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“Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!” — Henry Miller

Stephen King writes 2, words a day, rain or shine. Jacobs writes ever-more-detailed outlines-that-turn-into-books while walking on a treadmill.


Focus on creating and sticking to a great writing system. What does a good writing system consist of? Three things:. These three are interlinked, but they are also separate, like the three legs of a three-legged stool. You need all three to create a solid system that will propel you to writerly stardom. All writers need material. And lucky for us, writing material is virtually limitless!

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You just need to know where and how to gather it. For more ideas on this topic, check out this article:. Now what? It ought to go without saying, but sometimes folks need a reminder:. Writers write. Well, aside from literally just sitting down and typing or writing longhand, if you prefer , here are a few tips to help you create a system and environment that compels you to write, instead of dithering about how to get going:.

These are just suggestions. You may want to imitate one, some, or all of these ideas, but whatever you decide, just pick one and get started. Writing is a craft, and like any other craft, it has rules and recognized levels of proficiency. Not everyone who picks up a pen or types words on a keyboard is a good writer. You just have to get better at writing. And there are so many things you can do to get better at writing. And you can just read a lot of good writing and write a lot and become a better writer by osmosis.

But there are problems with this kind of mentality:. If you want to get good at anything, you need to learn how to learn. This is true in writing too. You need mindful, deliberate practice to improve. Of course, all writers need to get a few basic things down first: grammar, spelling, and the like. Another important skill all writers need to hone is the ability to think clearly. Writers are teachers, which means we need to be able to think logically from point A to point Z, and show others how we came to that conclusion.

Learning how to hone your craft is a topic that I could probably write hundreds of articles on, so for now, I will leave it at that. For more ideas on deliberate practice, you can check out this article:. I wrote when I felt like it. No wonder I made no real progress as a writer. But everything changed when I started using a system.

I wrote a novel, a musical, and over posts in less than a year. I gained over a thousand followers and became a top writer in 8 categories on Medium. And the ball is still rolling — because I am still honing my system. I read, on average, three books a week. On various topics. I also read comments and articles online. I start and end my day by reading, usually a couple hours. I highlight interesting ideas, type notes and thoughts in my ebook, and send emails to myself or use my Notes App whenever I come up with an interesting potential idea.

I have my entire writing system written out on a document that I adjust as needed see below. Currently, my goal is to complete or revise at minimum two articles per day. So when I sit down to write, I:. If, while working on one article, I come up with an interesting idea for a future article, I write it down immediately and then return to my current project. That way I always have a stash of ideas in various stages of completion to work on.

Here is one last tip I leave with you:. Whatever your writing system is, write it down.

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For instance, this is my current writing system:. Key: Bolded items are nonnegotiable. Other initials refer to other publications. The Med chart is an excel spreadsheet where I keep track of everything I write. Kevary is the name of my current novel WIP work in progress. But writing things down make them more likely to happen. By writing down my system I am holding myself to it. It keeps me accountable, and helps me to keep writing no matter what. On the other hand, there are people who do the opposite, writing anything and everything that comes to mind stream-of-consciousness style and then wondering why no one is paying attention.

To avoid both errors, you need to come up with a writing system. Of course, systems vary from person to person. Then, create a PDF e-book on any topic you know well or can research , and you can start selling immediately. Some vendors claim to have made tens of millions of dollars in sales through ClickBank. When you see a textbook at a rummage sale, visit Bookscouter. See what buyers are paying, and then offer half of that or less. The big margins are in textbooks, but online buyers accept many types of used books, and often pay for shipping with a printable label.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Retailing them yourself on Amazon. Once you learn the market, you can parlay your profits into expansion, perhaps doing some online arbitrage by buying cheap used books from eBay auctions to sell to the big online vendors. In many states, like Florida for example, you do not need a license to be a painting contractor. And if you start with indoor painting, you can get by with a minimum of equipment. Matt Shoup tells U. You can learn the business online from any one of a number of tutorials. You can start by offering your services to friends and family and use the profits to build your professional credentials, perhaps by joining an organization like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

With ride-sharing platforms like Uber , you can turn the car you already own into a business today without spending a dollar. Of course, once again, your goal, if you want bigger profits, is to eventually hire employees or sub-contractors. It used to be more difficult to market your tutoring services, but online platforms make it easier than ever. If you prefer to tutor people on a wider variety of subjects, like chess, sports, cooking, or singing, try Wysant.

