It important to know which mistakes to avoid when starting out as a technical writer,
in order to know exactly how to proceed effectively. When starting out
in a work from home situation, the best way to succeed is to be aware
of some of the pitfalls that can occur so that they can be avoided.
1. Neglecting to Start Legally
Freelance work from home also involves checking into having a business license and may involve a Doing Business As (DBA) license. To determine which licenses are necessary, check with your local city and state small business administration offices. Usually, there is a link to business information of this type on your city's official website.
2. Ineffective Web Presence
Anyone who is thinking of having a work at home freelance writing situation should have a website. It would seem like this is common sense, however, there are still many people who have not looked into having a web presence, yet want to start a home business. The website is an essential part of any home based business, and when it comes to technical writing, it is especially important.
While you are sorting out the required licenses, invest the time it
takes to develop a decent website which will demonstrate that you
understand how technical writing is used in the marketplace. This will
not only provide an instant writing sample, but it is a great
springboard from which to grow your technical writing business. Your
website can be your online portfolio and also be a very effective
marketing tool, if developed properly.
3. Inadequate Technical Writer Salary Research
Understanding the market for your services is essential in order to price your work effectively so that you earn a profit
and stay competitive. The first step is to know what other technical writers are earning in your particular area. There are many factors to consider with regard to the technical writer salary, such as the state of the economy. By checking major job websites, you can find out the going rates for technical writing performed by people with similar levels of experience to yours.
Once that information is obtained, you need to factor in your
operating costs and adjust rates accordingly. If you are just starting
out, you may need to build a sample portfolio before you can charge
competitive rates for services. This can also involve doing some work
in exchange for having your byline published.
4. Undeveloped Client Interviewing Skills
Communication skills are important for any business person to have. When starting out as an independent technical writer,
it is especially important because you will be wearing so many hats. In an office business setting, there are generally many
people who work in the environment, such as with business development and client communications. When you work on your own, you must be thoroughly aware of what the client wants and what the time line is. You can make no assumptions about any project, particularly when the project is already in production.
Be prepared to have your questions ready so that you don't waste
your time or that of anyone else. Another way to stay effective is to
have a list of questions ready so that you can easily include
everything you need to know about a client or project before you
The bottom line is that if you want your technical writing-from-home business to succeed, you must take the time to set it up properly. It takes time and skill to design a website, and you don't want all your hard work to go to waste due to an unsuccessful business. Taking heed of the above issues will make your home based technical writing business more likely to succeed.