Some months back, I got an email from a guy relatively new to the commercial writing field. He’d done a bit of work in one particular niche, liked it and was making a few bucks. He continued with this:
“However, I want to go after the money, in whatever form is most easily gotten in terms of getting the work and getting paid, so I would love your input in where that might be and how to get the work.”?
I always have to smile when I get notes like this. “Short cut hunting,”? I call it. I wrote him back:
“I’m not picking on you here, because a lot of people ask this. But, I’m afraid it just doesn’t work that way. If there were indeed a place where it WAS easy to get work that paid well and fast, in this wired age of ours, do you really imagine it would stay a secret for long? Everyone would be flocking to it, and in short order, rates would drop to nothing. Like any other business, it takes hard work and persistence to make it happen.
“There really aren’t any shortcuts, unless you count experience that you bring from another industry that you can leverage into writing for that industry. In that case, you WILL probably be able to get in the door faster because you have some value you’re bringing to the table. That’s the key: things can be easier when you have an advantage of some sort that others don’t.”?
In a perverse sort of way, I’d like to think this reality check would be of comfort to people considering the business. Knowing that it’s NOT a cakewalk should banish any lingering suspicions that I’m selling snake oil here – promising riches with little effort. After all, we’re big kids. By this point in our lives, how many times have we heard, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”? Knowing that the effort required needs to be substantial lets you know that the rewards are real. And they are. Not just financially (you can make money in any decent J-O-B), but far more importantly, in the heavenly, oozing-with-freedom lifestyle. Trust me. You want this. Can I get a witness?
Know that if you DO build a successful business, you will have accomplished something big – something the seasoned practitioners already get – in spades.
So, what advice/warnings/admonitions would you give a “short-cut hunter”??