any larger.
- Hire an event assistant. I host or speak at a dozen writing-related events each year, and I travel to a half dozen others. Having a dedicated person to manage scouting additional events, taking care of hotel/travel reservations and conference registrations would free up time for completing writing projects.
Change What I Have:
- Home office. The downside of having a separate office outside the home is that you can no longer take the home office deduction. The home office deduction is a great savings that I am not ready to miss out on. Supplies add up! Plus, the deduction makes it easier to miss out on enjoying the office space as extra living area since it is used exclusively for business. I want to continue working from home, so I may upgrade my office later this year.
- Reliable writer. If I start managing a stable of freelancers, I worry that they will miss a deadline or produce work that I will just spend an equal amount of my time editing. Right now I rely on myself. (This is tough when I get sick.) Instead of looking for many writers to call on in times of need, I may just contract two.
- Be selective. Just as I’ve naturally started being picky with the projects I accept, I can continue screening clients. I can create project minimums, set new deadlines for clients, or only open to new business at certain times. I may also entirely remove events I traditionally attended in the past, and reduce the number of new events I participate with.
For now I am going to start moving toward a combination of the above. Have you or other writers you know faced these types of decisions? What affected their choices?