Brief guide to starting your editing business

Posted on 24/05/2011

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So, you’re wanting to start your editing business. Have you considered these points?

Make sure you seek out professional advice – financial, accountancy, legal, insurance. You can learn from other business people, but please, always check it out with a professional. Think about the business systems you’ll need – marketing, customer relationships, record keeping, IT.

Develop your brand – website, marketing materials, business cards. While you can do much of this yourself, input from a web developer and graphic designer will make all the difference. (We know how editing sharpens writing: professional input does the same to your business and brand.)

Join a professional editors’ group. (In Australia, it’s the state societies of editors and the Institute of Professional Editors). Attend meetings and workshops; ask questions; don’t be intimidated by your inexperience – we all had to be the newcomer. Finding someone who’s willing to mentor you is an awesome experience; some societies have specific mentoring programs.

Some writers’ groups welcome editors. It’s a great opportunity for you to hone your editing skills and your ability to talk to writers – tact, tolerance, clear communication. Be aware that some groups don’t particularly appreciate input from a ‘non-writer’.

What sort of editing do you want to do? Fiction (what genre?), non-fiction, technical, academic, business (small, private, public, corporate?)

Who is your ‘ideal’ client? What are their needs, and how can you supply the solution?

Where are you going to find your clients? Unless you already have contacts from your previous employment, finding good leads can be challenging. Always have your business cards with you, ready to share. Attend networking groups, perhaps a local chamber of commerce, but make sure you go more than once – it’s about building relationships, not getting work. List your business on the many on-line business directories – most offer free basic listing.

Explore social media - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and numerous other on-line groups let you build relationships outside your face-to-face networks. Consider asking a copywriter if you can edit or proofread for them. Reading articles or blogs in your areas of interest may give you the opportunity to offer the author editing services.

Do you have the personality to be a solo-preneur editor? Often it’s just you and your computer, which can be very isolating.

Do you have the support of the significant people in your life? Running a business is a challenge, but made easier when you know others are encouraging you.

While this may all seem a bit overwhelming, it really is a rewarding experience. Consider the implications, be brave and enjoy!

What else can you add to these suggestions?

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Posted in: Editing