12 skills that will help you earn six figures writing for business

What are your goals for 2018? Perhaps one of your goals is to finally write and finish that book you’ve been dreaming about — the book that will up-level your career or business, help you attract ideal clients, and provide a sense of personal fulfillment.

Or maybe you want to write articles and get them published on national news sites or business blogs.

Perhaps you have some income goals as well.

Do you wonder what it takes to successfully write and publish a business book or business column? In a moment you’ll learn the 12 most important skills you’ll need — but first, there are two important questions you should ask:

Is it a book you dream of writing?

Know up front that you won’t likely make your six figures on book sales.

Every book should be part of a larger business plan. A well-written and strategically-written book can help you get high-quality, higher-paid speaking gigs; it also can attract your ideal clients for consulting, coaching or other services. Your book can even attract opportunities you never even dreamed of (as it did for me).

For most authors, income strictly from book sales is unlikely to make you rich; it’s the opportunities the book creates that do that.

Do you see yourself writing online articles?

Now that so many news sources have content that’s purely online, it’s easier to break in.

Know that most of these writing gigs won’t pay you for writing for them. It’s the cachet, credentials and connections that will pay off personally and, as opportunities come out of it, financially.

Writing a column can put you in touch with all your virtual mentors and the professionals you admire. Getting to know these folks can be invaluable for your career. Perhaps you can even review their books or interview them.

Now that you’ve asked those two key questions, here are the 12 skills you’ll need to have.

  1. Vision: Your success begins with a vision for how you want the book, column or article to affect your career or business, your readers, their lives and businesses, and the greater community. Be clear on that before you start or you could write the wrong book, or go off in the wrong direction with your column. A six-figure writer knows where he or she is going.
  2. Marketing savvy: You need to be clear who your readers are and be able to write in a way that resonates for them, using language and syntax that’s both comfortable and engaging.
  3. Writing: Don’t panic — but, yes, to be a writer, you need to know how to write. Are there hacks? Yes, you can hire a ghostwriter, an editor or writing coach, or even start taking business-writing classes. Someone on your team needs some serious skills. It doesn’t have to be you. Don’t be shy about hiring an editor. Most successful authors hire editors at some point in the process, even writers with a Ph.D. in English. We all need outside input.
  4. Planning: Before you write your book or column, you want to decide on tone, plan the features, and decide what content you’ll include and what you plan to leave out.
  5. Organizational skills: Creating a structure for your article or book ahead of time will save you tons of time and make for a better product — even if your structure changes over time. If this one’s a stretch for you, this is another area in which a professional editor or writing coach can help you.
  6. Commitment: Yes, there will be days you don’t want to write. If you’re not committed, you won’t get very far. End of story.
  7. Flexibility: A successful writer gets input from professionals and readers, discerns what’s constructive and resonates, and makes changes to improve the writing.
  8. Resilience: Most successful authors and writers get multiple nos before they get a yes. A bit of stick-to-it-ive-ness and ability to take rejection will serve you well.
  9. Persistence: If you get a no, go back and ask why. Any feedback you get will help you fine-tune for the next query — whether you change the book, proposal or article or you just change your targeting strategy.
  10. Generosity: The most successful writers are those who are generous with their colleagues. You share your peers’ and colleagues’ tweets, congratulate them on LinkedIn, comment on and share their blog posts and articles, buy their books as gifts for others, and look for opportunities to help them be successful. You mentor those who aspire to be where you are. It all comes back. You know that.
  11. Networking: A close second cousin to generosity, networking also is a relational skill. Find ways to connect colleagues to each other and to resources that will help them in their goals. Meet your virtual mentors (authors you admire, for instance) and attend their events.
  12. Being strategic: For some writers, skills at being interviewed on TV or radio helps sell their books. For others, it’s more being skilled at social media. And for some, it’s additional writing that will get you noticed. Or, it may be the way you market programs and your book online. The takeaway here is that you need to be good at identifying what you’re good at, what you enjoy and then creating a marketing and promotion strategy based on that. Then, of course, you need to implement the strategy!

Writing is such a fulfilling way of having influence, making a difference for people you’ve never met, and being acknowledged for the expertise, skills and experience you possess. And, yes, it can also be a cornerstone for riches. Embrace these skills, and you’ll be well on your way.


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