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Do you consider writing your business?

If you run a company like we do, the answer’s a pretty obvious and resounding ‘yes’. But it’s not always such a simple answer. Writers {and other creatives} aren’t always taken seriously, and that can impact how you perceive your own work.

Have you ever told someone you wanted to write for a living and heard the following…?

  • “That’s great, but how are you going to make money?”
  • “Sounds like a fun hobby.”
  • “What’s your Plan B?”
  • “When are you going to get a REAL job?”

These messages are a problem, full stop. When you spend your life listening to them, it can be hard to feel like a legitimate business owner.

Which is absurd, because content creation and copywriting are absolutely essential to the success of businesses. The written word is everywhere… and creating personality-driven content that reflects the voice, values, and vision of a brand {while also turning audience members into paying clients} is no small feat.

So let’s get super clear on one point: Whether you’re a full-time copywriter, a solo or freelance writer, or a savvy side gig content creator writing is your business too.

Let’s say that again. If you’re a writer, you’re also a business owner.

But you might not be acting like a business owner yet… and that could be hurting your ability to make decent money, curate a list of clients you love, and truly enjoy the work you do, day in and day out.


A woman thinking in front of a white brick wall


Why a Business Mindset Matters

When you let the message that writing isn’t a real career sink in, it can lead to all sorts of problems. Does any of this sound familiar?

  • You’re either constantly struggling to find new clients and new jobs {because you’re constantly struggling to make money}, OR you’re supporting clients who don’t seem to fully respect the work you do.
  • You’re overwhelmed with things to do {because you spend every second stuck on that write-make money-find new jobs wheel}, and constantly shifting from “sell” mode to “deliver” mode.
  • You’re exhausted and worried you’ll never be able to live comfortably doing the job you love. It’s a never-ending churn cycle, and you’re starting to think maybe you do need a Plan B.

We know exactly what that’s like, because we struggled in feast-or-famine mode for YEARS. In fact, our first year of business {2010}, we made less than $1,000. Ouch.

As writers, we worked our butts off and constantly worried about where our next client and next paycheck would come from.

The truth? Back then, we didn’t take ourselves seriously as a business. We fell for every trap in the book.
  • We undercharged in an effort to become the “lowest bidder”, so we could secure ANY job, rather than the clients who best suited us.
  • We jumped through hoops and crawled over mountains to respond to client requests instantly, make endless revisions, and go waaaay out of the original project scope. Which left us too exhausted to do our best work {and definitely working into nights and weekends and while on vacations}.
  • We didn’t have a system or strategy in place, so each project was different… which meant each one came with new rules, new expectations, and new processes {none of which were set by us}.
  • We focused on what was right in front of us, and most urgent. If we needed clients, we focused on selling. If we had a bunch of due dates looming, we focused on writing. This threw us into a cycle of churning out content, then scrambling for new clients. There was no stability, but lots of exhaustion and overwhelm.

Fast forward a bit, and now our company couldn’t look more different. We make six figures a year {with real profit margins!}. We only book projects with clients we want to work with. We’re never in scramble mode, because we know exactly what’s coming down the pipe, and we know what we need well in advance.

So what changed?

We stopped thinking of ourselves as writers-for-hire, and embraced our role as business owners.

Even if you’re not running a content creation agency and you’re writing solo, thinking of yourself as a business owner can revolutionize your one-person operation.


When you view yourself as a freelancer, like we did, you’re putting your clients in charge. They’re demanding something, and you’re offering to give it to them. It takes the power away from you and puts it in their hands. {And it’s very hard to make your career go in the direction you want when someone else holds the controls.}

But if you’re a business owner, YOU make the decisions. You make the rules and your clients follow them. You take back control and direct your professional life where you want it to go.

You can start to:

  • Charge rates that match your needs, expertise, and the long-term ROI you offer your clients… so you always have enough money in the bank.
  • Set clear boundaries around revisions, communication, and more, so you’re never working when you don’t want to.
  • Develop a process for your writing that makes each project more streamlined and predictable, saving you tons of time and energy {without overloading yourself with too many projects at once}.
  • Put systems in place that keep your client list {or wait list} full, so you don’t have to constantly shift from selling to writing and back again.

Sound like an improvement? It certainly changed the game for us. When we shifted our mindset from writer-for-hire to business owner, we finally began to free up our time and energy, focus on the client projects we loved, and tossed the “Plan B” out the window.


Laptop and glasses on a desk


How to Start Acting Like a Business Owner

So, what do you have to do to take your work as a writer from “undervalued, out-of-control gig job that stresses me out” to “valuable professional business that I love”?

It might not happen overnight. There’s no magical light switch you can flip to suddenly have an incredible, profitable writing business. But it is possible, and you can start with these steps.


Step One: Shift Your Mindset.

Recognize that writing IS your business. If you’re working as a freelancer or writing part-time, this may be difficult for you. If you’re not ready to claim the title of “business owner” just yet, try something like “professional copywriter” instead. What’s important is moving away from the mindset that you’re working a gig job that’s at the mercy of your clients.

It’s your life and your job, and you’re in control.


Step Two: Look to the Future.

You have to start planning ahead. You’re building your own dream job here, and that means getting intentional about what you want it to look like. Think through questions like:

  • What are your long-term goals as a writer?
  • Do you want to work full time, part time, or just on certain kinds of projects?
  • What do you want your writing career to look like in six months? In 5 years?
  • How much money do you need to make to live comfortably? Does my current pricing/capacity support that?
  • Is there a certain type of writing I love? A certain type I hate?

Only after you decide what you want, can you start planning how to get there. Remember to set specific, actionable, and measurable goals for your business.


Step Three: Change Your Approach.

Finally, you’re going to use your new business mindset and your vision for the future to really change how you approach writing.

There’s a lot that goes into this step, but here are a few areas to think about as you get started:

Set your new rules and stick to them. Integrate them into your work so you don’t even have to think about them.


It’s Time to Change Your Approach to Writing as a Business

Still feeling overwhelmed with the idea of navigating writing as a business? We can help.

We’ve created a free 10-step guide to growing your content and copywriting business. We outline the 10 key steps we took to grow our own business and show you how to make the same changes work for you too.

This isn’t meant to be a one-size-fits-all guide. It’s an idea generation tool, full of activities for you to complete, so you can begin to envision your successful writing business.


Click here to get our free guide: How to Grow Your Content + Copywriting Business: 10 Steps to Become Fully Booked with Writing Projects You Love.

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