Do This One Thing to Start Making Money as a Writer

Writer on a call waving hello

"Hear ye! Hear ye!"

Town criers were one of the earliest means for delivering marketing messages to the masses. They'd walk the streets ringing a bell and shouting out news and announcements. A little primitive compared to the digital marketing we have access to these days, but they got the job done and the word out.

Getting the word out … telling everyone what's going on … that's as crucial today as it was when town criers were the messengers.

It's especially crucial as you launch your writer's life.

In fact, it's the one thing you must do to launch your writer's life.

You don't need a website. You don't need a sales funnel. You don't need content marketing, a blog, or even samples.

All those things are helpful and valuable, and you'll want them eventually. But you don't need them to launch your writing business.

All you really need to do is start telling people what you're doing and asking who they know that you could help.

Imagine yourself acting as a town crier to get the word out about your new writer's life.

Not by actually shouting out the news as you walk the streets, but by reaching out to people you know and people you strategically meet.

Who Do You Know That You Can Tell?

If you're like most of us, you know more people than you can think of at a moment's notice.

One way to jog your memory of people you know is to scroll through the contacts in your phone.

Another way is to have a brainstorming session with yourself or with a spouse or close friend (sometimes two heads are better than one!). To spark some ideas and remind you of all the people you know, consider this list:

  1. Parents
  2. Siblings
  3. Aunts/Uncles
  4. Cousins
  5. Grandparents
  6. Co-workers
  7. Past co-workers
  8. Boss
  9. Past bosses
  10. High school friends
  11. College friends
  12. Friends of friends
  13. Neighbors
  14. People at your church
  15. People at your gym, yoga studio, etc.
  16. People in your book club(s)
  17. Doctor
  18. Dentist
  19. Dental Hygienist
  20. Chiropractor
  21. Front desk staff at your doctors' offices
  22. Person who cuts your hair
  23. Massage therapist
  24. People at the dog park
  25. Veterinarian
  26. Dog Groomer
  27. Dog Walker
  28. Fellow members of community service clubs you belong to
  29. Fellow members of business organizations you belong to
  30. Host/Hostess/Server(s) at your favorite restaurant(s)
  31. Barista at your favorite coffee shop
  32. Facebook friends
  33. LinkedIn connections
  34. Specialist who handles any service you get done at your home: Gardener, Pool, Pest Control, Housecleaning, Carpet Cleaning, Window Washing, Solar Panel Cleaning, etc.
  35. Auto Mechanic
  36. Uber/Lyft drivers
  37. Parents of kids in your kids' class at school
  38. Parents of kids on your kids' sports teams
  39. Your kids' teachers
  40. Your kids' former teachers
  41. Your kids' coaches
  42. Your kids' former coaches
  43. People you play sports with
  44. People at community events
  45. People who volunteer with you
  46. Checker at your regular grocery store
  47. Teller at your bank
  48. Accountant/Tax Preparer
  49. Mail Carrier
  50. Counter person at Post Office

I could keep going because this list isn't all inclusive, but you get the idea …

You want to tell everyone you know and everyone you meet.

And this list just covers the people you know or meet in everyday life.

If you want to accelerate your launch, go to a business networking event! You can find them through your local Chamber of Commerce, networking organizations like Business Network International, and sometimes even through Meetup-com.

What Do You Tell These People?

When you're planning what to tell the people you know and the people you meet, I encourage you to, again, imagine you're that town crier.

A town crier's message had to be brief and memorable. So does yours.

And it should be even shorter and simpler than your elevator pitch.

You basically just need to tell what kind of writing you're doing and who you're doing it for. And then ask if that person knows anybody they can introduce you to.

For example, you might say:

"I've started helping local businesses improve what they say on their website. Who do you know with a website that might need to be updated?"

Or …

"I've started writing blogs for companies so they don't have to do it themselves. Who do you know who might need that kind of help?"

Or …

"I've started helping companies launch or improve their newsletters. Who do you know who I could help?"

These examples are specific about the kind of writing, but pretty general about who you're looking to do it for. That's okay. But if you go fishing with general bait, you never know what kind of fish you're going to be eating for dinner.

So, let's take the blogging example and make it into better — more specific — bait.

"I've started writing blogs for realtors so they don't have to do it themselves. Who do you know who might need that kind of help?" (Almost everybody knows at least one realtor, by the way.)

Or …

"I've started writing blogs for bookkeeping and accounting firms, so they can focus on working with numbers and leave the words to me. Who do you know who I could help?"

By saying the specific kind of business you want to help, you help the other person focus on who they may know in that type of business. It's actually easier to think of people in narrower categories. (Kind of like how it was probably easier for you to think of people you knew when you read the list above.)

So, maybe they say they don't know a bookkeeper or accountant. Then you can mention a second target. For example:

"That's okay. I'm doing the same thing for insurance agents. Know any of those?"

How Do You Tell These People What You're Doing?

Imagining a town crier in the planning and prep stage of your launch is one thing, but I don't suggest a literal town crier approach when it comes down to actually telling people about the writer's life you're launching.

You'll get some attention if you walk down the street ringing a bell and shouting, but not the right kind of attention.

How you get the word out needs to be more personal than that.

And the more personal, the better. Because the more personal your approach, the better the response you get will be.

In-person is the hardest to ignore, so you're sure to get a response if you tell people face-to-face. You're standing right there having a conversation with them after all.

A phone call or text is the next best, with email and social media direct messages close behind.

But these should not be cut-and-paste broadcasts. Take the time to personalize each message. Remember, the more personal your message, the better the response.

So, Ready to Launch Your Writer's Life?

There will never be a time when everything in your life is perfect. The stars will never all align at once. A sign will not appear pronouncing that "Today is the Day!"

You simply have to decide that today is the day and start telling people about what you're doing.

You start by telling just one person. Then another. Then the next.

Eventually, somebody you tell will know somebody. They'll introduce you. You'll get a client.

I don't know how many people you'll have to tell before you get that client.

But I do know you won't get that client if you don't start telling people what you're doing as a writer.

Start with one. Start today.

Launch your writer's life right now.

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Published: March 21, 2024

2 Responses to “Do This One Thing to Start Making Money as a Writer”

  1. Great material for us beginners. You get a picture of what it may be like to open your mouth and tell people what it is you do for a living and who you serve. Start with the people you know first. They may know people they can refer you to. Don't stop there, continue approaching people everywhere you are and everyone you're standing next to. The more you do that, the more people can spread the word and be your town crier. The more you tell the more clients you will get, one will be your first


  2. great********


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