While perusing Twitter a few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from Michele Lashley offering a link to sign up to receive a free copy of her new book, The Quick Start Guide to Making (Real) Money With Your Writing Skills. Since I’m always a sucker for a freebie, especially one promising to teach me to make more money doing something I love, I signed up.
I downloaded the book on my Kindle on October 13th and finished it less than a week later. (I could have finished it faster but I’ve been working, volunteering at church, and tending to my family.) The book is a quick and easy read at just 102 pages long, but it offers lots of helpful, practical advice for anyone looking to get started making money from writing.
The book’s eleven chapters offer advice on naming your business, soliciting professional help from attorneys and accountants, getting a logo, equipping your workspace, building a portfolio and website, deciding how much to charge, and how to find (and keep) clients.
As a CPA, I have experience setting up my own businesses and walking clients through setting up theirs, but I still found helpful advice that I hadn’t considered, especially when it comes to choosing a business name. One of her tips, “Don’t use the name of the geographic area you’re in,” would have been helpful to me in the past. Shortly before we relocated from Northern Nevada to Arizona for my husband’s job, I set up my own bookkeeping and tax business and named it Battle Born Accounting & Tax Service. Everyone in Northern Nevada knows what Battle Born refers to, it’s the state motto. I tried using the same name and business cards in Arizona and people wondered why the heck I named an accounting firm “Battle Born.” The name didn’t translate across state lines.
I really appreciated her advice to work with an accountant when you’re getting your business started. Many people that try to set up a new business on a shoestring budget see an accountant as an extravagance, but they can save you a money and headaches in the long run. I’ve had clients that don’t know the difference between a debit and a credit buy Quickbooks, thinking they’d be able to handle their own books. Without basic bookkeeping knowledge, you can make a real mess of Quickbooks really fast and it will take an accountant twice as long to fix your mistakes than it would to get you started on the right foot from the get-go.
Each chapter ends with a Quick Start Takeway: simple, actionable advice that you can put into place right now.
While I don’t see this book becoming a reference tool that I keep on the shelf and refer back to time and time again, it does offer very good, basic information on a wide variety of topics. If you’re interested in getting started in the freelance writing world and don’t know where to start, it’s a quick and easy read that won’t steer you wrong.
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