From there you can build a local clientele and start hiring others to work for your business. Forget about business cards at least at first or trying to get travel agencies to recommend your guide service. If you know an area well, you simply sign up with a website like Vayable. Once you know the ropes and make some money, you can encourage returning visitors to come to you and your new employees directly.

You can start from home to keep costs low and bootstrap your way into a multi-employee office in time. Toby Woodward has been in the flooring business for twenty-five years. Again, the lesson is clear: Look for the low-cost entry point and parlay revenues into expanding the business.

You can clean houses with all of the supplies and equipment you already use for cleaning your own home and then invest profits into specialized equipment for other clients. She built it into a multimillion-dollar business with employees. Flea markets are alive and well in many places around the country, and you can locate the ones closest to you with an online guide.

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What profit? Start by selling things around the house that you no longer need. With the money you raise, you can look for a niche. For example, some vendors hit rummage sales and thrift stores for cheap goods they can resell. Others buy in bulk from places like Liquidation. If you can read and follow the directions of an online soap-making tutorial , you can gain some basic knowledge of the soap making craft. It involves relatively few materials and tools.

Getting down to Business : Successful Writing at Work by DeaAnne Kirschman (2007, Paperback)

To make soap you mix various forms of oil with lye and scents. Finding a new scent or creative approach to packaging and marketing will help. You can sell to friends initially, or invest in a booth at a flea market or craft show. Anne-Marie Faiola turned her soap making hobby into a multimillion-dollar business.

If you own a car you have what you need to start delivering groceries. While Webvan and others have failed to make grocery delivery work on a large scale, there is a market for small timers, as evidenced by the many shopping services that are online now. To make delivery affordable for the customer and efficient enough for you to make a decent profit, you may have to service a very limited area. You might start by approaching elderly residents in a housing complex, promising delivery just two days per week in order to process as many orders as you can at once. To keep payment processing simple, get a PayPal card reader , which attaches to your smartphone.

PayPal takes just 2. An errand service can be a natural business to tie into grocery delivery, or vice versa. People often need someone to check on their dog at home, or run to the store if they are homebound. To start with almost no cost, and to get a feel for what kind of work the business might involve, sign up with TaskRabbit. This eliminates the need to spend money on marketing yourself at least at first.

Writing your business plan

You might discover a particular niche that suits you and is profitable. For example, if you get a lot of calls to bring pets to vet appointments, you might reposition yourself as a pet taxi service. You can learn how to mix any one of thousands of drinks with a free online cocktail guide , but to get hired as a freelance bartender it helps to have real experience.

You might volunteer to tend bar for charity events — a good way to get experience and market yourself to potential paying clients. On the other hand, you can get an idea of skills needed online from the television personality and dog whisperer, Cesar Milan. There are also many dog training tutorials on YouTube.

You can start the business at home to keep costs low. Pet owners can bring their dogs there as well as anyplace else. To build your reputation offer, to train the dogs of friends for free or at a discount, and be sure to get testimonials to put on your eventual website. What makes drop shipping so attractive is exactly what lands it on this list; there are no big startup costs or expensive investments in inventory. You can sell products online, collect payment, pay suppliers, and let them send out the products — even using your company logo if you like.

A website is one way to make sales, although not the only way. You can also sell on auction sites like eBay. In particular, they need to tweet on Twitter and post on Facebook in order to raise awareness of their companies and promote their products. You may already know how to use these and many other social media platforms. Learn a little more with online tutorials on how to become a social media consultant. Then contact everyone you know to see if they need this valuable service.

Scaling up will require hiring others at some point, so you can focus on getting new clients. If you have a phone, a computer, and Internet access, you can be a virtual assistant VA. The work can be very different with each client, but may include preparing reports, researching, editing, social media management, appointment-setting and many other services.

Of course, to make it into more than a decent freelance income, your goal will have to be to hire others at some point. Copper and aluminum are the most valuable of the common metals, and almost every community has one or more scrap metal buyers. You can find all the advice you need in an online scrap metal discussion forum.

