One of the interesting things about taking on writing as a career is as I’ve mentioned before is the ability to learn new skills. The more skills, the greater the benefits to your career.
I call these “adjacent skill sets.” You’re not exactly transitioning your career in a direction that’s completely left-field from the industry of writing, like niche skills—those ARE valuable, like being a butcher and writing for National Butchers Week. No, these adjacent skill sets can be applied to any writing project that you choose: Laying out an ebook on real estate is remarkably similar to laying out a book on meditation.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of these adjacent skill sets that can create more projects and better rates.
Another “job” that I have had is actually working as a boss of my own subcontracted projects. Read the article or take my synopsis: it pays to be boss.
Another parallel adjacent career is copyediting. If you have experience working with enough written stuff that passes your eyes, chances are you’ve seen good writing and bad writing. Why not consider translating grammar-mangled text into coherent, readable documents?
Document-reading on a daily basis, I find that I naturally and organically become accustomed to seeing certain tendencies much in the way of their coder will see a missing semicolon or missing lines of code.
This one is painful to talk about, mainly because of my achy wrists. How much does it cost and how does that factor into what I need it to?
Try it yourself one time. See how much you can transcribe of a .mp3 file of your newest project. You’d be surprised, but averaging only fifteen minutes of recorded audio to every hour spent working is my personal best. Not as fast as I thought I was…
Transcribing is a lot of work, but it’s mindless work. How much do I pay? Depends on what I want the output to be. If it’s a verbatim transcription, I don’t mind paying $60/hour, which factors into a dollar/minute. If it’s project based, I might try to just include on the job description. Spoken words translated to a readable webpage is the way to go
For conducting interviews, I find this is something I outsource frequently. Conducting the interview is hard enough, but laboring through it the second time might make you miss glaring errors that a transcriber can suggest or correct. Asking their opinion is like getting a free consultation; most people are happy to suggest their opinions.
Whether you’re blogging for business or for yourself, you may be aware that blogging is a very different style of writing than whitepapers. Taking into account your audience, you create a platform that opens up the skillset of marketing. Sure, it’s essential and maybe you don’t feel comfortable with the concept, but it’s a subject that blogging nurtures.
For instance, selling an ebook through your informative blog posts can lead to a passive income stream. That’s like creating an employee that never quits! Once the work is done, marketing it can increase your income to a regular rate. For instance, I recently completed a podcast after finishing a book. I know, based on previous media-related projects, that I’m expected to see a spike in sales from this podcast. Therefore, I can switch my focus to increasing the value of my work rather that seeking new clients—plus, the marketing stays up after the spike, which allows for curious readers through SEO and other methods to find my copy. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.
Blogging translates to traditional publications, as well. Having an online presence, coupled with the status of being a regular blogger, gives you the advantage of working with better publications. Most traditional publishers realize that blogs are a component to their media output.
Creating audio material is a great way of getting your name out there in more ways than just the written word. Podcasts allow you to display your expertise and knowledge to your clients, showing that you’ve gone the extra mile.
If you feel that creating a regularly-recurring show is too much work, consider being a guest. The formula is similar to writing a query: [INSERT LINK TO “7 Reasons Why Your Query Was Rejected”] craft a compelling reason why your expertise, published work, or whatnot constitutes for their consideration.
The fact of the matter is that a lot of podcasts are always in need of content to stay relevant. Offering your services could net you some exposure, not to mention a little cash with “Guest Writer” bonuses. It can’t hurt to ask, and it shows that you believe in your work.
Congrats, you’re kind of a miniature celebrity—but don’t let it go to your head.
There’s no better way to understand the final touches in your writing than seeing how it looks on the web. Learning about HTML and CSS can give you design suggestions for your clients. For instance, if you have an idea for a sidebar, but haven’t noticed a similar concept from your clients, you can offer a suggestion that might give your client’s work a more professional platform.
A working knowledge of web design can be a boon for you, as you understand the power of “pull quotes” and other literary devices. These touches add a professional aesthetic to your content. Plus, they can provide a structure for your articles.
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That about wraps up the article on adjacent skill sets. There’s many other ways that you can benefit from extending your reach—you can only benefit! Onward and upward.