So, one of my friends asked if he could give my information out to a friend who is thinking of starting her own freelance editing business. Of course I said sure! It’s always good to help a fellow editor out, especially when just starting a business. Anything I could do to help, right?
Here was my bulleted advice for her:
- my original website design looked horrible
- the business cards weren’t professional-looking enough
- creating an editing contract was confusing at first
- make sure your certified – as in take classes, get registered with your State, etc.
- editing gigs are few and far in between sometimes – don’t freak out
So, what I would suggest to you is:
- create a brand for yourself – a company name and logo – you can create a logo on Word (I did, though over Spring Break I am planning to re-do mine in Adobe Illustrator). You can also have a designer friend create one, just make sure it is professional.
- create a website that you’re proud of – I found that Weebly and Wix are both good website builders, they are both free and user friendly. Another place you can form a website is on WordPress.com.
- create a business card and get them printed – a bunch of printing places offer this, just look local and you’ll find one, they are good to keep on hand
- look at editing contracts (or I could always send you mine) and create one… then stick with it
- take certification classes or register with your state
- at first, take the editing jobs you can get, small or large. This is just to get your feet wet and your credentials up. Then, when people begin to learn your name and what you can do, be more specific and target a specific client you want to work with. (For example, I really wanted to work with a book publisher, but I started editing self-published works and non-fiction articles first.)
Finding new clients is TOUGH. Like really tough. It was one thing I had to really learn the hard way… freelancing is hard. You never really know when the next check is going to come in… or who is going to write you that check. Unless you get a steady freelance gig with a company (and those exist!), the first year will be hard. Here’s my advice:
- Spread the word!
- Get onto social media sites and start your own (blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook).
- Tell your friends you started this business and ask if they need help or know anyone that needs help.
- Contact local businesses and see if they need freelance editors
- Create fliers and post them around town
- Go to local writing conferences and tell them you’re an editor
By no means is this a comprehensive list, of course. I didn’t want to overwhelm the girl, you know? But those were the things I most struggled with when starting my own business.
What about you? What kind of advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?