How big can you grow a business like this? Start anyhow! Once you have a few customers who value your knowledge more than a fancy presentation, you can spend some of your profits to build a more professional organization. You can service the high-end, doing very unique logos, or provide low-cost designs that start from templates and are modified to suit the client. One of the easiest ways to get started is on Fiverr. A look at the stats for the logo designers there shows the size of the market.

The top rated logo designer has over 6, customer reviews. Find that first sale with little or no capital investment and then use the profit to expand. Do you have a low-cost startup story to share? Painter Photo via Shutterstock. If you have a specialized skill set and expertise in an emerging area internet marketing is a great example there are opportunities aplenty to start your own business.

Do you have a kindle or e-book to share how you build your business from the beginning to now and some of the mistakes you did that we can learn from.

Write a business plan

This means that anyone can go into business as long as he or she has the passion for it. Money is rarely an issue. I think you should include web design business as well. The used books business is A LOT tougher than was made to seem here. Not for the faint of heart, the weak of back or the impatient. On the other hand, the financial risk is pretty low for all of them. However, the amount of TIME that needs to be invested in running a business is substantial.

Great post! Thanks Oak, and I agree that many of these are for when you have a lot more time than money. We put in a lot of time at least initially starting our internet publishing business. In fact, you can often substitute time for money in many ways when starting. Aquarium maintenance service is also good one if you know about fish and aquariums.

A good offshoot to starting a house cleaning service is home and office organizing. You do not have to be certified, however. Starting as a house cleaner will definitely give you an inroad as there is more demand in terms of volume and helps with regular cash flow. Offering pre-paid discounted packages with a contract and taking deposits from 1st time clients helps to keep problems away. Hi Luna — I am interested in learning more about a home organizer startup and am wondering where to get certified. Can you email me to let me know…… thanks very much.

I have my own cleaning business but finding it hard with so many cleaners out there can you give me some advise. Hi Luna I would love to learn more about becoming an hone organizer. Kindly send info. Thank you all for this great knowledge and wisdom!

My Twitter handle is tlb79thereal…. Public speaking is another way to go.

Where to gather writing material

If you have expertise in a subject s you can sell that expertise. Getting paid speaking engagements is the hard part. Hello Nicholas I would very much like to learn about public speaking sir. You can set up an eBay business and sell for others on consignment without spending a cent.

There are plenty of people and businesses who find it hard to make the time to sell their unwanted items or simply do not have time. An eBay trading assistant does all the hard work and as a fee you earn commission on sales. I have been unemployed for the past 4 years and recently my father passed away. I am 42 years old and have one child in college and another at home. I cannot believe I am in this place financially, as I have worked my entire life until I lost my lat job. I cannot find one. Love your post and advice. Your son in college has nothing to do with your present situation.

Your child at home is your singular issue. You worked your entire life? Or enjoy the time with your child at home while on public assistance. But stay sharp and be ready! Many people endure personal problems that you will never understand. Life is a lot more than work for all the best years of your life to retire with enough money to buy a good recliner,tv,cable ,intranet ,food,forget insurance because who would want a broken system to aid in keeping you alive by stealing your hard earned life savings letting you be a spectator wishing you did what you wanted as a young person and not believed in medicoraty that was shoved down your throat your whole life initaly accepting it all as just the way things are.

Many of them say that they are in America, but have a two week shipping time. My goal is to create a website. This questions is for Steve. Did you have to worry about a domain name when you created your website? Any recommendation on creating a website? Great insight Steve! As someone pointed out above, with so many options to start for such little money, most people really have no excuse.

Some of the online related businesses are ones I intend to try just for the fun of it. Very interesting list of businesses you have here and very helpful for many people looking at something new. I might start doing logo designs seem like something that I can do plus I just got my dslr camera so I can take pictures to make logos.

My goal is to start a low cost business in my area by specializing in personalization of products however there are many online businesses and local ones that corner the market.

I discovered crafts, sewing, and redesigning products process is my strenght however weakness is having time to create these items in bulk in a timely manner. I think a business coach may be able to help me decide what avenue to take to narrow down goals owning a business before acheiving a Business and Marketing Degree in July