Office basics — Getting your office set up
Now that you're ready to start making money as a writer, you'll need a place to be a writer. Here are three steps to get you started.
1. Start with a desk. Actually you need more than a desk -- you also need a place to work. While a separate room is ideal, I've seen people turn dining rooms, basements and even a corner of a master bedroom into an office (yours truly started out of her bedroom).
Wherever you decide to set up shop, you need enough room for both a computer and paper files (background information, magazines, client files, etc.) Let yourself spread out.
Don't forget to make room for a bookshelf and file cabinets. You'll need both.
What you DON'T want to do is share that space with something else. Believe me, it's a real drag to put together and tear down an office every day because you need the kitchen table for dinner. It drains your energy and will keep you from being as productive as you could be.
2. Stock up on office supplies. Make sure you purchase the basics in advance so you won't have to go running to Staples when you're under deadline (talk about stress). Here's a list to get you started:
- Paper (buy it in bulk — you'll save money plus it will last you awhile)
- Extra printer cartridges (very important, always have a couple on hand)
- Staples and staplers (get a good stapler, you'll thank yourself)
- File folders (don't forget accordion file folders)
- Paper clips
- Post-it notes
3. Make sure your technology is working. Although being a writer is one of the less expensive businesses to set-up and maintain, there still are some things you really need to invest in. After all, you want to make it as easy as possible for your clients or editors to conduct business with you. If you don't, there are many other writers who will. Some basic items to consider:
- Computer with Internet access. High-speed is best (again, you don't want to be wasting time with dial-up).
- Fax machine. Yes, e-mail has taken over many of the functions of a fax machine, but if you do any copywriting, I guarantee you still need it. Fax machines have come down in price, you can get a pretty decent one for under $300. Make sure you get one that doubles as a copy machine — you don't want to be running to a shop every time you need a copy.
- Dedicated fax line. A second phone line to hook up your fax doesn't cost you that much and makes you look even more professional. Plus there will be times where you need that second line (or you need to receive and/or send a fax while on the phone).
- Voice mail on your primary line. No, not an answering machine. Get voice mail. That way, your clients, potential clients, editors, interviewees, etc. will never get a busy signal. Remember, you want to make it easy for people to do business with you.
On your computer, here are some basic software packages to look into:
Word processing (You'll find many of your clients use Microsoft Word, so that's probably the one to invest in)
- Accounting software (QuickBooks and MYOB are two good ones)
- A client-tracking software package (like ACT!)
- Tracking software for submissions (I've used Excel with success, but there are other dedicated ones out there if that's more your style)
- Other packages to make you more compatible with your clients (I've found Excel and PowerPoint to be helpful).
One final tip — it's best to get your office organized BEFORE the work starts rolling in. It can be very stressful to balance work with getting your office in order.
Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a copywriting and marketing agency. She helps entrepreneurs become more successful at attracting more clients, selling more products and services and boosting their business. To find out how she can help you take your business to the next level, visit her site at www.MichelePW.com. Copyright © 2017 MichelePW all rights reserved.
Considered one of the hottest direct response copywriters and marketing consultants in the industry today, Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) has a reputation for crafting copy and creating online and offline marketing campaigns that get results.
Michele started writing professionally in 1992, working at agencies and on staff as a marketing/communication/writing specialist. In 1998, she started her business as a freelance copywriter.
But she quickly realized her vision was bigger than serving her clients as a one-woman-shop. In 2004, she began the transformation to building a copywriting and marketing company.
Two years later, her vision has turned into reality. Michele PW/Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC is the premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company today, catering to entrepreneurs and small business owners internationally, including the “Who’s Who” of Internet Marketing. Some of their clients include:
Alexis Martin Neely
In addition, Michele is also a national speaker and the bestselling author of the “Love-Based Copywriting" books that teach people how to write copy that attracts, inspires and invites. She has also completed two novels.
She holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and her southern squirrel hunter Cassie.