June 5, 2010
The Business of a copywriter is more than grammar, spelling, and prose. The business of a copywriter includes developing the mind of a businessperson. Business owners inherit new responsibilities; not only are there the duties of writing and editing, but duties now include management, bookkeeping, sales and marketing. Focus as business owner, becomes, geared towards professionalism, customer satisfaction, and reliability.
When hiring a copywriter, the expectation of the client is that, they have hired a skilled expert. Be assertive and do what needs to be done to assure the job is done and on time. Commonly, credentials such as prior experience or a degree in English or Journalism opens doors; however, this is not the only way to succeed. Primarily, two skills are needed (1) the ability to write good, clean copy that is accurate, persuasive, and able to generate action, and (2) the ability to sell yourself. Copywriters that manage their own business must be willing to go out and generate business by selling their services. Skill comes with training and experience. Taking courses in the areas of writing, marketing, and selling can significantly increase profits.
Copywriting is a business and its planning and approach should be managed as a business. Developing a business plan helps to define a clear set of objectives and strategy for accomplishing those goals. A starting outline would include categories such as the business summary, objectives, services, market analysis, marketing plan, sales strategy, and financial plan. The Small Business Administration is a good resource that provides services to help with planning, starting, and managing a business.
When choosing the right structure for your business goals, there is no right or wrong answer. According to the Small Business Administration website, there are four business structures ? Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Limited Liability Company, and Corporation. A sole proprietorship is a business owned and ran by one person. Sole Proprietors own all assets and profits from the business. The Sole Proprietor also assumes all responsibility for debts and liabilities. A Partnership is a business owned by two or more people. In a Partnership, decision-making, responsibilities, profits, debts, and liabilities are shared. A Limited Liability Company offers the features of a corporation, tax benefits and operational structure of a partnership. A Corporation is chartered in the State in which its headquarters reside. According to the Small Business Administration website, a corporation can be taxed, sued, and sign contractual agreements. Owners are shareholders and an elected board of Directors manages the corporation's major decisions and policies. Financial and legal obligations are directly influenced by the chosen structure.
Accurate record keeping is vital to the life of a business's financial position. Consult an accountant for advice on choosing the best business structure, financial plan, tax strategies, bookkeeping, and investment options.
Although a lawyer may not be immediately necessary, it is good to have one available for when the need arises. To find a lawyer, you can contact the local bar association in your area or a legal referral service. An online resource would be the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (www.vlany.org). The VLA helps with educating individual artists and art professionals about legal issues that affect artistic and creative works.
Memberships with professional associations add creditability to portfolios. Associations offer many benefits, which vary from workshop training, events, seminars, travel discounts, legal services, health coverage, pricing and fees. The American Journalism Review (www.ajr.org) offers a list of Journalism organizations.
Marketing and Selling
It is common for creative professionals to assume the task of marketing and selling is not necessary. If the work is good, the work should sell itself, right? So why go through the hassle of marketing and selling? Unfortunately, regardless of the level of talent and expertise, promoting the services offered is vital to the success of the business. Two things to keep in focus in business (1) someone is selling, and (2) someone is buying. One without the other is not a harmonious relationship. Both need to exist in order for the business to succeed.
Good standards are necessary regardless of the pressure makers. An attitude of professionalism is an attribute that cannot be compromised. Establish practices that will help you maintain quality, objectivity, and the right attitude when faced with challenges. Personal feelings can get in the way of rational decision-making and can shift the weight into a slump of compromise and bad service. Maintain professionalism and a positive attitude, as these are essential to continued success.