Do you treat your writing as a business or a hobby? It really doesn't matter whether your writing is a business or whether you're writing for a hobby. But if you do want your writing to pay you well, if you want it to be your full-time career and bring in a full-time income, then you will have to treat your writing as a business.
So what do you need to do to start treating your writing as a business instead of an expensive hobby? In this post, I'm going to go through a few of the things that you need to commit to.
Invest in your writing business
The first thing you need to do to make sure you are treating your writing as a business and not as a hobby is to invest in it. And that means financially and with your time, energy and focus as well.
You likely are already investing in your writing. But if it's your hobby, you probably only invest in the things you want to learn, rather than the things you need to learn.
The number one thing that you can invest in is your own personal education. So invest in professional covers and editing, but also invest in courses, books, or mentors. These will help you learn writing craft, publishing skills, and the essential elements of marketing.
Learn everything you can about writing craft and publishing. You'll want to ensure you're publishing professionally. But invest in your marketing knowledge as well. Also set aside some budget for things like ads and promos.
Sometimes when you're investing in things that you don't particularly enjoy or want to learn, especially when it comes to some of the marketing stuff, it can feel like that's money you don't want to spend. But if it's money that is going to help you achieve something faster or become more effective, then it is worth investing. It will pay off in the long run.
Grow Your Author Platform
Discover the roadmap for growing your author platform
Schedule your time
The next thing you need to do, if you want to treat your writing as a business and not a hobby is to schedule your time. It doesn't matter whether you have all the time in the world to spend on writing, or you're trying to write around another career or commitments. The important thing is to schedule the time you have. So look at your diary or calendar and schedule blocks of time.
The people that schedule their time are the people that get things done. If you do have the luxury of time, but you don't schedule your time, you may find you don't get much more done than somebody who only has a few spare hours a month. There are too many other things that can take your time and attention.
Scheduling your time is about focus. It's making sure that the hours that you spend on your writing, are actually spent on your writing. That could be writing your next draft, working on your editor's comments, or completing publishing or marketing tasks.
There are many tasks that a self-publishing author needs to complete. If you only spend time on writing and never schedule time for marketing, then the marketing will not get done and your books will not sell. If you want to treat your writing as a business, schedule time for all your writing, publishing, and marketing tasks. Make sure you set aside that time and don't let anybody take it from you.
Set goals for your writing business
Following on from a schedule, another thing that writers that treat writing as a business do, is set goals.
If you're writing just for fun as a hobby, then you may decide one day to write a few hundred words. Another day you may choose to spend all day writing several thousand words. But if you are a professional writer, you will have goals and targets. You will have a certain word count that you need to meet on a daily or weekly or monthly basis. You will have a certain number of books that you want to publish each year. And you will have marketing targets as well.
Remember to make your goals smart – specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. You may want to think about your word count. You may want to think about your sales targets. Whatever the target is, make sure it is specific and is something that you can achieve. And then work back from that. What tasks do you need to carry out to ensure you meet those goals? So if you had set specific sales targets, what marketing activities do you need to do to reach those targets?
In the beginning, you may be pulling numbers out of thin air. You may not know what is achievable. So treat your first time as an experiment and set a benchmark. If you do very little marketing with your very first book and nobody knows who you are, you may only sell a handful of copies. That's fine, that's your benchmark. Next time, what do you need to do to make sure you sell more copies? Set a goal and then plan your action steps to meet it.
If you're not interested in sales targets and don't want to do very much marketing, then your writing is probably a hobby and that is okay. But if you do want to make money from your book or have specific numbers that you want to sell, then you need to set targets. And you will need to take specific actions to make sure you hit those targets.
Keep going, even when it's not fun
Finally, a hobby is fun. A lot of people write for fun and they publish just for fun as well. But a business can be fun too, and it can be very rewarding. So if you do want to see your writing as a business, you can still enjoy the writing. But, it has to be said that a writing business is also hard work and it does take commitment.
So if you're going to treat your writing as a business, rather than as a hobby, that means showing up even when you don't fancy it. It means completing those tasks that you don't enjoy as much and doing the marketing work you don't find as rewarding. It means setting aside time and budget for things that you don't see as fun, but you know are necessary to get the results you want.
Treating your writing as a business means doing things that scare you or push you beyond your comfort zone. And it's all about doing the work even when no one is watching. For example, emailing your list even when you only have five subscribers and one of them is you and one of them is your sister. You do the work anyway.
Commit to your writing business
If you are serious about your writing and it bringing in a full-time income, then it is time to ask yourself honestly, are you doing everything you can to treat your writing as a business? If you do want this to be your business, then it's time to fully commit.
And if you do want to see your writing as more of a business and less of a hobby, but you're not sure which actions to take that are going to help move the needle, download my free 7-step guide to growing your author platform to get started.